Thursday, March 31, 2016

Mackanin contract extension is an interesting development


Mackanin wants his players to play the right way on the field and keep their heads up



Pete Mackanin is having a great time being manager of the Philadelphia Phillies. He was elevated after Ryne Sandberg decided to leave the team in mid-season last year, Pete stepped in first as the interim manager, then as manager for the rest of the season last year.

The Phillies changed the team president to Andy MacPhail  before the end of the season last year, then new GM Matt Klentak was announced in the off-season. In late September last year, Pete Mackanin was given a 1-year contract extension by Andy MacPhail, that was a good signal that meant that Pete did some good things, and the top brass wanted to see what he could do with a full season under his belt as manager.

A few days ago, it was announced that Mackanin was given a contract extension. The ink was still wet on the other contract that he had just signed a few months prior. Matt Klentak probably thought that it was the right thing to do. But was it the right direction for the Phillies?

Mackanin never managed a full season prior to this year. He has stepped in for a manager a few other times in his career. Once last year of course and then in 2007 with the Reds and earlier in 2005 with the Pirates.

Pete Mackanin is a seasoned baseball guy, he's been around the game a long time. This in fact is his second stint with the Phillies (as a manager or coach) before he was named acting manager last season after Sandberg's departure. Matt Klentak was impressed by Mackanin during the Spring Training season. He wanted to give Pete a little bit more with a contract for 2016-17 now with a club option for 1 more season in 2018 should the Phils and management feel that Mackanin should get an extension.

One thing that Mackanin is about the Phillies going forward this year is that he is bullish in the direction that the Phillies are going. Maybe it's the Spring Training wins that has him so upbeat, he stated that a lot of people will be surprised, that the Phils are going to be better than anyone realizes.



Friday, March 25, 2016

Win totals from Vegas from all the MLB teams, Phillies at 65.5?



MLB Win Totals (From Highest to Lowest)
Chicago Cubs                           92½
New York Mets                          89½
San Francisco Giants                89½
Washington Nationals                89½
Los Angeles Dodgers                88½
Houston Astros                         87½
St. Louis Cardinals                    87½
Toronto Blue Jays                     87½
Boston Red Sox                       86½
Pittsburgh Pirates                      86½
Kansas City Royals                   85½
New York Yankees                    85½
Cleveland Indians                      84½
Texas Rangers                          84½
Arizona Diamondbacks              82½
Seattle Mariners                        82½
Detroit Tigers                            81½
Los Angeles Angels                  81½
Tampa Bay Rays                       81½
Chicago White Sox                    80½
Baltimore Orioles                       79½
Miami Marlins                            79½
Minnesota Twins                        78½
Oakland Athletics                      75½
San Diego Padres                     73½
Cincinnati Reds                         70½
Colorado Rockies                     70½
Milwaukee Brewers                    69½
Atlanta Braves                           66½
Philadelphia Phillies                   65½



Here is a list of early win totals for Over/Under in Las Vegas - 


I think the Phillies are really a lock at over this total of 65.5 don't you?



Hellickson's Phillies Opening Day start for 2016


Hellickson gets the Opening Day nod from the Phillies


The Phillies announced that Jeremy Hellickson will be the Opening Day starter for the Phillies on April 4th when the team opens up against the Reds in Cincinnati on the 4th of April. It will be the first time Hellickson started an Opening Day in his career, this will be his 7th Major League season.

Jeremy may have a lot more experience than other pitchers on this team, except Morton, but is he the best pitcher on the team?

Maybe it's a case of the Phillies just having to pick someone to get the start first this year, but it's an honor to get this start. There may be something else to note as well that Aaron Nola will be getting the second game start in the Cincinnati series, and that could set him up to be the Phillies Opening Day starter at home which is on Monday April 11th, if there are no rainouts before that.

The record on the Phillies for most Opening Day starts is Steve Carlton 14, followed by Robin Roberts with 12.



   

Monday, March 21, 2016

Phillies Talk Podcast: Our 2016 MLB Picks Show




Always one of the favorites, our annual "MLB Picks Show" debuts for 2016 just before the Easter holiday. We're picking our teams we think will do well this year.

All of this and of course some great Phillies talk. Join us here and subscribe on iTunes via the link on the sidebar of the blog, you can do the same for Stitcher Radio and catch the show on BaseballTalkRadio.com - the home for great baseball talk shows.


Saturday, March 19, 2016

Phillies roster starts to whittle down to 25, prospects depart



Youth is creeping into the Phillies lineup, but can the team allow younger players to play everyday?


We see and hear it every year, a lot of the Phillies prospects that get talked about so much, don't accompany the team back to Philadelphia by the time the roster gets shaved down to 25 players.

The good news for the Phillies is that they now have a lot of players that have picked up the tag of 'top prospect' even though some of them aren't really on the radar for playing for the team until late in the season, once the regular season starts.

A couple of the names are: Jorge Alfaro and Andrew Knapp. Both showed promise that Spring Training season, but there are only 25 spots to fill and the team for now doesn't think that these guys deserve one of those spots. Of course both of these guys are catchers, and the Phillies don't seem to have a shortage of fairly good catchers anymore. They invited a ton of them to Spring Training.

In years past, we've heard the name, Darin Ruf. What a great prospect he was, and the Phillies dangled him between the big club and the minors far too often. They never really gave him a chance to put in a full season or two to show what he has. Now, he is 29 years old, in many fan's eyes he has been mismanaged. Here's a guy that was on fire in the minors, and in international league play and never really got the proper chance to play everyday.

That's one of the fears that I have when I hear the word 'prospect' in the same sentence as the word 'Phillies.' Mike Trout would probably still be in the minors if he was a Phillies player, not given a chance to get up on the big club and show what he has shown.

Maybe those days are gone now as the old regime of Ruben Amaro Jr. and Pat Gillick are out, and the newcomers are in. It just doesn't seem like any player on the Phillies comes up to play on the big club at 24 or less anymore.


Thursday, March 17, 2016

Happy St. Patrick's Day




It's St. Paddy's Day and yet another indicator that the real baseball season is now just a couple weeks out from starting.

The wearing of the green by the Phillies goes back to the late 1800's when an article from the Philadelphia Inquirer was found by a researcher on the Phillies team and forwarded to the Phils' Larry Shenk, who shared it with the press a few years ago. 

This year will be no exception for the team as they will again don the wearing of the green for this St. Patrick's Day.


Thursday, March 10, 2016

Howard's Spring to remember


Howard is looking for reasons why he can't hit like he used to, maybe he should be getting a personal hitting coach to assist him



Ryan Howard has been a notoriously slow starter when it comes to Spring training. This year appears to be more of the same for him in regards to that. He's been up to bat 8 times so far and has nothing to show for it.

For the former Rookie of the Year from 2005, this Spring is probably the last time he'll be in Clearwater with the Phils. It's a really historic time if you're a Phillies fan. Howard was the franchise player for the Phillies for many years and though he's talked about in a negative light now, those who remember the good times that Howard provided still have vivid memories of that time.

Howard seemed on a path to Cooperstown, so it's still not that difficult to see why Ruben Amaro Jr. elected to sign him to that (at the time) huge contract extension to keep him in a Phillies uniform for the many years that he's been here.

What happened along the way was plenty of injuries and just a overall decline of his baseball acumen. His lack of effectiveness against left handed pitching has been known about for years, and he hasn't really done that much to improve the situation.

At 36 years old, it seems like Howard is leaving his best days behind him. In contrast, you take a look at a home run hitter named Hank Aaron and he was still excelling at the age of 36 and beyond. Despite it all, Howard could find his swing in the next couple of years and possibly be in contention for the Hall of Fame, if you look at this current numbers in the Baseball-Reference player page, you'll see that he is compared with some very good players, but he would have to find his swing again and hit over 35 HR each year for a couple of seasons. The magic number for him would be to end up with near 500 or over HR's to get a chance to get into the Hall.

It's been reported that Ryan Howard will platoon with Darin Ruf, who hit 2 HR yesterday in a Phillies win. Ruf, who is 29 years old, showed tremendous potential for the Phils, but really never got a chance to be on the field for a whole season with the team, despite him hitting home runs in bunches in the minors.







Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Latest Phillies Talk Podcast - Heating Up Around Philly Town






It's over 80 degrees in around the Philadelphia area today, so of course we have to get into the studio and talk all about that and the suddenly hot Phillies down in Spring Training as they seem to be doing a lot of winning. Wait, did I just say "winning"? Wow, it feels good to say that word again in mentioning this Phillies baseball team.


Phils lose Altherr for most of the season




Well, there is officially an open spot in the outfield as of yesterday when Aaron Altherr learned that he will be out anywhere from 4-6 months with his wrist injury.

When the injury was first announced, there was a statement that Aaron would be ok, and he'd be healed up quickly but then soon after, Altherr was sent up to the specialist in Philadelphia to have an exam.

In 39 games last year for the Phillies, Aaron hit 5 HR and 22 RBI, he showed great promise for the team for this season.

The open position will probably be filled by Peter Bourjos, who was added to the team in the offseason by his former Assistant GM from the Angels, Matt Klentak, who is now the Phillies GM. 

Sunday, March 06, 2016

Spring Training, a time to get ready for the real season


Spring Training is an awesome time, a time to get in shape, baseball shape that is. Getting ready for a long grind of a season that is 162 games long.

Is there anything you can tell about a team from Spring Training though? There are so many substitutions, and players that are getting their first chance at attending a team's Spring camp, often times their names may not even be on a roster, as we saw a few days ago when the Phillies were playing the Blue Jays and the announcers didn't know who #71 was for the Jays: of course his name was Rowdy Tellez!

Looking back at the 2008 World Championship year for the Phillies, their Spring Training season wasn't half bad. Though the team did lose the "On Deck" games that rounded out the Spring Training season in Philadelphia against the Blue Jays - so even coming out of Spring Training a team is still very much a mystery about what will come next for it.

The Phils had an odd ball mix in 2008, sure they won the NL East pennant in 2007 but didn't really figure to run the table the following year and end up winning only the team's 2nd World Championship.

Here's some stats from Spring Training 2016 so far:

Catchers:

Rk Name Pos Age OppQual G PA AB H RBI BA OBP SLG OPS
1 Ruiz, Carlos DH 36 8.9 2 7 6 2 3 .333 .429 .333 .762
2 Knapp, Andrew NRI C 23 6.2 2 5 4 3 1 .750 .800 1.000 1.800
3 Lino, Gabriel NRI C 22 7.9 2 3 2 0 0 .000 .333 .000 .333
4 Rupp, Cameron C 26 8.4 2 3 3 1 1 .333 .333 .333 .667
5 Alfaro, Jorge C 22 6.4 1 2 2 2 2 1.000 1.000 1.000 2.000
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/6/2016.

Outfield:

Rk Name Pos Age OppQual G PA AB H RBI BA OBP SLG OPS
1 Altherr, Aaron RF 24 7.7 3 10 8 1 1 .125 .300 .500 .800
2 Bourjos, Peter LF 28 8.1 3 10 9 4 1 .444 .500 .667 1.167
3 Quinn, Roman# CF 22 7.4 3 10 9 3 2 .333 .333 .889 1.222
4 Herrera, Odubel* CF 23 8.6 2 8 8 2 0 .250 .250 .625 .875
5 Hunter, Cedric NRI RF 27 6.5 2 6 5 2 2 .400 .500 .600 1.100
6 Goeddel, Tyler RF 22 6.9 1 5 4 2 1 .500 .600 .500 1.100
7 Lough, David NRI LF 29 7.7 2 5 4 1 0 .250 .400 .500 .900
8 Williams, Nick NRI RF 21 6.7 1 5 3 1 0 .333 .600 .333 .933
Generated 3/6/2016.


Infield:
Rk Name Pos Age OppQual G PA AB H RBI BA OBP SLG OPS
1 Crawford, J.P. NRI SS 20 6.6 3 11 9 1 1 .111 .273 .111 .384
2 Franco, Maikel 3B 22 8.9 3 9 8 2 2 .250 .333 .625 .958
3 Hernandez, Cesar# 2B 25 8.2 3 9 6 1 0 .167 .444 .167 .611
4 Galvis, Freddy# SS 25 8.7 2 7 7 1 0 .143 .143 .286 .429
5 Burriss, Emmanuel NRI RF 30 7.8 2 6 5 2 0 .400 .500 .600 1.100
6 Featherston, Taylor 3B 25 8.2 3 6 6 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000
7 Jackson, Ryan NRI 2B 27 7.2 2 5 5 2 0 .400 .400 .400 .800
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/6/2016.

Friday, March 04, 2016

Hellickson to start today for Phils, so who is he?







Jeremy Hellickson has been around a while, Phillies fans know him best from the time he plunked Maikel Franco on the wrist with a baseball. The pitch looked like it was thrown right at Franco in the replay, This was just last season, well know Hellickson is a member of the Phillies and he pitches for the first time today for the team.

The press has been reporting that Hellickson may be getting the Opening Day duties for the Phillies? I don't know where that talk would come from, it's not like Hellickson is the ace of the team, and in fact, he's not that great at all.

Last year, Hellickson was 9-12 with a 4.62 ERA for the Dbacks. He had a 5-year run with the Tampa Rays breaking into the game. Overall he has a record of 49-48 during his 6 year MLB career so far. He did earn 2011 Rookie of the Year in the AL, but nothing exceptional has happened since.

Why would the Phillies want to put such an honor on a pitcher like this? Opening Day starters are generally the top pitcher on your staff. I think Nola has deserved that crown so far with this team, what do you think?

Year Age Tm Lg W L W-L% ERA G GS SV IP HR SO
2010 23 TBR AL 4 0 1.000 3.47 10 4 0 36.1 5 33
2011 24 TBR AL 13 10 .565 2.95 29 29 0 189.0 21 117
2012 25 TBR AL 10 11 .476 3.10 31 31 0 177.0 25 124
2013 26 TBR AL 12 10 .545 5.17 32 31 0 174.0 24 135
2014 27 TBR AL 1 5 .167 4.52 13 13 0 63.2 8 54
2015 28 ARI NL 9 12 .429 4.62 27 27 0 146.0 22 121
6 Yrs 49 48 .505 3.94 142 135 0 786.0 105 584
162 Game Avg. 12 12 .505 3.94 35 33 0 193 26 143
TBR (5 yrs) 40 36 .526 3.78 115 108 0 640.0 83 463
ARI (1 yr) 9 12 .429 4.62 27 27 0 146.0 22 121
AL (5 yrs) 40 36 .526 3.78 115 108 0 640.0 83 463
NL (1 yr) 9 12 .429 4.62 27 27 0 146.0 22 121
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/4/2016.