It’s our 4th Annual Clout Day on Beerleaguer, marking the date when it's acceptable to assess Spring Training performance and draw educated and responsible conclusions.
Clout Day is a day in which we honor Hall of Fame Beerleaguer, clout, (artist rendering right) and his mission to curb reader enthusiasm over scrubs who perform well in a limited sample size. Clout once listed March 20 as the exact date in which it’s OK to cite spring training performance when making a case in a comments thread. That rule applies to someone like fringe infielder Josh Barfield, who reportedly booted a pair of double play opportunities yesterday. Barfield is locked in a roster battle with Delwyn Young, Michael Martinez and Pete Orr for two open positions. The job could come down to which player makes the fewest blunders. Offensively, they’re in a dead heat.
Meanwhile, it’s acceptable to allow oneself to feel a smidgen of joy over John Mayberry Jr., who cranked his fifth homer yesterday and has been called “a lock” to make the roster by at least one reputable scribe. Wilson Valdez has also been outstanding and has been this way for months (DWL numbers also strong), terrific news since he’s projected for the Opening Day lineup. Finally, Ross Gload’s bat is talking its way off of the bench. Charlie Manuel has hinted at a right field platoon. Overall, the good outweighs the bad from the Phillies’ bat rack this spring.
Pitching-wise, the team ERA is a tick over 5.00, inflated by Cole Hamels’ rising totals, a couple of bad innings by Cliff Lee and a handful of big numbers by pitchers no longer in camp. The good news is that almost the entire projected bullpen has pitched well, from Ryan Madson down to Antonio Bastardo and Danys Baez, who is being stretched out for multiple innings.
Phillies host Yankees: Victorino CF, Martinez 2B, Rollins SS, Howard 1B, Francisco LF, Mayberry RF, Ruiz C, Valdez 3B, Blanton P. Martinez is clearly the player to watch this afternoon. At 15-8, the Phils own the best record in the Grapefruit League and continue to steal games late.
Celebrate Clout Day: Give us your projected Opening Day roster below.