Archive for December, 2008

Any Coste that can on-base .330 or so bias

Jayson Werth is the best right-handed hitter for the Phils heading into 2009. But who is second-best? Looking at the 40-man roster, the candidates include Chris Coste, Lou Marson, Ronny Paulino, Carlos Ruiz, Eric Bruntlett, Pedro Feliz, Brad Harman and John Mayberry. I’m going to eliminate Marson, Harman and Mayberry, who combine to have 14 career at-bats between them. That leaves five. Coste, Paulino, Ruiz, Bruntlett and Feliz.

Here’s what they have done over their careers:

Coste 655 288 338 449 788
Feliz 3490 252 290 429 719
Paulino 1110 278 331 382 713
Ruiz 880 242 329 359 688
Bruntlett 777 240 315 344 659

Only two of that group has slugged over .382 for their career, and one of them, Feliz, has a .290 on-base percentage to go with his .429 slugging percentage.

The relatively large number of plate appearances for Paulino may be surprising to some. He caught 124 games for the Pirates in 2006 and 129 in 2007.

Here’s what they have done against lefties:

Vs Left
Paulino 288 355 417 498 915
Coste 193 316 361 503 864
Feliz 957 267 312 446 758
Bruntlett 314 269 358 396 754
Ruiz 207 206 307 343 650

Paulino’s numbers against lefties are fantastic. I think we should expect him to make the team and play regularly against lefties, although Manuel has seemingly chosen his starting catcher based on the starting pitcher for the Phillies in recent years. It will be interesting if he continues that pattern given the huge difference between the career numbers against lefties for Paulino and Ruiz (assuming Paulino makes the team).

Ruiz is just miserable against lefties. His career numbers are worse against them than they are against righties.

Coste’s results against left-handed pitching have also been solid. Bruntlett gets on base well against them.

Here are their numbers against righties:

Vs Right
Coste 462 276 329 427 756
Feliz 2533 246 282 422 704
Ruiz 673 253 336 364 700
Paulino 822 252 301 343 643
Bruntlett 463 221 286 310 596

Chris Coste’s .756 OPS leads the group. Using OPS, his career line against righties is a tiny bit better than Jayson Werth’s career 251/347/408 (.755 OPS) line against righties. Werth is much better against lefties, though, he has hit to a .920 OPS against them in his career.

Paulino and Bruntlett are both poor hitters against righties. Feliz has the worst on-base percentage of the group.

Coste seems like the rather clear answer to the question, with the note that Paulino has had tremendous success against left-handed pitching in his career. Even though the career numbers for Coste are solid, I think you have to be worried about the Phillies hitting from the right side going into ’09. Even if Coste is on the team, I think we’re likely to see him behind the plate far less often in 2009. There’s a big question about where he’s going to play if he’s going to be anything besides a pinch-hitter. The other thing that I think you have to be concerned about is that he’s going to be 36 when the 2009 season starts. He was fantastic with the bat in 2006, but over the last two years he’s gotten 403 at-bats in which he hit 268/320/422. I think his future numbers are likely to be much closer to that than to the monster 328/376/506 line he posted in 198 at-bats in 2006.

The Phillies also have two big switch-hitters in their lineup. Here are the career numbers for Rollins and Victorino:

Rollins 5787 277 333 441 774
Victorino 1701 281 342 421 762

Very similar numbers. Rollins has gotten on base a little less regularly and hit to a slightly higher slugging percentage.

With the dropoff in Rollins’ numbers last season, Victorino was the better hitter of the duo for the first time after being markedly outhit by Rollins in ’06 and ’07. In 2008, Victorino hit 293/352/447, topping Rollins’ 277/349/437 line in all three categories. While it may seem like the difference in their age should be more dramatic, they both have their birthdays in November and Rollins just turned 30 while Victorino turned 28.

Some good news for the Phillies in that both Rollins and Victorino have been better against lefties than righties over their careers, with the difference being more dramatic for Victorino than for Rollins:

Vs Left
Victorino 518 279 346 486 832
Rollins 1520 287 342 452 794

Both Rollins and Victorino have posted a better OPS against lefties over their career than all of the right-handed hitters on the list above except for Coste and Paulino.

Here are the numbers against righties:

Vs Right



















Again, using OPS they are about as good as any of the right-handed hitters on the list above. Coste’s .756 OPS is better than Victorino’s .751, but Victorino gets on base more.

If you add Victorino’s plate appearances versus lefties and his plate appearances versus righties they don’t add up to his total plate appearances. That’s cause he has 66 career plate appearances versus righties as a right-handed batter that are not included.

This says that Mark DeRosa has been traded to the Indians for minor league pitchers Jeff Stevens, Chris Archer and John Gaub. That doesn’t seem like a whole lot for DeRosa, so I don’t quite understand. I would have guessed that the Phillies would have been willing to give up more than that to land him.

Right light

Replacing Pat Burrell with Raul Ibanez almost surely means the Phils will be seeing more left-handed pitching in 2009. If we look back at the NL teams from 2008, here’s how many plate appearances they had and how many of their plate appearances came against lefties and righties:

Team PA v L PA v R Total PA % v L % v R
ATL 2004 4364 6368 31.5 68.5
SD 1959 4285 6244 31.4 68.6
STL 1971 4399 6370 30.9 69.1
CIN 1913 4275 6188 30.9 69.1
PHI 1902 4371 6273 30.3 69.7
NYM 1880 4508 6388 29.4 70.6
WAS 1816 4376 6192 29.3 70.7
LA 1806 4388 6194 29.2 70.8
MIL 1740 4512 6252 27.8 72.2
ARI 1662 4494 6156 27.0 73.0
CHI 1696 4688 6384 26.6 73.4
FLA 1620 4586 6206 26.1 73.9
HOU 1572 4479 6051 26.0 74.0
SF 1583 4562 6145 25.8 74.2
COL 1574 4738 6312 24.9 75.1
PIT 1506 4772 6278 24.0 76.0

Three NL teams, the Braves, Padres and Reds, all 1) had more plate appearances than the Phillies against lefties in 2008 2) had a higher percentage of their plate appearances come against lefties 3) had fewer plate appearances against righties and 4) had a lower percentage of their plate appearances come against righties.

Three of those things are true for the Cardinals as well, but the number of plate appearances that St Louis had against righties was higher than the number of plate appearances that the Phillies had against righties.

In 2008, the average NL team got 6,250 plate appearances. About 28.2% of them came against lefties and about 71.8% of them came against righties.

While the Phillies did see a lot of lefties in 2008, they weren’t in the top quarter of the league in either the number of plate appearances they had against lefties or the percentage of their plate appearances that came against lefties. That seems likely to change in 2009, so if you know of any good right-handed hitters available I wouldn’t wait much longer.

The Phillies signed 28-year-old right-handed reliever Gary Majewski to a minor league contract. Majewski will be a long shot to make the team out of spring training. It currently looks as if there is no spot available in the bullpen — if one opened, Majewski and fellow veteran righty Mike Koplove would likely be in the mix for the spot.

Majewski was good for Montreal and Washington in 2004 and 2005. In those two seasons combined, he threw to a 3.11 ERA over 107 innings. He’s always allowed a lot of base runners, though, even in ’04 and ’05 his ratio for those seasons combined was 1.40.

Since 2005, he’s thrown to a 5.81 ERA 133 1/3 innings with a 1.70 ratio.

The Reds put him on the DL with a sore shoulder after trading for him in 2006, causing some problems.

At, Ed Foley started with a 2007 Charlie Manuel baseball card and is trying to trade it enough times for enough other stuff that he donates to ALS research to get the Phillies to let him throw out the first pitch at a game.

Duck luck?

For the 11 Phillies who got the most plate appearances in 2008, here’s how many total plate appearances each had and how many of them came with the bases empty and how many came with at least one man on base:

Player PA PA bases
runner(s) on
% empty % on
Utley 707 369 338 52.2 47.8
Howard 700 349 351 49.9 50.1
Burrell 645 377 268 58.4 41.6
Victorino 627 360 267 57.4 42.6
Rollins 625 406 219 65.0 35.0
Werth 482 275 207 57.1 42.9
Feliz 463 240 223 51.8 48.2
Ruiz 373 214 159 57.4 42.6
Jenkins 322 187 135 58.1 41.9
Coste 305 160 145 52.5 47.5
Dobbs 240 128 112 53.3 46.7

And here’s the same 11 players ranked by their OPS for the season and the percentage of their plate appearances that came with men on base:

  Ranked by
Ranked by
% of PA with runners on base
1 Utley Howard
2 Howard Feliz
3 Burrell Utley
4 Werth Coste
5 Dobbs Dobbs
6 Victorino Werth
7 Rollins Ruiz
8 Coste Victorino
9 Feliz Jenkins
10 Jenkins Burrell
11 Ruiz Rollins

It’s not surprising to see the leadoff man Rollins at the bottom of the list, but it’s a little surprising to me to see Burrell right above him. Feliz isn’t the guy you want getting the second-highest percentage of his plate appearances with men on base.

There’s also a big dropoff between the percentage of plate appearances with men on that Dobbs (fifth on the list) had compared to Werth (sixth on the list). 46.7% of Dobb’s plate appearances came with men aboard compared to 42.9% for Werth. There were five guys, Dobbs, Coste, Utley, Feliz and Howard, who got between 46.1% and 50.1% of their plate appearances with men on and another group of five, Werth, Ruiz, Victorino, Jenkins and Burrell, who all got between 41.6% and 42.9% of their plate appearances with men aboard. And then there’s Rollins, who was way below everyone.

Ryan Howard won’t be in the World Baseball Classic.

Former Phil Travis Blackley was signed by the Diamondbacks.

Article about Mike Arbuckle here.

Interview with Doug Glanville at Jimmy Scott’s High and Tight.

Next post will be around December 29.

No empty promises from Ibanez

Situational hitting seems to be some of what drew the Phillies to Raul Ibanez. Here are some of the situational hitting numbers for Ibanez and Burrell for 2008:

Pat Burrell — 2008
RISP 234 358 469 827
RISP, 2 outs 183 341 366 707
Bases Loaded 222 333 333 667
Men on, 2
194 331 379 709
Man on 3rd, <
2 outs
381 441 476 917
Raul Ibanez — 2008
RISP 327 397 480 877
RISP, 2 outs 324 407 479 886
Bases Loaded 400 438 800 1.238
Men on, 2
280 362 400 762
Man on 3rd, <
2 outs
444 468 694 1.163

Ibanez was better. To make any decision based on those numbers would be absurd, though. Burrell, for example, had 12 plate appearances with the bases loaded in 2008. Here’s what the two have done over their careers:

Pat Burrell — Career
RISP 263 386 467 853
RISP, 2 outs 244 389 467 856
Bases Loaded 293 385 463 848
Men on, 2
264 395 511 906
Man on 3rd, <
2 outs
302 405 442 847
Raul Ibanez — Career
RISP 305 380 493 873
RISP, 2 outs 287 385 469 854
Bases Loaded 371 387 621 1.008
Men on, 2
295 374 486 859
Man on 3rd, <
2 outs
392 430 653 1.083

Generally speaking, Ibanez was better. Burrell’s numbers with runners in scoring position and two outs are a tiny bit better if you go by OPS, and his results with two outs and men on are better. Overall, though, Ibanez has hit better in those situations.

This all seems fantastic. There’s a problem, though. Burrell is a better hitter than Ibanez overall, which means that there must be some situation in which he’s a lot better than Ibanez. And there is:

Pat Burrell — 2008
Bases Empty 264 393 540 933
Raul Ibanez — 2008
Bases Empty 255 311 453 764

Enormous difference in how much they got aboard with the bases empty. Burrell also outslugged Ibanez by a lot. In 2008, 344 of Ibanez’s 707 plate appearances, about 49%, came with the bases empty. For Burrell it was 377 of 645 plate appearances (about 58%) that came with the bases empty. That seems counter-intuitive, to me at least, given that Burrell hit behind Utley and Howard and Ibanez spent much of the year hitting behind low on-basers, including Jose Lopez (.322) and Jeremy Reed (.314). I’d guess some of the factors include Burrell leading off an inning more often than Ibanez (just barely, though, about 20% of his plate appearances compared to about 19.7% for Ibanez) and the number nine hitter in the AL not making an out nearly as often as the nine hitter in the NL. Howard or Utley also cleared the bases with a home run a little more regularly than Lopez or Reed.

If you look at the career numbers, Burrell is still better, but not by as much:

Pat Burrell — Career
Bases Empty 248 356 482 838
Raul Ibanez — Career
Bases Empty 272 328 456 784

The gap narrows there, but Burrell is still getting on base a lot more of the time.

Also of note is that if you consider all situations with any runner on base, Burrell has also been a little better overall if you measure using OPS. In his career, Burrell has hit 267/378/488 (.866 OPS) with runners on while Ibanez has hit 302/366/490 (.857 OPS).

The Phillies have invited ten players to spring training as non-roster invitees, most notably Mikes Cervenak and Koplove.

The article linked above also reports that the Phillies have signed 11 minor league free agents. Included in that group is 24-year-old right-handed pitcher Yorman Bazardo, who has appeared for the Tigers in three of the last four years. Righty Yoel Hernandez was also signed — Hernandez threw to a 5.28 ERA in 15 1/3 innings with the Phils in 2007. He was great in his first 11 appearances, throwing to an 0.75 ratio while allowing four earned runs in 10 1/3 innings (2.70 ERA). Over his last three appearances in 2007 he allowed five runs in two innings. He is 28.

Brian Stavisky is a left-handed 1B/corner outfielder who has a career minor league line of 307/396/474. He’s 28 and all but about 200 of his at-bats have come below AAA.

Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard may play in the World Baseball Classic.

This suggests that Rocco Baldelli was misdiagnosed with mitochondrial disease and actually has channelopothy, which may be more treatable.

This says the Angels are close to re-signing Juan Rivera.

And that’s why they don’t call him Pat the Glove

Some have suggested in recent days that Raul Ibanez is as bad or worse defensively in the outfield than Pat Burrell. That may be the case. What is hard for me to believe is that Burrell gets to as many fly balls as Ibanez does.

Here’s how many innings each of them played in left field in 2008 and how many putouts they had:

Player Innings in
Burrell 1198.1 202
Ibanez 1340 302

Burrell had about .17 putouts per inning in left field, Ibanez had about .23 putouts per inning while in left. If Burrell had played the same number of innings in left as Ibanez and continued to record putouts at the same rate, he would have had 226 putouts compared to 302 for Ibanez.

Ibanez led all MLB left fielders in putouts in 2008. He also played more innings in left than just about anyone — Jason Bay played about five more innings, but he was the only player in either league to spend more time in left. Ryan Braun and Delmon Young each also played at least 1,300 innings in left in ’08.

Here’s the ten players who played the most innings in left field in either league this season, how many innings they played, how many putouts they recorded and how many putouts per inning:

Player Innings PO PO per
Jason Bay 1345.2 254 .189
Raul Ibanez 1340 302 .225
Delmon Young 1324 282 .213
Ryan Braun 1310.1 275 .210
Matt Holliday 1229.1 240 .195
Pat Burrell 1198.1 202 .169
Carlos Quentin 1147 228 .199
Adam Dunn 981.2 210 .214
Manny Ramirez 974 190 .195
Alfonso Soriano 937.1 186 .198

Of the ten players, Burrell has the worst rate of putouts per inning and Ibanez has the best.

Burrell and Ibanez weren’t fielding in the same parks or behind the same pitchers. And it is true that Phillies pitchers struck out more hitters than Mariners pitchers and got fewer fly ball outs than Seattle pitchers. But not by a huge amount:

  K GO AO K+GO+AO % K % GO % AO
PHI 1081 1718 1465 4,264 25.4 40.3 34.4
SEA 1016 1691 1522 4,229 24.0 40.0 36.0

The number of outs you get in the air reflects, of course, not just how often your pitchers make pitches that are hit in the air but also how good the outfielders are at catching the balls after they are hit in the air.

The Mariners were 15th among the 30 teams in the number of outs they got in the air.

As a team, the Mariners got 1.039 times as many outs in the air as the Phillies did in 2008. Even if you adjust Burrell’s putouts to give him as many innings in left as Ibanez, which, again, puts him at 226, Ibanez’s total of 302 is still 1.34 times higher than Burrell’s.

Over the past two seasons, Ibanez has played 2,454 1/3 innings in left for Seattle and recorded 526 putouts. That’s .2143 putouts per inning. Eight other players have appeared in left field for Seattle and combined to play 415 1/3 innings. In their 415 1/3 innings, they recorded 85 putouts, or .2047 (less) per inning. Burrell, on the other hand, has played 2,226 2/3 innings in left and recorded 378 putouts (.1698) while other Phillies left fielders have played 681 2/3 innings and recorded 163 putouts (.2391 per inning (way more).

There were other things that Burrell did in left better than Ibanez. He made errors at a lower rate in 2008, for example, and despite playing about 140 fewer innings defensively threw more runners out on the bases. There’s a lot of bad things that can happen after you get to the ball, but I’m going to be surprised if Ibanez doesn’t prove to be much better at that that Burrell. I think we’ll be able to see it both from watching the games and in the statistics.

The Phillies signed 24-year-old right-handed pitcher Santo Hernandez from the independent United Baseball League.

Lots of people seem to think Raul Ibanez is a swell fella.

The list of free agents.

Vintage Blue, a Philadelphia-based, vintage-inspired sportswear line for women that holds exclusive license to the All American Girls Professional Baseball League, would like you to know they’re out there. Here, specifically.

2009 a second time

In mid-November I took a guess at who would be on the Phillies roster when the 2009 season started. A lot of things have happened since then, including:

  • Chase Utley had surgery on his right hip and will likely miss the start of the season. It’s unclear when he will be back at second base or who will be playing the position till he returns. We’re pretty sure it won’t be Nick Punto or Tad Iguchi. Probably won’t be Mark DeRosa, either.
  • Greg Golson, who had a slim chance to make the team to start the season, was traded for right-handed outfielder John Mayberry, who has a slimmer chance to make the team to start the season.
  • The Phillies signed veteran right-handed reliever Mike Koplove.
  • Jason Jaramillo was traded for right-handed catcher Ronny Paulino
  • Raul Ibanez was signed to a three-year contract and will presumably see the bulk of the time in left field.
  • Right-handed pitcher Robert Mosebach was acquired in the Rule 5 draft.
  • The Phils signed right-handed pitcher Chan Ho Park to a one-year contract.
  • They also signed Jamie Moyer to a two-year contract.

I think there are nine hitters you have to assume are on the team at this point.


Ryan Howard

Jimmy Rollins

Pedro Feliz

Shane Victorino

Jayson Werth

Raul Ibanez

Carlos Ruiz
10 C
Eric Bruntlett

Greg Dobbs


Utley is obviously on the team as well, but will probably start the season on the DL. That leaves four spots for position players, assuming the Phils carry 13 hitters and 12 pitchers to start the year.

First spot is second catcher along with Ruiz. I think Paulino is a far better bet to take that spot than Coste. It now seems clear the Marson will start the year in the minors.

The Phillies definitely need to give one of the other three spots to an outfielder, almost surely Geoff Jenkins or Matt Stairs, to fill out an outfield that will feature Victorino in center, Werth in right and Ibanez in left. I still don’t believe the Phillies can carry all three of Jenkins, Stairs and Dobbs — that seems especially true now that the left-handed bat of Ibanez looks like it will be a fixture in the lineup till we’ve been saying “Yeah he can hit but he really needs to go to the AL where he can DH” about him for about a year and a half. I still guess the fourth outfielder spot goes to Jenkins.

That leaves two — the 2B spot that is open with Utley on the DL and another spot on the bench. At least one of those spaces needs to go to a right-handed hitter, and the options in the organization right now are not exciting. I would have to guess that Coste, Mike Cevernak and Mayberry would be the lead candidates. Matt Stairs is not right-handed, but you’d have to think he’d get some consideration anyway given the possibilities. I think Coste would get the spot if it came down to those four — more likely, though, it seems that the Phillies will add a veteran right-handed bat before the season starts.

And then there’s the Utley second base spot. Jason Donald, Brad Harman, veteran not on the team or letting Bruntlett handle the job while Utley was out look like the four main candidates there. Harman hit 210/280/366 at Double-A last year, so I don’t think he’s going to be an attractive option. Donald comes off a monster year in the minors and the AFL, but I would guess the Phils let him play in the minors again in 2009. I don’t think Bruntlett can hit right-handed pitching well enough to play regularly at second base, but I think the big question for the Phillies will be how much time Utley is going to miss. If the Phillies believe Utley is going to miss a small number of games, Bruntlett would almost surely get the call. Ideally for the Phils the right-handed hitter they bring in to fill the bench slot above could play second. Without much information about how long Utley is going to be out, I’ll still go with yet another right-handed veteran in this slot to fill out the hitting roster. It would mean the Phils would be in a bind when Utley returned — Utley plus two right-handed veteran bats gives them 14 hitters, which they probably won’t carry. You can see why DeRosa was so attractive to the Phillies as he fills the need for the big right-handed bat and the guy who can play second base. There aren’t a lot of guys like that out there.

Ten of the Phillies pitching spots are likely to be filled by these guys:


Cole Hamels (left)

Brett Myers (right)

Joe Blanton (right)

Jamie Moyer (left)

Ryan Madson (right)
JC Romero (left)

Clay Condrey (right)

Scott Eyre (left)

Chad Durbin (right)

Brad Lidge (right)


Assuming the Phils carry 12 pitchers, that leaves two.

With the signing of Moyer yesterday, the Phillies have one spot left in the rotation. Chan Ho Park’s early quotes seem to suggest he’ll be in the mix to win the job. He would presumably be competing with a group that included JA Happ and Kyle Kendrick as the front-runners for fifth starter. I don’t think Carlos Carrasco or Adam Eaton are realistic candidates. Kendrick and Happ may have to outpitch Park in spring training to win the job as fifth starter, but that might not be that hard for them to do. I’m still guessing Kendrick, but I think it’s very close between those three for the fifth starter job.

Park’s likely on the team whether he’s in the rotation or not — I think it’s just a question of whether he’s a starter or the veteran righty in the bullpen. The last bullpen spot needs to go to a righty. I think it will be Park, but if it’s not it may be Koplove battling all the right-handed relievers in the world that currently aren’t on the Phillies to make the team.

Hitters (13): Howard, Rollins, Feliz, Ibanez, Victorino, Werth, Ruiz, Bruntlett, Dobbs, Paulino, Jenkins and two right-handed hitters currently not with the team.

Pitchers (12): Hamels, Myers, Blanton, Moyer, Kendrick, Madson, Romero, Condrey, Eyre, Durbin, Park, Lidge.

This suggests Utley could be ready for opening day.

The Phillies signed Jamie Moyer to a two-year deal worth $13 million. Chan Ho Park was also signed to a one-year deal. Glad to see Moyer back — I think the Phillies won that one as I was expecting Moyer to get more than $13 million. But . . . this says that Moyer will make $20 million over the two years if he throws at least 190 innings and makes 31 starts in each season. Moyer has thrown at least 190 innings and made at least 31 starts in each of the last eight seasons.

The Phillies needed a right-handed pitcher and they got one, but I think Chan Ho Park’s numbers in a Phillie uniform might be ugly in 2009.

I am tracking my guess as to who will be part of the 2009 Phillies here.

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