A rival scout sizes up the Phillies
Cole Hamels [a free agent after this season] has been tremendous this spring. He's going to be a very rich man at the end of the year.... Cliff Lee looks like himself. Same with Roy Halladay. They are both throwing the ball very well.... I'm a very big Vance Worley fan. His fastball's average, at 88 to 91 mph, his slider's right around average, his curveball's maybe a little better than average, he's got a better-than-average changeup. But the sum is greater than the parts. He throws strikes, he's very competitive, and hitters don't see the ball very well against him.... I think Jonathan Papelbon will thrive in Philly. His velocity this spring is 94 to 96, and his slider and split look like quality pitches.... The danger for this team is the way bullpen guys trend. Michael Stutes, Antonio Bastardo and David Herndon all had pretty good years last year, but it's tough for relievers like that to have two good years in a row.... The lineup pieces are there. Because this team is getting older, Charlie Manuel is going to have to platoon a little and give guys some rest.... During BP I didn't see Chase Utley, who has bad legs, engaging his lower half a whole lot, which has got to be a little bit scary for them.... I think Hunter Pence is going to have a monster full year in Philly. Some scouts were doing an over-under on his home runs. I'm taking 35.... Jimmy Rollins can still hit, as long as he stays within himself and doesn't try to hit home runs.... Manuel does a really good job of matching up John Mayberry against guys he can be successful against.
With 2011 Statistics
MANAGER CHARLIE MANUEL
8th season with Phillies
The Phillies' team ERA in 2011, the lowest in the major leagues since 1989. Philadelphia's top four starters—Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and Vance Worley—were the first Phillies quartet to each start 20 games and have an ERA of 3.01 or lower since 1915.
One year ago Domonic Brown was ranked among the top five prospects in baseball, a five-tool 23-year-old set to provide a needed infusion of youth to the Phillies' lineup. A spring training fracture of the hamate bone in his right wrist changed all that: The outfielder started 2011 on the disabled list, and after being called up in May showed little power. His strong plate discipline—25 walks and a .335 OBP in 209 plate appearances despite a .246 batting average—wasn't enough to keep him in the majors. The Phillies demoted him when they traded for Hunter Pence in July and never gave him another look. In the off-season they signed Laynce Nix and invited Juan Pierre to camp. There's not much more for Brown to do in the minors, and a demotion could cause him to stagnate. The Phillies, who have seen their offense decline as their lineup has aged, have to commit to Brown as an everyday player or put him on the market for a team that will. Playing Nix or Pierre, serviceable fourth outfielders, over Brown would cost them runs and further damage the development of their most promising prospect.
CHUCK SOLOMON (PAPELBON)
AL TIELEMANS (BROWN)