Year in Review: Joe Blanton – Phillies Nation
2009 Year in Review

Year in Review: Joe Blanton

Philadelphia Phillies' Joe Blanton throws during the second inning of Game 4 of the Major League Baseball World Series against the New York Yankees Sunday, Nov. 1, 2009, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)From one big guy to another, we look at the biggest pitcher of the crew, Joe Blanton.

For a stretch of roughly two months, Blanton was the most reliable starter in the Phillies rotation.  On July 5, he held the Mets to four hits over 7 1/3 innings, allowing no runs.  From that point until the 5th of September, Blanton would put together 11 straight quality starts, while lowering his ERA nearly a run. For being “only” a number three or four starter, that’s was quite impressive to see for such a lengthy period.

Beyond that ridiculous streak, the season as a whole was certainly a success for Big Joe.  He finished with a team-high 12 wins (tied with Happ and Moyer) and finished with a 4.05 ERA, a respectable figure for a mid-rotation type pitcher.  His 163 strikeouts on the year were second to Cole Hamels, and were a career best for Blanton.

The middle months were clearly the apex of the 2009 season as Blanton struggled with inconsistencies in April and September.  The opening month was disastrous for the Tennessean, as he allowed 19 earned runs in just over 20 innings. He then blazed through the summer before fading a bit in the final month.

September, and for one start in October, proved to be erratic for Blanton.  He began the month with the last quality start of the 11-game personal streak, then allowed Washington to tag him for eight runs in 4 2/3 innings.  Following that dud, Big Joe did not give up a run in back-to-back games, then was spanked for 10 earned during his last two starts of the season.

In the playoffs, Blanton was utilized precariously, beginning as a starter, while working his way back into the rotation in the Dodgers series. The best word to describe him during the postseason has to be “adequate.”  He did not wow anyone with his overall performance, but was his usual six inning, three-or-four earned run self. His mantra of keeping the Phillies in most games served him well in the playoffs, although his World Series start ended in defeat.

For the 2009 season, Blanton made slightly less than $5.5 million, and will surely be due for a raise this off-season.  This is his final year of salary arbitration, meaning he can become a free agent in 2011 should the Phillies not lock him up long term.

For at least one more season, Blanton will be a major part of the Phillies rotation.  The fans enjoy his consistency, his gamer nature, and his blue-collar presence on the mound. After a solid, but unspectacular ’09 campaign, you can expect all of the above to continue in 2010 here in Philadelphia.

2009 numbers: 31 starts, 195.1 IP 12-8, 4.05 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 163/59 K/BB

GRADE: 5.8/10 – Blanton has proven to be an adequate middle of the rotation starter.  He won’t wow you, but he’ll do his best to keep the Phils in most games.

Pat Gallen can be reached via email at



  1. Matt

    November 9, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    I think 5.8 is a little bit low to be honest. I think he performed closer to the 7 plateau due to the fact that when he had to, he stepped up and really kept the team afloat. i mean on a 100 point scale you gave him a 58 and that’s failing man! He gets a C at least from me

  2. Don M

    November 9, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    I just don’t understand how the grading system works I guess..

    a “5.8” is random.. but say its out of 100 instead of 10 ..

    and that grade means a 58 out of 100, which is a FAILING GRADE

    So im not sure what they are being graded against.. Howard got a 9.0.. or 90 of 100 .

    Was Blanton great, NO .. but of a 1-to-10 scale, he gets at least 6.5

    of a 1-to-100 scale.. you would have to give him at least a passing grade.. right?

    maybe im reading too much into the grading system

  3. Manny

    November 9, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    I’d say he was a STRONG (not “adequate”) middle of the rotation starter, but that’s just me. I’d also give him a 7 or something along those lines.

  4. mw_rickert

    November 9, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    I would give Blanton a 7 because of what he did as a middle rotation guy. Also to go back on Howard, I would give him a 10 for another 40+hr 130+rbi. Howard is not Pujols no matter how much we want him to be. If Howard batterd .300 his numbers would be so inflated he’d win MVP award every year.

  5. Pat Gallen

    November 9, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    I figured I’d hear about that rating at some point. I just went with 5 as an average major league starter, and he fits in as just above average in my mind. Could have been a tick higher I suppose.

  6. Don M

    November 9, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    ok.. that makes more sense

    average MLB starter.. would have the 4.50 ERA, 10 wins, etc..

    So it would be a stretch to give Blanton a 7, when Cliff Lee would only merit an 8.5 or so

    Blanton, on that scale, would still be around a 6.0 – 6.5 in my mind.. he had a nice season.. a couple No Decision that easily could have made him a 15-game winner … Was GREAT in stretches, and then got POUNDED in stretches..

    but overall a nice season from our #3- #4 pitcher

  7. Pat Gallen

    November 9, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    The grading system is very elementary. It’s basically me throwing a number up there. So don’t look too much into it.

  8. The Dipsy

    November 9, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    Pat, why don’t you just work it like in school. Blanton should be a 7.8 or 78 or a C+, which is basically what he is. Or are we grading these guys “relative to expectations”? Just a thought.

    The Dipsy

  9. joedad

    November 9, 2009 at 5:18 pm

    I agree with the 7 rating assuming Lincicum was 10 and Lidge was 1.

  10. Pat Gallen

    November 9, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    yeah, but then everyone is too lumped together in that area. I’ll just keep it at 1-bad, 5-average, 10-the best. And work around it.

  11. dudley monk

    November 9, 2009 at 7:04 pm

    I like the grading system and the analysis. Right on with Blanton and I agree he deserves a few extra ticks — perhaps up to 6.5 because of the streak and the 12 victories being above average. It is a different grading system, but a good one.

  12. Manny

    November 9, 2009 at 7:29 pm

    That makes more sense, thanks Pat for the clarification.

  13. Dan S

    November 9, 2009 at 9:39 pm

    definately higher than 5.8 I’d say 6 or 7. He was the most consistent phillies pitcher all year

  14. Jeff K

    November 9, 2009 at 10:59 pm

    5.8?? I’m all about the random, but if you can honestly say why he wasn’t a 5.5 or a 6.0… more power to you. Second, is this a 10 point scale based on the individual player? Or is it scaled against the team? I mean, a 9/10 for Ryan Howard and what we expect of him means he’s pretty damn close to living up to HIS potential … so a 5.8 out of 10 for Blanton means he’s … failing? …almost failing? against HIS potential? I don’t think so… Joe’s at least a 7.25.

  15. Brendan

    November 9, 2009 at 11:22 pm

    Kentucky Joe was dominant all summer. At least a 7. Couldnt get into a rhythm in the playoffs because we had no pen. Free agent year coming up, I expect big things, say 200 ip. 16-8 3.80 ERA. He gonna want that 200 ip. on his resume going into free agency…

  16. Pat Gallen

    November 9, 2009 at 11:48 pm

    Jeff K. if you read above, its going by 1-bad, 5-average, 10-the best.

    His numbers show him to be a bit above average. He had a ugly streak, a hot streak, another ugly streak. Who knew the number 5.8 would cause such a ruckus.

  17. Keith

    November 9, 2009 at 11:55 pm

    I wonder what Lidge will get . . .

  18. Keith E

    November 10, 2009 at 8:49 am

    I like ‘Big Joe’ and it seems the team plays well behind him. I liken him to Werth in that he will improve each year. His best years are ahead of him and hopefully he spends them here.
    @Pat Gallen: imho giving 1/10 points is splitting hairs. Full or 1/2 points are easier to digest. Either way it provides all of us with a means to stay in touch.
    GO PHILS!!!

  19. Brooks

    November 10, 2009 at 8:57 am

    Why weren’t the Phillies starters prepared for the season to open? All of them had awful stats during the month of April. We know that April was an abomination – analyze his stats since April and I think the ratings will display a different light.
    All these statistics are worthless and more speculation than anything but, its our team so:

    GS 27 IP 175 H 165 ER 69 ERA 3.55 W-L 12-6

    Based on those numbers, JB’s rating would definitely be higher than “Just above average” at 5.8

    What was the problem in April?

  20. Geoff

    November 10, 2009 at 9:09 am

    Hell be back as the 4th starter. He logs the innings at just above average.

    I dont know why this staff was unprepared to start the season, but since they brought back Rich Dubee I guess it wasnt his fault, couldnt be right? I dont know anyone could have reached Cole Hamels this year to help him, but Dubee didnt do anything. Dubee gets a semi-pass on Lidge because we found out that Lidge was injured all season.

    If I were the Phillies, I would file for a restraining order on behalf of Cliff Lee, and keep Rich Dubbe as far away from him as humanly possible. Just do not let them come close at all because Dubeee might say something or look at him wierd and it will mess up Lee’s mojo.

  21. Bonezy

    November 10, 2009 at 9:40 am

    I think we need to hook Hamels up with Dr. Phil. He knows how to fix him.

  22. Brooks

    November 10, 2009 at 9:41 am

    The thing that made me believe this season was going to be special was the collapse of the starters in April. I say that because the Phils wound up winning 13 and losing 12 despite having the worst ERA among starters in the ML.

  23. Bob Kahn

    November 10, 2009 at 11:10 am

    Pat, if you don’t have a serious methodology for ratings then I would recommend you drop it. I would stick with verbal descriptions. If a rating has to be explained it is not an effective tool.

  24. Pat Gallen

    November 10, 2009 at 11:22 am

    Bob, I just dont see why it’s that big a deal. It’s fine, I’ll work out the kinks.

  25. Greg V.

    November 17, 2009 at 7:37 pm

    Blanton is an easy 7.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Phillies Nation has been bringing Phillies fans together since 2004 with non-stop news, analysis, trade rumors, trips, t-shirts, and other fun stuff!

Browse the Archives

Browse by Category

Copyright Phillies Nation, LLC 2004-2016
Not Affiliated with Major League Baseball or the Philadelphia Phillies

To Top