Countdown to Opening Day: 47 Days

February 13th, 2011 by Mike H. | Filed under Baseball, Phillies.

Pitchers and catchers, or as I’ve recently heard, aces and deuces, will start to roll in to Clearwater as early as tomorrow. (If they are not already there) That will mark the first step into something potentially special. No, I am not talking about Sydney Fife’s dog Anwar Sadat.  I am talking about R2C2, the Phantastic Phour, Heavy B and the Terror Squad, or whatever you feel comfortable calling them. Today, I want to focus in on the three aces that aren’t home grown. You’ll see why after the jump and we’ll talk about Hamels another day.

Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, and Cliff Lee. Two years ago, we would have been happy to take any one of them. Two years ago, the thought of the three of them being in the same place at the same time would’ve meant you were talking about the All Star Game. What a difference two years makes. It still blows my mind that Ruben Amaro Jr. managed to put all three starters in the same rotation. Who would ever thought back in 2007, when this whole run started, that the Phillies would be investing 47 million (Told you there was a common thread) to three starting pitchers. In 2007, 47 million was more than half of the entire payroll, now it is roughly a third. What a difference just 4 short years makes.

I mean think about it, with the inclusion of Hamels, you have basically four starters who have either won a league Cy Young award, a LCS MVP award, or World Series MVP award. Then add in Joe Blanton, who in my estimation will be worth keeping around, and you really have no one else to look at but the offense for not being the favorite in every series.

Not too far back, the 2011 Bill James Handbook was released with projections on how players may perform in 2011. I don’t really know how they came to these numbers as they seem kind of off just a bit. I’ll say why after the projections.

  • Roy Halladay: 18-9 coupled with a 3.16 ERA with 190 Ks and 38 BBs
  • Cliff Lee: 14-10 coupled with a 3.50 ERA with 169 Ks and 49 BBs
  • Roy Oswalt: 16-9 coupled with a 3.38 ERA with 176 Ks and 52 BBs

Now, Roy Halladay, the reigning NL Cy Young award winner won over 20 games in 2010, while the offense was struggling for just about May thru September. If the offense can stay healthy,  surpassing the 20 win mark would not surprise me in the least bit. Cliff Lee, who will mainly pitch against a number 1, 2, or 3 starting pitcher for the opponent, is only projected for 14 wins? That seems kind of low for a guy who knows how to flat out dominate. He struggled in the World Series, but handled AL East teams in Tampa and New York. I would be shocked with anything less than 17 wins. Finally, we come to Roy Oswalt, the unsung ace/left fielder on the staff. I actually find this projection to be right in his range. He might get a win or two more, but that would be just gravy. Oswalt will pitch against 2s, 3s, and 4s or 3s, 4s, and 5s, depending on where he is placed in the rotation. I’m confident in my belief that Roy 2.0 will be the number 3 for Charlie Manual to break up the lefties. Would I be upset if these projections came true? No. At this point, it’s gotta be World Series champions or bust. The rest is just stats.

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