We are less than a month from Opening Day and the Philadelphia Phillies still have many questions to be answered before the first-pitch in thrown in Cincinnati on April 4th. Will Rule 5 selection Tyler Goedell, who has never played at the big league level, thrive in what is likely to be extended playing time? Can Peter Bourjos find his 2011 stroke and adjust to a corner outfield position? How will the closer's role shake out? Those and many other topics are addressed in this week's installment of Phillies must-reads.
Although they were sent packing to minor-league camp, the Phillies' brass is very excited about the futures of Jake Thompson, Mark Appel, and Zach Eflin. Philly.com's Matt Gelb finds out just what they need to work on and how soon it will be before they return to the big club.
Calling Bobby LaFromboise a journeyman wouldn't do his numerous trips through other organizations justice. Still, the lefty reliever has been one of the most impressive arms in camp and per Philly.com's Matt Gelb, he has gotten the attention of skipper Pete Mackanin.
Pitching coach Bob McClure and Manager Pete Mackanin discuss the current state of the Phillies' pitching staff and their concerns with Philly Voice's Ryan Lawrence. The leading candidate for the closer's role, David Hernandez, hasn't thrown in a game since March 1st. Other bullpen candidates Frank Herman and Jimmy Cordero have been down all spring, and starter Jerad Eickhoff is still dealing with a fractured thumb.
All the attention in camp has been mainly on the young arms, but first-baseman Brock Stassi has created his own buzz in camp, not only with his bat, but has also with his exceptional defensive work. Philly.com's Mike Sielski breaks down Stassi's impressive spring.
Perhaps the most impressive arm this spring has been Vince Velasquez. The hard-throwing righty was the key piece in the Ken Giles trade to the Astros. Matt Gelb discusses how Velasquez's goal this spring was go deeper in the games and adding a sinker to his already nasty repertoire, should go a long way in helping him become a front of the line starter for the team.
Philly.com's Mike Kern is not sure how to feel how to feel about the new look, rebuilding Phillies. Here's his take on how Philadelphia can survive until our next contender in 2018.