Saturday Morning Reading

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A few articles of note this morning. First, a piece talking about Justin Germano, his minor league numbers and his brief major league experience, and the possibility of him moving to the bullpen and breaking camp with the team.

However, in his last six seasons of professional ball, he has three relief appearances.

”Coming up, I had the attitude that I’m a starter, and that’s it,” said Germano. ”Now, I want to do whatever I need to do to get there. ”I’m getting into the mind-set of being a long reliever right now. I pitched out of the pen a few times and felt a little uncomfortable. I’m working on figuring out what I need to do to get ready quickly.”

Charlie Manuel wouldn’t mind seeing a capable reliever emerge in a hurry. ”He has good off-speed stuff and he throws it for strikes,” Manuel said. ”The hitters aren’t used to seeing sharp off-speed pitches this early, but if he can keep getting guys out, he can be [in the majors].”

Germano as a reliever is an interesting idea. He doesn’t turn 25 until August, so it’s not like he has no chance of being a successful starter, but he really lacks the stuff to be anything more than a 5th starter on a good team/4th starter on a poor team. He’s always shown great command with poor strikeout numbers, and I’m hesitant of having those types of guys in high leverage situations, but as a long man, he could provide a cheap, decent option. Who knows, not all relievers are high strikeout/swing and miss type guys, but that’s what you look for, and that isn’t Germano. Never say never though. I rated Germano the 36th best prospect in the organization, giving him a C+

Also, an AP article talking about the Phillies move to Ottawa this season. For all your Ottawa Lynx needs, visit the unofficial and definitive Ottawa Lynx Blog.

This brief blurb touches on the progress of Alfredo Simon and Jim Ed Warden this spring. I was really expecting nothing from Simon, but had hopes that Warden would work out. It looks like his confidence hasn’t returned and he’s struggled all spring. The Phillies plan to contend from Day 1, so don’t expect them to keep either Rule 5 guy around if they don’t really turn things around soon, and I have a feeling Gillick won’t be afraid to cut bait early on. The article also mentions the idea of Germano moving to the pen.

In this article, reliever Matt Smith really tears into himself about his performance, and ponders the thought of being sent down to the minors.  Smith, the only viable lefty we have right now, probably doesn’t have to worry about that, but it’s nice to see he realizes he needs to be sharp and not just rest on his positive performance in 2006.

The Phillies bullpen is the obvious glaring weakness at this point. Germano’s name emerging is interesting, and I have a feeling you’ll hear thoughts of Zach Segovia and James Happ starting the season in the pen as well. Earl Weaver was a big fan of breaking in young pitchers in the bullpen, so with a strong spring, you’d think they might give those two a look. However, I think in terms of long term health and value, if the Phillies feel Happ will be a starter, they should leave him in relief all season, and then have him resume a throwing pattern/workload next offseason to get his arm into starter mode again. Some pitchers have a hard time bouncing back on a day’s rest, and you never really know how each pitcher will react. I think that moving a guy between roles who isn’t familiar with doing that can sometimes cause problems, whether it be the arm’s resiliency, or the pitcher’s performance. You have to wonder if Madson’s struggles last year had anything to do with him just not being in the right frame of mind to pitch in relief after starting earlier in the season. I’m sure it’s different for every pitcher.

10 thoughts on “Saturday Morning Reading

  1. what about bisenius? he is yet to give up a run ( i may be mistaken ) but i think he is going to make the penn this year..

  2. Getting Germano to fit in pen would be just fine; but somehow we all seem to be forgetting Clay Condrey. He throws strikes, has a calm demeanor and seems in control of himself when hew takes the mound. Suggest a hard look at him.

  3. Oh, anf by the way…I’d HATE to see the Phils trade away either Happ or Outman since I view both as starters when Moyer’s contract is up…further because both are viable and possibly terrific lefties…GEMS!!

  4. I don’t think they’ll be trading Happ or Outman unless it’s to acquire a high quality regular for the MLB team. And that’s part of the reason for having a farm system.

  5. I’m becoming quite enamoured of the idea of Happ in the pen this
    year. He throws strikes. And I agree with you about Germano.
    I have no time for guys like Sanches and am very luke warm about
    Condrey (though he usually is around the plate). Bisenius could
    be there too.

  6. It’s interesting–Joe Sheehan wrote in BP yesterday that the Phillies don’t have much starting pitching depth, but I see Germano, Happ, Castro, and Mazone all as realistic options, with Segovia maybe figuring in if he starts the year well.

    Given the unsettled big-league bullpen, I think that if one or more of those guys (plus Bisenius) can contribute in the bigs to start the year, their youth/inexperience shouldn’t rule them out by any means.

  7. The reason Sheehan said we have little depth is because none of our pitching prospects above AA are “blue chip” guys like Philip Hughes, Homer Bailey, et all. I think Happ is greatly undervalued, especially with his newfound velocity.

  8. That makes sense. But blue-chippers like Hughes and Bailey are a different type of asset than guys who can fill in as better than replacement-level starters if/when somebody gets hurt. Given how awful everyone except Rob Tejeda has been in that role the last few years, maybe I shouldn’t be as confident as I am in Happ et al–but I think they’ll be fine. Particularly Happ, given his size, assortment and reputed composure–he strikes me as the kind of guy who could come in and more or less flummox the league for two months or so.

  9. Good point about the psychology of developing pitchers. TINSTAAPP underlines how hard it is to predict how a pitcher develops – and a plausible implication of that would be that individual pitcher’s pysche’s will respond differently to the same treatment. I wonder to what degree basic psychological profiling is employed in minor-league development – not so much for the insight into an individual player, but the degree to which it would allow coaches to sort players into broad types that could be better coached in different ways.

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