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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

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Nice to see someone like Cosart stepping up after the loss of Drabek. I realize strikeouts are sexy, but I love the 3 walks.

JW: Where can I find the story on Lidge's rehab from yesterday?

It's amazing how a 3-0 start by Cosart could have him rated as the top pitching prospect. I waould wait a bit longer before making that pronouncement. There is a long way to go in the season. We've played a week and a half ....

snakeman: I know what you're saying, but Cosart isn't "some guy" (not your words) who's off to a good start. He's a well thought of prospect, who could end up pretty high on the next Top 100 prospect list. He's a lefty starter who can hit 97. One reason they were ok trading Drabek is b/c they thought this guy would step up.

Scratch that request - found it.

snake - Cosart is one of those guys that people have been watching anyway. The main caveat is not that he seems to be coming out of nowhere but, rather, that it's still only at Lakewood. We'll see what he does when he makes it up to Reading.

Figgy ought to be rested for Saturday since his night for long relief is tonight. He should be taking over somewhere in the early innings and get 3 - 5 IP.

Finally some legit good news on Lidge. Here's hoping that he has a few more strong outings because I like Madson as the setup guy alot more than Baez.

Cosart was a later round pick too, so it's nice to see him coming through big time. Lakewood and Clearwater are off to good starts.

Caution on Cosart: He dominated with a great fastball...he still needs a lot of work. He's like Knapp was last year...a great young prospect who is quite raw.

Also, dont freak if he struggles in his next outing or down the line as he works on refining his secondary options.

Cosart's been a high ceiling guy since they drafted him so making that pronouncement isn't entirely baseless. Despite the bad news about Happ, I like starting the day with good news about getting Romero and Lidge back. It's like Folgers, but better.

Carson: Cosart was a later round pick because he had a commitment to play college ball. A lot of scouts thought it would be hard to pluck him from school but the Phillies took a chance on him. After throwing a good amount of money at him, Cosart signed on.

I could be way off on this story? Maybe I'm thinking of Colvin. Who knows.

Cosart and May were the Phils' top two SP prospects after Drabek, if I remember correctly.

Most people held May in higher regard, but from what I've read Cosart has actually passed May in the Phillies' eyes and could be looking at a mid-2011 ML debut.

Both of them have ace potential, if everything goes perfectly.

Cosart was a later pick b/c he was considered a tough sign.

I was at the Lakewood game last night and Cosart was really impressive. He will need to develop a changeup eventually but his cureveball and fastball are great pitches. He topped out at 96 last night. Even when he dropped to the low 90s the hitters still couldn't make contact with his pitches.

His fastball and curveball have a great combination of movement and location.

On a side note, James and Villar, have really impressed offensively and defensively in the couple games I've went to.

I thought Drabek was the top-rated pitcher in the system. Oh, I forgot. Aumont? Not him? Hmm...

From Will Carroll's Twitter:

Ped suspension incoming.

When I know, you'll know. Trying to get name, team, whatever. Working it. I assume someone will beat me to it.

More on suspension -- has already been through appeals process. This + came in spring training, most likely.

"Needing only nine pitches - five sliders and four fastballs - Lidge set down the only three hitters he faced, striking out one and getting the others to ground out."

I would be mostly concerned about the location on those fastballs. No one is going to be hitting those sliders at any level, but in the majors, Lidge absolutely needs his fastball command to set it up. If I were the Phils, I'd also throw him into a few situations with inherited runners to practice keeping runners at 1B. IMHO, that hole in his game is only overcome if the fastball/slider are so devastating that runners aren't reaching base in the first place. Lose location on the FB, then the dominoes are set in motion for a big inning.

If you're looking for a sign of hope that KK can actually have a good game tonight, this is the best I can find. Craig Stammen's line from last night's game against the Rockies:

8 IP, 2 earned runs, 5 hits, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts

Phils are -160 underdogs tonight. That is probably as big of an underdog they will be all season.

On Lidge, the article says that he has had 2 strong outings in a row, but it is actually 3. In the game before last, he had a 1-2-3 scoreless inning (walk, followed by caught stealing, followed by 2 strikeouts).

There is no greater Lidge skeptic than I but there's no question that the good version of Brad Lidge is a better closing option than Ryan Madson. If he can have a couple more strong outings in the high minors, he certainly deserves to be brought off the DL -- though I'm not sure it's a great idea to immediately make him the closer.

Both Cosart and Colvin were tough signs a year apart. In some ways Colvin was like a first round pick in a year there was no first round pick. Even then he signed cheaper than many expected. He has not had, I believe, as good a start.

MG - The good news is that the Braves aren't strong from the left side. .225/.380/.373 so far this year (healthy OBP) and have not done well against RHB so far. And that's with McCann hitting very well this year and Heyward hitting 1.127 OPS against RHP.

If Cox wants to give me a headache, at least on the offensive side, he could start Hinske, move Heyward up, drop Glaus down, bat Prado leadoff, etc.. I'm guessing he'll do the Phils a favor and bat Heyward seventh and someone like McClouth or Cabrera first.

Prado-Heyward-Chipper (.462/.563/1.077 against KK)-McCann-Hinske-Glaud-McClouth would be a disaster.

On paper, Phils get slaughtered tonight. So that means they will probably win on the field.

The Phillies could afford to deal away their top talent in the Halladay/Lee/Blanton trades (most of them marginal prospects), but they need to hit a home run with that low-minors class. They'll need some stars out of that group.

JW - Very quick site maintenance request

For game threads, the "jump to latest comments" link that is occassionally included in the header is a huge help to those of us obsessively refreshing on cell phones. Not sure if that is a pain for you, but just wanted to throw out my support for the link whenever possible! I specifically like it for checking on mid-game injuries etc. while at the park.

No one thinks we should start Contreras on Saturday? I'm not sure we should either, but he had strong peripherals last year as a SP. You put his fresh arm in a weaker league, and I'm guessing he feasts for a game or two. And you could bring Mathieson up to take his spot in the pen (assuming he has an option left, otherwise, I wouldn't do it). In the end, I'd only start Contreras if Figueroa isn't available, but I'd actually like to see if Jose can start and if Scott and throw that gas in the bigs.

I like that the Phillies seem to be progressing Lidge slowly this spring to make sure he is sharp once he hits the majors. I don't mind if they take it as slow as possible.

We're gonna get rolled tonight.

deutsch -- what kind of web browser runs on that cellphone?

Contreras isn't stretched out...he would maybe be able to go 3 innings depending on his pitch count.

That's pretty much why Figgy will go as he's stretched as a long-man and he started during the Spring.

NEPP, I suppose that's true. Unlike last year with Park, I'd actually like to see if Contreras could eat innings as a SP. Just wishful thinking, I suppose.

And I'm all for seeing Mathieson sooner rather than later. And this is actually why I originally thought of this idea: it seems (oddly) that our bullpen might have a touch more depth right now than our rotation. I'm not talking about late inning, power reliever depth, just swing man or quad A depth. By going to Contreras, you can leverage that depth, otherwise, you've got Carpenter.

Wow, NEPP...if Contreras could go three that'd be great. Much more than we'll probably get.

Trevor May with 9K in 5IPs now.

20 years old and in Clearwater...May is right on track.

Speaking of glad the Phils didn't sign him (Yahoo Sports):

"Here’s a fact that you can bet is not a secret among major league pitchers: you do not have to throw a strike to get the bat off Adrian Beltre’s shoulder. Among corner infielders, no player currently has a higher O-Swing% (percent of pitches outside the strike zone that a player swings at) than Beltre’s 41.9% mark.

Given his misguided plate approach and the fact that his power has been non-existent since his shoulder surgery last summer – he’s hit just three home runs in 60 games since then – he's likely to give the Red Sox that extremely hollow .270-280 batting average.

I still have a sour taste in my mouth from last season RE: Carpenter. I'd rather see if Figgy can do the job, & perhaps fill the long relief spot originally slotted for Kendrick (who I can't help but feel will be back in the Minors once Blanton returns ... that is, if Happ doesn't go on the DL). Damn. This pitching staff is a mess.

Cosart is a righty, as is May.

Indeed he is, mixed him up with Gose who was a lefty power pitcher in HS.

Jarred Cosart was a 38th round pick! They say he dropped because he was considered hard to sign. What round would he have been picked if he was an easy sign?

Top couple rounds in all likelihood. Same situation as Dom Brown...or Brodie Colvin (a sandwich round talent that we got well into the draft)

Anyone see the reports floating around twitter that a PED suspension is coming?

Supposedly its a known player (fairly well known name) but not a top tier guy and its not someone on either NY team (damn shame that).

My only hope is that its not a Phillie.

One rumor has it as an NL Pitcher.

Edinson Volquez. Yikes.

It's pretty sad when our starter for tonight, KK, sports a 17.47 ERA. The Cubs-Mets game looks just as bad with Zambrano sporting a 9.45 ERA facing off against Pelfrey who has a 1.29 ERA. I believe Zambrano will reduce his ERA, while Pelfrey will experience ERA inflation. KK's ERA will come down, hopefully, but I still see him losing.

Is it Volquez? Is that confirmed or is that a guess?

Jon Heyman said it on Twitter:

"reds pitcher edinson volquez suspended 50 games for PEDs. story up on si.com soon."

http://twitter.com/SI_JonHeyman/status/12531828104

Huge blow to the Reds...and their chances of competing this year (a long shot as it was).

Wait a minute...Isn't Volquez injured anyway?

Fred: Yeah, but Kendrick's only costing the Phils $480K, whereas Zambrano is making almost $18 million this season. Monetarily, it's a clear win for Philly. ;-)

Also, I'm sad to see it's Volquez, but glad it wasn't a Phillie.

Volquez had Tommy John surgery in August 2009. The latest reports said that he was ahead of schedule on his rehab & could return before the All Star break. I don't think it's too unreasonable to assume a connection between the rehab and the PED usage.

So if he's able to get back to 100% quicker with the PEDs (taking into account the 50 game suspension), is it worth it?

Plus, how does the suspension work with him coming off of the DL? Can he pitch in the minors while on a major league suspension? Or would the suspension not begin until after he's completed his rehab (and how would MLB know)?

Cliff Lee's suspension and fine (from that spring training incident with the Diamondbacks) were rescinded.

And Pat Burrell went 3 for 4 yesterday. No RBIs, however.

Kyle Kendrick should start juicing.

My thoughts on HGH (if that's what it was) are as follows: There are no indications that it improves performance for an adult under the age of 40. The only tests that showed improvement of the type we're talking about are in adults in their 60s. I see a huge difference between steroids (which allow you to build far more muscle than otherwise possible) and something that merely accelerates healing. Otherwise, the research is not conclusive. Guys take lots of crap in the hopes of getting an edge...most are just crapped out.

Its like really good neosporin essentially. Is it banned? Should they be suspended if caught? Yes to both. Still kinda silly.

Wade Boggs ate a bucket of chicken before every game to play better...not much different than that probably. Its a placebo effect for them being any faster or better than before.

Steroids should of course be punished severely.

sullivan: I think I recall the league letting Romero pitch in the minors a week or so before his suspension was up.

I would think that it doesn't matter if you are on the DL or not. 50 games is 50 games, and it starts today. Anyone know for sure?

I believe it wouldn't start till he's activated from the DL...otherwise, that's a weak loophole.

By activated I mean "added to the 25 man"..he could likely rehab/start in the Minors as they let Manny and JC do.

NEPP: If Boggs' chicken was raised on feed containing growth hormones, would that expose him to possible suspension(s) under MLB's current PED policy?

I'm thinking Yes...yes it would. They should immediately kick Boggs out of the HoF.

NEPP: I wanted Boggs kicked out because he played for both the Red Sox AND the Yankees. That goes against God & Nature. I suppose it never hurts to have more ammo, though.

I'm thinking these guys should take Bovine Growth Hormone instead of HGH; then they could plausibly say they just drink a lot of milk...and it would probabaly work just as well.

BL is likely to enjoy its largest April crowd ever tonight, as folks gather to watch the Train Wreck or, possibly, the Miraculous Intervention.

Off-season Beerleaguer CW: Aumont is a star waiting to happen, guaranteed #2 starter at least, forget the nonsense about potential health problems if he's used as a starter.

Beerleaguer CW after 3 starts: Cosart is a star waiting to happen, guaranteed #2 starter at least. Aumont? Who's he?

Apparently, the clock on the suspension will start immediately. Volquez is on the 60 day DL so the Reds may noy loose him for many games due to the suspension. The only negative here is that Volquez isn't getting paid during the period of the suspension.

NEPP: If it went into effect when he was placed on the 25-man roster, the Reds would place him on the 25-man roster approximately 50 days before he was actually ready to play, no?

I'm eating a bucket of chicken right now prepping for the game. Good base for the liquids tonight needed for you know who.

In your BL wisdom, clout, don't forget all the "hopes and dreams of all the years" placed on Worley and Stutes early last Summer during their first few starts at reading.

Andy: Also true. Along with Anthony "The next Santana, Better than Hanson" Bastardo and Tyson "Guaranteed to hit .330 at Reading" Gillies.

Any factory-farm chicken is chock full of steroids. Boggs is loucky they did test back then.

Any factory-farm chicken is chock full of steroids. Boggs is lucky they did test back then.

didn't test

***NEPP: If it went into effect when he was placed on the 25-man roster, the Reds would place him on the 25-man roster approximately 50 days before he was actually ready to play, no?****

Pretty weak loophole...as is the "Suspension goes into effect immediately" crap.

On Cosart: Its not as if he came out of the blue...he's been mentioned as a potential top prospect since draft day. He's no Austin Hyatt or Matthew Way.

Its fine to get excited by him but its also good to remember that he's a raw talent who will go through some ups and downs this year just like Jason Knapp did last year.

Clout: If the Phillies beat up on Hanson tonight, you'll finally admit defeat and acknowledge that Bastardo is the better pitcher, right?

If I eat an entire bucket of chicken, I'm usually on the can for a couple hours later in the day...I doubt it would increase my hitting abilities.

That's KFC chicken at least. They put something in it that just rips me apart...I never eat it as a result.

clout: Your point about the fickle nature of BL is well-taken. And I understand that you like to grossly exaggerate to make your points. This is all well and good until you later cite your own past exaggerations as "evidence" to support your arguments. Hence, for the sake of the record, I must say that I didn't see a single post which came remotely close to saying that Cosart was a star waiting to happen or a future No. 2 at worst.

Jack: If the Phillies win tonight, it won't prove anything about Bastardo, but it will obviously prove that KK is better than Hanson

The only thing that comes close are some comments saying that he COULD be a star if everything falls right...same as a lot of guys in the system.

IF he can locate with his fastball, IF his curveball develops as expected, IF he can develop a decent changeup and IF he stays healthy...it could work out.

He's 19 in Lakewood...its a long path to the Majors. I hope it works out for him and I hope Trevor May pans out too...and Brodie Colvin and Colby Shreve and all the other lottery ticket pitching prospects we have in the low minors.

If we get 1 legit MLB pitcher out of those I just tossed out there, we are lucky.

There is something in the air tonight and it isn't the chicken.

Aumont :: Starting Pitching as KFC :: NEPP's Digestive Tract

Having May and Cosart continue to develop would make it easier for Rube to put Aumont back on a track to become a Closer.

bap: Or any post saying that Aumont was a "sure thing". Actually, almost all of us thought there are serious concerns with Aumont, but that his potential makes it worth the risk of at least trying him as a starter, because a starter is more valuable than a reliever (at least that's what I learned from Clout when he told me why Joe Savery was a better prospect than Bastardo).

If you can find anything in there that speaks to "guaranteed #2 starter at the least", well, then you share some of Clout's vaunted reading comprehension skills.

Its "smart" to keep Aumont as a starter in the minors to give him reps/innings and work on his secondary offerings.

Even if they eventually saw him as a Closer, it still makes sense to give him those reps as a raw prospect that hasn't pitched all that much over the past 2 years.

On Volquez PED suspension: "Volquez released a statement on the matter, saying he received medication in the Dominican Republic prescribed to help he and his wife conceive a child."


Yeah...I'm gonna call bullsh!t on that, Edinson.

When MLB first announced their new PED policy I severely underestimated the entertainment value of the excuses that busted players would proffer.

I'm impressed that he went with "female fertility drugs". Good thing that one hasn't been used yet.

Well it wouldn't be the first 50 pounder with a birth certificate from the D.R.

It was just an innocent miscommunication between the Volquezes and their family doctor. They apparently thought that HE was the one who was supposed to take the female fertility drugs.

Honestly, how hard would it have been to just man up and say "Yeah, I took them to recover more quickly from TJ surgery. It was a stupid mistake and I regret it but I only used what I thought would help get me back in a Reds uniform more quickly and help out my team. I deeply regret...blah blah blah".

The "I didnt know it was banned or I dont know why I tested positive while taking fertility drugs" crap is so stupid.

NEPP: "If we get 1 legit MLB pitcher out of those I just tossed out there, we are lucky."

You and I are in agreement.

Meyer: You win Post of the Day with that one.

NEPP: I would include J.C. Ramirez in that group too, although he needs to have a good year since he's repeating high A.

Hmm... I'm signed in with Twitter now. Wonder how that will work.

Phils will have the best rotation in baseball in two years:
Halladay
Hamels
Happ
Aumont
Cosart

Bank on it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Correction... Hamels will sign elsewhere... our awesome rotation will be:

Halladay
Cosart (Clearly at least a #2 starter)
Aumont
May
Happ (Stuck at #5 because of the awesome talent of the others!)

Jack: Actually, last year when you were very high on Bastardo as a SP, Savery was the better prospect IMHO.

But things change. When Bastardo got blasted, you backed off and conceded that he may only be a bullpen piece at best. So we came to agreement on that.

And when Savery's velocity dropped into the mid-80s in the second half of last season, his prospect status fell as well. So we probably agree on him now too.

Hoyt - It'll be Colvin, not May.

CJHoyt: By next year, Cosart will clearly be the best pitching prospect in baseball; Tyson Gillies will clearly be one of the 5 best hitting prospects; and Antonio Bastardo will have been moved to the starting rotation where he will have emerged as one of the top pitchers in baseball. We will then be able to trade Cosart & Gillies to the Giants for Tim Lincecum, giving us a starting rotation of:

1. Roy Halladay
2. Tim Lincecum
3. Antonio (far better than Hanson) Bastardo
4. Cole Hamels
5. J.A. Happ

Blanton will have been traded by that time, in order to give us salary relief and replenish our prospect supply.

I still haven't given up on Kendrick but we'll know in a couple of hours.

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