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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

My 2013 Season Outlook


As Opening Day 2013 approaches, I can’t help but not be excited.  The 2013 Phillies are almost certainly going to be as bad as the 2012 Phillies, and a large part of this has to do with things Charlie Manuel could do differently.  I’m not even talking about getting different players to replace the pathetic team that this city will be forced to watch this summer.  I’m talking about better utilizing the players that are currently under contract. 

A quick look at the Phillies current Depth Chart (yes, I know Spring Training hasn’t even begun yet and things can certainly still change) just leaves me shaking my head.  All I need to do is see the names listed, and I can come up with a million different ways that Charlie Manuel can, and most definitely will, drive me nuts this season. 

The outfield picture looks like this:
LF – Domonic Brown, Darin Ruf, Laynce Nix
CF – Ben Revere, John Mayberry Jr.
RF – Delmon Young, Domonic Brown, Laynce Nix

I must say that I am encouraged to see Domonic Brown’s name with the “first string” outfield.  I will be shocked if he gets his deserved chance this year. 

Everyone knew that Ben Revere would be the Phillies everyday CF, so there’s no surprise here.  Thus, it makes sense to see John Mayberry Jr. name 2nd in that list.

What bothers me is that John Mayberry’s name is listed nowhere else on the page.  JMJ is 1 season removed from a .368 wOBA, and has a career wOBA against LHP of .371, and while he doesn’t have such great splits against RHP, at least he walks at a decent rate (8.8%).  Delmon Young has never put up a wOBA of .368 in a single season, and his strength against opposite handed pitchers isn’t as strong as Mayberry’s either.  Oh yea, and he literally almost NEVER walks.

When you take this comparison a step further and look at their fielding, neither are anything to really write home about.  However, over 131 career innings in RF (yes small sample size), Mayberry has never had a negative UZR/150, which has to stand for something.  Delmon Young hasn’t played RF since 2007, and over the last 5 years, when playing a position, has played LF exclusively.  Over that time frame, he has never had a positive UZR/150. 

While neither are ideal RF for the Phillies, I think Mayberry would provide more defensively, and wouldn’t drive me as crazy with his approach at the plate. 

I then look to the infield, and see Michael Young’s name and want to not look at the infield anymore...

But I move on... to first base.  Ryan Howard and his enormous contract combined with his enormous inability to hit left handed pitching.  Then I’m back to Manuel and his refusal to acknowledge that Howard cannot hit left handed pitching, especially left handed relief pitching.  Sure, maybe his down season last year can largely be attributed to the fact that he was injured.  He is aging though, and shouldn’t be expected to rebound to too great a height at this point in his career. Hopefully, I’m wrong about Howard.  Hopefully he was able to fully recover this offseason and will be a huge contributor to the Phillies going forward.  I’m willing to bet he won’t be knocking the cover off the ball like his former MVP self, and as such, I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to wish Manuel would entertain the idea of platooning Howard occasionally.  It would be a way to get Darin Ruf or John Mayberry Jr. more PA against LHP.  Even if I’m willing to concede a Howard platoon, it would be a great idea to give Howard (and other aging positional players) days off.  Doing this against LHP is a great way to play to multiple players’ strengthes.  Regardless of a platoon at 1B, I think it’s imperative for Manuel to consider pinch hitting for Howard late in games against dominant LHP. 

Here’s my ideal situation for this season as far as platoons are concerned:

LF - I don’t think Dom Brown needs a platoon, as his splits are not that drastic.  However, if platooning him results in his playing every day vs. RHP, then there are worse possible scenarios that could exist.  Given a platoon in LF, I’d prefer a Mayberry/Young platoon with Dom Brown.       

CF - Revere will be starting every day.

RF – I never really want to see Laynce Nix start a baseball game, so if it were up to me, I’d give John Mayberry a chance to start in RF against LHP and RHP.  There isn’t a huge difference between Young and Mayberry at the plate, but in the field, I like my chances with Mayberry over Young. 

1B – Obviously Ryan Howard should start against RHP, but with the possibility of platooning him, it would be a chance to give Darin Ruf some PAs.  Any platoon with Howard and Mayberry/Ruf/Young should work.  I’d obviously prefer the better fielders to be in the OF than at first base because if Ryan Howard can play 1B, anyone can. 

When I look at the bullpen, I don’t really see a way for Manuel to mess up, but he undoubtedly will.  It’s what he does: poor in-game strategy.  There are plenty of capable names on the depth chart including: Papelbon, Bastardo, Adams (although I’m concerned about his injury), Aumont, Stutes, and Diekman.  I’d love to see Manuel use Papelbon more open-mindedly instead of trotting him out there in noncritical situations, which should not be confused with overusing him.  MLB teams have proven that you don’t need a flashy name in the bullpen to get the job done, and now it seems like there are plenty names (both well-known and young unknowns) that are capable of being good relievers for this team.

What I look forward to the least this season is the combination of all of Manuel’s flaws really costing this team games.  Whether he’s not optimizing the lineup with positional starters or the order, overusing starting pitching, mismanaging the bullpen, or giving aging regular players (Rollins, Utley, and Howard) time off, Manuel will find a way to handicap this team.  It was one thing when the Phillies offense was the behemoth force that it was and was capable of covering up his mistakes, but those days are over.  The Phillies cannot afford to have a manager cost them runs and games when simple solutions exist.  I’m sorry to say it, but those days will not come again until Charlie Manuel is gone.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

ARE YOU AN IDIOT WHY WOULD YOU PLATOON YOUR BIG NAME PLYER WITH AN UNPROVEN PLAYER LIKE DARREN RUF AND BY THE WAY HOWARD WILL HIT 40 HOMERUNS AND DRIVE IN 125 THIS YEAR LOOK AT THE PHILS RECORD LAST YEAR WHEN UTLEY AND HOWARD PLAYED WHEN HEALTHY ARE AS GOOD AS THE BRAVES OR THE NATS AND DOM BROWN IS A JOKE HE WILL NEVER BE AN EVERYDAY PLAYER GOOD THING YOUR OPINION DOESNT MATTER AND CHARLIE MANAGES THIS TEAM I JUST WASTED 10 MINS OF MY TIME READING YOUR STUPID THOUGHTS PHILS WILL WIN 90 GAMES THIS YEAR OH YEA CHARLIE SAID SUCK ONE

Scott Graham said...

Because the only thing he's PROVEN over the last 3 seasons is that he can't hit lefties. .311 wOBA.

Michael said...

I think he has proven other things.

Scott Graham said...

Sorry everyone, I had to enable word verification for the commenting. Too much spam. As usual, no real comment will be rejected thought.

oogie said...

forgot to get rid of that spam of a first comment

Michael said...

This is my last comment. Those word things take me forever.

Scott Graham said...

Oogie,

Great comment.

Michael,

Yea, I know they're annoying as hell, but there was just too much spam. Anyone else know a better way?

Robby Bonfire said...

I see the most selfish,arrogant bastard on the planet wants to come back and "manage" far beyond this year. And, of course, not wanting to hurt his "feelings" the GM was merely non-commital as to what will happen after this season.

This pile of crap sub-human being "manager" actually said if the team does poorly he wants to come back. And if the team wins it all (only he cannot perceive the humor in that remark), he "wants to come back rather than go out on top."

Even if this team loses 55-60 of its first 100 games, the GM will not fire this hallowed Philadelphia "icon." Phillies fans better get ready for one helluva sad sack season, because the retreads and the AAA roster fillers are going straight down the hatch, this season.

Let's go A's!

Anonymous said...

Charlie Manuel is Elmer Fudd, I like to call him Elmer fuddsky. The rate at which he destroys baseball playerd bodies is unreal and the pitching changes terrible in Romaro's juiceless season he never threw a strike and could'nt tie his shores, but charlie kept sending him out there late in games because he is a &$$@"$. Moron, idiot, dummy, pansy, invalid.