>Overview: Several veteran departures means a very different Dead Milkmen team for season 11. Last year’s 85-77 campaign ended as a near miss of the playoffs one season after winning the division. Pitching was, as usual, the big weakness for Philadelphia. This year’s team will again hope to improvise enough of a rotation to let the big bats drive the Milkmen to an AL North title.
1. 2B Billy Cannon, R (.293/.344/.404, 75 RBI, 91 RS–BOS)
Formerly of Boston, Cannon looks to take over second base and the leadoff spot from last year’s disappointing free agent signing Steve Rivers.
2. RF Walker Wilkins, R (.334/.409/.541, 96 RBI, 112 RS)
Perennial All-Star and MVP candidate Wilkins had what was for him a relatively disappointing season, but still represents one of the most dynamic hitters in the league.
3. DH Bennie Castillo, L (.311/.383/.514, 88 RBI, 83 RS)
Castillo, an inexpensive free agent signing last year, ended up as a major contributor to the Milkmen lineup, earning an All-Star nod at DH.
4. C Sean Thomson, R (.282/.355/.523, 91 RBI, 61 RS)
The consistent Thomson put up his usual numbers behind the plate, earning a three-year extension this offseason.
5. 1B Hughie Phillips, S (.330/.420/.576, 120 RBI, 107 RS–AAA)
Season 7’s first round draft pick will make his major league debut taking over for legendary Milkman Shooter Farrell after recording four consecutive All-Star seasons in the minors.
6. 3B Jacob Dunn, L (.274/.357/.512, 66 RBI, 62 RS)
Dunn regressed slightly from his career-best performance in season 9, but is still a solid hitter and a good defender.
7. LF Victor Costilla, S (.276/.331/.447, 38 RBI, 40 RS)
After three consecutive seasons as one of the better fourth outfielders out there, the former Rule 5 pick will finally get another chance to start for the Milkmen.
8. SS Juan Montero, R (.233/.295/.348, 47 RBI, 47 RS–LOU)
A former Louisville shortstop, Montero will get a chance to revive his bat in hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park.
9. CF Steve Rivers, S (.263/.318/.334, 48 RBI, 72 RS)
Rivers, a bust as Philadelphia’s leadoff man last year, will move to center field and the bottom of the lineup in hopes that he can boost his OBP to a more acceptable level.
C Clay Webster, R (.323/.396/.469, 22 RBI, 21 RS–AAA)
Webster is a career minor league catcher who is pretty decent with the bat and glove.
2B Trenidad Estrada, R (.323/.417/.571, 48 RBI, 52 RS–AAA)
Estrada made his debut last year; he was signed out of Nicaragua in season 7.
SS Edgardo Colon, L (.269/.324/.358, 80 RBI, 67 RS–AAA, TRE)
Colon, a slick fielder with a marginal bat, was taken in this year’s Rule 5 draft.
DH Charles Ransom, L (.272/.382/.663, 184 RBI, 131 RS–AAA)
Ransom has been a dominant minor league slugger blocked by NABCL home run king Shooter Farrell.
1. LHP Haywood Jodie (234, 15-13, 1.22, 4.30)
Philadelphia’s workhorse, Jodie had the best statistical season of his career and set career highs in innings and starts.
2. RHP Ralph Decker (192, 18-10, 1.27, 3.92)
Signed as an inexpensive swingman, Decker turned in a career-best season and was named an All-Star and Cy Young finalist.
3. LHP Candy Titan (86, 5-4, 1.40, 4.69)
Despite a disappointing AAA campaign, Titan was called up to the major league team and pitched effectively down the stretch last year.
4. RHP Louis Durham (164, 6-15, 1.61, 7.06)
Durham had by far the worst season of his career and struggled all season to pitch effectively, but will return to Philadelphia’s rotation this year.
5. RHP Rafael Moreno (167, 8-9, 1.48, 5.32)
Philadelphia’s carousel of fifth starters stopped with Moreno last season, as he managed to pitch at least tolerably.
Closer RHP Earl Lincoln (51, 39/44, 1.31, 3.35)
Lincoln, a four-time minor league Fireman of the Year, was handed the closer job in the majors last year and was recognized as an All-Star and a Rookie of the Year finalist.
Setup RHP Rob Boone (103, 8-5, 1.37, 4.54–AAA), LHP Craig Kramer (66, 1.36, 4.75)
Boone has been a Fireman of the Year at HiA and AA, while Kramer is the lone free agent addition to the Milkmen pitching staff this year.
Long relief RHP Julio Rosado (104, 1.46, 5.54), RHP Del Valentin (122, 10-5, 1.23, 2.94–AAA), RHP Ronald Cota (132, 7-10, 1.65, 5.73), LHP Geraldo Nunez (83, 1.39, 5.06–AAA)
Rosado and Valentin are young pitchers with some upside, while Cota and Nunez are part of Philadelphia’s roulette wheel of long relievers and fifth starters.