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2013 Player Reviews

Free Agent Pass or Play: Edward Mujica

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Mon, November 11, 2013 07:29 PM Comments: 0

Was Mujica’s 2013 campaign truly All-Star worthy or a mirage with an assist from a top-flight catcher?

It’s time – we are now beyond the start of Free Agency at 12:01 AM November 5. We at Phillies Nation will take a look at a players, namely outfielders, catchers, starting pitchers, and relievers, who the Phillies may target this offseason. We will explore potential performance, fit, cost, and feasibility. We continue today with right-handed reliever Edward Mujica. And a reminder: you can check out all the “Pass or Play” posts by clicking on the category hyperlink.

Performance

Mujica, 29 for Opening Day 2014, emerged as the Cardinals closer in 2013 before being replaced late in the season. Mujica first gained notoriety in 2012, posting a 1.03 ERA with a 0.873 WHIP in 29 games after arriving in a trade from Miami. An All-Star in 2013, Mujica limited to teams to a 0.7 BB/9 IP and a 1.005 WHIP.

Continue reading Free Agent Pass or Play: Edward Mujica

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Phillies Nation Player Review: John Mayberry Jr.

Posted by Kenny Ayres, Fri, November 08, 2013 12:00 PM Comments: 0

It seems like ages ago when John Mayberry Jr. excited fans with 15 homers, 49 RBI and a .275 average in just 104 games in 2011. He seemed like a sure bet to crack at least 25 the following year and maybe drive in 100 runs. Now it’s two years later and he hasn’t even achieved those numbers in the 2012 and 2013 seasons combined, in almost 800 at bats.

Mayberry's rough season was put on halt June 4, when he led the Phillies to the win with two extra inning homers, including the walk-off winner.

Mayberry’s rough season was put on halt June 4, when he led the Phillies to the win with two extra inning homers, including the walk-off winner.

This season was certainly one to forget for the 29-year-old outfielder. What started out as a decent first three months (.255 average, 13 doubles, six home runs, 21 RBI) quickly turned sour when the All-Star break and second half rolled around.

In the second half of the season Mayberry did not even break the Mendoza line, hitting just .199 from the midway point through the end of the season. His tough season at the dish culminated in a one home run one RBI month of September, complete with a .175 average, .214 on base percentage and sub .500 OPS for the month.

One of the most frustrating aspects of Mayberry’s season was his lack of timely hitting, even when he was in the midst of stretches where he was swinging the bat well. Throughout the course of the year he batted just .220 with runners in scoring position, which lowered to .091 in 44 at bats with runners in scoring position and two outs. He struck out ten more times (90) than he had hits (80).

Mayberry’s decline has been alarmingly quick. He has regressed in home runs, RBI, average, OBP, slugging percentage and OPS each season since 2011, and his once sharp defense has become suspect. Often times this season Mayberry misjudged fly balls and took bad bounces off the wall-things that may not show up in the error column sometimes, yet still made a difference.

Mayberry’s big day in 2013 came on June 4 against Miami, when he blasted two home runs in extra innings and drove in five to propel the Phillies to a win. Unfortunately, that game was surrounded by struggles. Leading up to that day, he had gone 24 of 25 games without driving in a run, and after June 4 it took him almost a month’s worth of games before he had another two home runs and five runs batted in combined.

Mayberry finished the season going just 2-for-14 in his last seven games with no extra base hits or runs batted in, ending the worst campaign of his young career.

Grade: D. It’s hard to give him an F because he did at least provide some bits of production, but the regression at a time when a (fairly) young ballplayer should be developing is alarming. He hasn’t been injured, and he has been getting at bats, but his production in 2013 slipped below the acceptable mark. Between the long looping swing, chasing sliders three feet outside and his frustrating tendency to try to pull everything, Mayberry has earned just about as low a score for the season as a position player can have.

 

 

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Phillies Player Review: Erik Kratz

Posted by Pat Gallen, Thu, November 07, 2013 11:41 AM Comments: 0

KratzWhen Brian Schneider was still with the Phillies, I wondered why. Nothing against the veteran backstop, but waiting in the wings was a seemingly better option, Erik Kratz. At the time, he had been tearing up pitching in the minors, and I’d heard first hand that the major league starters were very high on Kratz. It would eventually become his time to get a shot with the Phillies. And it was deserved.

In 2013, Kratz got time to play early in the season with Carlos Ruiz sidelined due to his PED suspension. His warts were apparent, he was playing like a guy who should be a full-time backup. Again, not a knock on Kratz, but more an observation that not everyone is meant to be a starter.

Kratz would deal with injuries himself this past season, spending time on the DL with a knee injury that required surgery in June. The 33-year old would eventually return in late July, but his struggles at the plate continued. He also would lose his backup job to Cameron Rupp down the stretch.

After all was done, Kratz hit just .213 with nine homers. It seems unlikely he’ll return to the Phillies next season on anything more than a minor-league contract. Rupp performed well enough to deserve a shot as either the backup, or perhaps a platoon starter at catcher should Carlos Ruiz not return.

I’m certainly a fan of the local hero, but if 2013 is any precursor, it’s likely time to sever ties with Kratz.

Grade: D – Kratz couldn’t stay healthy and when he was he was not particularly good.

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Phillies Nation Player Review: Darin Ruf

Posted by Alex Lee, Wed, November 06, 2013 04:16 PM Comments: 51

Despite launching 14 homers in three months in 2013, Darin Ruf again finds his future in Philadelphia uncertain.

Despite launching 14 homers in three months in 2013, Darin Ruf again finds his future in Philadelphia uncertain.

For the second straight season, Darin Ruf did all he could in his time with the Phillies to dispel the notion that his 38 AA homers in 2012 were some sort of fluke. In September of that year, he launched three bombs in 33 at-bats with the big club. He got a much longer look this season and didn’t disappoint, posting an .806 OPS and all but cementing himself a roster spot next spring.

Ruf bashed 14 home runs and knocked in 30 runs in just under three months with the Phils this summer, compiling a slash line of .247/.348/.458 over 73 games that were split between first base and the outfield. Ruf certainly has his warts. But he also has 17 big league home runs in 284 at-bats with the Phils, leading many to consider a reality in which the immense power he flashed in Reading that magical summer might be real.

Now… about those warts. Ruf, already 27, is essentially a man without a position. With Ryan Howard manning first base for at least the next three years, Ruf must play passable defense at a corner outfield spot to keep his bat in the line-up. Ruf is a liability in the outfield and, from what I saw this year, is also pretty shaky defensively at his “natural” position of first base. The only good news on this front is that the outfield is a new endeavor for Ruf, and he improved enough in a year for the Phillies to tolerate his defensive shortcomings out there for 40-plus games in 2013. There have also been whispers that Ruf could see time at first in some sort of platoon with Howard during the 2014 season. Continue reading Phillies Nation Player Review: Darin Ruf

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Phillies Nation Player Reviews: The Under 100 PA Club

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Wed, October 30, 2013 08:00 AM Comments: 7

Martinez is in rare company: the bottom 1.6% of all-time in on-base plus slugging among the 5238 players with at least 300 plate appearances.

The Phillies had four players accrue between 26 and 100 PA in 2013. In most years, these players are usually young, up-and-coming players who are getting a brief look at the Major League level. This was not necessarily the case with this crop for the Phillies.

For our reviews of the seven players who had 25 or less plate appearances, click here.

Michael Martinez

Martinez hit .175/.175/.175 in 2013 in 40 PA, worth negative 0.5 win, placing him among the least valuable per plate appearance in the Majors. Martinez’s .495 career OPS ranks 5135th out of 5238 Major Leaguers with at least 300 career PA, placing him in the bottom 1.6% of non-pitchers, all-time. Of course, the Phillies designated Martinez for assignment after another below-average season. And of course, the Phillies re-signed Martinez after he elected free agencyGrade: F-

Casper Wells

Wells was one of two players the Phillies had that was, at some point, on five Major League rosters in 2013. Wells hit just .042/.115/.083 in just 26 PA with the Phillies and was inactive for most of September after having Lasik surgery to correct his vision. Wells’ most memorable moment as a Phillie came on August 24 when he got two outs as a pitcher before surrendering five earned runs against the Arizona Diamondbacks, before being relieved by the other Major Leaguer to play on five teams in 2013, John McDonald. Wells declined an outright assignment to Triple-A and became a free agent. Wells will be 29 in 2014 .230/.299/.395 career hitter and risks becoming a career Quad-A player without a monster Spring Training. Grade: F

Humberto Quintero

Quintero was brought into the Phillies catching fold, quite coincidentally, a day before Carlos Ruiz was suspended for violating the league’s substance policy. In 68 PA, Quintero hit a modest .250/.294/.406 with two homers, serving as a back up to Erik Kratz and then Ruiz when Kratz was injured. Quintero filled in nicely as a back-up and latched on with the Mariners after electing free agency when he was designated for assignment. Grade: B-

Roger Bernadina

The Shark joined the Phils on August 21, two days after being released by the division rival Washington Nationals. Bernadina hit just .187/.256/.347, in what was a slight improvement over his time earlier in the season with the Nationals, in a full-time roll in the Phillies outfield. Bernadina was worth the small investment for the rest of the year to see if he could duplicate his 2012 season (.291/.372/.405, 5 HR, 15 SB in 261 PA) but it was not to be. Bernadina was worth the roll of the dice but it ultimately just didn’t pay off. Grade: F+

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Phillies Player Reviews: Cesar Hernandez

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Tue, October 29, 2013 06:00 AM Comments: 2

Hernandez made his MLB debut in 2013, learning a new position on the fly. Will he have a spot on the Phillies roster in 2014?

Entering the 2013 season, Cesar Hernandez was a 22-year old second baseman seemingly blocked in his path to reach the Phillies who had completed an All-Star campaign in Double-A Reading. Hernandez earned a 129 PA cup of coffee with the IronPigs at the end of 2012, hitting just .248/.270/.298. Hernandez began 2013 with the IronPigs, hitting a very good .309/.375/.402 with a career-best 32 steals in 440 PA.

Hernandez earned first call-up to the Phillies on May 29 when Michael Young was placed on the bereavement list and filled in admirably, hitting .250 in 28 PA. Hernandez was shuttled back down to Triple-A after the Phillies June 8 game and remained with the club until July 14, when he would be sent to Double-A to learn center field. Hernandez would be back with the Pigs by July 18, splitting time between center and second base.

Hernandez would be called up to the Phillies in September with the expansion of rosters. Hernandez would play 22 of his 25 games in September in center field, filling in for the injured Ben Revere, hitting .301/.369/.344 with no homers and no steals in three attempts. Despite his lack of power, Hernandez’s .674 OPS was tied for 288th out of 453 MLBers with 100 PA or more. It was recently reported that Hernandez will spend time this winter playing third base and left field.

Grade: C. It is hard not to grade Hernandez on a curve based on his age, his very good season at Triple-A, and the fact that he learned an entirely new position on the fly, but I will resist. Hernandez enters 2014 at age 23 and is out of options. Pending the league granting the Phillies an additional option year, Hernandez will likely have to remain on the Phillies 25-man roster or have the Phillies risk losing him. Hernandez has a future as a player who can hit for average and get on base in the Major Leagues but does not immediately have a path to regular playing time on the Phillies.

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Phillies Player Reviews: Laynce Nix

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Mon, October 28, 2013 06:00 AM Comments: 3

Nix was good value off the bench in 2012. 2013? Not so much.

When Laynce Nix was signed by the Phillies in December 2011, he was signed to a two-year, $2.5 million deal in large part to replace Ross Gload as the main lefty option to hit off of the bench. Gload had been a pretty good value pick up for 2010 but had saw his triple-slash line fall off a cliff in 2011. To say the same happened with Nix is an understatement.

Nix had battled through a calf injury in 2012 but entered 2013 fully healthy. Charlie Manuel wrapped up Spring Training by announcing Nix would split time in right field with John Mayberry Jr. based on the opposing pitcher in large part due to Darin Ruf‘s inability to win an outfield job out of camp. By April 10, however, he was not playing against right-handed pitchers.

Nix’s performance in 2012 was worth about $2.1 million according to FanGraphs. His 2013 season? Negative $3.7 million. Nix never was able to get things rolling in 2013, hitting .180/.228/.258 with two homers and a steal. His triple-slash marks were 60, 78, and 159 points lower than his career averages in 2013. On August 12, 2013, Nix refused an outright assignment to Triple-A Lehigh Valley and became a free agent.

Grade: F. Signing Nix after the conclusion of 2011 was not a bad move. In fact, with Ryan Howard tearing his ACL in the final game of the Phillies 2011 season, Nix was seen as depth in both the outfield and first base. After a year where he was worth almost the entirety of his contract, Nix couldn’t lock down significant playing time even though it was his to lose out of camp and was unable to deliver in the limited time he did see. Nix is currently a free agent.

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Phillies Player Reviews: The Under 25 PA Club

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Wed, October 23, 2013 05:30 PM Comments: 12

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Inciarte’s improbable run to the Phillies provided Spring Training’s most fun storyline to follow in 2013. Photo: Philly.com

The Phillies had seven players travel with their Major League roster and accrue 25 plate appearances or less. Like other years, we are unable to give true grades to these players, but it is certainly worth discussing their presence on the team.

Ender Inciarte - If you blinked, you likely missed Inciarte’s time with the Phils. Inciarte was the Phillies Rule 5 draft pick and, as such, had to remain on the active 25-man roster the entire year or be offered back to the team he was selected from. Inciarte was with the Phillies for exactly one game, the season opener in Atlanta, before being sent back to Arizona in favor of Ezequiel Carrera. Inciarte was known as a speed and defensive specialist and the 22-year old did not disappoint for Arizona’s Double-A Mobile, hitting .281/.327/.362 with 43 steals in 51 chances. I wish the Phillies could have hung on to Inciarte in some capacity but it was not in the cards. Inciarte’s time on the 25-man roster without appearing in a game puts him in the unique group of Phantom ballplayers.

Cameron Rupp - The player on this list that Phillies fans will likely see the most of over the next several years, the 25-year old Rupp took advantage of the playing time he received due to injuries to Sebastian Valle (his platoon partner to start the year in Reading) and Tommy Joseph (out for most of the year with a concussion at Triple-A), hitting a career-high 14 home runs and a .437 SLG% across Reading and Lehigh Valley. Rupp looked comfortable defensively behind the plate in his September call-up with the Phillies and went 4-13 with a double in four games. Rupp will likely compete for the back-up catcher’s job in 2014 and will figure into the Phillies catching plans for the next several years. Continue reading Phillies Player Reviews: The Under 25 PA Club

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Phillies Nation Player Review: Cole Hamels

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Tue, October 22, 2013 01:30 PM Comments: 5

http://philliesnation.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/IMG_0324-e1378655373717-221x300.jpg

The $153-million-dollar man was as good as advertised in 2013 but was plagued by the sixth worst run support in the National League and one of the National League’s worst defenses. Photo by Ian Riccaboni

Blind player test. Ready?

Player A: 231 games started, 91-78, 3.77 ERA, 8.0 K/9 IP, 2.3 BB/9 IP, 1.247 WHIP. 29 years old, injury history from six years prior.

Player B: 211 games started, 91-60, 3.34 ERA, 8.5 K/9 IP, 2.2 BB/9 IP, 1.138 WHIP. 28 years old, injury history from seven years prior.

Player A got a six-year, $147 million contract, Player B got a seven-year, $153 million contract. Both contracts started in 2013. Player A is Zack Greinke, Player B Cole Hamels.

Why is this context important? Much of the discussion about Hamels’ 2013 season was and will be framed around the $153 million contract he signed midway through the 2012 season. Compared to Greinke, it looks like a bargain: through 2012, Hamels out-paced the former Cy Young award winner in every career category and signed for a little less than $3 million less average annual value (AAV).

On the surface, Hamels underperformed the first year of his contract: Hamels won just eight games, his lowest total since his 2006 rookie season, and posted a 3.60 ERA, his highest since his confusing 2009 campaign. Yet, by every other available measure, Hamels was nearly identical to the pitcher that earned the $153 million deal and was a wonderful anchor for a poor 2013 Phillies squad. Continue reading Phillies Nation Player Review: Cole Hamels

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Phillies Nation Player Review: Roy Halladay

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Fri, October 18, 2013 06:00 AM Comments: 13

Was September 23 the last time we will see Halladay as a Phillie?

If I had to pick one word to describe Roy Halladay‘s 2013 campaign with the Phillies, I’d choose heartbreaking.

Every night, I held my breath, hoping that a proud man such as Halladay would find a small portion of the success that led him to over 200 wins, six top-five Cy Young finishes, and two Cy Young wins in his career. And for each of his 13 starts in 2013, my face nearly turned blue.

First, the numbers: highest ERA, WHIP, and BB/9 IP since the year 2000 and his lowest win total since 2000, lowest K/9 IP since 2007, and his lowest innings pitched total since his 1998 cameo with the Blue Jays. Second, the hopes unfulfilled: expected to be healthy and be among the three aces leading the Phillies rotation, Halladay’s velocity continued to diminish, dropping to 88.7 MPH, a near four MPH drop since joining the Phillies in 2010.

Despite Halladay’s struggles in 2012 (11-8, 4.49 ERA), he still was worth about 2.5 wins according to FanGraphs; Halladay’s struggles in 2013 were worth negative 0.8 wins. If 2012 was a bad dream, 2013 was a nightmare for Halladay: seven out of his 13 starts lasted five innings or less, including his final outing on September 23 against the Marlins that lasted only one third of an inning.

Grade: F. I wish I didn’t have to do this, but it’s the only grade that fits. The F is descriptive of the performance, of a superstar falling out of the stratosphere, coming back to earth, and hitting rock bottom. Halladay is a free agent heading into 2014 and this will not be the last written about the righty. And knowing Halladay, this isn’t going to be the last written about his performance. Halladay will be a Major League pitcher again in 2014, looking to make this performance a distant memory. Whether or not it is with the Phillies remains to be seen.

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