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A picture is worth a thousand curse words -- part of me wishes they'd let Doc mess up Larry Bowa, but I'm glad there will be no suspensions, and that Halladay didn't hurt his pitching hand on the Philly manager's head, which is made entirely of rock. A nice team spirit-building exercise; cross off the only remaining item on the spring training agenda.

Feel free to take your best shot at my stubborn insistence that Ken Huckaby wouldn't survive the final cut, but nobody predicted Berg and Wilson as the extra OF, so the third C isn't such a liability. For now, the stability of the roster depends on Frank Catalanotto's wonky back -- there's no way Berg or Wilson is capable of playing RF in the majors on a regular basis. If the Cat needs any significant time off, the Jays will need to acquire or promote a real OF, and once again, the Huckaby/Linton debate will reverberate between the dugout and front office. I am very happy for Kenny and Doug; they deserve this.

Fantasy impact -- Cat (2B eligible!) will be in there against RH every day, and more often than I thought vs. LH; they must be confident that he's ready. Myers and Wilson still have more value than Huck, but Tom's AB just took a (temporary) hit; he's the main PH and spot starter against lefties. Only when Halladay starts vs. a righty (like the opener) will Huck cut into Myers' time; Greg should still start about half the games.
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_Jurgen Maas - Thursday, March 27 2003 @ 10:19 AM EST (#80327) #
I don't get how Larry Bowa keeps his job. He's antagonised some of Philly's best players over the years with his little league nonsense, but it's not as if he comes with Showalter's track record. Why does ownership stick with him?

San Diego
1987 .401
1988 .348

2001 .531
2002 .497

That's nothing exceptional. Sure, he won manager of the year in '01, but would you have stuck with Bowa over Rolen?

Managers like Dusty Baker and Cito Gaston may not be the world's greatest strategists, but at least they earn the respect of their players.

My bet is that at some point this season, especiallly if they fall to second place, he'll start yelling at Thome or something, and that will be the final straw.
_Jurgen Maas - Thursday, March 27 2003 @ 10:28 AM EST (#80328) #
I love this quote from Halladay:

"I would have taken it like a man, put my head down and ran to first," Halladay said. "I expected to be thrown at. Things got out of hand. You had guys running all over the field. That's not the point of the game. He had two chances to hit me and missed."

Man, is he showing leadership skills. That's the sort of thing you expect your ace to say, not duck the issue like Clemens.
_M.P. Moffatt - Thursday, March 27 2003 @ 10:42 AM EST (#80329) #
I predicted it would happen. Sure about two hours before it did, but that should be worth something.

I'd never take shots at Coach, but I will send him pics of me polishing off a two-four of Keith's. :)

Craig B - Thursday, March 27 2003 @ 11:32 AM EST (#80330) #
You'll have one on me, Mike, when you come up.
_Shane - Thursday, March 27 2003 @ 11:39 AM EST (#80331) #
Mr. Moffatt and I seem to be in the winners circle. I still contend though, that it is highly unlikely we will see Greg Myers starting an inordinate number of games in '03. Certainly not half the games. When was the last season he started 80 games in a season? Grandpa Myers will be blowing out 37 candles in two weeks, so I think it's likely he'll be used more a long the lines of what I think the A's did with him. He'll get a good deal of starting nods and his lefty swing will do a lot of pinch hitting late in games. Possibly doing so for
Huck Shin-pad.

Mid April, Miller supposedly (if healthy) comes up, a non-effective bullpen guy goes down or away, and when the time comes that the club needs the legitamate backup outfielder, I suspect they'll/we'll know if the pen is sturdy enough to go down to 11 pen guys, and perhaps the three headed catching-platooning-utility monster will live on into the late season when Cash steps up.

-- Shane
_Jim - Thursday, March 27 2003 @ 11:45 AM EST (#80332) #
I think Bowa is a marvelous candidate to be the first manager dismissed this season. The Phillies have just spent Liberty Bells full of money to assemble what is being widely hailed as the team that will finally end the Braves dynasty. If the Phillies struggle early, I think Bowa's done.

I don't think hard-line managers can survive long in today's game. They might be a good short term solution for a franchise gone awry, as in Bowa's first year, but I think the effect wears off pretty quickly. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see a "player's manager" in Philly by May, perhaps that Gaston fellow...
_Chuck Van Den C - Thursday, March 27 2003 @ 01:14 PM EST (#80333) #
Jim: perhaps that Gaston fellow...

Would only make sense in a tit for tat kind of way. The Jays chose to once burden themselves with Fregosi.
_Richard - Thursday, March 27 2003 @ 01:19 PM EST (#80334) #
Blue-Jays on live,for free this afternoon on MLB.TV via live streaming onto your computer.Justin Miller to start.Will anybody get any work done today?
_Spicol - Thursday, March 27 2003 @ 01:49 PM EST (#80335) #
Shane Reynolds was released today by Houston. Doug Linton be damned...if you don't believe Justin Miller can start just yet, there's your 5th starter JP. Get that guy out of Minute Maid and he might really be able to do something.
Coach - Thursday, March 27 2003 @ 02:01 PM EST (#80336) #
The quality's a bit fuzzy, but for free, who's complaining? In case you aren't lucky enough to be watching, here's what's going on:

Justin Miller struck out Jeter with a beautiful changeup, got a break when Soriano overslid second base on a steal, walked Giambi, gave up a single to Bernie, then got Matsui on a soft grounder. Yanks are using Mike Thurman on the mound, not wanting to show the Jays one of the starters they will be facing in April. Pettitte and Lidle, who will meet in the second game of the season, are working in minor-league games today.

The YES broadcasters are second-guessing the Jays' roster decisions. Of course, they are also expecting a bunt with two on (Hudson single up the middle, Myers walk) and none out. Ken Singleton, at least, compared Tosca to Earl Weaver. RBI single for the Cat (2-2) makes it 2-0 Jays. RBI single by Wells. Nowhere to put Delgado; he hit a 3-1 rope right at Nick Johnson or there would have been even more damage. However, Josh Phelps cashed in two more with a 2-out single up the middle; Hinske grounded out, but it's 5-zip through an inning and a half. Bring on the Rocket!
Dave Till - Thursday, March 27 2003 @ 02:09 PM EST (#80337) #
Argh. Can't watch the game at work. Argh again.

This is slightly off-topic, but it relates to rosters, so it sort of fits:

- Esteban Loaiza has been added to the White Sox' 40-man roster. Hee hee. Maybe I should change my AL Central prediction from Chicago to Minnesota...

- David Cone has likely made the Mets as their 5th starter. Good for him.

- Joey Hamilton and Frank Castillo have been released by the Cards and Red Sox, respectively. Any guesses as to where they will wind up? Obvious candidates are Milwaukee, Detroit, Kansas City and Tampa Bay (the Four Horsemen of the Baseball Apocalypse).

(Source for all these is Lee Sinins' Baseball Immortals mailing list.)
_Gwyn - Thursday, March 27 2003 @ 02:10 PM EST (#80338) #
Blue-Jays on live,for free this afternoon on MLB.TV via live streaming onto your computer.Justin Miller to start.Will anybody get any work done today?

I am sure anyone who is watching is enjoying the play-by-play guy.

In the second with 2 on no-out, he starts on a rap about how Tosca should be bunting and hit-and-running. While his colour man tried to reign him in a little, saying Tosca was a follower of Earl Weaver and it worked pretty well for Earl. As the commentator rehashes the old arguments for little ball the Jays show him the right way putting together a nice patient 4-run 9-batter inning. Would have been even more but for a great grab by Nick Johnson on a Carlos Delgado line drive.

I especially liked this line : "Earl Weaver didn't platoon much"

Bill James - "Weaver and Stengal are the most successful platoon managers"
Coach - Thursday, March 27 2003 @ 02:37 PM EST (#80339) #
Miller's using mostly off-speed stuff to get ahead, but that set him up to blow #1 past Raul Mondesi for the strikeout. Justin then fanned Ventura on a nasty change, and with help from Myers, is keeping hitters off-balance. He gave up two more singles (on fastballs to Johnson and Widger) but got out of the inning with a good heater that Soriano popped to RF. We'll see what kind of pitch count he's on, and how effective he'll be, as he continues his longest outing of the spring.

New Yankee hurler Willie Banks froze O-Dawg with a nasty Uncle Charlie (Singleton said it was almost a Lord Charles) then Myers, who gets no respect from Batter's Boxers, singled the opposite way on the first pitch. Woody was retired on a foul pop to the catcher, but Stewart, in a zone, ripped a double. They pitched around Cat to get to Wells, and it worked; Vernon in the 3-hole may be the weakest cog in this offensive machine.

Third inning: is Miller tiring already? Careful walk to Jeter, fell behind 3-0 to Giambi and after almost getting burned on the grooved fastball, lost him too. Bernie ripped a straight fastball through the box for an RBI. The change is still Justin's best pitch, and it's fooling everyone, but the express is not up to full speed and hitters are sitting on it. Johnson pulls one for a 2-run single; it's now 5-3 and there's bullpen activity, but two fly ball outs finally end the inning.
_M.P. Moffatt - Thursday, March 27 2003 @ 02:37 PM EST (#80340) #
Craig: Sounds good... I'll let you pick the bar... and I'll buy the second round. Our loft is at Dundas and Bloor (YES THEY DO INTERSECT!) so anywhere downtown and west is good for me.

I wish Tosca would platoon as much as Weaver, but given a 12 man staff, I can't see that happening. I also wish I had time to watch the game this afternoon, but my yearly teaching evaluation is today (I teach community college economics), so I might want to prepare.

PREDICTION: Miller (or anyone else) won't be called up until someone goes on the DL, unless Wells is out for a game or two. Or if JP can unload Escobar on some sap.

Coach - Thursday, March 27 2003 @ 03:31 PM EST (#80341) #
I got a bit distracted by work, and haven't watched every pitch, but Doug Linton, in relief of Miller, has been hit very hard. Chris Widger and Jason Giambi have homered to give the Yanks a 7-5 lead, while Banks, with a dazzling curve, kept the Toronto bats in check. Sidearm LH Randy Choate has also been effective -- lefty batters must hate facing him. I did hear the announcers talking about Hudson; one called him "effervescent" then the other, laughing, suggested "annoying."
Gitz - Thursday, March 27 2003 @ 04:21 PM EST (#80342) #
I prefer to think of Hudson as "ebullient."
Craig B - Thursday, March 27 2003 @ 04:42 PM EST (#80343) #
Mike, you're in Toronto? I thought you were in lovely Rochester, NY.

In that case, we should do it soon... AFTER the players head north though. :)

E-mail me a day that's good for you, next week, and I'll pencil you in.
_Shane - Thursday, March 27 2003 @ 09:24 PM EST (#80344) #
Let me be the first to say that Hinske hitting sixth is a huge mistake. I'm no heavy heavy stats guy, but they're are many reasons why I disagree. First of which the obvious: Why is the Jays probable second best slugger lost hitting sixth? An on-base sink hole like Vernon Wells hits before him? You put the guy with the OBP of .310 before the guy with a .370 OBP???? Over the course of 162 games not only wil Hinske's RUNS SCORED plummet, I believe so will his WALK's and RBI's. Josh Phelps and Vernon Wells do not get on-base enough to justify wasting him at the sixth hole. Who is Eric going to drive in? Good intentions???

If this batting order is not based on alternation, this is the first huge mistake of the Tosca regime. Who makes out this batting order now? Jeff "I like speed at the top of the order" Torborg???

9:24 PM March 27/03
_benum - Thursday, March 27 2003 @ 11:32 PM EST (#80345) #
It may be a mistake, but I don't think it's huge.

There have been many previous postings/claims/studies that batting order doesn't make much of a difference in runs scored over the course of a season.

Let's say that Wells gets on base 31% of the time and Hinske gets on 37% of the time. Delgado then gets a hit 28% of the time after that. If Delgado walks, then Phelps gets a hit 26% or so (he wasn't a high average hitter in the minors). I know this is an extremely simplistic way of looking at it but we are dealing with precentages of percentages.

I think your point on alternation is the real reason. I think Tosca thinks Cat makes a good #2 hitter (high average, some walks, some pop, some speed) and putting Wells at #3 gives RLRLRL for the first six spots.

As far as Hinske's counting stats, Stewart/Cat/Delgado are going to be on base allot and Woodward/O-Dog/Myers are going to drive him in at a pretty good clip.
_M.P. Moffatt - Thursday, March 27 2003 @ 11:39 PM EST (#80346) #
My girlfriend and I have apartments in both Toronto and Rochester, because she works at U of T and I'm at U of R/Genesee community college. So I tend to only be in Toronto 2-5 days a month. Toronto is more of a home to me than Rochester.. I just live here (Rochester) when I'm working.

The lousy thing is it means I'm going to miss the home opener on Monday. So it goes.

IMHO The order should be Cat - Stew - Delgado - Phelps - Hinske - Wells - etc., but it probably doesn't make enough difference to alienate both Stew and Wells.

_Jurgen Maas - Friday, March 28 2003 @ 12:38 AM EST (#80347) #
Shane--how is .362 OBP not getting on-base enough? Phelps seems to get on-base just fine.
_Jurgen Maas - Friday, March 28 2003 @ 02:14 AM EST (#80348) #
benum--how is .292 in AAA, .275 in AA, and .281in A not a good batting average? It's completely in line with his .295 MLB average.

I know most players don't reach their minor league averages right out the gates, but Phelps was never a .260 masher at any level.
_benum - Friday, March 28 2003 @ 11:31 AM EST (#80349) #
A fair point Jurgen. I'm guessing ~260 based on the MLE of his AAA performance last year and his SO/Walk ratio in the bigs. I'm also assuming that opposition teams will have a more complete advance scouting report on him this year. Based on that I think that he'll hit closer to .250 than .300. I do think that his SO/Walk will improve (it was decent in the minors) and that his power is for real.
Put me down for 265/340/540 (I think anything close to a 900 OPS would be a great second year)
_Shane - Friday, March 28 2003 @ 12:10 PM EST (#80350) #
In 265 AB's a .362 OBP looks darn nice, but I see a .309 batting AVG. in there, which to me is an inflated stat for Josh Phelps. Do you see him hitting .309 season in/season out over his career? I don't.

I don't feel like running a column OBP 1 through 9, but Wells had a .305 OBP sitting in the three hole. How is that contributing to a 'take a walk, pass the baton' team philosophy. Those pretty 100 RBI's come nice n' easy when you've got two guys infront of you getting onbase at .371 and .365 respectively.

Along with his wallet, Mike Wilner's favorite wipping boy, Alex Gonzalez, was run out of town for having OBP of .312.
_Jurgen Maas - Friday, March 28 2003 @ 12:24 PM EST (#80351) #
"There are a lot of pitchers who fall into patterns," he said. "The other day, I was facing (Devil Rays pitcher) Tanyon Sturtze and he threw me a first-pitch breaking ball. He did it three times in a row in three at-bats and the third at-bat, I hit it for a home run."

-Phelps on breaking down pitch sequences. Let's hope Phelps can continue his good habits and Sturtze can break his bad ones.

I bet his average will be at least twenty points higher, and in three-four years when he fills out more he'll consitently be putting up Shawn Green numbers.

t's a shame his knees couldn't hold up. He'd probably call a great game behind the plate.
_steve - Friday, March 28 2003 @ 12:31 PM EST (#80352) #
Taken from Sports Illustrated's Blue Jays Preview:

Growing up in the Idaho panhandle town of Rathdrum, the quiet, cerebral Phelps prioritized his schoolwork and excelled in math and sciences. "I was more academic than athletic," he says. "It was something instilled from my parents, something I took a lot of pride in. That was the deal."

Phelps reads two newspapers a day, and he recalls former Toronto infielder Joe Lawrence, his roommate during spring training in '01, who dissed him for watching CNN instead of ESPN. During the hours of time that litter a season Phelps reads voraciously, mostly Dean Koontz potboilers and Patrick McManus short stories. (In mid-March he was plowing through a biography of Terry Bradshaw -- "Nothing profound in that one," he says.) Yet he takes a less studied approach to his swing; he maintains his compact power stroke entirely on feel. "The first time I started looking at film last year is the first time I started getting in a funk, because I never knew what my swing looked like before," says Phelps. "You always have your own mental picture, and then when you actually see it, it's a totally different thing. It just confuses the senses."
_Spicol - Friday, March 28 2003 @ 01:24 PM EST (#80353) #
Do you see him hitting .309 season in/season out over his career?

I don't know about a 309 career average but he should have more than a few seasons where his average is right around that number. His swing is pretty compact for a big power hitter. Combine that with his intelligence and attitude and I don't see a hitter prone to long slumps.
_Shane - Friday, March 28 2003 @ 02:59 PM EST (#80354) #
Josh Phelps is a sweet a$$ player for sure. His atbats are fun to watch, he hits everything hard, with power to all fields. Even if he only becomes an average fielding first baseman who cares, right?

For me though, he seems to have a pretty big stike zone, and I don't see his swing as 'compact', it's pretty big to me. I just don't feel that he's going to draw a tone of walks -though, I hope i'm worng.

Phelps to me, profiles as a guy who if he hits .280 you'd be happy. He's going to hit a lot of homers, a lot of doubles, he'll strike out plenty and he'll walk a decent amount of time.
_M.P. Moffatt - Friday, March 28 2003 @ 03:12 PM EST (#80355) #
I could see Phelps turning into Mike Schmidt-lite with the bat, which would be terrific. Too bad he isn't a slick fielding 3B.

_Shane - Friday, March 28 2003 @ 03:33 PM EST (#80356) #
True that!
_Jurgen Maas - Friday, March 28 2003 @ 03:42 PM EST (#80357) #
That was twenty points higher than benum's .260 prediction, to clarify. I'm high on Phelps, but even I'm not convinced he's a .330 hitter.
_benum - Friday, March 28 2003 @ 06:00 PM EST (#80358) #
Note that I'm not predicting a career batting average of .260 for Phelps. I'm just guessing that in his second season (first full season) he'll make less contact than he did in the minors (where he did .280 to .290).
_benum - Friday, January 30 2004 @ 12:00 AM EST (#80359) #
Cruising through the old stuff for fun...

My predictionfor Phelps:

396 AB's .268/.358/.470

I was good with the BA prediction, less so with OBP and pretty far off with the SLG (I think everyone expected >500 SLG).

Having said that, I WAS RIGHT JURGEN!!
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