I’ve commented on Joe at length in the past, and as spring training has progressed, the buzz surrounding him has started to grow. The question everyone is asking is, will he make the team out of spring training? I wanted to look at the three determining factors, in my mind, which will ultimately lead to that decision.
His spring performance. 9 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 6 BB, 6 K. As I mentioned whenever talking about Bisenius, his control is the last missing piece, and it doesn’t appear to be there just yet. 6 walks in 9 innings is WAY too many, especially considering it is spring training, and he’s not always facing quality major league hitters. No one really questions his stuff, the mid 90’s heat is there, the hard slider is there, but unless he can command it, he’s going to frustrate his manager, his teammates, and all of us. Pitching to contact isn’t what you want out of your high leverage relievers, but you also don’t want a guy walking 2 in every appearance. If will be interesting to see how his numbers look at this time next week, and ultimately, that will probably go a long way in determining his immediate status.
The performance of everyone else. The Phillies bullpen was obviously wide open this spring, but few have really taken advantage. Of the non-certainties, only Zach Segovia has pitched well (2.70 ERA in 10 IP), while the next best performance is Clay Condrey’s 4.82 ERA in 9.1 IP. Hopefuls Jim Ed Warden (5.69 ERA), Brian Sanches (6.75 ERA), Alfredo Simon (12.47 ERA, already offered back to Texas), and Anderson Garcia (9.00 ERA) have disappointed. Couple that with Alfonseca’s disappointing spring (7.20 ERA), and Bisenius looks like he HAS to be included. The Phillies surefire guys have to be Gordon, Smith, Geary, and Madson. That’s 4 slots, and there will be at least 2, probably 3 more spots to fill. Alfonseca is probably going to get a spot on the team until Gillick is forced to release him due to suckitude of the highest order. That means 1, maybe 2 spots to fill. Bisenius and Segovia seem like slam dunks, barring any kind of trade.
The 40 man roster. At present, the Phillies have 4 spots open on the 40 man, so this doesn’t seem like a factor. Also included in that number are Warden, who may be removed and sent back to Cleveland. Segovia is already on the 40 man roster, so he has one less obstacle to overcome, but there is plenty of room there, so it shouldn’t be a means to keep Bisenius in the minors.
So, I suppose it all comes down to the last week of spring training. If I had to handicap it right now, I’d say there’s a 60% chance of him breaking camp with the team. The other 40% involves them keeping Warden, at least for now, Castro making the bullpen despite his poor spring, or a trade bringing in a reliever from another organization. However, with Alfonseca’s performance so far, I doubt it’s very long before Bisenius makes his way to Philly.
Also, is it just me, or does he look like Jeremy Bonderman’s twin brother?