Tag: Greg Maddux

Greg Maddux, Raul Ibanez Hired by Dodgers: Latest Contract Details and Reaction

The Los Angeles Dodgers continue to add more brainpower and manpower to their front office, hiring former big leaguers Greg Maddux and Raul Ibanez on Tuesday. 

According to the Dodgers’ official Twitter account, Maddux and Ibanez have joined the team as special assistants to the president of baseball operations and baseball operations department.    

The Dodgers have had an eventful offseason, though not for reasons most fans in Los Angeles like. They lost Zack Greinke to their National League West rivals in the Arizona Diamondbacks, opting to sign Scott Kazmir and Kenta Maeda for their starting rotation. 

Yet what the Dodgers have lacked in free-agent buzz, they have more than made up for with the bolstering of their front office.

Already boasting a group that included president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, senior vice president of baseball operations Josh Byrnes and general manager Farhan Zaidi, the Dodgers brought in former Toronto Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos as vice president of baseball operations. 

The job of special assistant to the president of baseball operations, which Maddux and Ibanez will be serving, is often left vague. Many former players serve in that role, with Chipper Jones returning to the Atlanta Braves under the same banner. 

According to Mark Bowman of MLB.com, Jones’ role in Atlanta includes spending time with the team during spring training and doing work at major league and minor league levels throughout the regular season. 

Maddux and Ibanez could conceivably do the same thing for the Dodgers, helping inform Friedman and Zaidi about personnel decisions throughout the year and about when to bring players up from the minor leagues. 

Regardless of what Maddux and Ibanez will be doing for the Dodgers, their hiring continues the franchise’s trend of adding as many smart, informed baseball voices as possible to the mix so it is making the best decisions for 2016 and beyond. 

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Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony 2014: Date, Time and Key Inductees

Once a year, tiny Cooperstown, New York becomes the most important sports town in America.  

The transformation occurs when baseball’s year class of historic greats is ceremoniously inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, forever cementing their status as heroes and ambassadors of our national pastime.

This year’s class is a truly remarkable one. It features two 300-game winners, a member of the 500-home run club and three managers with eight World Series rings between them.

Here is the rundown of all the information you need to check out the induction ceremony.


2014 Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

Where: Clark Sports Center, Cooperstown, New York

When: Sunday, July 27

TV: MLB Network

Live Stream: www.baseballhall.org 


Rolling Stone‘s Dan Epstein made an excellent case regarding how this Hall of Fame class should resonate with today’s baseball fan:

And unlike last year, when the Hall inducted a class made up entirely of guys who died before America even entered World War II, all six of these gents made their HOF bones during the ’80s, ’90s and ’00s. In other words, they’re ours; if you’re a baseball fan of legal drinking age, you must at some point have rooted for (or against) these guys, while witnessing and debating and marveling at their respective accomplishments in real time.

While every member of this class is a bona-fide baseball hero, here’s a primer on the accomplishments of a few key inductees.


Greg Maddux

Greg Maddux was one of the game’s smartest pitchers, thumbing his way to 355 wins and an astonishing career 3.16 ERA. 

The numbers during his run of four consecutive Cy Young Awards are a beauty to behold, even in table form.

His control of the ball and mastery of the strike zone were nearly unparalleled in baseball history. In 5008.1 innings pitched, Maddux gave up just 999 walks. He made a fine living painting the black with his array of darting fastballs and change-ups.

According to Maddux, the Hall of Fame call hasn’t changed his day-to-day existence.

“Not really,” he said, via the Chicago Tribune‘s Paul Sullivan (subscription required). “Still take the trash out.”

There are a number of wonderful nuggets to be found in Maddux’s career statistics. He recorded a stolen base at the age of 42 with the San Diego Padres. Not bad for a pitcher in his 23rd season of pro baseball.

This is certainly a big weekend for Braves fans, as four of the inductees have been involved with the team at some point in their careers. It’s tough to stratify the greatness of this class, but Maddux just might be the most impressive of them all.


Frank Thomas

The Big Hurt.

One of the great nicknames in all of sports belongs to one of baseball’s all-time mashers. Thomas amassed 521 home runs and 1,704 RBI in a mind-blowing 19-year career.

The two-time MVP put up eye-popping numbers throughout the 1990s and 2000s, thanks to a laser-sharp focus (.301 career batting average) and an imposing physical presence at the plate. 

Perhaps the biggest shock of Thomas’ career is that he made only five All-Star teams, despite hitting over 30 home runs in a season nine times.

Everyone talks about Thomas’ prodigious power but former teammate Paul Konerko noted he had a truly sublime swing.

“Most people look at the size and strength, but that’s really secondary,” Konerko said, via the Chicago Tribune‘s Paul Sullivan. “His swing was really good and just designed to be more for average, not for power. But with his size and strength, it turns into more than that.”

Thomas was a terror right up until the very end of his career, mashing 39 home runs at the age of 38 in his first season with the Oakland Athletics and another 26 dingers with the Toronto Blue Jays the very next year.


Joe Torre

You may not like Joe Torre, but you can’t argue with his success as a manager. 

Torre led the New York Yankees to four World Series titles in the 1990s, commandeering the likes of Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams and Jorge Posada. His Yankees made the playoffs in each of his 12 years in charge.

Brad Horn, the Hall’s vice president of communications and education, believes Torre could bring a huge crowd to Cooperstown. Via MLB.com’s Paul Hagen:

And here in New York state, Joe Torre is about as popular a figure as they come when it comes to baseball. We feel like many Yankees fans could just drive over for the day just to celebrate Joe Torre’s election. It just has the right recipe for a very large weekend here in Cooperstown.

Torre didn’t have quite as much success as a manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers at the end of his coaching career, nor did he look like a future member of the Hall after stints with the Atlanta Braves, New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals. No matter, as his legacy is firmly intact thanks to his accomplishments with the Yankees.

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Greg Maddux Will Not Be Unanimous 2014 MLB Hall of Fame Inductee

It’s a matter of when—not if—former MLB ace Greg Maddux will get inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. The retired starting pitcher is eligible for the first time in 2014 and is almost universally viewed as worthy of being enshrined in Cooperstown as a first-ballot choice.   

However, Dodgers beat reporter Ken Gurnick did not put Maddux on his ballot, thwarting the pitcher’s bid to be the first unanimous inductee in history.

Gurnick defended his decision to leave Maddux out, and the only player he included was five-time All-Star pitcher Jack Morris—who won the 1991 World Series MVP with the Minnesota Twins—per MLB.com:

Morris has flaws—a 3.90 ERA, for example. But he gets my vote for more than a decade of ace performance that included three 20-win seasons, Cy Young Award votes in seven seasons and Most Valuable Player Award votes in five. As for those who played during the period of PED use, I won’t vote for any of them.

All 16 of the other MLB.com writers had Maddux on the ballot, and all 17 ESPN.com experts backed him, too.

The 2014 inductees will be announced on Wednesday, Jan. 8, at 2 p.m. ET, and a 75 percent majority is required for those on the ballot to get in.

The resume Maddux put together was built on uncanny precision rather than the power that most of today’s best pitchers use to blow by opposing hitters. With his pinpoint command and unconventional changing of speeds, Maddux won at least 15 games for 17 consecutive seasons (1988 to 2004).

He also won four straight NL Cy Young Awards between 1992 and 1995 and was an 18-time Gold Glove Award winner. For his outstanding career accomplishments, “The Professor” had his No. 31 retired by the Chicago Cubs and the Atlanta Braves back in 2009.

If Maddux’s velocity and production weren’t steadily declining toward the end of his career, perhaps there would be more merit to a PED-based accusation.

As CBSSports.com’s Mike Axisa points out, it is unclear what Gurnick means by the “period of PED use” and that the careers of Maddux and Morris have some overlap that weakens the foundation of the beat writer’s argument:

The…”period of PED use” is incredibly ambiguous. There is no defined start or end point and there never will be, so it seems weird to assume Morris never pitched against (or alongside) PED users. In fact, his career and Maddux’s career overlap by nine years (1986-94). If we’re assuming 1995 is the start of the Steroid Era, well Maddux had 131 wins, three Cy Youngs and 40.7 WAR before then. Morris retired with 43.8 WAR.

For his career, Maddux compiled a record of 355-227 with a 3.16 ERA and won a World Series with the Braves in 1995.

All the marks of a champion define the 47-year-old’s MLB legacy. The final ballot results will reflect that and get Maddux to Cooperstown in short order.

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Writer’s Trivial Rule Will Cost Greg Maddux Unanimous Hall of Fame Vote

As was first reported this morning by Al Yellon of Bleed Cubbie Blue, former Cub Greg Maddux will not be voted into the Hall of Fame unanimously because of his omission on at least one ballot. However, the writer’s explanation for why he left Maddux off the ballot is ridiculous. 

Dodgers beat reporter Ken Gurnick says that he will only vote for Jack Morris for the Hall of Fame. His explanation? He won’t vote for anyone that played during the Steroid Era. 

The 6′ 0″, 170-lb Maddux is being cost the first unanimous Hall of Fame induction because of the missteps of his peers. If anything, Maddux deserves more recognition for dominating during the Steroid Era without juicing himself. 

To compare Maddux with known steroid-user Roger Clemens, Maddux had 355 wins compared to Clemens’ 354 in his career while playing one less season. Additionally, both players had almost identical ERAs for their careers; Maddux’s career mark was 3.16 while Clemens’ was 3.12. 

Basically, without juicing, Maddux was able to produce similar career results to that of a known steroid user. Therefore, not voting him in on the basis of playing in the Steroid Era is absurd. 

Baseball Think Factory confirmed that Maddux wouldn’t be voted in unanimously as it reported results at 12:35 pm CST today and Maddux had 99.4 percent of the 155 submitted ballots. 

While it’s possible that Gurnick won’t be the only writer not to vote Maddux into the Hall of Fame, his explanation for keeping The Professor out of the Hall is trivial. A man who overcame the Steroid Era and didn’t succumb to it doesn’t deserve to be left out because of a culture that he didn’t adopt.

If this vote has made anything clear it’s that if Maddux doesn’t get into the Hall of Fame unanimously, nobody ever will.

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Should Greg Maddux Break Tom Seaver’s Hall of Fame Voting Record?

When somebody finally goes into the Baseball Hall of Fame as a unanimous selection, the sport will have a new unbreakable record to put next the nine-pitch, three-strikeout inning.

Until then, the score to beat is the 98.84 percent of the vote that Tom Seaver got in 1992. If ever there was a guy to beat it, hey, how about Greg Maddux in his first year on the ballot?

Three things: A) He actually has a shot, B) He darn well should have a chance and C) Alas, he probably won’t.

First things first. Point A isn’t some wild guess. It’s actually true, and we know it thanks to Baseball Think Factory.

All of the votes are in at this point, and we won’t know the whole story until January 8. But BBTF has scanned the 107 Hall of Fame ballots that have been made public, and all of them have Maddux listed. He’s on pace to not only beat Seaver’s record, but to be the first unanimous Hall of Famer.

Now, these 107 ballots hardly account for the bulk of the total number of ballots. Per Baseball-Reference.com, there were 569 ballots cast in 2013. The ones we’ve seen so far make up less than 20 percent of that total, and it’s possible that more ballots will be cast this year.

Even still, what’s out there now at least serves as confirmation of something all of us saw coming: that the voters were really going to like Maddux this year. And rightfully so. What counts the most when it comes to Cooperstown is a player’s career performance, and there’s no arguing that Maddux didn’t have one of the great careers in pitching history.

Behold an obligatory glance at some of the crafty right-hander’s career numbers and where they rank, with data courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs:

Note: For rate stats like ERA and ERA+, a baseline of 3,000 innings pitched was set.

Maddux doesn’t rate as one of the all-time greats across the board. But regardless of which camp a voter is coming from, all-time greatness is rarely this clear.

Old-school-minded voters can gravitate toward Maddux’s 355 wins and heavy workload. New-school-minded voters will see him as a top-10 all-time pitcher based on ERA+ and both of the major WAR calculations. 

To boot, there’s how Maddux compares to Tom Terrific. Stack the two pitchers up against one another, and it’s clear that it wouldn’t be a tragedy if he got a higher percent of the vote than Seaver did:

This is actually a really good comparison, but there are reasons for both the old guard and the new guard to gravitate toward Maddux. For the old, he won a lot more games and pitched a lot more innings than Seaver. For the new, Seaver’s advantage in rWAR is balanced out by Maddux’s advantage in ERA+ and fWAR.

Maddux also won four Cy Youngs to Seaver’s three. He led the league in ERA four times to Seaver’s three and in ERA+ five times to Seaver’s three. Both only won one World Series, but Maddux pitched to a 2.09 ERA in three World Series. Seaver pitched to a 2.70 ERA in two World Series.

So all-time great pitcher? Check.

Arguably better than the pitcher with the all-time highest Hall of Fame voting percentage? Check.

In these two reasons alone, voters have enough incentive to make Maddux the new Hall of Fame vote king.

But we haven’t even gotten to the other big thing he has working for him: He’s the ultimate anti-Steroid Era Cooperstown candidate.

Think back to the year 1993. That was the year that scoring suddenly skyrocketed across MLB, and starting pitchers were not spared. Per FanGraphs, the average ERA for starters ballooned from 3.85 in 1992 to 4.26 in ’93 and stayed safely above 4.00 for many years.

Maddux, however, was not affected. He was already established as an elite pitcher by the time ’93 rolled around, and he maintained that status through the next decade.

To illustrate the point, here’s this:

Maddux’s ERA+ in this span was 171. For some perspective, Seaver’s ERA+ during his best 10-year stretch from 1968 to 1977 was 144.

For further perspective, here’s where Maddux checked in among his peers in that 1993-2002 window:

Note: Here, the baseline for the rate stats was set at 1,000 innings pitched. 

Maddux’s only real peers in this span were Pedro Martinez and Randy Johnson. And while they were obviously exceptional, neither worked as many innings as Maddux did.

Also, neither carved through the Steroid Era quite like Maddux did.

I’ll clarify in BIG BOLD LETTERS that I’m not implicating Martinez or the Big Unit of wrongdoing, but they did fight fire with fire during the Steroid Era. Both spent the bulk of the era blowing hitters away. In the face of unprecedented power hitting, their power pitching often won the day.

That wasn’t the case with Maddux. He sat in the high-80s on a good day, favoring ground balls over strikeouts and getting plenty of them thanks to location, movement and an uncanny ability to always be one step ahead of the opposition. 

At a time when the league was characterized by brawn, Maddux used his brain to get by. It’s that and the numbers that make him the ultimate anti-Steroid Era Hall of Fame candidate.

That takes care of one half of the Hall of Fame voting guidelines, and there’s not much to be said about the other half: the “integrity, sportsmanship, character” part that essentially asks if a player was a decent guy.

We can make this simple. ESPN.com’s Gene Wojciechowski wrote a column after Maddux retired in 2008 that chided the hurler for never being greedy, brash, intimidating, quotable, controversial, narcissistic or flashy enough.

That seems to sum him up quite well. All Maddux ever did was pitch.

So then, let’s recap. What we’ve established is that Maddux is a clear all-time great, arguably better than the man with the all-time highest voting percentage, a man who conquered an era of strength using smarts and a decent guy on the side.

Sounds like a guy with a reasonable shot at being the first unanimous selection or, at the least, one with a chance at topping Seaver’s record. There are no rational reasons to deny Maddux either honor.

But there’s the bad news: The Hall of Fame voting doesn’t necessarily run according to rational reasoning. It’s influenced just as much by…well, other forces.

Take, for example, why Seaver didn’t get 100 percent of the vote in 1992. According to The New York Times:

Three [voters] mailed in a blank ballot, protesting the Hall of Fame’s edict that anybody on baseball’s ineligible list, meaning Pete Rose, is ineligible for consideration. One of the five doesn’t vote for first-year eligibles. One confessed to overlooking Seaver shortly after open-heart surgery.

We’ll give the guy who overlooked Seaver a pass. He had a pretty good excuse. As for the other four, however, all you can say is this: typical.

According to MLB.com, five voters turned in blank ballots last year. One of them, Mark Faller of the Arizona Republic, wrote that he was too angry to vote for anyone. Another, Howard Bryant of ESPN.com, cited an “inability to reach a comfortable verdict on a colossal mess.”

So yeah, blank ballots happen. And when they happen, they happen for silly reasons. When it happens again this year, it won’t make any sense. 

Then there are those who just don’t vote for first-time players out of some sort of twisted principle. There was only one of those guys in 1992. There are probably more now. Call it a hunch.

Then there are those who might take the Game Theory route, a possibility that SI.com’s Jay Jaffe raised in a recent Hall of Fame column. Some voters may figure Maddux is getting in regardless and choose to leave him off their ballots so they can slip a less obvious Cooperstown candidate a vote.

We could go on and on about the various reasons voters have for not voting for deserving Hall of Famers, but we don’t need to. It’s a depressing topic to get into, for one. For two, the point has been made: There are voters who are just as likely to not vote for Maddux as they are to vote for him.

By all rights, Maddux should be the guy to break Seaver’s voting record. He has the goods of a guy who deserves to do so.

But he won’t. When it comes to the Hall of Fame voting, what should happen and what does happen are never the same.


Note: Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted/linked. 


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Chicago Cubs: The Chicago Cubs’ All-Time Team

When composing this lineup, there were some selections that caused some second-guessing and hesitation before the final decisions were made—not just whom to include, but where to place them in the field for those who played multiple positions.

There was some internal debate on where to play Ernie Banks on the Chicago Cubs’ All-Time Team.  He played parts of nine seasons at shortstop and 11 at first base, with some time at third base and in the outfield sprinkled in.

The team is ordered as the positions are numbered on the field, except for the outfield positions, with a single starting pitcher to round out the squad.

You may agree or disagree with some, all or none of the selected players, but please enjoy the slideshow and engage in civil debate.

Now, without further ado…

Begin Slideshow

Atlanta Braves History: Greatest Players of the 1990s

The 1990s were the start of greatness for the Atlanta Braves.

It was the start of 14-straight division titles, where the staple for the Braves was pitching.

Throughout the decade, the Braves won a total of 925 games.

After a dismal 1990 season where they went 65-97, the Braves went worst-to-first in 1991, making it all the way to the World Series where they lost to the Minnesota Twins in seven games.

The next year, the Braves saw the same kind of success in the National League, again making it to the World Series. However, the Braves fell again, this time to the Toronto Blue Jays in six games.

Many players made their mark on the Braves throughout the 90s. Here’s a look at the 10 best.

Note: This is the fourth in a five-part series on the best Braves of each decade.

Begin Slideshow

Jered Weaver and the 20 Best Younger Brothers in Major League Baseball History

There have been over 350 brothers to play in Major League Baseball history.

In some of them, the older brother was the better player.  Hank Aaron was easily a better player than Tommie Aaron.  Paul Waner was better than his younger brother Lloyd, but both are in the Hall of Fame.

So, out of all the brothers to play at the major league level, which of the younger brothers were better than their older siblings?

I came up with a list of 20 younger brothers who were better than their older brothers.  Some may surprise you because you may not know they had an older brother in baseball (I know a couple of them surprised me).

This list is not in any particular order, just who I consider the 20 best younger brothers in baseball history when compared to their older brothers.

Let’s start with the active players.

Begin Slideshow

MLB Power Rankings: The Greatest Pitcher In The History of Every Franchise

I spend way to much time at baseballreference.com. For real. There actually might be something wrong with me. I don’t know what it is about baseball statistics and history that fascinates so much, all I know is that I’ve studied this stuff since I was eight years old and got my first pack of cards.

In one of my days of “research,” I compiled a list of the greatest pitchers for each franchise. There were teams like Atlanta that had guys like Warren Spahn, Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine. Then there were teams like the Milwaukee Brewers that hadn’t ever had a great pitcher in the history of their franchise. Guys like Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling didn’t make this list, but others like Doug Drabek did. 

So anyway, here are greatest pitchers in each teams history.

Writer’s Note: Players had to be playing during or after Jackie Robinson’s debut to be considered (for obvious reasons). Baseball has been around for ever, and you gotta draw the line somewhere. 

Begin Slideshow

Comparing Pitching Staffs: 2011 Philadelphia Phillies to 1993 Atlanta Braves

The Cliff Lee signing has put together one of the greatest pitching staffs in recent memory.

The last staff that looked this dominant on paper was the 1993 Atlanta Braves.

Like the Phillies, the Braves had recently signed the best free agent pitcher on the market in Greg Maddux. Maddux had just come off a 20 win season for the Chicago Cubs, and won his first of four consecutive NL Cy Young awards.

Maddux led a staff of four dominating pitchers in Atlanta in 1993. In addition to Maddux, there were also future Hall of Famers in Tom Glavine and John Smoltz. Steve Avery rounded out the four-headed monster in Atlanta that dominated the NL that year with a record of 105-57.

Greg Maddux/ Cliff Lee

The pitching staff comparison starts with Lee and Maddux. Maddux was perhaps the best pitcher of his era. He was a “pitcher’s pitcher,” nicknamed the “Professor.” Maddux would paint the black of the plate consistently. Maddux was known for his control of the strike zone, and craftiness to get hitters out.

Lee has been the best control pitcher in baseball over the last three years. His K/BB ratio of 10.26 in 2010 was the second best of all time, falling only behind Bret Saberhagen in 1994. Fifth and ninth on the all time best K/BB seasons was none other than Maddux.

Maddux in 1993 won his second NL Cy Young. He went 20-10 on the year. He had an ERA of 2.36, with 197 strikeouts over 267.0 innings.

Lee went 12-9 last season, despite missing some time early in the season, and playing the majority of the season for one of the worst offensive teams in the American League.

Given the fact that Philadelphia scored 4.76 runs per game last season, compared to the Mariners 3.16 per game, the win total for Lee should obviously trend upward. 

Season Prediction for Lee: 18-9, 3.05 ERA, 175 K’s over 215.0 innings.

John Smoltz/ Roy Halladay

John Smoltz compares most favorably with Roy Halladay.

Smoltz was the Robin to Maddux’s Batman on the 1993 Atlanta Braves. Gifted with great talent, and a devastating split finger fastball, Smoltz was the strikeout pitcher in the rotation.

After being plucked out of the Detroit Tigers organization in 1987, for then 36-year-old Doyle Alexander, Smoltz dominated for the Braves. He made his debut for the Braves in 1988 and proceeded to put together a Hall of Fame career.

During the 1993 season, Smoltz went 15-11. He had an ERA of 3.62 over 243.2 innings, and struck out 208 batters.

Halladay came to the Phillies last season, after spending 12 seasons in Toronto with the Blue Jays.

In his first season in Philadelphia, Roy “The Doc” Halladay, made an immediate impact.

Going 21-10 and winning the NL Cy Young would be enough for some pitchers to be happy, Halladay went a few steps further.

On May 29th, 2010, Halladay pitched a perfect game against the Florida Marlins. In his first ever playoff appearance, Halladay went on to pitch the second-ever postseason no-hitter, while facing the Cincinnati Reds.

Season Prediction for Halladay: 19-10, 2.65 ERA, 220 K’s over 230.0 innings.

Tom Glavine/ Cole Hamels

Tom Glavine was a crafty left-handed pitcher for the Atlanta Braves in 1993.

Glavine was a two sport star, being drafted early in the 1984 NHL Draft. Glavine was also drafted by the Atlanta Braves that year in the second round. He eventually decided on baseball, making his MLB Debut in 1987, marking the first season of the future 300 game winner.

Glavine, the 1995 World Series MVP and two time NL Cy Young winner, relied on location of an average fastball mixed in with great breaking pitches, most notably a circle changeup on the outside of the plate.

Glavine had his third straight 20 win season in 1993, going 22-6 that season. He had a 3.20 ERA over 239.1 innings to go along with his 120 K’s.

Cole Hamels, 26, was drafted by the Phillies in 2002 and made his debut in 2006.

He has been instrumental in turning the Phillies into a National League powerhouse. His most notable accomplishment was winning the 2008 World Series MVP, while pitching the Phillies to the title.

Hamels, like Glavine, is a left-handed pitcher who spots a good fastball, and relies on a dominating circle changeup to get batters out.

Over the second half of 2010, Hamels may have been the best pitcher in the NL. Despite an underwhelming 12-11 record, this was not indicative of his season. He also sported only a 3.06 ERA over 208.2 innings with 211 K’s.

Season Prediction for Hamels: 16-10, 3.30 ERA, 210 K’s over 200.0 innings.

Steve Avery/ Roy Oswalt

Steve Avery, though many forget, was one of the best starting pitchers in the National League from 1991-1993. His unexpected and quick decline from dominance after the 1993 season tends to overshadow his accomplishments in the early 90s.

Avery, a left-hander, was the 1991 ALCS MVP. He had a great 1993 season, which was his best as a pro. He went 18-6 with a 2.94 ERA over 223.1 innings to go with his 125 K’s.

Oswalt came to Philadelphia last season from the Houston Astros, after being one of the more dominant pitchers in the NL over the last decade.

The right-handed Oswalt still has electric stuff and could be one of the best fourth starters in MLB history. The 2005 NLCS MVP had another great season in 2010. He went a combined 13-13 between the Phillies and Astros. He had a 2.76 ERA over 211.2 innings with 193 K’s.

Season Prediction for Oswalt: 17-8, 2.90 ERA, 190 K’s over 210.0 innings.


The Phillies now have, with all respect to San Francisco, the best starting staff in all of baseball. Given the top five offense that they can also field, the Phillies should role through the NL East in 2011.

The Phillies in 2010 won the NL East with a ML best record of 97-65. This was quite impressive, due to the extended time missed by Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and others throughout the season.

The Phillies, if healthy, have one of the better lineups in the NL, despite losing Jason Werth to the Nationals this offseason.

If the rotation stays healthy, the top four pitchers could win 70-75 games all by themselves. Not to mention, Joe Blanton, as a fifth starter, won 9 games last season. Add that to the bullpen wins and you have a team that could potentially win 110 games next season.

2011 Philadelphia Phillies season prediction: Since we are doing a 1993 Atlanta Braves comparison, I think 105-57 season is a good barometer for the the 2011 Phillies.


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