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Archive for November, 2010

PN Writer's Roundtable: Which Reliever to Sign

Posted by Pat Gallen, Tue, November 30, 2010 08:23 PM Comments: 21

Question: Of the currently available free agent relief pitchers, who should the Phillies attempt to sign ?

Paul Boye: Scott Downs.

He holds righties down as well as lefties, he’s arguably the best reliever in a relatively weak free agent market, and he’s an upgrade at a position of sore need for the Phillies. Of course, all of that won’t come cheap; Downs (right) will likely cost around $7M or so per year over two or three years and is a Type A free agent. If the deal is three guaranteed years, I balk. But two years – Type A and all – at that price should be well worth it. It’s also worth remembering that, because Jayson Werth is likely to depart, the Phils would be trading their first round pick with a team further up in the first round (unless the Angels grab him).

It’s a risk, but a risk the Phils should probably take to shore up a bullpen whose lefties consist of Antonio Bastardo and…no one else. He can’t do it all himself, and Downs would be a big addition worth his price tag.

Jay Floyd: NONE OF THEM. Free agent relievers are too hit or miss, as the Phillies and their phans saw last season when Jose Contreras and his statistics were a pleasant surprise, while Danys Baez and his weak production proved to be money virtually wasted. With the Phillies’ current crop of solid pitching prospects, I don’t feel it is necessary to sign a potentially costly free agent.

Sure, there seems to be a need for an additional lefty reliever, but is Scott Downs and the draft pick he could cost the Phillies, as a type A free agent acquisition, absolutely worth the big money he is poised to draw from a potential suitor? Maybe…maybe not. Relievers’ numbers go up and down from year to year and while Downs has posted great stats in recent years, his career ERA is 3.79, which means his output prior to his recent 1.78 and 2.64 ERA seasons was considerably far off.

And what sort of contribution would Chad Durbin offer, if the Phillies re-signed the righty veteran? It’s hard to tell, as he has posted ERA’s of 4.72, 2.87, 4.39 and 3.80 in his most recent four seasons.

The Phillies have several up and coming prospects as well as some familiar big league types that could make a considerable impact out of the bullpen in 2011. Among those pitchers are Scott Mathieson, Antonio Bastardo, Mike Stutes, Eddie Bonine, Justin De Fratus, Sergio Escalona, Ryan Feierabend and Mike Zagurski. In addition to those guys are a few more young hurlers who might be just a step behind, like Michael Schwimer, JC Ramirez and Austin Hyatt.

With such a full crop of relief talent waiting to step up and contribute behind the core of Brad Lidge, Ryan Madson and Jose Contreras, as well as the other members of the big league pitching staff (Baez, David Herndon and the “loser” of the proposed 5th starter duel between Kyle Kendrick and Vance Worley) already in place, I don’t think the Phillies need to spend money on more risky bullpen arms.

Jeff Nelson: The Phillies definitely need a lefty. They can’t afford to have Bastardo as the lone LHP in the pen all by himself, especially when the manager doesn’t fully trust him yet. Although the price tag on Downs is very high – he’d come at the expense of the Phils 2011 first rounder plus a multi-year deal – there aren’t many other good options on the market. And let’s be honest, good left handed pitching doesn’t exactly fall off trees these days.

If this team was looking to get by for a season and plug someone in to complement Bastardo, then I could see them plucking someone from the farm. But this organization needs to win now and Downs or to a lesser extent, Hisanori Takahashi, are probably the best options out there. I’m not sure if Takahashi is looking to start in 2011 though, but I’m assuming he’s still a BP option as of right now. Basically I agree with Paul, but to a certain extent.

Kieran Carobine: Antonio Bastardo has been cutting up the Winter League thus far. Bastardo looks to be a lock as one of the lefty pieces coming out of the bullpen for Charlie Manuel next season. But who will the other pieces be?

Now while I agree with Paul, Scott Downs would be a good addition to the pen but I am not sure if it is worth spending that type of money and losing the draft picks. In the past two seasons Ruben Amaro Jr has sent a handful of prospects packing in acquiring Cliff Lee and then Roy Halladay. It would be nice to save as many picks as possible.

Now, the market for reliable relievers may not be as small as some people think. I think there are still a couple good options out there.

I feel Pedro Feliciano should be tops on the Phillies radar. He is a guy who was very dependable for the Mets last season despite his 3-6 record. In 62.2 innings pitched he had a 3.30 ERA and only allowed one home run. Also, he had almost a 2:1 strikeouts to walks ratio in 92 appearances. The only thing with Feliciano is whether or not he will accept arbitration from the Mets. He is in line for a raise this season and may want to test the waters after earning $2.9 million last season.

A right hander on the market coming off a very good year is 34 year-old Kyle Farnsworth. The Phillies got to see him first hand towards the end of the season last year when the Braves acquired him from Kansas City. He did struggle a bit pitching in the NL posting a 5.40 ERA in just 20 innings but overall boasted an ERA of 3.34 and a WHIP of 1.14 in 64.2 total innings with the Royals and Braves.


Pat Gallen: While I’m not a fan of signing free agent relievers to extended contracts, there are a few intriguing names available this year. Scott Downs has been mentioned and as great as he’s been, he might be a little too expensive. Rafael Soriano is out of the Phillies’ league contractually and Jason Frasor and Grant Balfour are solid options, but maybe not solid enough to suck a top draft pick from the Phils due to their type-A status.

I’m a fan of Jesse Crain (left) on the right side. The ex-Twins relief pitcher has a fine resume and is only 28-years old (he’ll be 29 in July). His career WHIP is 1.26 over parts of seven seasons and he does a great job of keeping people off the basepaths via the walk. Crain would be a solid choice and is a type-B free agent. He’s declined his free-agent arbitration today and is getting a hard look from the Blue Jays. J.J. Putz would be a fine choice as well, provided it’s to a one-or-two year contract.

As for the crop of lefties, Downs certainly stands out. Other than Downs, I think taking a flier on a guy like Will Ohman or Dennys Reyes is more beneficial. Of all the lefties available (with the exception of Downs and Pedro Feliciano) their stat sheets are littered with up and down seasons. It’s too hard to tell which will sink and which will swim and that to me says buy low with relievers.

  • 21 Comments
 

De Fratus Reaches Goals, Sets Sights Higher For 2011

Posted by Jay Floyd, Tue, November 30, 2010 12:45 PM Comments: 16

Right-handed pitcher Justin De Fratus has been a fast mover up the Phillies prospect rankings over the past couple of years, thanks to a deep determination and a goal-oriented outlook.

As a player in his youth, Justin wanted to be the best pitcher he could be, so he worked countless hours under the watchful eye of his father, Terry. The focus was always on throwing strikes, which helped De Fratus stand out and continue pitching beyond high school.

While pitching for Ventura College, De Fratus set his sights on becoming a professional pitcher. He signed his first pro contract after being drafted by the Phillies in the 11th round of the 2007 amateur draft.

As he spent the 2008 season with the Williamsport Crosscutters, De Fratus set out to reach Class A ball in 2009 and did so by helping the Lakewood BlueClaws lock down their first of two consecutive South Atlantic League championships.

In 2010, De Fratus focused on three more potential accomplishments to strive for. Certainly, every minor leaguer’s goal each season is to reach the big leagues, but with more sensible targets in mind, such as reaching Double A, successfully pitching in the Arizona Fall League and representing the United States in the Pan-Am qualifiers, De Fratus’ list of objectives for this year were attainable.

“I accomplish every goal that I set out for myself…and then more. Outside of going the the big leagues, this season was really just a dream come true,” De Fratus said in an exclusive interview.

After beginning the 2010 regular season with High-A level Clearwater and posting a 2-0 record with 15 saves and a 1.79 ERA in 29 games, De Fratus was promoted to Double A Reading in July. Over the last two months of the season, he went 1-0 with 6 saves and a 2.19 ERA in 20 games. Other impressive stats collected by De Fratus during the regular season included his strike out total of 71, compared to his walk total of 16 in 65 innings pitched, between the two levels of the minors.

De Fratus, a 6’5″ 215-pounder, followed up his exceptional regular season campaign by pitching for Team USA in the Pan American qualifying tournament held in Puerto Rico. De Fratus pitched well in relief and helped the Americans clinch a tie for third place (9-1 overall record) and earn a spot in next year’s Pan American games in Mexico.

“After I saw (former teammate of De Fratus in Lakewood, BJ Rosenberg) do it last year, I thought it would be really cool to pitch for my country like that,” De Fratus said of his aspirations of pitching for Team USA. “That’s really the best word to describe it. Other than speaking about how proud you are to put on that USA uniform, the one word to describe (the experience) is just ‘cool’. I’m grateful that I am one of the few who got to do that.”

Following the time representing his country, De Fratus ventured to the Arizona Fall League, where he was not scored upon in 7 appearances and held opponents to a .125 batting average.

As a member of the AFL’s Mesa Solar Sox, De Fratus set out to improve his slider, which he felt he had lost the feel for this year. Former Major League hurler Ricky Bones worked closely with De Fratus to help with the adjustments. “He changed the grip by literally a quarter of an inch and it made a world of difference,” De Fratus stated.

De Fratus’ pitching repertoire also includes a change up as well as a mid-90′s fastball.

Aside from building bonds with his Autumn teammates, De Fratus feels the advantages that he will take away from pitching with two extra teams for an additional two months, following the minor league regular season wrapping up, will be his strength. “My season lasted longer than the big league season does. I know I have the stamina to go start to finish in a full season,” De Fratus said.

Moving toward 2011, De Fratus has a single goal in mind: to reach the Major Leagues. This month, the Phillies added De Fratus, who spent a couple games with the big league team in spring training in 2010, to their Major League 40-man roster, in order to protect him from the MLB Rule 5 draft.

“I’m really excited, with being put on the 40-man. I’m excited to get to show what I can do (this coming spring) in front of Charlie Manuel and Rich Dubee. Whether I make it to the big leagues or not, it’s just an exciting opportunity to get to pitch in front of them.

“I know in my heart and I feel that I have a good shot at, hopefully, making the team out of spring training. That’s all I’m concerned about right now, is putting myself in the best possible position to make the Major League club, and if I don’t, I want to be the first person they call,” De Fratus said.

The commitment that De Fratus possesses will undoubtedly lead to a call up to the big club, and if his track record is any indication, that should happen as soon as De Fratus wants it to.

___________________________________________________________

Jay Floyd is PhilliesNation’s minor league contributor.  You can read more from Jay by visiting his site, PhoulBallz.com.

  • 16 Comments
 

Moyer to Have Tommy John Surgery

Posted by Pat Gallen, Tue, November 30, 2010 10:24 AM Comments: 32

Jamie Moyer has battled time and again to prolong his career to an age that few in baseball ever come close to reaching. Pitching beyond the age of 48-years old, however, may not happen for Moyer has he’s set to undergo Tommy John surgery.

On the facebook page for his foundation, Moyer wrote, “It’s official – Jamie is having surgery Wednesday and we are cautiously optimistic Superman make a comeback!”

Optimism is the key word here because Moyer may reach 50 by the time he’s able to pitch in any sort of game again. Tommy John surgery can take anywhere between 12 and 18 months, but this sort of surgery isn’t often done for pitchers in their late 40′s. As Dave Murphy pointed out in the Daily News, John Franco was the last instance of a pitcher undergoing this procedure in his 40′s. Franco had the surgery at 42 and went on to pitch three more seasons.

Moyer just will not take no for an answer. His drive and guile should be applauded, however, sometimes you have to know when to say when. After his rehabilitation is complete, it’s hard to believe a major league team will give him anything more than a tryout. Really, that’s all Jamie Moyer needs. He’s surprised people before, he’ll likely do it again.

  • 32 Comments
 

Year In Review: David Herndon

Posted by Paul Boye, Mon, November 29, 2010 03:30 PM Comments: 17

With the 17th pick in the 2009 Rule 5 Draft, the Phillies plucked Kenneth David Herndon from the Angels’ farm system. As the Rule 5 Draft rarely yields significant Major League talent, nothing much was expected of Herndon and, well, nothing much was delivered. Herndon was adequate, falling victim at times to equal parts bad luck and a shaky arsenal of stuff and settling for an ERA of 4.30 when all was said and done.

Having finished the year with the Phillies, Herndon is now a full-fledged member of the organization, no longer required to be on the active 25-man roster in order to be kept. For that, he deserves some recognition. Sometimes, Rule 5 picks don’t last the year, and are offered back to their original franchise, exposed to waivers, and subsequently lost. Herndon may not have had the most impressive rookie year, but doing well enough to stay up at the Show for an entire year shouldn’t be discarded entirely.

On the whole, Herndon pitched 52.1 innings with 29 strikeouts and 17 walks, inducing a big 56.9 percent groundball rate, a figure that came in 16th in all of baseball among pitchers with 50-plus IP. That’s what Herndon is: a sinkerballer who will only strike out a few more people than Kyle Kendrick, but get plenty of groundballs in the meantime. Of course, that philosophy can backfire quickly, and Herndon’s .354 BABIP against was the 12th-highest mark in baseball. Part of that was bad luck, part of it subpar stuff in some outings, but it’s clearly not all Herndon’s fault.

Herndon seems likely to start the season in Triple-A, where some talk suggests he may be stretched out to become a starter, a position he frequented in the minors before the 2009 season. Failing that, the organization may instead opt to refine his secondary stuff in the hopes of keeping him in full-time relief.

In any case, there seems to be some latent potential within Herndon. Being able to induce as many groundballs as he does is a valuable skill, and if he can somehow refine his stuff enough to increase his strikeouts even a little bit, Herndon could be quite useful. He won’t be a Madson; that just won’t ever happen, but a career of ineffectiveness is far from a foregone conclusion.

So, all that said, 2010 was far from a world-beating year for Mr. Herndon. He took his lumps, made a jump from Double-A to the Bigs and survived. I find that admirable, but that admiration can only obscure the end results so much. The numbers are simultaneously better than and worse than they appear on the surface, so it’s difficult to label just what Herndon was or forecast what he will be. Here’s to an improved 2011, David.

PAUL’S GRADE: 5.5/10

  • 17 Comments
 

Trade Option: Josh Willingham

Posted by Pat Gallen, Mon, November 29, 2010 09:46 AM Comments: 72

We may have found an outfielder worthy of replacing Jayson Werth (that is, if Werth doesn’t return, of course). That’s not to say Josh Willingham is on the same level as Werth as a fielder or hitter – clearly, he’s not as the numbers will prove. Willingham is, however, an inexpensive option should the Phillies be forced to move on.

Over the past five seasons, Willingham has become a familiar face in these parts, stopping through with the Florida Marlins and Washington Nationals. Over those five years, he’s been remarkably consistent. Willingham’s 162-game average over his career his 25 home runs, 82 RBI, and a .268 average. Not bad for a guy who gets very little publicity throughout the major leagues.

Turns out, Jayson Werth’s 162-game average is extremely similar: 25 home runs, 85 RBI, and .272 average. “The Hammer” also has an OPS of .841 during his career, just seven points lower than Werth’s.

Topping out at 26 home runs in 2006 and 89 RBI in 2007, Willingham has some pop from the corner outfield position. Sure, you say – hitting for power is nice, but can he hit lefties? That’s been the offseason-old question thus far for anyone who would step into the Phillies lineup.

It turns out that Willingham has handled left-handed pitching nearly the same as he handles right-handed pitching. His .267 career average against southpaws is nothing to write home about unless you’re comparing that number to a guy like Carlos Quentin (.212 vs. lefties). That sort of stability against lefties from the right side is all the Phillies could ask for as they attempt to find a suitable right fielder.

Over the past two seasons, Werth has separated himself from the rest, becoming an elite outfielder. His .921 OPS was 73 points higher than The Hammer’s in 2010. The issue last season for Willingham was his knee. The 31-year old is expected to be ready for 2011 after having surgery to fix his left meniscus in August. He finished the ’10 season with a .268/16/58 stat line in only 114 games and 450 plate appearances for the 69-93 Nats.

The good news is, Willingham is still relatively young. Werth didn’t hit his stride until he was close to 30 and benefited from an insanely well-rounded offense to boost those overall numbers. Could Willingham use that same talented Phillies lineup to take the next step as a hitter and flourish? Never has he been part of an offense like the one seen in Philly over the past few seasons.

One thing Josh Willingham is not known for is his defensive prowess. He’ll never be mistaken for Jayson Werth with the glove which is why his UZR has been a negative number in four of his five full seasons in the outfield.  While not fleet of foot, Willingham doesn’t screw up in the field often. Last year he committed just one error, and in nearly 5,000 innings in the outfield he’s put up just 16 “E’s.”

“Five-tool player” and “defensive stalwart” are titles that will never be used as descriptors for Willingham, and that’s OK. You know what you get with the guy: a fairly potent bat from the right side and average defense in right field. The question is, will he become available?

Two weeks ago, Adam Kilgore of the Washintgon Post wrote that Willingham was unlikely to receive an extension from the Nationals, meaning they could offer him another one-year deal or trade him.

CHANCES: With his salary expected to rise from $4.6 million to somewhere around $6 million for the upcoming season, that’s still within Ruben Amaro’s wheelhouse. The prevailing thought is that Willingham could be available and might be a decent addition to the Phillies. He’s also a guy who can cost-effectively take over in left field after Raul Ibanez leaves town. I give this deal five out of 10 Ruben Head’s.

  • 72 Comments
 

Werth Says Deal Not Close

Posted by Pat Gallen, Sun, November 28, 2010 06:03 PM Comments: 28

Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com says that he and Jayson Werth spoke through text message and that Werth has not yet made a decision.

A report came out yesterday from 97.5 the Phanatic in Philadelphia that the Phillies had offered a three-year deal to Werth that he was considering, however, there was little credibility to the story. Salisbury says that Werth told him “It’s very early. I will make an informed decision in due time.”

The three-year offer was believed to be worth $55 million with a fourth-year option. Werth’s comments shoot down that rumor to an extent, although the possibility still exists that Werth could remain with the Phillies.

  • 28 Comments
 

Year in Review: Antonio Bastardo

Posted by Pat Gallen, Sun, November 28, 2010 12:20 PM Comments: 17

By: Jeff Nelson

Antonio Bastardo’s 2010 campaign had its ups and downs … literally. He spent most of his time alternating between the big show (25G, 18.2IP) and the Phillies triple-A affiliate, Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (20G, 17.1IP). After missing time on the DL due to a tender left elbow, Bastardo also threw three scoreless-innings for the Clearwater Threshers in a rehab assignment in mid-July. While he did make the Phils post-season roster for a second consecutive season, Bastardo was used just once, allowing one base-runner in two opportunities.

If there’s one thing Bastardo excels at, it’s striking out hitters. Keep in mind we’re dealing with very small sample sizes when it comes to relievers, but across all three levels Bastardo K’d 59 batters in only 39 innings of work, good for an absurd 16.8 K/9. Minor league numbers aside, the 12.5 K/9 he had at the big league level was certainly well above average for a reliever and his career average of 9.6, which in turn is still well above league-average for any major league pitcher.

Along with the uptick in punch-outs, Bastardo also saw his BB/9 jump about a walk per inning from 3.4 to 4.3. Control has never been Bastardo’s biggest asset, but with his live arm and the ability to retire hitters via the strikeout, the added walks obviously aren’t welcome, but they shouldn’t hurt him as bad as they would, say Chad Durbin or J.C. Romero.

Despite sporting solid peripherals, Bastardo’s 4.34ERA was a little on the high side. If there are any fellow Baseball Prospectus-nerds out there, you’ll see his 2.90 SIERA is a better indication of what his run prevention should have been. Actually I’m surprised to see his SIERA that low considering his 34.7% groundball rate, but again, those strikeouts make up for his shortcomings.

I’m not sure why Charlie Manual didn’t use Bastardo more in 2010 as he was clearly the superior left-handed weapon out of the bullpen over J.C. Romero. Maybe it’s because Charlie’s loyalty to the players who helped win the WFC back in ’08 clouds his judgment at times? Maybe it’s because Charlie doesn’t trust younger players? Obviously in 2011 this won’t be an issue, but I’m wondering if, perhaps, Bastardo was somewhat underutilized last season when he was on the 25-man roster.

Going forward I fully expect Bastardo to be in the Phillies plans for the next several years as a reliever. And while I don’t think those high strikeout rates will remain as high as they were in 2010, he should be a cheap, effective option out of the bullpen come opening day 2011 (and of course they won’t need him on opening day with Doc on the bump).

2010 (Phillies): 2-0, 25G, 18.2IP, 19H, 9ER, 1HR, 9BB, 26SO

2010 (Minors): 1-1, 23G, 20.1IP, 15H, 4ER, 6BB, 33SO

Jeff’s Grade: 7.1/10

  • 17 Comments
 

Ryan's Hope

Posted by The Dipsy, Sun, November 28, 2010 06:59 AM Comments: 87

The Phillies lineup has some problems that we are all aware of – and most pronounced is that its too left-handed. At present, Placido Polanco and Carloz Ruiz are the team’s best right-handed hitters and this just shouldn’t be. The lack of a good right-handed bat particularly hurts Ryan Howard, and in some very concrete ways.

I would suspect that Ryan may be a bit confused sometimes about what hitting approach to take. One would think that a part of him might like to go to the plate, when a man is on base, with the luxury of knowing that someone behind him can knock in the run if he doesn’t. He doesn’t have that and that leads to wild swinging and an unwillingness to take walks. This “I do it or it doesn’t get done” attitude, and the hitting approach that goes with it, leads to pitchers giving him slop to hit because they know he’ll swing…because he feels he has to. And he does. Taking a walk means nothing to Ryan nor should it.

Now let’s put a premiere hitter in back of him. An RBI man and a run producer. At that point, perhaps Ryan becomes a more selective hitter because he’s got the security behind him. A guy that could make a pitcher pay for walking him. Unafraid to take a walk, Ryan would see better pitches, which then makes him a better hitter. Add a little Bonds to his Fielder (Cecil), so to speak. This type of thinking is by no means novel and I think the Phils would get the hitter to fill that spot for Ryan if at any point it becomes feasible. Now it is.

The day before Thanksgiving, The White Sox declined to offer arbitration to Manny Ramirez, thus removing his Type-A free agent tag. This means any team can sign him without giving up draft picks. Now, if you don’t think Manny can hit anymore, I guess you can stop reading here. I believe that, if motivated, Ramirez can still produce a 35/120/.320 season. Yup. Notwithstanding his last two seasons comprised of suspensions, in season vacations, injuries, and attempts to grow mammary glands, I believe that if Manny wants to play, that he will hit. “Good” Manny would the best offensive option available to the Phils…by far.

He’s a head job. A drama queen. A poor fielder. He also owns two World Series rings. He is dedicated to the art of hitting and has become one of the greatest offensive players of his generation. He’s right handed. And he’s played for Charlie Manuel. If Manny wants to play, and we don’t know that he does, then Ruben oughta seriously explore what it would take to put him in red pinstripes. Financially, and I have not been consulted on this, it would no doubt have to be a heavily incentive-laden contract. If the guaranteed base salary the Phils give him is low enough, it would make his acquisition a low risk ,high reward venture. I was thinking about 3 mill.

Let’s find Manny, wherever he might be, and kick the tires a little. Find out what’s going on in that coconut of his. In the event he thinks the sun hasn’t set on his career and that he would like to play for a potential World Series winner, if he’d be willing to do what it takes to be a good teammate (or a reasonable facsimile), if he is in baseball playing shape, then put ink to paper and MapQwest him some directions to Clearwater. Make no mistake, Manny is a lunatic. But he is THAT good.

  • 87 Comments
 

Updates on All Four Caribbean Winter Leagues

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sat, November 27, 2010 02:30 PM Comments: 13

With many individuals from the Phillies’ organization playing in the Caribbean “Winter” leagues, there is still plenty of baseball action to keep tabs on. Below is a run down of all the key players spending time trying to sharpen their skills and gain some extra experience during the North American offseason.

Dominican Winter Baseball League-

David Herndon, a 2010 rookie that spent the entire season on the Phillies’ big league roster, is pitching for the Cibao Gigantes. In 2 relief outings, Herndon has pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings. He hasn’t walked or struck out a batter in his limited game time, to this point. Herndon, 25, was a Rule 5 draft pick by the Phillies last off-season. In 47 games in the Majors this season, Herndon posted a 1-3 record with a 4.30 ERA, while allowing just 2 HR in 52 1/3 innings pitched.

Antonio Bastardo, a teammate of Herndon with the Phillies this season, continues to occupy the same bullpen as Herndon. In 5 relief outings with the Gigantes, Bastardo has held his opponents hitless in 5 innings, while striking out 6 batters and walking none. With the Major League Phillies this year, Bastardo went 2-0 with a 4.34 ERA in 25 games.

Juan Perez, who the Phillies recently signed to a minor league contract, is another pitcher on the Gigantes roster. The lefty hurler is 1-1 with an 11.81 ERA in 13 DWBL outings…all in relief. The 32-year-old Perez pitched with the Dodgers Triple-A affiliate in Albuquerque in 2010, and posted a 4-3 record with a 2.96 ERA and a save in 45 games there. Last week, Perez was announced as a Phillies non-roster spring training invitee.

Domonic Brown, another Phils rookie in 2010, is playing with the Escogido Leones. The lefty hitting outfielder has struggled, going just 1-for-19 (.053 avg) in his first 6 games played in the Dominican League.

Timo Perez, a former Major Leaguer who spent time with the Phillies Double-A club in Reading this year, has been hitting very well for the Licey Tigres. In 27 games, the lefty batting outfielder has posted a .333 average, which is good enough for 4th best in the league. Perez, a Dominican native, also has 2 HR and 15 RBI for the Tigres.

Phillies pitching prospect Yohan Flande hasn’t been extremely sharp with the Toros. In 5 games, 4 of which were starts, the 24-year-old Flande has a 1-1 record with a 5.63 ERA while allowing opposing batters to post a .313 average. In 27 starts at Double-A Reading this year, Flande went 10-8 with a 4.38 ERA.

Infielder Ozzie Chavez, who split the regular season with Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley, is batting .130 in 12 games with the Toros, with no extra base hits and 3 runs scored. Chavez is a native of the Dominican Republic.

Derrick Loop, who pitched with High-A level Clearwater and Lehigh Valley in the Phillies system this year, has a 1-0 record and a 3.00 ERA in 11 relief outings for the Aguilas. Loop has held batters hitless with runners in scoring position thus far in DWBL action.

Former Phillie Fabio Castro leads the Dominican League in all three pitching triple crown categories (wins, ERA & strike outs) for the Gigantes. Castro is 4-1 with a 1.29 ERA and 52 strike outs in 35 innings over 6 starts.

Mexican League-

Pitcher Brian Mazone, who went 7-13 in 28 starts with Lehigh Valley this year, is doing poorly with the Mexicali Aquilas. In 3 Mexican League starts, Mazone has a 0-2 record with a 10.22 ERA. Mazone, a 34-year-old minor league journeyman, has never pitched in the majors.

20-year-old catcher Angel Chavarin, who was a member of the Gulf Coast League champion Phillies squad this year, is hitless in 2 games with the Mexicali Aquilas thus far.

Highly regarded catching prospect Sebastian Valle has been solid with the Los Mochis Caneros. The Mexico native Valle has posted a .264 average with 3 homers and 10 RBI in 27 games. Valle was a member of the A Level Lakewood BlueClaws that won two consecutive South Atlantic League championships over the past couple seasons.

Puerto Rican League-

Julio Rodriguez, another member of the 2010 SAL title winning Lakewood club, is pitching with the Carolina Gigantes. The 20-year-old righty hurler has a 2-1 record 3.80 ERA in 6 games, 5 of which were starts. In 20 games combined between short season Williamsport and A level Lakewood, in 2010, Rodriguez went 7-3 with a 1.89 ERA in 90 1/3 innings pitched.

Former Phillie Antonio Alfonseca is also a member of the Carolina roster. In 12 games, Alfonseca is 1-0 with a 3.38 ERA.

Venezuelan League-

Luis Unda, a left-handed outfielder, has gone 3-for-9 (.333 avg) in 4 games with the Cardenales. Unda, 20, batted .245 with no homers and 16 RBI in 44 games with the Gulf Coast League Phillies in 2010.

Switch-hitting infielder Freddy Galvis is batting .188 in 21 games with the Navegantes. Galvis has well regarded defense, but his .586 OPS in 138 games with Double A Reading in 2010 isn’t the sort of offense the Phillies are hoping for from him.

A member of the Phillies’ 2009 World Series team who toiled around at Double A in 2010, Sergio Escalona, hasn’t been on point thus far with the Tiburones. In 8 games, Escalona has no decisions and a 9.00 ERA. One plus for the 26-year-old lefty is that opponents are only batting .167 against him.

Melvin Dorta, a 28-year-old infielder that played with Reading and Lehigh Valley in 2010, is batting .108 in 12 games with the Aragua Tigres.

Harold Garcia, who made headlines this year by setting the Florida State League hitting streak record at 37 consecutive games, is batting .267 through 19 games with Zulia Aguilas. Unfortunately for Garcia he has no extra base hits and is just 1-for-3 in stolen base attempts.

24-year-old infielder Fidel Hernandez, who spent time at Clearwater and Reading this year, is also on the Aguilas roster. His .191 average and .515 OPS are rather unimpressive.

Venezuela native Cesar Hernandez is 7-for-21 (.333 avg.) in 8 games with the Margarita Bravos. Hernandez, 20, is a switch hitter. He batted .325 with 32 steals in 65 games at short season Williamsport in 2010.

Andy Tracy, who played with the IronPigs and the Phillies over the past few seasons, has joined the Bravos after struggling (2-for-29) in 8 games with the Aguilas in the Dominican League. In 3 games in the Venezuelan league, Tracy is 1-for-4, with a double and 2 walks.

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Jay Floyd is PhilliesNation’s minor league contributor. You can read more from Jay by visiting his site, PhoulBallz.com.

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Year In Review: J.C. Romero

Posted by Kieran Carobine, Fri, November 26, 2010 03:00 PM Comments: 15

J.C. Romero, in my opinion, is one of those guys that kind of got lost in the mix of things this past season.  Although he made 60 appearances, many of them escape my memory. Romero was always one of the most animated relievers leaving the field after a big out. But when 2009 started off with a suspension and continued through injuries, it seemed he lost some of that fire he had once stoked.

Romero started 2010 on the DL after having surgery in the off season on his pitching elbow.  Once returning to the Phillies, Charlie Manuel used him mainly against lefties and usually only for an out or two.  He was asked to close at times converting three of six save opportunities.

As he did in 2009, Romero had some issues with his control.  For the second straight year his walk count was one higher than his strikeouts (29/28).  One of the biggest things, literally, about this season was Romero’s WHIP.  Although not a career high at 1.61, it was his highest since his 2003 season with Minnesota.

Romero’s ERA was up again this year after staying below three for the past three season.  His mark of 3.68, although high for Romero, was pretty much even keel for the Phillies bullpen who as a whole had an ERA of 3.67.

When you look at Romero’s numbers from a distance they don’t seem that bad.  A sub-four ERA with 60 appearances for a spot reliever is not the best, but I guess it could have been worse.  However, when you have a guy like Romero who is supposed to a lefty specialist and he is struggling with his command it’s hard to justify keeping him around.

This is exactly how Ruben Amaro Jr. felt.  The Phillies opted to decline his $4.5 million club option for next season.  They will end up giving him a $250,000 buyout and allow him to become a free agent.

Amaro had this to say about the reliever, “He had some struggles this year and last year a little bit, health-wise and command-wise.  He’s not someone that’s not in the picture for us. This doesn’t preclude us from having a further relationship with him, but at least at this time, his $4.5 million salary isn’t warranted at this stage of the game.”

I don’t see the Phillies going after Romero this offseason.  I think they will look outside the organization for a lefty for the pen.

Overall, I feel Romero underachieved in the position he was supposed to hold.  His walks and ERA, in the amount of innings pitched,  were a little too high for my comfort zone.  However, he did get some bigs out.  Which is why I am 50/50 on him this season.  Hence my grade.

2010 numbers: 60 games, 36.2 innings, 1-0, 3.68 ERA, 28 K, 29 BB, 1.61 WHIP

KIERAN’S GRADE:  5/10

PAT GALLEN’S GRADE: 3.9/10 – Romero was paid a lot of money and simply wasn’t very good. He was good for nearly a walk an inning when he did pitch, meaning he gave the other team a head start with a man on base. For a guy who pitches less than an inning on average, that can’t happen.

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