2009 Projection: JC Romero

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Sat, April 04, 2009 02:30 PM Comments: 4

JC Romero, RP (LHP)
Age: 32 (33, June 4)

2008: 59 IP / 4-4 / 2.75 ERA / 38 BB / 52 K / 1 SV / 4 BS / 1.34 WHIP

Summary: JC Romero’s magical resurgence as a late-innings wizard continued throughout the 2008 season. In 59 innings he gave up 41 hits and walked 38, putting up a WHIP that usually wouldn’t translate to an ERA under 3.00. And yet 85.7 percent of runners on base were stranded there after Romero screamed off the mound. It wasn’t as improbable as his 89.8 percent success rate in 2007, but it was close. He was great against left-handed hitters, leaving them at a ridiculous .102 average, .193 on-base percentage and .153 slugging percentage. It’s simple: He rules lefties. Righties? No.

Career Level: Prime (Year 3)

Green Flags: As long as Romero can master left-handed hitting, he’ll be an integral part of the team’s success. … While getting into jams might be a negative, Romero’s iron will to escape every harrowing situation is a positive — the man has fire. … His 7.93 K/9 is very strong.

Red Flags: Romero’s control continues to be his Achilles heel. … His second heel are righties, of course, so he has to avoid them. … He won’t be pitching in games until at least game No. 51, so he’ll have to get up to speed quickly.

Prognostication: If Romero only faces left-handed hitting he could possibly have a perfect season. But that won’t happen. He’s too important in the back end and will have to pitch tough spots against lefties and righties. Should he step back a little? Yes. Will he? Who knows. He’s already proven himself over 1.5 seasons. With the right role, Romero will again be deceptively effective.

2009 Projection: 43.2 IP / 4-2 / 3.29 ERA / 28 BB / 33 K / 1 SV / 4 BS / 1.39 WHIP


2009 Projection: Chad Durbin

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Sat, April 04, 2009 01:00 PM Comments: 6

Chad Durbin, RP (RHP)
Age: 31

2008: 87.2 IP / 5-4 / 2.87 ERA / 35 BB / 63 K / 1 SV / 6 BS / 1.32 WHIP

Summary: For the first three-fourths of the 2008 season, Chad Durbin may have been the team’s most valuable player. Patching up a large hole in the Phillies bullpen, Durbin threw key innings as both a long man and situational pitcher. His coming-out party was a six-strikeout washout of the Mets on July 4. Soon, though, hitters figured him out enough to drop his ERA closer to 3.00. Left-handers drilled him (.311/.401/.394), but he was very effective against righties (.214/.284/.305).

Career Level: Prime (Year 2)

Green Flags: The righty splits are encouraging and scream that he’s more situational than standard. … Durbin’s K rates came back up to respectable levels (6.47 K/9) in 2008. … While his fastball averaged greater velocity in 2008, Durbin relied much more on his slider than ever (38.1 percent from 18.7 percent). That was an effective pitch against righties. Meanwhile, he threw his changeup less — it seems it worked.

Red Flags: Batters hit line drives 20.6 percent against him, as opposed to 15.6 percent in 2007. … He only let up 0.51 home runs per nine in 2008, but that’s far below his average (1.35), so it might be an anomaly. … That he had a poor second half shows hitters might have figured him out quickly.

Prognostication: Durbin’s 2008 was a reason the Phillies were so effective late in games. He probably won’t repeat that success, but there’s reason to believe the drop won’t be that bad. He has engineered his pitches well, and knows the slider spells more success. Look for some shaky outings, but the good should still outweigh the bad.

2009 Projection: 79.2 IP / 4-5 / 3.50 ERA / 32 BB / 55 K / 1 SV / 5 BS / 1.37 WHIP


2009 Projection: Scott Eyre

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Sat, April 04, 2009 11:30 AM Comments: 3

Scott Eyre, RP (LHP)
Age: 36 (37, May 30)

2008: 25.2 IP / 5-0 / 4.21 ERA / 7 BB / 32 K / 0 SV / 2 BS / 1.17 WHIP

Summary: In Chicago Eyre had a few bad outings. Otherwise he pitched well. That showed when he moved to Philadelphia, where he was simply outstanding. He carried a 1.88 ERA in 14.1 innings, striking out 18 while walking three. His K:BB ratio was a stunning 4.57, and his K/9 was an incredible 11.22. Though the sample size was small, he delivered in almost every appearance. Against lefties (much of his workload) he held a .220 average and 80 OPS+. He wasn’t good against righties, however, as they slugged .467 against him.

Career Level: Descent (Year 1)

Green Flags: Eyre’s strikeout rates were unbelievable, but not rare. The rates have improved every season since 2003, with years capable of eight to nine strikeouts per nine. … He doesn’t give up home runs — only 0.70 per nine in 2008 — despite a 41 percent fly-ball ratio.

Red Flags: Eyre’s greater reliance on the slider (34.8 percent in 2008, from 29.6 percent in 2007) shows he might be losing confidence in the fastball. Still, the slider has been a good pitch. … With lower ground-ball rates and higher fly-ball rates, one would think the luck will backfire. … His 2.45 BB/9 in 2008 is more anomaly than trend — his career is 4.59.

Prognostication: Eyre will fall back to Earth, especially as he becomes the main defense against left-handed hitting. It won’t be dramatic, but it’ll be enough to cause a slight uproar. He’s an established veteran with a fine fastball and good slider, but guys have figured him out before, and he’s had worse control in the past. He’ll revert a bit back to his averages.

2009 Projection: 44.1 IP / 4-4 / 4.06 ERA / 17 BB / 39 K / 0 SV / 2 BS / 1.27 WHIP


2009 Projection: Clay Condrey

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Sat, April 04, 2009 10:00 AM Comments: 0

Clay Condrey, RP (RHP)
Age: 33

2008: 69 IP / 3-4 / 3.26 ERA / 19 BB / 34 K / 1 SV / 0 BS / 1.51 WHIP

Summary: Clay Condrey had a career season in 2008, pitching in mostly mop-up spots, but adding a few huge outings in the ledger. He was clearly best between the fourth and sixth innings, holding opponents to a 90 OPS+ (.277 average). He gave up his share of hits but balanced that by having pretty good control (2.48 BB/9). He also recorded a strong left-on-base percentage, not allowing 82 percent of runners to score.

Career Level: Post-Prime (Year 1)

Green Flags: Condrey’s moving fastball baffled plenty of hitters in big spots. … He kept his home run totals down, limiting hitters to just 0.78 HR/9. … Condrey kept strong ground-ball ratings (54.3 percent of balls hit were grounders).

Red Flags: Considering hitters struck him at a .304 clip and he held such a high left-on-base rate, one would think Condrey had plenty of luck on his side in 2008. … Both lefties and righties hit him well (righties at .288, lefties at .320).

Prognostication: Clay Condrey is a battler, but he’s not quite a big-game arm. He doesn’t have amazing stuff, using placement and mixing to his advantage when he can. He’s really a mop-up arm, at best a sometimes middle reliever. If he remains a mop-up man he should limit his numbers; he shouldn’t have as good a season as 2008.

2009 Projection: 59 IP / 5-3 / 4.57 ERA / 20 BB / 29 K / 1 SV / 1 BS / 1.53 WHIP


2009 Projection: Jack Taschner

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Sat, April 04, 2009 08:30 AM Comments: 6

Jack Taschner, RP (LHP)
Age: 30 (31, April 21)

2008: 48 IP / 3-2 / 4.88 ERA / 24 BB / 39 K / 0 SV / 4 BS / 1.69 WHIP

Summary: As the primary left-handed pitcher out of the Giants bullpen, Jack Taschner was OK againast left-handers. He held them to a .279 average and a .394 slugging percentage. Not bad, but not good enough to be a solid lefty specialist. Sadly, he wasn’t good against righties (.308/.406/.495). Interestingly he was much better in the first half of the season, recording a 3.03 ERA, as opposed to a second-half ERA of 8.80.

Career Level: Prime (Year 2)

Green Flags: The first-half numbers show maybe Taschner is just good for a small period of time, which might do the trick since JC Romero is missing the first 50 games. … He did have good K/9 ratings with 7.31.

Red Flags: Taschner did, however, walk a ton of hitters, at a rate of 4.5 per nine. … Taschner also let up a lot of fly balls, inducing big flys from 42.6 percent of his pitches. That won’t bode well at Citizens Bank Park.

Taschner won’t be a great lefty specialist. In fact, he won’t be used too much, very likely, which can’t be such a bad thing. But he might have trouble. He hasn’t really had a great season yet in the majors, so don’t expect anything eye-opening.

2009 Projection: 19.1 IP / 1-3 / 5.12 ERA / 13 BB / 18 K / 0 SV / 2 BS / 1.81 WHIP


2009 Projection: Gary Majewski

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Fri, April 03, 2009 07:30 PM Comments: 2

Gary Majewski, RP (RHP)
Age: 29

2008: 40 IP / 1-0 / 6.53 ERA / 15 BB / 27 K / 0 SV / 1 BS / 1.90 WHIP

Summary: It wasn’t a good season for Majewski, who was recovering from arm injuries with his share of problems. He reached 40 innings for the first time since 2006, but he let up 61 hits despite a ground-ball rate of more than 50 percent. He also allowed six home runs in his 40 innings. He walked 3.38 per nine innings and struck out 6.08 per nine. Both lefties and righties hit him equally as well, with lefties having more trouble slugging the ball (.455 compared to righties at .608).

Career Level: Prime (Year 1)

Green Flags: Majewski is supposedly totally healthy now. … He remains a average strikeout pitcher, and his 6.08 per nine rate in 2008 was his best professional rate. … The 50 percent ground-ball rate is an encouraging sign.

Red Flags: In his breakout 2005 season he threw 76.6 percent of his pitches for fastballs; in 2008 that percentage fell to 67.7 percent, while he threw many more sliders (30.4 to 18.3 in 2005). That indicates he’s lost some velocity on the fastball, making it much more hittable. … The walk rates were very poor in 2008, but they’re usually not great. … He purely got hit around a lot.

Prognostication: One has to think Majewski will improve on his poor 2008, especially if used in a more controlled role with the Phillies. In lower-pressure situations he could flourish, but that remains to be seen. He did look like an OK strikeout pitcher in the spring (along with averages), so expect something better than 2008, but nothing outstanding at all.

2009 Projection: 26.2 IP / 1-1 / 4.72 ERA / 10 BB / 16 K / 0 SV / 1 BS / 1.46 WHIP


2009 Projection: Carlos Carrasco

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Fri, April 03, 2009 05:30 PM Comments: 0

Carlos Carrasco, SP (RHP)
Age: 22

2008 (AA / AAA): 151.1 IP / 9-9 / 3.68 ERA / 58 BB / 155 K / 1 CG / 1.34 WHIP

Summary: The Phillies’ top prospect struggled through double-A for the second-consecutive season, but did fare better than in 2007, but his strikeout rates were much better the second time around. He threw 8.56 K/9 in 2008 before heading for Lehigh Valley and posting a great 11.29 K/9 rating. In triple-A he dominated, recording a 1.72 ERA. In 36.2 triple-A innings he let up 37 hits and just one home run.

Career Level: Learning (Year 4)

Green Flags: Carrasco seems poised to have strong major league numbers, considering his good strikeout rates and improving hit rates. … Scouts claim his changeup is a plus-plus pitch, not on par with Cole Hamels, but very dominate. … His performance in the Venezuelan Winter League (against a lot of AA- and AAA-brand hitters) showed he’s ready to make the jump.

Red Flags: His performance in double-A is slightly alarming, still, since he couldn’t improve on an ERA of 4.32. … At only 22, Carrasco is far ahead his prescribed level (A+/AA), so he may experience hiccups in the majors, once he reaches that level.

Prognostication: Carrasco is likely the seventh or eighth pitcher on the Phillies’ starting depth chart, so he might see some time in the July-August range, if the Phils don’t have too many problems at that level. Could he be in the rotation by September? Sure, but don’t expect it yet. I predict he’ll have his first major league start in 2009, with many another one or two to go along with it. Nothing big.

2009 Projection:
15 IP / 1-0 / 4.80 ERA / 5 BB / 10 K / 0 CG / 1.46 WHIP


2009 Projection: Kyle Kendrick

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Fri, April 03, 2009 03:30 PM Comments: 1

Kyle Kendrick, SP (RHP)
Age: 24 (25, Aug. 26)

2008: 155.2 IP / 11-9 / 5.49 ERA / 57 BB / 68 K / 0 CG / 1.61 WHIP

Summary: Kyle Kendrick had a solid first half, in that he kept the Phils offense in games as he churned out quality or close-to-quality starts. Fourteen of his first 23 starts went six innings or beyond; once he got to start 24, however, Kendrick fell hard. He would only escape the fifth inning twice in his final seven starts, raising his ERA from 4.37 to 5.49. Usually Kendrick was at his worst when one hitter got on base. He’d pace himself, make poor decisions, leave pitches over and get them hit hard. Lefties hit him very hard (.334/.404/.541).

Career Level: Ascent (Year 1)

Green Flags: Kendrick did hold himself together for a long time in 2008, much like all of 2007. So there’s reason to think he can regain that composure. … His ground-to-fly-ball rate improved from 1.48 in 2007 to 1.54 in 2008.

Red Flags: But Kendrick’s liner rates got worse, from 21.1 percent to 27 percent. … Kendrick’s strikeout rates are very poor (3.93 per nine), while his walk rates got much worse in ’08 (3.30 per nine in 2008, after 1.86 per nine in 2007). … His mindset has been to blame for some of his problems, which doesn’t bode well for his future.

Prognostication: Kendrick has fallen to the minor leagues, but might resurface with the Phillies for at least a start or two. If he gets that chance, it’s likely he won’t bomb, but he also won’t do enough to salvage his professional standing. He gets hit far too much, walks far too many hitters and has even more trouble when men get on base. Luck is too much to ask.

2009 Projection: 34.2 IP / 1-2 / 5.52 ERA / 15 BB / 9 K / 0 CG / 1.56 WHIP


2009 Projection: JA Happ

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Fri, April 03, 2009 01:30 PM Comments: 6

JA Happ, SP (LHP)
Age: 26

2008: 31.2 IP / 1-0 / 3.69 ERA / 14 BB / 26 K / 0 CG / 1.33 WHIP

Summary: Getting a little more time to show off, JA Happ proved his mettle with a few fine starts in 2008. He played like most promising rookies, with a fewer than 2:1 K:BB rate and a pretty decent ERA. His 3.98 BB/9 rate was high, and his 7.39 K/9 rate was low, but for a man who led the International League in strikeouts for much of 2008, there isn’t much concern about improvement. He held hitters to an impressive .239 average, handling lefties very well (.209 AVG, .261 OBP).

Career Level: Ascent (Year 1)

Green Flags: The strikeout rates could likely be his worst for a while, as he’ll likely learn major league timing a lot more as he continues. He doesn’t have any more to learn in the minor leagues. … While Happ dominated against lefties, his splits against righties (.247/.344/.312) are actually very, very good, too.

Red Flags: His fly-ball rates were high (42.6 percent compared to 30.9 percent ground balls), so that raises caution. … His walk rate was high, though he is young.

Prognostication: Happ needs to start for a major league team, and it’s likely he’ll finish the season as a regular starter in the Phillies rotation. At this point in his career, he probably could strike out more than 150 hitters in a season and finish with an ERA under 4.00. But I’ll say he rates just above a 4.00 ERA. He is still fresh.

2009 Projection: 118.1 IP / 9-7 / 4.02 ERA / 47 BB / 95 K / 0 CG / 1.38 WHIP


2009 Projection: Chan Ho Park

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Fri, April 03, 2009 11:30 AM Comments: 5

Chan Ho Park, SP (RHP)
Age: 35 (36, June 30)

2008: 95.1 IP / 4-4 / 3.40 ERA / 36 BB / 79 K / 0 CG / 1.40 WHIP

Summary: Spending most of the season in a bullpen, Chan Ho Park actually pitched very well as a starter. He went 1-0 with a 2.16 ERA in 25 innings as a starter (five starts). He struck out 30 and walked eight. As a reliever he recorded a 3.84 ERA in 70.1 innings. Left-handed hitters struck Park well with a .301 average and .399 on-base mark. He also pitched badly outside of Dodger Stadium, recording a 4.50 ERA in 50 innings (comparitively, 2.18 ERA in 45.1 innings in Los Angeles). Park also didn’t pitch well in the second half, recording a 5.04 ERA in 30.1 innings, after being relegated to the bullpen.

Career Level: Descent (Year 3)

Green Flags: Park seemed to have more gusto pitching as a starter, considering his dominant ERA. … Hitters had some trouble smashing line drives off Park, as he threw only them at 18.9 percent. … At the same time, Park had easily his best grounder season, inducing 50.9 percent ground balls and 30.2 percent fly balls. … Park also left 78.2 percent of runners on base, his best mark ever.

Red Flags: You can attribute a lot of Park’s success to luck, especially the runners on base percentage. … The lefty averages stick out like a sore thumb. … Park walked 3.40 batters per nine innings, a lousy rate, though it runs along with his career averages.

Prognostication: Park seems rejuvenated to have another big season or two, but it’ll be touch considering his stuff isn’t completely outstanding. He did work on a changeup that is supposedly turning heads. He’ll give up hits (more than one per inning) and he’ll walk batters, so he’ll need some luck to be strong.

2009 Projection: 134.2 IP / 9-10 / 4.88 ERA / 54 BB / 91 K / 0 CG / 1.51 WHIP

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