2010 Player Reviews

Year in Review: J.A. Happ

J.A. Happ, the young lefty whose ability to get hitters out still has me confused to this day. And yet he was very successful at doing so. Happ has never had overpowering stuff and for his career is only averaging under a strikeout an inning. And yet he still got the job done.

Early into the 2010 season, Happ joined just about every other Phillie on the disabled list. For Happ, it could not have come at a worse time. The lefty was already 1-0 and had not allowed a run in 10.1 innings over two starts. He was well on his way to showing the fans, and himself, that his MLB.com Rooke of the Year Award and his 12-4 record for 2009 was no fluke.

It took nearly half the season for Happ to recover from his injury. Happ didn’t pitch again until July 25th against the Colorado Rockies and lasted 5 innings and gave up three runs.

His next start came in a Houston Astros’ uniform. A move by Ruben Amaro Jr sent Happ to Houston as a major trade piece in acquiring Roy Oswalt for Philadelphia.

Happ only started three games for the Phillies in 2010. His line looked like this: 1-0, 1.76 ERA. 15.1 IP, 12 BB, 9 SO.

For the Astros, Happ pitched adequately enough starting 13 games going 5-4 with a 3.75 ERA striking out 61 in 72 innings. Luckily for Phillies fans, he did wait until he got to Houston to have the worst start of his career. In just his second start as an Astro, Happ lasted only one inning against St. Louis giving up seven runs and throwing 49 pitches.

The Phillies did welcome Happ back to Citizen Bank Park as the opposing pitcher as he faced off against Roy Halladay in late August. Happ came out the victor going 6.1 giving up two runs and five hits.

Happ is still very young in his big league career. I think he is going to be a very good number two or three type pitcher in a rotation. I am still not sure if he possesses any real ace-like qualities. I enjoyed him in Philly, and look forward to seeing pitch again.

It is hard to generate a grade from his short time in a Phillies uniform this past season. He did throw very well but I think he will be most remembered as one of the key pieces that landed Roy Oswalt. So with that in mind…

KIERAN’S GRADE: 9.9/10

PAT GALLEN’S GRADE: 9.2/10 – He brought us a few good seasons and although he dealt with some arm issues, pitched well when he was on the mound. This year, he was able to net us Roy Oswalt. When a deal like that comes along you have to make it. Happ shined in Houston, too. High marks.

20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. tavian

    December 23, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    Very good and generous analysis of J.A. Happ. I would have given him a 7.5 but I do defer to more knowledgeable professionals. Happ will be a decent pitcher. His stuff is not outstanding, but is mixed well and he has solid command. I hope he has a fine career. Who knows? He may be back with the Phils at some point. Anyway, with Roy Oswalt, we got the better of the deal, so far, anyway.

  2. Jay aka Phillyboy

    December 23, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    GLAD HE GOT US ROY2,PITCHED WELL FOR US IN 08 AND 09,BUT NOT ENOUGH TO GRADE IN 2010.I THINK HE WILL BE A SOLID #3 PITCHER IN THE FUTURE………..

  3. The Dipsy

    December 23, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    I gotta say, I do not understand the rating system, but thats ok. If we can agree that Denny McClain’s 30 win season was a 10, does J.A. Happ’s season still rate a 9.9? 7.5 is about right. I would assume that Halladay’s season will be a 15???? I’m sure glad you guys don’t score boxing matches 🙂

    The Dipsy

  4. Chuck

    December 23, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    Remember….Greg Dobbs got a .5 or 1.5….something stupid like that for doing basically NOTHING. And if Halladay gets a 15 then I say Denny McClain should get at least a 20.

  5. tavian

    December 23, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    POTENTIAL TRADE SUGGESTION: Joe Blanton to Kansas City for Mike Aviles (utility player who bats right handed, plays 3B, ss and 2B. He has batted over .300 in two of his three major league seasons. AND Jeff Francoeur (Hits lefties well and is younger than John Mayberry) He may have a fine career ahead of him as he is younger now with more offensive success than Jayson Werth was when he came to the Phils. He has also won a gold glove in the outfield. Hope Ruben Jr. reads this and hops to it !!!!
    Just a suggestion to help fill two holes for us — right handed power hitter and effective infiels utility player

    • betasigmadeltashag

      December 23, 2010 at 10:36 pm

      Really KC is going to give up that much for Joe, why, I mean I think RAJ would take that deal in a heart beat but I do not see KC doing it why would they?

    • Gaze_NJ

      December 23, 2010 at 11:15 pm

      Blanton couldn’t land you Mike Aviles alone. Though I think he’s a decent target for a utility player/infield insurance.

  6. betasigmadeltashag

    December 23, 2010 at 10:34 pm

    I am not sure how you can give a rating to a kid who started two games unless you are grading him on what the Phillies got back in the trade for him. I always liked JA and thought he would be good for the Phillies being young and inexpensive. Which they Phillies may need in a year or two when you need to pay Cole 15-18 million a year. I wish him well unless he pitches against the Phils.

    • Pat Gallen

      December 23, 2010 at 11:30 pm

      Clearly the rating is based on what he brought the Phillies in a trade. Roy Oswalt came here because of J.A. Happ. He was the centerpiece of the deal.

      I wouldnt look TOO much into the numbers for grading. It’s going to vary. If Roy Halladay doesn’t get a 10, then something is probably wrong.

  7. tavian

    December 23, 2010 at 10:46 pm

    Blanton would likely be the ace of the KC Royals piching staff. With Grienke gone, they are very thin at starting pitching and need someone to eat innings. They have players in the outfield and at second base, so this may be something worth floating by them. In the past, Blanton has been very serviceable. It’s just a thought. worth a try.

  8. Greg

    December 24, 2010 at 12:52 am

    The thing is, I don’t think the KCR’s really want an Ace. They’re in a re-building phase, thus, they’re not trying to set up to win NOW, they want to set up to win in the future. Thus, Blanton probably means nothing to them.

    On topic, I think the grade is somewhat fair. Especially considering he got us RoyO.

  9. betasigmadeltashag

    December 24, 2010 at 12:58 am

    obviously it worth a try, call them up and they say yes you sign the deal, do you think we can get them to pay some of Francours salary too. I Still think you can sign Lasting Millidge for next to nothing for a year, and if he stays in line he can have a contract for more money next year even if it is not with the phillies. Then you just beat him into somition(sp) to become a team player he does not want to you let him go and it cost you less then a million dollars. There is your young big upside guy who will cost nothing. I like the idea of bringing back JC to a minor league deal and see if he finds his control

  10. Brooks

    December 24, 2010 at 6:30 am

    Yo PN – first, Merry Christmas to all! This is my Christmas as I will be working tomorrow (the money rocks).

    Regarding Happ – I went to quite a few games where Mr. Happ pitched – from when he first replace ‘Freddy the Freeloader’ to his victory over Halladay at CBP last year. Frankly, I was never impressed. I know, the 12-4 season was good enough to get him runner up in the ROY award but, he never did show anything special. His strikeout/walk ratio is fair at best (maybe 2/1?) and I could never quite figure out what his specialty pitch was, it certainly was not overpowering. The batters he opposed just seemed to hit the ball to where the Phils defenders were..

    Almost like when Jamie Moyer pitched but not quite as dramatic – unless he could own the corners, Jamie was on the dinner menu. Certainly not ‘Eatonesque’ either.

    I agree with Pat – for what Happ was able to get us in return, he gets a high rating from me. From his overall performance as the Phils #3 starter, he did adequate and I would rate his contribution above average but his skills? Eh.. when I watched him pitch I was always waiting for the next plop (if you know what I mean).

    Merry Christmas guys. Talk to you tomorrow.

    • Lefty

      December 24, 2010 at 7:20 am

      Merry Christmas Brooks!

    • Chuck

      December 24, 2010 at 7:45 am

      Go get ’em, Brooks. Bring home that bacon!

      Merry Christmas.

  11. The Dipsy

    December 24, 2010 at 10:20 am

    I think J.C. will come back to the Phils. Lets think about Cliff Lee as a value proposition for a second. Actually, lets go back and, by extension, make the example, Roy Halladay also.

    Apparently, players LOVE playing here but there is something more, I guess, than playing on a team that can go to the Series every year. Its the park, its the players on the team, its the fans that really turn some players on. And for that reason, we see examples on the team of guys who signed below market value contract to come here. Halladay did, Lee did, Victorino did, and now we hear that Romero might wanna come back for less money, which is great.

    My point: Everytime the Phillies sign someone at below FMV, they create an asset. We could trade Halladay (a 26m pitcher) or Lee or Vic tomorrow and get equal value without having to eat any salary. In theory, everytime you sign a player for less than their “worth”, that leaves more money for your G.M. to improve the team in other areas. This will become more important, I think, as players start to leave after this season. Its great when your team doesn’t have to pay as much money to get players as other teams do. Merry Christmas all!

    The Dipsy

    • Lefty

      December 25, 2010 at 8:12 am

      Dipsy-
      Your value proposition point is accurate and valid, but that’s not what caught my attention-

      “but there is something more, I guess, than playing on a team that can go to the Series every year. Its the park, its the players on the team, its the fans that really turn some players on.” So true.

      It’s the vicious cycle business model that every team should follow. You build the team that can compete at a high level every year through homegrown talent, key FA pickups and trades. That in turn produces the amazing experience at the park and the ravenous fans- which makes you even more successful, which helps you continue to build even better teams.

      And yes, it’s quite true that the by-product is that the incredible gameday experience at CBP makes guys want to play here. Who wouldn’t? Around the league, there is no place that looks or feels like that every single game.

  12. Jay aka Phillyboy

    December 24, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    MERRY X-MAS TO ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. bruce

    December 25, 2010 at 12:48 am

    I have not read anything about Mike Sweeney, a proven contact hitter and also righthanded. Is he still a free agent? What a positive addition to the Phillies last season. Wonderful enthusiasm and chemistry in the clubhouse. I know his fielding position as 1st baseman (not many know he was also a part time catcher early in his career) limited his playing time. However, if he is affordable, the Phillies should pursue him as a dependable bat off the bench. Probably won’t happen if Sweeney wants more playing time and money.

    • bruce

      December 25, 2010 at 12:49 am

      Oh..and Merry Christmas to all!

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