2014 Phillies Report Card: Reid Brignac

A bit more than a decade ago, Reid Brignac began his professional baseball career with plenty of promise. A second-round pick of the then-Devil Rays in 2004, Brignac flirted with top prospect status after an excellent 2006 saw him chip in a .321/.376/.539 line between two levels as a shortstop at age 20. Not bad, huh?

That would be the pinnacle of Brignac’s minor league career and, to spare the details of a long journey in the interim, Brignac wound up signing a minor league deal with the Phillies in November 2013, ostensibly as Chase Utley/Jimmy Rollins insurance. When Freddy Galvis decided to contribute two hits in his first 46 PA with 12 strikeouts, Brignac found himself back in the Majors quicker than he might have pictured.

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2014 Phillies Report Card: Cesar Hernandez

One of my favorite ever Phillies blog posts is the Generic Game Recap Template posted at The Good Phight by Peter Lyons in 2011. It’s a spot-on script of familiar, frustrating tropes from Phillies losses that season and many others, back when losses were more of an occasional annoyance than an inescapable reality. A particularly funny bit:

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2014 Phillies Report Card: B. J. Rosenberg

B.J. Rosenberg was a 13th round pick in 2008 out of Louisville, and the fact that he’s made it to the bigs from such a position is laudable, (you know there’s trouble coming when someone points out how good someone has to be just to make the majors). About a year ago, there was a glimmer of hope that he might turn into a reliable bullpen arm. He pitched well over the 2013 season, actually accumulating positive fWAR. He was throwing pretty hard, he had worked on his secondary pitches out of the AAA rotation to the point where they seemed passable, and his peripherals in the bigs were fair in a small sample.

2014 came, and Rosenberg broke camp with the big club. On April 14th, things got ugly. If you saw the outing, you’ll remember it. Our man faced three Atlanta batters and gave up three home runs – an MLB first, (what a trailblazer!!!) The Phils kept him around for a couple more outings, then sent him down to AAA, where he was promptly beaned in the head by a line drive. He spent a month on the DL with a concussion and related symptoms. His return to the bigs in late June was ended by ineffectiveness in early July, and in late July he spent another month on the AAA DL with a hip injury. He came back in August and re-aggravated it after two games, and finished the year back on the DL. On Monday, the Phillies got Rosenberg through waivers and sent him outright to AAA.

So I’m sure he’s thrilled with how his year went. Continue reading…

2014 Phillies Report Card: Mike Adams

Mike Adams‘ 2014 season was the continued manifestation of the concern showed when the Phillies signed the right-handed reliever to a two-year, $12 million deal in December 2012. Adams was coming off of thoracic outlet surgery on his right shoulder but was ready for Opening Day 2013. However, things quickly deteriorated as he had surgery at the end of July to repair a torn rotator cuff and two labrum tears. He pitched only 25 innings in 2013 with a 3.96 ERA.

Adams had surgery for a sports hernia last December. He began the season on the disabled list as he was still recovering from the shoulder surgery the previous summer. He made his season debut on April 18 and was able to pitch regularly for, oh, about a month and a half. Through the end of May, he had a 2.04 ERA with a 19/7 K/BB ratio in 17 2/3 innings.

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2014 Phillies Report Card: Kyle Kendrick

With the re-signing of Jerome Williams to a one-year deal, it seems increasingly likely that Kyle Kendrick has pitched his final game in red pinstripes. The seven-year veteran probably would have liked to go out on a higher note. Aside from a career high in innings pitched (199.0), it was a thoroughly forgettable season for Kendrick. Among all 43 qualified starting pitchers in the NL, his strikeout-rate (14.0%) was dead last and only Travis Wood (5.03) had a worse ERA than Kendrick (4.61).

Still, in a season that will be remembered for pitching injuries, it’s very much worth noting that only 16 NL pitchers threw more innings than Kendrick. In fact, since 2013, Kendrick’s 381.0 innings pitched ranks 36th in all of Major League Baseball. Innings pitched is not a sexy stat, but it’s an important one. The ability to eat innings, even if they’re sub-average innings is a skill set that will get Kendrick paid this winter. Add into the calculus the upside Kendrick offers and I think his deal is more likely to resemble last offseason Phil Hughes (3/$24M) than last offseason Roberto Fausto Hernandez Carmona (1/$4.5M).

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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…

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.

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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

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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…