Even with two front line starting pitchers (Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels), the Phillies staff struggled as a whole in 2013, finishing ranked 25th or lower in ERA, WHIP and BAA. As you might imagine, Lee and Hamels were not the problem, combining for a 3.24 ERA and 1.08 WHIP. When pitchers like these guys only have a combined record of 22-22, that’s usually a sign of a lack of run support. That was indeed the case as both Lee and Hamels finished in the bottom 10 in MLB in run support per game (3.29 for Lee and 3.36 for Hamels).
Want to check out a preview of my player profiles? Here is my analysis of closer Jonathan Papelbon:
Papelbon has 286 career saves over the last 8 seasons (36 per year). He has only had one bad season during his career, but he has never posted plus saves in any season. His command (1.6) has been elite in 2 of the last 3 seasons, but his K rate (8.3) made a spike downward. Last year, he only converted 29 of 36 chances. Jonathan didn’t dominate RH (.252) or LH (.241) batters, and pitched poorly in September (5.40 ERA and 1.80 WHIP). Papelbon no longer has an elite fastball (92.0 – career low). His 2nd best pitch is a split-finger fastball, followed an improving slider. Last year, batters hit .306 against his split-finger fastball. Philly would love to dump him, but he makes too much money. He is a proven closer with a long resume that has upside in K’s if he was ever able to pitch plus innings. His skill set is declining, but he still has enough talent to get the job done. He’s more steady than good and may be an overlooked arm that has a plus year in saves.