Happ: Rotation or Bust

Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee recently stated that Kyle Kendrick was the favorite to win the fifth spot in the rotation. However, I still believe that J.A. Happ will win the job.

Last season, Happ was bounced around from the starting rotation to the bullpen and back due to the struggles of Brett Myers and Kendrick. Most of his success came as a starter where he had a 2.28 ERA and opponents batted just .188 off him. Happ finished the season strong, with a 2.41 ERA in September making the postseason roster.

If Happ does not win the starting job this spring, there is a chance he could fill the much needed hole as a left handed relief pitcher. However, if Happ doesn't start in the majors, he should start in AAA.

Filling J.C. Romero's shoes isn't an easy job to fill. There are still question marks as to whether Scott Eyre will be able to. Happ doesn't have much bullpen experience, and in the experience he has, he struggled. In 8 innings of relief, Happ had a 7.88 ERA, 1.88 WHIP, and opponents batted .343 off the lefty.

Happ pitched mostly in mop up situations out of the 'pen, but in 2009, he would be pitching in late innings during close games. The Phillies can't afford to have him put up those type numbers in big situations. Even if the Phillies decide not to use him in those situations, having him sit is a waste. At least he'd be able to get some work in during the minors.

Happ's future is as a starter, not a reliever. There is no reason in changing the way he pitches, throwing him out every day, instead of every five. Happ is better off getting some extra seasoning in the minor leagues than relieving.

For the counter point of this argument, please visit IRONPIGPEN: The Pork Stops Here!



I would definitely rather see Happ remain as a starter. Not just because the IronPigs might have him, either! I agree he did much better for Phillies as a starter last season 1000%.

I definitely think the Phillies are boxing themselves in, however, with left-handed relief. I think your point about Eyre is excellent. The Phillies are leaning heavily on him to repeat his 2008 performances with Philadelphia. Even with Eyre, they still need another lefty...


at this point we have to hope that all purpose contract amaro sent out to will ohman, dennys reyes, and joe beimel pays off and one of them bites. althought i don't see any of them signing for less than $1 mil

phaje said...

I see Kendrick as fifth starter. I have a lot of respect for Happ's ability but I see kendrick win the job. Everyone is sleeping on kendrick and I think he's gonna make heads turn agian like he did in his rookie year. I think Happ will be a midseason call up.

Philly Keith said...

I think Happ wins the job out of spring training but will give it up to Carasco at some point this season.

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