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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Confessions of a Steroid Pioneer

This is a must read.

Dykstra earned roughly $36.5 million during his major league career, according to Baseball-Reference.com.

But it never was enough. Ask him to pinpoint a moment or two (or three) when things began to spin out of control on him, and he says it wasn’t really one moment.

Then, he pauses. Long. Several seconds pass.

“Money became, like, the driving force of my life, you know?” he says slowly. “Even though I had a ton of it, I wanted more. Money’s important; we all need money to live. But when you do things for the love of money, it’s like the baseball gods…when you do things for the love of money, you get f—king brought back to reality real f—king quick.

“Next thing you know, you’re sitting in front of your locker wondering how you’re 0-for-15. It happens that quick. So it’s kind of like, you know, so, I’m not looking for the big kill anymore. I don’t need it.

“Prison, being locked up in a cage, changed a lot about how I think. But I don’t recommend people take that path. Not really, know what I mean? I’m just saying, when you get put in a situation, you either deal with it, though, or you f—king quit. I’m not a quitter. I fought through that s—t. It was the hardest thing I ever did, but I did it.”

Jim Furtado Posted: June 28, 2016 at 06:37 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: lenny dykstra, mets, peds, phillies

Monday, June 27, 2016

Odubel Herrera staying in center field | MLB.com

“Go out there and take some fly balls to change your perspective a little bit,” Mackanin said about his motivation to have Herrera work in right field. “That’s it. There’s no plans to move him. If he reads something into it, good. Maybe he’ll think that he needs to do better. There’s nothing imminent. There’s no plans for me to move him out of there.”

Jim Furtado Posted: June 27, 2016 at 08:14 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: odubel herrera, phillies

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Velasquez “back to normal,” but will he rejoin Phillies next week? | PhillyVoice

“I feel good, everything is fine,” Velasquez said in the Double-A Reading’s clubhouse on Wednesday night. “Talking to the guys behind home plate with the radar gun, everything seems like it’s back to normal. I kind of took a peek at their speedometer and it was 97. That kind of shows I’m back to normal.”

Velasquez hopes to rejoin the Phillies rotation in five days, when the team takes their current nine-game road trip to Arizona.

But the Phils could opt for a more cautious route for the pitcher with an electric arm and with durability issues throughout his minor league career. Velasquez has pitched more than 100 innings just once (in 2013 in A-Ball) since he was drafted by the Houston Astros six years ago this month.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 23, 2016 at 09:45 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: phillies, vince velasquez

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

In the Nick of time: Could a Williams promotion boost Phillies bats? | PhillyVoice

It doesn’t sound like he’s ready to me.

Would it send the right message to promote a guy within a two-week window that he was benched at Triple-A for disciplinary reasons? Probably not. Williams, who turns 23 in September, has failed to run out fly balls and helped start a beanball war within the last two weeks. General manager Matt Klentak was asked about Williams’ behavior four days ago.

“Nick is 22-years-old in Triple-A,” Klentak said. “He and J.P. (Crawford) both are among the youngest in that entire league. It’s part of development. Part of development is learning how to hit breaking pitches and work counts and play defense—there’s a lot of factors in it. But one of them is learning how to play professionally. … I don’t think there’s going to be an issue there at all. (Lehigh Valley manager Dave) Brundage is handling it very well and Nick is handling it very well. I think it’s going to be water under the bridge.”

Jim Furtado Posted: June 22, 2016 at 09:33 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: phillies

Aaron Nola and Phillies battered by Twins

So they have moved on from pies and chocolate sauce and are battering players now? Better keep the deep fryers out of the dugouts.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 22, 2016 at 09:02 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: aaron nola, phillies

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Phillies agree to terms with No. 1 pick Mickey Moniak

The Phillies signed No. 1 pick Mickey Moniak on Monday and were able to cut a deal that allows them to spend more money on their other top picks.

The contract, according to Baseball America, has a $6.1 million signing bonus, which is $3 million less than the bonus pool allotment for the No. 1 pick. The Phillies will use that money on other players who require a larger signing bonuses. They have yet to sign second-round pick Kevin Gowdy, a righthanded pitcher, but infielder Cole Stobbe, the third-round pick, is signed.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 21, 2016 at 09:17 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: mickey moniak, phillies

Friday, June 10, 2016

Murphy: Phillies need a dose of good luck with Moniak

This year was the second kind of year, so adjust your expectations for Mickey Moniak accordingly. The Phillies made the San Diego-area high school star the first overall selection in the 2016 Major League Baseball Draft on Thursday evening, and while they were thrilled to do so, they also realized that they were picking a kid who had not yet received his high school diploma (that will occur Friday). Moniak has a swing that enamored everybody from the organization who saw it, not the least of them Pat Gillick and Charlie Manuel, both of whom bird-dogged Moniak during the recently completed high school season. He can run, he can play defense (he’s expected to stick in centerfield), and he can fill out his 6-2, 180-pound frame. But he is still just a kid. He looks like one, sounds like one, and texts like one (as he finished up his media rounds after his selection, he had 235 unread messages from well-wishers). Bryant was three years removed from high school when the Cubs drafted him. He was in the majors two years. That just won’t be the case here.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 10, 2016 at 08:39 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: amateur draft, mickey moniak, phillies

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Phillies’ Velasquez suffers biceps injury | phillies.com

The Phillies always loved Vince Velasquez’s talent and potential, but they also had concerns about his durability.

Those concerns popped up Wednesday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park, as Velasquez left the game after throwing just two pitches in an 8-1 loss to the Cubs. Velasquez’s fastball registered only 86 and 87 mph on the radar gun, which were bigger red flags than the red World Series championship banners that fly in center field, considering his fastball averaged 95 mph this season.

“‘Something’s wrong,’” Velasquez said he thought to himself after he peeked at the scoreboard.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 09, 2016 at 06:41 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: phillies, vince velasquez

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Ryan Howard is benched: “I know where I’m at right now ... I understand.” | PhillyVoice

Howard: He talked to me today. We had a conversation. I told him, I get it. I know where I am right now. You know, I understand. By no means am I trying to relinquish my job or anything but you know, I’ve played the game long enough to know and understand. Hey, I want to win. And I’m going to get my stuff figured out. Going got continue to focus on getting my stuff figured out. Take this time and recoup and keep working. I went over—after I talked to Pete—I went over and told Tommy. Because the mental game of preparing, you know, is different when you know you’re going to be in there. I said hey, you’re in there the next 3-4 days, whatever it may be. Do what you’ve got to do to go out and kick some butt.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 02, 2016 at 09:03 AM | 52 comment(s)
  Beats: phillies, ryan howard

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Front office needs to fix Ryan Howard situation for Mackanin | PhillyVoice

It might be time to move Ryan Howard.

Jim Furtado Posted: May 22, 2016 at 08:39 AM | 80 comment(s)
  Beats: phillies, ryan howard

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Cameron: Let’s Talk About the Phillies’ Playoff Odds (!)

According to Dave, Martin O’Malley might have a better chance of being the Democrat nominee.

See that flat line across the bottom? That’s the Phillies. Their 24-17 start hasn’t moved the needle, at all, on our forecasts expectations for their chances of reaching the postseason. Okay, that’s not exactly true; they’ve gone from a 0.1% chance of winning one of the two Wild Card spots in our preseason forecast all the way up to a 0.3% chance of getting to the play-in game now. But their odds of hanging on to the NL East? Still close enough zero to round down when displaying one decimal point.

This is, to some, puzzling. A question in my chat yesterday brought up the point that our system is far more bearish on the Phillies hot start leading to postseason success than others; Baseball Prospectus gives them a 2.3% chance of winning the division and a 7.6% chance of getting a Wild Card spot, for 10% overall odds of reaching the playoffs. FiveThirtyEight is even more bullish than that, putting them at 4% to win the NL East and 13% to reach the postseason. So why is our system so stubborn relative to others attempting to look into the same crystal ball in order to see what the final standings will look like in October?

Well, it’s worth noting that there are dramatic methodological differences between the way that we (and BP) do our forecasts and the way FiveThirtyEight is doing theirs. Our forecasts are essentially an amalgamation of individual player projections, summed up at the team level; BP does this same thing too, using their PECOTA projections where we use a mix of ZIPS of Steamer. FiveThirtyEight, on the other hand, is using Elo Ratings, which adjust up or down based on whether you win or lose a game, and how much of an upset that win (or loss) was relative to their pre-game expectations. While they used individual player projections to come up with their preseason Elo ratings, their in-season adjustments are based on responding to a team’s win-loss record.

Our system doesn’t care at all about a team’s actual record at any point in the season; it only looks at the individual player performances to try and ascertain whether there have been significant changes in expected playing time or production level to adjust the team’s expected record up or down. So far, ZIPS and Steamer look at what the Phillies players are doing and think “yeah, that’s basically what we expected.” Our preseason expected win% for the Phillies was .395; 41 games into the season, our rest-of-season expected win% for the Phillies is .396. And because they were starting from such a low baseline of expected wins, even their extra banked wins through the first six weeks don’t really change how often they make the postseason in our simulations; the strong start has taken them from 64 to 72 projected wins, but nobody’s making the playoffs at 72 wins, or anything close to it.


Phillies GM Matt Klentak would consider acquiring bat, but not at cost of rebuild | CSN Philly

The 2015 Twins in Phillies uniforms.

Jim Furtado Posted: May 19, 2016 at 08:04 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: phillies

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Minor-league Phillies put on the healthy feedbag

Within walking distance of the Sleep Inn and Suites in Hagerstown, Md., is a Waffle House, Wendy’s, Cracker Barrel, Burger King, McDonald’s and a 7-Eleven tucked behind a gas station. This is where the single-A Lakewood BlueClaws stay three times a season, when they pile into a bus for a South Atlantic League road trip.

Shane Watson, a former first-round pick back at Lakewood after shoulder surgery, prefers the Cracker Barrel. A few weeks ago, when Lakewood visited Hagerstown, Watson planned to dine there for lunch - until a caterer carried salmon and some steamed vegetables into the hotel lobby.

This season, the Phillies will spend close to $1 million to feed their minor-league players and staffers healthy meals.

“It’s definitely a plus this year,” Watson said. “For sure. A lot of guys really like it.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 05, 2016 at 02:43 PM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: minor leaguers, nutrition, phillies

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Meet Bob McClure, the Phillies’ ‘mad scientist’ | FOX Sports

Pitching coach du jour.

Jim Furtado Posted: May 04, 2016 at 07:54 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: phillies

Friday, April 15, 2016

Phillies’ Velasquez strikes out 16 in shutout | MLB.com

Does it get an asterisk because it was against the Padres AAA lineup?

Jim Furtado Posted: April 15, 2016 at 05:41 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: padres, phillies

Saturday, April 09, 2016

MLB.com: Botched infield fly costs Phils potential rally

Phillies Phorget Inphield Phly Rule

Too bad Ruben Amaro Jr. isn’t coaching phirst base for the Phillies.

The Phillies had Hernandez on first and Freddy Galvis on second with one out when Odubel Herrera hit a popup in the infield, just to the left of the pitcher’s mound. Mets third baseman David Wright moved underneath the ball, but the wind blew it behind him.

No matter, the infield fly rule had been called.

But Hernandez ran to second the moment the ball hit the ground. Wright threw to Mets first baseman Lucas Duda, who threw to shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, who tagged Hernandez for the inning-ending double play.

“I did not see the umpire call the infield fly,” Hernandez said through the Phillies’ translator. “I was trying to listen to my first-base coach, but couldn’t hear a thing because it was so loud. When the ball hit the ground, I reacted to it. However, there are no excuses. I am an infielder. I know the rules. I take full responsibility for it. It won’t happen again.”

bobm Posted: April 09, 2016 at 02:05 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: infield fly, mets, phillies

Monday, March 28, 2016

Ruben Amaro Jr. reflects on time with Phillies | phillies.com

Members of the new Phillies’ regime have said the analytics system was way more advanced than they had anticipated, based on nothing more than the world’s outside perception of it.

If that is true, then why did the Phillies try to seem so unanalytical at times?

“We didn’t think it was all that important for us to have to advertise what we were doing,” Amaro said. “Why do we have to advertise what we do? Am I doing it to save my job or what? We were a little behind I think with some of the analytics. The reality of it is we won without the analytics. We had the best team in baseball without the analytics … a full analytics core. Could we have been better? Maybe. There’s always ways to improve, but that’s probably why I’m in a uniform now.”

Jim Furtado Posted: March 28, 2016 at 09:35 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: general managers, phillies, ruben amaro jr.

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Ruben Amaro, Jr. says Phillies’ anti-analytics image was a ruse to gain a “competitive advantage”

David Laurila of FanGraphs caught up with Amaro and asked about the whole analytics thing in Philadelphia.

“You can’t ever deny the numbers. That’s true for every GM and every baseball person, regardless of whether you’re ‘old school’ or ‘new school.’ When a scout walks in, the first thing he does is pick up a stat sheet and look at what the player does and what he’s been doing. The numbers don’t lie.

“I’ve always believed in analytics. I just didn’t make it all public (in Philadelphia). I thought it was more of a competitive advantage for me to keep our thought-process about analytics closer to the vest. We didn’t boast about what we were doing — we didn’t discuss it openly — because I didn’t think it was anybody’s business but our own as to how we evaluated.

“We got a little more aggressive, as far as building our analytics department, probably three-or-so years ago. It did maybe become a little more public then. But that doesn’t mean we weren’t utilizing analytics to some degree earlier than that.”

In an article by Doug Miller for MLB.com back in January 2010, special assistant Charley Kerfeld said, “And since I’ve been here, we don’t have an in-house stats guy and I kind of feel we never will. We’re not a statistics-driven organization by any means.” He added, “I’m not against statistics. Everybody has their own way of doing things. But the Phillies believe in what our scouts see and what our eyes tell us and what our people tell us.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 09, 2016 at 07:56 PM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: analytics, phillies, ruben amaro jr.

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Philly.com:Tough road back for injured Hollands

A quick story on the rarely discussed mental portion of recovery from Tommmy John Surgery. 

The Original SJ Posted: March 01, 2016 at 10:54 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: phillies, tommy john surgery

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Brookover: Klentak had a head start on Phils rebuild

He has the sucking up to ownership thing down.

Klentak, 35, agrees that he stepped into a nice situation.

“That’s right,” he said Friday inside his spring-training office. “I studied that a lot prior to my arrival . . . and many of the advantages we have are real. First and foremost is the commitment of our ownership. The ownership has shown over the years that they will spend. The ability to carry a big payroll to support a winning club, that is going to be there.”

Edit: Link fixed. Sorry. Jim

Jim Furtado Posted: February 27, 2016 at 07:25 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: matt klentak, phillies

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Andy Galdi excited to run Phillies analytics | phillies.com

Anyone know what PHIL stands for?

Like, are there even computers around?” Galdi said. “That’s really not the case at all. They had already built PHIL [the organization’s computer system]. They had already done a lot of this work toward making the situation there more technologically advanced, which is where I wanted to go anyway. It’s not like I’m starting at zero. What I want to do is push it even further.

“To be honest, I’m still learning a lot about what’s already been done there and it’s quite a bit.”

Jim Furtado Posted: February 25, 2016 at 10:42 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: phillies, sabermetrics

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Mark Appel hopes to break out with Phillies | MLB.com

He’s too nice? He lets batters hit to improve their averages?

That hasn’t stopped the armchair psychologists from offering their conclusions. Appel has a ready smile and is bright and well-spoken. That has led some to conclude that he’s simply too nice, that he lacks the requisite mean streak. It’s a charge the 24-year-old is well aware of.

“I take it as a compliment. I am a nice guy,” Appel said on the final day of the Phillies’ annual Prospect Education Program at Citizens Bank Park. “I don’t think being nice is a sign of weakness. If anything, it can be seen as a sign of strength. Knowing that you don’t have to come off as this fake tough guy to try to gain respect from your teammates or the opponent. What matters to me is what happens in between the lines.

“Long story short, being on the mound, I don’t show emotion. But I have a fire deep inside of me that is a competitor. That is basically somebody who looks at the guy in the box and says, ‘I’m better than you and I want to show it.’ I have that competitive edge, absolutely. I think the ‘nice’ persona can be a misconception because I don’t show emotion. I don’t throw my glove. I’ve had a couple times when I have shown emotion, but I try to contain it and keep it to myself. Or show emotion when nobody’s around.”

Jim Furtado Posted: January 19, 2016 at 06:49 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: mark appel, phillies

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Stark:  The odd and troubling state of the National League

The Reds—“They’re in Houston mode, 100 percent. They tried it the other way. Now they’re the biggest example of doing it this way. They’re willing to do pretty much whatever has to be done.”...

Over and over, we heard executives of clubs on both sides of this divide say they think this approach was inspired by the success of the Astros. And why the heck not? They stripped down their payroll. They averaged 108 losses a year for three years. They became the first club in history to hold the first pick in the draft three years in a row. And then ... (ta-daaaa) ... they used all that mega-losing to catapult themselves from 111 losses to a playoff spot in just two years.

Oh, there were other reasons the Astros won, of course. But does anyone dispute that they analyzed this system, then did all they could to make it work? So have they plotted a course that has led the NL to this place, as other teams look for exactly the same edge?

TDF, situational idiot Posted: January 14, 2016 at 02:19 PM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, brewers, phillies, reds, tanking

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Attorneys for Ryan Zimmerman, Ryan Howard send letters to Al Jazeera America demanding retraction - The Washington Post

I didn’t watch the full video. Is this report based entirely on the guy/intern who retracted his claims?

The version of the report on Al Jazeera’s website now contains a correction at the top, dated Monday, that says an earlier version of the written version of the story – not the film – contained references to Zimmerman and Howard using human growth hormone.

“The substance alleged was Delta 2, not HGH,” the correction reads.

The film version of the report contains a conversation between an undercover Al Jazeera reporter and Charles Sly, who Al Jazeera identifies as a pharmacist who once worked at the Guyer Institute of Molecular Medicine in Indianapolis, an anti-aging clinic. Sly said in the conversation that Zimmerman used Delta 2. He does not mention HGH.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 30, 2015 at 06:28 AM | 27 comment(s)
  Beats: nationals, phillies, ryan howard, ryan zimmerman

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Rox sign Jaime Moyer to Minor League deal

Fun fact: When the Rockies came into existence, Jaime Moyer was in his eighth Major League season.

The Rockies’ search for a veteran for the starting rotation could take them to the ultimate veteran, 49-year-old left-hander Jamie Moyer.

Colorado and Moyer have agreed to a Minor League deal that includes an invitation to Spring Training, the club announced on Wednesday. The agreement is pending a physical.

Moyer underwent Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow in 2010 and didn’t pitch last season. The lefty worked as an analyst for ESPN in 2011 but stated that he intended to try to pitch again in ‘12.

Moyer went 9-9 with a 4.84 ERA for the Phillies in 2010.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 18, 2012 at 08:14 PM | 128 comment(s)
  Beats: obituaries, phillies, rockies

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