Joe Bisenius, will he or won’t he?

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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?

11 thoughts on “Joe Bisenius, will he or won’t he?

  1. Well, I like Bisenius very much, but I doubt that his chances–at
    this point–are as good as you suggest. Part of my reasons for
    saying that is what the Braintrust thinks about Warden’s potential. Is he worth the risk of taking up a roster spot? I
    personally believe that a second lefty in the pen is important.
    At this point, Castro doesn’t look like that guy. He needs to be
    sent down. But Brito still stands a chance. He’s done fine in his two outings so far. If he continues to perform, I would
    definitely find a place for him in the pen. I also question the
    Braintrust’s love affair with “experience.” As far as I can see,
    that’s the only thing Alfonseca has going for him. Does he
    deserve a spot on the roster?

  2. I think you can go too far overvaluing experience in relievers (see the Ed Wade era), but I don’t think overcorrection is the answer. Bisenius’ performance seems promising, but the combination of his high walk rate and his sum total of 23 non-ST innings above A level ball concern me. I don’t know how what Bisenius’ mental makeup is like, but if the guy starts the season in ML and gets bombed, would we be ruining a young arm? I’d like to see a larger sample size before clearing a spot for him in the pen, but I have a pretty conservative mindset when it comes to minor leaguers.

    my pen would be Gordon, Geary, Madson, Alfonseca, Smith, Condrey, and Brito (since the car accident doesn’t seem to have caused any serious damage and he’s shown signs of adequacy at ML). you could replace Condrey (although no options, I think?) or Brito with Warden, if Gillick couldn’t find a way to keep Jim Ed. Segovia and Bisenius would be in Ottawa to start, but I’d keep a short leash and call one of them up if things go bad.

  3. I’d probably send Bisenius down to AAA for the experience factor alone. We will probably need another reliever when the Lieber situation clarifies itself also. This would let us look at Warden for a month. I also think there is a chance Brito breaks with the team as the 2nd lefty, especially if Smith has injury questions.

  4. Brito is kind of the forgotten man. I don’t think he has much of a career as a starter, but he could be a decent 6th/7th inning guy I suppose, as long as he keeps throwing strikes. I really liked Warden coming into camp, but so far, it hasn’t been good. Castro probably should be starting at Ottawa all season, working on his secondary pitches.

  5. I don’t see the words Warden and potential in the same sentence. The guy turns 28 shortly after the season starts. This is the what you see is what you’ve got stage. Either he is good enough now to justify a spot in the bullpen or he isn’t. Stashing a youngster like Castro who is still improving makes sense. You don’t waste a roster spot to stash a Warden.

    A legit development question with an inexperienced, young pitcher like Bisenius is whether or not he will get enough regular use if put in the Phillies pen to not retard his development. If he is going to be used like Cholly typically uses the #6 and #7 guys in the pen, then he should go back to the minors and pitch regularly.

    Based on his work this ST and his stuff, Bisenius deserves to be one of the top 4 go to guys out of the pen. If Cholly can use him that way, fine. Otherwise, Warden is a better choice for the pen.

  6. i don’t think they’ll take 2 rookies north in the bullpen- comes down to Bisenius and Segovia- and Segovia gets the nod. That doesn’t disappoint me- I think Bisenius needs a little time.

  7. Whether Bisenius makes the team going north, there’s little doubt in MY mind that he is headed to be our closer…maybe near the end of the season IF Flash breaks down, but maybe later in the season will be broken in as a second setup guy along w Alfonseca. Just needs a little better command. VERY impressed.

  8. I think Warden’s results have been better lately–though what if anything that means in terms of his performance, I have no idea. Either way, I wouldn’t bet against him or Brito, with Castro and Bisenius going north and likely coming up within a couple months. Segovia makes it if Lieber can’t go; otherwise I think he’s in Ottawa too.

  9. Bisenius just got sent down along with Brito and Castro, among others, so I guess this is a no. Segovia and Warden still in the mix though.

  10. i think that bisenius is way under rated. true he needs more experience but what better way to get it? i mean i am not saying let him start but give him the chance to improve a little more before you judge. wouldn’t you be nervous pitching for the phillies? i doubt anyone did fabulous right out of college.

  11. besides i am proud of my cousin i think that he has done a lot of hard work and he will be back up top someday. our uncle Al Eisele pitched for the cleveland indians when he was younger

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