Here’s a nice run down of the Phillies top right handed pitching prospects. There’s some good information here if you’re looking for nice summaries.
There’s no doubt that Phillies have an impressive one-two punch in Bret Myers and Cole Hamels. When you throw in the depth that the Phillies have given themselves with the additions of Adam Eaton and Freddy Garcia, the Phillies look pretty good when it comes to starting pitching.
In this MLB.com column, you get the lowdown on Cole Hamels, who had a great finish to the 2006 season. You also get to see what kind of guy Hamels is. Good stuff. Heck, he’s even married to former Survivor contestant Heidi Strobel.
I was pretty happy when the Phillies committed to Chase Utley by signing him to a seven year, $85 million deal. I thought it was win/win. Utley gets a ton of cash, and he gets it quicker then if he went through the arbitration mess. And we get probably the best player at his position locked up for seven years. That price tag looks like a ton, but by the end of this deal, Utley’s contract will look like a huge bargain if he’s bee able to avoid injuries.
This NBCsports.com column talks about how Chase Utley “happened” was about as good of an outcome that you can hope for from a first round draft pick.
And it’s hard to believe that the Phillies haven’t made the post season since 1993. They’ve been so close the last couple of years that you forget that it hasn’t been since that loss to the Blue Jays in the World Series that we’ve seen the Phillies in post season play (it’s also the last time the Blue Jays were in the post season. In this column, Evan Grant offers some hope and feels that the Phillies are on of the teams who have a shot at breaking their streak of not making the playoffs.
Here’s a nice short blurb on what assistant general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. said about the Ryan Howard contract situation. Based on this, it looks like the Phillies are going to ride out at least one more season of Ryan Howard’s indentured servitude before locking him up to a long term deal. This could be a mistake if it causes any kind of rift between Howard and the Phillies. The guy came close to hitting 60 homeruns so he should get his payday.
The Phillies made a low risk move to try to shore up their bullpen yesterday when they signed former closer Antonio Alfonseca to a one year deal for the league minimum of $300k. If Alfonseca plays on the major league roster, his salary will more then double to $700k. Alfonseca’s last good year was with the Braves in 2004 and that was sandwiched between three seasons that range from mediocre to poor.
At the very best, Alfonseca could become a seventh inning, secondary setup man for the Phillies although it’s more likely that he ends up being the 25th pitcher and he’ll see more mop up time then anything. Regardless, he’s a nice guy to have around in the event some goes down to injury.
The Phillies showed their commitment to winning today when they signed super star secondbaseman Chase Utley to a seven year, $85 million deal. Utley had a monster season in which he hit 32 homeruns with 40 doubles and it was his second straigh season with an OPS over .900. He’s below average with the glove, but his hitting makes him one of the best second basemen in baseball.
Baseball Prospectus recently unveiled their latest PECOTA cards and when you check out Utley’s card, you like what you see. His weighted mean average has him at 31 homeruns. They also have his walk rate going up a bit, which you should expect as more and more hitters begin respecting him as much as they do Ryan Howard.
And speaking of Howard, he’s the next order of business. Locking the slugger to a long term deal would go a long way to making the Phillies big time contenders for the next several years.
The Phillies signed centerfielder Aaron Rowand to a one year deal for $4.35 million and by doing so, they’ll avoid arbitration with him. Rowand had a solid season when he was playing but he missed over 50 games when he ran into the centerfield wall trying to make a play. We’re now three years removed from Rowand’s great season in 2004 when he broke out for the White Sox and his rate stats for 2005 and 2006, while still decent, might be what we should expect from the centerfielder.
The money is about right though. I don’t neccesarily think the team is getting a bargain but we’re definitely not overpaying either. And I think one more year is prudent before the Phillies try to lock Rowand up long term.
The Phillies re-signed Ryan Madson to a one year, $1.1 million contract and in the process, avoided arbitration with the right hander. Madson broke out in his rookie campaign in 2004 but since then, the results haven’t been quite as good. He’s still only 26 and while he was hit hard last year, he did strikeout 99 in 134 1/3 innings. He seems like one of those guys you want in your rotation, but he does a lot better out of the pen so that might be where he ends up, especially with the surplus of pitching that the Phillies have this year.
The Phillies still have some big names left to sign or be forced to go to the arbitration table. Chase Utley, Brett Myers and Aaron Rowand are all eligible as is Geoff Geary who is less of a priority.
Baseball America put out their top ten Phillies prospects today, and it’s all about pitching. Carlos Carrasco tops a list that has pitchers in five of the top six spots with the only notable position player being infielder Adrian Cardenas.
Carrasco dominated at Low A last year. He held batters to a .182 batting average and while he walked his share of batters, he struck out 159 in 159 innings and he gave up only six homeruns. Carrasco is potential stud, but he’s still a few years away. He’ll start at High A and if he shows he can dominate, the by then 20 year old might even get some time at Double A.
Kyle Drabek, son of Doug Drabek, comes in at number two. The 2006 first round draft pick struggled in rookie ball last year but he won’t turn 20 until December so he has a ways to go. It’s expected that he’ll start the season in Low A.
Cardenas, who looks like he’s being groomed to be a second baseman, had a nice season in the rookie league. Baseball America says he could develop along the lines of Chase Utley and if he comes anywhere close, he’ll be a successful draft pick. He looks to be slated for Low A in 2007.
Edgar Garcia and Scott Mathieson round out the top five. Mathieson struggled in eight starts with the Phillies when he got his cup of coffee. He did go down with a shoulder injury and once he comes back, BA speculates that he’ll play in the Phillies new short season affiliate in Williamsport.
If 1973 was a disappointing season for Mike Schmidt, 1974 was a break out season. In the Phillies home opener, Schmidt homered and drove in two runs as the eighth hitter in the lineup. While Schmidt would hit eighth for most of April, he finished the month hitting .300/.425/.467. He had only three homers that month, but the Phillies recognized what they had on their hands and hit Schmidt either third, fourth or sixth the rest of the season.
And while Schmidt struggled in May, he had a fantastic June. His best month of the year, Schmidt hit 10 homeruns and drove in 32 in 27 games. He hit .394/.487/.777 that month and with 19 homeruns entering the All Star break, Schmidt got the nod to play in his first All Star game. Schmidt’s numbers tapered off in the second half but he still led the league in homeruns (36) and slugging (.546) and he was second in OPS (.941), runs (108), and RBIs (116). Schmidt played in all 162 games and all of this netted Mike Schmidt a sixth place finish in the National League MVP voting.
As Schmidt went, so went the Phillies. With his breakout season, the Phillies finished in third place. They fell just short of a .500 record (80-82) but that was the most wins a Phillies team had since 1967 when they won 82 games. It also broke a seven season streak in which the Phillies finished in fifth place or worse.
So things were looking up. The Phillies were still a couple of years away from putting together the teams best run in franchise history and they’d do a lot of it on Mike Schmidt’s back.
Here’s a look at Mike Schmidt’s numbers in 1974:
Stolen Bases 23
Caught Stealing 12
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