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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

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Wow, a great roundup here, Weitzel.
I am "befuddled" over this statement, though:

"J-Roll is back to being the cornerstone of the Phillies defense, after a season when one could make a decent argument that David Bell was their best pound-for-pound infielder."

What?!?!?!?!?!

Last year, Bell was third in the league in errors (see below).

David Wright, NYM 160 160 1404.1 461 101 336 24 23 .948 2.80 .775
Troy Glaus, Ari 145 144 1264.0 447 113 310 24 26 .946 3.01 .766
David Bell, Phi 150 148 1297.2 430 105 304 21 22 .951 2.84 .799

More importantly, though, is simply watching him night after night. This same thing applies this year. Sometimes he makes a spectacular play to the left, and it gives the appearance he's great defensively. WAY too many routine balls are botched, and hs range is terrible.
I have never been so down on a Phillie in all my life, as I am on David Bell. He so terribly mediocre that it's tough to watch.

steve t.

Hamels:

Yeh, he's human, and learning in the bigs. He seems to have the mental makeup to do it, unlike the Gavin Floyd experiment.

I have yet to see bad body language out of Cole, and was impressed that he was upset that he was being pulled after 5 against the pirates.

He seems to have a strong aversion to pitching inside, and will need to make peace with throwing to the inside half of the plate.

he'll be fine, he'll be a premier pitcher in a short time.

Regarding Mathieson:

He needs to work on his changeup.

maybe a traditional over hand curve to compliment his slider, but damn, this kid has talent, and poise.

i expect him to battle for the starting rotation next year.

Madson:

His good games/bad games ratio is about 2:1, and frankly I expect him to settle down even more in the second half.

If he can find that magical mental state that makes him pitch well, and repeat it, he should be in the rotation again next year.
---

That's 3 hot young arms that should be very, very good by next season. Which should only leave 2 slots, right?

maybe myers is still around. which leaves you with only one slot to fill... and randy wolf may be back, too.

the future on the mound looks pretty positive.

Well, my final vote for best defender ended up going to Rollins last season, but in Bell, the Phillies got a third basemen with good range and a strong arm. A lot of advanced numbers suggested he was the best defensive third baseman in baseball actually, which must have been a glitch.

This season, he's still got the arm, but is missing too many plays he should make as you mentioned, which is what he did last season as well.

Great post, Jason. You are my nominee for smartest, best-informed eternal optimist among all Phillies fans. Not even the 2006 installment of this bunch can ultimately shake your confidence.

As for Hamels, I think he is going to be a good one. Sure, everyone would like him to have burst on to the scene a la Mark Prior or Felix Hernandez, but in the end, he may turn out to be the more steady, consistent winner. One thing that impresses me about him is that even when shell-shocked, and his expression said he was following those home runs and walks in earlier outings, he never slumped his shoulders and look defeated. He is a battler, which can only serve him well down the road.

Good blog entry. I would argue that Bell's arm is not particularly strong, but accurate ; he also has a quick release. But way too many errors and seemingly many errors in critical situations. Is there an advanced stat for clutch fielding ? ( errors when RISP ) J-Roll also gets my vote for best defensively in the first half of 2006. With all of the focus about how he is not a good leadoff hitter, I think many don't appreciate how much he brings to this team defensively.

I thought the Phillies best infielder last year was Jose Offerman.

Interesting post . . . I generally agree with most things on this point except about the current state of the Phils' farm system.

If this half of the first season revealed anything about the farm system, it showed that the Phils' have no players capable of making an immediate impact at the major-league level. Even Hamels has struggled considerably. The only rookie who has had a positive impact is Victorino.

The dearth of players ready for the major leagues is really going to hurt Gillick's chances of turning this team around quickly. Unless Gillick is able to make a savvy trade or make a few decent FA signings, I see little to no help coming from within anytime soon.

I agree with that, MG, about the state of the farm system. I'm only talking about pitching in Reading and Lakewood.

These pitchers in Lakewood, and half the pitchers in Reading, won't be seen in Philadelphia until 2008 at the earliest, and that's only if they continue to have success.

Pitching is the only upside to their system, and it's a minimal one at that. They have no arms that will blow your socks off the way Hamels did, but they have a number of good ones.

The main concern is they have NO position players to get excited about. Zero. Squat. The best group is actually at Scranton, but we know who they are (Ruiz, Roberson, Bourn). Not a whole lot there ...

Phils mound future looks positive. Hamels, Madson/Lidle, Myers, Lieber, Wolf next year. (yes, I know, Lieber. 7.5million next year...he will have a spot, get used to it). Looking for Mathieson to go to the bullpen, unless he manages to really master an off-speed pitch. Also depends on the closer situation of course, and they have to resign Wolf.

offerman.... one of the few people to have a baseball joke made about their fielding prowess:

how do you spell offerman? 2 f's and a couple of e's a game.

Will - How is the rotation any different/better than the rotation this year?

Lieber will be another year older and Madson has put up horrible overall numbers as a starter. As for Wolf, it is way too soon to be hopeful about him. I want to see Wolf pitch in Sept. before the Phils make any future plans about including him the rotation.

Well you have to be hopeful that Madson continues to turn a corner in his development. Also, Mathieson could be put in as a servicable starter in the Wolf spot should they not sign him.

Can't help you on Lieber, I wish he could go too, but it ain't gonna happen unless he puts up Clemens type numbers next year.

Jason your analysis of the Phillies farm system is right on the money. It is bankrupt of position players, but has some interesting pitching prospects. Hamels can be a number 1 someday. Mathieson projects a #4 or #5 and Gio somewhere in between. If Floyd could spend a full year at AAA, he could get some maturity and mental toughness. I did not like the Haigwood trade as I thought his upside was more than Fabio Castro, but Castro is clearly closer to reaching his potential. Also worth keeping an eye on is the lefty Maloney at Lakewood. His stuff is good, not great, but he's got 3 pitches, decent command and knows what to do. His big test will be AA.

i had a chance to watch a clearwater game, and Costanzo looked like he had a lot of upside.

but, he's prby 3-4 years out....

Bankrupt of position players? I guess if you aren't couting the outfield...Bourn, Roberson, Victorino, and Golson (poor half, ton of talent). There's basically a logjam right now in the outfield, and that can only happen if guys are performing at a high level. You look anywhere else and it's awful (and I agree with you).

Just an All Star Game note. Ryan Howard had a chance to enlarge his standing in baseball history when he stood at the plate in the bottom of the ninth as the potential winning run. I envisioned the home run derby king to hit a gargantuan home run blast exiting the stadium and landing in the river with the kayakers. Instead, reality took over and Ryan grounded into a fielder's choice. Oh, well, the NL loses again. I’m getting tired of all of these losses.

>Madson has put up horrible overall numbers as a starter.

Madson has a shitty ERA, yet has the most wins on the team. His Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde pitching is to account for the ERA. His good starts outnumber his bad starts 2:1.

His numbers are off, because when he's bad, he's VERY VERY bad.

But when he's good, he's very good, and puts the team in position to win the games.

which is better than any other pitcher this season.

the only chance this team has is to throw $30 million at two free agent starters next year. if we do that and find an every day third baseman, we can win. no wolf/lidle/madson in the rotation. fa/fa/lieber/myers/hamels. with mathieson, madson in the pen we are deep at pitching all around. i'm not saying it'll happen but that's our only hope at a pennant.

I just realized Lidle is in a contract year. his future probably depends more on how Wolf/Madson/whoever pitches than on how he pitches. At 3.3million, he's a little steep for a #5 starter.

With any luck, the Phils will be able to unload Lieber and his big contract.

Nice article, Jason.

Vicente Padilla won his 9th game last night. He's the guy everyone was anxious to trade. I forget, who did we get for him? And if the Phils trade Burrell, Abreu, Rowand etc. like many here want, what will be the result?

clout - who knows? the fact of the matter is and was, the status quo is/was not working. While a case can be made for rowand, burrell and abreu next year stand to make over $33 million combined. Even assuming that you could get quality pitching while keeping these guys, the payroll would go overboard. You work to change things and if things don't work out, you change them some more.

You could extend the argument to Wolf, whom many on this board want to be let go, even though he has a killer curve and was an all-star just a few years ago.

To me, it's worse not to try.

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