JA Happ, 26, lefty – This rookie got a taste of the Bigs in 2008, appearing in 8 games and sporting an impressive 3.69 ERA with a 1-0 record. He also received the benefit of counseling from veteran Jamie Moyer, giving Happ a better idea of how to survive in the Majors.
Kyle Kendrick, 24, righty – After an outstanding rookie season with the Phillies in 2007, this youngster lost his starting spot in 2008 to the above mentioned JA Happ. His sinker was sunk by late August and memories his 11-9 record and dreadful 5.49 ERA will not help Kendrick in his quest this year to get back on track.
Chan Ho Park, 35, righty – 15 year veteran and newcomer to the Phillies with a fresh $2.5 million dollar one-year deal, Park has chosen to battle for the 5th spot. He expressed his dedication to winning the job by deciding to pass on the World Baseball Classic this year. Lifetime ERA is 4.34 with a record of 117-92.
Carlos Carrasco, 21, righty – Oh, to be so young! And Carrasco’s age is exactly why he is the most unlikely candidate to win this competition. As the Phillies top pitching prospect, I am betting they will likely leave him in the oven to season a bit longer before trying him out in the Big Show.
So who is missing from this picture? Adam Eaton. Yes, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has listed his candidates for this competition and strategically left out Eaton’s name each time. Despite his huge contract with $8.5 million dollars owed to him, the money issue is now heavily outweighed by the awful performances and, I am betting, his lack of interest in getting back to form. Look for Eaton to get the boot early; either to another team or he’ll be sent home to veg-out on his couch.
My prediction: Happ will win the spot. He is a steady force on the mound with good control and an unwavering personality; Happ works well under pressure. Kendrick, clearly, does not. 2007 was not hard to handle for Kendrick as the expectations were very low. It became a whole new ballgame when the pressure was on in 2008. Carrasco is too young, although he may surprise people, and Park is aging. Not everyone grows younger with age, like Jamie Moyer.
If all else fails and a decision becomes difficult, the Phillies could put these guys through another sort of testing to decide:
– Rock, paper, scissors: It’s all about strategy. And you have to know your opponent. They can even change it up to make it baseball oriented; how about Bat, ball, Ryan Howard’s glove? Bat beats ball, ball beats Ryan Howard’s glove, and Howard’s glove beats nothing. If these guys can’t figure out how to win at this game, they do not deserve to be in the Majors. :O)
– Duck, Duck, Goose: Change it to Phillies, Phillies, Nationals – the Nats are always chasing other teams anyway. Whoever loses gets traded to the last place Nationals and in exchange,
they send us Scott Olsen, gagged, bound and dart-board ready. :O)
– Twister: but only if I am allowed to participate :O)
Best of luck boys!
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