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Setting Offensive Expectations Using Park Factors

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Thu, April 09, 2015 11:30 AM Comments: 1

Since it opened in 2004, Citizens Bank Park has had a reputation as one of baseball’s easiest parks to hit a homer in. Over the course of the last few years, data has emerged that other parks have overtaken CBP as more hitter-friendly parks.

A recent article by Baseball America’s Matt Eddy provided this handy graph that shows CBP’s place among other Major League parks in terms of runs and home runs per game:

MLB Parks 2014

As you can see, CBP ranks ninth-lowest in the Majors in runs per game while ranking fifth-lowest among National League teams. Eyeballing it, Eddy has the Phillies somewhere in the middle of the pack in home run rates, with eight teams clearly ahead of them on the graph while ESPN ranks them sixth in the Majors.

Eddy’s data suggests that the most common narrative, that Citizens Bank Park is a hitter’s ballpark, isn’t not necessarily true, or fully supported by data. Many others have written about this before and Eddy’s data isn’t anything revolutionary but his minor league data is something that I saw for the first time today.

Continue reading Setting Offensive Expectations Using Park Factors

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Lehigh Valley & Reading pitching coaches discuss their staffs

Posted by Jay Floyd, Thu, April 09, 2015 07:30 AM Comments: 0

The minor league regular season gets under way on Thursday with the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs hosting the Pawtucket Red Sox and the Double-A Reading Fightins hitting the road to take on the Portland SeaDogs.

This week, I spoke with IronPigs pitching coach Ray Burris as well as Fightins pitching coach Dave Lundquist, who each commented on several of their respective teams’ hurlers.  Read ahead for these exclusive quotes about the Phillies’ top pitching prospects at the upper levels of the developmental ranks.

RBurris2

Burris, image- Jay Floyd

Ray Burris-

-On LHP Adam Morgan, who missed the entire 2014 season following surgery to repair his throwing shoulder, and his potential to live up to being an early round draft pick…

I’m confident (that he can).  I think he feels that way now, because he understands and knows how his delivery is supposed to work.  When you have that knowledge inside of you and when you throw the ball incorrectly, you know that didn’t feel right, so you immediately go to what caused it and you go to correct it on the next pitch.  That’s half the battle in anything.

-Speaking about Morgan’s work ethic…

He’s the type of guy that’s going to outwork everybody that puts the uniform on because that’s what he has to do to get that job done.

-On injured pitcher Miguel A. Gonzalez…

Well, I had a little time with him last year in the 2014 season.  Some of the things that I got to see him do, we worked on improving those things in spring training.  So, it’ll be interesting to see how he goes about his business this year as well, based on what we talked about in spring training. Continue reading Lehigh Valley & Reading pitching coaches discuss their staffs

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Harang Strong in First Outing

Posted by Matthew Gephart, Thu, April 09, 2015 12:25 AM Comments: 9

The Phillies covered up some of their festering sores from Monday with a strong outing tonight against the Boston Red Sox.

Backing Aaron Harang with a few runs late in the game, Jeff Francoeur found himself the hero of the night after smashing a towering home run in the 6th inning that put the Phillies up 3-0.  Aaron Harang started strong out the gate not giving up a hit until the top of the 4th inning.  He struck out six batters over the first three innings, fanning some doubt from Phillies fans’ minds.

The Phillies ended up with six hits on the night, stringing together one more run off a throwing error and a sacrifice fly by Chase Utley in the 7th inning.

Then things got interesting.  After giving up a walk to Dustin Pedroia and a hit to Pablo Sandoval, fans were on the edge of their seats during a 9 pitch at bat where Hanley Ramirez hit a long fly ball to Ben Revere on the warning track.

In a bit of a lesser story on the evening, after replacing Jeanmar Gomez on the mound for the 8th inning, Ken Giles gave up two runs on two successive walks.

The series continues tomorrow at CBP; first pitch 7:05pm.

 

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Gameday 2: Red Sox vs Phillies

Posted by Pat Gallen, Wed, April 08, 2015 05:58 PM Comments: 84

Boston Red Sox (1-0) at Philadelphia Phillies (0-1) 

Atlanta Braves Phillies

Starting Pitchers:
PHI: Aaron Harang
vs.
BOS: Rick Porcello

Time: 7:07 EST, Citizens Bank Park
TV: CSN
Weather: Light rain, 41
Media: Twitter and Facebook

A note for today: Can the Phillies score a run today? They’ll try to get on the board for 2015 against the new $82 million man, Rick Porcello. The weather is ugly, so expect few runs tonight.

Lineup: Revere LF / Ruiz C / Utley 2B / Howard 1B / Ruf RF / Asche 3B / Francouer LF / Galvis SS / Harang P

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Cole Hamels…and Then the Rest of the Rotation

Posted by Matthew Gephart, Wed, April 08, 2015 03:32 PM Comments: 5

By now, we all know what Monday ended up like for Cole Hamels.  If you aren’t feeling bad enough already, here’s a look into the back end of our rotation and what to expect from them!

In the number two spot, weighing in at 260 pounds, Aaaaaaron Harang.  Wait, wrong sport.  So, Aaron came as a surprise to some of us after his signing in January, but looking at where he was in his career last year, you can see how he could be a progressive 3rd or 4th starter in an MLB rotation moving forward.  Seeing numerous scene changes from year to year, Aaron had been quite the journeyman over the years before finding a place in Atlanta and their starting rotation this past year.  The fact that Atlanta had a mediocre season helped to make his 12-12 record, with a 3.57 ERA over 33 starts, look a little bit more above average, and Aaron’s veteran status is entriguing to a team like the Phillies, where there is a mix of young talented players within a lingering veteran team.  Aaron will work for now to hold Cliff Lee’s spot until he (hopefully) gets healthy.  I feel like Cliff will do whatever it takes to get on the field and pitch more games before the end of his career, knock-on-wood, but until we have a clear indication of that, I have no problem with Haranging it in there.

Projected record: 13-11

After the number two spot, things become a cloudy mix of Buchanan, Williams, and a big fat question mark. Chad Billingsley!? Sean O’Sullivan?

For now, as per the depth chart on the Phillies site, Buchanan is the third starter and Williams is the fourth, with a TBD on Sunday where the fifth spot falls.  Perhaps we will get another early glimpse of Home run Hamels?  Moving onward.  David Buchanan, starting in the third spot for the year, is a familiar face in town.  Last year with the Phillies he started 20 games, finishing with a not so impressive 6-8 W-L record, but one that was partial to Phillies hitting and run support.  His ERA of 3.75 was not terrible for his first year in the big leagues, so we should expect a higher level from him this year.  After putting up a 1.29 ERA during his spring training games, and a 3-0 record, be prepared to see an even calmer, solid prospect showing off something great.

Projected record: 15-9

Jerome Williams fills out the last of our rotation for opening week.  Once again a pitcher we’ve seen in Philly, who has finally found a landing spot after being claimed off waivers last year. Jerome has been another journeyman, passing through two MLB clubs before making his way to Philadelphia. Jerome posted a 2.83 ERA over 57.1 innings in the nine starts he made for the Phillies, holding a 1.13 WHIP. Pretty impressive numbers for someone who bounced around teams for the year.  Jerome was signed to a $2.5 million deal for the 2015 season, which seems a lot for a career 4.40 ERA pitcher, but if he returns to form as he was last year on the staff, he could be worth the money. Nonetheless, Jerome will be able to fill a void in the Phillies rotation, and only time will tell if he can be as productive this year as he had proven himself to be previously to the Phillies.

Projected record: 9-11

Cole Hamels projected record: 8-4 for the Phillies before being traded.

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Phillies Nation 2015 Staff Predictions

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Mon, April 06, 2015 11:49 PM Comments: 25

With one game in the books, the Phillies Nation crew has a head start in predicting the 2015 season. Let’s see how the PN staff feels about the season ahead.

Pat Gallen, Editor in Chief

Phillies record: 65-97
NL Pennant: Dodgers
AL Pennant: Angels
WS Winner: Angels
Phillies story line to watch: Howard, Hamels, Papelbon all gone by midseason
MLB story line to watch: Blue Jays lose in 7 to LAA, Padres fall just short in NL, Mike Trout wins another MVP.

Corey Seidman

Phillies record: 59-103
NL Pennant: Dodgers
AL Pennant: Red Sox
WS Winner: Dodgers
Phillies story line: Can Domonic Brown prove he deserves to be an everyday player and a piece of the Phillies’ future?
MLB story line: How competitive will the Cubs and Astros be after years of futility?

Ian Riccaboni

Phillies record: 62-100
Predicted NL Winner: Miami
Predicted AL Winner: Seattle
Predicted World Series Winner: Seattle
Phillies Story line You are Watching the Closest: Can Cody Asche take the next step and become an above-average MLB player?
MLB Story line You are Watching the Closest: Can the young Royals’ players be consistent enough to make the playoffs in back-to-back years? Continue reading Phillies Nation 2015 Staff Predictions
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Hamels Allows 4 HR as Red Sox Crush Phillies

Posted by Pat Gallen, Mon, April 06, 2015 06:10 PM Comments: 20

Well, that didn’t go so well.

Cole Hamels was his usual rusty-self on opening day, allowing four home runs in five innings as the Phillies fell to the Red Sox, 8-0. The offense did very little – tallying just three hits on the day – which could be a theme of the 2015 season.

Ryan Howard accounted for the only extra-base hit, a double in the fourth inning. Other than that, it was weak grounder and fly out day at CBP.

Hamels has struggled on opening day in the past, and today was no different. Dustin Pedroia went yard twice in his first three at-bats. Mookie Betts and Hanley Ramirez also connected on solo shots. Ramirez added a second home run, as well; a ninth inning grand slam off Jake Diekman, for good measure.

Last season, the Red Sox did not have one five-homer game all season. They were able to do it in nine innings in game one of 2015.

For Boston, Clay Buchholz pitched an excellent game, striking out nine over seven innings.

Game two of the series is Wednesday.

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Gameday 1: Red Sox vs Phillies

Posted by Pat Gallen, Mon, April 06, 2015 01:46 PM Comments: 10

Boston Red Sox (0-0) at Philadelphia Phillies (0-0) 

Atlanta Braves Phillies

Starting Pitchers:
PHI: Cole Hamels
vs.
MIA: Clay Buchholz

Time: 3:07 EST, Citizens Bank Park
TV: NBC
Weather: Sunny, 72
Media: Twitter and Facebook

A note for today: The 2015 season begins today. Enjoy, Phillies fans.

Lineup: Revere LF / Herrera CF / Utley 2B / Howard 1B / Ruiz C / Sizemore RF / Asche 3B / Galvis SS / Hamels P

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Shane Victorino Back in Philly

Posted by Ryan Gerstel, Mon, April 06, 2015 11:52 AM Comments: 2

Today’s opening day game will mark the first time Shane Victorino has played in Philadelphia since being traded to the Dodgers back in July of 2012. He returned to Citizens Bank Park with the Red Sox in 2013, but he didn’t play due to injury.

“I’m with the Red Sox now and that’s my focus. But it would be special to get a chance to play in that park again in front of those fans,” Victorino said last week in an interview with The Boston Globe. “That has been in the back of my mind.”Milwaukee Brewers v Philadelphia Phillies, Game 2

Phillies fans will likely welcome “The Flyin’ Hawaiian” with thunderous applause, with a few boos sprinkled in just because he’s wearing the enemy uniform.

Since being traded by the Phillies, Victorino has played for the Dodgers and Red Sox, and won a World Series championship with Boston in 2013.

In his two years with Boston, Victorino has hit .288 with 17 home runs, 73 RBIs, and a .341 OBP in 152 games.

Victorino spent eight years with the Phillies. In that time, Victorino hit .279 with 88 home runs and 390 RBIs in 987 games. He became a fan favorite during his time in Philadelphia, and had one of the more memorable moments during the 2008 playoffs when he hit a grand slam off C.C. Sabathia in the NLDS against the Brewers.

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5 Reasons To Pay Attention In 2015

Posted by Pat Egan, Mon, April 06, 2015 10:55 AM Comments: 7

NLCS Dodgers Phillies BaseballIt is opening day! In previous years that statement meant something, but today it is meant with a sad shrug. Sure, people are excited baseball is back, but come May, there wont be too much excitement in the Delaware valley. So in a season that is all but guaranteed to be a rough one lets look at some things to keep an eye on as the Phillies tank for a kid who just got his drivers license last month.

1) Cole Hamels Trade:

Phillies fans are waiting on the edge of their seats to see where Cole Hamels will end up. The Phillies have coveted the Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts and catcher Blake Swihart but the Red Sox have been reluctant to part with them. Betts has been compared to Andrew McCutchen, with teammates already predicting he will be an All Star this season. Swihart is close to Major League ready and will begin the season in AAA. Maybe the Red Sox really don’t want to part with their stud prospects, or maybe they are simply playing hard to get. Now Phillies fans just have to sit back, wait,  pray Cole Hamels avoids the pesky injury bug, and see where Hamels ends up.

2)  AA Reading Rotation:

A few years ago Phillies fans in AA Reading had “The Baby Aces”. It was 2011, Citizens Bank Park was packed on a daily basis and fans were guaranteed to see an “ace” four out of the five nights. It was much of the same an hour up the turnpike as the Reading Phillies rotation had Jared Cosart, Trevor May, Brody Colvin, and Julio Rodríguez. Cosart was a key piece in the Hunter Pence deal, while May was the key piece in the Ben Revere trade. Rodríguez and Colvin never panned out. This season we are turning back the clock to 2011, at least in Reading.

This seasons Reading rotation features last years seventh overall pick Aaron Nola, and former first round pick Jesse Biddle. You also have Tom Windle and Zach Eflin, both were high draft picks, both came in the deal that sent franchise staple Jimmy Rollins to the Dodgers. The last piece in the Reading rotation is Ben Lively, who is no slouch himself. Lively was a Carolina League All Star before having success at AA last season. When the Phillies traded outfielder Marlon Byrd to the Reds during the offseason Lively was who they got in return. If you don’t want to watch a dumpster fire this season, take the family and head on out to Reading for affordable family fun.

3) Maikel Franco:

Maikel Franco burst on the scene in 2013 hitting 31 home runs for 103 RBI between High A Clearwater and AA Reading. He immediately became the Phillies top prospects, and his raw power had Phillies fans salivating at the thought of him playing the hot corner, or even first base as the heir apparent to Ryan Howard. Franco’s 2014 season saw him struggle for the first time in his career as he played the entire season at AAA Lehigh Valley. In 556 at bats in Lehigh Valley he hit a mere .257 with just 16 home runs. His season ended in Philadelphia, but his 2015 season will start in AAA Lehigh Valley after struggling this spring.

Franco is just 22 but some fans are already starting to worry that the Phillies have another bust on their hands (as ridiculous as that sounds). The Phillies have not produced a home grown stud in quite some time, and even most of the prospects they traded away in deals to get superstars have not panned out. Franco will be one to watch to see if he can rebound from a sub par 2014, and also if he can transition to first base.

4) 2015 MLB Draft:

The Phillies had the seventh overall pick in the 2014 draft and they took pitcher Aaron Nola out of LSU. It was the most important draft since the 1998 draft when the Phillies held the #1 overall pick and selected Pat Burrell. Amazingly the Phillies improved in 2014 and they hold the #10 overall pick in this June’s draft. The Phillies have an extremely depleted farm system thanks to trades, and overall poor drafts. The one guy that I am praying falls to them at #10 is Vanderbilt 2B/SS Dansby Swanson, but he is projected to go around 7-9. Either way this is yet another important draft for the Phillies, and one that fans wont want to miss as the Phillies are clearly in a rebuilding mode and the easiest way to do that is through the draft

5) Phillies Serving Hard Alcohol:

Its going to be a long LONG season, and this team is going to drive people to drink…..heavily. In another example of the Phillies infinite wisdom they decided that this season they will serve hard liquor at the ball park. That is either the stupidest idea, or simply great fan appreciation.

 

 

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