Monday, September 15, 2014

Darren O’Day Plays Big Role For Orioles

People who casually pay attention to baseball might not know that the Baltimore Orioles have a commanding lead in the American League Central. They are pretty much guaranteed a spot in the playoffs, barring a complete collapse in the last few weeks of the regular season. While they certainly have stars on the roster, Darren O’Day is just one role player who has been able to step his game up and make this team legitimate. He might not get a lot of recognition outside of the team, but those who follow the franchise know just how valuable he is.

In the bullpen, most people like to pay attention to Zach Britton. He has turned into a shutdown closer for the franchise, and he is pretty valuable in fantasy baseball as one of the best in the game at his position. The same type of value is not there in fantasy baseball for O’Day, simply because he is viewed as just an arm out of the bullpen. However, it is hard to argue with his numbers in pressure situations.

So far this year, he has been nearly unhittable out of the bullpen. He has made over 60 outings, and his ERA is right around 1.30 on the year. He has been able to have success against right-handed and left-handed hitters, and that is very valuable out of the bullpen. Instead of always having to go with matchups, manager Buck Showalter can simply go to O’Day to face anyone in a pressure situation.
Pitching is very important in the postseason, and Baltimore knows that they are only going to go as far as their staff takes them. It looks like Chris Tillman is going to be viewed as the ace of the pitching staff in the postseason, but there will be a lot of opportunities for the bullpen to come through as well. That is where O’Day might actually start to get some recognition for what he does for the team.

At 31 years of age, some people view O’Day as a guy who is just having a career season at this point in time. As long as he is able to write a hot streak for another 6 or so weeks, Baltimore will be more than satisfied with the production he brings to the table.

Guest Writer: Mark Jenkins

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Random Thoughts of a Phillies Phan

*Ken Giles should get some consideration for National League Rookie of the Year.  Currently, I believe he's the 3rd best rookie in the NL this season, trailing only Billy Hamilton of the Reds and Jacob deGroom of the Mets.  Giles has appeared in 40 games, racking up 60 strikeouts in 41.2 innings pitched with a sparkling 1.08 ERA and 0.79 WHIP.

*For as much negative stuff that is said about Jonathan Papelbon (he's a dick, overpaid, runs his mouth, etc.), he's still an elite closer.  According WAR, he's the best NL reliever this season (3.2 WAR), and the 3rd best in MLB. In 3 seasons with the Phillies he's amassed 104 saves to go along with a 2.31 ERA and 1.01 WHIP.  For his career, Paps got 323 saves with a 2.32 ERA and 1.02 WHIP over 10 seasons with a 22.6 WAR.  Impressive.  Trading him to simply clear salary is silly.  He's a valuable commodity and should be treated as such.  If he's dealt this offseason, the Phillies shouldn't be eating any of his salary, as the other team would be getting one of the best closers in the game for likely 2 years and $26M.

*Kyle Kendrick's slow but steady march to 100 wins continues.  He's now collected 73 wins, a mere 27 shy of 100.  Which is something that most never imagined possible when seeing him pitch early in his career.

*I wish Darin Ruf would start hitting.  I really root for this kid.

*I wish Maikel Franco would get hot the final 2 weeks of the season. Showing something with the stick will help ease the anxiety of many fans and probably front office executives.

*The Phillies don't have one pitcher to reach double digit wins this season.  They join the Cubs as the only teams in MLB to be so pathetic.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

The Howard & Other Stuff

With the 2014 MLB regular season winding down, it's time to take a look at The Howard standings.  Atop the leader board are Ian Desmond and Brandon Belt with 3 apiece.  Belt is currently inactive, but Desmond continues to crack homeruns and misplays balls, so a 4th Howard might just happen in the last 20 games.  There's a butt-load of players with 2 Howards on the season, with Adrian Beltre, Aramis Ramirez, and Chris Davis as my favorites to possibly churn out another before season's end.

Other Stuff:
*Jimmy Rollins left last night's game with a sore hammy.  That's bad news for the rest of the season.  The Phillies are calling it a strain, and honestly there's no reason to risk further injury, so expect to see a lot of that no-hitting Freddy Galvis (.085/.276 in 59 AB) the rest of September.

*Ryan Howard is 8 RBI shy of 100.

*Ben Revere is 7 SB shy of 50.

*Cesar Jimenez has a pristine ERA of 0.00 through 11.2 IP in 11 appearances.

*Rookie Dave Buchannon has likely secured a spot in the 2015 rotation.  His ERA/WHIP combo of 3.95/1.31 is 4th/5th starter worthy.  With another 6.2 IP, he'll reach 100 IP for the season.  He toes the slab tonight, so let's root for him.

*Ken Giles is one of the best young relievers in the game with a 1.16 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, and 56 K in 38.2 IP.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Possible Pick-Ups & Other Stuff

The Phillies have a host of players on their 40-man roster that have next to no upside, nor deserve a protected roster spot.  That list includes Luis Garcia, Phillippe Aumont, Hector Neris, BJ Rosenberg, and Andres Blanco. They're are practically useless. Releasing them is no big deal.  Due to some September call-ups around baseball, there have been some interesting guys become available.

Possible Pick-Ups:
*J.B. Shuck/OF - Angels, can hit and field. Could be great 4th outfielder (.304/.774 minors, .272/.660 MLB).
*Michael Kohn/RP - Angels, 3.67 ERA in 4 seasons, with a strikeout per inning.  Not really set-up material, but someone that can be called upon to help keep the score close.
*Troy Patton/RP - Padres, 3.25 ERA over 6 seasons, and a lefty.
*Caleb Gindl/OF - Brewers, possible 4th outfielder (.285/.809 minors, .232/.739 MLB).

Other Stuff:
Mario Hollands was a pleasant surprise for the 1st half of the season, posting a 3.16 ERA and 1.28 WHIP.  The 2nd half has been quite the opposite, as his ERA and more than doubled to 6.89 and his WHIP has gotten worse too (1.66).  He exited today's game with shoulder soreness.

Grady Sizemore might make a fine 4th outfielder for the 2015 Phillies, as he's hit well since joining the team (.304/.840 in 45 G with 19 R and 12 RBI).

Ben Revere is doing his best to earn the NL Batting Title, with 3 more hits today he upped his average to .314, which puts him just ahead of Josh Harrison of the Pirates.

Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez's MLB debut has to make Amaro feel good...or not.  1 inning pitched, 2 earned runs allowed on 3 hits and 2 walks.  Just one outing, but a pitiful outing nonetheless.

Monday, September 01, 2014

No-Hitter, Trade & Call-Ups

Congratulations to Cole Hamels, Jake Diekman, Ken Giles, and Jonathan Papelbon for combing to no-hit the Atlanta Braves today.  Hamels went 6 innings and each reliever pitched an inning apiece.  Hamels walked 5 batters, which created an elevated a high pitch count (108), so going the distance wasn't an option. Ben Revere has provided quite the performance, collecting 5 RBI, upping his season total to 20.

John Mayberry spent 6 seasons with the Phillies and played in 500 games, while batting .242/.733 with 52 homeruns and 169 RBI.  A decent 4th/5th outfielder, but never someone deserving of a regular gig. Amaro sent him packing for north of the border in a trade with the Toronto Blue Jays, netting "prospect" Gustavo Pierre.  He's a 22 year old shortstop/third baseman that is extremely error prone (481 G, 163 E, .895 fielding percentage).  He can't really hit either (.247/.660). Nothing more than minor league filler.

Tony Gwynn Jr. is back with the Phillies, after being released earlier this summer, but re-signing on a minor league deal.  Maikel Franco was also summoned from Triple-A, and will be one to watch in September.  Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez is likely to get the call-up too, and hopefully starts fulling some of the promise the Phillies international scouts saw in him.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Phillies Ace- Jerome Williams

When Ruben Amaro shoveled Jerome Williams out of the garbage heap of released players without employment, it was out of necessity, not genius.  Well, Amaro is rocking a smug smirk now that Williams has pitched brilliantly through his first 4 starts with the Phillies.  Let's jut hope Amaro doesn't extend him for 3 YR/$30M, because 4 starts is an extremely small sample size.  Adam Eaton even looked good over some 4 start stretches.  However, I applaud Jerome for the work he's done (3-0, 26.2 IP, 2.03 ERA, 1.01 WHIP).  His season ERA still stands at 5.23 thanks to 28 piss poor appearances with the Rangers and Astros earlier this year.