NL East Preview: Philadelphia Phillies

You’ve had a look behind enemy lines with the division rival previews that have been posted here this week. Now, you may be wondering just what to expect from your Philadelphia Phillies going into 2010. Thankfully, there’s an app a blog for that.

I have called upon members of the Phillies blogging community — 16 of them, to be exact — to share their insight on the various issues that the Phillies will address going into and during the 2010 season. What better way to learn about your team than by the wisdom of the crowd?

Be warned: this is epic. There are 15 questions plus predictions. You probably won’t be able to finish this in one sitting. I suggest bookmarking it, or clicking the “Print” link above and bringing it into the bathroom work with you. At the end, you’ll see the 2010 season with 20/20 vision.

If you’re looking for a specific contributor, use the following table. A “1” indicates that they have answered the corresponding question. Clicking on any of the numbers in the top row will direct you to the specific question.

First Last Blog 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
Peter Baker The Good Phight 1 1
Jay Ballz Phoul Ballz 1 1
Paul Boye Phillies Nation 1 1 1
Kieran Carobine Notes from the Diamond 1 1
Ryan Edmund Phillies Long Drive 1 1
Zaki Edwards Philly Gameday 1 1
Max Gallner Fire Eric Bruntlett 1 1
Tom Goyne Balls, Sticks & Stuff 1 1
Chris Jones Phillies Long Drive 1 1 1
Mike Mader Mike on the Phils 1 1 1
Tim Malcolm Phillies Nation 1 1 1
Kyle Martin Brawling for Brotherly Love 1 1 1
Kevin O’Brien The Good Phight 1 1 1
John Russo Team to Beat 1 1
Ryan Sommers Fire Ruben Amaro 1 1 1
Mike Stupendous Philliebuster 1 1

*Note: If the tables are too hard to read, hold Ctrl and press the + key on your NumPad to enlarge the text. Hold Ctrl and press the – key on your NumPad to reduce the text size.

1. How concerned are you about Cole Hamels going into 2010?

Kevin O’Brien: Less concerned than I was going into 2009. Cole’s disappointing 2009 has been deconstructed a ton of places, but the bottom line was that he: (a) didn’t do enough in the offseason to prepare himself; and (b) had some bad luck on balls in play. Statistical regression should take care of the second part of that equation, and Cole himself took care of the first part, as by all accounts he worked hard over the winter to avoid a repeat of 2009’s slow start. At 26 years old, he’s through the injury nexus, he’s not at risk for the Verducci Effect, and he’s a pitcher with a career xFIP of 3.63 — in short, I’m more concerned with roughly 15 other Phillies than I am with Hamels.

Ryan Sommers: Utterly unconcerned. I might have been worried had his K/9 or BB/9 undergone any significant change last season. Or his HR/9. Or his line drive, groundball, and fly ball percentages. Or any indicator that the man on the mound has control over. I might have even raised an eyebrow if his 4.32 ERA in 2009, the product of some downright abysmal luck, was significantly below league average, but it wasn’t.

Peter Baker: As concerned as any rational person needs to be about his favorite baseball team’s young second best starting pitcher. If I’m being asked to assess whether he’ll “bounce back” in 2010, I’m quite sure that he will. He’s motivated, and he’s likely to benefit from a little better luck than he had in 2009. If I could find a sportsbook that’d let me put $100 on Hamels to have a better season than Roy Halladay in 2010, I’d take that longshot bet. Not likely, but who knows?

Max Gallner: Actually, I’m not very worried at all. All Hamels will need to return to 2008 form will be a little more luck than he had last year. Between ’08 and ’09, Cole Hamels’s ERA jumped 123 points, his WHIP 21, his BAA 43. The stats that remained constant, however, were the ERA estimators, what his ERA *should have *been. FIP – no change. xFIP – 6-point change. tERA – 12-point change. This, of course, was due to a 55-point change in BABIP, which is impossible to control. League average is generally somewhere around .300. Both Hamels’s 2008 and 2009 seasons included BABIP’s at least one standard deviation from the average. In 2008, a BABIP of .270 was the cause of an abnormally lucky season that saw him with a 3.09 ERA, and, ultimately, the cause of abnormally high expectations for 2009, as well. Unfortunately, 2009 was on the complete opposite end of the spectrum for Cole, and he far failed to match the output from the year before. As he turned in a BABIP of .325, that similarly red-flagged the bad luck brought along with an ERA over 4.30. 2010 should be somewhere in the middle of the two, more or less, probably closer to 2008, actually, giving him the benefit of the doubt that he’s a good pitcher by nature. I’ll say that 2010 ERA is somewhere in the 3.40-3.60 range.

2. Give the Roy Halladay/Cliff Lee mega-trade between the Phillies, Blue Jays, and Mariners a letter grade and explain your grading process.

Tom Goyne: Right now I’d honestly give the trade an “incomplete”. I really think we are going to look at this deal differently in 2012 than we do now. I think we would all prefer to have both Lee and Halladay on the staff along with Hamels, but I certainly do see the point of needing to keep the farm system at least somewhat stocked and I certainly love the below-market contract extension Halladay signed. If Tyson Gillies, Phillipe Aumont and J.C. Ramirez become significant contributors, then the deal might get an “A+” from me.

Peter Baker: B+. It’s hard to understate just how much of a deal the Phillies got with the Roy Halladay extension. He left a couple years and about $80 million on the table. And with the Phillies’ self-imposed (and wise!) policy of not giving long-term deals to pitchers, there’s no way they could have gotten Halladay on the open market.

As for the Cliff Lee deal… it’s just strange. They could have kept Lee in 2010 and had a face-melting rotation, or at the very least flipped Lee for superior minor league talent. But they wound up somewhere in the middle. Aumont, Gillies, and Ramirez are totally okay, but not great, and I suspect the value they could have extracted from Lee in 2010 would have exceeded what they’re likely to get from the three prospects over the next few years.

Tim Malcolm: I’m sick of the Ruben-bashing over this deal. Go back to July 2009: Amaro slobbered over a Halladay Phillies uniform. He didn’t get it, thanks to JP Ricciardi. So last second he pulled off an amazing shocker. What a great deal that was, short term. Bottom line, though: He didn’t get what he wanted.

At a time when the Phillies own Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth, Cole Hamels, Brad Lidge, Ryan Madson and Jimmy Rollins, they can’t afford everybody. They’re not the mega-global Yankees, Dodgers, Mariners or Red Sox. They just don’t have that reach. And yeah, thank history and years of ignoring foreign and racial markets for that one. Thank location, too. Philadelphia isn’t a world city. It’s not a destination for foreigners. And that absolutely affects revenue.

So the Phillies work with what they have, which is a deep but stitched pocket. And Amaro had a chance to grab Halladay, finally, so he did, and without giving up the prized offensive prospect and depth on the mound. Travis D’Arnaud? Carlos Ruiz can hold fort until the arrival of Sebastian Valle. Michael Taylor? I’ve prefered Domonic Brown since spring training 2008, and one had to go. Halladay was going to cost those guys, and he was going to cost Kyle Drabek. Luckily, Amaro knows there are some live arms in double- and single-A. Halladay, Hamels, Happ, depth.

Philippe Aumont, Tyson Gillies and JC Ramirez might make the majors, but just as likely might make fine trading chips within the next 12 months. And that’s the point of prospects – build their resumes, figure what they’re worth, use accordingly. I trust Amaro in this game.

I can’t grade the deal yet because it’s far too early and childish. But if I’m running a big-market baseball franchise with limitations and a window that could remain open for another four years, I’d say this is a smart, calculated deal that offers options for the long term, something a duo of Halladay-Lee wouldn’t have given Amaro.

3. What should the Phillies do about Jayson Werth and his impending free agency?

Zaki Edwards: I always said Jayson Werth should have been the odd man out once Halladay came to town and not Cliff Lee. I would take a hit in rightfield and let Domonic Brown take over — or even Ben Francisco, temporarily — to keep Lee in town for a year.

I’m not sure there’s any way to financially work out a deal with him, so he’ll either have to be dealt or we’ll let him go and take the compensatory picks.

It doesn’t make sense to deal him at this point unless we get established major leaguers in return (like a #3 starting pitcher or a closer), and since that’s unlikely, I’d hold onto an All-Star outfielder in a contract year and just let him walk.

I’m sure a lot of what happens to him will hinge on how Domonic Brown performs at Lehigh, but unless Brown is hitting .350+ with 20 home runs by the All-Star break, I’d say hold onto Werth and let him walk after the World Series.

Kyle Martin: I would love to see the Phillies re-sign Jayson Werth if it’s feasible. Werth has been a very valuable member of this team for the past two seasons, and it’s great that he had such a solid year in 2009. I would not want to sign him to a big money deal if it means that we can’t re-sign Ryan Howard in a couple of years. Howard is a bigger part of this team than Werth is, and the Phillies have Dominic Brown waiting in the wings. The ideal situation would be to re-sign Werth, and move either him or Brown to left field to replace Ibanez, but my guess is that the Phillies won’t have enough money to make a move like that. So as much as it pains me to say it, it is probably best to let Werth walk in free agency. I’d rather see the Phillies be successful for a long period of time, than to get too attached to some of the more expendable players.

Mike Stupendous: With their current budget restrictions, the Phillies might be able to pay Werth about $10MM/yr., perhaps more with a backloaded contract, and still retain most of their core. But Werth should be able to do much better than that on the FA market ($15MM/yr., 4 years?). The Phils could try to trade him now, but that would likely leave a huge void in the 2010 lineup, and severely damage their WS chances. They should probably keep him for 2010, try to figure out a (reasonable) way to sign him, but be willing to let him go (and take the two draft picks they’ll get for offering him arbitration). With Domonic Brown probably MLB-ready in 2011, and Ben Francisco a decent stop-gap, the Phils could either fill RF from within, or pursue another (less costly) free agent. (Of course, if Shane Victorino takes Werth as a partner, in his foray into the apparel sales industry, Werth may be more willing to give the Phils a “home-team discount.”)

4. Jimmy Rollins says he wants to hit .300, accrue 200 hits, score 150 runs, steal 50 bases, and commit 3 or fewer errors. Give us your AVG, H, R, SB, and E predictions for Rollins in 2010.

First Last Blog AB AVG Hits Runs SB E
Peter Baker The Good Phight
Jay Ballz Phoul Ballz 660 0.288 190 120 41 7
Paul Boye Phillies Nation 636 0.275 175 110 25 7
Kieran Carobine Notes from the Diamond 625 0.293 183 130 45 5
Ryan Edmund Phillies Long Drive
Zaki Edwards Philly Gameday 695 0.285 198 120 35 8
Max Gallner Fire Eric Bruntlett
Tom Goyne Balls, Sticks & Stuff 685 0.270 185 130 35 5
Chris Jones Phillies Long Drive 678 0.289 196 128 33 2
Mike Mader Mike on the Phils 669 0.269 180 135 50 6
Tim Malcolm Phillies Nation 648 0.273 177 126 39 10
Kyle Martin Brawling for Brotherly Love 667 0.285 190 120 40 5
Kevin O’Brien The Good Phight 673 0.272 183 108 30 8
John Russo Team to Beat 678 0.286 194 121 34 7
Ryan Sommers Fire Ruben Amaro 636 0.272 173 118 45 9
Mike Stupendous Philliebuster 630 0.270 170 100 30 7
CONSENSUS 663 0.278 184 120 37 7
ROLLINS GOAL 667 0.300 200 150 50 3

*Note: AB totals derived algebraically.

5. Is the duo of Ryan Madson and Danys Baez reliable back-up for ailing closer Brad Lidge?

Paul Boye: Madson yes, Baez no. I think Madson has the best stuff of any reliever on the team right now, but it would actually be to our benefit if he were not handcuffed to the ninth inning. The best reliever should be available for the toughest situations, whether they happen in the 7th, 8th or 9th.

Kevin O’Brien: I’m a still a believer in Madson — whatever the WIP crowd says about “closer’s mentality,” I’ll gladly take my chances handing over the 9th inning role to a guy with mid-90s gas, a devastating change up, and a 3.55 strikeout-to-walk ratio (in 2009). As for Baez… eh, not so much. Don’t get me wrong — he’s a handy guy to have around, and his grounder inducing (60.9% ground balls in 2009), strike throwing (2.8 BB/9 in 2009) style should suit him just fine in the 7th inning, but I’m not entirely comfortable handing over the closer’s role to a guy who frankly doesn’t have swing-and-miss stuff (just 5.0 K/9 in 2009).

Ryan Edmund: I saw Baez be absolutely LIGHTS OUT early last season while pitching in the AL East for Baltimore. He was working as a set-up guy for George Sherrill, but had a streak of something like 16+ scoreless innings and looked completely unhittable until he was plagued by some nagging injuries and never caught his stride. I’m very high on this guy.

6. Which team in the NL East worries you the most?

Jay Ballz: The Marlins worry me the most. Florida is typically the underrated bunch that surprisingly hangs around second place and has an impact on the divisional race. They’ve given New York and Atlanta trouble late in the season in recent years. The Phillies could be their next victim.

Mike Mader: The Florida Marlins and there isn’t a runner up. Josh Johnson would be the best pitcher in the division if Roy Halladay hadn’t shown up (sorry, Johan who?) and Nolasco and Sanchez form a solid top of the rotation behind him. Hanley Ramirez is a stud and the lineup is full of solid hitters even if a casual baseball fan couldn’t name most of them. Dan Uggla, Chris Coghlin, John Baker, Jorge Cantu, and Cody Ross all scare the bejesus out of me for some reason. The bullpen sucks and the defense isn’t very good, but if they are in the race down the stretch they always seem to be able to acquire a player or two who can help them, like Nick Johnson last year. I could see Florida winning the NL wildcard, but the Phillies are too good not to win the division in 2010.

Kyle Martin: The Braves are the team that worries me the most. The Marlins don’t worry me too much because I don’t think they’re that deep beyond Josh Johnson, Ricky Nolasco and Hanley Ramirez. The Mets, despite adding Jason Bay, are a mess (and are possibly without Reyes all year). The Nationals… well they’re the Nationals. The Braves will have their traditionally strong pitching staff, and they will also have a fairly strong lineup. Add in the X-factor that it’s Bobby Cox’s last year as manager and we could have an interesting race on our hands this season.

7. Teams have been approaching Ryan Howard with a steady diet of left-handed pitching and breaking balls and by employing the shift on the right side of the field. Will this trend continue in 2010, or will Howard make the appropriate adjustments?

Chris Jones: I was actually talking the other day saying I really wouldn’t mind Howard taking an opposite field approach to up the batting average and taking a hit in the home run department. If Howard finished the season with an average in the .290s but only had 40 homers (only) I’d be pretty happy with that. But you know teams will still employ the shift and still throw him a hell of a lot of breaking balls.

Kyle Martin: I think opposing teams will continue to feed lefties and breaking balls to Howard until he proves that he can consistently hurt them when he tries that. The overshift on Howard doesn’t worry me too much because when Howard is hitting the ball well, he can go the opposite way just as easily as he can pull the ball. Hopefully he spent most the offseason working on hitting breaking balls because he’s just looked lost at the plate at times. I will be very disappointed if he doesn’t get better against the breaking ball this year, because he knows what’s coming and it’s up to him to work at it until he hit them consistently.

8. Placido Polanco is making the switch from second base to third base. How good will he be defensively?

Ryan Sommers: People who have read my prior opinions on this are going to double-take at this response. Right after this signing, I had a lot of gloom and doom visions of Polanco stumbling around the left side of the infield, muffing sharp grounders and blowing routine throws. My initial impressions were no doubt colored by my irritation at Ruben Amaro giving him a 3 year deal, and further by the fact that “hasn’t played the position since 2005” just sounds really bad. The more I think about it though, the more my mind is at ease. Polly has been a very good second baseman, posting a career 10.0 UZR/150 at the position, as well as a +29 Plus/Minus rating from 2006-2008 (link), good for a fourth place tie. Though he’s put in 692 less games at third base, he has a career 9.9 UZR/150 at the position. All of this tells me that he has the range and reflexes to play third, particularly if we remember the defensive spectrum. It depends on his arm, and the toll that aging takes on his footwork. With the usual caveats about spring training evaluations, the early indications are that his arm will hold up at the position, and, despite a probable fluke of a knee injury, that Father Time hasn’t stunted his ability to translate his second base range. He may end up just being average at the position, but I don’t see Polanco’s third base defense being a liability for the Phillies.

Kieran Carobine: Polanco has a great glove. The biggest different between second and third is reaction time. I am not worried about his glove work but am a little concerned with his arm. He definitely does not have the arm strength Pedro Feliz had. Other than that, whatever other flaws come with him switching positions, his bat will make up for it.

9. Who should win the #5 spot, Jamie Moyer or Kyle Kendrick?

Jay Ballz: Moyer will begin the season as the 5th starter, based on his salary and experience. Kendrick will have firmly out-dueled Moyer, but will have to settle for a spot in the bullpen to begin the season. However, I fully expect Kendrick to make more starts this season for the Phillies than Moyer will.

Zaki Edwards: I’ve got nothing personal against Jamie Moyer since I hear he’s nothing short of a saint off the field, but on the field, he’s done.

No one is quite sure why he was given a two-year deal after 2008, but the best way for Moyer to help the Phillies in 2010 is to retire. Harsh words, but of the many that struggled in 2009 — Rollins, Hamels and Lidge — it’s Moyer that I think actually showed his true colors, which were screaming out that his career is at an end.

That said, Kendrick gets the job because the Phillies have no other option and because it looks like he’s become Scrappy Doo to Roy Halladay’s Scooby, which should pay off…I think.

10. The bench was great in 2008 but disappointing last year. Will the additions of Brian Schneider, Ross Gload, and Juan Castro help?

John Russo: Gload will have the biggest impact on the bench. He’s a .300 hitter off the bench from last year and his bat has a little pop. Schneider gives the Phillies a legit back-up catcher that will keep Carlos Ruiz fresh for the post season so he can have another great October. Castro will be able to spell Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley, keeping them fresh for the long run. The bench is much better this year thanks to adding those three fresh faces and holding onto Greg Dobbs and Ben Francisco.

Ryan Sommers: I think, for the most part, that Amaro did a good job upgrading the bench for the 2010 season. In 2008, the Phillie bench managed a .253/.308/.400 line with 33 home runs, for a .708 OPS. That production dropped to .232/.307/.385 with 25 home runs for a .692 OPS in 2009. The weaker bench meant that it carried 370 less plate appearances in 2009, increasing the burden on the already heavily-used starters. Schneider and Gload are both likely to OBP over .300, which to my mind makes them upgrades for the bench. Juan Castro I am less than thrilled with. His .286 wOBA in 2009 was his highest since 2003, aided in no small part by a BABIP that was 80 points over his career mark. Sure, he’s a defensive replacement, but that won’t stop Charlie from giving him way too many plate appearances — see exhibit A, Eric Bruntlett. The notion that it does not matter how abysmal your defensive replacements’ bats are leads to some really silly personnel decisions. I wouldn’t mind seeing Wilson Valdez, whom Amaro signed to a minor league deal, compete for Castro’s spot, but it won’t happen. Count on Dobbs to bounce back from a rough 2009, and I think Mayberry has a good chance to have a mini-breakout year, if Charlie gives him serious opportunities. He has a small sample size in 2009 from which to judge (60 plate appearances), but he flashed some major power, with a .263 ISO and a .474 SLG. If he just develops more patience, I think he’ll be a big contributor.

11. Will J.A. Happ come close to his 2.93 ERA from 2009?

Kieran Carobine: A sub-3 ERA from J.A. Happ would be incredible. I am not buying into the whole ‘last season was a fluke’ thing or that it was based on luck. I think Happ is number 3 starter at best right now in his career. I also think a sub-4 ERA is very doable and we could very well see his win total rise from last year. Prediction 14-8, 3.69 ERA.

Mike Mader: I guess it depends on what you mean by “close”. Happ was lucky in a lot of the ways that Cole Hamels was unlucky last year, but it’s not just about the luck. It’s what you do with it. Happ did a good job of working his way out of jams and not letting mistakes compound on him last year and if you want to chalk all of that up to good luck you are more than welcome to, but I don’t think baseball works that way over a 162 game season. The league has now seen him for a full season, and will make adjustments. The counter-adjustments he makes will go a long way in determining how successful he will be in 2010. So far this spring, it appears that Happ is working more on his secondary pitches and trying to get outs with those as opposed to the obscene amount of outs he got with a 90 mph fastball he threw high in the zone last year. This is a good thing. I think it is reasonable to expect a 3.90ish ERA in 2010 and he’ll hang around in games long enough to get 14-15 wins. The Phillies will be in good shape if they can get that out of their 4th starter.

Mike Stupdenous: Would a 4.20 ERA count as “close?” Happ almost rode a tiny BABIP (.270) and a high LOB % (85.2) to a RoY. It’s possible that Happ can sustain these lofty numbers, but it’s probably more likely that Jimmy Rollins will post a .400 OBP. Happ’s BABIP will likely rise, his LOB % will likely fall, and his ERA will likely be in the 4.20-4.40 range.

(CHONE’s 4.36 projection seems about right.) That said, a #4/#5 starter who can post a 4.36 ERA, at a low cost in salary (500K?), is very valuable. Particularly to the Phillies, who have a lot of $$$ tied up in their superstar core.

12. The Phillies essentially swapped Chan Ho Park for Jose Contreras. Thumbs up or thumbs down and why?

Mike Mader: Thumbs down. Chan Ho was actually good as a reliever last year and had a track record of being good as a reliever previous to that. Jose Contreras pitched 7.1 good relief innings at the end of last year, but was a mostly miserable starter for 3 or 4 years before that. He might be 56 years old for all we know. I don’t get the Phillies’ obsession with multiple-inning relievers. Sure, it’s important to have a couple guys who can go more than one inning, but wouldn’t you rather have someone who is reliable for an inning at a time than someone who is capable of pitching multiple innings but is mostly mediocre in the process? This is an example of Ruben Amaro’s aggressiveness working against him. He should have waited the relief market out and re-signed Park after his price went down.

That being said, I think that Contreras has a chance to be a decent reliever this season because he can be a one or one-and-a-half pitch pitcher relying mostly on a still effective splitter. It’s just that Chan Ho Park was the devil we knew and I’d rather have that than the devil we don’t.

Kevin O’Brien: Thumbs down. I did like the Contreras signing, and I do think his stuff will play up in shorter stints out of the bullpen, but Park was the club’s second best reliever for most of last season, so he’ll be tough to replace. But I can’t really blame Amaro for the slight downgrade; he offered Park a 1-year, $3.25 million deal at the beginning of the offseason, and Chan Ho turned it down to ride off on his quixotic quest to become a starter.

Paul Boye: Neither. It could be a lateral move. Both have hard stuff out of the ‘pen, but Park’s home run rate in the ‘pen will be impossible to duplicate (both for him and the Phillies). Contreras’s ERA might not match Park’s in relief, but he should get Ks and be effective if rationed appropriately.

13. Which Phillie(s) is/are we most likely to see dealt by the July 31 trading deadline?

Chris Jones: Hopefully Aumont, Gillies, and Ramirez for Cliff Lee.

Tim Malcolm: One of either Tyson Gillies or Anthony Gose. Possibly a Trevor May or Philippe Aumont. That’s what I see, since the Phillies might want another bullpen piece or starter by July.

And major leaguers? Can’t see it happening.

Tom Goyne: I can’t imagine anyone on the big club getting traded. Perhaps a lower level prospect will get traded for a reliever at some point, but contending teams typically don’t trade big league players.

Ryan Edmund: If he stays healthy and Dom Brown looks like he’s ready to take over, I can see Werth going to an AL team looking to make a stretch run, maybe Boston, which would absolutely suck to see. But that’s an emotional reaction: he’s a fan favorite. Hell, he’s my favorite. But from a financial and player development standpoint, The Phillies can use the tons of money he’s going to make elsewhere and some high level prospects would be great to re-stock the farm.

14. The Phillies have had one of baseball’s best defenses for several years running according to most metrics. Does this trend continue?

Tim Malcolm: I believe it will continue for 2010, simply because they’re smarter than most – if not all – teams. Let’s go by position: Ryan Howard’s improved coverage of first base and Chase Utley’s ever-increasing tight defense at second should help in their favor. Placido Polanco won’t supply as much range as Pedro Feliz, but he’ll cut down on errors in his chances by taking safer routes. Jimmy Rollins will remain steady and among the shortstop leaders in zone rating. Outfield defense will also be steady, especially with the short patch of grass in Citizens Bank Park aiding Raul Ibanez.

What the Phillies do better than probably any team is position defenders correctly for hitters. I truly feel a lot of the Phillies’ success is related to pre-game preparation – the video room, scouting reports, etc. Those things are longterm indicators and show in many aspects of the game. We really don’t laud the Phillies defense as much as we should.

Chris Jones: I think this falls largely on Ibanez’s shoulders. He was looked at as worse than Pat in left field but ended up being pretty decent. UZR does tend to fluctuate quite a bit but Ibanez’s average UZR over the past 3 season before coming to Philly was -12.8 but somehow, maybe leaving a larger Safeco Field, he managed to put up a 8.0 UZR. I’m not sure he will be able to repeat that, but I sure hope he can.

15. What will the team get from Domonic Brown this season?

Paul Boye: Nothing at the Major League level, and that’s a good thing. We need more from Dom. His K rate rose and his BB rate fell in the move up the minor league ladder, and that could be troublesome if he doesn’t make adjustments this season. He needs a solid sample of good performance at the AAA level before the Phillies should even consider starting his option and arbitration clocks.

John Russo: If he has a monster year in AAA, it could lead to the Phillies trading Jayson Werth if they can’t work out a deal. Brown will see some time with the Phillies this year when they go on the road against American League teams with the DH. He’ll also be a part of the roster expansions late season.

Max Gallner: Barring an unforeseen injury or trade of one of the team’s current outfielders, I think he will be a September call-up. He’s never played for the Iron Pigs at AAA yet. He needs the at-bats, and he certainly won’t get them by sitting on the bench. He could be a very strong Rookie of the Year candidate in 2011, should one of the current starters be traded by next off-season.


First Last Blog W L Playoffs MVP Cy Young Rookie Breakout Under Radar
Peter Baker The Good Phight 91 71 Lose NLCS Utley Hamels Carpenter Madson Blanton
Jay Ballz Phoul Ballz 94 68 Lose WS Utley Halladay Bastardo Kendrick Ruiz
Paul Boye Phillies Nation 92 70 Lose NLCS Utley Halladay Herndon Herndon Francisco
Kieran Carobine Notes from the Diamond 99 63 Win WS Utley Halladay Brown Brown Ruiz
Ryan Edmund Phillies Long Drive 92 70 Win WS Halladay Halladay Baez
Zaki Edwards Philly Gameday 98 64 Lose WS Utley Halladay Bastardo Bastardo Francisco
Max Gallner Fire Eric Bruntlett 97 65 Win WS Utley Halladay Ruiz Kendrick
Tom Goyne Balls, Sticks & Stuff 93 69 Reach WS Utley Halladay Bastardo Kendrick Utley
Chris Jones Phillies Long Drive 96 66 Reach WS Utley Halladay Mathieson Mathieson Werth
Mike Mader Mike on the Phils 95 67 Reach WS Utley Halladay Bastardo Madson Lidge
Tim Malcolm Phillies Nation 96 66 Win WS Utley Halladay Mayberry Francisco Schneider
Kyle Martin Brawling for Brotherly Love 98 64 Reach WS Utley Halladay Brown Kendrick Blanton
Kevin O’Brien The Good Phight 90 72 Lose NLDS Utley Halladay Bastardo Bastardo Werth
John Russo Team to Beat 96 66 Win WS Howard Halladay Brown Kendrick Lidge
Ryan Sommers Fire Ruben Amaro 95 67 Reach WS Utley Halladay Mathieson Mayberry Francisco
Mike Stupendous Philliebuster 95 67 Win WS Halladay Halladay Victorino Francisco
CONSENSUS 95 67 Win WS Utley Halladay Bastardo Kendrick Francisco

There you have it: the opinions of 16 Phillies bloggers on the 2010 season. I, for one, could not be more excited for regular season baseball.

If you missed the other previews that were posted this week:

Also, stay tuned for Phillies-themed previews that yours truly has authored for The Hardball Times and Baseball Daily Digest. ETA on those is the end of the month, likely March 29-31.


Many of the contributors made the effort to answer all 15 questions asked. As you may expect, with so many involved, I couldn’t post 15 answers from 16 different people. Some of them have posted their answers in full on their own blogs, so I’ll link to them here.

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  1. kmart

    March 18, 2010 11:22 PM

    Thanks for putting this together!

  2. Philly_in_NYC

    March 19, 2010 12:47 AM

    Thanks for the time and effort involved in putting this together. As a life long Phillies fan I always enjoy looking at other opinions (whether I agree or not). The format was great and with the recorded predictions it will be interesting to review come October.

  3. kmart

    March 19, 2010 01:10 AM

    @Philly in NYC

    Yea, 6 people predictions to win the WS, another 5 thinking we’ll get there, and two thinking we’ll lose it… lofty goals for sure.

  4. kmart

    March 19, 2010 01:10 AM

    And by predictions I obviously meant predicting.

  5. Colin_K

    March 19, 2010 10:51 AM

    Great info…and yes I read it in the bathroom…on the blackberry.

  6. unbelievable

    March 19, 2010 04:33 PM

    I’m glad these jerks aren’t GMs for the Phils. Why so flippant about a 5-tool player like Werth & his value to this team? I don’t care how good Domonic Brown may seem in the minors, or even for 2 wks during SpTr, the lefty will have a tough time replacing Werth’s tools & experience. (Mr. Martin his name is spelled Dom-O-nic, you like him SOOO much pls learn his name.) I for one (and I guess I might be one of the few) am not impressed with Ryan Howard’s 1st base skills. He’s a massive hitter (with a huge strike out percentage) but he’s also rather simply a 1-tool player. I don’t consider that a bigger part of this team than Werth. And THAT is why Jayson Werth has long been considered (by no less than the rest of baseball) the most underrated player on this team. Btw, I can promise you of the two players Howard is the one who is likely not even considering staying in Phila. They can’t afford him and they won’t try. Werth has not hidden his desire to remain in Phila; he likes the guys, the mngmt, the city, the fans (and I don’t know why as they seem ready to let him walk or trade him). You guys are so quick to let Werth go, well fine, you’ll get the team you deserve when he’s gone too.

  7. Bill Baer

    March 19, 2010 04:43 PM

    Agree on keeping Werth over Howard. However, can you cite any evidence for this statement?

    Werth has not hidden his desire to remain in Phila; he likes the guys, the mngmt, the city, the fans (and I don’t know why as they seem ready to let him walk or trade him).

  8. unbelievable

    March 19, 2010 05:17 PM

    I don’t have any inside info. I’ve read and seen the same things everyone else has. JDub isn’t the most effusive guy, it’s not as though he’s cried and jumped around yelling about wanting to stay. It’s prob more of a generalized feeling I’ve gotten from his print interviews and press conferences the past two seasons (all avail online) in which he’s talked about the park, the fans, the parade, etc. He gave a brief video interview from SpTr as much as saying he wanted to stay where he is. But obviously he couldn’t discuss anything to anyone’s satisfaction. He can’t. Also the front office hasn’t bothered to act like they give a crap. According to him nothing has gone beyond the most basic prelim discussion. Frankly if I were him seeing what’s said online (he’s worn a t-shirt fr an online site so we know he sees at least some of this stuff) and in the papers, I don’t know that I’d feel so comfortable with the collective consciousness these days in Phila regarding my alleged value to the team.

  9. unbelievable

    March 19, 2010 05:33 PM

    I’d love for Mr. Amaro, Jr. to feel fan pressure to use his almighty Stanford brain to figure out a way to keep The Messiah of the Right Field, lol. (it’s that beard, couldn’t stop myself) In fact, perhaps everyone was so bloody focused on the change in facial hair that nobody really listened to what he said in the SpTr interview. . . or maybe I’m reading too much into it. Howard is already paid far too much (from here – what?!) and he’ll get a massive sum from another team. I don’t think Werth has enough yrs playing in his top form to get the Bay money everyone thinks he could get from another team. I think he’d give Phila at least a small hometown discount though I don’t think he should take less than 13mil/3yrs (and we’ll prob need to backload it). Ok – that’s enough fr me.

  10. kmart

    March 19, 2010 07:58 PM


    Look, I love Jayson Werth (I believe I even started with “I would love to see us re-sign Werth”), I think he’s been fantastic out in RF for us since he’s been here. But I can easily see the Phillies letting him go at the end of the year. As much as I like Werth, I think Howard brings more to the team. You may not like his fielding, but it was very, very solid last year, and Howard will always put up better numbers than Werth. I would rather have Howard around for the rest of his career than Werth. Remember, this is just opinion. You obviously feel oppositely, but geeze man, you don’t need to get so worked up about it.

  11. Bill Baer

    March 19, 2010 08:05 PM

    Jayson Werth, WAR from 2007-09: 13.6
    Ryan Howard, WAR from 2007-09: 12.5

    That’s without including base running.

  12. kmart

    March 19, 2010 08:36 PM

    What’s WAR? I’m not familiar with that statistic.

  13. Undocorkscrew

    March 19, 2010 10:01 PM

    2/3 picked the Marlins as the biggest threat? Seriously?

    2/3 picked a team with a worse pen, defense, starting staff, and possibly a worse lineup than the Braves?

    Tim Hudson, Jair Jurrjens, Tommy Hanson, Kenshin Kawakami, and Derek Lowe.

    Anibal Sanchez, Ricky Nolasno, Josh Johnsn, ???, ???

    The Marlins strike out way too much. Aside from Hanley and Cantu, pretty much everyone has trouble getting on base(unless Coghlan keeps it up, which I don’t see).

    I’ll take this lineup over the Marlins anyday:

    Nate McLouth
    Martin Prado
    Chipper Jones
    Troy Glaus
    Brian McCann
    Yunel Escobar
    Jason Heyward
    Matt Diaz/Melky Cabrera

    Seriously, that’s a pretty balanced lineup(assuming it can stay healthy and Diaz gets most of the time in LF over Melky)

    I see no reason for anyone to pick the Marlins over the Braves at this point.

  14. Phylan

    March 20, 2010 12:25 AM

    Undocorkscrew, if people are picking the Marlins it’s because they don’t trust the Braves to stay healthy, and there are, frankly, a ton of injury concerns.

    kmart, WAR stands for “wins above replacement.” “Replacement” refers to a replacement level player — the fringe MLB scrub that you can bring up from your AAA team for league minimum salary. WAR takes the production of a player on offense and defense, converts it to a common scale, and measures how many wins you add by taking the player in question and putting him at a given position instead of that replacement level guy.

    For example, Jeff Francoeur was just about a replacement level player last year — he had 0.1 WAR. If the Phillies had played him in right field, instead of Jayson Werth (4.7 WAR), they would have lost about 4.6 wins. It’s a way of evaluating the total contribution that players make on an even playing field, if that makes sense.

  15. Undocorkscrew

    March 20, 2010 11:12 AM

    Chipper is an injury concern, but he’s stayed pretty healthy the past 3 seasons. Glaus won’t have the strain on his shoulder he did at 3B. Wagner is a question mark, but he’s replaceable. Tim Hudson seems to be strong so far, and quite frankly…..he’s really the only one I’m all that concerned with.

    Like Cap. Ave said the other day on here, the Braves did their homework on these guys before signing them. And with 3B depth(finally), expect Chipper to get the rest he needs.

  16. Tyler

    March 21, 2010 01:33 AM

    You guys need to remember that Werth isn’t eligible to next year. It’s far from a foregone conclusion that he will or will not play for the Phillies in 2011 and further on. Jayson needs to say what is considered “politically correct” or whatever and needs to be careful of what he says to the media. Like when a reporter asked him about a hometown discount, he didn’t answer it straightforward and that’s probably the correct approach media wise. If he says he’d give a discount and doesn’t sign with the Phillies then he screws himself out of money in FA. The only way to know of whether or not Jayson “wants”(I believe that he does, all money aside who would really want to leave?) to remain in Philadelphia is if you are his agent or Ruben or friends/family.

    The Werth topic is getting almost as ridiculous as the Cliff Lee trade. As much as I like reading most of the Phillies blogs I visit those topics always seem to itch me the wrong way. A couple examples would be a ridiculous blogpost to sign Johnny Damon, trade Victorino, and keep Werth(What the hell?!). Another was a post that “As of 2012, we will not have both Werth and Howard” under contract.

    Now I don’t look at or use sabermetrics too often so I’m sure there are plenty of valid arguments(several posted on this blog), but in the end, as fun as it is for all of us to play arm-chair GM, we aren’t Ruben. I’m hoping it settles down once the season starts because it only gives headaches.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t Francoeur an above average defensive player? Going by Phylan’s explanation it seems like WAR penalizes players who aren’t skilled with both the bat and glove.

  17. Bill Baer

    March 21, 2010 06:58 PM


    Jeff Francoeur has indeed been an above-average defender according to UZR/150 (found at FanGraphs). He has a 6.2 UZR/150 in right field, which means he makes about six more plays per 150 opportunities than the average right fielder.

    There are four components to WAR for non-catcher position players: batting runs, fielding runs, positional adjustment, and replacement level adjustment.

    Francoeur has mostly been a poor offensive player and he plays a non-premium position, so he’s been docked heavily in that regard. Over his career, this is what the components of his 6.6 WAR (over five seasons) look like:

    -27.7 batting runs
    27.8 fielding runs
    98.0 replacement runs
    -31.5 position runs

    That comes out to 66.6 overall “runs” and roughly 10 of them add up to a win. So he’s been worth about 1.3 WAR on average per season, but he’s been worth -1.1 over the past two seasons combined because his fielding has actually gotten worse:

    2007: 16.9 UZR/150
    2008: -4.9
    2009: -5.9

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