Philadelphia Phillies Finish Month of May: Grading the Pitching, Player By Player

The Philadelphia Phillies rebounded from a tough April to win 16 games in May, posting the second-best performance in all of baseball from the starting pitchers. The Phillies’ rotation combined to post a 3.48 ERA and a 6.0 WAR that ranked second to just the Washington Nationals in all of baseball. Meanwhile, the bullpen was pretty subpar, posting a 4.65 ERA that was second-worst in the game, along with an 0.1 WAR that was fifth-worst among all 30 teams.

Roy Halladay: Roy Halladay endured one of the worst months of his career in May 2012, going 1-3 with a miserable 6.11 ERA, and actually finishing the calendar month on the DL with a strained lat that will probably sideline him for up to two or three months. Halladay was typically solid in his other statistics – he struck out nearly a batter per inning, walked just 1.02 per nine innings, and was the team’s third best pitcher (0.5) in terms of WAR. Grade: D+

Cliff Lee: Cliff Lee’s amazing streak of pitching well without getting a win continued through the entire month of May, as he threw 34 innings over five starts, posting a 3.71 ERA, a 9.53/9 strikeout rate, and a 2.12 BB/9 rate, but he went just 0-1. Lee’s 2.79 xFIP was excellent, and his 0.6 WAR total was the second best on the team. Grade: B

Cole Hamels: Cole Hamels continues to make a strong case for a new contract with every single start. In the month of May, he was 5-0 in six starts, pitching 44 innings while striking out 42 and walking just 11. He fashioned a 2.25 ERA and was by far the Phillies’ most consistent pitcher in the month. Grade: A

Vance Worley: Vance Worley only made two starts before landing on the 15-day disabled list with an elbow injury, but he was particularly ineffective when he did pitch. Worley was 1-1 with a 6.00 ERA, allowing a .347 opponents batting average and a 1.75 WHIP. His xFIP of 2.93 says he should have been better if you look at his peripheral numbers, but unfortunately he wasn’t. Grade: D

Joe Blanton: Joe Blanton was 2-2 with a 5.94 ERA in six starts, seeing an expected regression to the mean following his unmaintainable month of April. He was a workhorse, giving the Phillies solid innings in his outings, but he’s really just an average starter who has his good months as well as his bad ones. This happened to be a bad one. Grade: D-

Kyle Kendrick: Kyle Kendrick can be a valuable pitcher when he fills in as both the spot starter and the long reliever. In the month of May, he was 1-2 with a 2.89 ERA in 28 innings, pitching four times as a starter and once as a reliever. Kendrick has an extremely low strikeout rate, but he has good control and he gets out by pitching to contact and hoping for outs. In May, he did pretty well at this. Grade: B

Jonathan Papelbon: Jonathan Papelbon still hasn’t blown a save, going 6-for-6 in May with a 3.38 ERA. He can be shaky when it isn’t a save situation, but he’s a power pitcher who struck out nearly 12 batters per nine innings, walked just 0.84, and posted an extremely impressive 83.3 percent left on base rate. Grade: B

Antonio Bastardo: I’m pleasantly surprised with how well Antonio Bastardo continues to pitch. He was 2-0 with an 0.79 ERA in 13 appearances in May, striking out over 10 batters per nine innings and allowing just four hits in 11.1 innings pitched. Bastardo registered eight holds, which shows how valuable he is a setup man. Grade: A

Chad Qualls: Chad Qualls really came back down to earth in May, and if he continues to pitch like this, it wouldn’t shock me if the Phillies DFA him a la Danys Baez from last year. Qualls was 0-1 with a 6.10 ERA, allowing 16 hits, five walks (three intentional), and four home runs in 10.1 innings pitched. Basically, he was downright ineffective, registering awful numbers no matter how you look at it – 6.97 K/9, 4.35 BB/9, 3.48 HR/9, 6.10 ERA, 7.97 FIP, and a team-worst -0.5 WAR. Grade: F

Jose Contreras: Jose Contreras wasn’t too bad in May, especially for a 40-year old pitcher coming off surgery. He saw action in 12 games, posting a 4.50 ERA and 2.73 FIP. Contreras is no longer used in eighth or ninth inning situations as he was in 2010 and even some in 2011, but he wasn’t bad as one of the guys in the rotation in May. Grade: B-

Jake Diekman: Jake Diekman throws a 95 mile per hour fastball and an 82 mile per hour slider, and couple with the fact that he’s a young lefty, and you have a guy that has a promising future on the club. Diekman was extremely impressive, save for one outing, and although he finished with a 5.68 ERA, he posted some pretty incredible peripheral numbers – 17.05 K/9, 0.00 HR/9, 0.66 FIP, and a 1.11 xFIP that led to an 0.3 WAR. Grade: B

Brian Sanches: Brian Sanches really has no future with the Phillies, and he simply made appearances because somebody needed to pitch the innings he pitched. Sanches was 0-1 with an 11.25 ERA in four innings pitched, posting an awful 4.50 HR/9 rate and 9.53 FIP that maybe suggest he shouldn’t really be pitching in the big leagues. Grade: F

Michael Schwimer: Like Sanches, Michael Schwimer is simply overmatched in the major leagues. He pitched in three games, going 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA in four innings, allowing five hits and a ridiculous four walks. Schwimer also blew a save and posted a 7.01 xFIP. Grade: D

Raul Valdes: Raul Valdes did pretty well for a lefty call-up that wasn’t supposed to contribute much. He was 2-0 (picking up both wins in a span of a little over 24 hours), posting a 3.00 ERA and 2.36 FIP in nine innings pitched. Valdes struck out 11 and accumulated a WAR of 0.2 Grade: A-

Around the Web