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February 9 2007

Jamie Moyer has his work cut out for him next season.  In addition to throwing 200 innings and stabilizing the Phillies rotation, hopefully he finds time to help some of his mates with their pickup moves.  Over the last eight seasons, Jon Lieber, Cole Hamels and Adam Eaton have combined to pick off nary a single base-runner in 2,384 innings.

Here's a look at the six guys with potential to be part of the '07 rotation and how many runners they have picked off, from 1999 through 2006:


Player IP PK
J Moyer 1650.2 24
F Garcia 1643.2 9
J Lieber 1390.2 0
Eaton 861.1 0
Myers 854.1 4
Hamels 132.1 0

As a team last season, the Phillies picked off five.  Myers led the team with two and Floyd, Madson and Moyer all had one.  Paul Maholm led the National League, picking off eight, and across the NL 14 players had more than two.  Moyer picked off four runners with Seattle last season, tying him with two other AL  pitchers for fifth in the league.

Here's a look at how many runners pitchers in the NL East picked off last season, as well as the number of stolen bases allowed and the percentage of base-stealers that were caught.


Team PK SB allowed CS %
WAS 3 110 21
PHI 5 94 27
ATL 6 101 23
NYM 8 111 26
FLA 11 69 40

The Fish are what's interesting.  All the teams had similar numbers with the exception of the Marlins, who saw their pitchers both pick off more runners and their catchers throw out a higher percentage of base stealers.  They also allowed significantly fewer stolen bases.  This could be a coincidence, of course, or explained by other factors, but as anecdotes go this one is pretty interesting.

Miguel Olivo and Matt Treanor did virtually all of the catching for the '06 Marlins.  Olivo came into the season having thrown out about 30% of base runners over his career and Treanor 25%.  In '06, Treanor threw out 16 of 34 base runners, or 47%.  Olivo threw out 30 of 78, or 38%.  While the Marlins, the team whose pitchers led the division in picked off runners, saw their catchers throw out runners at a higher rate than they had over their careers, the Nationals saw their primary catcher throw less effectively as they picked off just three men all season.  Brian Schneider came into '06 having thrown out 44% of attempted base stealers for his career -- in '06 he was able to throw out just 25 of 83, or 30%.

Obviously it helps a team when you pick off a runner by erasing the runner and creating an out.  Throwing a runner out stealing helps you in the same way, whether the credit goes to the pitcher that held the runner close or the catcher that gunned him down.  What causes what is much harder.  Can you, for example, conclude that the pitchers who pick off runners more frequently are also the same pitchers who excel at holding runners close to the bag, giving their catchers a better chance to catch them stealing?  Go ahead if you want but I don't think we know that -- maybe there's a whole category of pitcher out there who keep runners close without picking them off.  As a Phillies, fan, though, what you do know is there are a bunch of pitchers in this year's rotation that haven't picked off anyone for a
while now.  They probably won't next year either.

Albert Pujols became a US citizen.

Mike Hampton, who missed all of '06 after elbow surgery in 2005, threw off a mound for the first time in four months and felt okay.  Hampton is penciled into a Braves rotation that may include John Smoltz, Tim Hudson, Chuck James and Kyle Davies.

The Reds saw Dustin Hermanson throw on Wednesday.  Pretty much any news would be good news for the Phils pen, but if Hermanson has a chance to close with Cincinnati you'd have to quess that would appeal to him more than a chance to setup Flash or some other pitcher elsewhere.  Hermanson is an Ohio native.

This article mentions Philadelphia as a possible fit for A-Rod in 2008.

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