RPAC Blogger Preview

I did another questionairre with a blog that got posted today. Justin Evans, a good friend and former teammate on We Hate to Lose, is the owner of Red Pinstripes Are Cooler. He asked myself in a few other bloggers a bunch of questions and posted our answers along with his. Here are my answers to his questions:

01.  Who do you believe is the biggest catalyst to the Phillies success in 2010?

Jimmy Rollins. He has always been the catalyst for the Phillies offense and will not have a year remotely as close to the one he had last year. He’s already batting over .300 in spring and with his high expectations and confidence, I think he’s going to have a fine year.

02.  What are your expectations for J.A. Happ?  Happ was as lucky as Cole Hamels was unlucky last season.  Do you think he can come close to his 2009 success?

I expect a sophomore slump but not one that’s as drastic as the one Kyle Kendrick had. If Happ can take the role of #4 and pitch well enough for the team win, then he will have a solid year of 10-14 wins and an ERA in the low 4’s.

03. How would you rate Ruben Amaro’s two offseasons as GM?  Would you have signed Ibanez or Polanco for more than two years knowing that you have a lot of youth to sign in the future?

Ibanez was a mistake and Polanco was actually a good signing. The infield prospects aren’t as great as the ones in the OF. If Ibanez was signed to a two year deal with an option for a third, that would’ve been better. As far as GMing the past two years, Amaro has done a good job. Though he gave up a lot for the two Cy Young pitchers he had in four months, he has a lot of young talent in the farm to afford to make those mistakes. He can’t do it again though.

04.  What does Joe Mauer’s deal mean for Jayson Werth and Ryan Howard?  Will the Phillies re-sign both, one, or neither?  If only one, which player do you recommend they re-sign?

Werth is gone unless the Phillies increase the pay-roll. I have no problem with that either if Dom Brown turns into a stud or Tyson Gillies become  a diamond in the rough.

05. After Domonic Brown, which prospect in the farm system are you most excited to see wear a Phillies uniform in the future?

It’s a toss-up between Phillippe Aumont and Tyson Gillies. Aumont has a lot of upside on the mound and the the Phillies’ project in turning him into a starter will be very interesting. As far as Gillies, he’s got a beautiful compact swing and seems to be a guy who can get on base and be a serious threat to steal and stretch hits.

06.  Cole Hamels added some pitches to his arsenal.  How often do you think he’ll use his cutter and curve in 2010?  Everyone is expecting Cole to bounce back from an unlucky 2009, how big of a “bounce back” do you expect?

He’ll start off using his normal stuff, working the cutter and curve in. If things are going well for him at that point, the cutter and curve will not be used often. If he’s struggling, he’ll look to mix it up by adding the cutter and curve. As far as a bounce-back season: he will have one. Adding Roy Halladay took the pressure off of him. His confidence has also been much higher seeing as he feels he’s doing well in the spring and is looking to put 2009 behind him. I expect a 2008-like year.

07.  You’re going to a Phillies game today, what is your choice of food/beer for tailgating?  If you have no time to tailgate, what are must have drinks/food in the stadium?

I always get to the game early to feast at Harry the K’s or Bull’s BBQ. Pulled Pork, Schmidter, or a cheese steak from Tony Lukes are always top choices.

08.  How do you feel about the bullpen heading into the season?  Who are your biggest question marks?  If the Phillies make their third straight World Series, who pitches the final out for them?

Lidge is my biggest question mark because I’m afraid he will rush himself back. If Lidge is doing fine, he will be the closer all year. If he’s hurt or struggling, Ryan Madson should be the first to take the ball again. Am I worried he will struggle again? A little. But he got a lot of valuable experience last year after being thrown into the role. He will have the mindset of a closer this year as he knows he will be the go-to back-up.

09. Fifth starter: Kendrick or Moyer?  Does it really matter?

It matters a lot. Having a complete rotation will always matter. The Phillies have that too. Moyer will most likely start the season with only a couple chances to screw up. If he doesn’t get the job done then Kendrick is in. Kendrick earned himself a shot at starting but it was Moyer’s job to lose and he has pitched to deserve holding onto it for now.

10.  Better beard?  Werth, Park, or Bruntlett?

Werth’s by far. He had the Jesus-hair going with it. And with Easter around the corner, it’s so fitting.

11. Is Gload/Castro/Schneider better than Bako/Stairs/Bruntlett?  Yes/No? Why?

It’s much better. Schneider is a legit back-up and the confidence Charlie Manuel will have in him to play more will keep Carlos Ruiz fresh all year so he can be affective in the post season again. Gload is a better hitter than Matt Stairs all around. He’s actually another Greg Dobbs with a little more pop. Both he and Schneider will benefit in the Bank. Castro is a solid fielder and a better hitter than Bruntlett. In fact, anything is an upgrade in the hitting department compared to Bruntlett. Castro can play a lot of positions and will keep Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins fresh.

12.  Which current Phillie do you see making a speech at Cooperstown in the future?

No one anytime soon. They have future HOFers in Roy Halladay, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and possibly Jimmy Rollins and Jamie Moyer. Moyer could be the closest age-wise but he’s not a guarenteed future HOFer. The first three are all locks but have plenty of years left in them.

13. Which Phillies on the 2009 World Series team, not named Cliff Lee, do you think this team will miss the most?

JA Happ. He won’t be he same pitcher this year.

14.  With Placido Polanco switching from second base to third, what are your expectations regarding his defense?  How valuable is he to the Phillies lineup in the 2-hole?

He’ going to be fine at third. Some throws won’t be made but he’s a smart guy and won’t forc bad throws. He has good range and will be able to eat up balls that could get into the OF. As a hitter, he fills a hole Pedro Feliz left in the line up. He will also be a great 2-hitter seeing as he strikes out a lot less than Shane Victorino.

15. Who scares you the most in the NL East?  The NL?

The Braves in the division because it’s Bobby Cox’s las year and they have a good rotation to go wih a balanced offense. In the NL it’s easily the Cards as their 1-2 is the best in baseball. Also having the best player in baseball in Albert Pujols helps.

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