-J.A Happ will be the first pitcher on the mound on in the Phillies first Spring Training game against Florida State University on Wednesday. I’m looking forward to this game for the sole fact that it is finally actual baseball action. Metrics have concluded this offseason that Happ will not be on the same level as a year ago when he was the NL Rookie of the Year runner-up.
Bill James, the projectionist monarch, says Happ will win 10 games and post an era in the mid-four’s. I’ll give J.A. a bit more confidence than that, but even if he wins 12 games and hovers around four in the ERA column, that should be looked at as a successful season for a number-four starter. Whatever the case, I would warn not to pay too much attention to Happ’s ST performance.
-The guy I’m really looking forward to seeing is Phillippe Aumont. He will throw behind Happ during Wednesday’s game and the expectations will still be rather substantial for a guy who isn’t expected to make his mark on the majors for another year, at the earliest. He was the centerpiece of the Cliff Lee trade, meaning many eyes will be glued to his performance.
Aumont boasts a power fastball, but needs to hone his secondary pitches before he can truly be counted on as a top-of-the-line starting pitcher. Still, if he can figure out the curve and change up he has been working on, it’ll certainly be exciting to see his maturation. He no doubt has big shoes to fill, but what are you expecting out of Aumont? If he’s not a #1 or #2 starter in the league, will it be failure of a trade?
-J.C. Romero finally threw earlier today for the first time since elbow surgery in October. The lefty specialist hurled 23 pain-free pitches, all fastballs, as he attempts to return to his 2008 form. He should be ready to go by the first week of the regular season, if all goes well. And, boy, do the Phillies need him. They need that lefty presence badly as last year it was J.A. Happ, Antonio Bastardo and Jack Taschner out of the pen, for the most part. Bastardo is a year older and wiser, Happ is a full-time starter now, and Taschner is gone. The onus is now on Romeo to get healthy.