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 21, 2011 12:35 pm
Edited on: December 21, 2011 6:13 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
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.
The Rangers are in an interesting position in the franchise's history -- no longer a middle-of-the-road team, the Rangers have turned themselves into one of the game's biggest players. The team has reached the last two World Series with a mixture of homegrown players (Ian Kinsler, C.J. Wilson, Alexi Ogando), savvy trades (sending Mark Teixeira to Atlanta for a haul that included Elvis Andrus and Neftali Feliz, plus the deal with the Reds getting Josh Hamilton) and big-ticket free-agents (Adrian Beltre). It's tough to argue with the results, as the Rangers have positioned themselves into becoming one of the top teams in baseball and don't appear to be going anywhere anytime soon.
1. Ian Kinsler, SS
2. Craig Gentry, CF
3. Mark Teixeira, 3B
4. Carlos Pena, 1B
5. Travis Hafner, DH
6. Edwin Encarnacion, 2B
7. Laynce Nix, RF
8. John Mayberry, LF
9. Taylor Teagarden, C
1. C.J. Wilson
2. John Danks
3. Derek Holland
4. Colby Lewis
5. Ryan Dempster
Closer - Joaquin Benoit
Set up - Darren Oliver, Nick Masset, Scott Feldman, Jesse Chavez, Yoshinori Tateyama
Long - Tommy Hunter
Notable Bench Players
Ivan Rodriguez will be in discussion for the Hall of Fame when his career ends, but he's now a backup catcher and could be a good one. You have a pair of first baseen in Justin Smoak and Mitch Moreland who aren't going to strike fear into too many pitchers, as well as two outfielders probably better defensively or as pinch runners in Jason Bourgeois and Scott Podsednik.
The rotation is deep -- in addition to the five listed, you could also throw in R.A. Dickey, Aaron Harang and Edinson Volquez. And while there's no real shut-down closer, there are some very good bullpen arms, and the list above doesn't include Blake Beavan, Josh Lueke and Danny Herrera.
Besides Kinsler and Teixeira, the lineup is suspect. And the defense is worse. The outfield is kind of a hodgepodge, while the infield is a disaster with only Carlos Pena playing in his usual position. While Teixeira hasn't played third base since his rookie year in 2003, Kinsler has never played shortstop, nor has Encarnacion ever played second base -- but there just wasn't a whole lot of options. The outfield doesn't have the likes of Hamilton or Nelson Cruz to help out, either.
Comparison to real 2011
Would this team wind up in World Series? Not bloody likely. The pitching is fine and even maybe an slight upgrade to the team that won the American League pennant again in 2011, but that lineup is demonstratively worse. The Rangers were third in baseball in runs and second in OPS, and without Hamilton, Cruz, Mike Napoli, Michael Young and Beltre, this squad isn't going to do anything close to that. Teixeira is a good player -- and Pena could put up big homer numbers in that ballpark -- but those losses from the real squad are just too much to overcome. This team is maybe a .500 squad, at best, and that's only because of the depth in the pitching staff.
Next: St. Louis Cardinals
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: Aaron Harang, Adrian Beltre, AL West, ALexi Ogando, Blake Beavan, C.J. Wilson, Carlos Pena, Colby Lewis, Craig Gentry, Daniel Ray Herrara, Darren Oliver, Derek Holland, Doug Davis, Edinson Volquez, Edwin Encarnacion, Elvis Andrus, Homegrown, Ian Kinsler, Ivan Rodriguez, Jason Bourgeois, Jesse Chavez, Joakim Benoit, John Danks, John Mayberry, Josh Hamilton, Josh Leuke, Justin Smoak, Laynce Nix, Mark Teixeira, Mitch Moreland, NEftali Feliz, Nick Masset, R.A. Dickey, Rangers, Ryan Dempster, Scott Feldman, Scott Podsednik, Taylor Teagarden, Tommy Hunter, Travis Hafner, Yoshinori Tateyama
Posted on: September 7, 2011 1:24 pm
Edited on: September 7, 2011 2:00 pm
By Evan Brunell
John Mayberry, Jr. of the Phillies wants a date... with a mermaid.
OK, so she isn't really a mermaid, but Antoinette Nikprelaj played one in the latest installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean series, On Stranger Tides.
Mayberry's has solicited help from his agency, CAA, in landing a date with Nikprelaj by asking rival agency Innovative Artists to connect the two in a letter the New York Post reveals:
I imagine you’re familiar with CAA and some of our clients, as we work with Ryan Howard, Roy Halladay, Buster Posey and Andre Ethier among others.Although Mayberry is a baseball player, he isn't enough of a household name yet, so it remains to be seen if Nikprelaj will meet Mayberry, or if she even knows about the request. Iin the middle of a breakout season, Mayberry is hitting .260/.318/.516 as a 27-year-old for the Phillies. He'll get a chance on a national stage to impress Nikprelaj, as Philadelphia will make the postseason and is a heavy favorite to make it to the World Series.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: June 20, 2011 11:53 am
Edited on: June 20, 2011 2:21 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
With Jack McKeon returning to manage the Marlins, plenty of people are trying to put the age of the 80-year-old McKeon in its proper perspective.
Here's my attempt, looking back at the first team McKeon managed, the 1973 Kansas City Royals. That was the first year of what was then called Royals Stadium and is now called Kauffman Stadium. The structure is the sixth-oldest stadium still in use as home to a Major League team (and third-oldest outside the state of California).
The '73 Royals had 24-year-old John Mayberry playing first, leading the team with 26 home runs (tied with Amos Otis) and 100 RBI. As the Marlins manager, he may face John Mayberry Jr., a 27-year-old currently on the Phillies' Triple-A team who has played in 45 games with the big league team this year.
Hal McRae was in his first year with the Royals and would go on to be one of the team's iconic players. His son, Brian, wrapped up a 10-year big league career 12 years ago.
Paul Splittorff was 26 and won 20 games for McKeon in 1973. Last month Splittorff, who played 15 seasons in the big leagues and had a long career as an announcer, passed away at the age of 64.
Lou Piniella hit .250 with nine homers as the Royals' everyday left fielder in his last season in Kansas City and would go on to play 11 more years with the Yankees. After that, Piniella would manage 23 more years before retiring last season.
Gene Garber, who went on to pitch until he was 40, was just 25 years old and entered the 1973 season without a victory or a save, finishing his first season under McKeon 9-9 with 11 saves with a 4.24 ERA. He finished his career with 218 saves (seventh-most when he retired), appearing in 931 games. His 931 appearances were fifth-most in baseball history when he retired.
A 24-year-old Buck Martinez played 14 games for the Royals in 1973 and would play 13 more seasons. He also went on to manage, but hasn't done that for nine years, and is serving now as the Blue Jays' TV color man.
And then there's two rookies who debuted for the Royals in 1973 -- George Brett and Frank White. Those two now have statues at Kauffman Stadium and are the only Royals players to have their numbers retired. Brett was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: May 1, 2011 1:43 am
Edited on: May 1, 2011 1:51 am
By Evan Brunell
James Shields, Rays -- Shields delivered a dominating performance and may be on the way back towards being an ace. However, Shields is an inconsistent player, so we'll have to see how he performs more. Still, he twirled a beautiful start against the Angels, going eight strong with an eyebrow-raising 12 strikeouts against one walk, six hits and an earned run. He combined to strike out the first three batters of the game six times, holding them to 1 for 13 with a walk. This game pushes Shields' ERA down to 2.14.
Roy Halladay, Phillies -- What else do you expect? Halladay rivaled Shields for best pitching performance as he pitched a complete game seven-hitter, allowing a walk and punching eight out. The Mets -- especially Jason Bay in an 0-for-4 night with three whiffs -- were helpless as Philly squeaked out a 2-1 victory. That offense is starting to run a little cold in Philadelphia, who were lifted by reserve outfielder John Mayberry Jr.'s first home run of the year plus a sac fly by Placido Polanco. Carlos Beltran did have two hits, continuing a nice return from knee problems.
Michael Brantley, Indians -- The league's best hitting performance that also directly won the game for Cleveland by Brantley, who sparked the team to victory by first tying the game at two-all in the sixth by ripping a solo home run and then scoring the winning run on an Orlando Cabrera single. All in all, the leadoff man who was playing center as Grady Sizemore took a breather, stepped up to the plate with a 3-for-6 night (so did Cabrera), scoring those two runs and driving in himself on the homer to edge the Tigers 3-2. Top Indians pitching prospect Alex White got throw his start by throwing six innings and allowing just two runs despite coughing up four walks and six hits -- two home runs -- and whiffing four.
Matt Thornton, White Sox -- Ozzie Guillen must be furious. In his house, that is, as he was suspended two games for his comments about the umpiring earlier in the week and then tweeting about it. Matt Thornton was called in by bench coach Joey Cora to keep the ChiSox in the game as they trailed 2-1 in the eighth. Phil Humber had a two-run, seven-inning start, calling into question whether he should be demoted when Jake Peavy returns. Against the Orioles, Thornton went as such: single, stolen base, strikeout plus Pierzynski error allowing a run to score and batter to reach, single, wild pitch, walk, infield RBI single, sacrifice fly, and -- that was it for Thornton as Jerry Gray sandwiched two outs around a hit by pitch. Not a good day at the park for Chicago's closer at the beginning of the season who has already lost his job.
Red Sox offense -- What can the Red Sox offense do for you? Well, it can mount a seven-hit attack on Doug Fister, walk six times, and ... leave 11 men on base in a 2-0 defeat. Awesome. David Ortiz want 0-for-4 with two whiffs, coming up in a key situation that could have changed the complexion of the game. The Red Sox left the bases loaded in the first (yes, really) and fourth, with Jacoby Ellsbury ending the threat in the fourth by getting doubled off second in a mistake. Oh, and no Mariners game is complete without a Milton Bradley ejection. The mercurial outfielder delivered a RBI double in the second to send Seattle up 1-0 then argued with the second base umpire about a play in which Miguel Olivo grounded to first and got the heave-ho. Skipper Eric Wedge was in the process of leaving the field after mounting his own complaint, but he didn't get tossed.
Kyle Drabek, Blue Jays -- Drabek got a little lesson in humility Saturday night, lasting just 2 1/3 innings. Drabek has been a bit up and down in his first full major-league season, but was still doing decently enough. Now his ERA rests at 4.45 after giving up five runs on seven hits, four walks and four strikeouts against the Yankees. He was dinked to death, but those runs count and can be even more deflating than a single big blow. You can attribute giving up a grand slam to one misplaced pitch, but you can't justify any of your stuff when everything is being rifled. Oddly enough, no Yank had more than one hit, but everyone did sans Derek Jeter (all together: when will he be demoted to No. 8 in the lineup? -- hey, look a reunion of the top two in the order from last season... at the bottom).For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: AL East, Alex White, Angels, Blue Jays, Carlos Beltran, David Ortiz, Derek Jeter, Doug Fister, Indians, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jake Peavy, James Shields, Jason Bay, Jerry Gray, Joey Cora, John Mayberry, Jorge Posada, Jr., Kyle Drabek, Mariners, Matt Thornton, Mets, Michael Brantley, Miguel Olivo, Milton Bradley, Orioles, Orlando Cabrera, Ozzie Guillen, Phil Humber, Phillies, Pierzynski, Rays, Red Sox, ROy Halladay, Tigers, White Sox, Yankees
Posted on: March 20, 2011 2:27 pm
Edited on: March 20, 2011 2:27 pm
By Evan Brunell
The Phillies are going to have to withstand the loss of Chase Utley at second base, but at least the team knows who will replace him in defensive wizard Wilson Valdez. But to hear manager Charlie Manuel tell it, the right-field conundrum may be more concerning.
"We've got guys we can put out there," Manuel told the Philadelphia Inquirer, referring primarily to Ben Francisco and John Mayberry. "But somebody's got to win that job. We've got to get some production, and we've got to play good defense. Our starting pitching, they're going to need defense. We've got to play the game right, and we've got to score runs."
Francisco has a .356 average in spring training, while Mayberry is hitting .319 but has bashed five home runs to play his way into a backup outfield job at the very least. But while Francisco has equipped himself well as a backup outfielder with a history of starting in Cleveland, it's clear that Manuel isn't sold on throwing him out there every day, noting that the option at this point appears to be a platoon.
"I don't know what I might do," Manuel said. "I do a lot of strange things, sometimes."
Manuel reveals that one of those strange things might be to give Ross Gload playing time in right field. While Gload can't play every day -- and certainly not in right field, with a career 36 games at the position -- his bat may be enough to force him into once- or twice-weekly action. As a result, Gload is going to get ample playing time in right field down the spring-training stretch.
The selection of Gload (pictured) may be odd, especially since Gload has evolved into being a pinch-hitter off the bench and only collected 138 plate appearances for the Phillies last season, but boasts a career line of .283/.328/.414, rising to .268/.329/.430 in 397 PA the last two seasons.
"He can get some playing time there," Manuel said. "Gload can hit. He can give you quality at-bats."
What Gload can't give is defense, something Manuel readily acknowledges but appears prepared to deal with, especially when talking about two games a week.
"I think defense comes first because of our starting pitching," Manuel said. "At the same time, we still have to score runs. You can have the greatest defensive player in the world, and you start losing games, the first thing you do is look at that defensive player."
Posted on: March 20, 2011 2:25 pm
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Posted on: October 31, 2010 2:35 pm
With Jayson Werth poised to head to free agency, Philadelphia is growing concerned about its stable of right-handed bats, especially in the outfield as rookie Domonic Brown is poised to replace Werth.
The problem? Brown is a lefty joining an already lefty-heavy lineup. With an aging Raul Ibanez in left, the Phillies will need to have two strong right-handed bats coming off the bench. There's Ben Francisco already in the fold, but past that, Philadelphia may need to dip into free agency.
Or the solution might just be in Triple-A.
John Mayberry, acquired from Texas prior to the 2009 season as a down-and-out former first-round pick, has finished strong and may be ready for a full time major-league job at age 27. He received 13 major-league plate appearances in 2010 while cranking 15 home runs for Triple-A and a .267/.328/.412 line in 547 PA.
Assistant GM Chuck LaMar says Mayberry has arrived at the point where it is time for him to compete for a major-league job, says the Philadelphia Inquirer .
"His pedigree and his physical ability go without saying," LaMar said of theson of the former Royals great that finished second in MVP voting back in 1975. "It's time for him to get the job done. I think this will be a huge spring training for John Mayberry. I think he'll either establish himself as some type of major-leaguer or not."
Mayberry will never reach the heights that his father achieved, and Philadelphia is still highly likely to import another right-handed bench bat to pair with Francisco, but Mayberry has a chance to open some eyes in spring training.
-- Evan Brunell
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.