Friday, April 3, 2009

Phillies Update - 4/3/2009

  • ESPN's different baseball departments have previews up for the rapidly approaching season (Opening Night Sunday!!!). The main preview lists prospects to watch, fantasy analysis, and the projected starting rotation and lineup. The best part of this preview is seeing the"experts" preseason power rankings. Jayson Stark has the Phillies 4th overall/1st in the NL East. Tim Kurkjian and Buster Olny peg Philadelphia at 3/1. The final two, Rob Neyer and Jim Caple, have the team at 13/3 and 6/2, respectively. I hope the first three guys are more accurate.
  • Baseball Prospectus (Insider Only) released updated predictions yesterday at ESPN. Phillies fans won't be happy. The PECOTA system expects Charlie Manuel's bunch to regress to 87-75 and fail to make the playoffs. The projections system has the Mets winning the NL East at 92-70 and the Diamondbacks get the Wild Card at 88-74, one game in front of Philly. The Cubs (95-67) and Dodgers (92-70) round out the playoff field.
  • ESPN The Magazine (Insider Only) focused on defensive efficiency for their preview this year. Despite the great seasoned turned in by Phillies fielders in '08, The Mag doesn't have much praise for the team. They end up having a -5 value overall. However, their infield is stellar. Chase Utley - was criticized for his defense - now gets the Phillies highest rating at +6. I'm really surprised it wasn't Jimmy Rollins, though he and Pedro Feliz can't be far behind. The three of them, combined with underrated defense from masher Ryan Howard, compose the best NL infield and the 2nd best in the majors. Unfortunately the outfield is seen as a sieve, as they describe it. Replacing Pat Burrell in LF is liability Raul Ibanez, who gets a -11 rating. Yuck. I feel Shane Victorino is a little undervalued, getting a ambiguous "so-so" rating. The outfield is ranked 14th in the NL and 27th in the majors. Yikes. Oh, but The Mag says they'll still finish in1st in the NL East. The Mets earn the wild card, besting their play from the past two years, but fall to the Cubs.
  • The Sporting News predictions were released today in their daily web feature inexplicably titled Sporting News Today. Odd name, I know. Anyway, the crew at SN think the Phillies will win their 3rd straight NL East title but fall to the Dodgers in the NLDS.
  • Former Mets and A's pitcher Ron Darling gave his take in SNT and says that both the Phillies and Mets will make the playoffs, as the staff at SNT predicts, but he wouldn't say which he thought would win the division and which would take the wild card.
  • For those of you looking for a great hive of Phillies info. that is updated regularly I recommend Macho Row, The Zo Zone, and Phillies Nation.
  • Speaking of Phillies Nation, the sdtaff there has been churning out articles left and right. They are deep into their predictions for the Phillies this season, and I mean deep. They are chronicling pretty much anyone that could play for the Phillies this season, like John Mayberry, Jr. They have recently done a few of the pitchers which are certainly worth a read. There's also a great post by Tim Malcolm on how the east coast bias has really grown in the last few years. Not only does the Red Sox-Yankees feud remain quality TV, the Phillies-Mets rivalry has gained national recognition since the 2007 season.
  • Writer Dash Treyhorn over at the awesomely awesome Phillies blog The Fightins has been chronicling the teams top moments from the 2008 regular season and postseason run. The regular season games feature is finished but today he released postseason moment #4. You can see all the glorious '08 postseason moments here and the regular season ones here.
  • The Fightins founder brings back some nostalgia with his post on Cole Hamles gracing the cover of Sports Illustrated Kids. As he points put, it used to be Sports Illustrated for Kids. Hamels has now been on the cover for the largest circulated sports periodical in the world as well as its little brother.
  • SBNs Phillies blog - The Good Phight - is a great read with your cup of coffee in their morning. Their breakfast links should be a staple in your morning routine.
  • Finally...Phinally Philly, an all-encompassing Philly sports blog, notes that our beloved Hometown 9 has returned from Florida and is set to take on the Tampa Bay Rays (and welcome Pat Burrell home) in the On-Deck Series today and tomorrow at The Bank. They expect a few answers in the next 36 hours to the remaining questions surrounding the team, mainly will they get Gary Sheffield, who gets the final bench spot, and what will the rotation look like these first few weeks? They also note that this team is stronger on paper to start the season than the won that won the World Series last season.
Baseball is (almost) back. Time to defend the title. LET'S GO PHILLIES!!!

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