Posted on: March 2, 2012 9:41 pm
By Matt Snyder
The 2011 Phillies sported an MLB-best 102-60 regular-season record, but then lost a heartbreaking Game 5 in the NLDS, 1-0, to the eventual World Champion Cardinals. Rubbing salt in the wound was slugger Ryan Howard tearing his Achilles tendon on the final out of Game 5. He's expected to miss around two months. With him missing time, the Phillies aging stars a year older and a much tougher division in 2012, is the window of opportunity for another World Series title starting to close with this nucleus? It's certainly not closed, but it may be headed that way.
Major additions: RHP Jonathan Papelbon, OF/IF Laynce Nix, IF Ty Wigginton, 1B Jim Thome
Major departures: OF Faul Ibanez, RHP Ryan Madson, RHP Roy Oswalt, RHP Brad Lidge, OF Ben Francisco
1. Jimmy Rollins, SS
2. Shane Victorino, CF
3. Chase Utley, 2B
4. Hunter Pence, RF
5. Jim Thome/Ty Wigginton/Laynce Nix, 1B
6. John Mayberry, LF
7. Placido Polanco, 3B
8. Carlos Ruiz, C
Ryan Howard will obviously man 1B and slide in the lineup at cleanup when he's ready to take the field, but it doesn't sound like that's happening until late May, if not later.
1. Roy Halladay
2. Cliff Lee
3. Cole Hamels
4. Vance Worley
5. Joe Blanton
Kyle Kendrick waiting in the wings if someone goes down.
Closer: Jonathan Papelbon
Set-up: Antonio Bastardo
Important bench players
C Brian Schneider, OF Juan Pierre and whoever isn't starting at 1B (see lineup above)
Prospect to watch
Domonic Brown isn't a prospect anymore and much of the Phillies top prospects are in the lower-levels of the minors, so it's slim pickings here -- as to be expected with an elite, veteran club. I'll go with Phillipe Aumont, a relief pitcher headed for Triple-A. The 23-year-old had a 3.18 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 22 2/3 innings once he was promoted to Triple-A last season. Control was an issue, as he walked 14 guys, leading to a 1.54 WHIP, but he certainly has the strikeout capability to contribute to the bullpen later in the season if he gets things figured out. Considering the Phillies are counting on the likes of Jose Contreras, Chad Qualls and Dontrelle Willis in the bullpen, the chances an injury or underperformance open up a spot in the 'pen after a few months are pretty good.
Fantasy bust: Hunter Pence
"Before you hop aboard the hype train and ride it all the way to crazy town, you might want to remind yourself that theonly aspect of his game that changed for the better last year was his batting average. He didn't gain any power. He didn't walk more or strike out less. He didn't fundamentally change as a player. He simply got better results, putting together a .361 BABIP instead of his usual .305 or so. It wouldn't be the first time. He had a .377 BABIP as a rookie in 2007, when he hit .322. But the peripherals suggested it was too good to be true then, and they do now as well. Pence is an asset in Fantasy because of his job security and 20-homer power, but he's a .280 hitter who can't take a walk." - Scott White [Full Phillies fantasy team preview]
Fantasy sleeper: John Mayberry
"General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has made the comparison. Manager Charlie Manuel has made the comparison. It's Mayberry's identity now: the next Jayson Werth. For the Fantasy owners who have played long enough to remember when Werth rose from obscurity to put together a 20-20 season in 2008, that's cause for celebration. But is it a reasonable expectation? Hey, Mayberry is more of a certainty now than Werth was then, having hit 15 homers in 267 at-bats last year. Like Werth, he's a former first-round pick who, like Werth, didn't begin to meet his potential until his late 20s. And like Werth, he happens to be in the right place at the right time to take advantage." - Scott White [Full Phillies fantasy team preview]
World Series champs. By now, anything less is a disappointment for a group with so much talent and postseason experience.
The offense badly struggles without Howard -- who falls behind in his rehab and misses three months -- with age declines limiting production from the likes of Utley, Rollins and Polanco. Worley comes back to Earth after his insane 2011 season and Blanton continues to struggle with injuries. Even with all that, the Phillies would still be good enough to be a playoff contender, even in the mighty NL East, due to the new two-wild-card playoff format. It's hard to envision enough things going wrong to have them finish below the Braves, Marlins and Nationals. Maybe two of the three -- in a worst-case scenario -- but not all three.
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Tags: 2012 spring training, Antonio Bastardo, Brian Schneider, Carlos Ruiz, Chad Qualls, Chad Qualls, Chase Utley, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Domonic Brown, Hunter Pence, Jim Thome, Jimmy Rollins, Joe Blanton, John Mayberry, Jonathan Papelbon, Jose Contreras, Juan Pierre, Kyle Kendrick, Laynce Nix, Matt Snyder, Phillies, Phillipe Aumont, Placido Polanco, Roy Halladay, Ryan Howard, Shane Victorino, spring training, spring training 2012, Ty Wigginton, Vance Worley
Posted on: December 12, 2011 11:49 am
Edited on: December 12, 2011 11:56 am
By Matt Snyder
What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule/past entries of this feature, click here.
We continue the series today with the Washington Nationals/Montreal Expos. Yeah, remember them -- the best team in baseball in 1994 before the strike ended the season without a World Series? If you don't, you'll need to be reminded of a certain Bartolo Colon trade, which ended up being awful for the Expos, who got 17 starts from Colon after coughing up three future All-Stars for him. What we see is a team that looks pretty good, but has loads of young talent either already developing in the bigs or soon to be arriving.
1. Grady Sizemore, CF
2. Brandon Phillips, 2B
3. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B
4. Vladimir Guerrero, RF
5. Jason Bay, LF
6. Danny Espinosa, 1B
7. Ian Desmond, SS
8. Brian Schneider, C
1. Cliff Lee
2. Stephen Strasburg
3. Jordan Zimmermann
4. Javier Vazquez
5. John Lannan
Closer - Drew Storen
Set up - Bill Bray, Craig Stammen, Collin Balester, Miguel Batista
Long - Armando Galarraga, Brad Peacock, Tom Milone, Ross Detwiler
Notable Bench Players
Bryce Harper, Chris Marrero, Wilson Valdez, Anthony Rendon, Jamey Carroll, Orlando Cabrera, Geoff Blum and Roger Bernadina.
The starting rotation is really good, especially if you start to think about the future. Much like the real Nats, Peacock, Milone and Detwiler all have the potential to break through and really make this a strong top-to-bottom rotation. Here, you have a perennial Cy Young candidate sitting at the top, too. The batting order definitely has the potential to be good, but there are a lot of question marks, so we can't really be overly excited about it. But, much like with the rotation, there is some serious potential on the way in Harper and Rendon. Finally, the bench is really good. This team has depth.
And in case you're curious, the three All-Stars the Expos gave up for Colon were Sizemore, Phillips and Lee. None of the three had made their major-league debut at the time of the trade.
If we were really going to stick Vlad in right field, we'd have to pray no one hit the ball out there. Should I have gotten more creative and put Vlad at first, moving Espinosa out to right? Maybe. We could move Vlad to 1B and throw Harper into the fire, play Bernadina in the outfield and move Vlad to first or just bench Guerrero. I'm open to any idea, but the idea I used was to maximize the offense. Hey, it worked when the Cardinals put Lance Berkman in right this past real season, right? Also, Schneider is a pretty bad catching option at this point, but there were zero other options on current 40-man rosters or in free agency in the MLB (which is what we used to build these rosters). Finally, the bullpen is very thin in front of Storen in the late innings.
Comparison to real 2011
The real-life Nats are just on the cusp of breaking through, though it'll be tough in the stacked NL East. These Nats would be a bit better with the legitimate ace Lee and a great bench. Maybe mid-80s in wins, but with tons of help on the way. Much like with the real Nats, it's kind of a "watch out next year" type deal -- with the likes of Harper, Rendon, Peacock and Milone waiting in the wings while Strasburg, Zimmermann, Storen, Espinosa et al continue to get better.
Next: Boston Red Sox
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: Anthony Rendon, Armando Galarraga, Bill Bray, Brad Peacock, Brandon Phillips, Brian Schneider, Bryce Harper, Chris Marrero, Cliff Lee, Collin Balester, Craig Stammen, Danny Espinosa, Drew Storen, Expos, Geoff Blum, Grady Sizemore, Homegrown, Ian Desmond, Jamey Carroll, Jason Bay, Javier Vazquez, John Lannan, Jordan Zimmermann, Matt Snyder, Miguel Batista, Nationals, NL East, Orlando Cabrera, Roger Bernadina, Ross Detwiler, Ryan Zimmerman, Stephen Strasburg, Tom Milone, Vladimir Guerrero, Wilson Valdez
Posted on: September 28, 2011 11:40 pm
Edited on: September 28, 2011 11:49 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Craig Kimbrel may end up being the National League Rookie of the Year, but the lasting image of the Braves' closer in 2011 may be his blown save in the final game of the season that capped an epic collapse by the Atlanta in the NL wild-card race, as Atlanta lost 4-3 to the Phillies in 13 innings on Wednesday. The loss, coupled with the Cardinals' 8-0 victory in Houston, has given the Cardinals the National League wild card.
The Braves went 9-18 in September, losing their last five games and nine of their last 12, but none as painful as Wednesday's collapse.
Atlanta led 3-1 in the third and held onto the lead until the ninth, when Kimbrel blew his eighth save of the year. Kimbrel allowed a hit and three walks, giving up the tying run on a sacrifice fly by Chase Utley. Kris Medlen got the Braves into extra innings, but Scott Linebrink gave up two hits and walked a batter, with Brian Schneider scoring on Hunter Pence's infield single in the 13th.
Meanwhile, St. Louis had little drama on Wednesday, scoring five runs in the first inning off of Astros starter Brett Myers and cruising to victory. The win was the Cardinals' fourth in their last five games and 16th in the month of September. They also won 23 of their final 32 games. The Cardinals trailed the Braves by 8.5 games after losing on Sept. 2, but were able to make up the difference over the last month.
Chris Carpenter threw a two-hit shutout for the Cardinals, who will face the Phillies in the National League Divisional Series, starting Saturday.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 2, 2010 5:54 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 12:04 pm
A look at this week in promotional giveaways from around baseball:
Monday, Aug. 2
Brooklyn Cyclones (New York-Penn League) -- Ike Davis bobblehead -- or bobblesomething. The Cyclones are celebrating Davis' three heads-over-heels caches over the dugout railing with an upside-down bobblehead, although I'm not sure what exactly bobbles.
Springfield Cardinals (Texas League) -- duffel bag. The practical giveaways are the best -- who can't use another duffel bag?
Tuesday, Aug. 3
Springfield Cardinals (Texas League) Whitey Herzog bobblehead. If you missed the big league team giving away Whitey bobbleheads last week, here's another chance.
Reading Phillies (Eastern League) -- Ryan Howard garden gnome. It kind of looks more like a wizard version of Ryan Howard, but, you know, either way my wife would love this, not because she likes Ryan Howard but because she has a really weird things with gnomes. When she saw our local nine had a gnome giveaway this year, she circled that date on the calendar.
Wednesday, Aug. 4
Chicago Cubs -- beer koozie. What else could you want or need at Wrigley Field?
Los Angeles Dodgers -- beach towel
Portland Sea Dogs (Eastern League) -- Hanley Ramirez bobblehead. I always appreciate when minor league clubs honor players who played for them, even if they're no longer in the organization. Kudos Sea Dogs.
State College Spikes (New York-Penn League) -- Daniel Moskos & Tony Sanchez double bobblehead
Thursday, Aug. 5
Lehigh Valley IronPigs (International League) -- Brian Schneider bobblehead
New Britain Rock Cats (Eastern League) -- beach towel
Brooklyn Cyclones (New York-Penn League) -- Irish Heritage Jersey
State College Spikes (New York-Penn league) -- kids Roberto Clemente Kids activity book. It's good to educate the kids.
Friday, Aug. 6
Baltimore Orioles -- Nick Markakis mini bobblehead
Detroit Tigers -- island-themed Tigers floppy hat. It's like a combo Magnum costume -- in floppy hat form. The pattern of a Hawaiian shirt and the Detroit Tigers' D
Pittsburgh Pirates -- Andrew McCutchen bobblehead
Buffalo Bisons (International League) -- toothbrush. This may be one of the lamer giveaways, I've got to admit.
Trenton Thunder (Eastern League) -- David Robertson bobblehead
Vermont Lake Monsters (New York-Penn League) Buster Olney bobblehead. When sportswriters get their own bobblehead, you may have run out of ideas. Olney grew up in the state.
Everett AquaSox (Northwest League) -- recycled tote bag
Saturday, Aug. 7
Cleveland Indians -- Kenny Lofton "The Catch" bobblehead. This one is great, I love bobbleheads from specific events, hence my Endy Chavez bobblehead. This one is from Lofton's catch over the wall of a sure homer by Baltimore's B.J. Surhoff on Aug. 4, 1996.
Florida Marlins -- samba whistle. Better than a vuvuzela.
Arizona Diamondbacks -- Luis Gonzalez bobblehead. In an added bonus, 50 fans will get an autographed, bronze version.
Colorado Springs Sky Sox (Pacific Coast League) -- Goose Gossage figurine.
Round Rock Express (Pacific Coast League) -- souvenir desk batting helmets
Northwest Arkansas Naturals (Texas League) -- lunchbox
Stockton Ports (California League) -- Grant Desme bobblehead
Kinston Indians (Carolina League) -- reusable grocery bag
South Bend Silver Hawks (Midwest League) -- reusable grocery bag
Princeton Rays (Appalachian League) -- Wade Davis bobblehead
Billings Mustakens (Pioneer League) -- Jason LaRue bobblehead. See what Jason LaRue looked like before his awesome mustache (hint: less awesome).
Sunday, August 8
Milwaukee Brewers -- Italian sausage racing sausage bobblehead. I've gotten the bratwurst and a previous italian sausage bobblehead off of eBay, and I can tell you it's great. Although my wife said she didn't think it looked like a sausage.
Chicago Cubs -- light switch cover. Really, a nice, simple giveaway. It's got pinstripes and if you're a Cubs fan and have a man room or something, it's pretty cool.
Pittsburgh Pirates -- batting helmet. The classics never die.
Harrisburg Senators (Eastern League) -- Stephen Strasburg bobblehead. How'd he get his own bobblehead? Oh yeah. He's good.
Brooklyn Cyclones (New York-Penn League) -- MCU Park model.
-- C. Trent RosecransFor more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.
Tags: Andrew McCutchen, B.J. Surhoff, Brewers, Brian Schneider, Cubs, Daniel Moskos, David Robertson, Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Goose Gossage, Grant Desme, Hanley Ramirez, Ike Davis, Jason LaRue, Kenny Lofton, Luis Gonzalez, Marlins, Nick Markakis, Pirates, promotions, Roberto Clemente, Ryan Howard, Stephen Strasburg, Tony Sanchez, Wade Davis, Whitey Herzog