Roundtable discussion of the pressing questions facing the NL East teams as we approach the start of the season
1) After a disappointing sophomore campaign, what can we expect of Jason Heyward going forward?
MJ: Jason Heyward had an injury-riddled sophomore season in Atlanta, but there is a lot to like about his chances at a rebound campaign in 2012. His offensive line was deflated by a .260 BABIP, but his peripherals were once again stellar. His 11.6 percent walk rate represented a regression from 2010 but cannot be considered poor, and his .162 ISO likewise dropped from the previous year but did not experience a precipitous fall.
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Do early-season phenoms fade once the rest of the league learns to stop giving them pitches to hit?
Believe it or not, most of our writers didn't enter the world sporting an @baseballprospectus.com address; with a few exceptions, they started out somewhere else. In an effort to up your reading pleasure while tipping our caps to some of the most illuminating work being done elsewhere on the internet, we'll be yielding the stage once a week to the best and brightest baseball writers, researchers and thinkers from outside of the BP umbrella. If you'd like to nominate a guest contributor (including yourself), please drop us a line.
Their roster is getting older but they still should be contenders for at least another year or two.
Kiss 'Em Goodbye is a series focusing on MLB teams as their postseason dreams fade—whether in September (or before), the League Division Series, League Championship Series or World Series. It combines a broad overview of this season from Buster Olney, a take from Baseball Prospectus, a look toward a potential 2011 move courtesy of Rumor Central and Kevin Goldstein's farm system overview. You can find all the teams on one page by going here.
San Diego has used season-long momentum to lead the NL West along with other notes from around the major leagues.
Bud Black is a very astute baseball man. He was a deep thinker as a major-league pitcher then made his mark following his playing career working in the Indians' front office and as the Angels' pitching coach before being hired as the Padres' manager prior to the 2007 season.
The Phillies must determine if Jayson Werth is worth keeping and how to free up money to do so.
When the Philadelphia Phillies acquired Jayson Werth prior to the 2007 season, few seemed to notice. The former first-round pick had displayed all the makings of a solid performer, but injuries had kept Werth shelved for several seasons. In fact, it’s safe to say that a good portion of Phillies fans had never heard of Werth and thought the acquisition to be as meaningless as a Greg Golson-for-John Mayberry, Jr trade. Fast forward to the present and the impending departure of the All-Star has made a fan base rather nervous. Over the course of this article, the three of us will dissect the Phillies' financial situation now and into the future, the production components of the key players in this saga, and the economics of the matter, referring to what Werth will cost to retain and how the Phillies can pull it off.
With Opening Day a little more than a week away, here is a look at the projected rosters for each of the 16 National League clubs following conversations with club executives and media members. Keep in mind these are projected rosters and subject to change. American League lineups are here. You can also look at the fantasy depth charts at any time to see our latest updated projections.
A rematch from the '07 postseason makes for a great showdown of two teams with very different virtues.
Well, here we are again, with the Phillies and Rockies set to battle one another in the National League Division Series for the second time in three seasons. Just as it was in 2007, the Phillies enter the fray with a division title while the Rockies used an incredibly strong second half to win the NL Wild Card. Unlike that entertaining 2007 season, however, in which the Phillies ousted the Mets from the top spot of the NL East on the final day of the season, only to have their spotlight stolen soon thereafter by a Rockies team that won a controversial play-in game, this year's Phillies controlled their division practically all season. In addition, the Rockies' second-half surge proved so strong that they actually gave the division-leading Dodgers a run for their money in the final week. A good chunk of the 2007 cast of characters remains intact for each team, but enough has changed to merit a new writeup instead of a recycled version of the prior Phillies/Rockies preview.
It's not always the stars who get put on the spot in the postseason.
Number nine on your scorecard, right field can sometimes seem like an afterthought in the lineup. Never mind that it was the position of Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, and (since it's the World Series) Reggie Jackson; in Little League it's a place where a team stashes a less talented player, a Timmy Lupus, in the hopes of his avoiding the spotlight. Neither the Phillies' Jayson Werth nor the Rays' Rocco Baldelli qualifies as either a Lupus or a Reggie, but the two right fielders nevertheless found the spotlight all night long in Game Two of the World Series, and not always for the better.
The retreaded former Orioles prospect has come a long way in 11 years.
Jayson Werth has contributed significantly to the Phillies' success this year, and is one of the reasons they find themselves in the National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The right fielder hit .273/.363/.498, finally crossing the 400 at-bat threshold for a major league club after 11 years as a professional. Today we take a look at what took so long for this former highly-touted prospect to become a productive major league hitter.