Archive for January, 2008

Lefty out

If the Phillies had to play a game tomorrow I think the best guess would be that they’d have 13 hitters on their 25-man roster. Against a righty they would put Howard, Utley, Rollins, Dobbs, Burrell, Victorino, Jenkins and Ruiz on the field and have a five-man bench of Coste, Helms, Taguchi, Werth and Bruntlett.

In that scenario, here are the give guys on the bench for the Phillies and their career OPS against right-handed pitching:


Player

Career OPS vs RHP
Coste .810
Taguchi .720
Werth .750
Bruntlett .636
Helms .725

Five right-handed hitters. Two of them, Taguchi and Bruntlett are weak hitters who presumably will earn a roster spot primarily for their defensive abilities. Helms’ numbers against righties in just about every year of his career except 2006 are pretty miserable. I’d feel pretty good about seeing Coste pinch-hitting against a righty, but if Manuel only has two catchers on his roster I think fear of burning his last catcher would rob Coste of a lot of pinch-hitting opportunities. Werth is a good guy to have on your bench, but he’s still just a 249/342/408 hitter for his career against righties.

My point isn’t that this would be a disaster as a bench, but it would be a problem. I would guess if the Phils see those 13 guys as the hitters on the 25-man roster they would consider the lack of a lefty a problem as well. With players curently available it’s not clear to me what the solution is — I don’t think they can carry 14 hitters with such weak pitching overall.


Grilled Ruben

Ruben Amaro Jr answered questions from fans, you can read the transcript here. Thought the answer to the question who the lefty off the bench is when Jenkins and Dobbs are both in the lineup was interesting. Amaro suggested Snelling, but you have to assume if the Phils carry Burrell, Victorino, Werth, Jenkins and Taguchi there’s no room for Snelling on the team. For the umpteenth time I think the Phils are better off with Snelling than Taguchi as their fifth outfielder. The question of who the lefty off the bench is when a righty starts and Dobbs and Jenkins play is a good one — there are a lot of right-handed pitchers out there. I think the Phils would have trouble carrying 14 hitters given how weak their pitching is. Pete Laforest seems like another possibility, but if the Phils don’t have room for Snelling on the 25-man roster there seems little chance they would have room for Laforest.

He also says the Phils have no interest in Morgan Ensberg and have had continued discussions with Kyle Lohse. This article says that Lohse may now be willing to accept a three-year deal. Lohse would be a fantastic addition for the Phillies, but I wouldn’t guess they would be jumping at the chance to sign him to a three-year deal either.

This says the Phillies are interested in Pedro Feliz but would need to move Helms first. Feliz would be a less fantastic addition for the Phillies, although the fact that it looks like the Phils are going to need to use two of their 25 roster spots on third baseman and that both of those guys will be weak defensive players at the position is hard to get real geeked up about.

This article says the Braves will trade Joey Devine to the A’s for Mark Kotsay. Kotsay has been miserable for three years in a row, but is still an upgrade over Josh Anderson.

There’s a post at Tiger Tales about fielding statistics for second baseman that includes some interesting results for Chase Utley.

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Notsuka

Akinori Otsuka had surgery on his right elbow. This says that it will keep him out for the 2008 season. Not a medical professional, but all that seems like it makes it less likely he’ll see much time with the Phils this year.

Jimmy Rollins and Geoff Jenkins may be participating Royce Clayton’s celebrity Poker tournament along with, according to the article, fellow MLB players Luis Gonzalez and Bob Lanier. If Bob Lanier is going to play Major League Baseball he’s got no time to dawdle. On the other hand, if he can pitch even a little bit he’s not somebody the Phillies should dismiss out of hand. Tell your old man to drag Walton and Lanier up and down the court for 48 minutes.

Ricky Bottalico will be part of the Iron Pigs broadcast team.

Article about prospects that could impact the NL East in 2008 here. I don’t think there’s any question that Cameron Maybin is going to be the most exciting of the group to watch. For the Phillies, the article mentions Carrasco, Happ, Golson, Zagurski and Outman. My guess would be the chances of seeing Zagurski, Happ and Outman are much better than the chances that Carrasco or Golson get significant time with the Phils in ’08. Carrasco won’t be 21 until March and even if Eaton struggles hugely I think the Phils will go elsewhere first. Golson has a career .304 on-base percentage in the minor leagues and 153 at-bats above Single-A.

This article says the Mets are not willing to give the Twins the five prospects they want for Johan Santana.


On with The Show

Ryan Howard will be the cover athlete for MLB 08: The Show. Hopefully Michael Bourn was managing his personal expectations in this arena given the intersection of his life goals and spot on the roster in Major League Baseball 2K7 as described in this article.

This article suggests that Rowand may appeal in San Francisco as the anti-Bonds. It also, in the same paragraph, points out that Rowand bristles at the suggestion he is injury-prone and that he missed a game last year due to a shoulder that was sore from playing tag.

Sidelined by tag or not, Rowand appeared in 161 games for the Phils in 2007 and 109 in ’06. Rollins was the only Phillie to appear in as many or more games in ’07 (J-Roll played in 162). If I was going to guess who was third in games played for the Phils in ’07 it would have taken me a while — Pat Burrell played in 155, which was his highest mark since 2002. Utley and Howard would have played more but both hit the DL.

Don’t know for sure, but if you think Victorino is going to play 161 games in center this year I’m guessing you can get some pretty nice odds somewhere. I’m not ready to give up hope the Phils are willing to use Werth to backup center (although I’m not sure why I’m not, cause the tea leaves aren’t looking so favorable (tea leaves in this case meaning the team’s addition of another backup center fielder)).

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Pat Gillick is a genius. With the Phils making the playoffs after the long, bleak period of bleakness, Gillick’s time in Philadelphia is already a success no matter what happens in 2008. That’s not making the Freddy Garcia or Adam Eaton signings look any better, though.

This suggests the Braves may have interest in Mark Kotsay or Corey Patterson. I’m holding out hope for all Josh Anderson all the time.

And if you think the Braves getting Corey Patterson is a problem, you might just want to avoid this article about how the Mets might get Johan Santana altogether. I’m holding out hope for anyone but Johan Santana all the time.


Just give someone else the damn ball

If the Phillies had their lives to live over I’m hoping there’s at least one thing that they would have done differently about the 2007 season. They just let Adam Eaton pitch and pitch and he wound up with a line that was ridiculous. He went into the All-Star break with a 5.69 ERA and just got worse in the second half, making 12 second-half starts in which he threw to a 7.38 ERA. He ended the season with a 6.29 ERA in, amazingly, 30 starts. Over the past seven seasons only one other NL player has thrown to a worse ERA in a year he got at least 30 starts. Eric Milton threw to a 6.47 ERA with the Reds in 34 starts in 2005. The Reds, you may remember, didn’t win their division in 2005. They finished fifth, 27 games out of first place in the NL Central.

I’m working towards a couple of points and it’s going to take a while to get there, so I’ll just tell you what they are:

1) The thing that’s worse for a team than having a pitcher having a terrible season is having a pitcher having a terrible season who pitches a lot.

2) The Phillies off-season has been pretty unexciting. But the biggest problem the Phillies has doesn’t require a bold off-season move as a remedy. Thirty starts from Adam Eaton with a 6.29 ERA is the biggest problem the Phillies have to solve for 2008, and the solution for that may even be Adam Eaton. And if it’s not, it’s hard to believe that improving on that is going to require a move that knocks anybody’s socks off.

The Phillies used 28 pitchers in 2007. As a group they got 4,375 outs and were charged with 821 runs.

Obviously, some pitchers pitched more than others and some allowed more runs than others. Here’s how many outs each of the 28 pitchers got (the column to the far right is outs by that pitcher over outs by the team (4,375)):



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outs outs/team outs
Moyer 598 0.13669
Hamels 550 0.12571
Eaton 485 0.11086
Kendrick 363 0.08297
Lieber 234 0.05349
Myers 206 0.04709
Geary 202 0.04617
Durbin 194 0.04434
Lohse 183 0.04183
F Garcia 174 0.03977
Madson 168 0.03840
Condrey 150 0.03429
Alfonseca 149 0.03406
Gordon 120 0.02743
Mesa 117 0.02674
Romero 109 0.02491
Rosario 79 0.01806
Zagurski 64 0.01463
Hernandez 46 0.01051
Sanches 44 0.01006
Castro 36 0.00823
Davis 34 0.00777
Ennis 23 0.00526
Segovia 15 0.00343
Happ 12 0.00274
Smith 12 0.00274
Bisenius 6 0.00137
A Garcia 2 0.00046
Total 4375

 

So Jamie Moyer, at the top of the list, got 598 outs. 598/4,375 is .13669, which also means that Moyer got about 13.7% of the outs recorded by Phillies’ hurlers. The numbers in the far right column add up to one.

And here’s how many runs each of the pitchers allowed (the number on the far right is runs allowed by that pitcher over the total runs allowed by the team (821)):

(continue reading…)


Nats and Fish helping to make for quite a feast in the East

The Phils handled the teams in their division in ’07, going 42-30 against the NL East:


Team

W

L
NY 12 6
ATL 9 9
WAS 12 6
FLA 9 9

Only the Rockies were better against the teams in their own division than the Phils. Colorado went 43-30, a .589 winning percentage compared to .583 for the Phils. The Cubs had the best mark in the NL Central, they went 45-34 (.569).

For the Phils it was the second straight year they fared well against NL East foes. In ’06 they went 41-31, not quite as good as the Mets who were 45-29 (.608) against the teams of the NL East. The Phillies were 38-37 against the NL East in 2005 and 39-37 in 2004. In ’06 the Mets’ .608 winning percentage against the teams in their division was the best in the NL.

The Phillies and Jayson Werth agreed to a one-year contract worth $1.7 million.

This mailbag from the Phillies web site suggests that the Phillies are torn about whether to use Scott Mathieson as a reliever or a starter. He has started in 84 of his 92 minor league appearances.

Interview with Mike Zagurski here.

This article suggests the Orioles may be closer to sending Erik Bedard to the Mariners.


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