Philadelphia Phillies 2013: Pitching Staff Preview

cole hamels newsHamels has pitched over 200 innings in each of the last three seasons

It is no secret that the Philadelphia Phillies have been built on pitching for most of the last decade.

Last season’s struggles started in the bullpen as the Phillies blew leads in the eighth inning a major league-leading 13 times.

General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has, hopefully, fixed some of those bullpen holes.

Here’s a look at what to expect from the Phillies pitching staff in 2013.

Starting Pitching

Cole Hamels

2012: 17-6, 3.05 ERA, 2 CG, 2 SHO, 215.1 IP, 52 BB, 216 K, 131 ERA+, 1.124 WHIP, 4.2 WAR

The top pitcher in a team’s rotation has become increasingly more important in recent years.

Cole Hamels signed a lucrative contract extension and should be at the top of his game going in to 2013.

He has pitched over 200 innings in each of the last three seasons while posting an ERA between 2.79 and 3.06.

While his WHIP was slightly higher in 2012, his SO/9 ratio was a phenomenal 9.0.

Hamels should prove to be the ace that the Phillies need for the foreseeable future.

Cliff Lee

2012: 6-9, 3.16 ERA, 0 CG, 0 SHO, 211 IP, 28 BB, 207 K, 127 ERA+, 1.114 WHIP, 4.2 WAR

Everyone remembers Lee’s struggle to pick up his first win in 2012.

He received incredibly terrible run support throughout the first half of the season and pitched much better than his record indicated.

His ERA+, WHIP, and WAR are all evidence of that.

Lee, while turning 34, still has the stuff to be a front of the rotation starter and contribute to success in Philly.

His incredibly low BB/9 (1.2) and great SO/BB ratio (7.39) were on par with his career averages.

If Lee can get better run support this year, there’s no reason to think he won’t rack up a few more than six wins.

Roy Halladay

2012: 11-8, 4.49 ERA, 0 CG, 0 SHO, 156.1 IP, 36 BB, 132 K, 89 ERA+, 1.222 WHIP, 0.7 WAR

There is a lot of concern in the Philadelphia fan base that the soon-to-be 36-year-old Halladay is on the back nine.

His ERA+ represents a below average pitcher and his ERA was above 2.79 (a lot above!) for the first time since 2007, he was walking batters at an alarming rate, and striking them out at a lower rate than most any time in his career.

Last season was also the first time since 2006 that Halladay did not lead the league in complete games – because he didn’t throw a single one.

The Phillies hope that Doc can get healthy and get back to being the pitcher he was when they acquired him in 2010.

After facing over 11,000 batters in 15 major league seasons, though, we might be witnessing the end of an era in Philly this year.

Roy is scheduled to make $20 million this season before becoming a free agent in 2014.

Kyle Kendrick

2012: 11-12, 3.90 ERA, 1 CG, 1 SHO, 159.1 IP, 49 BB, 116 K, 103 ERA+, 1.274 WHIP, 1.3 WAR

Kendrick had a tough 2012 because he bounced between the bullpen and the starting rotation to fill in for injured starters.

When finally given the chance to start consistently, Kendrick proved to be a viable back of the rotation guy.

Kendrick will be called upon to start from day one (day four, technically) in 2013.

The last two times the Phils asked Kendrick to do that – 2008 and 2010 – things did not go well.

In those two seasons Kendrick posted ERAs above 4.73 and won only 22 of his 61 starts.

At the age of 28, and now in his prime, the Phillies will expect more from Kyle in 2013 and beyond.

John Lannan

2012: 4-1, 4.13 ERA, 0 CG, 0 SHO, 32.2 IP, 14 BB, 17 K, 97 ERA+, 1.439 WHIP, 0.3 WAR

Lannan was signed a few weeks ago to fill in the rotation spot left vacant by the trade that sent Vance Worley to the Minnesota Twins.

Lannan spent most of 2012 pitching for the Washington Nationals Triple-A affiliate before being called upon to take Stephen Strasburg’s rotation spot after his infamous Washington shut down.

He racked up four wins in only six starts, but his ERA and BB/K ratio leave something to be desired.

The Phillies expect that Lannan can step in and perform like he did for the Nationals in 2009 and 2011 when he posted sub-4.00 ERAs and consistently average numbers.

Relief Pitching

The Phillies official web site lists the following guys as relief pitchers: Jonathan Papelbon (CL), Antonio Bastardo, Phillippe Aumont, Jeremy Horst, Justin De Fratus, Raul Valdes, Michael Stutes, B.J. Rosenberg, and Jake Diekman.

Mike Adams will also, obviously be on the list.

If you do the math, you can figure out that at least two, and maybe three, of these guys will be relegated to Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Opening Day.

There hasn’t been any rumors about who will make the squad, but the number will probably be seven.

The Phillies will carry Papelbon and Adams for sure. The other five spots are likely up for grabs.

The bullpen was great in 2011, posting a 3.45 ERA with 47 saves over 412.1 innings pitched.

The bullpen did not change much at the beginning of 2012, but it was awful in comparison.

As I’ve already mentioned, the Phils blew a lot of late leads.

They pitched their way to a 3.94 ERA and 42 saves over 418.1 innings pitched.

The decline led to some new talent in the bullpen and the trend will likely continue this year.

As always, if you have questions you’d like to see answered here or want to contact me, you can shoot me an email on the Contributors page.