Q&A With That Balls Outta Here’s Justin Klugh


My questions for Justin Klugh, senior editor of That Balls Outta Here:

Is Cole Hamels just getting unlucky? Or is it something else?

Unlucky.  Cole has had plenty of issues with run support before, and with bad luck, so combined with a slow start, he’s been pretty ineffective.  Especially for a guy we made such a big deal about signing for six more years.

The stuff’s in there.  We could just really use some more blatant examples of it recently, with so much less potent of a rotation backing him up.

Should Ryan Howard scare opposing fans anymore?

Absolutely.  Have you seen that contract?  They tell stories about it around the bonfire at training camp.

What’s the upside of this team? The downside?

The upside is that we have Cole locked up, Freddy Galvis is youthful and full of vigor, Chase seems to be hitting okay, and Cliff Lee is here.  The downside is that Chooch, Doc, and Chase are all up for reassignment, the team in general is not very good, Ben Revere looks more and more like a complete bust, the parts of the bullpen that work are wastes of money if the other parts of the bullpen that aren’t working continue to not work, and everybody’s only getting older.

Also, it’s all Charlie Manuel or Ruben Amaro‘s fault, depending on the day.

Why do the Phillies’ brass seem perplexed as to why their lineup doesn’t take walks? 

Related, have they heard of baseball reference before?

I’d say probably no.  Ruben Amaro shows a staggering absence of intelligence at times, for a guy who seems to have it all figured out.  His lack of belief in walks and the organizations disbelief in modern stats is sickening at times, and probably why some players (AHEM Dom Brown) have been mishandled in the recent past.

How mad are you at Kevin Towers for giving your divisional rival a christmas present of Justin Upton?

I would be pretty mad, but honestly, we’ve got about 1,000 problems to worry about before we can fathom taking on the Braves, let alone Upton.  Then again, he is an individual example of the Braves as a whole – lot of home runs, lot of strike outs.  They’re gonna hack.  And it’s already bringing them back down to earth.

Is Michael Young as classy as everyone says he is?

I’ll say sure.  But I was never worried about that.

If he could convince a ground ball to hop into his glove using that keen sense of clubhouse leadership, that’d be great.  But they’re usually moving too fast.

His questions and my answers:

So is Ian Kennedy going to be a problem or can we depend on his location sputtering out again?

This, sadly, is what we can expect from Kennedy. He’s been pretty mediocre for the past 12 months. And that’s mostly been tied to his lack of command with the fastball. While he isn’t walking a ton of people, he also grooves way too many to be effective.

J.J. Putz has decided to take some time off to be injured.  How reliable is the Dbacks bullpen now?  Express in terms of Chad Durbins.

I believe I saw that Putz was heading to the Dominican for a couple of months. I can’t confirm that, but nonetheless, it’s a weird time to take a vaca. However, I believe the bullpen should still be (just a tad) better than one Chad Durbin. David Hernandez has had a couple of shaky outings but has been pretty good and should get better. And outside of Heath Bell‘s first appearance, he’s been (stunningly) pretty good. Combined with Brad Ziegler and Matt Reynolds, the pen should be in decent shape still.

Is it correct to say Paul Goldschmidt is “becoming a star?”  And if so, what kind of a star; one that shines brightly for a long time, or when that grows too big and kills a lot of people?

He’s a star that’s going to kill a lot of people. Just not in the way you were meaning. I think he singlehandedly murdered Tim Lincecum‘s career and is in the process of burying the corpse of Chris Capuano now. He’s been a revelation. He’s improved his walk and strikeout rate, chase percentage and his fielding immensely over the past couple of seasons. He’s approaching top three first baseman in the league quickly.

Lie to me.  What do you think of this team without Roy Halladay?

They’re great. One of the best staffs that can’t pitch and one of the best lineups that can’t walk (or score) I’ve ever seen.

Is there a young prospect with a better name than “Didi Gregorius” in baseball right now?

Xander Bogaerts is a pretty dang good name. Adeiny Hechavarria? Basically all shortstops in baseball it looks like.