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Blogging about the 5x NL East Champion Phillies

Category Archives: Kansas City Royals

Phillies Make a Pair of Rule 5 Selections

In the 1st round (15th overall) in the Rule 5 Draft, the Phillies selected outfielder Ender Inciarte from the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Inciarte was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Diamondbacks in 2008.

The former Diamondbacks prospect hit .293 for the South Bend Silver Hawks (Class A). Inciarte hit one home run and 30 RBIs to go along with 18 stolen bases in 65 games. In 62 games with the Visalia Rawhide (Class A), the Venezuela native hit an even better .319 with one home run and 17 RBIs. He also swiped 28 bases and had a .797 OPS.

Meanwhile in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 Draft, the Phillies selected left-handed pitcher Brendan Lafferty from the Kansas City Royals organization.

Lafferty was originally selected in the 18th round by the Royals in the 2009 Draft.

Lafferty spent the 2012 season with the Northwest Arkansas Naturals  (Class AA) of the Texas League. In 43 games, the lefty went 1-1 with a 4.77 ERA and struck out 71 batters while walking 40.

Season Preview: AL Central

Expectations: Prince Fielder hopes to live up to his father’s legacy in the Motor City, and the Tigers hope to snap a near 30-year title drought.
Key Addition: 1B/DH Prince Fielder (signed from Milwaukee)
Key Loss: DH Magglie Ordonez (free agent)
Projected Record: 97-65
Summary: Expecations are very high in Detroit as the Tigers are coming off a 95 win season and have signed one of the biggest free agents in Prince Fielder. Fielder allows Miguel Cabrera to move back to third base which is his natural position. The combination of Cabrera and Fielder in the lineup should allow the Tigers to score a tone of runs and take control of the AL Central.

The Tigers also have a very strong pitching staff. Justin Verlander is the reigning AL Cy Young and MVP and was a dominating 24-5 in 2011. Combine that with Max Scherzer and Doug Fister, who can win 15 games this year, and this is one of the stronger rotations in the American League.

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Season Preview: AL Central

Chicago White Sox

Expectations: Ozzie Guillen tweets every lineup change from the dugout.
Key addition: 1B/OF Adam Dunn (.260, 38 HR, 103 RBI with Washington)
Key loss: RP Bobby Jenks (1-3, 27 Saves, 4.44 ERA)
Projected record: 92-70

Summary: Most of the puzzle pieces remain from last year’s team, with a power addition of Adam Dunn.  The team has speed (Juan Pierre, Alex Rios), power (Dunn, Paul Konerko) and pitching (John Danks, Mark Buherle).  Alexei Ramirez, Gordon Beckham and Carlos Quentin are all solid ballplayers. The White Sox have a question mark in the bullpen, as they will have Chris Sale or Matt Thornton closing.  Jake Peavy’s injury concerns are troublesome, but as an end of the rotation guy, he won’t be relied on as an ace.

Minnesota Twins

Expectations: Increased amount of man-crushes on all-star catcher Joe Mauer.
Key addition: 2B Tsuyoshi Nishioka (.260, 14 HR, 41 RBI with Chiba of the Japanese League.
Key loss: 2B Orlando Hudson (.268, 6 HR, 37 RBI)
Projected record: 89-73

Summary: Mauer leads the Twins, who are bitter after two straight first round exits to the Yankees.  The core of the team returns, although key component 1B Justin Morneau missed the second half of last year with a concussion, and has only played six spring training games thus far.  The Twins rotation is decent; no stud ace, but some solid pitchers to get the job done.  One of the biggest question marks is the bullpen.  Joe Nathan is coming off Tommy John surgery, and if he is the Joe Nathan of old, the Twins will be fine.  If not, Matt Capps will be their go-to guy.

Detroit Tigers

Expectations: Leading the league in DUI arrests.
Key addition: C/1B Victor Martinez (.302, 20 HR, 79 RBI with Boston)
Key loss: OF Johnny Damon (.271, 8 HR, 51 RBI)
Projected record: 85-77

Summary: The Tigers underachieved last season going 81-81, finishing 13 games behind the first place Twins.  They added Boston’s Victor Martinez, who is a .225 career hitter at Detroit’s Comerica Park.  Will Martinez continue his struggles at his new spacious home?  He will likely DH for the team, hitting behind Miguel Cabrera and Magglio Ordonez, so RBI opportunities will be there.  Detroit’s pitching is good with Justin Verlander, Matt Scherzer and Rick Porcello.

Cleveland Indians

Expectations: The Indians beg Pedro Cerrano and Rick Vaughn to come back and play for the team.
Key addition: OF Austin Kearns (.263, 10 HR, 49 RBI with Cleveland and New York AL)
Key loss: Uhhhh…. I guess 3B Andy Marte (.229, 5 HR, 19 RBI)
Projected record: 70-92

Summary: Carlos Santana has recovered from a knee injury he suffered last August, only two months after being called up to the major league club.  The Tribe are going to rely on their young catcher and OF Shin Soo-Choo, who hit .300 last year, with 22 HR and 90 RBI.  Other offensive weapons, Travis Hafner and Grady Sizemore, have had trouble staying healthy in recent years.  Pitcher Fausto Carmona had a good year last season (3.77 ERA), despite losing 14 games.

Kansas City Royals

Expectations: Could contend for the AAA Championship.
Key addition: OF Jeff Francoeur (.249, 13 HR, 65 RBI with New York NL and Texas)
Key loss: SP Zach Greinke  (10-14, 4.17 ERA, 181 K)
Projected record: 65-97

Summary: The Royals fortunately have a deep minor league system, stocked up from many years of top draft picks.  However, that won’t help them this year.  They do have 1B Billy Butler, who hit .318 last year.  Top prospect 3B Mike Moustakas is ready for a promotion, and might get one this season.  Unfortunately the Royals traded away their best player, SP Zach Greinke for a boatload of prospects.  It’ll be a while before Kansas City is a competitor again.

Phils Add Former Brave Villarreal

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Scott Lauber reports that the Phillies signed right-hander Oscar Villarreal to a minor-league contract. Though in his article he said that Villarreal is not invited to Spring Training, Todd Zolecki confirmed that he Villarreal is in fact going to try out.

The 28-year old hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2008 with Houston. He was signed by Kansas City before the 2009 season but developed the need for Tommy John surgery and missed the season. He is most remembered for his time in the Atlanta Braves bull pen where we was very solid. In six seasons, he has a career 14-15 record with a 3.86 ERA and 1.37 WHIP for Arizona, Atlanta, and Houston.

This is another move where the Phillies are looking for diamonds in the rough and hoping to polish them off and make good use of them for cheap. He is a very talented reliever and could provide some long relief when he is up with the Phillies. He will most likely start in AAA to get his arm back into shape.

MNG: Brandon Duckworth

Player: Brandon Duckworth
Number: 31
Position: P
Bats/Throws: R/R
Acquired: signed a minor-league deal a couple days ago.

2009 Stats: None. He hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2008 with Kansas City.

Intangibles: It’s only a minor league contract. I really only did this because it’s Duckworth and he had one of the most famous fan groups in the history of the Vet, the Duck Pond. He was never better than his rookie season of 2001when he was 3-2 with a 3.52 ERA in 11 games. One good thing did come out of him as he was a part of a package deal that brought the now-villain closer Billy Wagner over from Houston.

Expectations: I expect nothing from him. I do pray that he makes it to the majors with the Phillies just so we can have a Duck Pond reunion at Citizens Bank Park. I also pray that the first pitch he throws is sent directly into the Duck Pond located in the right field bleachers.

FIM #3: 1980 World Champions

It only took 95 years for it to happen. Hell even Cubs fans wish it would have only taken 95 years but they’re still working on 100 right now. It took three Hall of Famers and a great supporting cast of great players to finally get the Phillies over the top. Before then, they had only reached the World Series two times: losing in 1915 and 1950. The year was 1980 and it will be the year that Phillies fans would never forget.

The Phillies won their division. They finished the year 91-71, just a game ahead of Montreal. The would play and beat the Houston Astros in the NLCS and then take out the Kansas City Royals in 6 games to win the World Series.

This team was perfect in the eyes of the fans. They had an experienced skipper in Dallas Green to go along with their veteran-filled team. They were led by MVP Mike Schmidt (.286, 48 homers, and 121 RBI’s) and Cy Young winner Steve Carlton (24-9, 2.34 ERA, 286 strike outs). Pete Rose led the team with 185 hits and 42 doubles as well. They also got plenty of stolen bases from Gary Maddox in centerfield. Carlton was supported by Dick Ruthven’s 17-10 record and 3.55 ERA. In the pen, Tug McGraw tallied 20 saves and held a 1.46 ERA in 92.1 innings of work.

Other key offensive members included Manny Trillo, who batted .292, Bake McBride with his .309 average and 87 RBI’s, and Greg Luzinski’s 19 home runs. Larry Bowa, Maddox, and Bob Boone were all big contributers defensivley.

In game one of the World Series, the Phillieswere down 4-0 going into the bottom of the third. They got a lot of support from McBride’s 3-run homer that set up the 5-run innings that put the Phillies ahead for good. The added on a run in the 4th and 5th to make it 7-4 and then surrendered two in the 9th but held on to win game 1.

In game two, the Phillies were down 4-2 going into the 8th inning where timely hitting scored them four runs to permanently go ahead 6-4 and win.

Game three was won in extra innings by the Royals 4-3, halting the Phillies come-from-behind magic temperarily. The Phillies tied it up on Schmidt’s solo shot in the 8th but the Royals scored on an RBI single in the 10th to win game three.

Game four didn’t look good for the Phillies as they trailed all day. The Royals scored four runs in the 1st and added a run in the second to own a 5-1 lead on the Phillies. The Phillies would add 2 runs in the game but lose 5-3.

Game five was scoreless until when in the 4th, Schmidt jacked a 2-run shot. The Royals would then add a run in the 5th and two in the 6th to go up 4-3. In the top of the 9th, the Phillies magic woke back up as Schmidt led off with a single and Del Unser drove him home on a double to tie it up. Trillo then stepped in and drove in Unser for the go ahead and potential game winner as the Phillies took game five by a score of 4-3.

Game six was the first game the Phillies never trailed. The got two runs from a single by Schmidt in the 3rd and tacked on 2 more runs later in the game. Carlton pitched until McGraw came in to close it out. With the bases loaded and Willie Wilson at the plate, I hand it over to the late Harry Kalas:

65,000 plus on their feet here at Veterans Stadium. The Tugger needs one
more…Swing and a miss! Yes, he struck him out! Yes, they did it! The Phillies
are world champions! World champions of baseball! It’s pandemonium at Veterans
Stadium! All of the fans are on their feet. This city has come together behind a
baseball team!…Phillies are world champions! This city knows it! This city
loves it!

Schmidt won the series MVP and McGraw won the Babe Ruth Award (best performance).
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