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Archive for October, 2012

Phillies Player Review: Kyle Kendrick

Posted by Ryan Dinger, Sat, October 27, 2012 09:00 AM Comments: 12

PHOTO: AP

Kyle Kendrick is perhaps the most underrated player on the Phillies roster. You’ve heard the narrative surrounding him: year in and year out, he fills multiple roles for the pitching staff, usually doing a satisfactory job, and some nights doing a fantastic job, yet he still is the target of fan vitriol.

This season was perhaps the biggest indication of that, as Kendrick put together an above average year, appearing in 37 games and starting 25 of them. But he was still frequently made out to be a goat in the eyes of many fans. I believe the biggest reason Kendrick draws ire from the fans is his inconsistency. Sometimes he can look really, really bad. He was once again marred by an inability to achieve predictability in 2012.

Observe: Kendrick managed to put together two separate scoreless streaks of twenty innings or more during the season. They were number one and two for longest scoreless streaks by a Phillies pitcher in 2012. During those stretches, he was undeniably the team’s best pitcher. Furthermore, he posted ERAs of 2.89 and 2.95 during the months of May and August, respectively. At times, he looked elite. But–and with Kendrick there’s always a but–he also struggled down the stretch, when the team needed good starts as they fought to stay afloat in the race for the second wild card. His ERA from September 15 to the end of the season was a robust 6.59. On top of that, he posted an ERA near seven in both April and June. As usual, Kendrick played the role of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personified.

Despite his inability to churn out positive results on the regular, the final numbers aren’t too shabby for KK. Among pitchers with at least 30 innings of work, Kendrick’s ERA of 3.90 was sixth best on the team, ahead of the likes of Vance Worley, Roy Halladay and Antonio Bastardo (although two of those three dealt with injury). He also posted a career-high in strikeouts per nine innings with 6.55 mark. Despite a high ERA in the second half of September, he finished with an overall second-half ERA of 2.87, with most of those innings coming while Kendrick was in the rotation.

The advanced metrics aren’t quite as kind to Kendrick, however. Fangraphs lists his FIP at 4.32 and his xFIP at 4.31. According to their calculations, he was good for 1.2 WAR (it should be noted that that number is double the amount of WAR Kendrick posted in any year from 2008-2011).

I believe the biggest question, though, is whether Kendrick was worth the money he was being paid or not. These things are always magnified following a contract extension, which Kendrick received during the offseason. That extension paid Kendrick $3M this season. Fangraphs says his play was worth about $5.6M. All things considered, it was a shrewd move for Ruben Amaro and the front office, as Kendrick proved to be a cheap but effective member of the roster.

At the moment, KK is earmarked to be the number five starter next year. If he could repeat his 2012 performance, he would be arguably one of the best number fives in baseball.

Grade: B

Read the rest of the 2012 Phillies Player Reviews here.

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PN Interview: Colby Shreve, Fall League Edition

Posted by Jay Floyd, Fri, October 26, 2012 05:00 PM Comments: 0

Through six relief appearances in the Arizona Fall League righty hurler Colby Shreve has posted a 1..35 ERA while holding opponents to a .167 average.

At three levels during the 2012 regular season, the 24-year-old College of Southern Nevada product tallied a 6-3 record with a 3.69 ERA and a 7.38 K/9 mark.  A slight adjustment to his arm angle this year helped the 6-foot-5 210-pounder to upgrade his velocity, which was steadily clocked at 95 MPH in 2012.

The Phillies’ 6th round draft selection in 2008, Shreve had Tommy John surgery and missed his first full season following signing a professional contract, as he recovered.

Recently, Colby took some time to offer his thoughts on the AFL and what he’s working on while there.  Read ahead for that interview.

-How did you find out you’d be competing in the Arizona Fall Lg and what was your reaction?

I found out I was coming to the fall league about 10 days before our regular season ended. I was excited to come to the fall league, just as I was last year. It is a great opportunity to compete against the best competition in the minor leagues and showcase yourself in front of every MLB team. Continue reading PN Interview: Colby Shreve, Fall League Edition

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Why I Love the Phillies – Jim

Posted by Brian Michael, Fri, October 26, 2012 09:05 AM Comments: 0

My love of the Phillies was passed down from both my grandfathers. My dad’s dad was an Italian immigrant who came to America in the early 20′s. He settled in Philly and told me in his broken English how he started to follow the Phillies and go to Connie Mack Stadium. He said he could see both the A’s and the Phillies there. He passed his passion for the Phils to my dad. I can remember sitting in my grandfather’s kitchen listening to By Saam on he old radio he had while my grandmother made homemade pasta.

My mom’s dad was a shot and a beer Irishman who always had a pony of Schmidt’s and some Irish whiskey on the table–again listening to Bill Campbell call the games. I can remember going to game at Connie Mack in the late 70′s with the Cub Scouts. I was fortunate to see a lot of games at the Vet. A good friend of my dad’s was a sports writer and he would take his boys and my brother and I to the Vet. We would cheer for Dick Allen and I liked Deron Johnson because we shared the same birthday. I’ve passed my love of the Phightins to my three daughters. New players, two World Series wins in my lifetime and lots of family memories. That’s why I love the Phillies!

- Jim

Read more “Why I Love the Phillies” stories from Phillies Nation readers here.

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Phillies Player Review: John Mayberry

Posted by Eric Seidman, Fri, October 26, 2012 08:15 AM Comments: 19

John Mayberry received more playing time this year, playing in 149 games with Domonic Brown in the minors, the mid-season trades of Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino and Ryan Howard‘s injury. His overall production was below average. He hit for power but didn’t reach base all that much and struck out 23% of the time.

His defense was solid at first base and in the corner outfield spots, but his athleticism didn’t translate into solid routes or range in center. All told, he tallied just 0.4 WAR this year, down from the very impressive 2.5 WAR he produced in 2011.

His 2012 campaign can be viewed one of two ways: it was an overall failure or it was an experiment that cemented the notion that he is only useful as a platoon player. The two are mutually exclusive, because buying into the latter means that this season was useful in determining his future role, which prevents it from being a total outright failure.

Maybe I’m a glass half-full kind of guy, but I choose to evaluate his production the second way. This was a largely disappointing season, but his lack of production against righties means the Phillies can use him strictly against the lefties he crushes moving forward. They don’t need to waste any more time giving him work against righties and can instead eke out more outfield production through the use of platoons. All along, we said that the one benefit to this waste of a Phillies season was that the team would get to try different players in various spots and really see what it had.

While that comment was primarily directed towards the bullpen, it was also true of Mayberry. Over the last two seasons, he embodied the common expression “He’s great as an extra man but if he’s a starter you’re not a very good team.” That expression comes in many shapes and forms, but it describes Mayberry and the Phillies. As a part-time platoon player that isn’t yet arbitration-eligible, he is a perfect fit for this Phillies roster. As an everyday starter, not so much, and the 2012 season helped prove that point.

Continue reading Phillies Player Review: John Mayberry

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Backman To Remain with Mets

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Thu, October 25, 2012 08:56 PM Comments: 1

Photo: MiLB.com

Former Phillies second baseman Wally Backman will return to the Mets’ Triple-A coaching staff as manager and follow the team from Buffalo to Las Vegas. Why is this newsworthy on a Phillies blog, you ask? In addition to being a former Phil, Backman was among the candidates to replace Ryne Sandberg at Triple-A Lehigh Valley with Sandberg’s promotion to the Big Leagues for 2013. Andy Martino reported today that Backman had re-upped with the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate but confirmed the Phils’ interest.

My take: Slow news day? No way. Backman would have been a nice pick-up for the ‘Pigs based on a strong record of Minor League successes, including winning the Sporting News Minor League Manager of the Year in 2004 with the Arizona Diamondbacks’ High-A squad and leading the 2010 Brooklyn Cyclones to a 51-24 record and a division title.

Watch this story – Sandberg will undoubtedly be hard to replace at Lehigh Valley. It goes without saying Sandberg’s squads have competed with little more than Triple-A regulars but have posted a very nice 155-132 mark and guys who are ready to step in at any time at the Major League level, including Erik Kratz, Kevin Frandsen, and a stable of young bullpen arms.

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Jealous of the Giants?

Posted by Pat Gallen, Thu, October 25, 2012 12:01 PM Comments: 24

Kung Fu Panda became a legend. (Mercurynews.com)

This morning, a twitter follower of mine sent me a seemingly innocuous tweet: “why can’t the Phillies be like the Giants?” Seems like a simple question, right?

Three things get a team through the postseason: luck, timely hitting/pitching, and getting hot at the right time. Seems like a simple equation for winning, right?

The San Francisco Giants are putting all three of those important ingredients into the stew at the same time and getting great results. As we’ve come to find out, it’s not always the most talented team that wins, but the team that can best figure out how to get a couple of large hits and big innings from pitchers, stay rolling, and get some luck to go your way.

Continue reading Jealous of the Giants?

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Get A-Rod’s Backup Instead

Posted by Eric Seidman, Thu, October 25, 2012 08:05 AM Comments: 15

Polly is likely on his way out. Would Chavez be a better fit? (AP)

The Phillies will decline Placido Polanco‘s $5.5 million option for 2013, buying him out for $1 million. The formal decision hasn’t come down the pipeline, but it’s essentially a foregone conclusion. This opens up a spot at third base that the Phillies will need to fill internally, via trade or through the free agent market. Internal options exist, and the team may well choose to mix-and-match utility players and defensive specialists until the de facto 2014 starter — Cody Asche — is ready.

Kevin Frandsen played very well in Polanco’s absence this season and likely enters the season as the positional frontrunner. Freddy Galvis is a superlative defender at a tougher position and should also see time at third base.  Ty Wigginton is, well, just a human being currently on the roster, and we’ll simply leave it at that.

While it’s sexier to discuss long-term solutions like Chase Headley or external stopgaps like Wilson Betemit or any of those Angels infielders, the Phillies can solve their third base dilemma by pairing their internal options with a talented and inexpensive free agent.

Eric Chavez cannot play everyday anymore, but he still hits righties. Formerly a gold glove defender, he remains passable at the position. The Yankees may make Alex Rodriguez available, and may offer to pick up most of the tab. In that case, he will surely be linked to the Phillies, a big-spending team with a clear need at third base. However, the Phillies are better off pursuing Chavez, A-Rod’s backup, as the righty meat in a platoon sandwich.

Continue reading Get A-Rod’s Backup Instead

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Phillies Halloween Photo Contest

Posted by Brian Michael, Wed, October 24, 2012 03:06 PM Comments: 0

Last October, we collected fan photos of Phillies jack o’lanterns, costumes and other spooky Halloween stuff. This year, anyone who sends in a photo will be eligible to win a free Phillies hat (people who sent in a photo last year are eligible, too)! Check them out below and upload your own. A winner will be randomly selected at midnight on November 2nd.

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Blue Jays Claim Herndon

Posted by Pat Gallen, Tue, October 23, 2012 04:06 PM Comments: 23

After a season which was mostly lost to an injured elbow, David Herndon will head north. He has been claimed by the Toronto Blue Jays off waivers.

Herndon, 27, pitched in just five games in 2012 with the Phillies before suffering a flexor pronator strain in his pitching elbow, which led to Tommy John surgery in June. In 97 career appearances in the big leagues, Herndon is 2-8 with a 3.95 ERA.

It looked like Herndon was finally beginning to figure it out before the elbow injury derailed him for good this past season. The heavy sinker the Phillies saw in spring training prior to the 2010 season never fully materialized.

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Phillies Player Review: Jeremy Horst

Posted by Jonathan Nisula, Tue, October 23, 2012 09:00 AM Comments: 10

PHOTO: AP

Jeremy Horst came to the Phillies via the Wilson Valdez trade with Cincinnati, and wasn’t really expected to contribute all that much in 2012–but to the surprise of almost everyone, he ended up having an outstanding season for the Phils out of the bullpen.

He was down in the minors until June 28 when he and Brian Sanches were called up after Chad Qualls was designated for assignment and Joe Savery was optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Even though he wasn’t with the big league club until the end of June, he tossed 31.1 innings, and posted a team-best ERA of just 1.15. And if you like advanced stats, he posted an FIP of 2.39 which was good for second on the team among relievers. He had a career-high strikeout rate (11.5 K/9), and an ‘OK’ walk rate (4 BB/9)–and together that have him a 2.9 K/BB ratio. He held opposing batters to a .191 average, which was a career-best.

Another thing he did well was keeping his opposing HR rate down. His opposing HR rate (0.3 HR/9) was the lowest in the Phils bullpen among guys that threw at least 15 innings.

Overall, Horst’s 2012 was a pleasant surprise for the Phillies. The Wilson Valdez trade is looking like a great move and a steal by Ruben Amaro Jr.

Horst may be that 8th inning guy the Phillies need to get to Jonathan Papelbon. Antonio Bastardo was up and down all year, and I think Horst could really challenge him for the set-up man role next year.

Grade: A … In a season where the Phillies bullpen was possibly their weakest part of the team, Horst did exceptionally well, especially for a guy they got in a trade for Wilson Valdez.

Read the rest of the 2012 Phillies Player Reviews here.

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