2014 Phillies Report Card: John Mayberry, Jr.

When Bill gave out the report card assignments, I was probably least excited about writing up John Mayberry, Jr. I don’t have anything against the guy, but he reminds me just a little too much of all those bad Phillies teams from the late 80s and early 90s. Specifically, he reminds me of Wes Chamberlain, who I actually loved as a kid. Well what do you know, Wes Chamberlain is #7 on John Mayberry’s similarity score list (Dom Brown is #8!) on baseball-reference dot com. I’m not thrilled about the Phillies being just as bad now as they were when I was in elementary school, which isn’t JMJ’s fault at all, but here we are.

So I was really happy with myself Thursday morning when I had an epiphany: have some fun with it, don’t just write a regular analysis, do something quirky … Rickroll ‘em.

I spent a LOT of time writing this report card in an acrostic format, with the last paragraph in the article using the “down” in “never gonna let you down” only to discover (thanks to Bill) that browser resolution issues would render the joke useless to many readers. After accepting that, I realized that Rickrolling isn’t actually that funny anymore, anyway. And with that, I give you my evaluation of Yayberry. Continue reading…

2014 Phillies Report Card: Jerome Williams

Hey, look, someone relevant. I’ll get to Jerome Williams‘ contract extension below the break, because Bill’s already covered it. But first, let’s look back on the season.

Jerome Williams is a man-shaped lump of pitcher. He’s a former 1999 sandwich-round pick of the San Francisco Giants, and he reached the majors very quickly for a high school draftee, and ever since then he’s bounced from team to team, willing to an honest inning’s work for an honest inning’s pay. He’s played in nine major league seasons for seven major league teams over 12 years, almost always out of the rotation. Only once has he qualified for an ERA title, though that’s not because he’s always hurt–it’s because he’s not all that good.

Continue reading…

Jumping The Gun On The Sizemore Signing

I anticipate that this will be an offseason to usher in some of the first obvious signs that this new era known by the mystical term “rebuild” is actually occurring. In truth, the rebuild has been slowly marinating under the surface for some time now, but we’re on the cusp of actually seeing it in Philadelphia. Maikel Franco is in line for significant playing time at the Major League level. Guys like Aaron Nola, Jesse Biddle, and Adam Morgan could debut this season. And, if there’s a major free agent acquisition in store, it will likely be Yasmany Tomas, who is essentially a major-league ready prospect. It’s an exciting time, but also an uneasy time. The rebuild that could bring results as early as 2017 might usher in the next run of success or it might usher in the next group of Tyler Greens and Wayne Gomeses. Whatever the end result, right now there’s the faintest flicker of a light at the end of the tunnel and that’s new and different and good.

It’s within that context that I have this to say: The Grady Sizemore signing is incredibly disappointing.

Continue reading…

Pat Gillick Says the Phillies Won’t Contend in 2015 or ’16

Pat Gillick has said what we’ve all known for quite some time: the Phillies aren’t very likely to be contenders in either of the next two seasons. His comment:

“I think where we are right now, it’s probably a couple years,” Gillick told CSN’s John Clark in a 1-on-1 interview Thursday. “I wouldn’t think [2015] or [2016,] ’15 or ’16 I don’t think is in the cards. I think somewhere around 2017 or 2018.”Corey Seidman, CSN Philly

Continue reading…

2014 Phillies Report Card: Jeff Manship

Jeff Manship: The Man Who Launched A Thousand Tweets

There were literally dozens of Man-Ship type jokes to choose from. These were some of my favorites.

I’ll be honest with you, I would have never guessed that Jeff Manship threw 23 MLB innings this year. Continue reading…

2014 Phillies Report Card: Antonio Bastardo

We’ve come to know him, at times affectionately and at times derisively, as Tony No-Dad. In my glory days living in South Philly, I called him Tony Fuggin’ Bastid. For the tail end of the Phillies’ dominant years, Antonio Bastardo established himself as Charlie Manuel‘s favorite lefthanded reliever. After four full years in the bullpen, however, Bastardo could be on his way out of town due to an addiction to walks, the emergence of Jake Diekman, an arbitration case pending (after a $2 million salary in 2014), and free agency after 2015.

Bastardo’s generosity with free passes is maddening to watch, and the problem isn’t getting better for the 29-year-old Dominican lefty. Since 2011, his walk rate (BB%) has been 11.6%, 11.6%, 11.7%, and 12.6%. That’s bad. With several other left-handed relievers on the team, it doesn’t make sense for the Phillies to pay Bastardo $30,000 per appearance to walk almost five batters per nine innings. But that’s none of my business.

Continue reading…

2014 Phillies Report Card: Cesar Jimenez

Did you find yourself watching one of the 16 games Cesar Jimenez appeared in this season and experiencing a certain feeling of malaise or gently lingering dread? Did a wave of resignation sweep over you as you suddenly started feeling a little more sleepy than you initially realized?

It’s not just you! Jimenez had the honor of appearing in those 16 games for the Phillies this season, only to have 14 of those result in losses. Thirteen of the 16 appearances came at a point in the game where the Phillies were already losing, and a fourteenth came with a seven-run lead. You would be correct in assuming Jimenez didn’t exactly rack up many points in the leverage department.

Separating Jimenez from things almost entirely not his fault, however, we find something a little less morose – if no more interesting or encouraging – when examining his 2014 season.

Continue reading…

2014 Phillies Report Card: Roberto Hernandez

The artist formerly known as Fausto Carmona was the Phillies’ first transaction influenced by their new analytics department. Roberto Hernandez inked a one-year, $4.5 million deal in December, slotting in at the back of the starting rotation. On MLB Network Radio in early March, GM Ruben Amaro said that Hernandez’s ground ball rate and relative cheapness were factors into the decision to bring him aboard, and seemed to also hint that he expected Hernandez’s home run rate — homers accounted for over 21 percent of his fly balls between 2012-13 — was due to regress as well.

The other obvious factor that likely influenced the Phillies to bring him aboard was the significant improvement in his strikeout rate in 2013 with the Tampa Bay Rays. The right-hander had crossed a 14.1 percent strikeout rate only once: 2007, his first full season in the major leagues, when he posted a 15.6 strikeout rate. After that, he mostly ranged between 13 and 14 percent. With the Rays, it jumped up to 17.6 percent. In May that season, DRays Bay noted that Hernandez was throwing more change-ups as well as a front-door sinker to left-handed batters.

Continue reading…