The Tuesday 10: Jesse Biddle Afterglow
Another April week, another seven days elapsed where it’s Too Early to Really Judge Anything. Except for Jesse Biddle‘s bonkers 7 IP, 16 K, 2 BB, 0 R outing for Double-A Reading Monday. That one I judge to be “pretty damn awesome.”
It’s very difficult to go back through Minor League games to crosscheck, but I wager a Phils farmhand hasn’t put together an outing like that since Cole Hamels was tearing his way through the pipeline (not to make a direct comparison). To stay grounded: it is just one outing. But for the second-youngest pitcher in the entire Eastern League to do that, well, I’m sure plenty of people will take notice. It sure gave me the tingles.
Okay, on to the 10.
10. Getz Some
Royals infielder Chris Getz hit his third Major League homer Tuesday, and I mean, it was kind of a no-doubter. Which is weird, considering you don’t expect guys with career .320 slugging percentages to hit no-doubt, thunderbolt bat-crack dingers, but here we are.
It gives me hope that Ben Revere’s first Major League home run – now, we’re assuming one of the over-the-fence variety, which is far from a sure thing – will somehow end up like some massive shot over the ivy, or into the visitors’ bullpen. You know, like the ones Ryan Howard used to hit. ::Gazes wistfully into the distance, single tear rolls down cheek::
9. Far From Reverential
Speaking of Revere, that man had himself a bit of a roller coaster evening at the plate Sunday. His double play in the 6th was a crusher. One out, bases loaded, tie game, and your fastest runner rolls over on one, resulting in the third-worst offensive play of the week.
Luckily, Revere got another chance two innings later and made solid contact. That’s more like what you want to see: not topping the ball and driving on a pitch that was up. Revere obviously still has some things to work out offensively, but having his night at the dish end on that note was certainly the better way to go.
Revere is slugging .240 thus far on the (still-) young season. His OBP is .253. His strikeout rate is climbing. I mean, yeah, he made that catch, but you need to make one of those basically every game to justify having a bat that flaccid in the everyday lineup. He’s been replaced in the lead-off roll by usual suspect Jimmy Rollins, but neither is exactly what you’re looking for in a lead-off hitter. They’re just up there because they can run. But that’s for another time.
The latest addition to the greatest collection of .gifs in all of baseball – nay, the world - is an instant classic.
I mean, look at it. It’s mesmerizing. Raul is in perfect position to field the high hop off the turf. He’s raising his glove to ensnare it. And then his right cleat fails to entrench itself in the carpet, skidding across the surface like a stone upon a placid lake. His weight, seeing as he’s prepping to pivot to make a throw, is unbalanced and way too skewed to be readjusted in time to avoid…the crash. The ball remains untouched, bounding on its merry way; none the wiser or worse for wear.
Props to Twitter user @todda70 for showing me the holy light.
7. The Dawning of a New Halladay?
Alright, so is Roy Halladay really back? Now that he looked effective against a team that wasn’t taking their at-bats with wet noodles, I feel like the mood has shifted from “nail-biting” to “tenuous peace.” It was nice to see Doc look more like the pitcher everyone’s used to seeing, two homers allowed and all, but things have been broken for long enough now where there’s no automatic assumption that he’s back to ripping through lineups.
His next start will be against the Pirates, who are off to a 10-8 start but have a team OPS of .665, second-worst in the N.L. That includes Clint Barmes and his .341 OPS. Negative three OPS+. Clint Barmes. Boy, that’s funny.
6. The Jekyll and Hyde of Mayberry
Side note: every time I see John Mayberry’s name these days, I think of Lauren Mayberry. She’s cute and Scottish and sings in this cool group called Chvrches. It makes me less frustrated with Baseball Mayberry.
Another thing making me less frustrated with Baseball Mayberry is that he’s actually producing to start the season. But, of course, that production is not without its caveats.
Consider: JMJ is hitting .316/.409/.553 after Sunday’s 1-for-4. He’s hit in five straight games, including three doubles.He’s also struck out in five straight games and 13 times in 44 overall plate appearances (right about 30 percent). He falls shy of the qualifying PA level, but his current rate would tie him with Jay Bruce for 15th-highest K% in the league. (That leaderboard is kind of fascinating right now. Comb through it when you get a chance.)
Can Mayberry hope to sustain a .458 BABIP and that level of production while striking out at a rate approaching Adam Dunn levels? I’m guessing not. While he’s on a roll, he’s not a bad option to bat second, but when that production starts to crater, he’s either going to strand Jimmy Rollins or leave Chase Utley and Ryan Howard with one fewer duck in the pond more often than not.
5. No, Really, Is Kyle Kendrick Good?
Last September I had a strange inkling of thought, and so I wrote about it. It flew in the face of basically everything I had come to know and accept about the pitcher named Kendrick. Now, after another solid start Sunday, Kendrick has a 3.28 ERA, 19 strikeouts and 6 unintentional walks in 24.2 IP. His /9 rate stats have slightly improved in terms of walks and strikeouts, although he is allowing more hits. (Another side note: the B-Ref player linker accidentally corrected “start Sunday” to “Art Sunday,” a deadballer from 1890. Dunno, just thought that was fun.)
His pitrch selection is more along the lines of what you see in the June 30 and before section of the table in the link above, but so far it’s still getting results. The results might not be quite what you expect, though. Late last year, it was the changeup. Now, it’s the plain old sinker that’s keeping hitters suppressed to the tune of .231/.310/.346. The cutter has yielded a .692 SLG against, though, so that pitch obviously needs some work still.
4. The Great Satan Returneth
Delmon Young started a rehab assignment, which means he’s going to be back soon. And I’m scared.
Whose roster spot does he take? The likely candidate would seem to be Ezequiel Carrera, who adds very little. After that, whose playing time does he take? Mayberry is playing well, Nix has shown life in the platoon role and Brown still needs consistent ABs (yes, it’s still too early to judge him, although the hour grows late). Brown’s statistical struggles may put him at the most risk of playing time loss, and that’s a truly frightening thought.
Well, it may not have been a “flip” as much a “dramatic discarding,” but it was still great. Bat flip haters need to vacate.
Cliff Lee is supposedly “back” after his first four starts of the season have yielded a 2-1 record, 2.83 ERA, 23 strikeouts and 4 walks (5.75 K/BB). 2012 saw him post a 3.16 ERA with 207 strikeouts to 28 walks (7.39 K/BB). This continues to be one of the sillier things I still see pop up from time to time. Dude never went anywhere.
Jonathan Pettibone made his Major League debut Monday. He showed a fastball at 90-91, had a few strikeouts, allowed some hard-hit balls (including a senter-cut fastball for Russell Martin’s home run), but all-in-all looked pretty decent. Good enough for a Major League debut. Really, though, he’s not considered (at least to me) something of a long-term solution. The likes of he and Tyler Cloyd are the water-treaders until Adam Morgan and Biddle are ready. Even those two aren’t exactly ticketed to be future aces right now, but that’s the volatility of pitching prospects not named Strasburg.
The Phils’ farm system is a little light on guys close to the Show – or at least guys who are considered to be on a level approaching “difference maker” – so the continued improvement of guys like Biddle and Morgan are crucial things to keep an eye on going forward.
That’s 10 more down, 10 more to go this week.