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Sunday, March 13, 2011


A lot of posters will be sorely disappointed if Baez makes the roster, but I don't know how you exclude him if he continues to pitch well. It's not so much about his salary, as that's a sunk cost either way. And it's not about upside, as Mathieson's is probably higher. It's about keeping your options open. If you keep Baez & he stinks it up again, you can dump him and go to Mathieson or Herndon. But if you keep Mathieson or Herndon & he stinks it up, you won't have the option of going to Baez, since he'll already be gone.

"If the Phillies carry 12 pitchers -- Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said he is leaning that way -- and Baez and Kendrick make the team, there would be one job remaining in the bullpen. The other pitchers in camp competing for a bullpen job are Antonio Bastardo, David Herndon, Scott Mathieson, Dan Meyer, Juan Perez, Michael Stutes, Vance Worley and Mike Zagurski. Bastardo probably is the favorite of that group because he is a left-hander, but Manuel stressed recently Bastardo needs to stay healthy."

KK and Baez get roster spots because of their contracts, although I am of the opinion that KK needs work as a SP in AAA.

I got Bastardo and Worley

Did you know?:

The concept of the quality start, loathed by many (not me), was the invention of an Inquirer columnist (now of the Detroit Free Press), John Lowe, writing in 1985. His rationale:

“I got the idea in 1983 and ’84,” Lowe said. “I was hearing managers saying they were looking for six innings from their pitchers. I heard Whitey Herzog say ‘all I want from my pitchers is six good innings.’”

That’s where six innings came from. And the runs? “Six and two is too stingy, six and four is too much. I wasn’t going to get into a more than or less than. This was new and had to be understandable.”

Why the need for a new statistic? “I didn’t like ERA as a definitive stat,” Lowe said. “One bad start could wreck your ERA. But I never said don’t look at wins and losses.”

Does anyone recall reading the particular piece? I know I'll never forget reading Phil Sheridan's argument for choosing Ryan Howard as his 2008 MVP; scarred me for life it did.

klaus - When I was looking at pitching yesterday, the one thing that didn't drop was the leader in % QS as the IP/GS has gradually dipped even since the late 90s.

Leader in NL staffs (% QS/IP/GS):

2010 - 59%, 6.4
2009 - 61%, 6.2
2008 - 59%, 6.1
2007 - 55%, 6.0
2006 - 56%, 6.1
2005 - 63%, 6.5
2004 - 60%, 6.2
2003 - 62%, 6.4
2002 - 62%, 6.5
2001 - 57%, 6.2
1999 - 64%, 6.5
1998 - 68%, 6.6
1997 - 70%, 6.8
1996 - 64%, 6.3
1995 - 61%, 6.5
1994 - 63%, 6.8
1993 - 66%, 6.7
1992 - 63%, 6.6
1991 - 67%, 6.3
1990 - 62%, 6.5

So yeah teams have really started to limit the length their starters go even since the late 90s when the magic '100-pitch count' really did start to take hold.

Only two teams have had % QS that was 70% since '80:

'97 Braves (70% all-time great NL rotation with dominant years from Smoltz, Maddux, Glavine, and Neagle), '81 Astros (74% on a staff that was powered by older arms including J. Niekro, Sutton, and Ryan)

If the Phils this year hit that 70% GS or higher mark, then they will have had a dominant year and easily be among the 'game-greats' regardless of what happens in the postseason.

schmitty: Bastardo, IMHO, is a lock. That last spot comes down to Baez, Herndon or Mathieson. I guess Worley could be in the mix but I think the Phillies would probably prefer to send either KK or Worley to AAA so he can stay stretched out in case one of our starters is injured. That would mean that Worley's path to the opening day roster would require him to beat out KK for the long man's job,

Wheels get a new hairpiece?

BAP - Sending KK to AAA makes more sense, as I never thought of Worley as a SP

Would you send KK to AAA making 2.45? Only if he continues to get rocked as yesterday.

Stutes looking good through 2 IP so far. He is the pitcher who has surprised the most and win 'Most Improved' nod on Clout Day.

DPat - If you read Beerleaguer regularly, then you are already aware that at least one of our SP's will inevitably be injured at some point this year. To what extent is debatable.

It makes more sense that KK be the emergency call-up from AAA, where he can get regular work.

schmitty: And I've never thought of KK as a reliever, since he neither strikes people out nor induces a lot of ground balls.

DPatrone: Should the money really be a relevant consideration? They're paying him either way. The added cost of paying Worley's major league salary would be minimal.

I think it's less about money than comfort level. The Phillies pretty much know what they have with KK. He would really have to fall flat the next few times out, & Worley would really have to pitch well, in order for Worley to beat him out.

schmitty - Starters get injured. You can count the numbers of NL teams that have had 5 starters make 30+ GS the past 25 years on one hand.

KK and Worley will likely both start at least one game this season for the Phils with a strong possibility that 1 or 2 others might too.

According to Murphy, Kendrick's contract isn't guaranteed until the start of the season. It mentions there is a termination pay if he is released, and they'd be off the hook for the remainder of the contract. It's unclear to me whether he would still receive the full $2.45M if he's sent to AAA before the start of the season. Anyone know?

Hamels, Halladay, KK, Oswalt >>> 30 GS in 10'

Lee and Blanton = 28 GS in 10'

Other than old man Moyer and Blanton coming into ST out of shape, it's not out of the realm of possibilities that the 11' Phils have 5 SP > 30 GS

Schmitty~ I am a regular reader and poster. I'm just not sure if you're gonna pay a guy that much to have him start the saeson in the Minors. But if he continues to pitch as yesterday, it's a no brainer. I'm not a big phan of his as most posters here know, but he does provide insurance in case of injury.

For that same reason Blanton shouldn't get traded unless RAJ gets exactly what he wants.

Stutes however is making a very strong case to stick.

According to Sarge, D. Young is really working on getting 'mo' hits' this spring. 4th-6th innings will be a general void of decent commentary again this year on the TV broadcasts.

Complaining about the announcers during a spring training game?

That is the sign that you need to find something to do.

I mean they are trying to find something interesting to say about people who we may never see this year.

The Phillies roster hopefuls are playing some smart ball here on Joe Nathan

Danys Baez takes another step towards a roster spot. He's actually pitched pretty well this spring. That's good for the Phillies because I'd always much rather have that veteran arm if he's pitching well.

Delwyn Young with a three run shot off of Joe Nathan.

Phils scored six runs off of Nathan, including a big double by Valdez.

In most years, the Phillies invite a bunch of minor league veterans & fringe major leaguers to spring training, and 90% of them completely flop. This is actually one of the few years I can remember where quite a few of these guys are making pretty compelling cases for a roster spot.

Erik Kratz -- who has thrown out a baserunner today, and (I believe) threw out all others attempting to steal against him in the limited duty he has had this Spring -- threw out all three St. Louis Cardinals who attempted to steal against him in a single game last season, as a 30-year-old rookie with the Pirates.

young making his case....

It's really delayed for me on the Slingbox. Nice shot.

I know I was pushing Michael Stutes as a pitcher to watch back in February and I did get educated by a couple of posters, whose opinion on prospects I find invaluable, that he lacks secondary pitches and is a little too wild to be a very good prospect. Having seen him pitch this afternoon, I still like the way his fastball has so much movement and I like his overall baseball smarts, including a very good move to first base which is especially important for a middle innings relief pitcher who so often come in to games inheriting runners on base. I guess I feel he has more of an upside than a few other knowledgeable posters on here. Of course only time will tell if I'm right or wrong.

Poor Chris Coste. Looks like his biggest fan has found a new cause

There goes the No-No.

I look for KK to be traded or released, and Stutes to make it as one of our bullpen guys.

TTI - D. Young is making the team and has been one of the bigger stories in spring training. This is one of the few times the team is on public TV this spring. It is perfect chance to tell common fans who this guy is and for the rest what exactly he has been working on this spring instead of lame generic comment about 'working on stuff and getting mo' hits.'.

I like Sardinha as well. But I don't like Schneider --- whose throwing arm is gone, and whose defense has slipped terribly over the past two-to-three seasons. generally. The generous two-year contract the Phils gave Schneider last year was one of Amaro's few bad moves. Because of his guaranteed money, Schneider will stay -- but I think good defense from the catching position, either from Sardinha, or someone else like Kratz -- who has a gun -- would be a better fit.

As far as Coste is concerned -- the "Tommy John surgery" he had last June shortly before being released by the Nationals will probably end his career -- although Coste claimed at the time that he would try a comeback. At 38 years of age, of course that's unlikely -- and Coste hit poorly during last half of the 2009, so i don't know what kind of opportunities trhere would be out there for him even if he were to make a complete recovery from the elbow surgery. Coste was never the same after injuring his shoulder in a big home plate collision at CBP in August of 2008 with the Phillies -- although he didn't go on the DL at the time.

MG: Do you think he is trying to get "less hits"?

And they've been on public TV quite a bit already this season.

And whether Young makes the team or not doesn't change the fact that it is completely insipid to complain about the announcers in spring training games. For that matter, it's pretty insipid to just complain about announcers in general- but I know they are near the top of your list of things you want to complain about on the year. Perhaps you're just getting in your spring training work.

Being a middle infielder myself, I do especially get a buzz from watching Galvis display his mastery at shortstop. What a gun for an arm he has!!
Maybe the American League's next change to baseball will be the designated fielder rule and a guy like Galvis will have a career as a defensive specialist! (lol)

actually I thought TMac this spring has been a bit more sedate and restrained. Something that started a bit late last year. It is subtle but a change for the better. He also has started to actually call offspeed pitches although he still relies on Wheels to usually do that. It shows me that TMac is aware of some of his shortcomings and been trying to work on them quietly. Appreciate that as an avid listener.

Your missing the point. Listen to Wheels or even LA this spring. They generally do try to give you a tidbit (in Wheels case alot more) about what is going with a guy in spring training. Like that and what a color guy should do. Instead Sarge just rambles on and it shows he doesn't do much to prepare.

I've always said that Sarge's best asset in the booth is the actual process of hitting. He isn't good at analyzing certain aspects of the game but he can break down hitting well and he is very good at discussing the defensive positioning for outfielders.

This didn't seem to be noted. Oswalt pitched 5.2 innings today, gave up 2 runs on 4 hits, struck out 6 and walked none. Minor-league game.

If 6 innings / 3 runs is a quality start, then 8 innings / 4 runs should be as well. And especially 9/4.

There are people here who actually think Kendrick won't be on the opening day roster heading north? Are you serious?

He had been sharp as a tack until yesterday, when he gave up 3 HR's on a typical windy Florida day. So what?

He's a lock with a captial "L". In fact, by June, he'll be the 5th starter again (once Blanton is traded).

Barring injury, the 25 man roster is basically already set. Utley starts on the DL and Barfield gets the final bench spot. Stutes, Mathieson and Worley have all put in good work and have all made cases for why they should be recalled from AAA during the year. And have also put themselves into position to take bullpen jobs in 2012.

This isn't very difficult folks. We all know how Rube and Cholly think.

denny b: Why Barfield over Delwyn Young, who can play 2nd base and has more versatility than Barfield and is a better hitter?

I understand Young is not exactly a defensive stalwart at 2nd base.

But does that really matter? Valdez will be getting starts there, not Young/Barfield. So wouldn't you want the guy who can play more positions and is the better hitter to be the 25th man on the roster?

The pre-clout day 25:

Halladay, Lee, Oswalt, Hamels, Blanton
Lidge, Madson, Contreras, Romero, Kendrick, Baez, Bastardo

Howard, Utley, Rollins, Polanco, Ruiz, Ibanez, Victorino, Francisco

Schneider, Valdez, Mayberry Jr., Gload, Young

IF Utley starts the year on the DL, it will be a fight among Barfield, Orr and Martinez for that final spot.

Gotta agree with Jack on that...can't see any reason Barfield would be a better choice than young

Jack: I think denny b had Young on the team and Barfield only there if Utley is injured.

How is Barfield defensively?

If he's even close to Young offensively, they'd probably pick him if his glove is good. UC values defense big time over offense.

Martinez is absolutely the last guy I'd want to see on the opening day roster. It's not so much that he sucks (although that, in itself, is a good reason). It's that, as a Rule 5 prospect, I'd be worried about reliving the David Herndon Cycle -- i.e., a Rule 5 guy makes the roster at the start of the season and, from that point forward, the Phillies convince themselves that, having kept him for this long, they need to just suck it up & keep him for the whole year.

I'm not too worried, though. Even if Utley goes on the DL, I can't see Martinez making the roster over Barfield.

Jack - That's kind of what I figure and Young has had the best spring in camp so far. Barfield is making things really interesting though by continuning to hit a nice clip.

Likely both guys get their share of PT over the next 2 weeks with a clear frontrunner emerging by Clout Day next Sunday.

CJ: Oh, interesting point, and I'm sure you're right. I didn't realize Young was a lock for the roster already, but I think it's because I just calculated the bench scenarios in my head before Dom got hurt. Obviously there's another roster spot open. Good point.

At least Rube did a decent job of on non-roster invites this Spring. Hopefully at least one of them continues to hit in the regular season.

Why pick a rule 5 guy if you don't think he can be helpful? Herndon may well prove his worth in the future,but Martinez..the sooner he's cut loose the better.OH gee he's had 2 hits the last 2 games,guess that's why we invested in him,scarry thought.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the Phillies did more than just talk to the Texas Rangers about third baseman Michael Young last month.

According to the Trib, the Phillies offered righthander Joe Blanton and third baseman Placido Polanco, but wanted the Rangers to pick up the $16 million owed Young in 2013, when Blanton and Polanco's deals will be done.

BAP - One of several reasons why Martinez should not be on the Opening Day roster. Given how Young and Barfield have hit and Martinez generally hasn't (along with his mediocre defense this spring) I am not worried in the least he makes the Opening Day roster.

MG and bap:

I wouldn't be shocked if Martinez is the 25th man IF (and only if) Chase starts the season on the DL. He's more versatile defensively and would get few, if any, at bats. That could give him a month into the season before he has to be offered back and might give the Phils a better chance to keep him (since it appears they like him... not saying I do).

Versatility in Martinez case = Crappy at multiple positions.

Waybe: Polanco and Blanton for Young? And the Rangers pick up $16M owed Young.

I'm not entirely sure why the Phils would do that. And I'm not sure I buy it.

Polanco had a greater WAR in 3 of the last 4 seasons than Young, including last year. The gap in the glove between the two players is enormous.

I suppose if the Phils are that desperate for a RH "power" bat, that's the reason to do it. But we're trading a good starting pitcher for a marginal upgrade at third and a little salary relief this year, but not much in subsequent years.

Anybody read this?

Utley injury puts Braves in control

Looks like they're desperate for eyeballs at the ESPN website; fer crissake, the lead-in was "Braves primed for NL East dynasty".

I would never pay for a scribe's "inside" stuff; it comes out in a few days/weeks anyway. Regardless, aside from the ancient Larry Jones, the Braves are a young and hungry team with (based on my observations last year, anyway) a really nice bullpen. But a dynasty?

The Braves have a fantastic farm system...but I dont see the "dynasty" that they refer to. The Braves dont have the cash or revenue streams to keep those guys in the system long-term.

cut fastball: The article says the Phillies are still the favorite in 2011, but that the Braves are poised to be the better team after that because they have a bunch of young, talented players (Heyward, McCann, Hanson, Jurrjens) at the major-league level and more ready to contribute very soon (Freeman, Teheran, Vizciano, Delgado). The Phillies farm system is ranked highly as well, but most of those prospects are much further off than the Braves' prospects. It also notes that the Braves will have more payroll flexibility going forward.

While I would contest the payroll point (the Braves ownership has not shown the willingness to spend what the Phils have), I would find it hard to argue that the Phillies players are all above 30 (with the exception of Brown), while the Braves have a bunch of young, highly-regarded, and ready-to-contribute players. Were we ranking the teams for years 2012-2016, I would probably take the Braves as well.

NEPP/Jack -- Thanks. I don't recall a more depressing time for Phillies baseball (aside from the '60's) than the Braves-dominated post-1993 years.

Everything about those Braves teams was ugly, from Bobby Cox's eternal grimace (and the creepy rumors that followed him) to the unending stream of sparsely-attended division championships yielding but a single World Championship.

What was particularly galling to me were the tales of golfing brilliance from Smoltz, Glavin and whoever else was pitching. It seems as if you rang up a 15-win season with the ‘90’s Braves they threw in a 5 handicap.

Just what baseball needs -- another Braves dynasty. Maybe RAJ keeps spinning gold from straw, and holds that bunch at bay for at least another 10 years.

That "dynasty" also depends on all of those "great" prospects completely panning out for the Braves. As we all know, there is no such thing as a sure thing prospect.

We can so vastly outspend the Braves it won't matter. The Braves will never have a $160 million payroll like us.

Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies are now the permanent Big 3 in Baseball.

We're basically the equivalent of Man United, Chelsea, Arsenal in the EPL at this point (minus the run of guaranteed finishes due to our playoff system of course)

Jack- Yes as others have said, I would have both Young and Barfield on the opening day roster (if Utley as expected, is on the DL).

Although I am not sure Pete Orr is out of the picture either. I would prefer Barfield over Orr because Barfield has a little more "upside" (and has more talent). You probably have a better chance of "striking gold" (ala Valdez last year) with Barfield over Orr.

Whenever Utley gets back, either Barfield or Orr is likely to be gone anyway.

I do like the potential versatility of this year's bench. Certainly looks better on paper then last year in April when they were stuck with Dobbs and Castro.

And a AAA bullpen of Herndon, Stutes, Mathieson, Schwimer, Zagurski and De Fratus (assuming he goes to LV) ain't too shabby.

2009 Opening day bench:
C Brian Schneider
OF Ben Francisco
IF Juan Castro
1B/OF Ross Gload
1B/3B/OF Greg Dobbs

2010 Opening day bench?
C Brian Schneider
OF/1B John Mayberry Jr.
IF Wilson Valdez
iB/OF Ross Gload
IF/OF Delwyn Young

Are the Phils better on the bench with Valdez, Mayberry Jr. and Young replacing Castro, Francisco and Dobbs?

Valdez > Castro
Mayberry < Francisco
Young or Dobbs? No idea until the real games start. Its not like the bar is very high.

I have not followed at all this spring but I keep seeing Hagen and others mention Mike Young as an almost sure thing in the trade arena with Ut's issues. I could have sworn Phillies were one of the two sure "no trade" teams in his contract as per one of the beat writers. What is the deal?

murray: Michael Young does not have the Phils on his contracted list, but has stated that he would accept a trade to the Phillies.

Michael (Not Mike!) Young is a "sure thing," in the sense that he's a sure thing not to be traded to the Phillies.

MLBTR had some rumors -- or more like speculation -- last night that the Phillies might try to swing a deal with the RedSox for either Marco Scutaro or Jed Lowrie. Either guy would be a big upgrade over Valdez. Not sure what they Sox would want, although they don't seem happy with their 5th starter situation & they're one of the few teams out there which might be willing to take on Blanton's salary.

Blanton's AL East splits aren't pretty...even for a 5th starter. That's probably not helping us in that area.

I doubt Lowrie is on the block so much as Scutaro.

NEPP: That's certainly the optimistic take. I think that's being a bit overly so, but we'll see. I certainly hope that's the case.

I would note that while we currently have a $160 M payroll, we have not shown close to the willingness of the Yankees and Red Sox to invest in the draft and international signings. If we take those steps, then I'll believe you that we are in their class permanently. Until then, we're simply maximizing the window of the great core that we've already developed.

Jack: Sure, maybe not to their level, but their draft spending hasn't been embarrassing. They've certainly shown a willingness to pay above slot... although not as much in the early rounds.

There's room for improvement there, but we're not the Mets. However, Phils are lacking on the international front.

Thanks guys. I am out of the loop and just know we do need some sort of warm body.

CJ: The Phillies are close to the bottom in terms of draft spending.

It's a credit to our scouts that we have a pretty good farm system, anyway, no question. But to make the very bold claim that we've now reached permanent Yankees-Red Sox status because of our revenue/spending habits (as NEPP has tried to do), I would need to see some willingness to spend on actually being great permanently. Right now, it's just a ton of spending on maximizing this current core, which is great, but different than what the Yanks and Red Sox do.

Here's the list of international spending on free agents for 2010:

Interesting, had expected the Phils to be higher. Perhaps that's because before 2008, the Phils had generally avoided paying above slot.

I wonder if one of the reasons for the low ranking is that the Phils rarely spend on high draft picks. Their first rounders have been generally disappointing... and players not really worth paying much above slot.

Of course, good scouting beats big spending any day. Impressive to see the farm system ranked so highly despite dealing for Blanton, Lee, Halladay and Oswalt over the last few years AND spending so much less over slot.

CJ: Makes one wonder about cause and effect. Do they follow this high risk, (supposedly) high reward draft philosophy because of their low budget? Or do they pay first round picks low money because they consciously pick so many guys with high bust potential? The former explanation makes more sense to me.

CJ: That list was for 2008-2010.

And yes, I'd say that's definitely a big part of it. There's been plenty of top-notch talents that the Phils have passed on--one notable example is selecting Joe Savery instead of paying for Rick Porcello--in order to pay slot in the first round.

The Phils have busted slot in later rounds, but still don't at all in the early rounds. It's possible that this is the most efficient way to do business, but I'm not convinced.

Polanco & Blanton for Michael Young? Makes no sense at all. The reason the Phils would want Young is to fill in for Utley in the event he's out for an extended period of time. If they trade Poly, they'd also need a 3B. Or if Young plays 3rd, they'd still need a 2B. With the player the Rangers will want and the money Young makes, there just doesn't seem to be a match.

bap: Very possible... and the draft budget dropped since 2008 as the payroll has exploded. Overall spending is way up, obviously... and payroll has gone up much faster than draft spending has gone done.

This team is running a dangerous game as they have some older stars and strong lower levels. There's a middle ground that's pretty barren.

A-Train: Young demanded a trade well before Utley's injury was known. That's when the Phils made the inquiry. It was about trading for Young to replace Polanco (and move Blanton), not about replacing Utley.

CJ: Yeah, that middle ground being barren is why the article presumably predicted the Braves to be better the next few years going forward. That middle ground is where the Braves are strong.

Scutaro's double on a BB two years ago...bwahaha. I'll never forget it

And you think the Sox are going to trade him for Blanton? bwahaha. Cholly should have DFA'd him in the postgame press conference

Jack: Agreed. Perhaps it's a conscious decision knowing the crap-shoot nature of baseball prospects. If the top 2 or 3 rounds cost so much more, they may figure it's not worth the investment.

You're right... I'm not sure the verdict is out on that kind of a strategy.

Josh Barfield is 28 years old. There is no "up side."

To answer NEPP's question, Barfield was a league average defender with the Padres and a below-average one with the Indians.

Since he's not a prospect, I haven't seen any recent scouting reports on him but if you look at his errors (10 in 84 games at 2B the past 2 years), I'd guess he remains below average.

***To answer NEPP's question, Barfield was a league average defender with the Padres and a below-average one with the Indians.***

Thanks clout. I was hoping someone would finally answer it.

So both are mediocre at best in the field basically.

I agree with those who say that if Utley opens on the DL, Delwyn is a lock to make the team.

I would be very, very surprised if either Barfield or Mini-Mart make the team.

If it becomes apparent that Utley will miss the first month of the season, I beleive Rube will make a trade.

To be honest, I expect a trade before Opening Day regardless, for either a RF or INF help.

Jack: I guess that's why Amaro is getting the big bucks!

I'd figure this core is good until at least 2013. We have Halladay, Lee and Hamels locked up at least that long, plus Utley and Howard. As some money comes off the books, hopefully we can fill holes through free agency.

Beyond that, will Phils attempt to trade their young pitching to fill holes?

Also, there seems to be confusion about Clout Day. It is the day in which ST action begins to have meaning. Prior to that day players are experimenting, facing minor leaguers, working out the kinks, etc. etc. Everything that happens in ST before March 20 is completely meaningless and irrelevant.

CJ: "Beyond that, will Phils attempt to trade their young pitching to fill holes?"

Absolutely. We just have to hope that the trades yield more than we got for Gio Gonzalez and Gavin Floyd.

clout: Hmmmm... not quite a fan of calling it all meaningless because that means using just 10 games worth of stats to make any judgments on a player and that's a SMALL SAMPLE SIZE ALERT.

The stats garnered later in spring training is much more valuable... but I put some stock in stats from those players currently fighting for a roster spot.

"Heyward, McCann, Hanson, Jurrjens"

One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just doesn't belong...

"If the top 2 or 3 rounds cost so much more, they may figure it's not worth the investment."

Some numbers guy could probably go through all the draft data over the years, including the signing bonuses paid, and come up with an absolutely optimum probabilities-based approach for apportioning a limited draft budget. All I know is that, if you look through the historical drafts round by round, you'll see that the percentage of first rounders who turn into above average major leaguer is quite low, but still far higher than the percentage of above average players who come out of any other round. But I can't tell you whether the difference in probabilities actually justifies the huge difference in signing bonuses. It's possible that it might depend on how high a team is picking.

I thought the March 20 cutoff referred, at least partly, to the fact that sample sizes before that date are very small. But that would be an even bigger problem if we're throwing out everything before that date.

Here's the thing about 1st round picks being a bad investment. If you're the Phillies, and you pick in the mid to late first round consistently, even an above-slot investment is something in the $2-4 million range. If the player is a bust, that's a $2-4M loss. Or Danys Baez. Adam Eaton was a $24M loss.

Basically, my point is that even "bad" investments in the draft are minimal compared to investments at the major-league level that teams make every year on their 25th roster player. Of course, in the draft in the first round with an above-slot players, there's the chance of developing a star player that you control under-market for 6 years. Like BAP, until someone proves otherwise, I'll continue to think that investing in the draft is a pretty efficient thing to do.

bap: Yeah... not sure it's worth it to work through all those numbers. At some point, Phils will find out how effective that strategy is working!

I can't look at the Phils as a permanent member of the "big 3" yet. The current core was largely homegrown and reached their primes all simultaneously becoming MVP level players. How often does this actually happen? It's quite possible the Phils' ownership simply sees this as a once in a lifetime opportunity and is taking advantage appropriately. Let's see what happens around 2014 when the core ages.

"Josh Barfield is 28 years old. There is no "up side."

You could have said the same thing about Wilson Valdez last spring too.

Barfield has some talent. He has good speed. He has shown a pretty quick bat this spring and a little pop. He is at least adequate in the field.

Nobody thought Wilson Valdez was any good either or would ever help this team. They were wrong. The Phils would have not won the East last year without him. And he is a key bench cog in 2011 as well.

Could Barfield be a similar case? Chances are, no. But there is a "upside" there and his performance in the first 2 weeks of ST shows that. He has performed like a big leaguer. Maybe you catch lightening in a bottle for a 2nd straight year? The good teams always seem to.

That being said, if Utley is out for an extended time, Rube will go out and get another middle infielder. I don't think they will look for an outfielder. I think they are content with Francisco playing every day in RF and waiting on Brown sometime this summer. And then if need be, making a move for another OF around July 1st.

I've seen a bunch of Josh Barfield out here, and while he has some upsides, he doesn't have much. His best (and only) season could be compared to a Dobbs like numbers of maybe 275/330, 10h/50r.

Given what we've seen before, is an improvement over Wes Helms, faster than Pedro Feliz, and simply better than Abe 'No Mercy' Nunez, and an improvement over Dobbs.

Seems an awful lot like the Dodgers Blake DeWitt.

Jack, You're assuming the Phils didn't know the extent of Utley's injury when they supposedly inquired about Michael Young. We should all know better than to take RAJ's word for it when it comes to injuries.

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EST. 2005

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