2012 Philadelphia Phillies: Predicting the Pitching Stats

March 30, 2012 by Mark Swindell  
Filed under Fan News

The Phillies quite possibly will live and die with their pitching staff in 2012.  It carried them quite a bit through the 2011 season.  Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee are a year older but aren't showing any signs of slowing down.  Cole Hamels should be in his prime. We'll see if Vance Worley can follow up his stellar rookie campaign.  Will Joe Blanton be able to rebound from an injury-riddled 2011?  Are there any surprises or disappointments in the bullpen?  Well, let's see.

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Cole Hamels Contract: Ready to Sign New Deal with Philadelphia Phillies?

March 30, 2012 by Ian Casselberry  
Filed under Fan News

Philadelphia Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels figures to be one of the top free-agent pitchers available after the season. 

With the annual demand for quality starting pitching around the majors—especially now that the Los Angeles Dodgers look ready to pursue top talent with new ownership in place—testing the open market this winter would seem to be in Hamels' best interests. 

Yet Hamels may have tipped off that he already has an agreement in place with the Phillies. That's how the Philadelphia Inquirer's Matt Gelb read into Hamels talking about whether he and his agent have set an Opening Day deadline for negotiating a new contract.

"My only understanding is if you sign anybody before opening day, you have to deal with the luxury tax," he told Gelb. "So that's the only thing I know of. Anything after goes toward next season. I understand that's where the Phillies are."

So what exactly in that statement made Gelb think, "A-ha"? By his interpretation, that was a curious detail for Hamels to be aware of. Gelb did some digging, however, and found out that when a contract is signed no longer has anything to do with the luxury tax being applied.

Is it a stretch to think this means Hamels has a new contract with the Phillies and is waiting until after Opening Day to sign it? Perhaps, but it might also explain why Hamels told MLB.com's Todd Zolecki that he hasn't been thinking about his contract situation at all.

Why worry about what's already taken care of?

But Hamels' moment of zen might also stem from the comfort of knowing that he's going to hit a big payday after the season, regardless of whether or not it's with the Phillies. 

Personally, if I was a free agent, I'd want to see what kind of offers come my way. What sort of interest will the Dodgers, Marlins and any other team looking for pitching demonstrate? 

Of course, the Phillies are also a team not afraid to spend big money. And they really can't afford to lose Hamels, so they have an obvious need, too.

There's something to be said for the comfort of familiarity and playing for a team that has shown it will do anything to win. 

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Philadelphia Phillies: 25 Ideas for Getting Younger over the Next 5 Years

March 30, 2012 by Greg Pinto  
Filed under Fan News

"It sucks getting old."

We've all heard someone lamenting their young years spew that bit of harsh reality over the years. We may have even caught ourselves saying those words, or at least thinking it. In recent weeks, no one has thought about that statement more than the collective organization that is the Philadelphia Phillies.

Spring Training has been like playing word association with a psychiatrist. If Phillies' trainer Scott Sheridan were to hold up a card with the word "injury" written on it, my response would be something along the lines of, "Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Placido Polanco, Laynce Nix, Domonic Brown, Freddy Galvis, and Jose Contreras."

At times, the Phillies' clubhouse has looked more like a M.A.S.H unit than a team of baseball players. If there was a single resolution as to why these injuries were occurring, the Phillies would be leading the league in quick recoveries, but there isn't.

One of the numerous reasons is the simple fact that the Phillies aren't getting any younger. They are a team of veterans with a lot of mileage on their bodies. There has been an outcry for the front office to reduce the overall age of the roster, and that isn't an easy thing to do if a club like the Phillies wants to remain competitive.

But it can be done.

This slideshow will attempt to prove that fact. A couple of months ago, I wrote a similar slideshow expressing some outside-of-the-box methods to reduce the roster's age, but now, I will attempt to prove that the Phillies don't have to be so creative to do just that.

Thy have to be methodical.

For news, rumors, analysis and game recaps during spring training, check out Greg's blog: The Phillies Phactor!

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Philadelphia Phillies: How Many Games Will Each Key Player Start?

March 30, 2012 by Alec Snyder  
Filed under Fan News

I've said it time and time again, so I'll make it quick: baseball is back. Well, almost. The Seattle-Oakland opener in Japan concluded yesterday with the two teams splitting even. But does that mean that Phillies baseball is back? Not just yet. And for once, it's probably better that way.

Considering that you have injuries to Ryan Howard—who's set to miss all of April, most (if not all) of May, and potentially even some of June—and Chase Utley, who will likely miss similar time to Howard, you've got some big shoes to fill. Although those shoes can't be filled completely, there's always hope. Or so I'd like to think.

You've also got an injury to Placido Polanco, who jammed his thumb sliding back into third base early last week. Lastly, you have Michael Martinez, and while he was only considered a utility infielder, losing his versatility (even with the lack of defense he brings onto the diamond) to a foot fracture hurts just a little bit.

But what could hurt this team most is that they shipped off utilityman Wilson Valdez early in the offseason, and now with the injuries to four or five infielders (oh yeah, Freddy Galvis is day-to-day, too), giving him up was a costly mistake.

With injuries, platoons or just simply changing of hands at a position, we'll investigate and predict how many games each key Phillie will start. This means that much the starting nine, plus some of the team's injured players, will have predictions by the slideshow's end. Please note that this only applies to offensive players—no pitchers will be a part of the slideshow itself, although I'd love to discuss that matter in the comments with you.

So with that, I bid thee well...from this slide, of course. Go on, read the rest of the slideshow. You know you want to.

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Phillies Spring Training Report: Pierre or Podsednik?

March 29, 2012 by Manav Khandelwal  
Filed under Fan News

With the 2012 edition of Spring Training coming to an end, the Phillies' final outfield spot is up for grabs. The candidates? Veteran outfielders Scott Podsednik and Juan Pierre. Even though Pierre has already made the 40-man roster, and Podesdnik is still waiting to hear from the club, it could be a decision to be made when rosters need to be cut to 25.

The winner will join an outfield crew featuring everyday starters Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence, John Mayberry Jr., who will split time between 1B and LF, and Laynce Nix, who will do the same. 

Charlie Manuel has a difficult decision to make between the two, but for what it's worth I'll take a stab at making a quasi-decision for him.

The two are remarkably similar. They both hit for average, steal bases, provide an above-average glove, and lack power. Here's a comparison of their career per full season statistics:


Pierre Podsednik
AVG .296 .279
SLG .363 .381
HR 1.4 5.9
RBI 44 42.9
2B 21.3 24.4
3B 7.8 5.9
SB 50.4 43
CS 17.3 14.6
R 89.1 78.9

 

Their stolen base/caught stealing numbers are similar, their RBI numbers are nearly the same, and their SLG percentages are in the same ballpark. So, how does one make the decision?

The next logical tiebreaker would be to look at their production in the Spring. According to MLB Official Spring Training statistics, they have the same number of at-bats and RBIs, they're both hitting over .310, and their walk and runs numbers are nearly the same.

However, when a person delves deeper, their statistics seem to differ. Podsednik's SLG percentage is over .150 higher, he has 4 more doubles, and his stolen base - caught stealing rate is 5-0, while Pierre's is 3-3. Statistically, he's having a slightly better Spring.

Charlie has obviously looked at - or been told about - all of these statistical comparisons and differences. However, what he's seen with his naked eye will in the end be a major contributing factor.

I've seen at least five Phillies Spring Training games this year, and I think Scott Podsednik really deserves the job. Pierre had a hit against Tampa recently to go along with a steal, but overall he has not been as consistent as Scott.

Even though he's two years older, Podsednik looks like he's in better shape, and his bat seems to be livelier. He's stealing bases left and right, his glove is as sharp as ever, and he's the only one of the two to have a home run this Spring.

In short, he looks like the best candidate for the job.

Please comment with your thoughts below.

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Philadelphia Phillies: 3 Players Who Must Step Up in 2012

March 29, 2012 by Josh Martin  
Filed under Fan News

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The 2012 MLB season is barely underway (thanks to the Oakland A’s and the Seattle Mariners in Japan), and the Philadelphia Phillies are already all over the spectrum. On the one hand, manager Charlie Manuel still has a ton of talent at his disposal, particularly with a trio of aces (Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels) and an All-Star closer (Jonathan Papelbon) on the mound. Those hurlers will be expected to carry the Fightins to another National League East crown and (fingers crossed) a World Series title.

On the other hand, the injury bug seems to have made an all-too-comfortable home at Bright House Field in Clearwater, Fla., where it’s bitten the Phillies in a big way. To be fair, Ryan Howard’s long-term absence was already expected after the All-Star first baseman pulled up lame with a torn Achilles tendon on the final out of the team’s NLDS loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.

The same could be said, in a way, for Chase Utley, who’s expected to start the season on the disabled list on account of his bad knees.

With Howard and Utley sidelined indefinitely, the Phillies will need these three guys to step up big, in the batter’s box and in the field if they’re to bring another pennant to the City of Brotherly Love before their window of opportunity slams shut.

Be sure to sound off and let us know what you think in the comments below. If you like what you see, click here for more from Bleacher Report Productions. 

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Phildelphia Phillies Injury News: Can Freddy Galvis Hold Down the Fort?

March 29, 2012 by Alec Snyder  
Filed under Fan News

Opening Day lies just over a week from now, yet a plethora of questions concerns the Philadelphia Phillies.

Sure, Roy Halladay's effectiveness and velocity control has been questioned. Joe Blanton's name coming up every so often in trade rumors has been somewhat constant as well. There's even the fact that Cole Hamels extension talks are heating up, and whether the two sides will see eye to eye on years of a deal.

But enough with the pitching. At this point in time, the team's obvious primary concern is their infielding depth.

First baseman Ryan Howard could miss a third or even half of the 2012 season thanks to a ruptured Achilles tendon suffered in the final at-bat of the NLDS last year against the eventual World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals.

Chase Utley's knee issues have been acting up again, and now in his left knee in addition to his right. Placido Polanco has had a jammed finger. Utility infielder Michael Martinez has a foot fracture. And while Wilson Valdez would have been an option, he's now a Cincinnati Red, a move which GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. made and recently referred to as "foolish."

With all this commotion in the Phillies' injury department, many key changes will be made. 

Time at first base will be split by Laynce Nix, John Mayberry, Jr., Ty Wigginton and even Jim Thome until Howard returns. Wigginton, Pete Orr and potentially even Hector Luna will also play elsewhere around the diamond, and Wigginton, Mayberry and Nix will man left field as well.

But who's taking charge at second base? The 22-year-old Venezuelan shortstop, Freddy Galvis, has been playing second base this spring in order to be effective for the big league squad on Opening Day.

Yes, you read that right: a minor leaguer who is both switching from his natural position on the diamond and has never hit in a season above .280 is the team's interim replacement for former All-Star Chase Utley.

Galvis, whose defense has been raved as Gold-Glove caliber, has had questions offensively. Granted, his spring this year has been impressive, but for the most part his success has been either against major league pitchers who have been tinkering with their stuff, or off minor league pitchers just being given a shot against major leaguers and will inevitably be sent back down to the minors.

In 23 games this spring—a substantial amount to say the least—Galvis has hit .273 with two long balls, 12 RBI and a .761 OPS. He's also got three doubles, two triples and a stolen base.

The .273 average is identical to the stat he put up in 104 games at Double-A Reading last year before being promoted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, where he batted .298 in the final 33 games of the minor league season. However, he failed to hit a single home run at Triple-A, whereas he had hit eight out of the park in Reading. His OPS dipped to below .700 upon being promoted as well.

So what can we expect out of Freddy Galvis? Put it this way: His eight home runs last season—again, all were at Double-A—were a season high for Galvis. And while his average increased as the competition did, his OPS did not in a smaller amount of time.

I'm not saying that there's necessarily reason to be concerned with the OPS, since his OBP remained similar to his Double-A counterpart. But at Lehigh Valley, it went down by 36 points. That's nothing to laugh off.

With Chase Utley's timetable for return uncertain at this point, I'm going to predict that he'll return sometime in mid-May. He said that his knees felt better than they did last year, and he returned at about the same time. So while he could return earlier, rest never hurt anybody. And the Phillies, if they handle Utley wisely, will take their time in bringing him back.

This means that Galvis could start the first 40 or so games of the season at second base. Defensively, he's a wiz—at shortstop. But will he succeed at second base as well as he has at short?

There's also a recent injury concern with Galvis, for he fouled a ball off his foot in a game on Tuesday. While he's not in need of X-rays and is considered day-to-day with a contusion, any injury to a Phillies infielder right now is a serious one, even if the afflicted player sits for just a week.

Since he hasn't faced major league pitching at its best, Galvis is likely to hit somewhere around .240, maybe .250 if all goes his way to start the season. A fairly patient hitter, Galvis should also be able to garner some walks if he can read the major league pitching correctly. Home runs won't be a common occurrence, if one at all, and an extra-base hit might be nice every now and then, but not on a regular basis.

With the Phillies hurting at their most vital spots right now, Galvis will have to step up his play in order to keep a roster spot and to help the team win.

Even when Howard and Utley return from their injuries, there are no guarantees. Galvis has to play his heart out, both at the plate and on the field, in order to keep this Phillies team running. And though most of the offensive pressure is on Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino, Galvis can't be an offensive hole in the lineup. He has to be able to hold down the fort and at least keep things moving.

Anything from Galvis at the plate is a plus, but the team's offensive punch can't lie with just two players. Galvis must hit the ball on a consistent basis, and he must play sufficient defense at his new position.

But will he be able to? I don't think we can be sure. And that's a problem.

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Philadelphia Phillies: 10 Reasons They Can Overcome Injury Devastation

March 28, 2012 by Ben Ringel  
Filed under Fan News

As the Phillies play their final spring games before starting the 2012 season, they are in an unenviable position: many of the key offensive players on the Phils are seriously hurt, and will not be ready to go when the games start to matter.

Chase Utley is hurt.

Ryan Howard is hurt.

Michael Martinez is hurt.

And you know things are bad when an injury to Michael Martinez is actually sort of a big deal.

While the Phillies' infield depth will certainly be a concern during the first few months of the season (and that's without even mentioning brittle old Placido Polanco and an aging J-Roll), there are plenty of reasons to be confident in this team's ability to stay afloat and ahead of the pack in a hungry NL East.

Here are 10 reasons why the Phillies can overcome injury devastation in 2012. 

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

MLB Prospects: Will Zack Cozart or Freddy Galvis Receive Starting Nod?

March 28, 2012 by Mike Rosenbaum  
Filed under Fan News

The news of Jose Iglesias’ demotion to Triple-A on Monday signaled the end of yet another prospect-related roster battle. While the Iglesias-Aviles battle in Red Sox camp was highly publicized, there are still other infield prospects in line for everyday roles to open the 2012 season.

  

Zack Cozart, Cincinnati Reds

Cozart has steadily progressed through the Reds' system since he was drafted in 2007, even appearing in 11 big-league games in 2011. The team’s No. 4 prospect, Cozart is an all-around solid player despite not being overly flashy.

At the plate, he has an average bat with mediocre power and has gradually deviated from a pull-happy approach. His bat is definitely strong enough for a shortstop in the majors, as he possesses potential for a 30-double, 15-home run season if given the necessary playing time. He doesn’t strike out too much, but at the same time, he also hardly walks—161 walks in 1,940 minor league at-bats.

The 26-year-old has average speed with good instincts on the basepaths, which translates to slightly above-average range at shortstop. His arm isn’t particularly strong, but his smooth hands and position make it serviceable.

After tearing ligaments in his non-throwing arm while with the Reds last season, Cozart is fully recovered and has raked all spring. In 46 at-bats, he is hitting a blistering .413/.449/.652 with seven doubles, two triples, six RBI and two stolen bases. Hell, he’s even coaxed three walks—he had zero in 37 big-league at-bats last season.

Barring an injury, Cozart should begin the 2012 season as the team’s everyday shortstop.

 

Freddy Galvis, Philadelphia Phillies

A 5’9”, 170-pound middle infielder, Galvis was signed by the Phillies out of Venezuela as a 16-year-old.  He’s spent most of his minor league career playing shortstop, but with all the uncertainty regarding Chase Utley’s return, he’s been exclusively playing second base during spring training.

A switch-hitter, Galvis squares up the ball with consistency while using the whole field. He’ll sneak one over the wall every now and then, but he has limited power overall. He doesn’t walk enough and therefore doesn’t utilize his quickness and instincts on the bases.  

Galvis is one of the best defensive middle infielders in the minors thanks to his outstanding defense. His plus range, soft hands and above-average arm are all big-league ready at shortstop, so he should have no issue playing second base in Utley's absence.

He’s hit himself into contention for the everyday role by batting .273/292/.470 with seven extra-base hits and 12 RBI in 66 at-bats. He’ll likely earn a spot on the Phillies’ 25-man roster to begin the season and has a legitimate chance to break camp as the starting second baseman.

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Philadelphia Phillies: 5 Prospects Who Will Make the Big Leagues in 2012

March 28, 2012 by Breana Pitts  
Filed under Fan News

With the start of the 2012 Major League Baseball season in full effect, much of the spotlight has been on the top prospects.

The Philadelphia Phillies have already been hit with injuries that may cause a few of their prospects to move up to the big leagues earlier than expected. Chase Utley and Ryan Howard are both on the disabled list for Opening Day.

Prospects in Philly now have a chance to show fans what they’ve been working on in the minor leagues. Freddy Galvis has went from likely spending the season in Triple-A to possibly becoming the Phillies’ Opening Day starter at second base.

Galvis and other prospects are finally ready for their Major League debuts in 2012.

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