MLB’s Top Ten Overrated Players

December 31, 2009 by Shanan H.  
Filed under Fan News

'Twas the night before New Years, and all around the country, Mets fans are screaming: "Louis Rivas, Carlos Delgado, J.J. Putz: You promised to be good, only to come in your wrath, and make our team lose. You could not beat the Phillies, the Yanks or the Fish, why even try, just go home and cry. "Now, Omar Minyaya, you want to get us Yorvit Torrealba? Let me tell you something about the way he is: "He isn't that great, just like the other ten on this list who did not perform this season. "Who are the other ten?" Well here they are, all in a 10-some list. Look over it or don't, give it a comment, or rate it just three. Here is the list, without further ado:"

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Report: Philadelphia Phillies To Sign Danys Baez

December 31, 2009 by Scott Malone  
Filed under Fan News

According to Jon Heyman of SI.com, via MLBTR, the Philadelphia Phillies have agreed to sign right handed reliever Danys Baez. Baez, who pitched for the Baltimore Orioles last season, allowed 22 walks to 40 strikeouts and 59 hits for a 4.02 ERA in 71.2 innings pitched.

MLB.com's Todd Zolecki has reported that Baez has agreed to a two-year deal pending a physical which Baez has yet to take. The common assumption is that Baez was the reliever that the Phillies apparently agreed to terms with last week.

Baez, 32, was superb against righties last season, holding them to just a .197 batting average, and he held opposing hitters to a .222/.273/.634 line last season in the tough American League East.

The Phitin's figure to slot Baez into the back of their bullpen in a late inning role where he will possibly receive the occasional save or two. Baez also figures to be an insurance policy for closer Brad Lidge in the event Lidge is not fully recovered from offseason surgery or he suffers from bouts of ineffectiveness like this past season.

Baez' best seasons were in 2004 and 2005 with the Tampa Bay Rays when he combined for 71 saves and pitched 140.1 innings while striking out 103. He put up ERA's of 3.57 and 2.68 for those respective seasons.

This figures to be the last major move that the Phillies will make, considering they were pushing the $140M payroll mark already in an offseason that saw the return of Placido Polanco, the arrival of Roy Halladay, and the departures of Cliff Lee, Pedro Feliz, Chan Ho Park, Scott Eyre, and Clay Condrey.

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The Wait Is Over: Danys Baez Signs With The Phillies

December 31, 2009 by victor filoromo  
Filed under Fan News

Finally, the mystery is over. 

Eight days ago it was reported that the Phillies had come to terms with a bullpen pitcher, believed to be either Danys Baez or Mike MacDougal. 

Now we have learned that the Phillies have agreed to a two-year deal with Baez, according to MLB.com's Todd Zolecki and SI.com's Jon Heyman. 

It's no shock, seeing that the Phillies have long held interest in Baez, back to his days with Tampa Bay

For a bullpen that was in flux for much of last year, it will give the Phillies some stability at the back end of the game. 

Heading into 2010, there are obvious questions about Brad Lidge who had performance and injury problems in 2009, and an elbow surgery in early November.

There will also be questions about J.C. Romero, who missed the first 50 games of 2009 due to his drug suspension, then missed a chunk of games towards the end of the year. He also had elbow surgery, one that was more extensive than Lidge's. 

The Phillies do not expect to have the services of Chan Ho Park in 2010, who performed admirably last season. Clay Condrey, long-relief extraordinaire, has joined Park as a free agent. 

It's also unknown whether or not Scott Eyre will return to the team in 2010, as General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has offered a contract of the minor league variety to the 37-year-old lefty. 

This much is known: there will be different faces in the Phillies bullpen in 2010 and Baez will be one of them. 

Outside of Baez, the Phillies should expect Lidge, Romero, Ryan Madson, and Chad Durbin to fill out spots in the bullpen. Therefore, expect some heavy competition in Spring Training for the final two bullpen spots. 

Baez, who turned 32 in September, has pitched for five teams, most recently the Orioles in 2009. He was 4-6 with a 4.02 ERA in 59 games. 

When it comes down to it, one of the most important qualities for a bullpen pitcher is an ability to keep walks at a minimum. 

It could be one of the reasons Baez won the war over MacDougal, whom the Phillies also had extensive interest in. Last year, Baez walked just 2.8 batters per nine innings while MacDougal walked 6.3 per nine. 

For his career, Baez has a 3.7 walks-per-nine inning ratio while MacDougal has a 4.7 BB/9 ratio. 

Baez is hardly a strikeout pitcher anymore, with his strikeout-per-nine inning ratio sitting at 5.02 in 2009. However, he is projected to rebound favorably in 2010 by baseball statistician Bill James, who sees his K/9 rising to 6.04. 

Another reason for the signing of Baez? He induced a 2.36 ground ball/fly ball ratio last year, which will be hard to repeat yet appreciated in Citizens Bank Park. 

There is little doubt the Phillies would have been interested in re-signing Park, who went on to post a 2.57 ERA in relief after his early-season removal from the starting rotation. 

Park made $2.5 million last season, and likely wanted a raise for 2010. However, he also likely wanted another shot at having the Phillies' fifth starting job, one that will most likely be fought for between Jamie Moyer and Kyle Kendrick. 

With that in mind, it appears Amaro had no choice but to pursue other options.

Baez is coming off a three-year, $19 million deal with the Orioles that paid him $5.5 million in 2009. 

He should not expect that kind of payment in Philadelphia, with this two-year contract likely turning out to be in the $6 million range. 

However, he'll have a chance he hasn't had something to do in Baltimore: win a championship.

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Report: Phillies Sign Tagg Bozied

December 31, 2009 by tom dougherty  
Filed under Fan News

According to MLBTR , the Phillies have signed first baseman and corner outfielder Tagg Bozied.

Bozied batted .288/.360/.447 while hitting five home run and driving in 18 runs in 240 plate appearances last season playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates' Triple A affiliate, the Indianapolis Indians, after starting the year in Taiwan.

The 30-year-old will likely be added as minor league depth on a minor league contract. The details of this deal haven't been known to public, but you have to assume it's not a Major League pact.

For more Philadelphia sports coverage, please go to my blog: The Broad Street Scoop.

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MLB 9s: Philadelphia Phillies—Dick Allen, Chuck Klein Best Phillies Ever

December 30, 2009 by Ash Marshall  
Filed under Fan News

If you were looking to pick your greatest ever Philadelphia Phillies lineup based on single-season offensive performances, where would you start?

Do Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, and Chase Utley deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as Von Hayes, Juan Samuel, and Larry Bowa?

Is Chuck Klein the greatest outfielder ever? Is the past worth more the present? Is power more important than speed?

It all points to one all-encompassing question with hundreds of possibilities: Which Phillie had the greatest offensive season at his position?

Major League Baseball has been asking fans this same question in an effort to choose each team's best-ever collection of stars.

They are calling it MLB 9s.

Here I have separated the contenders from the pretenders in an effort to pick my dream Philadelphia lineup.

My other MLB 9s you might want to check out are:

Diamondbacks , Braves , Orioles , Red Sox , Cubs , White Sox , Reds , Indians , Rockies , Tigers , Marlins , Royals , Angels , Dodgers , Twins ,Mets , and Yankees

 

Catcher: Stan Lopata (1956)

Lopata made the most of being the Phillies’ undisputed first-choice backstop in 1956 when he hit a career-high 32 home runs.

After playing second fiddle to Andy Seminick and Smoky Burgess for each of the previous eight seasons, Lopata finally got a chance to flash the signs for Philadelphia in ’56 despite Seminick starting the year behind the plate.

Lopata scored 96 runs and drove in 95, batting .267 over the course of 535 at-bats.

He was rewarded with a trip to the All-Star game and a scattering of MVP votes, and he ranked inside the NL top 10 in a host of offensive categories including doubles (33, second), extra-base hits (72, third), total bases (286, eighth), and walks (75, 10th).

His 32 home runs—which ranked eighth in the National League—are the most ever by a Phillies’ catcher. His 96 runs scored is also a franchise record at the position.

Highlight Game: May 13, 1956 at Pittsburgh. Lopata single-handedly beat the Pirates, going 4-for-5 with two home runs, two doubles, and four RBI.

Lopata went yard against Dick Hill in the second and fourth innings, powering the Phillies to a comfortable 7-2 victory in the nightcap of a double-header.

Lopata finished with three runs and a dozen total bases in one of four multi-home run games of the season.

Competition: Long-time Phillies’ catcher Mike Lieberthal batted .300 with 31 home runs and 96 RBI in 1999, and Darren Daulton drove in 105 runs in 1993.

Spud Davis batted .336 and hit 14 home runs in just 125 games back in 1932, and Bernito Santiago hit 30 homers and recorded 85 RBI in 1996.

 

First Base: Ryan Howard (2006)

MVP Howard led all of baseball with 58 home runs, 149 RBI, and 383 total bases in 2006.

No other first baseman in Phillies’ history has hit more homers or driven in more runs than Howard, who won his first Silver Slugger award and represented the National League at the All-Star game.

Just 12 months after winning the Rookie of the Year trophy, Howard batted .313 with 108 walks, 104 runs, and a 1.084 on-base plus slugging (OPS) percentage.

Highlight Game: September 3, 2006 vs. Atlanta. Howard hit three home runs in a dominant 4-for-4 outing to see the Phillies past the Braves 8-7.

Howard went deep in the second, third, and sixth inning, helping Charlie Manuel’s men run out to a 6-0 lead. Atlanta rallied to tie the game late, but Bob Wickman gave up the game in walk-off fashion in the bottom of the ninth.

It is Howard’s only three-home run showing of his young career. Also of note from the 2006 season was the two-homer, seven RBI night he posted in a losing effort against the New York Yankees on June 20.

Competition: Jim Thome’s 2003 season was Howard’s closest rival. Thome hit 47 home runs and drove in 131 runs, although he only batted .266—almost 50 points lower than the current Phillies first baseman.

Von Hayes had a well-rounded 1986 season with 19 homers, 107 runs, 98 RBI, 24 steals, and a .305 average, but it is just too hard to overlook Howard’s power. It’s scary to think he was only 26 at the time.

Don Hurst receives an honorable mention for his 1932 season when he led the NL with 143 RBI and finished seventh in the MVP race. He hit 24 home runs and batted .339—the second most by any Phillies’ first baseman in history.

 

Second Base: Chase Utley (2008)

You can take your pick of any of Utley’s last five seasons and make the case that it was the best ever offensive season by a second baseman.

MLB.com selected 2006 for its shortlist, and a look at his OPS+ statistics would suggest 2007 was his best year. I am ignoring them both and picking 2008.

In 2008 Utley hit 33 home runs with 104 RBI, 113 runs, 14 steals, and a .292 batting average. It marked the fourth consecutive year that he finished with triple-digit RBI totals.

While Utley did not lead the league in any offensive category other than the amount of times hit by a pitch, he ranked inside the top 10 in total bases (325, sixth), doubles (41, 10th), runs scored (113, fifth), and extra-base hits (78, fifth).

He also won his third consecutive Silver Slugger award, started the All-Star game for the National League, and, most importantly for Phillies’ fans, helped his team win the 2008 World Championship.

Highlight Game: April 20, 2008 vs. New York Mets. Utley terrorized the Mets on their first trip to the City of Brotherly Love in 2008. After hitting home runs in each of the team’s first two games in the series, Utley hit a pair of jacks in the finale—a 5-4 victory.

He finished the game 3-for-3 with four RBI, two runs, and a walk.

It was Utley’s second multi-homer game of the month and marked his fourth and fifth home runs in four days.

Competition: Juan Samuel had arguably the best season of his career with the Phillies in 1987. He hit a career-high 28 home runs, broke the 100-RBI plateau for the first and only time, and led the NL with 15 triples.

He also swiped 35 bags and scored 113 runs, but he also led the league in strikeouts (162) for the fourth straight season.

 

Third Base: Dick Allen (1966)

Unlike second base, there was real competition at the hot corner between Allen and Mike Schmidt.

In 1966 a 24-year-old Allen hit 40 home runs and led the National League with a .632 slugging percentage.

He batted an admirable .317, scored 112 runs, and drove in 110 batters. He also hit 10 triples and stole 10 bases, represented the NL as a reserve at the All-Star game, and finished fourth in the regular season MVP vote behind Roberto Clemente, Sandy Koufax, and Willie Mays.

His 40 home runs rank third all-time among Philadelphia third basemen, while his 112 runs rank third. As much as he did as a player with his 44-ounce bat, Allen will be remembered just as much for combating racism in the sport and for his controversial demeanor.

He is one of the best players never to make it to Cooperstown.

Highlight Game: August 1, 1966 vs. Houston. I have spent hours researching baseball players, games, and moments over the last few months, but I had never came across this before.

In the bottom of the 10th inning in a game at home to the Astros, Allen hit a walk-off inside-the-park home run to give the Phillies a 6-5 victory.

What makes this game even more memorable was that Jimmy Wynn, the lead-off hitter for Houston, was caught trying to steal home with two away in the top of the inning.

Competition: While Allen’s invitation to the Hall of Fame must have got lost in the mail, Mike Schmidt’s certainly did not.

Schmidt’s 1980 season was as good as you will see: 48 home runs, 121 RBI, a .624 slugging percentage, Gold Glove award, Silver Slugger trophy, All-Star selection, and the title of league’s Most Valuable Player.

Discounting his defense, this was still an outstanding season which also featured 104 runs, 12 swipes, and a .286 batting average.

Oh, and a World Series ring, in case you forgot. No? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Every other third baseman worth mentioning is really just an “also ran”. Google Scott Rolen and Don Demeter in you really want more information.

 

Shortstop: Jimmy Rollins (2007)

Power? Check. Speed? Check? Best offensive season by any Phillies shortstop? Check.

Rollins’ clockwork-like consistency earned him an MVP trophy in 2007, as he shone at the top of a potent Philadelphia lineup.

The shortstop never missed a beat—or a game—running rings around the National League both literally and figuratively.

Rollins batted leadoff for the Phillies in 139 games, filling in at the No. 3 hole in the other 23 games when Ryan Howard missed time, predominantly with a quadriceps injury.

As a result of his durability, Rollins racked up a league-leading 139 runs and 20 triples. He also hit 30 home runs, batted in 94 runs, and stole 41 bases.

His home run, RBI, and run totals are the most by any Phillies shortstop ever. His 41 steals ranks third behind the 47 bases he swiped one year later and the 46 he stole in 2001 as a rookie.

Highlight Game: June 6, 2007 at New York Mets. Rollins is another Phillie who knows how the torment the Mets. On June 6, he showed them just why Philadelphia is the team to beat.

He went 3-for-4 with a home run, three RBI, two steals, and a walk in a 4-2 victory. With the Mets leading 2-0 in the seventh inning, J-Roll hit a deep fly ball down the right field line off Aaron Heilman to give the Phillies a lead they would never relinquish.

Competition: Opponents are few and far between in all honesty. Larry Bowa stole 27 bases and batted .294 in 1978 and Granny Hamner hit 17 home runs and drove in 87 runs in 1952.

Rollins is not just a long way ahead of his rivals, but you can make the case that he had as good a season as any Phillies’ infielder in history.

 

Outfield: Chuck Klein (1933)

Hall of Fame Charles Klein looked like the real deal from the very beginning when he joined the Phillies from the farm system as a 23-year-old in 1928.

By the time 1933 had ended and Klein had finished his fifth full season in the majors, he had developed into the franchise stud everyone had expected.

After finishing second in the MVP ballot to Frankie Frish in 1931, Klein went one better in ’32.

He led the National League in home runs (38), runs (152), hits (226), and stolen bases (20), while collecting 20 doubles, 15 triples, and a .348 batting average.

This set the table for his Triple Crown year of 1933 when he batted .368 with 28 home runs and 120 RBI. He also led the league in hits and doubles and swiped 15 bases.

Highlight Game: May 26, 1933 at St. Louis. Klein hit for the cycle in a 5-4 loss to the Cardinals. After recording a single, double, and triple earlier in the game, Klein hit himself into the record books with a 13th-inning solo home run off Dizzy Dean.

Despite the rare feat, his efforts could not pick up the rest of the team, as the Phillies lost and remained in the bottom of the NL.

 

Ed Delahanty (1899)

Pick any one of his 11 full seasons in Philadelphia and you wont go wrong.

He led the National League in home runs in 1893 and 1896, stole a league-high 58 bases in 1898, and won a batting title with a .410 average in 1899.

MLB shortlisted his 1901 season for consideration, although I think there are at least three better years they could have selected. I went for 1899.

Delahanty’s .410 average is the 17th highest in the history of baseball, the sixth best clip ever recorded in the National League, and the second best batting average in Philadelphia franchise history behind switch-hitting Tuck Turner.

“Big Ed” also hit 55 doubles, a league high, and batted in 137 runs. His .582 slugging percentage was the best in baseball, as was his 338 total bases and gaudy 1.046 OPS.

Highlight Game: According to Wikipedia, Delahanty hit four doubles in the same game, becoming—and remaining—the only man with a four-homer game to his credit to also have a game in which he hit four doubles.

In 1899 Delahanty also collected hits in 10 consecutive at-bats.

 

Bobby Abreu (2004)

While Gavvy Cravath probably deserves this third outfield spot, I am sticking with my bias toward the modern era and going with Abreu.

I think anyone who hits .300 with 30 home runs, 100 RBI, and 40 steals automatically deserves, at the very least, extensive consideration.

Abreu actually posted a line of .301, 30 homers, 105 RBI, 118 runs, and 40 steals.

The right-fielder went to his first All-Star game and won his first Silver Slugger award, although he did not lead the NL in any offensive categories.

He finished 23rd in the MVP voting, although I believe you could make the case that he deserved to be much higher—at least on a par with Jeff Kent, who finished 10 places above him.

While he does not lead Phillie outfielders in franchise records, I think his all-round season is deserving of a place on this list. His 127 walks ranks third all-time among Philadelphia batters.

Highlight Game: July 8, 2004 vs. New York Mets. Abreu is another name whose highlight game as a Phillie came against the Mets

Abreu finished 4-for-5 with three RBI, two doubles, a steal, and a walk-off home run. His game-winning blast came against John Franco leading off the bottom of the ninth inning.

Competition: I will finally show some love for Cravath who had three of the best consecutive seasons with the bat of any player around the time of World War I.

Cravath led the league in home runs in 1913, 1914, and 1915, and he recorded more RBI over that three-year span than any other batter in the game.

Cy Williams and Greg Luzinski hit 41 and 39 home runs in 1923 and 1977 respectively, Pat Burrell launched 37 with 116 RBI in 2002, and Lefty O’Doul batted .398 with 32 home runs and 152 runs in 1929.

 

Pitcher: Rick Wise (1971)

There is not really a great deal between the best offensive seasons of the top Philadelphia pitchers.

Wise wins out because of his six home runs, the most by any Phillie hurler, and 14 runs scored, in spite of his .237 average.

Highlight Game: Aug. 28, 1971 vs. San Francisco. Wise went 2-for-3 with a solo home run in the fifth inning and a grand slam in the bottom of the seventh.

The Phillies won the second game of the double-header 7-3 and Wise notched his second multi-home run game of the season.

Competition: Ken Brett hit four home runs and recorded 16 RBI in 1973, Wayland Dean batted .265 with 19 RBI in 1926, and Steve Carlton drove in 15 men with three home runs and a .268 average in 1977.

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The Young and the Restless: Is Ruben Amaro Too Quick on the Trigger?

December 29, 2009 by tom polaski  
Filed under Fan News

Last offseason, fresh off his team's first championship in nearly three decades, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. pounced on free agent OF, Raul Ibanez to fill the void left by the departed fan favorite, Pat Burrell.

Amaro acted quickly, as the rival Mets were reportedly hot on the trail for the left-handed slugger.

The rookie GM offered the 36-year old Ibanez a three-year, $31.5 million deal, to which he quickly agreed to.

Unquestionably benefiting from the gleam of his shiny new World Series ring, the signing was met with little backlash, though if you listened closely, you could hear the whispers of doubt: Will Ibanez be worth $10 million at the age of 39? Could he play left field all nine innings? Why another left-handed bat?

All of those concerns were quickly put to rest when Ibanez absolutely carried the Phils for the first two and half months.

Game after game, Ibanez stepped up.

Some were even discussing Ibanez as the early front-runner for MVP.

After his torrid first half, Ibanez was rewarded with his first All-Star Game selection, garnering the second most votes amongst all NL OFs.

The latter half of the season however, didn't go so swimmingly. Perhaps it was his groin strain, perhaps it was age, or maybe he was playing over his head, but whatever the case was, his numbers plummeted.

His final line, aside from the peak in HRs, didn't look too dissimilar from what the Mariners came to expect out of him.

Now with modest expectations, many are labeling the Ibanez signing a bust, with many believing we've seen his best.

This offseason, Amaro did nothing to quiet those critical of signing aging veterans to three year deals, inking former Phillie, Placido Polanco to an $18 million deal.

In a vacuum, these deals don't look terrible. Ibanez's market value was approximately $10 million. I'm not sure a third guaranteed year was widely available, but it was clear that Amaro had Ibanez in his sights all along.

But as the months wore on and spring training inched closer, former Phillie, Bobby Abreu, remained without a job.

Finally, two days before Valentine's Day, Abreu joined the Angels at a modest price of $5 million in a one-year deal.

The 35-year-old rewarded the Halos with one of his finest seasons, hitting .293 with 100+ RBIs, 15 HRs, and 30 SBs.

Meanwhile, the twice as costly Ibanez slugged 34 HRs, but hit only .270 and failed to clear the 100 RBI plateau.

This year, Amaro had another hole to fill, this time at 3B.

After gladly declining incumbent starter, Pedro Feliz's $5.5 million option, Amaro set his sights on a free agent class that included Chone Figgins, Adrian Beltre, Mark DeRosa, Placido Polanco, and eventually Garrett Atkins.

Once again, Amaro was the first to strike, seemingly outbidding himself for the services of Polanco.

Again, while the signing wasn't completely despised, few thought this was the right move.

Many wanted to go for the jugular, and sign Figgins to top this already potent lineup. That was a pipe dream, but other options in the same general price range of Polanco were Mark DeRosa, Garrett Atkins, and the slightly more expensive Adrian Beltre.

Shortly after the Polanco signing was announced, reports surfaced that both DeRosa and Beltre were seeking deals in excess of $10 million per year, a price the Phillies certainly couldn't afford to pay.

Understandingly now, the pundits regressed, seeing Polanco's $6 million yearly salary as a bargain compared to what DeRosa and Beltre were commanding.

But then the market dried up and prices nosedived. Earlier this week, Mark DeRosa signed a 2 year, $12 million deal with the San Francisco Giants. Garrett Atkins signed with the lowly Orioles for a $4.5 million deal.

Don't both of these signings represent value in comparison to the Phillie's newest 3rd basemen?

The point is, sometimes it's better to sit on your hands while others play.

Now, I'm willing to let the chips falls as they may, but at first glance, it looks like Ruben is too eager for his own good.

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Is Jayson Werth a Fantasy Baseball Third-Round Pick in 2010?

December 29, 2009 by Eric Stashin  
Filed under Fan News

Jayson Werth is coming off a career season.  Given his first true chance to play every day, he set career highs in home runs, RBI, and runs. 

He tied his career high in stolen bases as well as posting a usable average.  He was a 35/20 player: just what fantasy owners thirst for.

When you look at his line, you realize how good he was, but should he be going among the first 36 players selected on draft day (his current ADP is 34.35)? 

Before we answer that question, let’s take a look at just how good he was in 2009:

  • 571 At Bats
  • .268 Batting Average (153 Hits)
  • 36 Home Runs
  • 99 RBI
  • 98 Runs
  • 20 Stolen Bases
  • .373 On Base Percentage
  • .506 Slugging Percentage
  • .309 Batting Average on Balls in Play

The number that jumps out at you is his power, considering he had just 33 career home runs prior to the 2008 season.  He had shown signs of being a source of power, hitting 16 HR for the Dodgers in 2004, but he had just never gotten the chance to put it on full display.

The past two seasons he’s been consistent.  In 2008, he posted a slugging percentage of .498, right in line with what he did last season.  The past two seasons he’s posted HR/FB of:

  • 2008 - 21.1%
  • 2009 - 19.3%

At this point he’s certainly proven that his power is very much for real, though there are a few flags worth mentioning.  He took advantage of his home ballpark in 2009, hitting 21 of his 36 home runs there in 2009.  Can he repeat that type of rate at home?

He also showed a drastic rise in his flyball rate, going from 38.0% to 44.4%.  Over his career, he’s at about 40 percent, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see his power fall a little bit in 2010.  I’m not suggesting a huge falloff, but 30 HR is probably going to be the limit.

With the power has come his opportunity to drive in runs.  When you hit primarily fifth or sixth in a lineup that features Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez, the opportunity is going to be there.  Chances are, in 2010 that is going to be able to continue.

The runs scored is a little bit less of a certainty.  While they have deepened their lineup a little bit, with the addition of Placido Polanco, they aren’t going to have real firepower in the seventh and eighth slots. 

Shane Victorino is going to drive in some runs, but is it realistic to anticipate Werth closing in on 100 once again?  That seems like a dream in my book.

Very few sixth-place hitters have that type of potential, just considering the types of hitters behind them.  Werth is no different.

The average is very usable, but it isn’t elite and likely isn’t going up significantly without a lot of luck.  Over the past two seasons, Werth has posted strikeout rates of 28.5% and 27.3%, respectively.

When you are producing that many outs without putting the ball in play, you need to have significant luck in order to post an average above .280.  He also hasn’t shown the ability to cut down on his strikeouts, considering his career mark of 29.5%.

Simply put, he’s not going to hurt you in the average department, but he’s not likely to help you there either.

As for his speed, he’s posted back-to-back 20 stolen base seasons and that should continue.  The thing is, while he’s extremely efficient when he does run, he doesn’t do it very often.

Over the past two seasons he has gone 40-for-44 in stolen bases.  That alone tells you not to look for a big increase in his totals.  Unless the Phillies instruct him to run significantly more, he just isn’t likely to do so.

So, let’s see what we are looking at for 2010:

.264 (145-550), 29 HR, 95 RBI, 80 R, 19 SB, .309 BABIP, .362 OBP, .495 SLG

Now, the question is do those statistics deserve to be a third round selection?  Here’s just a few of the position players he’s being drafted ahead of:

  • Kevin Youkilis
  • Ryan Zimmerman
  • Justin Morneau
  • Adam Lind
  • Pablo Sandoval
  • Carlos Beltran

That’s not to mention that he’s being selected before any pitcher not named Lincecum, Greinke, Sabathia or Hernandez (most notably, he’s going before Halladay, the No. 2 pitcher on my Top 45 rankings posted yesterday, which you can view by clicking here ).

In fact, he’s being selected around the same time as Justin Upton, who is, on average, going to be the selection before him. 

Does Werth really belong in that class?  He’s a good player, needless to say, but with the anticipated dropoff in power and runs to go along with a modest average, at best, I just feel like this is a bit of a stretch. 

He’s a player I’d like to own, but not at this position in the draft.  So, I wouldn’t anticipate him being on any of my teams in 2010.

What about you?  Would you select Werth this early?  Where would you select him?

Make sure to check out some more of our 2010 projections, including:

THIS ARTICLE IS ALSO FEATURED ON WWW.ROTOPROFESSOR.COM

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Chase Utley Leads the Way Among Second Basemen, But Not Without Competition

December 28, 2009 by Baseball Professor  
Filed under Fan News

Surprise seasons snuck into the top 5 at second base with Aaron Hill and Ben Zobrist providing extra depth atop draft boards, but who else emerged as viable fantasy options and who faded faster than Roger Clemens’ reputation? Check out the rankings below for a full recap of what we saw happen in 2009. And while you’re at it, here’s a list of some of our other 2009 recaps, past and future:

Catcher
First Base
Shortstop
Third Base (Tuesday)
Outfield (Wednesday)
Pitchers (Thursday)

Just to repeat what I’ve said before, all players are sorted according to PSR Rankings , our unique ratings system that takes into account both player performance and position scarcity. For full rankings, you'll have to go here .


MVP of 2009

Chase Utley (PHI) – Second in R, second in HR, fourth in RBI, and fifth in SB equals first in PSR. Utley’s 2009 season was about as balanced as they come, and all this despite serious preseason concerns over how well he’d return from offseason hip surgery.

In fact, he got off to such a good start that Red Sox fans nationwide had complete confidence that Mike Lowell would recover from a similar surgery. Easily the best second baseman in the game, Utley’s career body of work is in a class of its own.

Honorable Mention: Ian Kinsler (TEX)


Comeback Player of 2009

Robinson Cano (NYY) – After batting .342 in 2006 and .306 in 2007, Cano fell all the way down to .271 in 2008. Experts were calling into question his work ethic, and his career seemed to be in a tailspin (and it was only one year!).

An 18/.366/5/16/1 April had Cano back on the map as a potentially elite fantasy second basemen, and by the time the year had concluded he found himself with his first 100-run season, a career-high 25 HR, and a .320 average.

Honorable Mention: Ian Kinsler (TEX)


Breakout Player of 2009

Aaron Hill (TOR) – Hill was in consideration for the Comeback Player of 2009 award, but I decided that his 2007 didn’t exactly count as a coming-out party. He saved that for 2009. If I had told you that Hill would lead all second basemen in HR by five and in RBI by 10 would you have believed me?

Many of you probably would have responded with something like, “I don’t know. Who’s Aaron Hill?” I’d say that qualifies as breakout status to me.

Honorable Mention: Ben Zobrist (TB)


Most Disappointing Player of 2009

Kelly Johnson (ATL) – You need to dig way down in the rankings to find Kelly Johnson because he was just that bad. It’s not like his career numbers were that good either, which is a even more of a reflection of his putrid 2009 season. Just how bad was it? Try 47/.224/8/29/7. If you can find a positive in there, let me know.

In fact, let Johnson himself know. I’m sure he could use some good news right about now.

Dishonorable Mention: Actually, nobody really. Seriously. Look for yourself. I guess if I had to go with someone it would be Brian Roberts but it’s my article and I don’t have to pick anyone so I won’t.

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Fantasy Baseball Prospect Report: Philippe Aumount

December 25, 2009 by Eric Stashin  
Filed under Fan News

When the Seattle Mariners drafted Phillippe Aumont 11th overall in the 2007 MLB draft, many believed he could develop into an ace starter.

However, in 2009, he was transitioned to the bullpen. With his trade to the Philadelphia Phillies eariler month, he has the potential to be a future closer.

Prior to last season, Mariners Director of Minor League Operations, Pedro Grifol, said, “He’s a potential workhorse with well above-average stuff. He has the ability to develop into a top-of-the-rotation type pitcher.”

Pitching in Single- and Double-A in 2009, he worked strictly as a relief pitcher with mixed results. He was solid in Single-A, posting a 3.24 ERA, while striking out 35 over 33.1 innings. 

In Double-A, he was significantly more hittable, posting a 5.09 ERA, while allowing 21 hits over 17.2 innings. He still generated strikeouts, whiffing 24 batters, but his control eluded him. While he walked just 12 prior to his recall, he handed out 11 free passes afterward in nearly half as many innings.

He’s going to need to adjust to being a closer. His ability to do that  will dictate just how good he will be.

He’s armed with a fastball touching 95 mph and a curveball with the potential to be considered a top pitch. He also throws a changeup, but his lack of consistency with the pitch generated his move to the pen.

With just two pitches to rely on to get hitters out, he certainly appears better suited to have a long, meaningful career as a reliver.

Facing a batter once in a game, you certainly can get by with a minimal arsenal. Look no further than Mariano Rivera as proof. Asked to get batters out two, three or more times in a night with just two pitches at your disposal is a completely different story.

At 6′7″, it simply could just be that he needs time to gain control of his full arsenal.  Taller pitchers just seem to take longer to develop, so it is still possible that he becomes a starting pitcher down the road. For now, however, I have to believe that he’s viewed as a relief prospect.

There are a few injury concerns, which also helped guide his move to the bullpen. In 2008, he was plagued by a sore elbow, finding himself on the DL on two occasions (and ending his season on August 21). Last season he broke his hand after blowing a save (he punched a wall). That injury is less concerning in regards to durability questions.

Prior to the 2009 season, Baseball America ranked Aumont as the Mariners third best prospect, saying:

“Aumont cuts an imposing figure on the mound, and his stuff is just as intimidating. He already throws 90-95 mph with plus-plus sink and boring action, and he may be able to throw even harder as he matures physically. If batters sit on his sinker, he can blow a high-90s, four-seam fastball by them. Aumont’s crossfire delivery and low three-quarters arm slot can make it tough for batters to pick up his pitches. His low-80s breaking ball has plus potential.”

That make-up seems perfect to blow people away at the end of the game, a need that the Phillies certainly have. Brad Lidge is a disaster waiting to happen, with no one ever knowing exactly what you are going to get. Will you get the pitcher who was perfect in 2008 or the one who was a disaster in 2009?

Then there’s Ryan Madsen, who had an opportunity to seize the job for himself. Yet, when inserted into the role, failed to do so.

Of course, the Phillies could go out and add another arm to the backend of their bullpen, but there’s no one on the open market who figures to be both a long-term solution and a financially reasonable option.

That means that, in time, they will look from within to fill their gaping hole to close out games. With Aumont now in the system, their solution could not be in-house.

Would it surprise me to see Aumont get a chance in the Major Leagues in 2010?  Absolutely not.  For a team that is in need of bullpen help, it seems more like when, not if, he will make his debut (assuming the Phillies continue to utilize Lidge in relief).

While it’s unlikely that the team entrusts him as their closer, it is not unheard of (think Francisco Rodriguez or Bobby Jenks in the past). That makes him a player to monitor in all formats.

What are your thoughts on Aumont?  Will he make his debut in 2010?  What are the chances that the Phillies give him a chance to close out games?

You can read other recent Prospect Reports including:

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Philadelphia Phillies, Mystery Reliever Agree To Terms Pending Physical

December 23, 2009 by tom dougherty  
Filed under Fan News

With Christmas a couple of days away, Ruben Amaro Jr. has finished the majority of his shopping.

He signed Placido Polanco as his new third baseman, retooled the bench with Juan Castro, Ross Gload and Brian Schneider, and traded for Roy Halladay.

The only item left on Amaro's to-do list is to solidify a bullpen that blew 22 saves and had a 3.91 earned run average last year, which ranked ninth in the National League.

Salisbury says a person with knowledge told him that the Phils have an agreement in place with a relief pitcher pending a physical, which will take place in the first week of January. His source could not give him who the reliever is, but another source pointed to Danys Baez.

Baez appeared in 59 games with the Baltimore Orioles, rebounding after a 2008 season lost to elbow surgery. He posted a 4.02 earned run average and held opposing hitters to a .222 batting average in 71.2 innings.

The 32-year-old right-hander has experience in the eighth and ninth innings, something the Phillies are desperately looking for.

In his 10-year career, he has compiled 114 saves, including 96 as Cleveland and Tampa Bay's closer from 2003-05.

He broke into the majors with the Indians in 2001 when current Phillies skipper Charlie Manuel managed the Tribe. He has spent time with five teams in his career, including the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers.

Baez made $5.5 million dollars with the O's last year.

While Baez appears to be the player that the Phils are going to sign, it could be another reliever.

What we do know is that it is not Fernando Rodney, who signed with the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday. ESPN.com reported yesterday the Phils were interested in him.

Amaro hasn't commented on any players he has been pursuing in the bullpen market, but recent reports have tied Mike MacDougal, Miguel Batista, Bob Howry, and Matt Capps. For all we know, it could very well be one of those arms.

MacDougal has been a name that has been linked to the Phillies quite a few times recently, but Salisbury claims it doesn't appear as if Philadelphia is seriously considering his services.

For more Philadelphia sports coverage, please go to my blog: The Broad Street Scoop.

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