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Friday, March 07, 2014

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Must have been "hittin' season" for the O's

I misread that last sentence and thought it said "Mighty Roberto Hernandez."

Yes, the offense has been a major problem during the last 2-3 regular seasons.

But why the hell would anything happening in spring training BESIDES INJURIES be "worrisome"??

Honestly, if they were hitting .500 as a team, would it really make you think this team was once again a legitimate NL powerhouse?

Who cares about spring training team stats?

I want certain players like Ruf to do well because I'd like him to make the big league roster. That's about it.

Rewatching the first Howard AB, he got robbed something fierce on that called third strike.

The only bright side is that if they completely crash and burn, they'd almost have to get rid of Amaro.

I wonder how he's going to justify the hottest bat this spring starting the season in AAA.

"Worrisome" is the wrong word. If you get in your car and get onto the L.A. freeway at 5:30 p.m. on a Friday night, is it worrisome to immediately encounter a massive traffic jam? How can you be worried when it's exactly what you already knew, with 100% certainty, you were going to encounter? It's infuriating, but it isn't worrisome.

We aren't getting Santana.

From MLB Trade Rumors:
"Santana hopes to land on a team with a strong offense, says Rosenthal."

Will: Michael Martinez posted a .916 OPS in 2012's ST.

They should bring up Hoby Milner from the minor league camp and send Gonzalez down to save further embarrassment. Hoby sure has better command than Gonzalez has shown and his fastball sat at 91 in the final game of last year's Florida State League.

Wow. 'buster, please tell me that guy can be had in a trade. We need offense!

Ruf HR was another healthy one. LF didn't really budge as it landed well beyond the 386' left center wall.

MAG didn't have a single pitch again he looked throwing even his curveball. Appeared uncomfortable from the get go and couldn't settle down.

Thing that boggles my mind is that Sandberg said he thought MAG looked good and just had a few bad breaks.

Can't believe Sandberg was being truthful about MAG today given his body language and demeanor.

MAG had AA caliber stuff today. A fastball with nothing on it he had no control or command and offspeed stuff all over the place.

He's a mess and behind even what was reported.

Don't bother getting worked up over MAG. He'll be in the minors for a few months at the least.

To put in perspective, he's getting paid less than Fausto Carmona this year.

Symbolic of how well the Phillies are doing and how much they even care--
On the opening page of their website they show the Grapefruit League Standings and the Phillies are so bad they aren't even shown.

1 bleepin' win.

Other than injuries, nothing means anything thus far.

I think we all need to agree to stop this "spring training means nothing" mantra that we've all been guilty of reciting.

It doesn't mean much, but it means something. Obviously, if nearly everyone were hitting over .300 and mashing for extra bases, that would give more reason for optimism than what we've been seeing. Likewise, MAG striking out the side three or four times is preferable to the mess that he's been.

For those of us who think that it means "nothing", why bother even following anything at all other than their health? How can we simultaneously tell each other that it's meaningless when we debate every intricate detail of their performance thus far?

It doesn't necessarily correlate to regular season success, and there are plenty of variables that aren't in play during the regular season (and vice versa), but let's not get carried away in the other direction.

NEPP: Well, star is a subjective term but I' d say anyone who'll have a better career than Burrell and Ibanez, as you've predicted for Ruf, would be a star, no?

Posted by: clout | Friday, March 07, 2014 at 09:18 AM

Or....the reality was someone said Ruf couldn't hit and I pointed out that his OPS+ was higher than that of Ibanez in his 3 seasons as a Phillie or that of Burrell in his past 3 seasons.

But you can keep twisting it if that makes you feel better.

It's true that ST statistics mean nothing. However, this team is the bottom of the league in AVG, OBP, SLG, and by extension, OPS. The team's OPS is .580. Cliff Lee's lifetime OPS is .692. "But Jackamac," you say, "Lee doesn't have a lot of MLB at-bats, and it's raised by the 3 homers he's popped. Alright, then. Ben Revere's is .654. The man who's never popped a homer in his life has a higher OPS than this team cumulatively. Try and remember also that about half of the pitchers that our guys are facing are the minor league scrubs just scrapping for a job in the majors. Again though, stats mean nothing.

As a big Kyle Kendrick fan, I have to say it's a little scary to have him looking like our #2 right now.

Our tattooed ex-Pirate got tattooed, our Cuban defector looks defective, and our main man Chase is on the waiting list for the waiting list for an MRI.

Stay Well Cliffie.

Keep repeating "Spring Training doesn't mean anything............"

Watched today's game on MLB Network's late evening replay.

Really a horrible display of baseball in all facets. Pitching was terrible. Only guy who looked decent was Buchanan. Stutes had nothing. Giles is way too wild. MAG will be a 3rd starter for Lehigh.

Offense was bad again. Rupp hit 3 balls on the screws. Lined out to LF, then hit a missle off of the pitcher for a single and then took Aceves downtown. Ruf in his 1 AB, went yard on a middle/in fastball. Don't even think he got great wood on it but it still was a no-doubter.

But I was appalled with how bad the defense was. I think literally every starter had at least one misplay. Rupp misplayed a foul pop behind the plate. Asche had a relatively tough play in the hole that he couldn't catch. Same thing with J-Roll. Howard played a grounder off his chest. OF's were missing cut-off men. Brown's routes in LF are amusing to be kind. Couldn't turn a couple of DP's because of bad throws or bobbles at 2B. It was just bad all around all day. And it ended up costing Burnett in particular, which drove up his pitch-count.

They really looked like a terrible baseball team today in all facets. And they brought a lot of their "1st teamers" on the trip too. Can't even blame it on the scrubs.

"It doesn't mean much, but it means something. Obviously, if nearly everyone were hitting over .300 and mashing for extra bases, that would give more reason for optimism than what we've been seeing."

Not really. Many of us would no doubt feel better about them, and we'd probably convince ourselves that their strong spring provided more reason for optimism. But it wouldn't actually be true.

To be sure, it's not a total coincidence that the Phillies' offense has been wretched in spring training. They have been wretched for 2+ years. And, if your offense is wretched in general, there's at least a 50-50 chance that it will also be wretched over a random 10-game sample. But the wretched offensive performance in spring training doesn't make the Phillies' 2014 outlook any worse than it already was -- just as their outlook wouldn't be any better if Rollins & Howard & Chooch were OPS-ing .900.

MAG had AA caliber stuff today.


MG doubles down on the MAG starts at Reading line of thinking

the reason, imho, that brown is slower to second in a steal than you would expect, given his build and athleticism, is his running style. to my eyes, his feet are both way outside the center axis of his body. so his body zigzags back and forth instead of a straight line. it is really evident in slomo. once he breaks he becomes a sprinter who should be churning with both feet close to the axis.

i think part of it is that he starts thinking about his slide way too early, and widens his gate even more.

OMG ST setbacks....

Time to panic?

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Still a week in spring training and no it doesn't tell you much of anything. MAG has looked like crap and will definitely open the year in AAA and this team has a ton of pitching question marks due to the injury issues.

todays SS game vs Astros on TCN celebrates Alumni Day.

"Nearly 40 former players will be on hand for the first Phillies Alumni Day in Spring Training, with selected alumni participating in pre-game autograph sessions along with other surprise fan interactions throughout the game."

Will is a hoot. He says there's meaning in the first few games of ST, then goes on to undermine his owns premise.

Highlights of today's lineup:

Asche leading off
Freddy in CF
Franco 1B
Babe in LF

ST is again important to ruf, of whom rube said: "if he hits, he plays." if he doesn't, it's back to riding the bus again. his OPS in 22 PA is .854, higher than his career .838. today's HR, in his only PA, went clear out of the stadium. should help his PH cred.

thanks, Bonehead.

My over-analysis of this lineup...They want Freddy to show them anything in CF to give them a reason to ditch JMJ and keep Babe Ruf.

MG: I think the FO hasn't been entirely honest about MAG. He hasn't pitched competitively in 3 years and getting him ready is certainly going to a lengthy process. The tell here is the huge drop in money he got for signing.

brown's OPS after 24 PA is .387. mayberry's OPS after 12 PA is 1.417 fun with sss.

I loved to see Babe's HR yesterday. But, jeez, it was off a batting practice fastball, belt high, down the middle. He sure didn't miss it.

mayberry's salary this year is more than ruf and brown's combined.

yeah, Bonehead. it was a meatball.

"MG: I think the FO hasn't been entirely honest about MAG. He hasn't pitched competitively in 3 years and getting him ready is certainly going to a lengthy process. The tell here is the huge drop in money he got for signing."

Well....the drop in money wasn't huge enough. What a waste of $12MM.

Love that they're trying Freddy in CF.

Sandberg knows what's what. The biggest things that need to happen this spring are:

1. No more injuries
2. Get the bench right (BA, CH, FG, DR, WN)
3. Find two relievers (after JP, AB, JD, and BL) other than Mike Adams you're willing to trust in Durbin's role from early last season

Well....the drop in money wasn't huge enough. What a waste of $12MM.

Posted by: Delaware Avenue
********
Ridiculous conclusion. He could pitch a AAA all season and then pitch the next two at Kendrick-like levels and it would still be a good signing.

I suppose there's no harm in sticking Galvis in CF for a spring training game, but I also don't really see the point. You've already got Revere, Byrd, Mayberry, Cesar Hernandez, Clete Thomas -- all of whom hit better than Galvis and, on speed alone, probably play just as good a CF. I'm hard-pressed to imagine a scenario in which you'd ever actually want Freddy Galvis to play CF in a regular season game.

freddy's the man whenever we face tanaka.

Except, bap, if Sandberg decided that its okay to have Galvis and Byrd to backup CF, then it would free up a roster bench slot for a pure bat (Ruf).

BAP, we had a brief discussion on this earlier. Galvis is a brilliant natural fielder and may well be better in CF than Mayberry is, IMO. In all likelihood he won't be much worse, for sure.

Since he's already made the team, if his ability to play CF eventuates in JMJ being traded/cut, it's a big deal. That would mean Ruf stays.

Bonehead: Perhaps -- although it seems to me we've already got our backup CF in Byrd.

Anyway, I'm actually an advocate of keeping Mayberry AND Ruf. Were it my call, the final roster spot would come down to Abreu, Frandsen, or Cesar.

Actually, my inclusion of Frandsen in my 11:35 post was somewhat disingenuous. Were it my call, it would be Cesar or Abreu. Frandsen wouldn't be a serious candidate for the last roster spot because his ability to kill LHP simply isn't valuable enough to outweigh all the things he sucks at. Nonetheless, I acknowledge that, because of his guaranteed contract, he is in the mix.

A bench of Mayberry, Ruf, Galvis, Nieves, and ___ is rather devoid of real speed, and also devoid of anyone who can be trusted to have a good AB against a tough RH reliever.

You could add Hernandez, but still lack a solid pinch hitter. You could add Abreu, and still lack a true pinch runner/base stealer for late-and-close situations.

JMJ adds a little pop. A little. But both Hernandez and Abreu will have a higher OPS than Mayberry in a full season. Is it worth keeping him over either of them? Just think it's a more balanced team with Abreu and Hernandez.

clout - Agree and MAG looks far from a guy who just needs minor tweaking at this point/rebuilding arm strength & might be able to contribute by May/June.

clout: I understand that you have nothing to offer this board but snark and ignorance, but my point was quite clear: Spring training performance doesn't mean whole lot, but it isn't completely meaningless.

The fact that everything has to be worded precisely to avoid intellectually dishonest retorts from people such as yourself is really disgusting...but as I suspect that this pretend internet superiority is all that you have in this life, I'll tolerate it.

who is doing the pbp?

my brother noticed that wheels was the guy who introduced scott palmer at the fregosi ceremony. he was way off the the side with a mic.

As it's Spring Training and we're trying to take what we can get, that was another good PA by Asche. Worked himself deep into the count and got good contact when the time came. Grossman managed to run it down in the gap, but they'll fall in sooner or later if he keeps doing that.

It was nice to see, given that he's looked utterly lost at the plate on more than one occasion during his call-up last season. And in ST, for that matter.

Gregg Murphy is calling the game with Jamie.

Murphy

Murph isn't too too terrible at the PBP, surprisingly. His voice isn't exactly great for it, but he's been pausing at least as much as Moyer.

That was a pretty Ruf AB.

My guess is that by saying it, Pap hopes to challenge the other relievers to make it so. Can they?

http://www.csnphilly.com/baseball-philadelphia-phillies/papelbon-believes-phillies-will-have-top-5-bullpen?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

Carmex getting squeezed pretty hard, especially on the bottom of the zone.

"A bench of Mayberry, Ruf, Galvis, Nieves, and ___ is rather devoid of real speed, and also devoid of anyone who can be trusted to have a good AB against a tough RH reliever."

If, by good AB, you mean working a deep count and possibly drawing a walk, then Abreu can certainly be counted on to have a good AB against a RHP. I define "good AB" somewhat more expansively. It requires the guy to actually hit better than .220 and -- heaven forfend -- even get an occasional XBH. Considering that Abreu is 40 years old, has been out of baseball for a full year, and hit .242 with a .342 slugging pct. in his last major league season, I have serious doubts about whether he still meets these criteria. But that is what spring training is for. He's got about 3 more weeks to state his case. So far, he certainly hasn't.

Did you all hear about the first round of cuts? Which included Mike Stutes, who was surprised but who also decline to answer the question of whether his shoulder is healthy.

http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/phillies_zone/Mike-Stutes-among-Phillies-first-spring-cuts.html

Luis Garcia was on that first cut list too. Might be time for him to dig those scissors and combs out of the attic.

It sounds like Papelbon has graduated from the Ruben Amaro Jr. School of Spewing Farfetched Statements and Other BS To The Media, with honors.

Not one comment on Asche's HR?

And how does Ruf look in LF?

Asche once more got ahead in the count and did something with a pitch that presented the opportunity. I'm not sure what there is to comment on, beyond this is the second day in a row that he's put it together and put up some offense.

As for Ruf...today hasn't been his day so far, on either side of the ball. He didn't look particularly sharp on that ball that got by Asche last inning, and his throw was positively ghastly.

Biddle has been beyond awful in all 3 of his spring training appearances. When you combine that with his 5.3 bb/9 ratio in 2013, he's starting to give me Brody Colvin vibes.

Perhaps Biddle has contracted the dreaded chronic whooping cough?

And just as I say today's not Ruf's day, he works the count as he's supposed to and gets a knock back up the middle to drive in the go-ahead run.

Asche's homer came on an 0-1 pitch. Just thought there might be a little excitement here at the kid doing well.

Cyclic:
He was down 0-1? Must be conflating PAs. Mea culpa. And it is great to see him starting to put it together, as his spring's been rough to date. But I also never really doubted that the bat would come around.

And that's the third ball today's that Asche's drilled, for an exclamation point on today.

Bastardo hasn't had any dip in velocity and looks like he might be able to pick up where he left off last season.

I thought Munson was supposed to throw hard too. He was reportedly only at 91 today and couldn't locate his fastball to save his life today.

I can't believe no one has told Singleton how pathetic it is to bat flip and admire a foul ball. He's been doing it since Clearwater.

What a douchebag. Also, it was during a ST game in the 9th inning trailing 11-3.

Also, he struck out the next pitch.

Well done dumbass.

I realize I'm extremely late to the game, but can someone tell me what happened to J Weitzel? I remember him doing all the posts for this site - it was totally his outfit - now there's all these different stooges on here. could someone fill me in?

Weitzel? You won't see him no more.

Well....the drop in money wasn't huge enough. What a waste of $12MM.

Posted by: Delaware Avenue
********
Ridiculous conclusion. He could pitch a AAA all season and then pitch the next two at Kendrick-like levels and it would still be a good signing.

Posted by: bittel | Saturday, March 08, 2014 at 10:42 AM

--------------------

Yeah, bittel.... That could happen, I suppose. But have you really seen anything so far that suggests that it will?

Always nice to watch a game where the Phillies bats come alive rather than the other team's for a change.

I liked Ruf's single up the middle to score Howard, didn't try to do too much with that pitch and had a nice result.

What was a little concerning was watching Howard on his double, he was making a face like he was in agony as he was running, and he was running almost completely upright. Look I know Howard's speed on the base paths is not his strong point, but he definitely looked (at least on that particular hit) like he is not totally comfortable running at full speed (and he's in the best shape of his life!). Just hope his Achilles is truly pain free.

And sorry for the doom and gloom after a good offensive showing.

I noticed the same thing with Howard. He took baby steps on his double and looked really tetative..

WSJ - Saw the same thing and he had the same result on his face on the double a week ago when he was grimacing notably.

Just likely what he is at this point on the bases and part of the reason why he keeps getting asked if he is healthy or not.

His numbers the last 3 years were

2011: .253/.346/.488 - .835 OPS (644 PAs)
2012: .219/.295/.423 - .719 OPS (292 PAs)
2013: .266/.319/.465 - .784 OPS (317 PAs)

My bet is that Howard doesn't really have a year much better than last year. He hit 11 HRs in '13 and would have ended up around ~20 HRs if he had played the entire year.

If he holds up this year and can play in 145-150+ G, I expect his finish around ~25 HRs and with splits somewhere between his 2011 and 2013 numbers but closer to his numbers last year. Say .250/.320/.470.

Maybe he surprises me and does finish closer to his '11 numbers and hit 30+ HRs but I wouldn't bet on it.


WSJ: noticed the same thing, and noticed it all spring actually. A week ago it looked he was going to keel over in pain when he was given a late stop sign to hold up at 3B.

I can't fathom him ever making it through a season. His body is done.

LoreCore - Sandberg really hasn't talked about it much but he did say in mid-February that he wanted Howard to play about 140 G. Just didn't give any specifics about game starts or a platoon situation.

If Howard were to be in a fairly strict platoon situation, he would start 120-125 G. Probably would be use to PH in another 15-20 G.

Would be the smart way to use him including as a DH during Interleague games when they are on the road in AL parks (10 games this year).

PH another 20-25 G.

Weitzel abandoned us to our own pitious fate.

Wow, I didn't realize it had been so obvious all spring. So then this wasn't a one time deal - this is what we've got going forward.

It's so weird because you know Amaro sees him every day, up close. Yet despite the fact that Howard looks like he's one step away from his leg falling apart, Amaro still essentially pins the success of this year'a season on him. What an idiot.

I can't see Howard's body making it through 140 games unless he does significant DH duty, is part of a fairly strict platoon, and gets yanked late in games where the Phils are significantly ahead. Big guys and lower leg injuries don't mix.

And of course, it goes without saying that this medical staff probably can't be trusted to get Howard though either.

Should Howard's leg get twirled by the Phillies medical staff? The Phillies have access to some of the world's leading limb twirling specialists.

I, for once, really enjoyed today's game.

T-bag's absence was a rare gift. Greg Murphy and Jamie Moyer made as low-key a broadcast team as this region has seen in a long time. Very relaxing tone.

And the offense was fun. No hit for the early game and everybody hits after that.

Who knew?
Phillies baseball can be fun.

BAP I suppose it was Biddle's fault when Gwynn Jr. cowered under a fly ball that he lost in the sun, letting it drop, and allowing a 2-out run to score? And by all spring, You mean...all 2 appearances?

Just chiming in to say Gregg Murphy did surprisingly well on the Play-By-Play. He seemed a bit shaky at times, but he was quiet at times and didn't overuse any common "phrases", I guess.

BAP still talking dumb about Biddle and people worried about Howard running the same way he always has pretty much.

And a garbage header

The new beer leaguer- the inmates have taken over the asylum

Also BAP, Hamels has a lifetime ST ERA over 6. Burnett, over 5. Cliff Lee, over 6. Roberto Hernandez, a pretty 3.16.
Maybe killing Biddle over 2 rough ST outings isn't the smartest path to follow.

Howard has always run with a grimace of pain on his face during a 2B/3B?

"They optioned Michael Stutes and Luis Garcia, while reassigning Aaron Altherr, Kelly Dugan, Leandro Castro, Sebastian Valle and top prospect Jesse Biddle."

Stutes was surprised by the move? He has been barely topping 90 MPH, hasn't shown an any ability to throw strikes, and gotten shelled in each of his 3 outings. Far cry from the guy who was routinely at 93-94 MPH a few years ago.

Given his velocity struggles this spring, I wonder how healthy Stutes especially after missing a good portion last year with biceps tendonitis and not having surgery this offseason.

"Maybe killing Biddle over 2 rough ST outings isn't the smartest path to follow."

It's 3 and I've been killing him since last year. He had a great April and has been terrible ever since. It would be nice to see some small sign that he's going to bounce back since he is, after all, our top pitching prospect.

if mayberry keeps this up he'll be vying for brown's job, not ruf's. j/k

BAP has some weird vendetta against Biddle as if he badly wants him to fail. Even when he was throwing up heavy strikeout games last year BAP would complain about something. It helps if you just ignore him and maybe he will forget about baseball because he already shows no knowledge of it.

And yes MG- Howard always looked as if he was grimacing when running. He wasn't hurt necessarily but it was his running face. I realize you have some jackass tendency to try and uncover clues to some vast conspiracy theory you have but it isn't there. But you and lorecore and others can keep playing The Hardly Boys

Biddle will start at AA. No way the Phillies start him at LV only to demote him by June.

I know that the Howard running thing has been widely commented upon in this "thread," but it just dawned on me this dawn that he runs the bases like his now rare homerun trot. Must be muscle memory.

If Howard is every going to be an elite runner he'll need to work on his hip extension and use his a88 muscles to propel him forward.

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