Philadelphia Phillies: Phillies Set Opening Day Roster

March 30, 2013 by Matt Boczar  
Filed under Fan News

After weeks of speculation and predictions, the Philadelphia Phillies have officially set their Opening Day roster and determined which players will be charged with making the 2012 season a distant memory and 2013 a return to the postseason.

According to Ryan Lawrence on Philly.com, the Phillies have chosen Phillippe Aumont, Jeremy Horst, Raul Valdes, Ender Inciarte and Humberto Quintero to fill out the 25-man roster.

The Phillies' starting staff has been set since before spring training began, with Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Kyle Kendrick and John Lannan opening the season in the rotation.  Hamels has been chosen as the team’s Opening Day starter and will take the mound Monday night against the Atlanta Braves.

Hamels finished the spring with 15 strikeouts in 19 innings and a 0.95 ERA. 

Halladay remains as the only question mark in the rotation to start the season health-wise, but he is currently scheduled to start the second game of the season for the Phils.  Lee, meanwhile, gave up one hit and struck out five in four innings during his last start leading up to the regular season.

The Phillies bullpen remained as the only unsettled area during the final week of spring training, but Aumont has beaten out Michael Stutes to start the season.  Neither pitcher was overwhelmingly successful in his most recent outing, but Aumont’s seven strikeouts to four walks earned him the nod over Stutes’ eight strikeouts to nine walks.

Both Horst and Valdes improved as camp continued and give the Phillies a balanced Opening Day bullpen with three left-handers and four right-handers.

Jonathan Papelbon, Mike Adams, Chad Durbin and Antonio Bastardo have also made the Opening Day bullpen, although all four were considered locks prior to spring training.

The Phillies used 19 different pitchers in a relief role last season, meaning that pitchers such as Stutes, Justin De Fratus and Jake Diekman will all likely see time in the major leagues.

The infield was locked into place following the release of Yuniesky Betancourt, but Kevin Frandsen and Freddy Galvis have now officially made the 25-man roster as reserve infielders.

Galvis, who has recently spent time in the outfield, has now played five positions this spring.  His defense has remained above average, while his offense has also improved.  However, Galvis has also struck out 22 times while drawing just two walks, giving him an OBP of .284.

Both Galvis and Frandsen will backup starters Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins and Michael Young—all of whom had starting positions guaranteed prior to spring training, barring injury. 

Howard and Utley, both of whom were recovering from injury, are batting .337 and .279 this spring, respectively.

Erik Kratz will open the season as the Phillies' starter at catcher and will be backed up by Quintero, who beat out a late charge by Steven Lerud to earn a roster spot.  However, Quintero’s spot on the 25-man roster will likely only last until Carlos Ruiz’s return in late-April.

The Phillies entered spring training with one starting outfielder and several players battling for the corner spots.  As spring training concludes, the team now finds itself with two solidified starters in center fielder Ben Revere and corner outfielder Domonic Brown.

Brown, arguably the Phillies' best player this spring, is batting .368 with seven home runs and 24 runs scored.  He will play one corner outfield spot, with John Mayberry, Jr. and Laynce Nix platooning in the other.

Inciarte, the Phillies' Rule 5 selection, has made the Opening Day roster unless the Phillies are able to make a waiver claim or find another outfielder that has been released by a team.  Inciarte’s roster spot will also be in jeopardy once Delmon Young returns from injury.  For now, however, he provides a late inning defensive option for the Phils.

The Phillies' remaining decision prior to Opening Day involves the starting lineup, with manager Charlie Manuel having options regarding where to bat Revere, Rollins, Young and Brown.

This 2013 Opening Day roster differs significantly from the 2012 Opening Day roster, but the Phillies have nevertheless determined which players will be asked to get the ball rolling towards starting a new postseason streak in 2013.

 

*All statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Predicting Boom or Bust for All 25 Phillies Players Entering Opening Day

March 29, 2013 by Greg Pinto  
Filed under Fan News

It has been a long spring for the Philadelphia Phillies thanks to the World Baseball Classic, and this club certainly has the look of a team that is ready for Opening Day. Then again, aren't we all at this point? 

This season will be about trying to scratch and claw their way back to the top, with their ever elusive "window of opportunity" certainly looming as a threat. With players like Roy Halladay, Chase Utley and Carlos Ruiz entering the season on expiring contracts, this could realistically be do or die. 

Then again, this is a town that expects nothing short of the World Series from their Phillies. At that point, you have to wonder if this is a team capable of toppling young, talented clubs in their own division like the Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves—let alone the rest of the league. 

The following slideshow will attempt to determine that. We'll look at each member of the Phillies' projected Opening Day roster and determine whether they will "boom" or "bust." 

Players who receive the "boom" designation are guys set to have good seasons. Players labeled as "bust" will disappoint. While the reasoning and variables will change for each slide, the general idea remains the same. 

Will the Phillies boom or bust in 2013? 

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Assembling Philadelphia Phillies’ Best Starting Lineup After Spring Training

March 29, 2013 by Alec Snyder  
Filed under Fan News

Now that spring training has concluded, almost everything is locked in for the Philadelphia Phillies for Opening Day on Monday, April 1. Almost everything.

While three of Phillippe Aumont, Jeremy Horst, Mike Stutes and Raul Valdes are bound to claim the final bullpen spots and one of Laynce Nix or Rule 5 Draft Pick Ender Inciarte will win the fifth outfielder's job, the Phillies currently lack a cemented Opening Day lineup.

Aside from Cole Hamels, who has been anointed the Opening Day starter against the Atlanta Braves (via CSNPhilly.com), questions still remain about both the Phillies' batting order and, at a position or two, who will start.

My views and opinions will most definitely differ from those of the man who will be writing in the lineup card next Monday, manager Charlie Manuel. 

Given the Phillies' projected lineup for the season opener according to MLB.com, I do have a few qualms about placements, which will be reflected in my lineup in this slideshow.

So, without further ado, here is the Phillies' best lineup after spring training, or—depending on how you look at it—my lineup card if I were managing the Phillies.

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Philly Phanatic Makes Out with Smokin’ Reporter on Live Television

March 28, 2013 by Dan Carson  
Filed under Fan News

Waving to fans, sweating buckets and posing generally make up the list of the day’s activities for most mascots. 

But every once in a while, they get to do something special, such as puckering up with a smoking traffic reporter on television like the Philly Phanatic did Tuesday. 

Video has surfaced of Fox’s Philadelphia news personality Kacie McDonnell sharing more or less a voluntary smooch with the Phillies mascot during a live traffic broadcast. The large furry creature had been dyed red in honor of Philadelphia’s “Paint the Town” event, and he ran into the shot jacked up and ready to go as usual.

Judging by the way McDonnell’s voice hops up a few octaves, either the Phanatic was running at her from off-camera or she is terrified of large-nosed mascots. Nevertheless, McDonnell starts talking home runs, winning seasons and World Series rings.

Obviously, hearing these words from this young lady is too much for the Phanatic, who grabs her and goes in for the two-second Frencher (not the first time it's kissed someone in front of thousands). 

McDonnell shouts, people in the studio go “Whoop!” and the Philly Phanatic hits the floor like a sack of potatoes. As one would expect, the joke was taken in the awesome good humor it deserves.

“I guess I have a new boyfriend,” McDonnell said.

You mean to replace your old ex, Christian Ponder? Well, he’s not much for looks with that schnoz and the ring of belly fat, but hey—at least he’s famous. 

(h/t SportsGrid)

Let me be the Phanatic. They won’t even have to pay me in gum: Dr__Carson

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Philadelphia Phillies: Spring Training Grades for Every Top Prospect

March 27, 2013 by Joe Giglio  
Filed under Fan News

In a bit of a spring training twist, the Philadelphia Phillies' minor league system has become a major story.

No, their low organizational ranking isn't the talking point this time.

Instead, their Triple-A affiliate, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, have introduced an interesting concept to sell tickets.

Meanwhile down in Florida, some of those IronPigs, future IronPigs and one day Phillies are about to complete a full spring training regimen in full sight of Ruben Amaro and Charlie Manuel.

Here are spring training grades for the top Philly prospects.

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Full Update of Surprises, Busts and Injuries at Phillies Camp

March 27, 2013 by Greg Pinto  
Filed under Fan News

Spring training is all but history with less than a week remaining, but nary a fan will mourn its passing as Opening Day and a brand new season of Major League Baseball is right around the bend. 

For the Philadelphia Phillies, Opening Day could not come sooner. After enjoying a modest run atop the National League East, the rival Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves made sure that the Phillies would not see the postseason for the first time since 2006. 

"Redemption" is a word that I would use to describe the atmosphere surrounding this club heading into the regular season. With a roster full of veteran players, it's World Series or bust once again for the squad from Philadelphia, and the fans wouldn't have it any other way. 

But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, it's time once again to take stock of the Phillies as spring training rounds to a close. Who is in good shape with Opening Day on the horizon and who has drawn concern? Are there any injuries? 

Here is the list of Phillies surprises, busts and injuries with less than a week of spring training to go. 

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Grading Every Phillie’s Spring Training

March 25, 2013 by PHIL KEIDEL  
Filed under Fan News

Phillies baseball is wrapping up in Clearwater, and while there is still one very significant starting pitching assignment to come (per the Delaware County Daily Times), final grades for everyone else can be issued.

As with every classroom setting, within the Phillies we find teacher's pets and class clowns, valedictorians and delinquents.

All statistics, per philadelphia.phillies.mlb.com, through games played March 24, 2013.

Domonic Brown: It is too bad A+ is the highest grade possible. If these grades were given on a 1-100 scale, Brown's spring training performance would merit him a 110. He led the team in hits and runs scored, hit .368 and tied with Ryan Howard for the team lead in home runs. That'll do. A+.

Ryan Howard: If not for Brown's spring, the main story in Phillies' camp would be Howard's resurgence at training camp. Howard hit .329 with seven home runs and 16 runs batted in. He will not hit .329 this year, but the power numbers suggest that reports of the Big Piece's demise are premature. A+.

Ben Revere: Everyone loves the long ball, and that is not Revere's specialty. But he hit .324 with six stolen bases, and his defense has been as excellent as advertised. Shane who? A.

Chase Utley: Following a slow start, Utley's movement and bat speed have improved as camp wore on. He hit .291 with four home runs and drove in 14. Even 130 games at that clip would put Utley back in the discussion of the elite second basemen in the National League. Here's hoping. A-.

Jimmy Rollins: It is tempting to give JRoll an incomplete since he spent most of camp with Team USA at the World Baseball Classic. But Rollins hit .321 for the national team and .286 for the Phillies. He looks like a very good shortstop again. A-.

Erik Kratz: Even if Carlos Ruiz was eligible to come north before the end of April, Kratz was going to make the team. Kratz's .273 average in 12 games is not a headline-grabbing statistic, though it does ease fears that the eighth spot in the lineup could be a black hole until Ruiz returns. B.

Michael Young: The new third baseman does not have to do much to be an improvement over last season's Placido Polanco/Ty Wigginton/Kevin Frandsen platoon. Young's one home run, .273 average and .683 OPS over 22 games suggests that better than those other three is all he'll be. B-.

Kevin Frandsen: Speaking of Frandsen, he will stick because of his defense, and because he hits from the right side. His .269 spring training average was right there with his career .267 in the major leagues. Frandsen's relief on seeing Yuniesky Betancourt's release was likely palpable. B-.

Ender Inciarte: From Rule 5 pickup to overachieving Grapefruit Leaguer, Inciarte appears to have an inside track on making the team. He can thank Darin Ruf and Ruf's inability to catch a fly ball for that. C.

Freddy Galvis: Like Inciarte, Galvis came to camp and earned a job. Galvis still strikes out far too much for an infielder that should be a contact hitter, but his infield defense could be invaluable in late-inning situations where Charlie Manuel is concerned about the range of Young or Utley. C.

Carlos Ruiz: Everyone seems to love Carlos Ruiz. It's easy to cheer him in spring training when he's hitting .227. We'll see how much they love him when he's hitting .240 in July. Nothing Ruiz did in Clearwater did anything to dispel doubts that last season's breakout campaign was anything but (perhaps) Adderall-aided. C-.

Laynce Nix and John Mayberry, Jr.: These two are graded together because throughout spring training they were mentioned in the same breath all the time, i.e., "there is a competition for outfield jobs and Laynce Nix and John Mayberry, Jr. are in it." Either one of them could have nailed down a starting job with a good spring, but at press time it is hard to say which one of them wanted it less with Nix hitting .212 and Mayberry, Jr. hitting .206. What a mess. D-.

Darin Ruf: Every Phillies fan hoped Ruf would go to Clearwater, play left field adequately, hit very well and grab the left field job. Ruf did exactly the opposite: He couldn't catch the ball, he hit .246 and he got optioned to Triple-A. Sigh. F.

Cole Hamels: Your new consensus staff ace and Opening Day starter posted 16 innings with a 1.13 earned run average and a WHIP of 0.81. Hamels is right where he needs to be. A+.

Cliff Lee: It is unwise to read too much into spring training statistics where a pitcher like Lee is concerned. Opponents are not going to hit .324 against him in the regular season, and he is still posting better than a strikeout per inning. The 5.94 ERA is alarming, but Lee has earned the right to call it an anomaly. B.

Kyle Kendrick: Conversely, when Kendrick's spring ERA is over five, that is disconcerting. But the opponents' batting average of .259 suggests a bit of bad luck, and he only walked two batters in 14 innings. B-.

John Lannan: The probable fifth starter was clipping along quietly and effectively until posting this line against the Toronto Blue Jays: 4 innings pitched, 14 hits and 12 runs (all earned). Mercy. C.

Roy Halladay: Thousands and thousands of words have been written about Halladay's spring (both links per ESPN.com). Many of them were mine, so if you have read any of those columns this grade is going to come as no surprise. D-.

Jonathan Papelbon: Honestly, it never appeared like Papelbon was particularly paying attention this spring. He has (sort of) earned that right. Still, an ERA over 11? He had better wake up when the show comes back to Philadelphia. D.

Mike Adams: As it was with Revere, Adams performed in spring training consistent with or even above expectations. Adams gave up one lonely earned run in six innings, and opponents only hit .182 against him. Very promising stuff. A-.

Aaron Cook: Like Lannan, Cook has been around awhile. Like Lannan, Cook is in competition for the fifth starter position. Unlike Lannan, Cook's performance has been consistently solid (3.38 ERA, 1.23 WHIP.) Cook will either beat Lannan for the contested rotation slot or step in for Halladay if (when?) he is pulled from the rotation due to injury or the inability to get anyone out. B.

Antonio Bastardo, Chad Durbin, Jeremy Horst, Raul Valdes: Meh. C as in "collective," or "could be worse."

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

7 Predictions for Domonic Brown’s 2013 Phillies Season

March 25, 2013 by Greg Pinto  
Filed under Fan News

After he performed drastically below his level of potential and expectations in the first few, brief stints of his major league career, there was a general feeling that the Philadelphia Phillies had nearly given up on Domonic Brown. 

At one point during the offseason, it was reported that the Phillies and Chicago Cubs had discussed a swap of Brown and former All-Star Alfonso Soriano, which perhaps serves as the best illustration of how far the former may have fallen. 

In spring training, however, Brown has put the brakes on that fall. He has been one of the Phillies' best and most consistent performers in camp, winning a job as an everyday corner outfielder and helping to restore the faith that may have been lost over the last few months. 

Now the challenge is deciphering what Brown's torrid spring means for his future in the regular season. The Phillies are counting on him to take the next step and produce offensively, but can he? 

Here are a few predictions for Brown moving into the 2013 campaign. 

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Phillies Spring Training: News and Notes Live from Clearwater

March 25, 2013 by Sam Lopresti  
Filed under Fan News

The Phillies headed into the home stretch of spring training Sunday with a tough 7-6 loss to the Boston Red Sox in Clearwater, Fla.  While the result wasn't what fans would have wanted, the Fightin's showed some grit in coming back from a 6-0 deficit to tie the game in the eighth before giving up the winning run in the ninth.

How did the Phillies' key players fare Sunday?  Here is a firsthand account of how the game shaped up at Bright House Field, and how some players with a lot on the line fared.

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Final Predictions for Who Will Make Philadelphia Phillies Roster

March 25, 2013 by Matt Boczar  
Filed under Fan News

The Philadelphia Phillies are just one week away from handing the ball to Cole Hamels and beginning the 2013 season against the Atlanta Braves.

In the meantime, the Phillies have already put an end to most of the uncertainty surrounding the Opening Day roster.

By sending outfielder Darin Ruf to Triple-A to start the season, as Jim Salisbury wrote on CSNPhilly.com, the team currently has five healthy outfielders left in camp.  By releasing Yuniesky Betancourt, as Jim Salisbury on CSNPhilly.com also reported yesterday, the Phillies have essentially determined what their bench will look like with backup catcher as a possible exception.

That leaves the bullpen as the only unsettled area heading into the final week of spring training.

Of course, just as Betancourt is now a roster cut of the Phillies, a number of other players will also soon be cut by teams and will become options for the Phils should they have interest.

Until then, here are final predictions for who will make the Phillies’ roster, with names to watch at each position included.

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

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