Posts Tagged ‘Youngsters’

Cameron Rupp Ready for Next Level

Posted by Jay Floyd, Tue, September 03, 2013 01:30 PM Comments: 2

Cameron Rupp, Image- Jay Floyd

Over the weekend, Cameron Rupp sat in the players’ lounge area of the Coca Cola Park clubhouse watching the Phillies on television. On Tuesday, he’ll be in the clubhouse at Citizens Bank Park for his first major league game.

Rupp, the Phillies’ third round draft choice in 2010 out of the University of Texas, was among a collection of youngsters that was added to the big league roster as September call-ups this week. The strong defending 24-year-old is up for the challenge.

This season, Rupp posted a career high in home runs, with 14, splitting time with the Double-A Reading Fightins and the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs. Additionally, Rupp sported a .258 average and drove in 45 runs in 94 total games this year. The righty batting Texan, pleased with his own progress this year, had his eyes set on higher levels for much of the season.

“I knew the situation I was in, sharing time with (Sebastian) Valle in Reading and with Tommy (Joseph) being (in Lehigh Valley), you know, I don’t want to see anybody get hurt, but as soon as Tommy went down, that was kind of a goal of mine, to keep going and play and, hopefully, get an opportunity to go up and take advantage of it,” Rupp said, referencing the Phillies’ other well-known catching prospects. Continue reading Cameron Rupp Ready for Next Level


Could Phils Bullpen be Tops in NL?

Posted by Pat Gallen, Mon, January 14, 2013 03:10 PM Comments: 19

Can Aumont be a deadly third option? (Delcotimes.com)

With the addition of Mike Adams, a solid, veteran relief pitcher who has been one of the best in the game for a few years, at the back end of the bullpen, things are looking up for the Phillies.

In the first half of last season, Charlie Manuel was doing all he could to find the best bridge to Papelbon, and it wasn’t working. Now, adding Adams to the mix of talented, youthful arms, and the steady force of Papelbon, could make this one of the best bullpens in the National League.

Could it be THE best?

It’s unlikely to be, but they have a shot. Of course, so much hinges on the youngsters. However, more hinges on the fact that the Braves have strengthened their pen. They added Jordan Walden in a deal with the LA Angels, dealing starter Tommy Hanson. Walden will join the already loaded back-end that features Eric O’Flaherty, Johnny Venters, and the unhittable Craig Kimbrel.

Washington has their own group of decent RP’s like Henry Rodriguez, Tyler Clippard, Craig Stammen, and Drew Storen.

Depending on what they do with Aroldis Chapman, the Reds bullpen could still be one of the finest.

Last year, after that ugly first half, the Phillies relief pitchers settled down and finished 10th in the NL in ERA at 3.94, but a very respectable 5th in batting average against at .231.

A lot of pressure will weigh on guys like Aumont and De Fratus to continue their maturation. But with guys like Adams and Papelbon anchoring the ship, it should absolutely be a more fruitful 2013 in the late innings.


Perlozzo, Mackanin, Gross All Fired by Phillies

Posted by Pat Gallen, Wed, October 03, 2012 05:28 PM Comments: 41

The Phillies are cleaning house.

The will not renew the contracts of coaches Sam Perlozzo, Pete Mackanin, and Greg Gross for 2013. That could pave the way for Ryne Sandberg to be promoted to the big league club in an undetermined role. Juan Samel and Rich Dubee are staying with the Phillies, as of now.

Charlie Manuel has stated he will be back in 2013, so look for Sandberg to become the bench coach or hitting coach, preparing him to take over in 2014 as the Phillies new manager.

Back in April I wrote this:

It’s clear the hitting coach has no effect on this team whatsoever. Milt Thompson couldn’t reach them when the demise began, Greg Gross is doing less. Really, they’re in a tough position. Gross doesn’t have the ability to tell players that have been doing it their way for a decade (or more) to change their approach. Would Ryne be able to get through to them and at least help stop this offense from trending downward?

I don’t believe it will help, but perhaps a move like that will show the paying customer that the team is willing to do whatever it can to win. Maybe a Hall of Famer speaking lends more credence than a guy who made his living as a reserve? Hard to say.

I’d like to see Sandberg in time, but I don’t know that the time is now. He’s doing a hell of a job teaching the youngsters and keeping the Iron Pigs as one of the better programs in triple-A. Keep an eye on this.

As for the bunch fired, Perlozzo had been with the Phillies since 2009, Mackanin also since 2009, and Gross since mid-season 2010.


Phils Should Pursue Mike Adams For Real This Time

Posted by Corey Seidman, Thu, August 09, 2012 03:02 PM Comments: 37

The Phillies’ bullpen has been an unmitigated disaster in 2012.

Just look at these numbers:

MLB Rank
19 27th
Blown Saves
Blown Ties

Groundball %


HR per 9 IP

The unit is better with the addition of Josh Lindblom, but the ‘pen still lacks a true eighth-inning reliever or a specialist from either side.

Hopes were high for Antonio Bastardo, but the pitcher we saw for the first five months of 2011 is gone, probably never to return. Bastardo since Sept. 1, 2011 has a 6.39 ERA, a 1.51 WHIP and 28 walks in 43.2 innings. He can’t throw strike one… he’s done it to just 83 of the 158 batters he’s faced this year.

What is the Phillies’ answer here? Do they sign a reliever or two this winter? Do they stick with the young guns?

Solving bullpen problems isn’t easy. Teams throw money around every winter at relievers coming off good and sometimes lucky seasons. Other clubs hope their homegrown parts develop. The Phillies took both approaches this season, paying a ton of money to one man (Jonathan Papelbon) and keeping the rest of the pen inexpensive with youngsters.

It hasn’t worked.

A free agent after the season, Mike Adams from 2009-11 had a 1.42 ERA and a 0.85 WHIP.

Look at all the games given away by early-year setup men Chad Qualls and Bastardo. Now imagine if that role was occupied by Ryan Madson or Mike Adams.

Both are free agents this winter. Madson is recovering from Tommy John surgery that will prevent him from making a single appearance this season for the Reds. Adams hasn’t been completely untouchable in Texas as he was in San Diego, but he still has a 2.97 ERA and decent strikeout and walk numbers.

The Phillies have money to spend this off-season, thanks to the deadline trade of Hunter Pence. They can afford to give Adams a three-year deal in the $18-21 million range, and that just might be the best option.

Before the new-wavy baseball community jumps down my throat for the mere suggestion that actual money should be spent on an actual reliever, consider the following points…

An 8th-9th inning combination of Adams and Papelbon would instantly be one of three-best back ends of a bullpen in either league. Adams from 2009-11 had a 1.42 ERA, a 0.85 WHIP and 192 strikeouts to 45 walks in 177.2 innings.

If you sign Adams to that type of deal, you’d have $19-20 million committed to two relievers, but you wouldn’t need to spend money anywhere else in the ‘pen. You could move forward with Papelbon and Adams, then piece together the rest of the relief corps with Lindblom, Bastardo and choices from the Diekman-De Fratus-Schwimer-Stutes-Herndon group. Sign a lefty specialist for about $1 million and you’re set.

Yes, Adams is 34 years old. But he’s a relief pitcher. These guys age differently. The best years of Darren Oliver’s career came in his age 36-40 seasons. And Adams has significantly less wear-and-tear than most elite relievers – he made only 61 major-league appearances before turning 29.

You also have to look at this winter’s free-agent class. You can spend money on an upgrade in center field, but there is practically nothing to choose from at third base and nothing worth splurging on in a corner outfield position. Considering that the only real way to upgrade third base is through a trade, would you complain if the Phillies’ two biggest signings this winter were Michael Bourn and Adams?

As far as interest goes, we know the Phillies have wanted Adams in the past. They pursued him at the 2011 trade deadline before unloading four prospects for Pence.

After what we’ve seen this season, you simply cannot overlook the need to vastly improve this bullpen. And Ruben Amaro has to be proactive… you can’t waste another year with this core hoping that young, unproven relievers pitch well. Ordinarily, I would never condone spending $19-20 million on two relievers. But the Papelbon hole has already been dug, and the Phils still need more help.

If you don’t want to commit that much money to Adams, there’s still Madson. He’ll have to take a lesser deal coming off Tommy John surgery and is really in no position to demand a closing job. The problem is that the Phillies have bad blood with Madson’s camp, most notably Scott Boras, after their reported handshake agreement for a four-year, $44 million contract fell through last winter. Unless the Phillies’ offer far exceeds what he can find anywhere else, it’s hard to imagine a scorned Madson coming back.

The top of the Phillies’ roster is still excellent, and it puts them in position to compete in 2013 if certain holes are filled and bad luck turns back to middling or good luck.

But the market dictates which holes can be filled, and Amaro won’t be able to solve every problem this off-season.

You can solve center field and the bullpen, so those should be the two priorities. And if you’re going to bring in outside help, you might as well pay for the best option.

I’d commit that money to Mike Adams to hold all the leads the Phillies lost this year in the eighth inning. Would you?


Free Baseball Not Friendly To Phils

Posted by Kieran Carobine, Fri, May 04, 2012 11:35 PM Comments: 20

The Phillies took Strasburg deep twice, it just wasn't enough.

There is indeed something special about these Washington Nationals. They remind me a lot of the Phillies when they finally gave into the call for the youngsters.  The Phillies fought back all night but ultimately fell short 4-3 in the 11th inning.

Strasburg’ed – Hunter Pence homered off Stephen Strasburg in the fourth inning to give the Phillies a 2-0 lead.  It was the first home run given up by Strasburg since August 2010.  Carlos Ruiz, who has been on an absolute tear, also took the righty deep in the fifth inning.  Ruiz’s fifth home run of the year gave the Phillies a 3-1 lead.

KKKyle Kendrick, making another start in place of injured Cliff Lee, pitched very efficiently for five innings of work.  He allowed only one run on seven hits and struck out two.  The radar gun had him topping our at 94 tonight.  But then again it says Nats reliever Henry Rodriguez was hitting triple digits, so who knows.

Continue reading Free Baseball Not Friendly To Phils


Phillies Nation TV: Utley, Clearwater, Prospects

Posted by Pat Gallen, Sun, April 01, 2012 12:32 PM Comments: 31

On the latest edition of Phillies Nation TV, we talk, who else, Chase Utley. What’s with the lack of communication within the organization? Kind of odd that Ruben Amaro says one thing, Utley another. We discuss.

Also, I got a chance to talk with John Timberlake (yes, Justin’s uncle), the Clearwater Threshers GM and Director of Florida Operations. We discussed looking over the youngsters and expanding on Bright House Field.

Also, questions and comments with the lovely Natalie Egenolf. Plus, fan reactions from Clearwater that are hilarious.



Will David Herndon be a Bullpen Mainstay?

Posted by Pat Gallen, Fri, October 21, 2011 10:09 AM Comments: 10

When it comes to the bullpen, all anyone will talk about is Ryan Madson. Rightfully so, he could be on his way out after an incredible eight-year run with the Phillies. If Madson leaves, it’ll be up to the youngsters in the Phillies bullpen to make up the difference. Sure, Ruben Amaro may bring someone else in, but this youth movement for the relief corps will eventually take center stage whether or not Madson is around to be a part of it.

Bastardo, Stutes, Schwimer, De Fratus, and Savery could all play a role next year. One guy that’s always overlooked is David Herndon.

Even with a strong finish to the season, Herndon always seems to go unnoticed. Over his final 20 appearances, Herndon gave up just four earned runs in 25 1/3 innings (1.42 ERA), even though a few of those games were still a little bit shaky. The 2011 season was a step in the right direction for a guy who barely stood a chance with this fanbase a year ago.

In 2010, Herndon’s struggled with his confidence and it was downhill from there. That season, Herndon could not piece together a solid string of games until it was too late. He had a decent September of 2010, but the damage had been done well before that. Every time he pitched, people cringed at the thought. It was almost a guarantee he’d put someone on base by any means necessary, as evident by his 1.60 WHIP. Herndon allowed 86 baserunners in 52 1/3 innings.

Continue reading Will David Herndon be a Bullpen Mainstay?


Bullpen Trade Targets: The Hidden Solution

Posted by Corey Seidman, Thu, July 07, 2011 12:10 PM Comments: 25

The Phillies’ top priority seems to shift weekly from outfield bat to bullpen arm. Charlie wants a bat, Ruben wants an arm.

Fueling the idea to seek out an external bullpen piece is the shaky health situation of the back-end. Ryan Madson, Jose Contreras and Brad Lidge have all spent time on the DL, eventually leaving closer duty to an electric but inexperienced lefty with only 41 innings under his belt prior to 2011.

Some have argued that adding a reliever is unnecessary … that soon the Phillies will have Madson, Lidge, Contreras and Antonio Bastardo to choose from late in the game. But what has gone largely ignored is the chance that Lidge and Contreras will offer very little upon their returns.

Lidge has been up-and-down with his fastball velocity (up now, it seems) and did not make it back at the original timetable. He has never missed this much time in a season, nor has he pitched in the middle innings. Why are so many acting as if it’s a guarantee that 2011 Lidge will be 2008 Lidge, or even 2010 Lidge?

As for Contreras, he was great last year, posting a 9.1 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9. He held the opposition scoreless in his first 12 games this year, but then came the arm troubles. Over his next five outings, Contreras would allow six runs on nine hits in 2.2 innings. His velocity was down, his swinging strike rate was down, and eventually he went down for a second DL stint. Contreras has pitched six innings in the last 70 games.

Continue reading Bullpen Trade Targets: The Hidden Solution


Help Support Philly PAL at the Sixers Game Tonight!

Posted by Pat Gallen, Tue, February 22, 2011 06:53 PM Comments: 1

During halftime of the Sixers/Wizards game on tonight, I’ll be taking part in the Celebrity/Media game to help support the 2th Annual “PAL Night at the Sixers.” Over 200 Police Athletic League youngsters will be in attendance, courtesy of the Sixers.

This year’s game will once again put Television personalities vs. Radio/Print personalities and each team will be joined by All-Star PAL Girls hoopsters. Some of the local personalities will be Mike Gill from 97.3 ESPN FM in South Jersey, Marshall Harris from Comcast Sportsnet, Marisa Magnatta from 93.3 WMMR, Walter Perez from 6ABC, Tim Furlong and Harry Hairston from NBC10, Kharisma McIlwaine from CW Philly, and Gervase Peterson, formerly from “Survivor.”

It’ll be a great night, hopefully you can make it out if you’re in the Philly area. Tickets are still available for great prices. Please come and support the Police Athletic League!


Trade Option: Justin Upton

Posted by Pat Gallen, Thu, November 18, 2010 05:45 PM Comments: 23

During the early stages of the winter, we’ll take a look at some of the options possibly available on the trade market that might intrigue the Phillies. With the Jayson Werth situation looming large, some of these players may or may not be a good fit for the Phils.

Playing in the desert has kept him from becoming a household name, but Justin Upton is nearly there. Could a trade change that?

The Arizona Diamondbacks are reportedly gauging interest on their 23-year old outfielder, one of the premier youngsters in baseball. Would the Phillies have interest? Absolutely. Would they have what it takes to get pry him from the D’Backs? Highly unlikely.

Multiple reports have the Diamondbacks asking for four or five players in any trade for their burgeoning superstar, including up to three which would be major league ready. Jon Heyman of SI.com says an American League executive called the asking price “ridiculous.” As of now, there have been no reports linking the Phils to the D’Backs rightfielder, but that doesn’t mean the Phillies haven’t at least asked about him.

Upton would be a best-case scenario replacement should Jayson Werth leave town. The 2010 season was a bit of a down year for B.J.’s younger bro, as he hit just .273 with 17 home runs and 69 RBI. Upton had a breakout in 2009 with a .300 average to go with 26 homers and 86 RBI. It was a bit of a step backward however, he’s a guy many are willing to take a shot on. If the price is right.

Upton is dealing with an injury that could scare some teams away – he has a torn labrum in his shoulder that is not in need of surgery. His contract is rather friendly – he signed for six-years and $51 million before last season – but the haul Arizona will seek has some wondering if anyone but the Red Sox or Yankees will be able to afford it. Beyond the prospects, would it be worth it for the Phillies, or many other teams for that matter, to pay for two seasons of Upton. In 2016, Upton will be a free agent and could seek near $20 million per season.

The Phillies could use a youthful infusion with a guy like Upton adding to the impending breakthrough of Dominic Brown. The only problem is, Upton would cost the Phillies Brown and then some. Pillaging the farm system yet again doesn’t seem to be the brightest idea, although some argue Upton would be worth it. If the price drops some, look for Ruben to put his nose in the race, although it’s still a long-shot. At the very least, a trade to Boston would send Jayson Werth’s price down a bit.

CHANCES: Very, very low. Upton is a fine, young talent, but it’s unlikely the Phillies have what it takes to snag him from the lowly Diamondbacks. I give it one Ruben head out of 10 that Upton becomes a Phillie.

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