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Posts Tagged ‘Phillies Fans’

2014 Player Reviews: Jerome Williams

Posted by Jonathan Nisula, Mon, November 03, 2014 11:00 AM Comments: 11

PHOTO: AP/Chris Carlson

PHOTO: AP/Chris Carlson

The Phillies claimed pitcher Jerome Williams off waivers from the Rangers back on August 10. They needed starting pitching help, and likely didn’t want to go with Sean O’Sullivan for the 5th spot in the rotation.

Williams, however, didn’t appear to be all that good of an option at the time. He posted a 6.71 ERA for the Astros and Rangers up to that point in 2014. Many Phillies fans didn’t even know who he was, had never even heard his name before. We cleared that up, though.

But then something great happened. He was good. Not good-for-a-fifth-starter good, either. He posted a 2.83(!!!) ERA for the Phils in nine starts. The 32 year old averaged just over 6.1 innings and about 2.2 runs (including unearned) per start. For comparison, Cole Hamels averaged between 6.2 and 7.0 innings and exactly two runs per start, and A.J. Burnett averaged just under 6.1 innings and 3.58 runs per start.

Williams, who generally used his fastball and sinker the most, never really pitched that well, despite his outstanding ERA. His K% was just 16.5% and his BB% was 7.4%. League averages for NL starters were 19.5% and 7.1%. His K-BB% was 9.1%, with the league average being 12.4%. Many of his other stats were at or close to league average.

One thing that sticks out, however, was his BABIP. While he was surrendering around the league average in line drives, ground balls, and fly balls, the ones that were in play were turned into outs at a higher rate than average–his BABIP was .257, and the league average was .294. .257 was the 8th-lowest among NL starters with at least 50 innings pitched. Combine that with his solid (8.5%) HR/FB rate, and we’ve got a pretty good explanation for his great ERA, despite his average peripherals.

GRADE: A+

I don’t see how Jerome Williams can receive any other grade. He came to the desperate-for-starting-pitching-help Phillies and gave them all that they could ask for and way more. I would feel pretty comfortable saying that Williams’ performance-to-expectations ratio was the highest on the Phils. He was outstanding, and pitched himself into a new contract in Philadelphia.

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2014 Top Moments: #1 J-Roll Breaks Hit Record

Posted by Jonathan Nisula, Wed, October 29, 2014 12:00 PM Comments: 18

We are finally at our top moment of 2014. This time, we look at when Jimmy Rollins broke the franchise hits record.

We all knew it would happen. Barring injury, Jimmy Rollins was sure to break Mike Schmidt‘s franchise hits record in 2014.

And he did just that.

IMG_3176.JPG

PHOTO: AP

Schmidt’s record was 2,234 hits. J-Roll notched his 2,235th on Saturday, June 14. He lined a single off Edwin Jackson in the 5th inning in front of 31,524 fans at Citizens Bank Park. The game was then delayed while celebrations took place. Schmidt came out and got Jimmy’s bat and gave him a hug. The entire Phillies team also came out to celebrate with J-Roll.

Rollins has been with the club since 2000, and is a potential Hall-of-Famer. He’s been the face of the Phillies for several years, and has given us countless memories. He provides a unique combo of power and speed from the shortstop position, and is an exceptional fielder. He won an MVP in 2007, and is at or near the top in almost every offensive category in Phillies history. This moment is more of a result of what Jimmy has given us over the years, which is a ton. If we did a countdown of top moments of the last 10 years for the Phillies, this one would still be near the top.

This concludes our top moments countdown. Hope you enjoyed! Here are the others.

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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.

PHOTO: AP

PHOTO: AP

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.

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Ken Giles, And The Battle For Closer In 2015

Posted by Jonathan Nisula, Fri, August 29, 2014 11:00 AM Comments: 7

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.

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Byrd On Pace For (Slightly) Historic Season

Posted by Jonathan Nisula, Mon, August 18, 2014 07:00 AM Comments: 17

Marlon+Byrd+Philadelphia+Phillies+v+Texas+Gey0d7AmFRKlIn this forgettable string of baseball games that we are calling the 2014 Phillies season, there is not a single thing we could look at and say “yeah, I’m going to remember this for years and years”. However, things aren’t all bad. The bullpen has been surprisingly strong, and a few hitters have been swinging the bat well–particularly the gentlemen that patrols right field for the Phils.

Marlon Byrd has been one of the most consistent offensive players on the Phillies in 2014, and he’s 36 years old.

Let’s go back to last November. GM Ruben Amaro Jr. signed Byrd to a 2-year contract, and, at the time received a load of criticism. The Phillies needed outfield help, and there were guys like Nelson Cruz still available.

He leads the team in home runs and slugging, and is 2nd on the team in OPS, doubles, and RBI.

He has missed just two(!) of 124 games this season. He’s slashing–at the time of writing this post–.270/.320/.473, has hit 22 home runs, and has 70 RBIs. By the end of the year, he’ll likely have somewhere around 28 home runs and 90 RBI.  A season with those numbers, at his age, would be among the best seasons all time for the Phillies.

The last time we saw something like this was in 2009 when Raul Ibanez had a monster season offensively. He hit 34 home runs and collected 93 RBI that year, when he was 37. Prior to that, we haven’t seen anything like this since Hall-Of-Famer Mike Schmidt had back-to-back years of 35+ home runs and 113+ RBI in 1986 and 1987. Beyond Ibanez and Schmidt, the only other player in Phils history to reach 28 home runs and 90 RBI at age 36 or older was Cy Williams in 1927.

That’s three players, one of which is an all-time great. If Byrd can manage to tally 6 more home runs and 20 more RBI in the final month and a half of the season, which should be easily attainable at his current pace, he’ll join them.  And if he does (or even if he doesn’t), it’ll go down as one of the few bright spots in an otherwise dreadful season for the Phillies.

 

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Phillies Pushing Away Hall of Fame Level Shortstop

Posted by Pat Egan, Wed, March 19, 2014 08:05 AM Comments: 47

Is Rollins a HOF'er like Jeter? (AP)

Is Rollins a HOF’er like Jeter? (AP)

It’s no secret; Phillies franchise shortstop Jimmy Rollins and new manager Ryne Sandberg don’t like each other very much.

Sandberg sent a message by benching Rollins this spring and gave a “no comment” when asked if Rollins was a positive influence on the team. The latest in the Rollins saga is that the front office is wondering if the team would be better off by trading Rollins and appeasing its new manager.

A trade for Rollins seems unlikely as he has a full no trade clause, and likely only wants to play for a west coast teams, none of which have a need at the current position.

If Rollins was eventually moved, the Phillies would be trading away the best shortstop in franchise history. But would they also be trading away a future hall of famer?

Initially, most Phillies fans would say no. I put a poll up asking the public their thoughts on the matter and 62% said no. Whether personal feelings or beliefs play a role in that is unknown.

However, baseball is a game about numbers, and when you look at the numbers James Calvin Rollins has certainly put himself in the conversation.

The not-so-storied franchise that’s been around since 1883 has seen quite a few solid shortstops in its time, and Jimmy Rollins is the best of the bunch. Better than Larry Bowa, better than the Whiz Kids’ Grammy Hamner. Yes, Jimmy Rollins is the best shortstop in franchise history. The diminutive shortstop from Oakland, California holds every offensive record for short stops. At bats, games played hits, runs, doubles, and triples, all. He owns all of them. But let’s move away from the SS and move to the team as a whole.

When it comes to Phillies team records Rollins is also at the top, or close to it. Rollins is second all-time in games played, and 2nd all-time in at bats (a record he will likely pass this year as he is only 262 at bats behind Mike Schmidt). He is 3rd in runs scored, and has a chance to move into second place. Of course, he would need his contract extension to vest. He’s 4th in franchise history in hits, and will pass all those in front of him, including Mike Schmidt, when he gets hit No. 60 this season. He’s the all-time leader in doubles, 3rd in triples, second in stolen bases, and is in the top 10 for homeruns, runs batted in, and walks.

Continue reading Phillies Pushing Away Hall of Fame Level Shortstop

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Prospect Nation 2014: #2 LHP Jesse Biddle

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sun, March 16, 2014 06:00 PM Comments: 3

Jesse Biddle, Image- Jay Floyd

In recent years, Jesse Biddle has become the prospect that Phillies fans have heard the most about.  This year though, the hometown kid may go from highly touted prospect to major league rookie and the stuff that Philadelphia faithful have heard will be on display at the top level of the sport every five days.

Upon signing his first pro contract, Biddle quickly made his minor league debut, beginning his journey toward donning the uniform of the team he cheered on from the seats of Citizens Bank Park all throughout his teenage years. The graduate of Germantown Friends School in Philadelphia combined to post a 4-1 record with a 3.92 ERA and a .241 batting average against in 12 starts with the rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies and the short-season Class A Williamsport Crosscutters in 2010.

The following year, Biddle became an All-Star in the Class A South Atlantic League as a member of the Lakewood BlueClaws. As the team’s most dependable starter through much of the season, Biddle posted a 7-8 record with a 2.98 ERA in 25 games (24 starts) and notched 124 strike outs in 133 innings pitched. Also, he held opponents to a .219 batting average.

In 2012, Biddle had a very good season, representing the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers in the Florida State League All-Star Game.  That season he sported a 10-6 record with a 3.22 ERA, a 9.53 K/9 mark and a .237 batting average against.

He followed that up with another All-Star campaign in 2013 for Double-A Reading. Continue reading Prospect Nation 2014: #2 LHP Jesse Biddle

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Who Will Be the Fifth Starter?

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Wed, March 12, 2014 04:00 PM Comments: 11

Cole Hamels took the mound Wednesday morning to throw a bullpen session to gauge how his shoulder is feeling. Because of Hamels’ injury, there is a vacated spot in the Phillies’ rotation. Here are the leading candidates to take that spot and how they are doing two weeks into Spring Training.

The Front-Runner

Jeff Manship

In three outings, Manship has posted a 1.29 ERA over seven innings pitched with six strikeouts. Manship is a five-year Major League vet who relies on an 89 MPH fastball with an 80 MPH curve and an 84 MPH change-up to get hitters out. The lack of separation between his fastball and change-up scares me a bit, as does his career 6.42 ERA. But make no mistake about it, Manship has played his way into the conversation and the role as the front-runner.

Stock is Rising

David Buchanan

Buchanan, 24, was a relative unknown quantity by most Phillies’ fans headed into this season. Drawing frequent comparisons to Kyle Kendrick, Buchanan will strike out about 5.6 batters per 9 IP but issue a couple free passes as well. After throwing three scoreless innings yesterday against the Braves, Buchanan’s stock is rising. Buchanan has a 1.50 ERA in 6 IP across three outings.

Stock is Falling

Sean O’Sullivan

Since making his debut at age 21 with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in 2009, O’Sullivan has battled frequent bouts of injury and inconsistency in the Major Leagues. Yesterday’s performance (6 ER in 2.2 IP) may be a red-flag that the inconsistency is on its way. O’Sullivan’s spring ERA now sits at 7.04 ERA.

Dark Horse

Mario Hollands

Hollands, 25, is making the most of an opportunity in Phillies’ camp as a non-roster invite. Old for his level from 2010 through 2012, Hollands counting stats weren’t very good, earning himself a return trip to Clearwater in 2013 after reaching Triple-A Lehigh Valley at age 23 in 2012. Hollands has impressed in camp, though, pitching 6.1 innings with a 1.42 ERA striking out five.

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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.

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Halladay Leaves in 1st Inning with Arm Fatigue

Posted by Pat Gallen, Mon, September 23, 2013 07:51 PM Comments: 23

APTOPIX Phillies Marlins BaseballAfter just 16 pitches, Rich Dubee ran to the mound to check on Roy Halladay. There was nothing to be said. Halladay’s night, and possibly his career, was through.

Ryne Sandberg joined Dubee and after a few words spoken between the men on the mound, Halladay walked to the dugout with his head down, his face red, dripping with sweat. The Phillies are calling it right arm fatigue.

From the moment he took the mound, Halladay had little to give. His maximum effort was an 83 mph fastball.

And is there something more to it? Halladay has looked noticeably frail over the past few seasons, starting with his outing in Chicago a few seasons ago when he left with heat exhaustion.

The question becomes, what now? If this is the final time we’ve seen Halladay take the mound, it’s certainly not how he – or Phillies fans for that matter – envisioned the end. But it is a sad reality. Halladay’s arm, with over 40,000 regular season pitches on it, has seem better days.  Are there any more pitches left to be thrown?

 

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