Tag Archives: Derek Holland

What the Phillies need from Bryce Harper in 2020

A year ago at this time, Kayla and Bryce Harper were still going through the process of deciding where they wanted to spend the bulk of the prime years of their adult lives.

Not only where would the outfielder play his baseball games for the next decade or so, but where would they have children, raise their family, and involve themselves in the community?

The Harper’s chose Philly, setting off a surge of enthusiasm within the frustrated fan base. He would join fellow newcomers Andrew McCutchen, J.T. Realmuto, Jean Segura, and David Robertson with a refurbished Phillies squad for the 2019 season.

Finally, after seven years out of the playoffs, the Phillies would return to play in October baseball.

As we now know, it didn’t work out as planned. Robertson pitched in seven games before his season ended with an elbow surgery that may keep him out for all of 2020 as well. McCutchen was lost for the year at the start of June with a torn ACL in his left knee.

The Phillies struggled to an 81-81 finish, continuing a now eight-year streak of non-winning seasons. They also finished the year in fourth place in the NL East Division standings, 16 games behind the division champion Atlanta Braves, a dozen in back of the eventual World Series champion Washington Nationals, and eight games off the pace for the final NL Wildcard playoff berth.

In his first season with the Phillies at age 26, Harper slashed .260/.372/.510 with 35 home runs, 36 doubles, 114 RBIs, 98 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases.

Harper joined Baseball Hall of Famers Mike Schmidt and Chuck Klein as the only players in Phillies franchise history to record a season with at least 35 homers, 100 RBIs, and 15 steals. Only Jim Thome, who blasted 47 long balls back in 2003, ever hit more home runs in their first season with the ball club.

Performing consistently in clutch, Harper provided a .357 batting average with runners in scoring position, the fourth-best mark in the NL. He was also fourth with 15 game-winning RBIs, a personal career high. His overall 114 RBIs were also a career best.

In all of baseball, Harper was one of only two players  with at least 30 homers, 110 RBIs, and 95 walks. His total of 99 walks was fifth in the National League. He recorded a five-hit game at Colorado on April 19, the first Phillies player in seven years to reach that total.

Harper was the first Phillies player since Pat Burrell in 2002 to reach 70 extra-base hits and 110 RBIs in the same season. His 42 extra-base hits at home was the second-highest ever at Citizens Bank Park behind only the 44 ripped by Chase Utley back in 2006. He became the first Phillies player since Jayson Werth in 2010 to deliver at least 290 total bases.

Prefer your stats with a more analytical slant? Harper finished with a 4.2 WAR value, second on the club only to Realmuto’s 4.4 mark. Harper’s 5.54 Win Probability Added was the second-highest of his eight-year career, behind only the 6.18 mark that he put up in his 2015 NL MVP season with Washington. In all of Major League Baseball, only MVP’s Mike Trout and Cody Bellinger and NL finalists Christian Yelich and Anthony Rendon finished with a higher WPA mark.

On August 15 against the Chicago Cubs at Citizens Bank Park, Harper provided the season’s single biggest highlight when he delivered a walkoff grand slam. He delivered that unforgettable blast against a southpaw specialist, Derek Holland, who hadn’t allowed a home run to a left-handed hitter in the previous 261 plate appearances against him.

In fact, those lefty pitchers didn’t bother him much at all relative to other left-handed hitters. Harper homered 15 times off southpaws, the second-highest figure  in baseball behind only Bellinger. From August 3 to the end of the season he hit .348 with nine homers, 24 RBIs and a 1.194 OPS against lefties.

Defensively, Harper was consistently outstanding, and became a finalist for the NL Gold Glove Award in right field. His 13 outfield assists equaled the total of his prior three seasons combined, and were tied for the NL lead, just one off the overall MLB leader. His nine defensive runs saved ranked third in the National League.

So, what more does Harper have to do for his part in the 2020 season in order to help finally push this club to a contending level? It should be obvious at this point. The answer is, of course, nothing. That’s right. Nothing.

If Harper stays healthy it would not be at all surprising that in his prime at age 27 and with a full season in Philly under his belt, we could see him take his game to an even higher level in 2020. In fact, Harper should enter the season as a leading contender for the National League Most Valuable Player Award.

That is really all the Phillies need from Harper in 2020, and it is largely out of his hands. That factor of his remaining healthy, avoiding anything more than a couple of minor physical tweaks here and there. He stays healthy, he will do his part.

In order to finally record not only their first winning season since 2011, but to reach the postseason and bring the excitement of October playoff baseball back to South Philly this year, the Phillies need more from everyone else but Harper and Realmuto.

 

MORE RECENT PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES CONTENT:

Could Matt Harvey or Derek Holland be next Phillies pitching reclamation projects?

Embed from Getty Imageswindow.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’_dp5SA0SSuhqV_KBvcvDNw’,sig:’YRLoqGk9897ldFkhs_X84AWmJv3ixaOoipmWmtlrBK0=’,w:’594px’,h:’418px’,items:’1144457864′,caption: true ,tld:’com’,is360: false })});//embed-cdn.gettyimages.com/widgets.js

After being waived by the Angels, could Matt Harvey help Phillies?

It is not secret that the Philadelphia Phillies are looking to upgrade their starting pitching rotation. As the 2019 MLB trade deadline approaches, the club has been linked to almost every arm rumored to be on the market.

General manager Matt Klentak has not limited his attempts at improving the staff to just the trade market, however. Witness this past weekend’s move to sign left-hander Drew Smyly, who had been released by the Texas Rangers.
Smyly paid off, at least for one start, when the 30-year-old, six-year veteran surrendered just one run on four hits over six innings, striking out eight and walking two in a game that the Phillies ultimately won over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Two more veterans with a track record of big-league success, one a right-hander and another a left-hander, are now also available after being recently released by their most recent clubs. The righty is 30-year-old Matt Harvey and the lefty is 32-year-old Derek Holland.
Of course, there is a reason that these pitchers, still in the back-end of their prime years, were released. Neither was impressing in this 2019 season.
Harvey was released by the Los Angeles Angels with a 3-5 record and 7.09 ERA amassed across 12 starts in which he allowed 63 hits over 59.2 innings with a 39/29 K:BB. Holland was 2-4 with a 5.90 ERA, allowing 68 hits over 68.2 innings across 31 appearances, seven of those starts, with a 71/35 K:BB.
All the way back in 2013, Harvey became a National League All-Star and finished fourth in the NL Cy Young Award voting as a 24-year-old with the New York Mets. Sadly, he required Tommy John surgery following that season and missed the entirety of the 2014 campaign.

Harvey returned strong in 2015 to win 13 games with a 2.71 ERA over 29 starts. However, he then was forced to undergo thoracic outlet surgery in the middle of the 2016 season, pretty much ending his effective time with New York.
Dealt to the Cincinnati Reds in May 2018, Harvey would go 7-7 with a 4.50 ERA overall in Cincinnati across 24 starts. This past December, Harvey signed a one-year $11 million deal as a free agent with the Angels.

Holland made his mark over eight seasons with the Texas Rangers. (Keith Allison)
Holland was recently released by the San Francisco Giants. After pitching his first eight seasons with the Texas Rangers, with whom he won 16 games as a 24-year-old back in 2011, Holland signed as a free agent with the Chicago White Sox in December 2016, then again as a free agent with the Giants in February 2018.
140 of Harvey’s 145 career appearances have come as a starter. Holland has made 221 career starts across his 275 appearances. Most of his relief outings have come over the last four years.
The question to be asked is, would either or both of these veteran pitchers be a rotation upgrade for the Phillies? Or, would they be inexpensive enough to take a flyer on, hoping to catch lightning in a bottle?
The answer to the first question is likely a no. Their recent performances have been pretty much on a par with what the Phillies were already getting from Nick Pivetta, who was bumped from the rotation with the Smyly signing.
Now, would they be inexpensive? Relatively speaking, yes. Holland would only be owed a fraction of his $7 million and Harvey a percentage of that $11 million contract. Both are only guaranteed through this season. Neither would require surrendering prospects.
For what would basically be about $8 million, the Phillies could add the two veterans to their bullpen mix, while also having some injury insurance for the rotation, as well as a potential spot-starter if one were needed at any point.
Now, would either or both accept a bullpen role? And would the Phillies entertain such moves? Those are unknowns. Neither has been publicly linked to the club at this point. But Klentak, with both the Smyly signing and the recent trade for reliever Mike Morin, has shown a willingness to try inexpensive quick fixes. These two veterans just might fit the bill as well.

Chisox plummet as new skipper Rick Renteria struggles

With eight losses in their last nine games, the Chicago White Sox are on more than a losing skid. 
The total collapse over the last week and a half has plummeted the Chisox right out of the race.
Following Friday night’s 7-3 defeat to the division-rival Cleveland Indians, the White Sox are in last place in the AL Central Division
Chicago is now 25-34, and has fallen seven games off the pace being set by the division-leading Minnesota Twins.
The primary culprit has been the pitching staff. While losing eight of their last nine games, the Chisox have surrendered at least seven runs on six separate occasions. Three times they have allowed the opposition to score in double digits.
The collapse is particularly difficult to swallow for fans, as well as for manager Rick Renteria and the team itself. Chicago began the season strong in April.
After winning six straight towards the end of the opening month, the White Sox sat at 13-9. But since reaching 15-12 on May 4, Chicago has gone just 10-22 to fall out of the race.

PITCHING A PROBLEM

James Shields, acquired in a trade last June with the San Diego Padres, is currently on the Disabled List. The 35-year old now in his 12th big league season was driven to the DL by a strained lat muscle in late April, and has made just three starts. He should return in about a week.
The bullpen really hasn’t been that bad for most of the year. And with Shields out, the #3 and #4 starters, Derek Holland and Mike Pelfrey, have pitched as well as could have been expected.
But at the top of the rotation, neither lefty Jose Quintana nor righty Miguel Gonzalez has performed to expectations.
The 28-year old Quintana, the subject of numerous trade rumors that are sure to increase, has made a dozen starts. He has a 2-7 record with a 5.30 ERA and 1.407 WHIP, and has allowed 70 hits over 69.2 innings with a 71/28 K:BB ratio.
The 33-year old Gonzalez is 4-7 with a 5.01 ERA and 1.466 WHIP mark. He has allowed 84 hits over 73.2 innings with a 42/24 K:BB ratio.
The White Sox also gave eight starts to a 25-year rookie, Dylan Covey. But the right-hander was shelled for 52 hits over 37.2 innings with just a 22/16 K:BB mark before ending up on the DL himself with a left oblique injury.

NEW SKIPPER ON THE HOT SEAT

Renteria has clearly seen enough, having huddled the team in the dugout for what was described by Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago as a “fiery meeting” on Thursday night. Hayes quoted Renteria on the timing.
“It’s like a dog that’s always barking — at some point you just start to ignore it. I think you just have to have purpose, you have to have a good feel, a sense of time for when it is you’re supposed to speak to people…you have to have the ability to articulate a message if you need to present it. Just depends, everybody’s different. The people that you’re working with alongside are ultimately dictate what you need to do.”
If the White Sox players are indeed ignoring the Renteria message, that would be a troubling development. There is a lot of baseball left to be played, and it would turn into a long, ugly summer on the South Side.
It’s hard to imagine that Chisox management would throw in the towel on the Renteria managerial era just a few months in. But if this level of play continues, the skipper will find himself on a short leash. Meanwhile, the worst record in the American League has already buried his team.