Archive for December, 2010

Draft Bargain Pettis Speaks on Success and Future

Posted by Jay Floyd, Thu, December 23, 2010 11:48 AM Comments: 0

This September, right-handed pitcher Eric Pettis was tossed into the proverbial fire. The Phillies wasted no time moving their late-round steal, from this year’s amateur draft, into the crucial postseason schedule of the defending South Atlantic League champions, the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws.

Pettis began his professional career swiftly after being selected by the Phillies in the 35th round of the 2010 draft with the Williamsport Crosscutters of the short season NY-Penn League out of UC-Irvine. The 6’2″, 200 pound hurler started and pitched in relief en route to posting an 8-0 record and a 1.37 ERA while striking out 67 batters in 59 innings with Williamsport.  At such a rate of progression, it may not be too long before Pettis figures into the Sports Betting calculations at the big league level.

By Labor Day this year, Williamsport had just missed the playoffs by the slimmest of margins and the BlueClaws were beginning their run at a second straight league title, so Pettis, who opened many eyes while becoming a NY-Penn League All-star, was added to the Lakewood roster in an effort to fortify the bullpen.

Pettis was excited to join the BlueClaws at a time when their games meant so much, but asserted that it was certainly a difficult situation at times. “It was weird. It’s fun because it’s a big playoff atmosphere, but it’s tough because you’ve got to learn all your new teammates and the different quirks in the clubhouse and all that. It was different, but it was fun because I was jumping right into a playoff atmosphere,” Pettis stated in an exclusive interview.

Lance Carter, the Crosscutters’ pitching coach, is credited, by Pettis, with helping Pettis achieve his tremendous success so early in his pro career, by instilling the proper methods to have a game plan each time he took the mound.

“He did a great job. Talking with me, through every inning, every at bat, to just see what my mind-set was. We worked on mechanical things here and there, but it was more about how you approach each hitter and how you look at each game and prepare yourself.”

Pettis, a California native, made his Class A debut in the BlueClaws’ postseason opener this year, throwing a scoreless 1 1/3 innings against the Hickory Crawdads (Texas affiliate). “First impressions are a big thing. It was crunch time for (the team) and they’re not going to throw me in there if they don’t have confidence in me, so I was just glad to have success in my first outing, so I could continue getting out there,” Pettis said.

The draft bargain, Pettis, threw 4 1/3 innings in the postseason for Lakewood, allowing just 1 earned run in the process. Pettis projects to begin next season at Single A Lakewood, however, he could certainly be on the fast track to higher levels.

Austin Hyatt, who was a 15th round draft choice by the Phillies in 2009, cruised through NY-Penn league competition in his first professional season, then earned a promotion to Lakewood, to help them during their stretch run toward the SAL title. Hyatt was 3-0 with a 1.22 ERA in 18 regular season games with Williamsport and Lakewood last year. He then excelled with the High-A Level Clearwater Threshers in 2010 (11-5 record, 3.04 ERA, .220 opponents’ average) and earned a promotion to Double A Reading by mid-August.

The difference in age, between Hyatt and Pettis, could impact how the organization assigns these players differently by comparison, though, as Hyatt was 24-years-old for most of the 2010 season and age often plays a role in level assignments. Pettis will be 22-years-old until June, so the Phillies will likely feel more comfortable taking a longer look at Pettis in Lakewood, especially with limited room expected on the Threshers’ roster as many young prospects (Trevor May, Brody Colvin, Jarred Cosart, Colby Shreve, Jonathan Pettibone & more) are potentially in line to get their shot on the Clearwater mound in 2011.

Going forward, Pettis’ outlook should be agreeable with whatever the Phillies determine to be the best course of action, as he will surely continue to be a young prospect to watch, headed into the 2011 season.

“I’m just going to go about my business every day, you know. I just want to try to build on this early success and keep getting better and learn as much as I can.”


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


McFaddens Ballpark: Ring in 2011 – New Year’s Eve Celebration – 12.31.10

Posted by Brian Michael, Wed, December 22, 2010 11:09 PM Comments: 2

Ring in 2011 with a 5 Hour Open Bar for JUST $50 ~ Complimentary Appetizers, Food Stations, & Midnight Toast Sponsored by Korbel.

DJ Spinning ALL NIGHT ~ Party Favors and Giveaways ~ FREE Parking and FREE Coat Check ~ This event will also feature the Philadelphia 2011 Midnight Run (5K) ~ Sponsored by Racoonsports.com.

This is a casual event and will feature a 5K run. We will be sure to throw the McFadden’s Party you all know and love. Again, this event will feature a run, please consider that there will be runners coming in from a 5K run. Suit and Tie is not required. Enjoy New Year’s the way it was supposed to be celebrated…with good health and plenty of food & drinks for all! Happy New Year – 2011 – Come Play with us!!!



Year In Review: Ryan Madson

Posted by Paul Boye, Wed, December 22, 2010 10:30 AM Comments: 19

Ryan Madson was really, really good in 2010.

There may have been more graceful ways to start this homage to the Mad Dog’s 2010 campaign, but none seem quite as necessarily to-the-point. It’s a reflection on the seven-year pro’s promotion from “pretty good” to “elite,” a sudden transition that we probably could have seen coming.

Still, it was a pleasant surprise. Madson, who had ERAs of 3.05 (twice) and 3.26 in the last three seasons, posted or equaled career-bests in H/9, K/9, WHIP, HR/9, BB/9 and K:BB. A rather ridiculous foot injury – sustained in a moment of frustration, kicking a chair following his appearance in a wild game in San Francisco – forced him to miss a big chunk of the season and limited his total workload to 53 innings, a career-low.

In the nine games Madson appeared in prior to the injury, things hadn’t gone so well. The strikeouts were there, but the hits (and runs) were pouring in. A 7.00 ERA was left to linger for more than two months, and that, apparently, didn’t sit very well with Madson. In the 44 innings he threw after his return from the DL, Madson’s line looked like this:

44.0 IP, 54 K, 10 BB, 1.64 ERA, with a .182/.249/.245 opponents’ batting line.

In those 46 appearances, opponents recorded earned runs on Madson just six times, and only twice in 35 August/September appearances. Paired with a buoyed Brad Lidge late in the season, Madson was almost untouchable. For comparison’s sake, stacked up against the rest of the league, here’s where some of Madson’s numbers rank among relievers with at least 50 IP last season:

  • 14th in K/9 (10.87)
  • 17th-lowest BB/9 (2.21)
  • 8th in K:BB (4.92)
  • 18th in WHIP (1.038)
  • 13th in xFIP (2.89)
  • The 10th most-effective changeup, according to Fangraphs. BaseballAnalytics has opponents hitting just .161/.199/.257 against it in 2010.

He may not be Mariano Rivera or Billy Wagner, but all of those ranks place him in the upper echelon of relievers for 2010. Madson’s contract expires after the 2011 season, and he’ll certainly be due for a raise. His magnificent 2010, though abbreviated, played a huge part in that. Injuries and a sluggish start to the year, paired with a regrettable injury, are the only things weighing this grade down.

GRADE: 8.6/10

MICHAEL BAUMANN’S GRADE: 8.3/10 – Just like missing 4 or more classes in a semester, breaking your foot on a chair in the middle of the season drops you a full letter grade. Outside of that, he was nothing short of spectacular.


Offseason Icebreakers, Vol. 2: The Unbeatable Team

Posted by Michael Baumann, Tue, December 21, 2010 02:50 PM Comments: 20

In order to alleviate the boredom of the offseason–the NFL and regular season ice hockey being inadequate as diversions–I’ll be posting icebreaker questions periodically. They’ll always be at least tangentially related to the Phillies, and, as always, feel free to leave your own answers in the comment section.

This icebreaker comes courtesy of my younger brother, who killed about 3 hours on a bus somewhere in Eastern Europe with this question. You are hired as the general manager of a baseball team and given the task of assembling a team that will win each of the next 10 World Series. If you fail, you’ll be executed.

The Rules:

You can choose any 25 people on the planet, regardless of contract status or if they’re in the major leagues. Money is no object–any player can be had and paid. You can also choose any assortment of players–if you want to go with 8 position players and 17 pitchers, or vice versa, knock yourself out.

However, once you choose your 25-man roster, no changes can be made for 10 years. Also, while money is no object, injuries and aging are, so if you pick Roy Halladay as your ace, don’t expect him to perform at his current level until he’s 44. And while you’re at it, you also have to hire a manager and a coaching staff. A big tip of the hat to FanGraphs and Baseball Reference, two sites that, as always, have been my primary sources for research.

My Unbeatable Team is after the jump. If you feel so inclined, make up one of your own and leave it in the comments section. Warning: this post is 5,001 words long, so if you’re one of those people who refuses to read anything longer than a comic strip, you might want to take a pass.

Continue reading Offseason Icebreakers, Vol. 2: The Unbeatable Team


About the New PhilliesNation.com

Posted by Pat Gallen, Tue, December 21, 2010 12:39 PM Comments: 8

Hello all, wanted to post this message for those of you who are having trouble logging on. If you go to www.PhilliesNation.com and find yourself logged OUT, please click the “home” button on the top left. That should log you back in. If you are still logged out, trying logging in once again, then clicking on the “home” button as well to start the process over.

As of now, when you go to the PN website, the first post is the “Lunch Break” article from Friday. Clicking the “home” button should bring you to the present articles. It’s a glitch the guys behind the scenes are working on, so bear with us.

Also, from time to time there may be overload and there may be stoppages in the system, but please continue to come back to the site as you normally would. These will all be through in time, our promises to you.

We hope you’re enjoying the new layout; we understand it will take time to get used to it and navigate through it all. It’s be running at 110% capacity soon. Thanks for understanding and thanks, as always, for reading being a part of Phillies Nation.


Year In Review: Brad Lidge

Posted by Kieran Carobine, Tue, December 21, 2010 11:00 AM Comments: 13

I remember in April of 2009 taking my Dad to a Phillies game with my brother and I. It was the first time he had ever been to Citizens Bank Park and had not been to a Phillies game since he took us to the Vet in the early 90′s.

As you all know, the Phillies were World (F) Champs. And at this point in April, Brad Lidge had converted 47 straight save opportunities. Well that night Lidge came in with a one run lead and left the game with the Phillies down by three. The streak was over. My Dad swore up and down it was his fault, and that he would never attend another Phillies game. Sadly, he has not.

The 2009 season was a rough one for Lidge (0-8, 7.21, 11 BS) and coming into 2010 there were a lot of questions still to be answered. Fans were wondering how he would bounce back to his ’08 form with his devastating slider.

The season started almost a month late for Lidge, who was placed on the DL at the start of April. In his first four appearances off the disabled list Lidge only allowed only one run and was one for one in save opportunities. Unfortunately his ailing elbow landed him on the 15-day DL once again mid May.

Again looking strong coming off the DL, Lidge collected nine saves in 13 chances although his July ERA was an even 6.00 and 5.57 for the season. But just as the Phillies were making their traditional playoff push in August, it appeared Lidge had righted his own ship and was steering it straight for the postseason. In 13 appearances, he was eight for nine in saves and posted a 0.73 ERA for the month. For August, he allowed onle one run, five hits and struck out 12 batters in 12.1 innings pitched.

With another 13 appearances for September and October, Lidge continued to stay hot as the Phillies took over first place. He was a perfect nine for nine in save opportunities allowing only six hits while striking out 13. His ERA was 0.79 and he finished the season with a 2.96 mark.

Lidge struck out more than twice as many hitter than he walked (52/24), only allowed five home runs and had a WHIP of 1.23 for the season. For a closer, I would have liked to see his walk numbers down but when your slider isn’t working some nights it is hard to get guys to chase.

Personally, I have always thought a closer should not factor into the wins or losses column and Lidge did great in this sense going 1-1. It was a huge turn around from his 0-8 in 2009. For 2010 he was 27 for 32 in save chances. For those scribbling numbers at home, that is six fewer blown saves than in 2009.

All in all, it was a great regular season for the Phillies closer. He put up some pretty impressive numbers in spite of two trips to the disabled list. He did endure his lowest inning workload since 2002, and I think this may have helped him. In ’08 he appeared in 72 games and then 67 in ’09. This is when we really started seeing the elbow issues come to the forefront. He appeared in 50 games for 2010 and opponents were only hitting .196 off him.


PAT GALLEN’S GRADE: 7.9/10 – Maybe I’m picking nits here – and yes, Lidge had a great season – but I could never feel fully 100% fine when he came into the game. His velocity was down greatly and his workload was down, too. He gave it all he had and that slider might be the best in the game, so I do applaud Lidge for a very good season. It just wasn’t great.

MICHAEL BAUMANN’S GRADE: 7.5/10 – In terms of numbers, Lidge in 2010 was closer to 2008 than 2009. But unlike 2008, when you didn’t even have to watch the 9th inning of Phillies games, I still felt myself getting that rising vomit feeling in my chest whenever he came into a close game. Couldn’t pitch worth a damn with men on base, but on the whole, not bad.


The Greatest Expectations

Posted by Pat Gallen, Mon, December 20, 2010 06:33 PM Comments: 12

[Dash Treyhorn, formerly of the now-defunct "TheFightins.com" penned this post. Look for his opinion from time to time in this spot on Phillies Nation.]

Take a walk back in time with me. The year was 2006. It was December, and I was at a Christmas party. A week or two earlier, the Phillies traded for White Sox pitcher Freddy Garcia, who was a good, but not great pitcher. Durable, sure; He tossed at least 200 innings in just about every season of his nine year career to that point, with a career ERA just north of 4.00 in the American League. For us fans, it was a coup by Pat Gillick, who traded away two prospects* for an Ace.

*Gavin Floyd, the “he’s the next big thing!” pitcher, who never really stepped up in Philly but had success in Chicago, and Gio Gonzalez, who is 24-year-old left hander who had a nice year for the Athletics. Five years later, and the trade somehow gets worse.

At least, that was our perception – that Garcia was an Ace to go along with what we thought we already had – An Ace in Brett Myers (coming into his prime after a fine 2006 campaign) and Cole Hamels, who was ready to break out as a starting pitcher after his solid rookie season. And that was it. Our “Big Three,” poised to compete in the National League, backed by an offense that boasted Rollins and Utley and Victorino and Burrell and Howard, who himself was fresh off his MVP award. It was a killer offense with a stable of young and dynamic arms in a rotation that was rounded out by the capable Jamie Moyer and Adam Eaton.* It was the perfect mix for a Philadelphia team that has been starved for October action for a decade and a half after abysmal performances, near misses and disappointing September finishes.

*I remember now, having to talk myself into believing that Adam Eaton would be a good pitcher in the National League. Call it ignorance, call it a lack of understanding how the game of baseball is actually played, or call it lack of intelligent discourse about baseball, but I was firmly entrenched that Eaton was not  waste of 24 million dollars. Go ahead and laugh, you all thought it to. And that’s my point with this article: When you’ve only ever known failure, then the mediocre (or worse) things seem like really, really good ideas.

Continue reading The Greatest Expectations


It’s Always Winning in Philadelphia

Posted by Pat Gallen, Mon, December 20, 2010 11:44 AM Comments: 12

Before Desean Jackson scampered 65 yards to paydirt, sealing an improbable comeback at the new Meadowlands yesterday, this week was filled with holiday cheer in the Philadelphia area. Simply put, this city can’t lose right now.

It’s something seldom seen if you’re from Philly or similarly root for the teams in this town. Orange and Black fans are reveling in the exceptional run put forth by the resident hockey team. The Flyers are in the midst of a five-game winning streak, have the most points in the NHL, and look to be a team on their way to the top.

You know it’s a hell of a week when even the lowly Sixers are chipping in, making this city look good. Winners of seven of their last nine, the Sixers pushed the Celtics to the edge of defeat two Thursday’s ago and even gave the Lakers a scare before L.A. went on a late run on Friday night.

To end the weekend, the Eagles overcame a 21-point halftime deficit to sink the Giants in the middle of the chase for the NFC east.

For years and years, it was a sad sports town. Now, the contingent looks down from their ivory tower (except for the Sixers of course, we won’t go that far).

And before you accuse us of blasphemy for five paragraphs without hinting at our Fightins, somewhere in the middle of all this was the greatest free agent signing in Philadelphia sports history. It turned heads, made rival GM’s curse under their breath, and sent shockwaves throughout the industry. Cliff Lee became a Phillie when no one thought it was possible.

The man who left prematurely actually wanted to come back to Philadelphia. Think about that for a second. A top free agent who was spurned by the club exactly a year ago enjoyed his stay in Philadelphia so much so that he took less money to rejoin the club? You mean, the same city that hates babies and Santa Claus, hates their own families, and hates you? It happened.

This may not turn out to be quite the same as 1983 when the Sixers won it all, the Phillies made the World Series, and the Flyers went to the playoffs, but it’s shaping up to be a hell of a year.


Year in Review: Chad Durbin

Posted by Michael Baumann, Sun, December 19, 2010 04:40 PM Comments: 12

Chad Durbin came to the Phillies as a mediocre swingman who’d spent his entire career in AL Central purgatory. Since then, he’s been (alternately) the bread upon which a World Series title sandwich was built, and a man for whom his fielders didn’t need to show up–whoever he faced either walked or hit a home run.

I once wrote of J.A. Happ that I had no idea how he was effective–he didn’t throw particularly hard or have earth-shattering breaking stuff. But he was. Chad Durbin is much the same. He throws five pitches, all of which (according to FanGraphs) were within 3 1/2 runs of league average in 2010.

In 2008, that mediocre stuff helped Durbin put in an outstanding season in middle relief: 87 innings pitched and a 2.87 ERA. In 2009, Durbin’s control deserted him to the tune of more than six walks per nine IP and a 4.39 ERA that wasn’t half as bad as his performance warranted. For all the talk of which Jimmy Rollins or which Cole Hamels would show up in 2010, Durbin had posted a similar Jekyll-and-Hyde run.

In 2010, Durbin more or less split the difference: a career high K/9 ratio for a full season, a walk rate of 3.5 BB/9, which was more or less in line with his 2008 numbers, and a 3.80 ERA. However, Durbin’s xFIP, which takes into account the various random batted ball and fielding factors, was a career low, even lower than his 2008 mark. With injuries and the constant instability of Brad Lidge marking the back end of the Phillies’ rotation, Durbin, along with Jose Contreras, helped stabilize the middle innings.

Grade: 7.5/10–Durbin wasn’t as lucky as he was in 2008, and battled injuries in midseason, but his 2010 numbers were pretty much what you’d ask for from a middle reliever.

Pat Gallen’s Grade: 7.3/10 — Durbin is always solid and was again in 2010, although the injury knocked him out for a long stretch. He may not be back next year but he’s always been a class act and given it his all on the mound.


Pat Gallen on CSN’s Lunch Break

Posted by Brian Michael, Fri, December 17, 2010 03:24 PM Comments: 34

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