Posts Tagged ‘Bullpen’

Phillies add 4 to 40-man roster; Giles trade next?

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Fri, November 20, 2015 03:51 PM Comments: 33

PHOTO: (AP/Chris Szagola)

PHOTO: (AP/Chris Szagola)

The Phillies just made a move, opting to add the following players to the 40-man roster:

  • Jimmy Cordero – RHP, 24; 45 G, 2.55 ERA, 64 K, 24 BB in 2015 (A+/AA)
  • Edubray Ramos – RHP, 22; 47 G, 2.07 ERA, 65 K, 16 BB in 2015 (A+/AA)
  • Roman Quinn – OF, 22; 58 G, .306/.356/.435, 16 XBH, 42 K, 18 BB, 29 SB in 2015 (AA)

They also claimed right-handed relief pitcher A.J. Achter off waivers. Achter (it’s pronounced OCK-ter, so that would be an easy thing for Phillies fans to say), who is 27, recorded a 6.75 ERA in 13 relief innings for the Twins in 2015. He struck out 14 and walked six. For AAA Rochester he had a 2.62 ERA with 47 strikeouts and 13 walks.

Since they’re on the 40-man roster, these four are protected for the Rule 5 Draft, meaning teams cannot select them (like we did with Odubel Herrera last year from Texas). Quinn is a top prospect and may get to Philadelphia during the 2016 season. Left unprotected, however, are prospects Carlos Tocci and Miguel Tirado (pitcher acquired with Cordero in the Ben Revere trade). Todd Zolecki, however, says it’s unlikely those two will be selected.

We’re counting on you, Todd.

And that’s a different conversation, anyway.

This one is about the bullpen. The following relievers are now on the 40-man roster:

So we’re saying there’s depth there. Of course, fringe starters like Alec Asher, David Buchanan and Severino Gonzalez also could qualify for bullpen innings, so there’s no shortage of relief arms prepared to pitch for the Phils in 2016.

That’s a good thing, considering the Phillies don’t need to acquire any relief pitcher through free agency. In fact if they do, it’s a pretty worthless endeavor. The Phils are supposed to be bad next year, and bringing in a reliever for more than, say $2 million for more than, say, one year, is an illogical move.

A betting person might say next year’s bullpen starts with Giles, Gomez, Neris and Garcia. You’d carry at least one lefty and maybe two (Araujo, Hollands the favorites here). The seventh spot would more than likely go to a long man candidate (Gonzalez, Asher).

But anything can happen still, including – and I’d put odds at 35/65 not happening – trading Giles.

Considering the Padres received a substantial return for Craig Kimbrel, and considering there’s a hubbub over free agent closers like Darren O’Day, the Phillies should hold Giles for at least one top prospect, or two high-ceiling prospects, at least. Giles doesn’t have Kimbrel or O’Day’s track records yet, but he is young, cheap and shows no signs of struggling too badly.

I’m definitively in the perspective that if the right offer is there, the Phillies need to deal Giles. It’s great having a young and very possibly elite closer for many years, but there are numerous ways to build an effective bullpen. Ask Kansas City. Ask San Francisco. Ask St. Louis. Heck, ask the 2009 Phillies with a lackluster Brad Lidge. You don’t need a clear-cut closer to be successful.

Giles has high value right now, and it may never be higher. If the Phils can score a future everyday player for him, it’s no contest.

The 2016 Phillies bullpen, with or without Giles, should manage, long as there’s quality depth. And today there is quality depth up there.


Jonathan Papelbon, And Why You Should Appreciate Him

Posted by Jonathan Nisula, Thu, May 14, 2015 09:45 AM Comments: 4



Last night, Jonathan Papelbon recorded his 113th save for the Phillies, passing Jose Mesa for the franchise record. It wasn’t any ordinary save, though. After walking Francisco Cervelli to begin the inning, a throwing error on a pickoff attempt allowed pinch runner Steve Lombardozzi to reach third with just one out. Two pitches later, Jordy Mercer hit a fly ball in foul territory that looked like it could be a game-tying sacrifice fly. Jeff Francoeur had other ideas, as his monster of a throw home ended the game with a double play. It was an incredible way to get the record. Papelbon even said in his post game interview “what just happened?”

Now, 113 saves with one team is a lot. Brad Lidge had 100 with the Phils. Tug McGraw had 98, Ricky Bottalico had 78. Ryan Madson had 52. As far as Phillies closers go, Lidge, Tug, and Papelbon are all at the top. But only one of those guys makes Phillies fans blood boil. Continue reading Jonathan Papelbon, And Why You Should Appreciate Him


2014 Top Moments: #4 Ben Revere’s First Home Run

Posted by Jonathan Nisula, Thu, October 23, 2014 10:05 AM Comments: 6

We are continuing with our 2014 Top Moments countdown, this time taking a look back at Ben Revere‘s first MLB home run.



Ben Revere had over 1,400 major league at-bats coming into the game against the Rockies on May 27. There were 23,159 in paid attendance that night at Citizens Bank Park, but an hour-and-22 minute rain delay subsequently caused fans to leave and the stadium to be nearly empty.

Revere had grounded out three straight times–one to first and two to third. Coming into his fourth at-bat in the seventh, the situation was this: The Rockies had just taken the lead on a three-run home run by Wilin Rosario. Revere, the second batter of the inning, was facing lefty Boone Logan, who was usually pretty darn good against lefties–a 1.71 ERA and 1.58 xFIP against lefties in 2013.

It was a 1-1 count, and Logan threw an 91-MPH inside fastball. Revere turned on it perfectly, sending it over the right field fence into the first row. As expected, the entire Phillies dugout ignored him at first before celebrating. It broke the longest homerless drought for an MLB player since Frank Tavares for the Pirates in the 70′s.

ESPN’s home run tracker had the home run at 357 feet, and, in the part of the ballpark it was, would’ve been a home run in just six MLB ballparks. What makes his home run even more surprising, outside of the fact that he’s never hit one before, is that he doesn’t usually have success hitting the ball to right field. Most of his success is up the middle or to left field. He also doesn’t typically hit fly balls, as the majority of his hits are grounders or line drives. He even said that he “usually gets in trouble” when he hits fly balls. Here’s a chart from Fangraphs:

Source: FanGraphs

Over his career, he has a .178 average on fly balls, a .242 average on grounders, and a .676 average on liners. For comparison, the MLB average in 2014 was .202 on flies, .212 on grounders, and .712 on liners. Revere hits .280 when pulling the ball (2014 MLB average .319), .327 when hitting it up the middle (2014 MLB average .324), and .358 to the opposite field (2014 MLB average .298).

Revere would go on to hit another home run, this time against the Nationals on September 5. This home run tied the game for the Phillies in the top of the ninth–a game they would eventually win. It traveled 401 feet–would’ve been out in all 30 ballparks–and came off of Washington’s closer Rafael Soriano.

His two home runs ended up being a part of a special season for Revere, who would compete for the NL batting title and finish with 49 stolen bases. His first home run was a treat for Phillies fans, and a sigh of relief for Revere, who was just waiting for that moment to happen. He said he wants to get 400 more, but somehow I don’t think that will happen.


The Phillies Bullpen is Really Good

Posted by Jonathan Nisula, Thu, September 11, 2014 10:00 AM Comments: 8

tabs-bullpenThe 2014 Phillies season is nearing its end, and barring a disastrous September, the Phils should end up with more wins than 2013. Part of the reason is due to the offense scoring slightly more runs per game–3.96 in 2014, 3.77 in 2013–but the pitching staff as a whole has done much better, as well. They are allowing 4.34 runs per game, compared to 4.62 in 2013, and their ERA is 48 points lower than last year (3.84 in 2014, 4.32 in 2013).

The starters, as a whole, have a lower ERA than 2013–3.96 to 4.41–but their other stats don’t much support that. They are walking more hitters and notching less strikeouts, both which support the fact that their FIP (Fielder Independent Pitching) is actually slightly higher than last year’s.

The bullpen, however, is a different story. They surrender less walks and strike out more batters, and both their ERA and FIP are lower than last year’s. Still, the bullpen’s ERA is only 11th in the NL, and their FIP is 7th. So what makes them good, exactly?

The answer is in their top four guys: Jonathan Papelbon, Ken Giles, Jake Diekman, and Justin De Fratus.

Giles and Papelbon are especially good. They both have outstanding ERA’s, and rarely allow baserunners. But they are also really good at avoiding the home run. They are the only two reliever teammates in NL history (min 39 IP each) to have an ERA below 1.61, a WHIP below 0.87, and a HR/9 below 0.30. And there are only 12 such player seasons that meet that criteria. The Phillies have two of them in the same season.

Giles has a 1.13 ERA with a 0.81 WHIP, and Papelbon has a 1.61 ERA with a 0.86 WHIP. If we bump those numbers up to a 3.74 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP, the Phillies would be tied for third in the NL with four such players.

The problem is that three out of seven players with at least 23 innings pitched for the Phillies in relief have ERA’s above four. And then there’s guys like Phillippe Aumont and Luis Garcia, who’ve thrown only a handful of innings, but have given up a bunch of earned runs.

The top six relievers in innings pitched for the Phillies (Diekman, Papelbon, Bastardo, De Fratus, Hollands, and Giles) have a combined 3.45 ERA. The rest? 6.46–a steep dropoff.

So while the team stats may lead you to believe that the bullpen is near the bottom of the NL, that isn’t the case. The top four guys in the ‘pen are right up there with the NL leaders, and the top two are having a historical season together. The 2015 bullpen is looking mighty strong.


Ken Giles, And The Battle For Closer In 2015

Posted by Jonathan Nisula, Fri, August 29, 2014 11:00 AM Comments: 6

PHOTO: (AP/Chris Szagola)

PHOTO: (AP/Chris Szagola)

Ken Giles has been good this year. Really good. The 23 year old, flamethrowing reliever was called up on June 8 after Mike Adams was placed on the disabled list with shoulder issues. Giles had a 1.88 ERA and 12 saves in the minors for Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley prior to the call up.

He was only expected to fill in for Adams and provide some spark in the late innings ahead of Jonathan Papelbon.

But he’s done so much more.

In 32 appearances and 33.2 innings, Giles has given up just six runs–five earned, good for an ERA of 1.34. He doesn’t give up many home runs (0.27 per 9), and doesn’t allow much contact–battersare making contact at a rate 67.4% against him, 4th in the NL. He has a 5.33 K/BB ratio, which is 8th in the NL (relievers, min 30 IP), and largely due to his absurd amount (48) of strikeouts. Among NL relievers with at least 30 innings pitched, both his K/9 (12.83) and his K% (38.1%) are in the top five. An interesting and unrelated note–Jake Diekman is right up there with Giles in both those categories.

Giles has an average velocity of 97.1 on his fastball, second in MLB to only cyborg Aroldis Chapman of the Reds. He also throws a nasty slider, and, according to PITCHf/x data, is the 16th most valuable in the league. 32 of his 48 strikeouts (two thirds) have come via the slider, and opponents are hitting just .137/.154/.157 against it. He’s given up just one extra base hit in 208 sliders thrown (0.48%).

The fastball-slider combo reminds me of another Phillies closer–Brad Lidge. His fastball velocity hovered around 95 MPH before he began to lose it (the average fell to about 89 MPH by 2011) and his slider was valued at 4th in all of baseball from 2007-2011. About 81.8% of his strikeouts came via his slider, and opponents hit just .190/.251/.301 against it. They’d only make contact on 54.8% of swings against it, and hit just 35 extra base hits in 2202 total pitches seen (1.6%).

PHOTO: (AP/Laurence Kesterson)

PHOTO: (AP/Laurence Kesterson)

The current closer for the Phillies–Jonathan Papelbon–has been as good as ever in 2014. He has an ERA of 1.60 (11th in NL), a K/BB ratio of 4.15 (21st in NL, and a fastball valued at 4th best in the NL. Many of his numbers this year are somewhere near his career bests, even though his fastball velocity is down. I should also mention that a few of his numbers are somewhere near his career lows as well. He gets a lot of flack for his comments to the media and his slow pace on the mound, but there’s no denying he’s been good this year.

But what about next year? The Phillies have been openly trying to trade Papelbon, or “Cinco Ocho”, as he likes to call himself–no no avail. In that article, Ken Rosenthal ponders that the lack of interest in Papelbon might be due to his falling velocity and his personality, but that GM Ruben Amaro Jr. doesn’t think so.

Regardless, the Phillies will have to make a decision on Papelbon for next year, because Giles seems ready to take over at closer and I don’t think it’s likely that Papelbon can continue to pitch at this level. If they want to go with Giles, they will have to get rid of Papelbon in some capacity, whether it be via trade or release, because Papelbon will not want to be a setup man, even though he’s really helped groom Giles this year.

I think Giles deserves it, and I think Papelbon will regress next year, and has rubbed Phillies fans the wrong way too often for the Phillies to sell him as the closer over Giles in 2015.


Why The Phillies Failed At The Trade Deadline

Posted by Jonathan Nisula, Fri, August 01, 2014 08:00 AM Comments: 34

Mo Money Mo Problems

Yesterday, the 4 PM MLB trade deadline came and went without a single move by the Phillies. Marlon Byrdthe player thought to be the most likely to be dealt, and the one who should have been dealt for at least something, didn’t go anywhere. A.J. Burnett wasn’t traded, and neither were Jonathan Papelbon, Cliff Lee, or Cole Hamels.

Around the league, Jon Lester was traded along with Jonny Gomes to the Athletics for Yoenis Cespedes. David Price was traded to the Tigers in a three team deal. John Lackey was sent to the Cardinals, and Martin Prado to the Yankees. The Phillies? Nada.

Continue reading Why The Phillies Failed At The Trade Deadline


Phillies Player Review: Jake Diekman

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Mon, September 30, 2013 06:00 AM Comments: 12

Diekman was one of few bright spots for the Phillies’ 2013 bullpen.

The Phillies wrapped up their 2013 season yesterday, finishing 27th in bullpen ERA, 28th in FIP (defined here), 28th in xFIP (defined here), and 29th in BB/9 IP. To say the bullpen was brutal would be an understatement. The 2013 Phils used 51 players, 21 of which were relievers.


To add insult to injury, the arms the Phillies had hoped to develop in 2013, including Phillippe Aumont, Michael Stutes, and J.C. Ramirez to name a few, spun out. Well, except for Jake Diekman.

Continue reading Phillies Player Review: Jake Diekman


Phillies Season Ends with Ugly Loss to Braves

Posted by Pat Gallen, Sun, September 29, 2013 05:22 PM Comments: 46

The Phillies season ends at 73 wins, 89 losses after an ugly 12-5 defeat in the finale against the Atlanta Braves. It’s the most losses in a season since they hit 97 losses in 2000.

On the opposite end, the Atlanta Braves, winners of the NL East, finish the year 96-66.

On this day, the Phillies would be undone by the fact that their bullpen had to pitch the entire game again. Zach Miner started and allowed five runs and seven hits in 2 1/3 innings. Cesar Jimenez and JC Ramirez came in and gave up five more runs.

Erik Kratz hit his 9th home run of the season; Chase Utley had two hits.

The outcome of this game obviously meant nothing other than another notch in the win or loss column. What is does mean is that the Phillies are in a world of trouble heading into the 2014 season, unless Ruben Amaro Jr. can get crafty.

Looking ahead, it would appear many of the players currently on the roster would be back. Ryne Sandberg is already in place as the manager, but his coach staff is still relatively unknown. There is a belief that Rich Dubee could be on the way out as the Phillies transition to a new regime. But other than that, what moves can be made?

There’s always next year, as the old adage goes. All Phillies fans can look forward to is an offseason of hope and some nice player movement, and then Spring Training. See you in March.


Phillies Nation TV: 2013 Season Finale

Posted by Brian Michael, Thu, September 26, 2013 07:25 AM Comments: 0

Call your friends, this is the season finale of Phillies Nation!

Pat and Corey deliver year-end report cards to the entire Phillies team – lineup, bench, starting pitchers and bullpen – and give their thoughts on who will be back next season.

Eric Seidman joins the guys and offers an interesting idea to trade one the Phillies best players. He also explains why trading Ryan Howard is not an immediate possibility.

Natalie reports from the Citizens Bank Park parking lots before the final Phillies home game and asks tailgating fans their biggest disappointment of the 2013 season and also what they’re looking forward to most in 2014. The answers are all over the map.

Ryann Williams has the final round of reader questions before she heads off to vie for the title of Miss Pennsylvania this offseason. This week and every week the fan question segment is presented by the good people at BQ Basement Systems, experts at basement waterproofing.

Thanks for watching all season online and on Comcast. We always want to hear your feedback and ideas for the show, so please leave them here.


Young, Frandsen Key Comeback Win For Phils

Posted by Alex Lee, Fri, August 30, 2013 05:34 PM Comments: 6

Michael Young provided the game-winning hit on Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field.

Michael Young provided the game-winning hit on Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field.

The Phillies stormed back from a five-run deficit to beat the Cubs 6-5 at Wrigley Field on Friday afternoon in Ryne Sandberg‘s managerial debut in his old stomping grounds.  Michael Young had the decisive hit, a two-out flare into right field in the ninth inning that scored Roger Bernadina and put the Phillies up for good.  The go-ahead single was the exclamation point on a great day for Young.  Starting at third, Young tallied four hits, two RBIs and scored a run.  It was the second time this season the Phillies have come from five behind to win, the first time being on June 14 in Colorado.

The Cubs jumped on a wild and ineffective Roy Halladay early to take a 5-0 lead.  The Phillies offense, behind two big Kevin Frandsen hits, came to life in the sixth and seventh innings while the bullpen shut down the Cubs over the game’s final four innings to seal the win.  Jonathan Papelbon nailed down his 23rd save of the season in the ninth.


- In short, Halladay looked awful on Friday afternoon in an outing that was very reminiscent of the worrisome starts we saw from him in March and April.  For the day, Doc lasted only five innings, giving up five runs on seven hits and two walks.  He lacked command with all of his pitches, and his fastball sat between 85-87 miles-per-hour throughout the start.  He threw 77 pitches, only 48 of which went for strikes.  Not good.

- While he only gave up one run in the first three innings – an Anthony Rizzo wind-aided home run in the first – Doc was more effectively wild than he was effective in the early going.  Eventually it would catch up with him, as Nate Schierholtz hit a screaming liner over the right field fence to lead off the fourth to make it 2-0.  The Cubs added five more hits and a walk in the next two innings – the biggest of which was a two-run Starlin Castro double – to make it 5-0 through five. Continue reading Young, Frandsen Key Comeback Win For Phils

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