Tag: justin de fratus

Everybody and Indians

The Phillies were hammered the last time they saw the Indians, outscored 20-2 as they lost both games of two-game set about two weeks ago. Just about everything went well for the Phils last night as they topped Cleveland 6-2.

Pettibone pitched well. Manuel put righties Mayberry and Frandsen in the lineup against a lefty and they combined to drive in three runs in the first four innings. Up two runs in the eighth with Mike Adams unavailable, Justin De Fratus and Jeremy Horst wriggled out of a jam with one out and runners on the corners.

Frandsen ended the day hitting 467/579/933 against lefties for the year after hitting 400/426/554 against them last year. He plays first base and second base for a team that can’t hit left-handed pitching, in large part because their first baseman and second baseman aren’t hitting left-handed pitching. 412/459/526 in his last 87 plate appearances against lefties going back to the start of 2012.

The Phillies are 19-21 on the year after beating the Cleveland Indians 6-2 last night. After 40 games the Phillies are in third place in the NL East, 3 1/2 games behind the first-place Braves. The’ve won three in a row.

Pettibone got the start for the Phillies and went 6 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on four hits and two walks. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a double. He struck out three.

Fifth start on the year for Pettibone. He still hasn’t allowed more than three runs in a start. He’s pitched into the seventh in two of his last three times out.

He set Cleveland down in order in the top of the first.

The Phillies led 1-0 when Nick Swisher singled softly to center to start the second and moved to third on a double by Carlos Santana. Mark Reynolds popped out to Frandsen at second for the first out before Michael Brantley singled to center, scoring both runners and putting Cleveland up 2-1. Pettibone struck Drew Stubbs and the pitcher Scott Kazmir both out swinging to leave Brantley at first.

Pettibone allowed two walks and hit a batter in the third, but got Mark Reynolds to pop to Frandsen to end the frame with the bases loaded.

Pettibone threw a 1-2-3 fourth and started the fifth with a 3-2 lead. He got the Indians in order in the fifth.

Swisher singled to left to start the sixth, but Santana grounded into a double-play behind him. Pettibone walked Reynolds before getting Brantley to foul out to Michael Young to set Cleveland down.

Pettibone started the seventh up 4-2 and got the first two hitters. Bastardo came in to pitch to the lefty Bourn and Bourn reached on a softly hit single, but Bastardo got Jason Kipnis on a ground ball to Frandsen to end the frame.

Bastardo was back to start the eighth with the Phils still up two runs. Switch-hitter Asdrubal Cabrera led off and tripled high off the wall in right-center. Bastardo got Swisher looking 1-2 for the first out before walking Santana to put runners on the corners for righty Mark Reynolds. Justin De Fratus came in to pitch to Reynolds and got him to pop to Galvis at second for the second out with the runners holding. Horst came in to pitch to the lefty Brantley and struck him out swinging to leave the runners stranded.

The Phillies figure out a way to get through the eighth with Adams still sidelined with lower back issues. De Fratus comes in with one out and runners on the corners and gets Reynolds on a pop-up. Worked great for the Phillies, but i don’t think that’s the formula for success. I think they would have been better off asking Papelbon to try and get five outs.

Bastardo faced five hitters in the game, allowing a walk, a single and a triple and getting two outs. It took a minor miracle for him not to be charged with runs. Opponents have hit .348 against him over his last eight appearances and he’s walked six in 5 2/3 innings.

De Fratus comes up huge in his second appearance of the season, getting Reynolds to pop out with one out and men on the corners. He’s faced two batters in two appearances for the year, striking out one and getting Reynolds to pop up in the other.

Horst also comes up big in the game, striking out the only batter he faces with two down and men on the corners. Lefties are still on-basing .429 against him for the season.

Cabrera’s ball hit off the top of the wall and rolled way away from Revere and into center.

Papelbon started the ninth with the Phils up 6-2. Stubbs led off and bunted for a single, but righty Mike Aviles hit for the pitcher Rich Hill and grounded into a double-play. Bourn grounded to Rollins to end the game.

Again it’s Papelbon in a non-save situation after the Phillies score two in the bottom of the eighth. The Phillies have won six of the last ten games he’s appeared in by four or more runs.

Papelbon allowed two runs in an inning in his first appearance of the year. Since then he’s allowed seven hits and a walk over 15 2/3 scoreless innings in 15 appearances.

Overall the pen goes two scoreless innings in the game, allowing three hits and a walk while striking out two. Bastardo threw 19 pitches in the game. Everyone else was under ten. There was an off-day on Monday, so nobody has pitched more than one day in a row.

The Phillie lineup against lefty Scott Kazmir went (1) Rollins (2) Frandsen (3) Michael Young (4) Howard (5) Delmon Young (6) Brown (7) Ruiz (8) Mayberry. Frandsen plays second with Utley on the bench. Mayberry in center against the lefty with Revere on the bench.

With one out in the bottom of the first, Frandsen hit a 1-2 pitch out to left, putting the Phils up 1-0. Michael Young followed with a walk, but Howard and Delmon Young went down behind him.

The Phillies were down 2-1 when they hit in the second. Mayberry singled with two outs, but Pettibone stuck out looking to leave him stranded.

Brown also hit the ball well leading off the inning, but Swisher made a nice play at first to take a hit away from him.

Through two innings, the righties that Manuel had inserted into the lineup (Mayberry and Frandsen) were 2-for-2 with the only hits for the Phils, a single and a home run.

Frandsen was hit by a pitch with one out in the third. Michael Young followed and hit a might-have-been double-play ball to short, but Kipnis’s throw to first wasn’t handled for an error that left Young at second with two down. Howard struck out to leave him stranded.

Young probably would have been safe at first even if the Kipnis throw had been handled there. But the error gives him an extra base.

Brown singled to center with one out in the third and moved up to second when Ruiz followed with a walk. They both scored when Mayberry doubled to the gap in left-center, putting the Phillies on top 3-2. Pettibone and Rollins went down on a pair of ground outs to leave Mayberry at second.

Three runs for the Phils in the game at that point with all three driven in by the righties put in the lineup with a lefty on the hill for Cleveland.

Frandsen was again hit by a pitch to start the fifth. Michael Young was next and hit a ball softly into center, which was caught by Bourn for the first out. Frandsen had misread it and was easily doubled off of first. Howard followed with a single, but was left at first when Delmon Young grounded to Kazmir to end the inning.

Assuming the Indians don’t get a double-play on the ball hit hard by Delmon Young and Brown still homers, the Frandsen base-running play costs the Phils two runs. Brown’s homer is a three-run shot that brings in Frandsen and Howard instead of a solo blast.

Brown led off the sixth and hit a 1-0 pitch from Kazmir out to left, putting the Phillies up 4-2. Righty Cody Allen took over for Kazmir and got Ruiz, Mayberry and Pettibone in order to end the inning.

Righty Bryan Shaw started the seventh. Rollins led off with a single and Frandsen bunted him to second with the first out. Michael Young grounded to short for the second out and Howard was walked intentionally, putting runners on the corners for Delmon Young. Young popped out to Swisher in to leave both men stranded.

Not a fan of the Frandsen bunt, even against a righty. Howard has walked nine times on the season and four of them have been intentional. 151 total plate appearances. If you take out the four times he was walked intentionally, that leaves him with five walks in 147 plate appearances, which is 3.4%.

Ruiz singled to center off of Shaw with one out in the ninth and took second on a wild pitch before Mayberry singled into center, scoring Ruiz to make it 5-2. Nix hit for Horst and lefty Rich Hill came in to pitch to Nix. Nix flew to center for the second out. Hill walked Rollins intentionally to pitch to Galvis and Galvis singled to left. Mayberry scored to make it 6-2, but Brantley threw Galvis out trying for second to end the inning.

Rollins is hitting 261/292/370 against lefties for the season. Walking him intentionally is a poor idea, even if it works.

Rollins was 1-for-4 with a walk in the game. He’s 8-for-his-last-25 with two doubles and a home run.

Frandsen was 1-for-1 with a home run. Kazmir hit him with pitches twice. 2-for-his-last-7 with two home runs. He made a base-running mistake in the fifth, getting doubled off of first.

Michael Young 0-for-3 with a walk. He’s 2-for-his-last-17 with two singles and five walks.

Howard 1-for-3 with a single and a walk. The single was softly hit to left field, but it did come off the lefty Kazmir. 2-for-his-last-22 with two singles, one walk, which was intentional and 11 strikeouts. 195/214/390 against lefties for the year.

Delmon Young 0-for-4 and left four men on base. He came into last night’s game 5-for-his-last-10. 1-for-16 at CBP so far.

Brown was 2-for-4 with his seventh home run. He also had a hit taken away by Swisher on a nice play in his first at-bat. 301/307/548 with five home runs over his last 75 plate appearances. One walk in his last 79 plate appearances. 238/300/386 against righties for the year and 314/328/600 against lefties.

Ruiz 1-for-3 with a walk. 5-for-his-last-14 with five singles.

Mayberry 3-for-4 with a double and three RBI.

Hamels (1-5, 4.18) faces righty Corey Kluber (2-2, 5.64) this afternoon. Hamels wasn’t good in either of his first two starts on the season, but has thrown to a 2.41 ERA since, holding opponents to a .186 average in those six outings. The Phils have scored ten runs in his last six starts and gone 1-5. Kluber started the year pitching in the pen for the Indians, then moved to rotation where both of his first two starts were pretty good. He came into his most recent start with a 3.06 ERA and allowed eight runs over 4 2/3 innings to the Tigers. Righties have hit .356 against him for the season.

Update: The Phillies have agreed to a minor league deal with 31-year-old right-handed pitcher Carlos Zambrano. Zambrano has not appeared in the majors in 2013 and went 7-10 with a 4.49 ERA and a 1.50 ratio in 35 appearances (20 starts) for the Marlins in 2012. He was pretty good as recently as 2010 when he threw to a 3.33 ERA over 129 2/3 innings for the Cubs in 36 appearances (20 starts). He walked 75 in 132 1/3 innings in 2012.


Peeee-ew

Another miserable game for the Phillies last night as they made five errors on their way to a 6-2 loss to the Yankees. Cliff Lee allowed five runs over 2 2/3 innings — only two of the runs were earned as the Phillies made four errors in the less than three innings he was in the game.

For the spring, Halladay and Lee have now combined to make eight starts in which they’ve thrown to 6.45 ERA and a 1.66 ratio and allowed six home runs in 22 1/3 innings.

The bullpen pitched well in the game as Stutes, De Fratus and Durbin combined to toss four scoreless frames.

Darin Ruf hit his first spring homer, a solo shot off of righty David Aardsma in the sixth. 1-for-3 on the day ups his line to 200/317/371.

Mayberry was 2-for-3 with two singles. He’s hitting 261/320/370.

Brown 1-for-3 with an RBI to drop his average to .395.

Revere 0-for-4. He’s hitting 340/367/426. Frandsen 0-for-4 to drop him to 324/359/649.

Quintero is hitting .231 after going 0-for-3.

Inciarte 0-for-1 with a strikeout. 4-for-14 with three walks and four singles has him at 286/444/286. Jermaine Mitchell walked in his only plate appearance and stole a base. 5-for-10 with two walks, three extra-base hits, three stolen bases and a 500/583/1.000 line.

Five errors in the game for the Phils. Josh Fields started at third and made one. Quintero, Utley, Lee and Stutes had the others.

Lee started the game for the Phillies and went 2 2/3 innings, allowing five runs on six hits and two walks. Only two of the runs were earned.

Kevin Youklils doubled off of Lee with two outs in the first. The inning should have been over when the next batter, Juan Rivera, hit a ball to third, but an error by Josh Fields kept the frame alive for Ben Francisco to deliver a two-run double. Lee walked back-to-back hitters with two outs in the second before Ichiro singled home the third run (which was earned). Lee allowed a run on three singles in the third and another run scored on an error by Utley on a throw from Quintero that Utley didn’t handle. Lee left with two outs and runners on first and third. Miner took over and struck Jeter out looking to keep things from getting worse.

Lee has made four starts in which he’s thrown to a 5.56 ERA and a 1.68 ratio over 11 1/3 innings. Opponents have hit .294 against him.

Miner followed Lee, allowing a run over 1 1/3 innings to drop his ERA to 10.13.

Stutes was next and pitched well, tossing two shutout innings. He allowed a two-out single in the fifth and then threw a pickoff throw away for the fifth error of the game for the Phils, but got a fly ball to center for the third out to leave the runner stranded. He allowed a leadoff walk in the sixth, but got out of the frame with the help of a double-play.

4.50 ERA with a 1.50 ratio for Stutes. He’s walked four in six innings, but has not allowed a home run.

De Fratus threw a 1-2-3 seventh. His results are getting less terrible. He has his ERA down to 6.43 and his ratio at 1.43. He hasn’t allowed a home run, but has struck out just two in his seven innings.

Durbin struck out two in a 1-2-3 eighth, dropping his ERA to 7.20. Opponents are hitting .368 against him in five innings.

Aaron Cook is expected to pitch against the Pirates this afternoon.

Delmon Young continues to rehab and hopes are he will be with the Phillies by the start of May.

Rich Dubee says that Halladay is fine physically. If that’s the case it sure seems like his non-physical problems are significant.


It happens every spring, but I don’t remember it always looking quite this ugly

The Phillies continued what’s been a pretty ugly start to spring training yesterday, making three more errors and allowing 12 runs as the Twins beat them 12-5. Justin De Fratus and BJ Rosenberg, each hoping to start the year in the bullpen for the Phils, combined to throw two innings in which they allowed six runs on seven hits and three walks.

Ben Revere had a nice day for the Phillies, going 2-for-4 with a pair of singles, stealing a base and scoring two runs. Domonic Brown is now 4-for-9 on the spring with a double, two home runs and two walks after going 1-for-2 with a double, two walks and three runs scored. Ruiz went 2-for-2 and drove in three runs. Mayberry had his first spring hit, a double, as he went 1-for-3 on the day. He’s 1-for-10 so far.

Frandsen was 2-for-4. He’s 5-for-13 with a double, a home run and a 1.077 OPS in the early going. Howard 1-for-2 with a walk. He’s still looking for his first home run, but is now 6-for-12 with two doubles and two walks.

Not as good a day for Galvis, who was 0-for-5, made an error and struck out twice. He also made a misplay late that was originally called an error and then called a hit. Ruf went 0-for-1 in a pinch-hitting opportunity and is still looking for his first official spring hit. He’s 0-for-9.

Ruf has been dealing with a sore throwing arm that has kept him out of the lineup.

Lannan started the game for the Phils, allowing a run on four singles and a walk over two innings. Adam Morgan followed Lannan and allowed a run on three singles in the third. He came back for the fourth and faced five hitters, getting two outs and allowing a double and a single while the other reached on a Galvis error. Morgan left with two down and men on the corners. Kyle Simon came in to pitch to Ryan Doumit and Doumit hit a three-run homer to right.

Bastardo and Mauricio Robles threw scoreless innings later in the game.

The sixth and seventh didn’t go well for the Phils. De Fratus started the sixth and had his second bad outing in two tries, allowing three runs on four hits, including a double, and a walk. He’s now allowed five runs on six hits over three innings in his two appearances.

Rosenberg also got hit hard, allowing three runs in the seventh. The first four men he faced reached base on a pair of walks, a double and an infield single. He allowed a two-run single with one out before getting a double-play to end the inning.

Like De Fratus, Rosenberg has two spring outings, both of which have been bad. He’s allowed six runs on eight hits and three walks over three innings. That’s a 3.67 ratio, which is not what you’re looking for.

You also want to avoid walking two of the first four men you face if it’s at all possible. In 2012 with the Phillies, Rosenberg walked 14 men in 25 innings while pitching to a 6.12 ERA.

The Phillies face the Braves this afternoon with Cole Hamels expected to pitch. Jake Diekman is also expected to throw in relief as he makes his case for a spot in the pen. He’s made one official appearance so far and allowed a run on a hit and a walk over one inning.


The murky dozen

Here was the most recent guess about the pitchers who start the year with the team, which came in this post at the end of January:

Other candidates
1 Halladay (R) P Aumont (R)
2 Lee (L) T Cloyd (R)
3 Hamels (L) J De Fratus (R)
4 Kendrick (R) M Schwimer (R)
5 Lannan (L) M Stutes (R)
6 Papelbon (R) BJ Rosenberg (R)
7 Adams (R) E Martin (R)
8 Bastardo (L) J Pettibone (R)
9 JC Ramirez (R)
10 Z Miner (R)
11 J Cruz (R)
12 A Cook (R)
R Lopez (R)
J Friend (R)
K Simon (R)
J Horst (L)
R Valdes (L)
J Diekman (L)
J Savery (L)
M Robles (L)
C Jimenez (L)
A Morgan (L)

There have been some developments since then. The biggest is that Chad Durbin was signed and appears to be a lock to be a righty out of the pen. Juan Cruz and the Phillies have parted ways, presumably because Durbin appears to be a lock to be a righty out of the pen. JC Ramirez was DFA’ed and then sent to Triple-A. And the Phillies signed two lefties who are unlikely to see time with the big league club soon, David Newmann and Corey Young.

So I add Durbin to the list and removed Cruz. Ramirez will still be in camp as an NRI, although he seems like a long shot to start the year with the team, he’s still in the right-hand column of other candidates.

Other candidates
1 Halladay (R) P Aumont (R)
2 Lee (L) T Cloyd (R)
3 Hamels (L) J De Fratus (R)
4 Kendrick (R) M Schwimer (R)
5 Lannan (L) M Stutes (R)
6 Papelbon (R) BJ Rosenberg (R)
7 Adams (R) E Martin (R)
8 Bastardo (L) J Pettibone (R)
9 Durbin (R) JC Ramirez (R)
10 Z Miner (R)
11 A Cook (R)
12 R Lopez (R)
J Friend (R)
K Simon (R)
J Horst (L)
R Valdes (L)
J Diekman (L)
J Savery (L)
M Robles (L)
C Jimenez (L)
A Morgan (L)

So nine slots now filled. Five starters and four relievers. Of the relievers, they have a closer, a setup guy and one lefty.

Assuming 12 pitchers to start the year, they have three open spots.

Last time I guessed I had them with eight filled slots and gave the last four to Horst, Aumont, Valdes and De Fratus, which left the Phils with three lefties in the pen and no true long man.

One big question with the current staff is whether Chad Durbin can pitch more than one inning or if the Phillies will use him to do so. Durbin was very good in 2012, arguably the best he had been since ’08 with the Phils, but didn’t go more than an inning a whole lot of times. Durbin got more than three outs in three of his 76 appearances for Atlanta in ’12. He threw more than 25 pitches in a game in four of 76. In 2008, the Phillies had Durbin throw more than 25 pitches in 18 of 71 appearances. On May 18, 2008, Durbin threw 66 pitches in relief of Kendrick after Kendrick exited after just one inning.

But it’s not 2008 anymore. And I would guess we aren’t going to see Durbin go more than an inning very often. So I’d say they still don’t have a long guy out of the pen.

I really have trouble seeing the Phillies not carry Horst to start the year given his performance in 2012 (he threw to a 1.15 ERA with a 1.12 ratio and 40 strikeouts over 31 1/3 innings).

I think that gets them to ten and leaves them with two slots open. I see Aumont, De Fratus, Stutes and Valdes as the guys with the best chances to fill the remaining slots. Aumont seems to have the biggest upside of the group. De Fratus has been fantastic in the minors in recent years. Stutes will need to prove he’s healthy, but was a big contributor for the 2011 Phils. Valdes threw to a 2.90 ERA with an 0.74 ratio for the Phils in 2012.

Aumont’s upside potential makes me feel like there’s some separation between him and the rest of the candidates. So I’ll put him in the eleventh spot. I think the last spot is a total tossup. Valdes would give the Phillies three lefties, so I’ll go with De Fratus once again.

That gives us 12 pitchers: Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Lannan, Kendrick, Papelbon, Adams, Durbin, Bastardo, Horst, Aumont and De Fratus.

Ben Revere wants to get on base more.

This article talks about depth in the starting rotation beyond the top five starters. It’s not real good.

Former Phillie hitting coach Greg Gross comments on some past and current Phillie hitters in this article.


Irregular season

Freeze frame, November, 2012. The Phillies shock the baseball world by naming you their new GM. Your job — add a starting center fielder, a starting third baseman, a starting corner outfielder, a top setup man and a fifth starter. Trade Vance Worley, Trevor May, Josh Lindblom and Lisalverto Bonilla if you want, but make sure you take on less than $20 million in 2013 payroll.

Good luck.

If that’s your charge and you come back with Ben Revere, Michael Young, Delmon Young, John Lannan and Mike Adams, you’ve done your job.

Obviously Amaro had more flexibility than that, especially around who he traded. Keeping Worley would have made adding a fifth starter unnecessary. And some of the positions he filled from outside of the organization could have been filled from within. If the Phillies fail to play Domonic Brown just about every day to start 2013, they’re making a mistake. But they haven’t done that yet and, no matter what they say in January, I don’t think they will. And I don’t think that the off-season has been a disaster for the Phillies.

If there’s a disaster here, and despite how ugly 2012 was, I don’t think this is a disaster yet, it didn’t start this off-season. It started a couple of years ago and moves slow.

Success or failure for the 2013 Phillies is going to have a whole lot more to do with what Ryan Howard, Jonathan Papelbon, Chase Utley, Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee combine to produce for the $137ish million the Phils have committed to pay them than it will with what Delmon Young produces for the $750,000 they’ve committed to pay him. And a lot of what we saw in 2012 should make you worry about that group’s ability to produce $137 million worth of value in 2013.

You can pay all five of the new guys mentioned above this season with the $20 million the Phils have committed to Howard. With a couple of million left over. You can get most of the way there with the $13 million they’re going to pay Papelbon.

It’s a lotta eggs in a small number of baskets. There is no solution if those eggs can’t play anymore or simply have bad contracts — but it’s not Delmon Young’s fault, either. The choices are declare it’s over and rebuild or declare it’s not and do what you can with the limited flexibility that you have left. I’m glad they chose the later. This is what do what you can with the limited flexibility you have looks like.

Bottom line for me is that the Phillies may have made mistakes. Some of them are big mistakes. Maybe too big for the team to overcome in next few seasons. I’m a lot less sure they came this off-season, though.

Yesterday I updated my guess on who the hitters on the team are at this point. Earlier this month I made a guess on the pitching side. Here’s what I came up with then:

Other candidates
1 Halladay (R) P Aumont (R)
2 Lee (L) T Cloyd (R)
3 Hamels (L) J De Fratus (R)
4 Kendrick (R) M Schwimer (R)
5 Lannan (L) M Stutes (R)
6 Papelbon (R) BJ Rosenberg (R)
7 Adams (R) E Martin (R)
8 Bastardo (L) J Pettibone (R)
9 JC Ramirez (R)
10 Z Miner (R)
11 J Horst (L)
12 R Valdes (L)
J Diekman (L)
J Savery (L)
M Robles (L)
C Jimenez (L)

Assuming 12 pitching spots to start the season, I gave the four open slots to Horst, Aumont, Valdes and De Fratus.

Not a whole lot has changed since January 9. The Phillies signed free agent righties Rodrigo Lopez, Aaron Cook and Juan Cruz and announced that righties Justin Friend and Kyle Simon would be invited to camp as NRIs, along with lefty Adam Morgan.

The list looks pretty much the same in my mind these days, with the exception of the addition of a few candidates:

Other candidates
1 Halladay (R) P Aumont (R)
2 Lee (L) T Cloyd (R)
3 Hamels (L) J De Fratus (R)
4 Kendrick (R) M Schwimer (R)
5 Lannan (L) M Stutes (R)
6 Papelbon (R) BJ Rosenberg (R)
7 Adams (R) E Martin (R)
8 Bastardo (L) J Pettibone (R)
9 JC Ramirez (R)
10 Z Miner (R)
11 J Cruz (R)
12 A Cook (R)
R Lopez (R)
J Friend (R)
K Simon (R)
J Horst (L)
R Valdes (L)
J Diekman (L)
J Savery (L)
M Robles (L)
C Jimenez (L)
A Morgan (L)

I still feel pretty good about the Horst and Aumont picks. That gets the Phillies to ten pitchers — five starters and five relievers, including two lefties in Bastardo and Horst.

I feel like there’s a chance that Cook can challenge Lannan for the fifth starter job. But I still think Lannan is the guy. Kendrick ended the season pitching really well out of the rotation, but I shake the feeling that the Phillies would be better off using him as a long reliever. I don’t think that’s going to happen, though, at least not to start the season.

Assuming Kendrick is in the rotation, there’s still an issue about long relief. The Phillies don’t have a long man in the ten guys I mentioned. Juan Cruz seems like he might get some consideration for that role. I’d guess the Phils think Rosenberg could give them more than one inning.

I still think the last two spots are pretty wide open. Valdes and De Fratus were the two relievers I picked last time. Valdes was fantastic for the Phillies in 2012 and De Fratus has put up outstanding numbers in the minors over the last few years.

Valdes would be the third lefty in the pen, though. And they still wouldn’t have a long man. Stutes is the other guy who seems like a legit candidate if he shows he’s healthy early in camp. He was solid for the Phillies in 2011 and got four or more outs in 14 of his 57 appearances.

Anyway, I’ll stick with Horst, Aumont, Valdes and De Fratus for the last four spots. That leaves the Phils with 12 pitchers — Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Kendrick, Lannan, Papelbon, Adams, Bastardo, Horst, Aumont, De Fratus and Valdes. Still three lefties and still no long reliever. My top candidates among the guys not on that list would be Cruz, Rosenberg and Stutes.

This article suggests the Phillies have had the third-best off-season in the NL East.


Their better half

In the most recent post, I took a guess at the hitters who might start the year with the Phillies as well as the guys contending for the other spots. Here’s today’s guess about the pitchers:

Other candidates
1 Halladay (R) P Aumont (R)
2 Lee (L) T Cloyd (R)
3 Hamels (L) J De Fratus (R)
4 Kendrick (R) M Schwimer (R)
5 Lannan (L) M Stutes (R)
6 Papelbon (R) BJ Rosenberg (R)
7 Adams (R) E Martin (R)
8 Bastardo (L) J Pettibone (R)
9 JC Ramirez (R)
10 Z Miner (R)
11 J Horst (L)
12 R Valdes (L)
J Diekman (L)
J Savery (L)
M Robles (L)
C Jimenez (L)

Lannan and Bastardo are the guys I feel least sure of among the eight pitchers I have on the team. But I think they both start the year on the staff with Lannan serving as the fifth starter. Halladay, Hamels, Lee, Kendrick, Papelbon and Adams seem like locks if they are healthy, although I think it’s possible, but unlikely, that Kendrick could be pitching out of the pen at the start of the year.

If those eight guys did make the opening day roster for the Phils, it would leave the pitching staff with four open slots (assuming the team starts the year with 12 pitchers).

Of those four spots, one should go to a long man, or at least someone who could pitch more than one inning, and at least one other would go to a lefty.

The Phillies have a lot of options when it comes to the second lefty in the pen. Horst and Valdes were both very good in 2012 and I think it’s possible they both make the team to start the year. If it’s just one of them, I’d give Horst an advantage over Valdes. I think Horst is pretty close to a lock to start the year with the team.

I think the issue of who will be the long man out of the pen is more complicated. Kendrick is the guy best-suited for that role, but the Phillies would likely prefer to have him pitch out of the rotation, coming off of a 2012 in which he threw to a 2.43 ERA over his last ten starts. Cloyd, Ethan Martin or Jonathan Pettibone seem like the candidates to make the team that are mostly likely to be able to give the Phillies more than one inning, but I have a little trouble seeing the Phillies carrying one of them to pitch out of the pen to start the year. My guess at this point would be that the Phillies don’t have a true long man out of the pen to start the year.

So if Horst takes one of the four open spots, that leaves the Phils with three.

The guy I feel next strongest about is Aumont, given the combination of his upside and some promising results in 2012. I’ll slot him into the tenth spot.

I think it’s really wide open after that. At this point I’ll take Valdes, based on his impressive 2012, for the eleventh slot. Beyond that I see it as close to a toss-up between Stutes and De Fratus as front-runners for the final spot. Stutes is coming off of a significant injury that sidelined him for much of 2012 and both should contribute to the team this year. Stutes helped the Phils a lot in 2011 and De Fratus has had several very impressive years in the minors in a row.

I’ll pick De Fratus for the twelfth spot.

So that gives the Phils 12 pitchers — Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Kendrick, Lannan, Papelbon, Adams, Bastardo, Horst, Aumont, Valdes and De Fratus. Five starters, seven relievers. Three lefties out of the pen and no long man in relief.

If that’s the staff heading into 2013, I expect we’ll all feel a whole lot more comfortable with the pitching than we do with the hitting to start the year.

This article from the Phillies web site adds Michael Cuddyer to the list of players the Phils might be pursuing that includes Hairston, Wells and Soriano.

This article suggests that if the outfield situation stays the same, we may see Brown getting a chance to be the everyday guy in right field to start the year with a platoon in left that includes some combination of the lefty Nix and righties Ruf and Mayberry. Mayberry seems like he should be a candidate to get some at-bats at first base against left-handed pitching as well.

There are a bunch of problems in left if that proves to be the case. One is that it’s hugely unlikely that Laynce Nix is going to be able to take all or maybe even most of the at-bats against righties in left field in 2013. Nix is 32 and has never gotten more than 400 plate appearances in a season. Phillie left fielders are going to get around 480 plate appearances against right-handed pitching in 2013. Nix has never had more than 321 plate appearances against righties in a season. So it seems likely that some parts of that platoon would be hitting a lot against righties. I don’t think you want to see a whole lot more of Mayberry hitting against righties given his 229/291/335 line against them in 2012. We’ll see on Ruf. He was 5-for-17 against righties last year with a home run.

The other important problem with Nix as the left-handed part of a platoon in left is that Nix, despite his left-handedness, isn’t exactly a fabulous hitter against right-handed pitching anyway. His career line against righties is 253/297/447. Last year he got just 117 plate appearances against righties, but put up a 248/316/390 line. So Nix probably couldn’t completely man a left-handed platoon in left anyway and if he could, you might not want him to.


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