*With the season now just over a month away, Jorge Says No! will profile one pivotal player from each team. To often, players get lost in the shuffle of the big names and bright lights, so we focus on some of the under the radar guys who need to step it up in 2009 for their team to succeed.*
Brett Myers was horrible for a good portion of 2008. The Phillies number #2 starter had a miserable first half where he had a tough time locating his pitches, gave up far too many long balls (24), and seemed somewhat lost on the mound. His 5.84 first half ERA was sickening. By July, the Phillies decided to ship Myers and his pitching problems to the minor leagues.
Whatever Myers did in the minors, it certainly worked. Myers returned to the Phillies with his location no longer MIA and suddenly became the #2 starter the Phillies had been lacking for the first half of the season. In the second half of 2008, Myers delivered with a 3.08 ERA, finally looking like the powerful Brett Myers of old.
Is it a coincidence then that the Phillies took off in the second half of 2008? They played their best ball of 2008 with a solid Myers on board, thus demonstrating how valuable Myers is to the Phillies when he is on top of his game.
The pressure will be back on Myers to produce in 2009. His 2008 season can be classified as inconsistent at best and if the Phillies are going to be serious contenders in 2009, they will need to have a dynamic #2 starter to pitch behind Cole Hamels. If Myers proves to be the guy once again, then the Phillies will be tough to beat in 2009. They have so many weapons offensively that if their pitchers deliver, they will be the favorites to win the NL pennant. And that's coming from a Met fan.
But if Myers fails to deliver the goods and under performs, it will be a huge blow to the Phillies. Besides Hamels, they have no other pitcher with Myers stuff and capabilities, which would leave a huge hole in their rotation. The Phillies won the title last season on the strength of their pitching staff and if they want to repeat, having Myers at his best in 2009 is a must.
The spotlight's on, Brett Myers.
What do you think, will Myers produce in 2009?
*Coming up tomorrow, the Florida Marlins.*