Top 10 Pre-Spring Training Questions

As we enter mid February and just days away from Pitchers and Catchers reporting to Clearwater, I wanted to get some discussion going with the Top 10 questions the Phillies face as it relates to the Minor Leagues. 

1.  Is Domonic Brown ready for a full time job in Philly and if not, should he be playing every day in AAA or part time in Philly?  My vote is until Brown shows otherwise,  he should be the everyday rightfielder in Philly.  Less than 100 major league at bats and a difficult Winter League is not showing otherwise.

2.  Who fills the open role(s) in the Phillies bullpen?  The Phils have 4 givens in their bullpen (Romero, Contreras, Madson and Lidge).  They need a long man, and that race will come down to Kendrick vs. Worley. Kendrick probably has the inside track based on the salary he will be receiving this year, which is in the over two million range.  With two spots remaining, the Phils will have some significant decisions to make.  Do they eat Danys Baez $2.5 million salary? Do they go with just one lefty in the bullpen, the inconsistent JC Romero? One would think that Antonio Bastardo has proven he can get big league hitters out, its his health that remains a question. Can Dan Meyer or Mike Zagurski fill the role of the 2nd lefty?  There are a slew of minor leaguers who are major league ready (Mathieson) or are near ready (DeFratus, Schwimer, Stutes).  How do they all fit in?

3. How will the three prospects acquired in the Cliff Lee deal respond to difficult seasons in 2010?

4.  Is Freddy Galvis close enough major league ready allow the Phillies to let Jimmy Rollins walk after 2011?

5.  Position Changes–How does Joe Savery respond to 1B? Jonathan Singleton to LF? Kelly Dugan to 1B? Aaron Altherr to 3B?

6.  How good will the Clearwater rotation be? Does Jared Cosart stay healthy? Does the Trevor May turnaround continue?

7.  Matt Rizzotti, Fact or Fiction?

8.  Given their spots on the 40 man roster, how do Cesar Hernandez and Harold Garcia develop?

9.  How much longer do the Phils give Anthony Hewitt with a crowded OF in the lower levels of the minors?

10.  What do the Phils have in the “older” minor league arms that pitched so well last season–Josh Zeid and Austin Hyatt.

58 thoughts on “Top 10 Pre-Spring Training Questions

  1. Here’s my take:

    1. Agreed. Hide him from tough lefthanders early on but otherwise set Brown loose.

    2. I really don’t like Mike Zagurski and I would really prefer the oft injured Bastardo to Meyer. With the Kendrick/Worley battle, I suspect the Phillies are hoping they can trade Kendrick’s contract elsewhere. Otherwise, it behooves them to hold Worley back as a starter for now. I still think the Phillies want to give Mathieson more time to learn a second pitch. I figure he has half a season to show progress on that front before the Phillies say ‘screw it’ and take him on as a middle reliever. I’d love to see a high upside arm like DeFratus make the roster over Baez. Finally, Eddie Bonine seems to be a forgotten man this offseason. He’s an interesting person to have in camp and could squeeze his way into the bullpen, most likely as the long man if Kendrick is dumped.

    4. I can’t imagine they’re comfortable going with Galvis. Even if he’s as good as Ozzie Smith with the glove, that bat is almost pitcher bad…

    5. I doubt Savery can hit well enough to stick at 1b, especially after all this lost development time. The reports on Singleton are very encouraging, everything I’ve heard attributed to scouts indicate he could even be above average. Hadn’t heard about Dugan, can you expand (or link to previous work) on why that decision was made? Altherr will be very interesting to follow, there’s still a lot he needs to figure out at the plate so I’m hoping the move to 3b doesn’t complicate things.

    7. Faction. I sort of see him as a bad bodied, less patient Daric Barton. I can’t picture the Phillies finding a use for him unless he channels his inner Matt Stairs. Maybe we can just put a Stairs uniform on him to scare Broxton?

    9. This will be an interesting one to watch. Prospect watchers have given up on him, rival scouts seem dismissive, I doubt our scouts are too far behind on that. If the Phillies think he can learn plate discipline and contact skills, I’d like to see him sent back to the instructional league with a personal hitting coach to focus solely on hitting.

  2. Heh, I just looked at question 4 and the implications in it had me rolling on the floor laughing. Unless Freddy explodes at the plate this season, there is no way shape or form that you could even begin to start to consider him for a starting position. Just typing that last sentence I am feeling more laughter coming on.

    1. Was that honestly a serious question? I thought it was a joke. Galvis will never be a starter on the Phillies.

      Also, I think Bastardo is guaranteed a bullpen spot at this point with Romero as the 2nd LHP going forward.

      1. While we’re on this, I wouldn’t count Romero as a lock to break camp with the Phillies either. It’s not hard to imagine him being outpitched by Bastardo and Meyer given his shoddy control.

  3. The great thing about an oft-injured arm is that when he gets hurt, you just stick him on the DL. I think Bastardo has proven all he can in the minor leagues. Mike Zagurski misses bats but his command is spotty at best. Juan Perez is worth keeping an eye upon there as well. And Ryan Feireabend may be a dark horse depending on the role the Phillies keep him in. He had a rough season in Tacoma but he was coming off TJ surgery and he’s still just 25.

  4. And may I suggest one more question. What will the Phillies do about their last bench spot? Will they take a super-utility player (Michael Martinez), a Greg Dobbs type corner infielder (Tagg Bozied) or perhaps a 5th outfielder (John Mayberry)?

    Personally, I think Tagg Bozied could be the Chris Coste story of this Spring Training. A former 2nd round pick who had his path to the majors derailed when he tore his knee celebrating a game ending home run. He’s played 559 games in AAA without ever seeing a major league appearance. If he can passably play third base, I think he can be a real asset as a bench bat.

  5. As for the rest,

    1. I have been saying start Dom in right field every day for the whole off season. He needs ABs at the big league level to continue to develop, especially against left handers. Hiding him against lefties will only retard his development there.

    2. I think you can pretty much slot Bastardo as the 2nd lefty, he has better stuff then any of the other options. As for other guys, I would like to see DeFratus get a shot right out of spring training, but I don’t know if the numbers will allow it. May be the first guy called up.

    3. I, like PP, am still bullish on Gilles, and even a little bit on Ramirez. Like the tools for both and think they both could have rebound years. Aumont… well he is a tough nut to crack. I haven’t given up on him quite yet, but at this point pretty much anything will be improvement over last year.

    4. See above comment

    5. Not really expecting anything from Savery at this point. I think Dugan to 1st is kind of a part of the numbers game with how many OF we have at his level, unfortunately im not sure if Dugan’s bat plays real well at 1B. Like others, all I have heard is good things about Singleton in LF, plus it provides him a relatively unblocked route to the majors, add in the fact that his bat profiles even better than in first base, I like the idea a lot. And what can I say about Alther to 3rd, its good atleast to have a legit prospect there, its been a little while. I would really like to see him develop a bit of power, he doesn’t strike me as the traditional 3rd base bat, but that doesn’t matter too much.

    6. Really excited to see how all the Clearwater starters do. We are talking our top 3 pitching prospects there plus a couple of rodriguez/pettibone/shreve, all very exciting.

    7. Looks like a good bat, just not good enough for major league 1B, especially considering his defensive abilities.

    8. Like both, Hernandez looks to have more upside but I look for both to take steps forward this season. Mildly concerned about Garcia, mostly because it seems like he came out of nowhere this season.

    9. Well I have pretty much given up on Hewitt at this point, I think the Phils will to if he doesn’t move forward at all this season.

    10. When these guys get to the upper levels we tend to find out about them, I do like Hyatt and Zeid though. Hopefully they continue to have success. Not sure what they profile as down the road though… 4/5th guys? Relievers? Time will tell.

  6. Probably a year early on the Galvis question. I don’t think he’s done as a prospect, but the leap from where he is now to the starting SS on a team that should still be very good is huge. A more realistic question for Galvis is if he can make enough marginal improvement to not fall off the radar.

    I also think it’s a year early on Savery. I cover this a little more in the Savery Profile that will be posted soon, but two current comparables (agewise / pedigree) are Brian Bogusevic and Adam Loewen and they’re each 800-1200 plate appearances into their conversions. Unless Savery completely fails and hits like, say, Freddy Galvis (haha), he’s going to need at least two seasons before we can judge whether he’s able to make the switch.

  7. 1. If Dom is seeing the ball in the spring, there’s no reason he shouldn’t be given the chance to platoon in RF. Starting every day is a stretch at this point. If he comes out flailing in ST, they have little choice but to start him in AAA.

    2. Romero, Contreras, Madson and Lidge plus Kendrick and Baez. If Baez is really bad in ST, he’s out and Mathiseon is in. My hunch is they go to 12 pitchers to get them through June thru August, but not to start. If Blanton is dealt, Mathieson starts in the pen and Kendrick starts with a short leash as #5, with Worley mirroring his place in the rotation in AAA and ready to come up at any time.

    3. JC Ramirez will be solid in AA and be trade bait. Aumont will be good but not great in the pen, and Gillies will breakout, called to AAA by the ASB.

    4. Galvis is not close enough to let Rollins walk in 2011. He is close enough to sign Valdez to 2 years out of ST this season and let Jimmy walk after his deal, play one year with Valdez at SS and possibly trade for a rental SS at the deadline to replace him for the stretch in 2012.

    5. How does Joe Savery respond to 1B? Meh…hunch is he’ll hit well for a while and plateau mid-season. It’s how he digs himself out from there that determines his future with the club. Jonathan Singleton to LF? All indications are he’s a fine athlete. He’ll be given a long leash to find his stride in the field while focusing on his stroke at the plate. Kelly Dugan to 1B? Not even sure why they’re playing this swap the way they are? Is it the crowded outfield more than Dugan? Aaron Altherr to 3B? High School SS proves little. Someone mentioned when we were informed of his switch that the best players in HS often play SS. Makes sense. But this isn’t high school. Like that they had a MLB vet helping him in Eric Chavez.

    6. How good will the Clearwater rotation be? Very.

    7. Matt Rizzotti, Fact or Fiction? Fact. He’s traded for a bullpen piece at the deadline to whichever team also trades its 1B at the deadline.

    8. Given their spots on the 40 man roster, how do Cesar Hernandez and Harold Garcia develop? For Hernandez, lets’ hope it’s quickly. That spot is valuable. if he isn’t good enough to be in AA by 2012, he’ll be exposed, I imagine.

    9. Hewitt? I think he was 18 when he was drafted and so needs protection in 2012. If he has OPS .800 or higher, he gets promoted and protected. If he hits OPS .700-.800 (I’d call that still a marked improvement), he’s promoted but not protected. If he’s healthy and doesn’t get to .700, I think they seriously consider releasing him or trade him for a similar type scuffling infielder under the old “change of scenery” / “organizational depth” theory.

    10. With good seasons, Hyatt and Zeid could both become MLB players in the 2012. Zeid could be in Philly bullpen in 2012, Hyatt via trade somewhere else if he masters AA quickly. There’s little room for starters in the organization right now, and I would have to assume that like most of us, the team values the four A ball guys a good bit more than Hyatt. Some teams would be happy to have a guy like him, and if he shows good AA peripherals, he could easily be in AAA by year’s end, and in the bigs at the start of or mid-2012 with a team that has a rotation spot available to him.

  8. 1. My opinion on Brown is cost-based. He only had half a year at AAA and not much time in AA. If he is completely ready then I am okay with him starting in RF. However, the Phils could save some significant money by keeping him from Super 2 status and giving him some more time at AAA.
    2. Assuming Mathieson has options, then Baez stays for at least a month. The rest of the guys get an extended audition in the minors to see who replaces him. Bastardo is almost a lock in my opinion, then Zagurski and Meyer. Depends on how JC looks I guess. Mathieson will be the first guy up but I am not sure how they handle ‘long-man’. Kendrick should likely take it since it is probably a waste to put him and his salary in the minors. Kendrick could probably quickly adjust to a starting role and seems to have enough arm for an emergency start on short rest if needed. I think Baez is ‘long-man’ if Kendrick and Worley start at AAA and Mathieson gets the nod.
    3. Gillies should have his speed back. Will he hit the wall at AA with the bat? I think he has an okay year with some flashes. Aumont will still be inconsistent but will look better and hopefully get to AA closer by season’s end. Ramirez will again show average numbers and eat innings at AA.
    4. No. The bat will never come around. Utility infielder for the next 3 years while he has options.
    5. Good but bat will not be enough. Fine but hitting is all he is. I’d like to see Dugan get time in the OF also. Significant growing pains but will they affect his bat.
    6. Excellent. Lots of strikeouts. Cosart will miss some starts. May will have fewer walks but give up more hits and the K’s will come down slightly.
    7. Unfortunately, though I ranked him fairly high on the possibility he ‘figured it out’ I see him falling to a good hitter (Andy Tracy type) which is not enough for a 1B prospect.
    8. Garcia will not remain a .300 hitter but should have utility value in Sept. Hernandez should have a quality season and could get bumped to Clearwater for that last two months.
    9. If I were the Phillies I would promote him to Clearwater regardless. There are too many guys that need at-bats at Lakewood. I’d like to see them try to develop his speed and defense so maybe he is a valid defensive replacement like Golson has become.
    10. Both starters at AA. Phils have done that will Stutes and Worley. There is no room in the Clearwater rotation.

  9. 1. yes he should be the full time starter I think they should do what the braves did with Heyward let him hit lefties because sooner or later hes going to have to.
    2. I think it is almost a guarentee that Bastardo is on the opening day roster.
    3. I’m hoping they have bounce back years.
    4. Freddy isn’t going to take over in 2012 but he is still a prospect he is only what 21 in AA I still have hope.
    5. Its going to take me at least a second season before I can tell if the Savery switch was any good. I don’t think Kelly Dugans bat projects as a first baseman. I think Singleton will be above average to bordering on allstar someday in the show this was a smart move. I think Altherr will handle himself well he is just a pure athlete.
    6. The Clearwater rotation is going to be one of the best that city has seen in a while.
    7. Rizzotti might make it as a platoon 1b/DH on an AL team and I remember reading that Todd Zolecki said he could see Rizzotti’s name in a trade at some point.
    8. I think that they will both take strides forward. Hernandez has a bigger projection though. Garcia will be on the big league club as a utility guy very soon.
    9. If Hewitt doesn’t show any inprovements this year then I could see him gone by the 2012 season.
    10. Only time will tell what they have in Zeid , and Hyatt.

        1. Just saw “city of Clearwater” and thought of that. Absolutely agree though–they’ll probably need to allot more seats for scouts at BrightHouse during the season because those guys are going to draw a crowd.

  10. 1)Dom will be the opening day RF
    2)I think Bastardo will make the team and they’ll cut or trade Baez. I also think Kendrick will be in the bullpen with Worley as the 5th starter after Blanton is traded. Only 11 pitchers though.
    3)Gillies will have a big year but both pitchers will just be fair.
    4)Phillies will resign Jimmy for 3 more years in June after he gets off to a hot start.
    5)Savery will hit better than anyone expected, Singleton will do very well in LF and get promoted to reading in July, but Altherr and Dugan will both struggle in the IF and get moved back to the OF with Dugan going down to W-Port to get playing time.
    6)The C Water rotation will be amazing and put two guys into the Futures game….
    7)Rizz will hit well and get traded to an AL team for a similar right handed hitting 1B.
    8)They’ll both do very well and Garcia will make an injury appearance in the big leagues during the summer and then get called up in Sept.
    9) Hewitt will get traded for another team’s failed prospect.
    10) Both will do ok but will struggle to duplicate last year’s success at AA and will find themselves behind several other pitchers in their race to the big leagues.

  11. 4. At the risk of straying into a major league issue – I’ve expressed my strong doubts before about Galvis ever being a starting SS for a contender. Partly for this reason, partly because even if I’m wrong he’s not going to be ready in 2012, and partly because the talent pool of major league shortstops is a little on the thin side at the moment, I think Rollins will be resigned.

    And I think that probably will be a good thing. I’m hoping for 2 years plus a team option, rather than 3 years, and a salary level comparable to where it is now. Rollins probably won’t get more than that in the open market.

    The Phillies are going to need to get younger over the next few years if they are to remain competitive – and I worry that they already have too many expensive (though talented) older player locked up – but SS probably isn’t the best place to make a move.

    In retrospect, the Phillies certainly did a nice job negotiating his prior contract. Using Fangraphs’ numbers, he has been, over the course of the contract, worth about 2 1/2 times what he has been paid.

  12. 1. Brown is the lefty part of RF platoon, getting 75% of AB
    2. I agree with others that Blanton is gone by end of ST. I think Kendrick is #5 starter, Worley is backup in AAA. Baez starts season in pen but is gone by mid-season, replaced by Mathieson. Bastardo starts in pen. We see Schwimer before Sept callups.
    3. Gillies will have solid season and be an Eastern League All Star. Aumont will be good but not very good in the pen at Reading. Ramirez in Reading rotation, does ok, not great.
    4. Letting Rollins walk has absolutely nothing to do with Galvis. I think Galvis will hit a bit better, about a 20 point boost in obp and 40 point boost in OPS — not enough to have anyone screaming that he’s blocked by Rollins and Rollins must be released. I think it is 50-50 whether Rollins hits well enough and stays healthy enough to be extended. I’m going to go out on a limb and say he’s offered arb, but not extended and that this is his last year. His replacement will be someone outside the system acquired by trade or FA.
    5. Savery will be a bust. Singleton will have an awesome year and handle LF just fine. Dugan will be a very good defensive 1B but show he is too light a bat for that position — wasn’t he a guy the Phillies said could play CF when he was drafted? Altherr will have growing pains at 3B, but show enough promise to stay there. His bat will impress. All Star seasons for Singleton and Altherr.
    6.The CLW rotation will be the best rotation the Phillies minors have had above low-A in a very long time. Cosart stays healthy but needs IP limited, Colvin takes a step forward, May struggles but shows promise, Rodriguez continues to pitch well, but not as well as in Lakewood, Shreve fully back from TJ turns in a season rivaling Cosart and Colvin and better than May or Rodrigues. This is a CLW rotation that will be talked about for a very long time.
    7.Rizzotti is fact, but the HR rate will disappoint, compared to what he did at Reading. He will have the very good BA and obp. He will get some AB in Philly.
    8.Hernandez takes another step forward. Garcia mildly disappoints in Reading. Hernandez is an All Star, Garcia isn’t.
    9.Between now and Sept. Hewitt is either released or involved in one of those minor league ‘almost for free’ trades or sales to a team that has run out of CF in their minors and needs a guy who can at least play D.
    10. Good years for both Hyatt and Zeid. No Reading pitcher has exceeded 12 wins the last two seasons. Hyatt will do it this year. Zeid matches the 12 wins that Savery got in 2009 and Naylor last year. Hyatt at about 9.5K/9 and Zeid at about 8.5.
    7.

    1. your thoughts on Shreve are… interesting… I like him but I don’t think he will have anywhere as good a season as our top pitching prospects.

      1. I may have worded that poorly. I meant to say that Shreve would come close to what Cosart and Colvin achieve and have better results than May. May looks like a guy who’s going to take a while to master his control and command. Then you add Pettibone into the mix. That is an historic Clearwater staff. I think Pettibone also outshines May this season.

  13. Phils bullpen order:

    Madson
    Contreras
    Worley
    Bastardo

    Lidge is a wildcard.

    See anyone else out there and whether W or L the game is already over.

    Amaro should have to strip naked and run a lap around CBP during the seventh inning stretch (preferably while someone is singing “God Bless America” ) for signing Baez and re-signing Romero.

    I want to see Jimmy Rollins rebound, not be replaced.

    Dave $$$ Montgomery personally vouched for Domonic Brown on TV last year and pushed Jayson Werth out of town so I assume that the RF job is Brown’s to lose.

    1. And Gillick signed Eaton…all GMs make mistakes. Rube has had a pretty good run overall so the massive criticism is a bit unwarranted.

    2. Tread lightly, friend.

      The “Dave $$$ Montgomery” stuff is going to get really old, really fast.

      Considering the run the current team has been on, the success of the farm system and the big league club, trashing the Phillies front office/ownership isn’t going to win you much support here, and if you keep beating people over the head with it, they are going to tune you out immediately.

        1. Somehow I doubt it. Personally, I find it hilarious that after seeing the payroll jump 60% in four years, some people are bashing the Phillies front office for not spending.

      1. Ed Wade did a good job building the Phils farm organization. He put a pretty good team on the field eventually too, but he lacked the finishing moves to move them forward. That was beyond dispute when Wade traded Polanco to Detroit for the Venezuelan psychopath. Polonco’s bat had made valuable game winning contributions to the team that year. You don’t move a bat mid-season that is helping your team. Wade didn’t get it.

        Dave $$$ Montgomery doesn’t seem to “get it” concerning the farm. The Phils missed Phil Hughes, Rick Porcello and others because Montgomery wanted to please Bud. I don’t know of a farm system in the game that is better than the Phils in terms of evaluating talent.

        Do you?

        If not then why wouldn’t you give them a checkbook with signatures and tell them to fill in the amounts as they see fit?

        Yeah, I’ve been ranting about this for some time elsewhere and Keith Law agrees with me.

        The Phillies are at their peak now as a franchise. They have worked themselves into a position to become a “storied team”. Dave $$$ Montgomery may be an “Ed Wade” who doesn’t have what it takes to take the Phils to that next step.

        1. We have probably the best franchise in baseball from top to bottom.

          If you’re not happy now, you’re never gonna be satisfied.

          I agree with PP…its pretty much impossible to take your complaints seriously.

        2. Though I don’t agree with your overall point I will say I wouldn’t mind seeing more money spent on the draft and less on journeymen relievers. That being said at this point its just kind of nit picking, I think I speak for alot of people when I say I’m pretty happy with where the organization is right now, in both the Minors and the Majors.

          1. Journeymen relievers are like prospects in that the success rate is pretty bad. For every 3 signed, only 1 does something useful. As long as they know the odds the approach is okay.

            I for one was not happy that Mathieson was not given a legitimate shot last season. I really hope the Phillies get a bunch of these young guys evaluated because the 2012 bullpen only has Contreras in it. Lidge is not worth his salary but should that money and job be given to Madson?

            However, I look at Contreras and Baez as a set. The idea was to get a longman and a 7th inning / closer guy. Turns out they were reversed. Phillies have actually done very well with bullpen rejects in my opinon. I would rate Romero, Durbin, Eyre, Park, Contreras as successes.

        3. I noticed your blog has 0 comments. You should probably get used to that…

          Bashing Phillies ownership right now is not for the mentally stable.

    3. What’s wrong with resigning Romero? He’s still extremely effective against lefties and his contract is pretty small.

  14. 2. Kendrick will start the year in AAA, so the Phillies can pay the AAA rate on his salary. Herndon will make the team. Bastardo will make the team. Worley goes back to the minors until someone gets hurt.
    5. Savery will be fine at 1b and hit well enough to cause Rizzotti like over reactions. Singleton will struggle in LF, but continue to hit. Altherr will adapt to 3b well enough for them to keep him there for awhile.

    6. Cosart will perform well enough for them to double jump him to AA. Rodriguez will make the Clearwater rotation. Shreve will go into the pen.

    1. Don’t think Kendrick is on a split contract, especially not as an arb eligible. No sense having both sides file numbers if the Phils would have the option to send him down for a fraction of what he filed for.

  15. 1. Dom Brown will get plenty ABs during the spring and then he and Francisco will split a lot the first half of the year with Brown playing a lot more in the second half.
    2. I’m in favor of having Bastardo as #2 lefty and then I would like to see Mathieson instead of Baez and if Blanton is still here then Kendrick in long relief.
    3. I think Gillies has a real strong season and ends up in Lehigh by the end of the season. Aumont will improve but still has far to go. Ramirez will put up the same numbers.
    4. Galvis would not be ready. It would be tough to see anybody but JRoll at SS. Galvis has long to go with the bat.
    5. Savery will hit but not sure how well he can field 1b as a regular. Singleton I believe will continue to blossom. Altherr is an athlete so I think he can make the adjustment. Dugan another good athlete, not a typical 1b, but I think they are just looking to get him ABs.
    6. CLW rotation will be lights out. I see May getting a call up to Reading and then Julio Rodriguez moving from Lakewood to take his spot around the all-star break.
    7. Rizzoti is a hitter. He will be traded at all-star break for help. Possibly bullpen.
    8. Garcia is a future utility guy (Wilson Valdez type). Hernandez has a chance to be a regular if he continues to develop.
    9. Hewitt’s time is almost up
    10. I’m a big Zeid fan…think he can be a Madson type reliever. Hyatt..not sure but you have to love his numbers

    1. kphilly. Not much to argue with except your statement that Garcia is a Valdez type. They are opposites, in a way. Garcia will be a more dangerous hitter and field passably at most utility positions he is groomed for. Valdez reverses that, much lighter bat, a very fine fielder. We did not miss much when he filled in for Jimmy at SS. He is a partial clone of the light-hitting, struggling-at-the-plate Jimmy without the upside of when Jimmy is really locked in as a hitter and without the SB potential.

      Only thing they have in common is IF utility, not playing style.

  16. People that complain about the Phillies are the same people that call into WIP. Ignore them like we ignore sports talk radio in Philly.

  17. Hi, slightly off topic question, perhaps worthy of a post in and of itself. Does anyone have any advice on how to watch the prospects if you’re down in Clearwater for a few days this spring. Obviously, the guys in the major league camp will be playing the late innings, but I’d like to, say, see if I can actually see guys like Domingo Santana and Jesse Biddle in the flesh. I’m not sure how you go about doing that, though–seems like you can catch a bit of games on the minor league field from the Tiki Bar section in left, but there must be a better way to watch. Suggestions?

    1. I’ve been going for years. If you want to see everyone go through drills, go to the Carpenter Complex by about 9:30. They’ll work out until around 11:30. Then either AAA and AA or the two single A teams will leave and two other teams will show up, so there will be two games going on simultaneously at the Complex each afternoon. You can watch from the Tiki Bar, but you’re far away and can’t really tell who’s even playing and can really only see one field. Hope this helps.

      1. Do you know, is there any way other to see those afternoon games other than from the Tiki Bar? I’ve been to Clearwater before and they have some black mesh up on the fence around the practice field, so you can’t watch from the pedestrian path that runs around back. But maybe sometimes they play on the field across the street, which is more like a municipal diamond? I dunno–I’ve never been able to figure it out. And then sometimes I notice that the lights on Bright House field are lit up later in the evening and wonder if the minor league teams are playing.

        1. Oh–you can walk right into the Complex and watch those games. Just walk down that pedestrian path and through the gates. The bleachers are usually half full unless a big leaguer is getting some ABs.

          Every once in awhile, if there are no minor league games scheduled, they’ll send the really young guys over to that municipal diamond.

          Sometimes the lights are on at BrightHouse late because they’ll leave the Tiki Bar open–I’ve gotten out of there after 7:00 sometimes. Never saw the minor leaguers there though–they’re pretty quick to pull the tarp on after the day games.

      2. You also have to start your day at Lenny’s at 8:30… There are four fields at the minor league complex (plus one more across the street) that are all together and it makes for a wonderful time to go from field to field watching morning drills. The major league starting pitchers (nor including that day’s starter) typically come over and take hitting practice and its pretty common for the 4A guys still in major league camp but not playing much to come over and take extra hitting. The minor leaguers go inside the clubhouse around 11:30 to eat and change into their uniforms. They’re extremely accessible and happily sign autographs and talk with the people there. You then can make the short walk over to Bright House Field for the major league 1:00 game or stay and watch 2 minor league games at 1:00. You’re as close to teh fields as watching a little league game. For those of you on this site who love the minor leaguers but have never made the journey, I highly recommend you add it to your bucket list.

        1. The only downside is the parking nazi–he mans that grass parking area in front of the complex, and will insist you pay (which we have no problem doing since we stay for the Phils game anyway) even if the guy who handles the change and the dashboard parking ticket hasn’t arrived yet. He’s threatened to tow our car multiple times, even as we stand there with money in hand. He’s ultimately harmless and the routine is as much a part of our trip as going to Lenny’s now.

          1. Hey, thanks for all of the advice. Maybe I’ll see you there! And I’ll be able to avoid the parking nazi, as I always stay at the nearby La Quinta Inn, which is modest but convenient.

            1. The La Quinta is fine, I stay at the Holiday Inn Express on the corner which is a little longer walk but a nicer stay. By the way, many of the minor leaguers are also staying at these same hotels. If you walk around at night, all their cars have the phillies parking passes with the players’ name on them hanging from the mirrors.

            2. I also stay at the Holiday Inn Express. Used to stay at the Clearwater Grand across the street, but that had gotten pretty run down the last time I was there. Five weeks from now, I’ll be halfway through my St. Patty’s Day in Clearwater Hangover.

  18. Blanton will be gone. Kendrick and Worley will be in the running for the #5 starter. both will be kept. Most likely, Kendrick will be the #5 and Worley the long man to start. Like the Chan Ho Park / JA Happ battle of a few years ago. Worley will take over the #5 by mid-May. Although Kendrick is not the successful, sunsetting old war horse like Park, he’s been around forever (4 years seems like forever). He has 35 wins in the stretch and will be valuable as the long man. He’ll need to change his mentality a bit.

    I also wanted to talk a little about “the closer” role. I remember seeing an interview with Sparky Lyle where he spoke about being a “closer”. Goose Gossage also said a similar thing. They said that a “closer” should be used anytime the game is on the line or getting out of control. Having an all star closer waiting in the bullpen for the 9th inning to roll around and losing the game in the 6th when the starter tires is stupid. The closers of old used to work 3 innings pretty regularly. They came in when the game was starting to turn for the worse. There are lefty and righty specialists that perform the role as leak stoppers today but maybe the closer is used improperly today. Maybe he should be the guy who comes in to shut down a rally in the 6th. Would it be better to have multiple “closers” than to have a bunch of separate parts to come in for one of two batters? For a closer it’s all about the SAVE but a rally killer might be a better stat.

    I’ve watched the Yankees for years. It’s what I get to watch up here in CT. I can watch the Mets, Red Sox or Yankees. I prefer the Yanks over the other two. I still say that the Red Sox should never have won their 1st World Series. Yankees up 3 games to zero. 5 -3 lead going into the 8th. Torre calls on Rivera for the 2 inning save. I was with a bunch of Red Sox fans and I said, at the time, it was a horrible move. I yelled at the TV to bring in Flash Gordon for the 8th and leave Rivera for the 9th. I knew something bad would happen. They had two closers. Should have used them.

    1. So wait. You advocate not saving a reliever for a save situation in the 9th and instead using him in a critical situation. Then you cite game four where you felt Rivera should’ve been saved for the 9th?

  19. Let’s get out the crystal ball.

    1. Brown basically platoons with Francisco. If he is going well, he will face some lefties when Francisco is spelling Ibanez in left.

    2. There aren’t a lot of bullpen open roles. I am assuming only 11 pitchers, 5 starters plus Kendrick (long man) 5 relievers are Lidge, Madson, Contreras, Romero and Baez.
    The rest of the guys will have to wait for an injury or a Blanton trade (might be at the trading deadline).

    3. Gillies and Aumont will have better years (how could they not?), but neither will be great. Ramirez will be about the same, but at the next level. In other words, some progress.

    4. The Phillies will resign Rollins even if they have to overpay a little. He has earned it as he has been underpaid in his current contract. This will give Galvis plenty of time to develop, if he can.

    5. Savery will hit pretty well, but his future is not in this organization. I expect Singleton to be excellent, Dugan to not hit with the power needed at first base and Altherr to struggle with fielding at 3rd which may affect his hitting.

    6. The Clearwater rotation will be phenomenal. If anyone is injured or promoted, they still can bring up JRod, possible others.

    7. Rizzotti can hit, but I don’t expect him to do more than Andy Tracy and Tracy had very few opportunities in the majors. He may hit for a better average than Tracy, but I expect less power.

    8. One of the two, Hernanez or Garcia will see the big league roster is the future as a backup.

    9. I don’t see Hewitt doing too much this year, but they can always keep him around and hope.

    10. Zeid and Hyatt could be sleepers. Unfortunately, they are pretty far back on the depth chart and unlikely to contribute to the Big Club this year or next. However, injuries are a wild card and a trade is always possible.

    Whoops! the crystal ball just rolled off my desk and broke. Do they have them at Amazon?

    1. I’m not sure where the 11 pitchers is coming from. The Phillies ‘pen last year threw only 416 innings, by far the lowest in the league (and lowest in the majors in years) and still carried 12 pitchers all year. I fully expect them to carry 12 again this year, with the bullpen consisting of Kendrick, Baez, Madsen, Lidge, Contreras, Romero, and Bastardo.

      1. True, they carried 12 pitchers, but they really didn’t need that many. Logically, they should have carried 11 pitchers last year; part of the reason they had 12 was the Rule 5 guy, David Herndon. There are about 1400 innings in a season so last year the ratio of starters to bullpen in innings pitched was about 2.5:1. This year the starters are even better so one would expect even fewer innings for the bullpen. In addition, this year the Rule 5 guy is a position player. I can’t predict what they will do for sure, but I would think that 11 pitchers would make more sense and give them more flexibility.

  20. A few more interesting questions:

    11. Do any of the players returning from injury (Collier, Eldemire, Sasaki, etc.) take a step forward and establish themselves as legitamate prospects?

    12. Which young Latin signee mans the SS position at GCL, Silva or Gonzalez? And does he look like a future star?

    13. Do any of the low-inning pitchers from last year (Walter, Pettis, Garner) or reasonably highly regarded college guys (Hollands, Claypool, Buchanan) make an impact? Can they lead Lakewood to a 3-peat?

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