Thursday, March 14, 2013

30 Teams in 30 Days: Philadelphia Phillies

Half way mark tomorrow!
2012 Record: 81-81

The Phillies were the team to beat in the MLB for 5 years, winning 5 division titles, 2 NL pennants, and 1 World Series championship in that span. But, the cost of going in for 5 straight years is an ageing expensive core with no farm system to replenish the major league squad. Their pitching is still one of the best in the game lead by Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels, but the same cannot be said for their offense. It is hampered by the likes of Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and Jimmy Rollins, all players who were perennial all-stars just a few years ago, yet now are scheduled to be paid $46 Million in 2013, while they are only going to be worth around 6 rWAR between the 3 of them, a gross overpayment. The farm is empty, and they will have financial constraints going forward. With the Nationals, Braves, and Mets looking at a bright future, it's going to be a tough few years for the Phillie Phans.

Key Acquisitions
RP Mike Adams (2/$12M w/ Vesting option)
SS Yuniesky Betancourt (MILB Deal)
SP Aaron Cook (MILB Deal)
RP Chad Durbin (1/$1.1M w/ Club Option)
SP John Lannan (1/$2.5M)
CF Ben Revere (Trade w/ MIN)
OF Delmon Young (1/$750K)
3B Michael Young (Trade w/ TEX)

Key Losses
RP Jose Contreras (MILB Deal)
RP Josh Lindblom (Trade w/ TEX)
SP Trevor May (Trade w/ MIN)
OF Juan Pierre (1/$1.6M w/ MIA)
3B Placido Polanco (1/$2.75M w/MIA)
OF Nate Schierholtz (1/$2.25M w/CHI)
3B Ty Wigginton (2/$5M w/ STL)
SP Vance Worley (Trade w/ MIN)

You know your off-season is bad when...
The player who is supposed to be written about in this section as the player most likely to contribute the most this season is Ben Revere. But, I guess I'm stuck writing about Revere, so I might as well get it over with. 

Revere is quite the player. He owns a wonderful 78 wRC+(that was sarcasm in case you didn't get that), but his true excellence comes from his speed. He will steal 40+ bags every year if he gets starter playing time, but he is known for and is valuable because of his incredible defense. His UZR/150 is a "Gold Glove Caliber" 16.3 as an outfielder, but because defensive metrics are still a work in progress, the other big defensive metric (DRS) doesn't agree with that, as that has him at +5 for his entire career! From watching him play though, I'd have to side with UZR here, and say he is quite the magnificent fielder. He is a 3 tool player, but unfortunately the 2 tools he is missing are the offensive ones. He will provide a mid-2 WAR with his defense, but the Phillies shouldn't expect any offensive contributions from this guy.

Spring Training Battles
Don't tell Delmon Young, but by battle, I mean it as for a position in the starting lineup, not a physical or verbal fight (HEYO!!!!). OK, so now that I've made one Delmon Young joke (I'm sure there will be more), l can talk about the battle for the Phillies corner outfield spots. And, upon further research, I have now realized that since Delmon Young is going to start the season on the DL, there is no battle going on. Dom Brown will be in right field versus righties, Laynce Nix will be in left versus righties, and Darin Ruf and John Mayberry Jr. will be those player's platoon partners. So, yeah. On to the next thing I guess?

Questions heading into the Regular Season?
Is Roy Halladay just a mere mortal, or will he be able to bounce back from his human 2012 and put up another great year?
From 2002-2011, Roy Halladay threw an average of 219 innings per year. That's a lot of wear and tear on an arm, and at 35 years old, Roy is going to slow down. We saw his velocity drop last year a little bit and we saw him sit out some time in 2012 because of shoulder soreness, so it should come as no surprise that his velocity is sitting in the high 80's now. Roy is not the pitcher he used to be, the pitcher who was able to combine power with finesse and strike batters out to the tune of greater than 20%. He is going to need to learn to pitch at a lower velocity,but this is going to have a major impact on him. His FIP will no longer be in the high 2's low 3's area, but rather me in the mid to high 3's. 

Doc is a future Hall of Famer, but for the remaining 5 or so years of his career, he's going to have to adjust, throw strikes, and battle on every pitch. He won't be the DOC we all know in Toronto, but he will definitely be valuable to any team in the future.

Will Ruben Amaro admit defeat, and start trading away key veterans at the deadline in July like Jimmy Rollins, Roy Halladay, and Chase Utley?
All three of those players are set to become FA's within the next two years(although Rollins has a reachable vesting option), and the Phillies can't afford to lose them without getting some sort of compensation via a trade or 1A Draft Picks. These players likely won't require qualifying offers though, so 1A picks are likely out of the question. That leaves trades as the only option for Amaro and the Phillies, and if they Phils are out of it in July, or even if they aren't out of it, the best thing for the organization right now would be to trade all 3, get a nice core of prospects, and rebuild the minor league system. It's the fastest way to make this team contenders again, especially because if you can free up money, a strong farm system and money to spend in FA is a great recipe for success. Lot's of team will want to acquire Roy Halladay at the deadline, regardless if he is his 2011 or 2012 self, and I'd be willing to move a top prospect for him, especially given his veteran presence and experience in the playoffs. When it comes to Utley and Rollins, most teams would give up a prospect or two for them, so trading them is really the way these guys should go. Time to call it quits on the whole "all in" plan, the Nationals and Braves are better.

Top Impactful Prospect going into 2013?
Darin Ruf, the 6"3 outfielder/first basemen is set to crack the opening day roster on the bench as the platoon partner with Laynce Nix. He has always been considered organizational filler, but he turned a corner last year, posting great numbers in AA, and in his small chance in the big leagues. He it 41 home runs over those two levels in 2012, a testimony to his great home run power that he possesses. He isn't much to get excited about as he's a 1 tool player with the power, but Darin should be able to have a respectable major league career on various benches over the years. If he gets significant playing time this season which is unlikely because of the mess which is the corner outfield situation when Delmon Young is healthy, he might produce a WAR around 2, but otherwise, I wouldn't be surprised if he ended up in AAA a few weeks/months into the season.

Projected Roster via
Projected 'Go-To' Starting Lineup 
1 SS Jimmy Rollins**
2 2B Chase Utley*
3B Michael Young
4 1B Ryan Howard*
5 LF Laynce Nixvs RHP
RF Domonic Brownvs RHP
CF Ben Revere*
C Erik Kratz 

Projected Bench 
C Humberto Quintero
1B/OF Darin Ruf BA#9 vs LHP
IF Kevin Frandsen 
IF Freddy Galvis**  
OF/1B John Mayberry, Jr. vs LHP

Projected Starting Rotation 
1 LHP Cole Hamels
RHP Roy Halladay
LHP Cliff Lee
RHP Kyle Kendrick
5 LHP John Lannan

Projected Bullpen 
CL RHP Jonathan Papelbon
SU RHP Mike Adams 
SU LHP Antonio Bastardo
MID RHP Mike Stutes
MID LHP Jeremy Horst
MID RHP Chad Durbin
LR LHP Raul Valdes

Disabled List
Position Players
OF Delmon Young +  ANKLE SURGERY - questionable for start of season 

Restricted List
C Carlos Ruiz  SUSPENDED 1st 25 GAMES OF 2013 SEASON 

Projected 2013 Record: 80-82 (3rd NL East)

The Phillies will contend, but should fade off late in the season. If they were smart, they'd unload their aging players at the deadline for prospects, and start rebuilding. If they don't, there won't be a winner back in Philly for a long time.

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