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Papelbon’s Legacy in Philly

Posted by Ryan Gerstel, Wed, August 27, 2014 12:56 PM Comments: 32

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Love him, or hate him, Jonathan Papelbon is quietly having one of the best seasons of his career, and is climbing the ranks on the Phillies’ all-time closers list.

Last night, Papelbon converted his 33rd save on the season, and his 100th save overall in a Phillies’ uniform, which ties him with Brad Lidge for 4th all-time in Phillies’ history. Since signing a 4-year, $50 million deal with the Phillies back in November of 2011, Papelbon has been great despite a “down” year last year when he only recorded 29 saves in 36 opportunities while posting a 2.92 ERA and a 1.135 WHIP.

This season, Papelbon has truly been “lights out.” His 33 saves ranks 9th in MLB, while his ERA (1.60) ranks 2nd among closers with 20+ saves, and his 2.9 WAR is tied for first among all closers.

Since giving up three ERs against the Giants back on July 23rd, Pap has been almost untouchable, giving up just one ER, while recording 10 saves and 17 strikeouts in 15 innings pitched over that stretch.

Papelbon’s best season in terms of ERA came back in 2006 with the Red Sox. That season, Papelbon finished with a .92 ERA while converting 35 of 41 save opportunities. His career high in saves came back in 2008, when he saved 41 games in 46 opportunities with the Red Sox while posting a 2.34 ERA

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This year, Papelbon is having a hybrid of his 2006 and 2008 seasons, and it is resulting in one of the best seasons of his career. With 29 games left to play, Papelbon could set a new career high in saves if he is able to record nine more.

At age 33, Papelbon’s fastball velocity is not what it used to be, but he has been able to consistently hit 92-93 with his fastball, and has utilized his breaking pitches effectively. He has learned to become more of a pitcher this season instead of relying on a 95+ fastball to blow by hitters. This is proven by his strikeouts. With only 54 SO in 56.1 innings pitched this season, Pap is on pace to finish with his 2nd lowest number of SO in a full season.

It seems like he has finally adjusted. Pretty nicely I might add.

So where does this leave Papelbon on the all-time Phillies’ closers list? Pretty high.

With his 100th save in a Phillies’ uniform last night, Papelbon is now only 12 behind Jose Mesa’s franchise high 112 saves. With one year still left on his 4-year contract, Papelbon will be the Phillies’ all-time leader in saves when it is all said and done. However, what will his legacy be in the minds of Philadelphia fans? His attitude, and some of the things that have come out of his mouth have rubbed some fans the wrong way during his time in Philadelphia. Love him, or hate him, Papelbon is having one whale of a season, and could very well be the best closer in Phillies’ history when his time in Philadelphia comes to an end.

 

  • 32 Comments
 

Trouble in the Phillies Clubhouse?

Posted by Jonathan Nisula, Wed, August 27, 2014 07:00 AM Comments: 31

You can’t ignore it now. Last night, after the Phillies third straight win to make is five of their last six, starter Cole Hamels made it clear (sort of) he was upset with manager Ryne Sandberg‘s decision to pull him in the eighth inning after Hamels allowed a lead off home run.

He dodged questions on whether he was upset with Sandberg.

Hamels is now the fourth player to appear to have an issue with some of Sandberg’s decisions. The other three were Kyle Kendrick, Dave Buchanan, and Domonic Brown.

Prior to Hamels, the players that were displeased weren’t super stars. They weren’t in the same class of player that Hamels is. Hamels led the team to a World Series title in 2008, and just got a big contract. And he’s one of the best left-handers in the game.

That’s why this cannot be ignored any longer. I know that it’s normal for players to want to stay in the game, get more playing time, etc. But it’s now a trend, and I don’t think it’s a good one.

There is apparent trouble in the locker room, and regardless of who you may think is at fault (I’m in no position to make a guess)–both Sandberg and the players need to address it with themselves and the media before it gets out of hand. The Phillies–and the fans–don’t want a Hall of Famer in his first year at manager to lose the team for any reason. That would just add on to the list of sub-optimal things that have happened in 2014 for the Phillies.

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Ryan Howard, Ben Revere, and RBIs

Posted by Jonathan Nisula, Tue, August 26, 2014 11:00 AM Comments: 78

It’s a been argued over and over again, especially in Philadelphia, where Ryan Howard–one of the best RBI men in MLB over the years (2nd overall to only Miguel Cabrera since 2006) calls home.

And no, I’m not talking about whether to refer to multiple runs batted in as “RBI”, or “RBIs” (I’ll be using the latter in this post). I’m talking about the meaning of the stat.

“RBIs don’t matter!”, say many believers in advanced metrics and Sabermetrics.

Those that disagree tend to favor, from what I’ve seen, all the more traditional statistics, like batting average, pitcher wins, and things of that sort.

Continue reading Ryan Howard, Ben Revere, and RBIs

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Reading Eagle survey: Crawford ranked top Phils prospect

Posted by Jay Floyd, Mon, August 25, 2014 10:05 AM Comments: 49

Recently, Mike Drago of The Reading Eagle conducted a survey of experts, made up of local writers and other media members, designed to rank the top prospects in the Phillies developmental system.

The participating individuals, who are all close to the Phillies minor league system, were asked to rank their personal top 20, which were tabulated to determine the paper’s published list of top 15 Phillies prospects.  Individuals surveyed included Baseball America’s Josh Norris, Chris Rotolo of the Asbury Park Press, Mitch Rupert of the Williamsport Sun-Gazette as well as yours truly, Jay Floyd of PhilliesNation.com.

The collection of experts determined that last year’s first round draft pick, J.P. Crawford, who represented the Phillies in the MLB All-Star Futures Game this year, is the top prospect in the organization.  Crawford, 19, is widely expected to be the eventual successor to former National League MVP Jimmy Rollins at shortstop.

Last year’s Reading Eagle rankings featured Maikel Franco at the top.  The Dominican native fell to number three this year.  A few new names are also featured on the list.

Here’s an excerpt of The Reading Eagle’s 2014 prospect rankings…

1 J.P. Crawford: Just 14 months after being drafted the California shortstop found himself playing in the All-Star Futures Game. At 19 he was the youngest player on the Team USA roster and the second-youngest in the game. He was moved up to high Class A Clearwater in mid June, his third level in little more than a year. He’s hit at all of them and carries a .295 batting average and .388 on-base percentage through his first 720 professional games.  (ed. note- Crawford has played just 170 pro games)

2 Aaron Nola: The Phillies desperately needed a fast-moving, strike-throwing starting pitcher when they tabbed the LSU right-hander in the June draft and that’s exactly what they got. He became the first Phillies draft pick to reach Double-A in his first professional season since 1986. He’ll likely start next season in Reading and end it in Philadelphia.

3 Maikel Franco: The Phillies were hoping the 21-year-old would be their third baseman by now but he had a poor spring training and an even worse spring at Lehigh Valley. After a lousy first half he finally started to hit, batting .343 in July. He’s still extremely young – almost six years younger than the average International League player – so there’s no reason to panic. Continue reading Reading Eagle survey: Crawford ranked top Phils prospect

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Just Who Is Jerome Williams?

Posted by Jonathan Nisula, Mon, August 25, 2014 07:00 AM Comments: 13

PHOTO: (AP/Chris Carlson)

PHOTO: (AP/Chris Carlson)

Jerome Williams is not a household name. Many Phillies fans are still wondering just who he is. And I don’t blame them. In the scorebook, he’s the guy who’s thrown three straight gems for the Phillies.

August 12: 5.1 innings and 2 earned runs against a tough Angels team.

August 18: 7 innings, one earned run against the Mariners.

August 24: 8 innings, one earned run against the Cardinals.

All together, that’s just four earned runs given up in 20.1 innings–a 1.77 ERA.

But who is he? The 32 year old grew up in Hawaii, and prior to coming to the Phillies, he’s played for (starting with most recent) the Rangers, Astros, Angels, Nationals, Cubs, and Giants.

Continue reading Just Who Is Jerome Williams?

  • 13 Comments
 

Jerome Williams Making Case for a Spot in 2015 Rotation

Posted by Ryan Gerstel, Sun, August 24, 2014 09:12 PM Comments: 4

Journey-man right-hander Jerome Williams delivered another great game in his third game in a Phillies uniform Sunday afternoon, and is definitely starting to get some attention from the Phillies and their fans.

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The 32-year-old has been a different pitcher since coming to Philly. When he was with Houston and Texas earlier this season, Williams struggled mightily, going 2-5 with an ERA of 6.71 between the two ball clubs. However, in three starts with the Phillies, Williams is 2-0 with a 1.77 ERA.

Sunday’s effort was his best yet, as he went 8 innings while giving up just one run on 5 hits to a very good Cardinals lineup.

So, could Williams’ performance make him a candidate for the Phillies’ 2015 rotation?

“He could be. We’ll have time to continue to watch. He’s had three outstanding games for us.” Ruben Amaro said after today’s game.

With A.J. Burnett possibly retiring after this season, and Kyle Kendrick’s future up in the air, the Phillies could use some help in the rotation next year.

Will Williams be a guy the Phillies can rely on? We’ll just have to wait and see.

  • 4 Comments
 

Gameday 130: Phillies vs Cardinals

Posted by Jonathan Nisula, Sun, August 24, 2014 12:05 PM Comments: 12

STK-MLB-PHP-P1992-01CardinalsPhiladelphia Phillies (57-72) vs St. Louis Cardinals (70-58)

Starting Pitchers:
PHI: Jerome Williams (1-0, 2.19 ERA)
vs.
STL: Justin Masterson (2-1, 6.30 ERA)

Time: 1:05 ET, Citizens Bank Park
TV: CSN
Weather: Low 70′s, chance of rain
Media: Twitter and Facebook

A Note for Today:  Jerome Williams will make his third start for the Phillies, and he’s done pretty well in his first two. He’s thrown 12.1 innings and given up just three earned runs. (2.19 ERA). Prior to coming to the Phillies, however, he threw 57.2 innings for the Astros and Rangers, giving up 43 earned runs (6.71 ERA). The question is, what Jerome Williams will we see?

Lineup:

  • 12 Comments
 

Free Dom Brown (Again)

Posted by Jonathan Nisula, Sun, August 24, 2014 11:00 AM Comments: 14

After last night’s 12-inning loss to the Cardinals, Domonic Brown made note of the fact that he hasn’t been playing every day. And he’s right–he’s had just 41 plate appearances and seven starts since July 30. He is dead last on the team with a -1.7 WAR (prior to last night’s game). He has a .613 OPS, and is hitting line drives at a lower rate than even Ben Revere.

It’s no question that he has struggled immensely this year. He’s looked horrid in the field at a new position and just as bad at the plate. The Phillies even brought in Grady Sizemore to help make up for Brown’s lack of production. Recently, we’ve been seeing Darin Ruf in left.

But that was a mistake.

Sizemore is 32, Ruf is 28, and they have no real future (Ruf might) with the ballclub. They are just stealing at-bats from Brown. Dom isn’t going to get out of this slump by sitting on the bench. He isn’t going to find his groove by pinch-hitting more often than he starts. He needs the at-bats, needs to see more playing time if the Phillies want to see any progression.

I’m not saying that his hitting and fielding slump is 100% on how he’s being managed, either. The blame goes all around. From Ruben Amaro Jr. to Ryne Sandberg, to Brown.

But unless the Phillies are ready to give up on him (and that is certainly plausible), he needs to be freed.

  • 14 Comments
 

Franco making case for September call up

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sun, August 24, 2014 07:00 AM Comments: 1

Maikel Franco, image- Jay Floyd

While the minor league season begins to wind down, Lehigh Valley third baseman Maikel Franco continues to go full throttle.

As the IronPigs kicked off their final home stand of the season on Saturday with a double header against the division rival Syracuse Chiefs, Franco, who is hoping his season continues on beyond the final day on the regular season calendar, which is Labor Day, September 1st, continued to display his improved offensive efforts going 6-for-7 with two home runs combined in two games while recording a cycle in the night cap.

The feat was certainly quite an achievement, but possibly more impressive because it was accomplished in just six offensive innings for the winning home club in game 2, as minor league double headers are slated as seven-inning contests.

Franco, who turns 22 years old this week, struggled through the early part of his first Triple-A season, ending June with a .202 batting average and just 28 extra-base hits in 78 contests.  In 46 games since the start of July, the Dominican born slugger has tallied a .326 batting average while mashing 26 extra-base hits, including nine of his season total of 14 homers during that stretch. Continue reading Franco making case for September call up

  • 1 Comments
 

Phillies Lose To Cards In 12

Posted by Jonathan Nisula, Sat, August 23, 2014 09:29 PM Comments: 5

Dave Buchanan gave up just two runs over five innings, but the Phillies spoiled his outing in the sixth. They came back in the eighth to tie it, but eventually lost it in the 12th, 6-5. The game took nearly five full hours. Here are a few notes:

- Jimmy Rollins collected his 450th stolen base of his career after he swiped a bag in the first inning. He stole another bag in the eighth.

- Ben Revere was held hitless, lowering his batting average to .312.

- The sixth inning was an abysmal one for the Phillies all around. Mario Hollands was on the mound, and gave up three runs with the help of two errors. Domonic Brown threw a ball past Cody Asche to allow a run, and then Asche threw a ball away to allow in an additional two runs 2 batters later.

- Ryan Howard hit his 19th home run of the year on a ball that barely cleared the left field wall.

- The Phillies bullpen came into tonight’s game at 2nd in the NL in K%. They continued to strike guys out, as they K’d eight in seven innings.

UP NEXT: The Phillies and Cardinals will play the final game of the series tomorrow afternoon, with Jerome Williams going for the Phils and Justin Masterson going for the Cardinals.

  • 5 Comments
 
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