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2011 Player Review

Phillies Bench Struggles in 2011

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Tue, November 29, 2011 08:24 AM Comments: 19

Martinez stuck with the Phillies all season. But did he deserve it?

We continue on with our player reviews. Today, we look at the bench parts of the Phillies roster from 2011.

Michael Martinez – Martinez came into the 2011 season as a 28 year-old who had yet to reach the majors and was one of the few players in minor league history to ever post a .000 ISO (SLG-AVG) when he did so in 2006. Despite the red flags, specifically positing a .223/.313/.298 triple-slash as a 27 year-old in Double A in 2009 or the aforementioned 2006 season where he hit a tremendous .172 in Single A, the Phillies took a chance on Martinez in the Rule 5 draft.

As part of the Rule 5 draft, the Phillies had to keep Martinez on their roster the entire season or offer him back to his original team, the Nationals. Martinez’s defensive reputation kept him on the Phils for the entire season;  according to UZR/150, Martinez excelled in limited playing time at 2B and SS but was horribly underwhelming in the outfield. Martinez didn’t walk a lot (7.7%) and put up a triple slash of .196/.258/.282. Why the Phils kept Martinez on the roster the entire season, I will never be sure, particularly considering they had Pete Orr, a stronger, faster, and comparable defender in the system.

Martinez did outfield Wilson Valdez position for position in 2011 but both Orr and Valdez are faster, stronger, and have better bats than Martinez. With the acquisition of Wigginton from Colorado, Martinez will likely start 2012 in Lehigh Valley.

Continue reading Phillies Bench Struggles in 2011

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Everyday a Halladay Again in 2011

Posted by Pat Gallen, Tue, November 22, 2011 12:35 PM Comments: 34

We continue on with our 2011 Player Reviews with Roy Halladay.

Unfortunately, after a another phenomenal season, Roy Halladay wasn’t the winner of back-to-back National League Cy Young Awards, as Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw brought home the hardware. Still, is there another pitcher in baseball you’d rather have that Halladay? If there is, the list ahead of him may only read Verlander.

In 2011, Roy Halladay gave it his all once again, posting similarly solid numbers just has he did in his Cy Young year of 2010.

After leading the league with 250 2/3 innings pitched last season, that numbers dropped to 233 2/3 – but no one cares. Actually, it’s probably better for Halladay to keep an eye on that high number moving forward. Now 34, Halladay doesn’t appear to be slowing down, however, it couldn’t hurt to stay monitoring his innings in the near future.

That being said, the 233 2/3 innings he tossed were the second most in the National League, behind only his good buddy, Chris Carpenter.

Continue reading Everyday a Halladay Again in 2011

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Hamels 2011 Takes Him to Elite Status

Posted by Pat Gallen, Sun, November 20, 2011 10:35 AM Comments: 13

Photo: AP

We continue our 2011 Player Review series with Cole Hamels.

It’s almost as easy as talking about Santa Claus throwing snow balls at an Eagles game 40-some-odd years ago. There’s always that point to go back to that allows writers a point of entry for a particular story. It used to be the 2009 season with Cole Hamels. But two years later we can honestly say that season was a deviation from the norm.

With yet another excellent showing in 2011, Cole Hamels has established himself as not only an elite left-handed pitcher (perhaps the best of the best), but one of the best overall. Last week, he finished fifth in the National League Cy Young Award voting behind Clayton Kershaw, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, and Ian Kennedy.

A quick glance at his numbers show you consistency throughout. Only twice did Hamels allow more than four earned runs in game, one of them coming in his first start of the season against the New York Mets. Eleven times he went at least seven innings without giving up more than one run.

Hamels’ fine first half sent him to Phoenix for the 2011 All-Star Game, where he joined Halladay, Lee, Placido Polanco, and Shane Victorino.

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Oswalt’s Incomplete Year May End Tenure with Phillies

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Sat, November 19, 2011 10:30 AM Comments: 20

(Photo: AP)

Roy Oswalt was one of the most under-appreciated pitchers on not only the Phillies, but in baseball in 2010. In 12 starts with the Phils, Oswalt posted a 1.74 ERA in 82.2 innings and struck-out 3.5 times the batters he walked. His 2011 season was a little different.

Little Roy left the team in April to tend to his family in tornado-ravaged Mississippi and was put out of action for nearly two months with a debilitating back injury in June.  Oswalt would make 23 starts for the Phils, posting an ERA (3.69) almost a half of a run over his career average (3.21). Oswalt’s peripherals remained steady as his 2.14 BB/9 in 2011 was close to his career average of 2.09 and his BABIP of .316 against a career average of .296 indicates that he was about as “lucky” as he always was.

Throughout the season, however, Oswalt experienced a noticeable drop in velocity on his fastball and became more hittable. His K/9 was more than a full K less than his career average and he saw a nose dive in K%. Oswalt BAA (.275) and WHIP (1.34) were both noticeable increases against his career averages (.249 and 1.19) as well.

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Cliffmas in 2011; Lee 3rd in Cy, Doc Finishes Runner-Up

Posted by Pat Gallen, Thu, November 17, 2011 02:16 PM Comments: 16

(Photo: Philadelphia Inquirer)

The NL Cy Young award was announced today and Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers is your winner, unseating the incumbent, Roy Halladay, who finished second.

Behind them in third place was the second of the Phillies aces, Cliff Lee. Cole Hamels finished a very respectable fifth. Below is the full NL Cy Young voting.

This post also doubles as the season review for Lee. Next week, we’ll take a deeper look at Halladay as our season review continues.

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There were a few tough stretches during the 2011 season that made some people cringe when it came to Cliff Lee. After signing a new contract at over $20 million-per-season, it’s never any fun to start with a 4.18 ERA in April. Sure, he struck out 10 or more batters three times in that first month, but don’t lie; you were holding your breath a bit.

But even so, you were still smitten that Lee took “less” to come back to Philly. He talked so highly of the city and the fans that you were willing to look past a rocky start.

Lee eased into a solid May, but something was still missing. To that point, there had only been flashes of dominance. We’re the Phillies paying for just OK? His contract stipulated he be paid like a superstar pitcher, because that’s what he’d been the previous four years. Not to worry, he’d show up in a big way.

June was one of those months you only dream about seeing as a fan and living as a pitcher. In five starts, and over 42 innings, Lee gave up one run. ONE. Let that sink in. It’s just silly.

Continue reading Cliffmas in 2011; Lee 3rd in Cy, Doc Finishes Runner-Up

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Blanton’s 2011: A Year to Forget

Posted by Pat Gallen, Mon, November 14, 2011 03:35 PM Comments: 23

Hey, I'm still here.... (PHOTO: AP)

We continue our 2011 Player Reviews with starting pitcher Joe Blanton.

If you’re making eight figures and post a 4.85 ERA over the last two seasons, plus have spent a long stretch on the disabled list with arm trouble, people get a little ticked off. That’s where things stand with Joe Blanton after an ugly 2010 season and an even worse 2011.

It was a doomed year basically from the get-go. In his first start of the year against the New York Mets, Blanton allowed seven earned runs in 4 1/3 innings, and it was basically chalked up to one of those days early in a long season. His next start against the Nationals was better, although most any start would be. Blanton got through six innings, giving up five earned runs.

Not long after, the elbow troubles began. In late April, he hit the disabled list with nerve damage, taking with him a 5.92 ERA through just four starts. He’d come back on May 9, make two starts that lasted just five innings each, and then return to the DL on May 23, staying there until he would return in a bullpen role on September 5.

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The Art of Worley: Vance Worley’s 2011 Year in Review

Posted by Michael Baumann, Thu, November 10, 2011 10:45 AM Comments: 13

When there’s no-one else in sight
In the crowded lonely night
Well I wait so long
For my love vibration
And I’m Vanceing with myself

It’s hard not to like Vance Worley. He’s got a mohawk and funny glasses, and while he might not have the best long-term career prognosis of any Phillies pitching prospect, it sure looks like, between being hit by line drive after line drive and sweating like an inmate in a Turkish prison, he enjoys life in the major leagues more than any Phillies pitching prospect. The Phillies picked Worley in the third round of the 2008 amateur draft out of Long Beach State, a university that has, in the past decade, turned out great baseball players the way The U turns out great defensive football players with criminal records. Worley might not have been as highly-touted as, say, Jered Weaver, Evan Longoria, and Troy Tulowitzki were coming out of college, but after going into spring training as the seventh man in one of the most-hyped five-man starting rotations of all time, Worley came not quite out of nowhere, but close, to outshine quite a few household names.

What’s more, between Worley’s creative grooming and a Twitter account predicated largely on his enthusiasm for muscle cars and sneakers, the righthander injected some much-needed color into a clubhouse known not so much for its hijinks as its dedication to self-abrogation and businesslike approach to the game.

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Final Grades Are In: The Rest of the 2011 ‘Pen

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Tue, November 08, 2011 12:20 PM Comments: 4

The 2011 Phillies Nation Player Reviews continue today with the rest of the Phillies 2011 bullpen.

Jose Contreras:

Jose was handed the ball to end games to open the season in place of the injured Brad Lidge. He converted on 5 of 5 save attempts without giving up a run before being sidelined with a strained elbow on April 25. When Contreras returned in May, he was not the same effective pitcher he had been and ended the season with a 3.86 ERA, posting the highest BB/9 IP of his career. Contreras was shut-down for good after the Phils’ Seattle road trip but hopes to play out the remainder of his 2 year, $5.5 million contract.

Grade: 6/10

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JC Romero:

JC wasn’t as bad for the Phils in 2011 as he was frustrating. Romero was plagued by horrible inconsistency and put allowed 37.3% of batters he faced to reach base. Romero was effective against lefties but allowed righties to walk all over him. After being released in June, Romero played Triple-A ball for the Nationals and Yankees before reaching the Majors again with the Rockies.

Grade: 3/10

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Continue reading Final Grades Are In: The Rest of the 2011 ‘Pen

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Credit Where Credit’s Due: Kyle Kendrick’s 2011 Season

Posted by Michael Baumann, Thu, November 03, 2011 08:35 AM Comments: 27

No one gripes more about Kyle Kendrick than I do. No one. So when I say that the man who once started Game 2 of the 2007 NLDS had a decent season, that means something. Going into 2011, we thought Joe Blanton had been marginalized, but what about Kendrick? The man started 83 games from 2007 to 2010, ducking into and out of the starting rotation seemingly at random, but when Cliff Lee came back, Kendrick dropped all the way to seventh in the starting pitcher pecking order. Of course, because of injuries to Blanton and Roy Oswalt, Kendrick wound up making 15 starts in 2011 anyway, to go with 19 relief appearances. So how did it go?

Rather well, actually.

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If It Doesn’t Work Out For Mike Schwimer…

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Wed, November 02, 2011 02:00 AM Comments: 8

Scwhimer has all the right tools to be successful in a number of fields, including baseball. Photo: Getty

The 2011 Phillies Nation Player Reviews continue today, with Michael Schwimer

Full disclosure: I am a huge pro wrestling fan. As a kid, I loved watching guys like The Texas Tornado and the British Bulldog, I couldn’t choose between the Hart Foundation and Demolition, and Miss Elizabeth was the most beautiful woman on the planet. I rarely watch it now, but sometimes when I’m clicking through the channels, I stop and watch for a few minutes.

Growing up, the abuses of steroids in both baseball and the predetermined world of wrestling created some larger than life heroes. Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire were just as big and strong as the Warlord and the Barbarian and Nails could have given pro-wrestling convict Nailz a brawl the likes of which nobody has seen.  There are few larger-than-life ball players, as most these days would be mistaken for fitness enthusiasts instead of pro athletes. But there are a few guys that stand out; one of those guys is Phillies’ reliever of the future, Michael Schwimer.

Schwimer is an impressive 6’8 with sideburns, long curly hair, and stubble. He takes the mound like Bret Hart takes to the ring, with a long confident walk and a look like he’s going to get the job done. Before being called up to the Phillies roster, Schwimer, memorably, cut a Bret Hart-style promo on the front office, questioning why he was being overlooked for a call-up while those who were were less than impressive.

Continue reading If It Doesn’t Work Out For Mike Schwimer…

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