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NL Player Notes - Apr 26th

Schuyler Dombroske

Raul Ibanez - Another 0-3 from Ibanez last night drops him to 0 for his last 21. Curiously, there has been no mention of Domonic Brown coming off the DL and splitting time with Ibanez. For me, out of the four Phillie hitters scuffling to one degree or another, Ibanez is the least likely to rebound. The Phils were fortunate to get a fluky (21.2% HR/FB!) year out of the 36 year old in 2009, but then last year looked like a typical decline year from 2008, and at age 38 the obvious trend here is negative. His swinging strike% is a career high here in the early going, his walk rate is down, and he's hitting 60% of balls in play on the ground. Sure, there'll be some bounce back, but I don't like Ibanez to offer even average production from an OF corner this year.

Jonathan Broxton - It's 10 innings to be sure, but when added to last year it's enough to make me a bit concerned. Broxton blew his first save of 2011 last night, walking another couple of batters (one intentionally) and allowing a pair of singles sandwiched around an error that would have ended the game. Since 2009, Broxton's velocity has been decreasing, his control issues have gotten worse, and he's keeping the ball on the ground less and less. He's a closer in a pitchers' park, so as long as he's in that role he'll rack up saves, but there is definitely reason here to be worried. Hong-Chih Kuo, due back later this week from a back injury, would be a logical handcuff right now.

Chris Coghlan - Coghlan never really got on track last year, suffering through a back injury and a fluke knee injury to post a pretty miserable sophomore campaign. With two more homers last night, Coghlan has tallied nine runs and 10 RBI's in his last ten games, posting five multi-hit efforts over that span. Coghlan's .298 minor league AVG and solid batting eye make him a natural fit atop the Marlin order, although he's more of an 8-12 SB guy than a real burner. The 25 year old does seem to be putting an effort into adding more pop, however, as increased FB rates, swing %'s, and poorer contact rate could certainly be indicators of an altered approach. Coghlan is at 301/359/554 after last night, and while this level is likely beyond him one way or another (his AVG is too high if he is consciously trying to hit for more power, with a BABIP 78 pts above expected, while the power is too high if we're reading too much into the other figures) he still has plenty of promise for a guy that slipped a bit under the radar this offseason.

Ian Desmond - Desmond did manage one of just five National hits yesterday, but he's still scuffling along to the tune of a .205 AVG and a .586 OPS thus far. I don't have a problem with touting Desmond a bit....SS has become significantly weaker over the past handful of seasons and Desmond has 10-15 HR power and 20+ SB speed. The problem I have is expecting an awful lot in the AVG category from Desmond, as a career minor league AVG of .259 in 2371 AB's and rather high K rates throughout his climb up the ladder suggest that hitting for average isn't going to be one of his strong suits. While .205 is probably a bit below even my expectations for him, an AVG in the .240-.260 range would be realistic to look for. Still just 25, Desmond is likely going to be the starter at SS for quite a while in Washington, so getting a handle on what he actually should be expected to provide is a worthwhile exercise.

Dustin Moseley - Moseley tossed his fifth straight quality start last night for the Pads, but he's still yet to pick up a win for his troubles. There's a lot going on with Moseley's hot start for San Diego: some good, some bad. On the negative side you've got the obvious in the preposterously low K rate, the nearly 85% strand rate, and the BABIP that's about 50 points better than expected. For the positives, you've got improved control, significantly improved GB rate, and much better environs then he's ever pitched in before. With all the talk about selling Moseley high, which I don't necessarily disagree with, it's interesting to note that his FIP ERA is still only 3.75. I think there's a distinct possibility that Moseley is a worthwhile back-end starter this season....as most pitchers might be able to accomplish pitching in Petco. There's a big difference between a guy that starts hot but isn't good enough to be rostered normally, and a guy that has the potential to still contribute a bit even after he cools off.

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