Phillies smoke Mets. Back on top.

On paper, this looked like 2 of 3 for the wins. Kendrick pitched like himself in the series opener as the Phils dropped the fifth game in the last seven. Roy Halladay came in and pitched a gem against Mike Pelfrey, the alleged 1a to Johan Santana. Pitching against Halladay didn’t help, but the Pelfrey’s numbers almost predicted a massive failure. Before Sat., Pelfrey had given up more hits and walks combined than innings pitched. Coming into Sunday’s primetime event Johan vs. Moyer looked like another series loss. Moyer did not have his A game giving up 5 runs early against the Mets. But Johan pitched like an injured pitcher. He only threw roughly 3 breaking balls and got lit up by the Phils giving up 10 earned runs. So the Phils walk away with 2 of 3 and are back on top in the NL East.

*Ben Francisco came into the game to replace Jayson Werth which apparently was because of a sore hip. Hopefully this isn’t a sign of things to come.

Phillie of the Week: 4/24-4/30

werth.jpgA little premature due to the off day on Thursday, but this weeks Phillie of the Week is Jayson Werth. Werth hit at a 5 for 17 (.294) including two homeruns, six RBIs, and a stolen base. The most impressive games that Werth stood out in was the middle game of the Diamondbacks series and the finale to the Giants series.

Werth put the Phils on his back against the Diamondbacks last Saturday night. He went 2 for 4 with 2 solo homeruns. If not for Werth’s power, the Phillies’ struggling offense could have been swept by the Diamondbacks.

Werth again pulled the Phillies out of the fire Wednesday afternoon in San Francisco. Down three with two outs and down to their last strike, Werth laced a double down the right field line off of Giants closer Brian Wilson. The Phils went on to win two innings later as the Giants fell apart.

The Phillies went 4-5 on their nine game road trip. Not bad. It could have been worse. It should have been better. If not for Werth, the Phils could have been in trouble.

Ryan Howard Extension National Reactions

Following up my post from yesterday, a number of “baseball insiders” from national media have commented on the contract extension of Ryan Howard. I am not going to name names, but I am very disappointed in most of the reactions. A lot of pundits did not have applicable reasoning behind why they think that the Phillies made a poor decision. Moreso, I am definitely disappointed with a certain “insider”‘s professionalism. I believe most of you know who I am talking about, but if you don’t I will hint only this. He actually wrote in his blog that he “laughed” upon hearing about the signing.

To all the writers who think that the Phillies will regret this signing, I present my case. Many of you have gathered a plethera of stats comparing Ryan Howard to a multitude of players in comprable situations. The only flaw with your approach is that Ryan Howard is NOT comprable to ANY player that has or does play this game. Ryan Howard has a playoff pedigree. So to you, I provide the only numbers that need be mentiioned.

  • 2005 National League Rookie of the Year
  • 2006 National League Most Valuable Player
  • 2008 World Series Champion
  • 2009 National League Championship Series Most Valuable Player

I dare anyone, reporter or not, to find one player with those accomplishments in their first 5 years in the league. So to say that Ryan Howard’s numbers compare to any player is unfair. Many media outlets like to promote Prince Fielder, Adrian Gonzalez, Albert Pujols, etc. None of which have put up the numbers that Ryan Howard has. None of them have accomplished what Ryan Howard has.

Many of you will state that Albert Pujols is a multiple MVP winner. Well Albert Pujols is a hypocrite and needs to check himself. I do not doubt that Mr. Pujols is one of the game’s premier players, but following the 2006 MVP presentation, Mr. Pujols was quoted as questioning how can someone who’s team did not even qualify for postseason play be eligible to win the MVP? First off, he had just won a World Series title. I would imagine that any player would prefer to win a championship than a league most valuable player award. To bring things full circle, in 2007, Mr. Pujols won the NL MVP award, yet his team did not qualify for post season play. How could someone accept an award that he himself stated he should not have been eligible for.

Either you are a sheep and follow suit with other national media or you are just as big a hypocrite as Albert Pujols. Three of the four titles are voted upon by the BBWAA. So I do not understand how you can talk out of both sides of your mouth, stating that Howard is deserving of all these titles, but not the compensaiton that comes with it.

*UPDATE*

As for the whole debate between which is the best first baseman offensively, I would like for everyone to take a look at the numbers. I’ve taken Albert Pujols out of consideration because no one seriously thinks that he is ever going to leave St. Louis. The remaining two premier names heading into free agency after the 2011 season are Adrian Gonzalez and Prince Fielder. Both are younger than Howard, who would be 31 at the conclusion of the 2011 season. Gonzalez would be 29 and Fielder would be 27. Both of which, as some reporters will say, are past their prime as hitters.

Since the 2006 season, the players stack up like this. I chose 2007-current because Ryan Howard won the NL MVP in 2006. That wouldn’t be fair to compare considering NEITHER of the other two candidates have won the MVP.

  • Ryan Howard:      37 HRs 130 RBIs .711 OPS .218 Avg.
  • Prince Fielder:     34 HRs 116 RBIs .773 OPS .260 Avg.
  • Adrian Gonzalez: 32 HRs 108 RBIS .723 OPS .234 Avg.

If those numbers seem a little off to you, that is because those are purely the numbers versus left handed pitching. I know some of you will want to be quick to point out the number of strike outs. I concede that. Ryan Howard is a strikeout machine. Ryan Howard will continuously be battling Mark Reynolds and Adam Dunn for most strikeouts in a season, but strikeouts are irrelevent when it comes to production. An out is an out. Whether you strike out or groundout. Clearly, Ryan Howard has produced more with less success at the plate than either of the other two.

I also would like to point out that outside of 2008, neither Prince Fielder nor Adrian Gonzalez have even played on a team that made the postseason. So if you think by either one of those players going to a contender will help improve their numbers, I would disagree. The more pertinent games played at the end of the season will more likely result in decreasing numbers.

Howard signs long term with Phils.

howard.jpgThe Phillies have decided to live and die by the long ball. Today, RAJ and the Phillies brass made a 5 year/ 125 Million dollar commitment that includes an option for a sixth year that includes a 10 million dollar buyout. Where I am excited to have one of the game’s best offensive producers locked up for the bulk of his career, I question the move. Ryan Howard, as I have stated in previous entries, was one of the Phillies biggest chips going into the offseason. Now, the Phillies have even less leverage going into an offseason where they could possibly lose their only consistent right handed power threat in Jayson Werth.

Howard’s contract, if you haven’t already seen, breaks down like this:

  • 2012: 20 Million
  • 2013: 20 Million
  • 2014: 25 Million
  • 2015: 25 Million
  • 2016: 25 Million
  • 2017: 23 Million Club Option (10 Million Buy Out)

ryanhoward.jpgThe deal also includes a limited trade clause, but with the amount of money involved, the only way the Phillies could trade him would to pay ATLEAST half of the contract.

The thing I question is this. RAJ stated after the Cliff Lee trade, that the deal had nothing to do with money and completely to do with talent depth in the minors. The Phillies currently have the infield locked up thru atleast 2011. The outfield is going to go thru changes between now and the end of 2011. The starting rotation is 80% locked up thru 2012. Ultimately, where will any of this talent get the chance to play at the major league level barring injury?

The Phillies already have 97.5% of this years payroll committed to 2011 with four key positions vacated. They also have to worry about SS in 2012. Do they resign Jroll long term or turn it over to top SS prospect Freddy Galvis, if he is even ready?

MiLB P.O.W. (4/17-4/25)

aumont.jpgThis week’s player is Phillipe Aumont. As you all know, the Canadian righty was acquired in a deal last December that sent Cliff Lee to the Mariners. The deal was initially thought of as a complete loss when most Phillies fans didn’t want lose the league’s potentially best rotation that featured Halladay, Lee, and Hamels. Local media gave fan perception of returning players as not worth the deal. Phillipe Aumont silenced some of his critics this past week.

 

Aumont’s last two starts:

  • April 19th vs. Harrisburg (Was): 5 IP 3 Hits 0 Walks 5 Strike Outs 1 ER (L)
  • April 25th vs. Richmond (SF): 6 IP 0 Hits 2 Walks 4 Strike Outs 0 ER (W)

That;s good for a 1-1 record with a 0.82 ERA. Overall he lowered his ERA to a respectable 3.32 Season ERA.

A 2007 Draftee, The Mariners drafted Aumont with the 11th pick in the draft. He made his debut the following season in Low A Wisconsin. In 2008, He alternated between starter and reliever.

  • Starter: 8 GS 2-3 3.50 ERA (14 ER 36.0 IP)
  • Reliever: 7 G 2-1 2 Saves 1.37 ERA (3 ER 19.2 IP)

His debut season was cut short due to shoulder and elbow strains.He was selected to the Futures Game in 2008, which if you don’t know, is the All Star Game for all levels of minor league ballplayers. Unfortunately, Aumont did not get on the field due to his injuries. The Mariners converterd Aumont to strictly a reliever for the 2009, where he did succeed.

  • High A High Desert: 29 G 1-2 12 Saves 3.24 ERA (12 ER 33.1 IP)
  • AA West Tennesee: 15 G 1-4  4 Saves 5.09 ERA (10 ER 17.2 IP)

Baseball America, one of the nation’s best baseball resources, ranked Aumont as the 93rd ranked prospect in all of baseball. Now, I know that a lot of scourned fans will state that we gave up 3 prospects ranked higher than Aumont, but they were given up for, realistically, the best pitcher in baseball.

Aumont is just 21 years old, birthday was in January, and is adjusting well to the Eastern League. Hopefully, he can keep the pace he has set in recent starts.

Preview of the week and some early Magic

Magic you ask? The Philies Magic Number as of today is 143. I know, a bit early aren’t we? I do want to try to incorporate this number into future entries. So this is just the beginning. On to the preview. Well, you should have put money on my prediction for last week. I was perfect at 3-3. This week’s schedule looks a little like this:

  • 4/26 at SF
  • 4/27 at SF
  • 4/28 at SF
  • 4/29 Off Day
  • 4/30 vs. NYM
  • 5/1 vs. NYM
  • 5/2 vs. NYM

Halladay pitches twice in the next two series. Tonight vs Jonathan Sanchez and the third game against the Mets. The Giants and Mets both have top 10 rotations and bullpens, so if the Phillies bats don’t wake up, this could be a long week. Based on recent hitting trends, I am sad to say that I think the Phillies will have a rough week this week. Better to struggle early rather than late I guess.

My prediction for the week has the Phillies going 2-4 or 3-3 at best. UGH!

Up and Down.

The Phillies so far this season have a game of musical chairs going with the pitching staff. Brad Lidge, JC Romero, and Joe Blanton all started the season on the DL. Kyle Kendrick who had been demoted to the bullpen, got promoted back to the rotation. Andrew Carpenter went from Opening Day starter for Lehigh Valley to bullpen for Philadelphia. Nelson Figueroa was released by the Mets, then signed by the Phillies and sent to bullpen. As a result, Andrew Carpenter was sent back down to AAA Lehigh Valley. As Romero comes off the DL, JA Happ goes on the DL. Romero to the pen and Figueroa to the rotation.

kendrick.jpgGet all that? Phillies pitchers have been bouncing all over the place like human pinballs. Within a couple of weeks, both Lidge and Blanton should be coming off the DL. It is very possible that Happ is ready to come off at the same time. So some big decisions are going to have to be made soon. Once Happ and Blanton are back with the club, Kendrick will probably be optioned to AAA to resume as a starter. Figueroa may be DFA’d depending on his play.

herndon2.JPGThe person who is benefitting from this all? Rule 5 Draft pick David Herndon. Herndon has gotten into some games here and there in basically a mop up capacity. His overall numbers do not tell the whole story in the least bit. Outside of the Marlins game in which he gave up 4 earned runs, Herndon has done a good job. Only one hit in that game was hit hard. Everything else were balls beaten into the ground for infield singles. He will have to continue to do a good job to have a chance to beat out Kendrick, Contreras, Bastardo, and Figueroa. Luckily, Kendrick and Bastardo can be sent down to the minors. Figueroa may just be DFA’d unless he has a spectacular game on the mound AND at the plate against Arizona.this weekend. Based on what we have seen so far, I think that Herndon has a good chance to stay in the bullpen.