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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

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91-71, 1st in the East, bounced in the NLCS.

Hanley Ramirez MVP
Tim Lincecum CY

92-70, 1st in East, NL champs

Manny MVP
Hamels CY

Well as most of you know by now, I use my infamous +/- 5 system.

91 wins and the Division; 96 if everything falls into place, 86 and missing the playoffs in a worst case scenario.


On MVP, I'm waffling between Howard and Utley. I think Howie will have a monster year, but I want to see Chase play in person on Saturday before I make that prediction.

Cy Young? Well, I could pick any one of a number of aces around the league, but I'll double down and make this wild, bold, dark horse prediction:

Assuming he's not screwed and gets named the Phillies number 5 starter, he will get out of the gate fast, and use the confidence gained to continue to pitch close to as well as he has all Spring:

Chan Ho Park.

96-76, NL East 1st. Repeat World Champs

MVP-Ryan Howard
Cy Young- I hate to say it, but Santana.

11-5, lose in the NFC Championship game... oh wait wrong blog.

95-67 WFCx2

93 wins and a third straight division title. No prediction on the playoffs (Phils, Cubs, Dodgers, Mets) because it's too much of a crapshoot.
Utley wins MVP, even with Howard hitting another 50 HR's and 130+ RBI's.
Lincecum wins the Cy Young.

89 wins. Good year, but no playoffs. Is this not a Philadelphia franchise?

Last year, everything sans Utley went perfectly.

This year, I worry about injuries and bench players like Stairs, Jenkins, Coste and Cairo breaking down as the season progresses. What happens when the big guns are banged up?

Below is a statistical projections (goal) for the majority of Phillies players for the upcoming 2009 season. Please note, it is impossible to directly connect any piece of statistical data to wins and loses. That being said, there are certain statistics that offer more insight than just the formula that defines it. Additionally, I’ve ranked the statistical goals in order of importance. If many or most of these statistical goals are achieved, than the probability of a successful 2009 campaign are greatly increased!

Cole Hamels / Run Support: Of the Phillies starters last season, Cole Hamels had the worst run support. Of all the starters in the league, Cole Hamels had one of the worst run support rates. The Phillies scored only 5.58 RPG in games in which Hamels started. Kyle Kendrick led the team with 8.56 RPG in his 30 starts. In 5 of the 10 games Cole was credited with a loss, he gave up 3 or less earned runs. An increased RPG rate and injury-free season should launch Cole into the 20-game wins club.

STATISTICAL GOAL: 6.75 RPG

Brad Lidge / Close %: Perhaps the most important statistic of all last season was Bridge Lidge 100% close rate. It’s highly unlikely that Brad Lidge will not blow a save this season. What is important is how well he regroups and performs in his next opportunity. His decline after the Puljols home run in October of 2005 is well documented. This will be a great opportunity to put all that behind him. Excluding last season, his career close rate is about 82%. Of the top 4 leaders in saves last season (R. Rodriguez, J. Valverde, B. Wilson, J. Papelbon) the close between them was 88%. I think a realistic goal for Lidge would be 88%. That means if given the same amount of saves opportunities this season as last (41), that he will blow 5 saves in 2009. If he had blown 5 saves last season, the Phillies would have finished 87-75, 2 games behind the Mets and 3 games out of the playoffs.

STATISTICAL GOAL: 88% Close-Rate

Raul Ibanez / RBI Production: In the past 3 seasons, Raul Ibanez has produced an average of 112.67 RBI per season. What was Pat Burrell’s RBI production over the past 3 seasons? Exactly 20 RBI less per season. Yes Burrell did yield an average 5 more HR per season vs. Ibanez. With a move to Citizens Bank Park and great talent ahead of him the lineup, I think it’s logical to expect 112 RBI from Ibanez this season.

STATISTICAL GOAL: 112 RBI

Chase Utley / Hits: Last season Chase led the team in hits with 177. That was the lowest team leading total since Bobby Abreu led the team with 176 in 2003. Since then either Utley or Rollins has led the team with at least 190 hits. Chase’s career high is 203 hits in 2006. I’d like to see Utley reach the 200 mark again this season. If Utley has 200 hits, that means the HR and RBI will follow. A 2009 HR projection for Utley is not as simple. Although he had a career high 33 HR last season, his power dropped dramatically after the All-Star break, no doubt due to his sore hip. He had 25 at the break last year. Does he have the potential to hit 45 HRs?

STATISTICAL GOAL: 200 Hits

Ryan Howard / Home Runs: The big fella is here for one reason and it isn’t his ability to turn two. In his past 3 seasons, Howard has average 51 home runs. That is 1 home run every 11.24 at-bats. In 2006 he averaged 1 home run for every 10 at-bats. I think it’s realistic to project his average over the past 3 seasons. Until the Phils get the perfect bat to hit behind Howard, then teams will walk him when he is hot. By the way, How many games did Ryan Howard NOT play in last season? Zero.

STATISTICAL GOAL: 51 Home Runs

Jamie Moyer / Innings Pitched: This past off-season Jamie Moyer signed a 2-year contract extension. In 2007, Moyer led the team in innings pitched with over 199. I think it’s realistic to project 200 innings pitched for Moyer in 2009. With the exception of 2000, from 1998-2005, Moyer averaged over 216 innings pitched per season. If he can pitch 200 innings this season, everything else should fall into place. Although unlikely, perhaps he can add another 20-game win season to his resume, don’t forget he already has two. The only other statistical piece of data with Jamie that is as important are the number of “dugout talks” with the younger pitchers. The more the better!

STATISTICAL GOAL: 200 Innings Pitched

Greg Dobbs / Pitch-Hit RBI: Greg Dobbs’ success off the bench can not be understated in connection to the Phillies success over the past two seasons. His clutch hit RBI are as important to this team as any other statistical contribution from any player. It takes a special player to understand and accept their role as a pinch hitter. Greg Dobbs is that special player. In 2007 he led the majors with 18 pinch-hit RBI. Last season he led the majors with 22 pinch hits and finished 2nd with 16 pinch-hit RBI.

STATISTICAL GOAL: 18 pinch-hit RBI

Jimmy Rollins/ OBP: Last season Jimmy Rollins had a career high OBP (on-base percentage) of .349. For a true lead-off hitter, which many people feel Jimmy is not, OBP is a key statistic. The more often he gets on base, the more bases he steals, the more runs he scores, the more wins for the Phils. Equally as important is the energy created in the dugout and in the crowd when Jimmy gets on base. A big reason for Jimmy’s OBP success last season is the fact the he struck out a career low 55 times. Excluding last season, Jimmy average 1 strikeout every 8.02 at-bats. Last season, he average 1 strikeout every 10.10 at-bats. He also had a career high in walks last season with 58. This is the type of season and the type of mentality whe need from Jimmy Rollins. Nobody is upset with the fact the he only produced 59 RBI last season compared to his 2006 and 2007 RBI totals (94/83).

STATISTICAL GOAL: .350 OBP

Carlos Ruiz / GDP: Last season Carlos Ruiz led the team (along with Pedro Feliz) with 14 ground into double plays. Cutting this number down is crucial and needs to be THE focus of Ruiz’s spring training. In 2007, Ruiz has 17 GDPs, so there is some movement in the right direction. Not runners thrown out, not RBI, not any other statistic is as important in my eyes as GDP for Carlos Ruiz.

STATISITCAL GOAL: Anything under 14…..please!

Pedro Feliz/ Fielding %: In 2007, Pedro Feliz led the league in Fielding % with .973. Last season he finished second in the league with a Fielding % of .974 (Glaus .982). Simply put, this is why Feliz is our starting 3rd baseman. His power numbers have declined since he hit 22 HR and 98 RBI in 2006 with San Francisco. It would be nice if he improved his slugging, but his main value to this team is his defense. If Haap becomes the 5th starter, that would make 3 lefties of the 5 starters.

STATISTICAL GOAL: .974 Fielding %

Brett Myers / SO: The Phillies saw 2 different versions of Brett Myers last season. During the months of May and June, Brett racked up an ERA well over 6. He then spent the next 4 weeks in AAA. Upon his return, Brett would go 6-1 with and ERA under 2 within next 9 starts. He then gave up 19 earned runs within his last 4 starts going 1-3 to end the season. In 2005, Brett pitched a career high 215+ innings and finished with a career best ERA of 3.72. That season Brett racked 208 strikeouts at a rate of almost 1 every inning pitched. That’s the type of Brett Myers the Phillies need in 2009.

STATISTICAL GOAL: 200 Strikeouts

Shane Victorino / SB %: Shane Victorino’s biggest asset to the Phillies is his speed. In 2007 Shane stole 37 bases in 41 at a success rate of 90.2%. 2008 was not as encouraging as Shane stole 36 bases in 47 attempts at a success rate of 76.6%, a considerable difference. Whether it’s his fitness level or his confidence, stealing bases more successfully needs to be a focus for Shane this Spring.

STATITICAL GOAL: 90%

Jason Werth / Games Played: You could make a case that Jason Werth was the most valuable offensive player in the postseason last year. Statistically, he led a handful of offensive categories. Ask Jason what statistic is the most important to him in 2009, and he might tell you that he wants to be the everyday player and start in almost every game this season. Werth had a career high 418 at-bats last season and proved that he should not be a part of any platoon. He’ll get that chance this season. If he starts 150+ games, that means he’s performing like the 2008 postseason version of Jason Werth.

STATISITCAL GOAL: 150+ Games Started

Joe Blanton / K/9: Something changed when Joe Blanton put on a Phillies uniform. Looking at strikeout per 9 innings pitched, Blanton with the A’s last season was on pace to have his worst season. He was only collecting 4.39 strikeouts per nine innings. Well below his career average of 5.20/9. However, with the Phillies version of Blanton put up a career best K/9 ratio with 6.24 K/9. Much like his rookie campaign in Oakland, opposing hitters were batting only .246 against the Philly Blanton last season. This is somewhat explainable because the large majority of hitters we’re seeing Blanton’s stuff for the first time. Not so much the case this season.

STATISTICAL GOAL: 6.00/9

Team Goal / Total Runs Scored: Last season the Mets and Phillies tied for second in the league with a runs scored total of 799 (Cubs 855). With the addition of Ibanez and a healthy season from Utley, I think it’s fair to project 825 runs scored in 2009.

STATISTICAL GOAL: 825 Runs

95 wins, 49-39 at all star break, 8-9 inter league. Division title.
MVP between Howard, Utley and Manny.
For Phils much will depend on whether Lidge can have a good season (not necessarily a perfect one).
No predictions on playoffs too few games Last year I thought Phils would lose to teh clearly superior AL.
I think washington and Atlanta will prove to be pesky. Not to mention we have a tougher interleague schedule (Boston, NY and TB)than the Mets. I guess I am overly optimistic.

Park earned his spot in the rotation. If Happ gets it instead, then they lied to Park from the outset about his chances of being the #5 starter. I wouldn't blame him a bit if he asked for his release. Plenty of teams could find room for him in their rotation (The Orioles, Tigers and Mets come immediately to mind).

Taking into consideration that they have a 46 year old in the rotation and the fact that Happ has been pretty lousy when coming out of the bullpen, I believe that Happ would be best served beginning the season at Lehigh Valley. If the need for his services arises, he can always be called up.

I like MLBHomeRun's approach on all except Ruiz. While we will all be pleased if Ruiz (or any player for that matter) lowers his GDP it almost doesn't mattter given that the pitcher is next to bat. It is more important for Ruiz to become a better hitter and drive in whomever is on base before him rather than wait for the pitcher and he is clearly showing signs of that towards th ened of last year and this ST. Ultimately his ability to be able to throw people out stealing is more critical.

Here's a minimally scientific prediction.

2004: 840 RS / 741 RA
2005: 807 / 726
2006: 865 / 812
2007: 892 / 821
2008: 799 / 680

2009: 830 / 720

Offense is slightly better, pitching is more than slightly worse (but not as bad as some might think. If you look at the PECOTA projection for the 'pen it is not pretty outside Lidge.) Phils starters give up about 500 of those RA. Relievers gave up a mere 191 in 2008 (best in NL) after giving up 285 in '07 (243 in '06, 253 in '05, 246 in '04). Relievers in '09 give up somewhere between 210 and 230. The Pythag. would put them with a 2009 record of 87-75.

I'm going to say this team finds a way to win some games.

89-73.

W-L: 95-68 (Unless Hamels gets injured, pitching depth gives them 3 more wins)
Playoffs: Loss in NLCS
MVP: Manny over Utley
Cy Young: Some young pitcher like Yovani Gallardo or Edinson Volquez

91-71, NL East champs.

MVP: Pujols
CY: Santana

89-73 is my best guess...I expect a small decline from last year.

NL East Champs and then back into the crapshoot that is the playoffs.

NL Cy Young - Ricky Nolasco
NL MVP - Geovany Soto

I'm going with darkhorse candidates to say the least...when's the last time a catcher won MVP anyway?

To the poster disguised as MLBHomeRun: If you think Ibanez can get 112 RBI hitting behind Utley and Howard, you are totally clueless. The only way Ibanez gets 112 RBI is if Utley and Howard are injured or they suddenly become doubles hitters.

93-69, NL East Champs, Lose world series to Red Sox.

NL MVP is Pujols, Cy Young is Hamels.

Mac: Your comments on Park are on the money. Especially if, as I believe and he implied when he signed, they made a commitment when they signed him that he'd have the edge for a rotation spot.

sophist: I'm curious why you say the offense is better and the pitching worse. I could make a case for the opposite: The rotation is better than last year's and that more than offsets the weaker bullpen. The offense is worse without Burrell, OB and SLG will be down.

Of course, if Rollins and Howard have bounceback seasons then the offense will indeed be better and if Hamels isn't healthy all season, the pitching will be worse.

88-74, Wild Card winners

NL MVP: David Wright
NL Cy Young: Johan Santana

Wow, that came off as some lovin' for the Mets, but in reality, any way we make the playoffs is fine with me. I think the NL East looks good for the Wild Card unless someone (Reds, Brewers, Dodgers) far exceeds their projections.

86 Wins Second in the NL East. Mets take it all.

94-68, NL East Champs, No Playoff Prediction.

Howard MVP

Santana Cy Young

Beltran LVP

89-73 NL Wild Card Winner
Lose in NLCS 4 games to 3 vs. Dodgers

NL MVP - Albert Pujols
NL Cy Young Award - Webb

This is again roughly a 90-win team, which should be more than enough to win the division. I see the Mets finishing well off the pace - it's incredible to me that teams still think they can throw heaps of money at one or two players and think that alone makes them a better club. It's an aging and psychically scarred squad that still isn't good enough. Santana didn't get them over the top and neither will Rodriguez.

I see the Braves and Marlins being tough all year. Not good enough to finish first, but definitely getting closer.

Who knows how things would go in the post-season. But it's extremely unlikely that the Phillies would repeat as world champs. They're a good team, even a very good team, but not the kind of dominant team that you'd expect to go back-to-back. And if they don't, no one has any right to be disappointed. This is the best era of baseball Philadelphia has seen since 1976-83 and one of the four best in the history of the city (counting the A's).

96-66, 1st in NL East followed by
87-75 Braves
84-78 Marlins
81-81 Mets

Cy Young - Rich Harden
MVP - Chase F'ing Utley

"The rotation is better than last year's and that more than offsets the weaker bullpen."


Sophist, I will add to that by pointing this out:


No more Eaton crap every 5 days (though he did start out the season ok).
No more KK imploding (I don't think he makes it back up this season, as Happ/Park are ahead of him and Carrasco surpasses him by the end of the summer).
Myers will be more consistent all season in a contract year.

Those three factors alone will give the Phillies a better roation this season, even if, as I suspect/expect, Hamels will spend some time on the DL or miss a start or two due to fatigue.

MLB:Great post except for Lidge. 5 blown saves do not automatically = 5 losses. Many times a pitcher gets a blown save for giving up the tieing run,but his team still goes on to win.

RK:Grounding into DP's later in the game does matter if you're planning on PH for the pitcher.

Good post RSB. Welcome back.

93-69, make World Series. Whether they repeat as champs or not, I don't know, but there really isn't an NL team that scares me.

Jake Peavy, Cy Young.
Manny Ramirez, MVP.


91-71, NL East Champs.

I agree with the sentiment that the playoffs are too much of a crapshoot to predict. It just depends on who's hot when October rolls around.

I don't have an MVP prediction but I will predict Howard has a big year and his batting average in particular bounces back from last year.

90-72, division winners, lose to Dodgers in NLCS (damn it).

I think the experience of winning a WS will certainly help, but two WFCs in a row might be a bit much.

MVP - Pujols
Cy Young - Lincecum

91-61, tied with the Mets, but since both make the playoffs no tiebreaker is played. Phils win NLDS, but Mets blow theirs, so we don't get to see what would be an incredibly intense playoff match-up. That is where my vision ends, but hopefully another WFC follows.

Santana, Cy Young
Ryan Howard, MVP

Oops, meant 91-71 obviously.

David Murphy's "High Cheese", about the Park/Happ battle, is a MUST READ this morning.

If you can't find the link on the left, here it is:


High Cheese


I love this quote:

"Look at it this way: if you stopped a passerby on the streets of Seoul and asked him who J.A. Happ is, there is a good chance that passerby would answer correctly."


Very, very interesting.

94 wins WFC

Your Majesty, di you really think the Dodgers, with the loss of Lowe and others, have the pitching to get to the NLCS?

92-70, NL East Champs
Lose in WFS to NYY

NL CY-Harden
NL-MVP-Howard

Errr, " 'do' you really think......"

"It's an aging and psychically scarred squad that still isn't good enough. Santana didn't get them over the top and neither will Rodriguez."

Delgado's the only regular over 33. (starting pithcers and pen taken into account as well).

92-70. Win the division. No NL teams look too imposing so I'll predict a return to the fall classic. I think Utley is ready to go so I think he'll get his MVP. Think about it the last couple of years without injuries he was probably the favorite until he got hurt. Cy Young is a toss-up but I think I'll go with Santana. The guy is great. (Yecch).

93 wins, mets win wild card, pesky marlins 3rd, braves 4th

Cubs over Phils in NLCS (but I keep picking the Cubs every year)

MVP-Ryan Howard
Cy-Webb

Can't wait til Sunday night!

Anyone else see Gary Sheffield got released today? Think Ruben goes after him as our right handed bench bat?

Am I the only one that thinks the Marlins are going to be a great big hemmoroid again this year? They might not contend for the division but I don't like playing them. Good young arms, if not neccesarily pitching, and a bunch of lumberjacks who swing for the fences on every pitch. They definitely have the ability to send a team into a slump. Still not too worried about the Braves. Mets should contend but I am not sold on them by a long shot.

The Phils will win somewhere between 88 - 91 games, clinch at least a WC berth and could be out of the playoffs by the second round. They are a potent club prone to striking out a lot and a defensive club with a mediocre overall outfield defense and a first baseman who has to improve. Pitching looks strong but will go as far as Moyer's aging arm and Hamels' elbow take them. As always seems to be the case, it remains to be seen which Brett Myers will show up. Joe Blanton could be the difference maker. The bullpen lacks a strong lefty presence and will need superior years again from Madson and Lidge to approach last year. Durbin remains a big question mark, his second half from last year less than strong and his spring performances inadequate to judge.

The Mets remain a dangerous offensive club and won't be blowing as many late-inning leads as last year. Any team with Wright, Beltran and Reyes in its lineup will score runs in bunches. Carlos Delgado is the joker in their deck. Will the first or second half player from 2008 show up? The Marlins could send out a team with only eight players and always remain competitive. They have a potentially powerful starting rotation. The Braves will go as far as an aging, injury-prone Chipper Jones can take them on offense. The joker in their deck is Jeff Francoeur. He has to rebound from last year's struggles for the Braves to score runs. They will rely on Derek Lowe to produce at least 17 wins. Their bullpen does not strike fear into opposing teams.

MVP? Not a clue. Same with CY.

In sum, the Phils are still a very good club but recent comparisons in local papers to some of the repeating world series champs of yore do not produce particularly reassuring results. The biggest thing the Phils have going for them is their win last year won over the city's fans. Even should they fall short this season, the people will turn out in droves, tickets will be hard to come by, and the glow of 2008 will not wear off.

I'm bullish this year.

98-64, 1st in the East, NL Champs.

Ryan Howard MVP
Tim Lincecum CY

Well, I'm never one to pat myself on the back... (okay, that's a lie)... but I think I'm the only one who correctly nailed the 92 wins in last year's prediction thread.

This year, I think we're one win better. I think we'll have a stronger rotation, a weaker bullpen and the offense will be about the same. 93-69

Phils win the division by three games over the Mets who win the wild card. Cubs and Dodgers win their divisions. In the playoffs, anything can happen.

I can't see calling the Phils outfield defense mediocre, even if Ibanez stinks. Victorino is great and Werth is very fast for a corner with a strong arm and a solid glove.

clout, AWH

Starters gave up 489 runs in 2008 (9th in NL) - although their high IP should be considered -, relievers gave up 191 (1st). Primarily I think the 'pen is worse. Lidge doesn't have a perfect year (if he blows 3 saves that lead to losses last year - which is a reasonable number for a quality closer, Wood blew 6 of 40, 3 of which lead to a loss - this team wins 89 games in 2008).

For 50 games they replace Romero with Eyre and Taschner. I don't know where they get Durbin's or Seanez' production from, although I do expect Madson and Condrey to pitch as well as they did last year. A seat of the pants calculation says: '08 was a career year for the 'pen and they give up 20 to 30 more runs this year than last, especially since I think they throw more innings than last year as a unit. I'd be more confident in the 'pen if Happ were named 5th starter.

I do think Myers and Blanton have relatively outstanding years, but Moyer and Hamels decline. Hamels, less so because of his W and WHIP, etc. and moreso bc of his IP. They don't get 230 from him this year (and those 30 IP will fall on less talented shoulders). I think they may give up less RA than last year's starters because they throw fewer innings (fewer innings out of Hamels especially), but any less runs given up by the starters will be more runs given up by the bullpen. I just don't see this team giving up less than 700 RA. I'd be more confident, obviously, if Hamels looks good this week and on the 10th. 200 IP from Hamels makes this a 90+ win team.

One thing I don't know how to factor in is defense. The defense should be a touch better this year.

I like the offense a lot more this year. Rollins and Howard bounce-back. Rollins looked great in WBC and for stretches of '07 was the best player on the field. Howard ups his BA and OBP. I'm bullish on Werth. NL average RF last year was .271/.344/.444 and the Phils got .262/.332/.424. I think he plays 140+ games and is a top-5 NL RF. Ruiz plays better. Utley could be MVP. I think he hits 35 HR and bats over .300/.370. Ibanez doesn't replace Burrell's power, but gives the bottom of the lineup a BA/OBP boost and sets the table for some run. Additionally, it wouldn't surprise me if Manual moves Vic, Werth, and Ibanez around the lineup (1, 2, 5, 6) and Ibanez gets 90+ RBI.

This team, obviously, has the pieces to win 95 games. I think if they had signed Lowe and Ohman, and had replaced Burrell with a cheaper option they would have been more likely to do so.

92-70 = NL East Champion for 3rd year in a row. (No prediction for playoffs)

Marlins grab the wild card going 88-74,
Mets finish 3rd in the division 86-76.

NL MVP - Utley
NL CY - Santana

Utley wins MVP
Webb wins CY

Tiggers released Sheffield. Maybe a fit as the right handed batter of the bench instead of Cairo once he clears waivers?

** off the bench that is

I loved Mark "The Man" Kram's prediction on the Mets on DNL yesterday, "60 wins. Just wait until September 1 rolls around."

Rosenthal:

Phils' release point: Eaton yes, Jenkins no

The Phillies released right-hander Adam Eaton with $9.15 million on his contract earlier this spring, but they're apparently unwilling to make the same move with outfielder Geoff Jenkins, who has $8 million left on his deal.

Ruben Amaro Jr., the Phillies' first-year GM, is in the perfect spot to lobby for Jenkins' release, one rival executive said — the club is coming off a World Series title, and Jenkins, like Eaton, was signed by Pat Gillick, the team's previous GM.

Phillies president and CEO David Montgomery, however, is unwilling to "eat" a combined $17.15 million, another source said. Evidently, Montgomery drew the line with Eaton.

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/9399198/What-can-the-Angels-do-with-$33-million-problem

NL East Champs
93 - 69

MVP: Manny (the press is in love with him)
CY Young: Some unknown young kid, most likely from the Marlins just to annoy me.

What worries me most about the Phillies:
1. Will Utley bounce back from surgery?
2. Ibanez. 'Nuff said.
3. Will Jamie Moyer act his age or have another strong year?
4. Will the injury bug hit, unlike last year?

The NL is very balanced this year. Wouldn't surprise me if there are no teams over 90 wins, unless the central and east just beat up on the West. Phils, Mets, Braves, and Marlins all look very strong. Cubs, Cards, Brewers all look strong (and the Stros still have formidable bats in that lineup). If the Marlins won the East I wouldn't be surprised.

Maybe too much caffeine this morning, but I'll say:


94-68, NL East title, WFC


MVP: Howard
Cy Young: Zambrano

Sheffield is interesting, but lets get serious. The Tigers released him for a reason, and I'm sure they tried to shop him prior to doing so. Even if the price was right I doubt the Phillies pulling the trigger on him.

I can't say I'm surprised that they won't release Jenkins. It rarely makes fiscal sense to just release a guy who is under contract. The only money you save by releasing him is the major league minimum salary (if someone else signs him). Since the savings are minimal, it's better to just keep the guy around because, as bad as he might be, there could come a day when you need him. Eaton was a special case, however. I think the Phillies just concluded that, after seeing his act for 2 years, there was no circumstance in which they would ever want to use him. Better to just waive him, save the major league minimum salary, & give the guy a chance to restart his career somewhere else.


Jenkins is a different case. He is enourmously overpaid for the reserve outfielder that he is. But at least he's good enough to be a reserve outfielder. It wouldn't make sense to release him because, unlike Eaton, he is at least filling a useful role with the team.


Reasonable minds can debate which player is better between Jenkins and Stairs. But, all things considered, they are pretty close to equal. When you factor in the feasibility of trading each player, or the cost involved in simply releasing him, it's really no contest. Unless, by some miracle, they are able to find a trading partner to accept Jenkins, then Stairs goes and Jenkins stays.

Re Sheffield: I agree with Albert: he was released for a reason. He is 40, can't play defense at any position, and appears cooked as a hitter. His .178 spring average is based on a small sample size, but his 472 PAs in 2008 are not a small sample size, and he hit just .225.


Sheffield can still hit homeruns & draw walks. Those 2 attributes alone would make him a significant upgrade from Miguel Cairo. But there are (or will be) other choices out there besides Cairo and Sheffield. I would prefer one of these other choices.

93-69, NL East Title, WFC

MVP: Hanley Ramirez
Cy Young: Hamels

Isn't there something to be said that Jenkins and Eaton had very different roles in the club house as well? I know this is far down the line on the factors influencing the decision to cut one and not the other (th simple total $ of both being factor number 1), but Jenkins seems to have a positive impact, while Eaton's excuses and stench of failure could not have been helping anyone.

95-67, 1st in the East.
NL Champions
WFC??? We shall see.

NL MVP: Pujols or Utley
NL Cy Young: Lincecum

bap: And Jenkins' #1 advantage over Stairs is defense. I'm not saying Jenkins will win a gold glove, but he's got the ability to play left or right field if necessary. Stairs would be a problem in the field for any extended period of time.

Put me down for 92 wins and the division, with the Mets finishing up and heading to the golf course (Marlins with best shot for NLE WC). Loss in the NLCS (to Cubs).

94-68 1st in the NL East, WFC

NL MVP- Ryan Howard

NL Cy Young- Tim Lincecum

If they could get Sheff on veteran type deal I would sign him ASAP.

I would concur with most of what Sophist said. The rotation is improved by the addition of Blanton for a full season, the subtraction of Kendrick, the replacement of Eaton by Happ/Park, and hopefully a better season from Myers. Moyer, however, could do quite a bit worse this year. The bullpen almost can't help but regress from last season. Offensively, there's a ton of room for bounceback from last season, from Howard to Utley to Ruiz, but I don't expect Rollins to be a part of it. He's had one great offensive season, '07. On OPS+, last year was actually his second best season ever. The Burrell/Ibanez switch is a bit of a question mark but I do see it being nearly a wash in the first year, largely because Ibanez is that rare thing; a statistically verifiable clutch hitter. So our offense ought to be better, as should our rotation; what makes it hard for me, then, to predict 95 wins or something like that is that the bullpen really has the potential to revert to the huge problem it used to be, even once Romero gets back. People forget what an inconsistent career he had until he came here. So I guess I'll go with 93 wins and the division.

"mediocre overall outfield defense"

"The bullpen lacks a strong lefty presence"

Tom Goodman, I find the above statements a little puzzling.

CF won a gold glove, and had the 5th highest fielding % in MLB among CFs.

RF did not make one error all season.

LF - remains to be seen.

And that's not even mentioning outfield assists.

But, to characterize the overall defense as "mediocre"?

As far as the bullpen lefty is concerned, I know he's not around for the first 50 games, but are you forgetting Romero, he of the 2.34 ERA the last two seasons, who LH batters hit .108 against?

Please elaborate.

88-74, but I'm usually a couple of wins below their actual total, so maybe that means 90 or 91 wins.

BAP: The money for Jenkins is spent one way or the other. If Stairs is the better player, the team is hurting itself by keeping Jenkins for financial reasons. This smacks of Monty basing his decision on how hard it would be to explain to the trust-fund geezers who actually own the club why we're paying $14 million to people who play for other teams.

Which brings up the question, have we properly "credited" He Who Walks On Water, Pat Gillick, for that dreadful contract?

Sign me up for Gary Sheffield.

I'll go with whatever Jimmy Rollins says for games won; I am bad at that game.

I am intrigued by NEPP's idea of Soto as MVP. the last catcher to win NL MVP was Johnny Bench, and before him Roy Campanella.

Cy Young? Edinson Volquez

"And Jenkins' #1 advantage over Stairs is defense."


Agreed. But Stairs is a somewhat better hitter. That's why I rate them pretty close to equal overall. Considering that the Phillies don't really have any other backup outfielder who can play halfway decent defense, Jenkins' ability to do so might outweigh Stairs' superior bat. So, even if salary were no issue, Jenkins may well be the preferable option.

91-71
Repeat as WFC. Why not?

Great thought processes by everyone above, but I'm going a different route. The Fightins' get to 101 wins based on their brains. Let me explain.
How many games have we lost over the years because of a mindset, e.g. "we're the Phils and we're expected to lose". Well, based on last October, that should now be behind us. I say the Phils go out ans steamroll the competition, starting from week 1.
Sure we lose a few more to the Braves this year, but We make them up against the Mets versus last year. Everyone else--watch out.
Record: 101-61
NL East Champs
Lose to the Yankees in the World Series
MVP: David Wright
CY Young: Lincecum
(Phils Ace: Blanton)

I'll give it a shot...

92-70 - NL East Champs, losing in the World Series.

NL Cy Young: Johann Santana
NL MVP: Jimmy Rollins

This has to be the all-time most vacuously stupid and ignorant comment ever made by a high-ranking Phillies official.

Larry Shenk, the retired head of PR, of all things, quoted in the Daily News today, had this to say about the down years in the late '90s when the team wasn't winning:


"It would be painful when we'd get criticized as an organization."


What, pray tell did Larry expect after 13 losing seasons in 14 years?

Was he watching the same baseball team that we were?

Phillies officials have a track record of making public statements that leave something to be desired.

Shenk was the head of PR during all those years, and if ostensibly giving them input on what to say, I can see why those types of public statements occured.

Almost unbelievable.

The whole division will be better, except the Mets and Phillies, so the Phils' record will drop a bit:

Phillies 89-73

Marlins 86-76

Mets 85-77

Braves 82-80

Nationals 74-88


Phils will lose in NLDS. I don't think Amaro's made any serious effort to improve the team, which clearly needs some upgrades to compete with the Cubs and, probably, the Dodgers.

To John Salmon and all others who love the Dodgers this season:

Why?

What is it that you think is going to make them so good?

Mets take the division with 95 wins.

Santana for Cy Young
Utley for MVP

Marlins 92-70 win world series again with 6 year plan.
Phillies 91-71 wild card lose to cubs
Mets can't overcome injuries to santana, putz, k-rod. 79-83
Finish behind Braves 82-80

AWH: Who in the west is better?

The Padres are a train wreck.
The Rockies are a mess.
The Giants have no offense.

Which team do you think will knock off Manny and the rest?

AWH: Although, I'm not concerned about the Dodgers myself. They are the best of the worst division. They are not a threat to the top teams in the East and Central.

I predict 94 wins, which will give us the division over the Mets by one game. This one is going down to the final game. The Mets will get the wild card.

I am basing this on the fact that while the bullpen will be great again, it will not be perfect like last season. That's just impossible. However, Rollins and Utley are back healthy and will have monster years compared to last year. Howard will also have a better year. I think a lot of people in general (not on here) are overlooking the fact that J-Roll and Utley were working through pain and injuries most of last season. This season they will be 100% and put up monster number. Rollins looked great in the WBC. There is also no way Howard bats .200 again.

Utley will finally win his MVP.

This team also has the confidence and swagger of WFC and knows how to win now. It'll be a dogfight this year as the Mets improved bullpen is intimidating. The Braves will be a pain in the but and the Marlins will be improved.

Should be an exciting season!

88-74, Wild Card

Phillies over Royals in World Series

MVP: David Wright
CY Young: Johan Santana

87-75 2nd place Wild Card
Lose to Mets in NLCS
Myers is back in pen
Hamels spends 15 days on DL

Royals in the World Series?!

CJ, some people have posted that they see the Dodgers winning the pennant.

I'd like some insight into their analysis, that's all.

I agree they appear to be the best in the west, but does that make them the best in the NL?

Did LA Jeff really say "Phillies over Royals in World Series?"


I'll at least credit him for the most off-beat prediction of the thread.

88-74. WC (depends on the teams in the NL Central again but I like the Phils' chances of taking the WC). Mets win the division with 89 or 90 wins.

Few points:
- Bullpen regresses largely because of reversion to the mean including Lidge, Durbin, and Condrey. Every key reliever gave up a ridiculously low rate of XHB last year including HRs vs. career numbers. That won't happen again.

- Eyre gets overexposed by Cholly in the early going and struggles. Taschner stinks and off by team before Memorial Day.

- Just like two years ago, Romero gives this team a huge boost midseason when he returns because of a fresh arm. Plenty of fist pumping ensues over the summer.

- Rotation will be middle of the pack but won't have quite as many QS as they did last year.

- Hamels gets injured and isn't as good as last year. Myers will be ok but not duplicate his 05/06 numbers. Blanton will be a decent middle rotation guy who wins 11-12 games. Moyer will surprise a bit and generally be an effective back-end guy for another year. Plenty of changes though for Happ, Park, and others as the Phils shuffle the back end of their rotation most of the year.

- Offense scores about 20-30 more runs this year as JRoll has a slightly better offensive year, Howard AVG and OBP increases a bit, and Ruiz isn't horrible.

- Ibanez gives the Phils the AVG they want but not the SLG. Nor does he give them anywhere close to 100 RBIs. More like 75 or 80. Still he gives them a relatively solid offensive year (.345/.460/.805) though.

- Feliz is done. Mediocre offense and spends time on the DL with his back. Opens the door for Donald who will get a shot to may an impact with this team before Sept. Ditto for Marson as I think Coste is done too.

- Lots of early changes to the bench because it is lacking in several ways and has a few players who don't contribute much. Jenkins rebounds a bit but largely sticks around because of his price tag.

- Phils get out to a weak start in April again including a very crappy 1st week including losing 2 of 3 against the Braves to open the season. Bitching ensues.

bap, geez, I was going for most offbeat with my Chan Ho Park - Cy Young prediction.

But, I have to admit, the Royals in the WS is out there.

I like round numbers,so I'll go with 90 wins and I don't care if that brings the title or the wild card,as long as we get to the dance. After that its a crap shoot and the Phils have seen both extremes of that the last 2 years.I would cast 2 votes for Utley for MVP if I could find someone from ACORN. Cy Young is another crap shoot. My darkhorse for bounceback is Coste. Maybe he relaxes a little after making the team despite a poor spring. Also,with Marson lurking,he probably figures this is his last year. And if they don't get a better RH bat soon,maybe Cholly wises up and uses him more to PH.

161-1 (they lose opening night)

Three-Fo'-Fo'

WFC

MVP: Howard/Utley co-MVP

CY: Hamels/Jimmy Rollins co-Cy Young

MG, Philadephia & "Bitching"?

I don't get the connection.

Food for thought:

Most of the Vegas sports books have the over/under on the Phils at 88 wins or 88.5 wins. Seems to be the concensus on here but looks more like 89-90 wins.

Mets are favorites to win the NL East at slightly better than 1:1 odds at most places. Phils are usually at slighter less than 2:1 odds.

Phils are 7:1 or 8:1 to repeat as NL Pennants winners. Dodgers, Cubs, and Mets all have better odds.

KC is 50:1 or more to win the AL pennant. If you really think that, might be worth a $5 or $10 wager.

Playoffs should be the bar of success for this team. If they are able to get back for the 3rd year in a row (even if they lose in the 1st round), it should be considered a successful year.

Phils release Jenkins? Wow. Guess these guys mean business! They've eaten a lot of $ this year unlike any time in the past. Best of luck to Geoff Jenkins but it was likely the best thing to do.

AWH: Sorry. Did not mean to slight you. It's just that I took your "prediction" to be humor, as opposed to a serious prediction.

2008's luck is all gone. injury riddled season: 81-81 3rd place. behind Mets & Marlins respectively.

92 Wins, First Place.
NLCS win over Giants.
WFC2 win over RedSox.

MVP: Manny
CYY: Lincecum

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