Archive for November, 2009

Amaro and the front office leave Phillies fans thankful they’re presumably about to take a little break

This says that the Phillies have agreed to terms with Juan Castro and suggests it may be a one-year deal worth $750,000 with a club option for 2011.

Wow.

Casto turns 38 in June and has a career .601 OPS. He can play short, third and second.

What he can’t do is hit well enough to be allowed on the field. Over the last four season’s he has on-based .281, .211, .246 and .311. He has a career .230 average and a .332 slugging percentage.

He’s a right-handed batter who doesn’t hit either righties or lefties. Last year he played for the Dodgers and hit 287/323/322 against righties, but in 2008 he hit 196/228/271 against righties for the Reds and Orioles.

Here’s how Castro’s career rates for getting hits, walks, doubles and triples, home runs and extra-base hits per 100 plate appearances compare to Bruntlett’s:

  H/100 BB/100 2B+3B/100 HR/100 XBH/100
Bruntlett 20.3 8.5 4.7 1.2 5.9
Castro 21.2 5.2 4.9 1.3 6.2

Castro has been a little more likely to get a hit, less likely to walk and a little more likely to deliver and extra-base hit over his career.

Bruntlett doesn’t turn 38 in half a year, though.

That’s a pretty disappointing move by the Phillies. Yes, you have to have a backup shortstop. Maybe he can do something else, I hear you cry? You really, really don’t want him to. It’s a bad use of a roster spot for a team that has had big problems on the bench for a while now.


Division of labor

Trying to guess who the Phillies might have playing third base next year is kinda fun, but what kind of year the Phils have in 2010 is going to have a lot more to do with what they can do to improve their pitching this off-season.

In 2009 the Phillies used 22 pitchers. They combined to throw 1,455 2/3 innings and allow 709 runs.

Ten of the 22 pitchers that the Phillies used had a percentage of the team’s 1,455 2/3 innings that they threw that was higher than their percentage of the team’s 709 runs that they allowed.

They are in the chart below. For each of the ten there are columns for the percentage of the team’s innings that they pitched, the percentage of the team’s runs that they allowed, the percentage of the runs allowed over the percentage of the innings pitched and the rank of that column compared to the other players in this group. The list is ordered by the number of innings that the player threw for the Phils in 2009.

  % of IP
% of Runs
allowed
Runs
Allowed/IP
Rank for
group
Blanton 13.4 12.6 0.94 10
Happ 11.4 7.8 0.68 2
Lee 5.5 4.9 0.90 9
Madson 5.3 4.1 0.77 5
Martinez 3.1 2.5 0.83 6
Condrey 2.9 2.4 0.83 7
Walker 2.4 1.7 0.70 3
Eyre 2.1 0.8 0.41 1
Kendrick 1.8 1.6 0.86 8
Romero 1.1 0.8 0.74 4

So, for example, Joe Blanton threw about 13.4% of the Phillies innings this season and allowed about 12.6% of the runs. 12.6 over 13.4 is 0.94, which is tenth best among the ten players who allowed a percentage of runs that was lower than the percentage of innings they pitched.

Please note that the rounding of the two percentage columns makes the math look wrong. For example, Eyre’s row shows 2.1 and 0.8, but .8 over 2.1 equals about 0.38 and not 0.41 — that’s cause the numbers are really 2.061 and 0.846 and not 2.1 and .8.

When you look at the difference between the percentage of the runs allowed and percentage of innings pitched it’s important to take into account the number of innings pitched. Eyre had the most dramatic difference between the two numbers, but Blanton was a lot more important to the team despite the worse difference since he threw more than six times as many innings as Eyre.

There were 12 pitchers for the Phils this year who allowed a percentage of the team’s runs that was higher than the percentage of the teams’ innings that pitcher threw. Here are the 12, using the same categories as above (the ranking continues from where the top list left off):

  % of IP
% of Runs
allowed
Runs
Allowed/IP
Rank for
team
Hamels 13.3 13.4 1.01 11
Moyer 11.1 12.8 1.15 17
Park 5.7 6.1 1.06 14
Myers 4.9 5.4 1.10 15
Durbin 4.8 5.4 1.12 16
Lidge 4.0 7.2 1.78 21
Lopez 2.1 3.4 1.64 20
Taschner 2.0 2.5 1.26 18
Bastardo 1.6 2.5 1.56 19
Escalona 0.9 1.0 1.05 13
Carpenter 0.4 1.0 2.54 22
Register 0.1 0.1 1.03 12

Again, the number of innings that the pitcher threw is critical. Andrew Carpenter was miserable compared to the rest of the group, but he only threw 5 2/3 innings. Guys who threw more innings, like Lidge and Moyer especially, obviously hurt the Phils more.

Article here about what some Phillies prospects have been doing in the AFL and winter leagues. If you don’t know who Sebastian Valle is it might be time to find out.

It sure seems like there’s a big opportunity for Mayberry these days. He’s hitting 314/390/521 in Mexico with seven home runs in 121 at-bats. It wasn’t a great year from him at Triple-A, but it’s nice to see him taking more walks in 2009 than he did in ’08 or ’07 — take a look at his minor league numbers.


The sixth nonsense

Charlie Manuel finished sixth in the voting for NL Manager of the Year. Sixth?

Moving on, here’s the rates some free agents who could fill the Phils need at third base tallied hits, walks, doubles and triples, home runs and extra-base hits per 100 plate appearances for their last season in which they got more than 450 plate appearances (2008 for Glaus and 2009 for everyone else):

  H/100 BB/100 2B+3B/100 HR/100 XBH/100
Feliz 24.6 5.6 5.1 1.9 7.0
Tejada 29.6 2.8 7.0 2.1 9.1
DeRosa 22.4 8.2 4.2 4.0 8.2
Polanco 26.1 5.3 5.2 1.5 6.7
Beltre 24.9 4.0 5.7 1.7 7.3
Glaus 23.1 13.7 5.3 4.2 9.6
Figgins 25.1 13.9 5.1 0.7 5.8
Crede 20.4 7.9 4.6 4.1 8.7

And here are the same numbers over their careers:

  H/100 BB/100 2B+3B/100 HR/100 XBH/100
Feliz 23.7 5.3 5.3 3.3 8.6
Tejada 26.4 6.3 5.5 3.6 9.1
DeRosa 24.4 8.4 5.2 2.6 7.8
Polanco 27.8 5.2 5.1 1.5 6.6
Beltre 24.7 7.0 5.4 3.6 9.1
Glaus 21.7 13.5 4.9 5.2 10.0
Figgins 25.6 10.1 4.9 0.8 5.7
Crede 23.3 5.9 4.9 4.1 9.0

Feliz is a very weak offensive player. He has never on-based over .308 for a season and has a .715 career OPS. Doesn’t walk, doesn’t hit for average and hasn’t hit more than 14 home runs in either of the last two seasons.

Tejada is a career .289 hitter and hit .313 for the Astros last year. He walked just 19 times in 673 plate appearances in ’09. He does deliver a ton of extra-base hits. He’s hit 30 or more homers four times in his career, but just 27 in 1,339 plate appearances over the last two years. He’s not a third baseman, either. He may be in the future, but so far he has appeared at third in zero games over his 13-year career.

DeRosa comes off of a weak season in which he hit 250/319/433 for the Indians and Cards. His walk rate is good, better than everyone on the list except for Figgins and Glaus. Through his age 32 season his career high in home runs was 13. Over the past two years he has hit 21 and 23.

Polanco is the least likely member of this group to walk in a given plate appearance over his career and that’s saying something. Pedro Feliz is in this group. Joe Crede is in this group. Adrian Beltre is in this group. The .303 career average is impressive, though. He’s the worst power option in the group behind Figgins.

Beltre has on-based .330 or better in one of the last nine seasons. He does have some power, but he’s hit under .270 four of the last five years.

The problems with Glaus are that he had terrible injury problems last year and probably can’t play third base anymore. Everything else is just ducky. He’s the least likely of the group to deliver a hit or a double or triple, but he has monster rates for drawing walks and hitting home runs. He’s a career .255 hitter and a big right-handed bat that would look fantastic in the Phillies lineup, but if he really can’t play third base it’s going to make it tough to make him your third baseman.

Figgins walked 101 times last season, leading the American League. Second-best walk rate for his career of the group behind Glaus. Worst power numbers of the group by a lot. He just doesn’t homer. His rate of delivering doubles and triples is actually a little better than the rates for Glaus and Crede. He also has stolen 40 or more bases in four of the last five seasons.

Joe Crede hasn’t gotten 400 plate appearances in any of the past three seasons, so I’d be pretty surprised if the Phillies think he’s the guy to hand the third base job. He doesn’t hit for average or draw walks. He is right-handed and can hit some home runs — his home runs rate is second for the group behind Glaus. Career on-base percentage of .304.

I think the guys on the list that have close to no chance of being the player the Phils go after are Crede and Glaus. They are both the kind of player the Phillies need at third — a righty who can hit for power. I would be tempted to take a chance on Glaus if there’s any way he can play third. I don’t think the Phillies will.

Beltre, Tejada, Figgins and DeRosa all seem like they would be an upgrade over Feliz. I hope the Phillies do not consider Polanco to be a real option. I think it would be a big mistake to give him the third base job this year and it could reasonably be argued that Feliz would have been the better choice.

I still think there’s a good chance the Phils get their third baseman through a trade rather than a free agent signing.

Garrett Atkins has been told by the Rockies that he will not be released, but says he knows he will be with another team in 2010. Atkins comes of a miserable season in which he hit 226/308/342 and lost his job to Ian Stewart, but I would be quite pleased to see him as a Phillie. 289/354/457 career line. Hits lefties hard (301/384/486). And yes, he’s been better at Coors than away from it by a lot, but he still has hit more home runs away than he has at home for his career. Where do I sign?

Atkins is also a close friend and former college roommate of Chase Utley. I’m just saying.


Singles function

Continuing with the numbers from the last post, for the eight Phillies regulars, here’s how often they got hits or walks, singles or walks or extra-base hits or walks per 100 plate appearances in 2009:

  H or BB 1B or BB XBH or BB
Howard 35.1 22.9 22.9
Utley 36.2 27.1 22.0
Feliz 30.2 23.2 12.6
Rollins 29.2 19.7 15.6
Ibanez 34.0 21.8 22.1
Victorino 34.7 25.8 17.6
Werth 36.1 26.8 22.8
Ruiz 34.0 24.5 21.9

If you order them by their chance to get any kind of hit or a walk, the list looks like this:

  1. Utley
  2. Werth
  3. Howard
  4. Victorino
  5. Ruiz
  6. Ibanez
  7. Feliz
  8. Rollins

That order is the same as it would be if you ordered the players by their ’09 on-base percentage.

Leadoff man Jimmy Rollins didn’t have much of a chance to get a hit or a walk compared to the other players on his team last year. Victorino would clearly have been the better choice to lead off, but arguably any player, including Feliz, would have done a better job of getting on base.

The list changes if you order the players by their chances to get a single or a walk — the group below is order by the numbers of singles plus walks per 100 plate appearances:

  1. Utley
  2. Werth
  3. Victorino
  4. Ruiz
  5. Feliz
  6. Howard
  7. Ibanez
  8. Rollins

Victorino, Ruiz and Feliz bounce up in that group while Howard and Ibanez fall and Rollins stays at the bottom.

You know who hit a lot of singles last year? Pedro Feliz. Feliz had 110 of his 154 hits this season go for singles. That’s 71.4%, which is the highest percentage of singles for this group of Phillies. Of the 103 NL players who got at least 400 plate appearances last season, just 28 of them had more than 71.4% go as singles. Highest percentage of singles goes to the Mets’ Luis Castillo, who had 89.1% of his 147 hits go for singles.

You know who didn’t hit a lot of singles last year? Raul Ibanez. Just 49.3% of his hits went for singles, which was second-fewest of the 103 NLers with 400 plate appearances. The Diamondbacks’ Chris Young was the only player of that group with a lower percentage of hits going for singles (48.9%).

If you order the list by the player’s chance to walk or deliver an extra-base hit last year, the list goes like this:

  1. Howard
  2. Werth
  3. Ibanez
  4. Utley
  5. Ruiz
  6. Victorino
  7. Rollins
  8. Feliz

Rollins finally gets out of the basement, passing up Feliz. Feliz really isn’t going to do well in any categories you can think of that have a lot to do with walks or extra-base hits. Feliz got 246 more plate appearances than Carlos Ruiz this year and had eight more extra-base hits.

While we’re on the subject of guys who hit lots of singles, JA Happ finished second in the voting for NL Rookie of the Year behind Chris Coghlan. Coghlan hit .321 this year for the Fish, but was one of the 28 NLers with more than 400 plate appearances who had a higher percentage of their hits go for singles than Feliz. 71.6% of Coghlan’s hits went for singles this season.

Bruntlett, Walker, Hoover, Ennis and Tracy are all off of the Phillies 40-man roster. The linked article suggests that this means it’s likely that Bruntlett and Walker will not be back in 2010. It says the other three could return.

I don’t quite understand what it is with the Phillies and Tyler Walker. He pitched well in 2009 for a team that had a lot of problems in the pen at the end of the year and made under a million dollars. He wasn’t part of the Phillies post-season plans and it looks like he isn’t part of their plans for 2010.

The Phillies added outfielder Quintin Berry, left-handed pitcher Yohan Flande and right-handed pitcher Jesus Sanchez to their 40-man roster.

Free agent Chan Ho Park is looking for a team that would give him a chance to start. 7.29 ERA and a 1.74 ratio in seven starts in 2009 and a 2.52 ERA and a 1.18 ratio as a reliever.

The Phillies apparently see keeping a guy who can’t play defense and hits 194/357/379 on your team all year as not in the best interests of the team.

The Manager of the Year will be announced today.


Annual reviews

Quick — when Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Pedro Feliz, Raul Ibanez and Jayson Werth came to the plate in 2009, who was the most likely to get a hit?

Wrong. Okay, I’m guessing. But if you answered Pedro Feliz you’re way better at this than I am. Feliz got hits in a higher percentage of his plate appearances than anyone in that group. Chase Utley, I hear you cry? Nope. Utley hit .282 and on-based .397 in 2009, but got hits in 161 of 687 (or 23.4%) of his plate appearances. Feliz hit .266 and on-based .308, but got hits in 154 of 625 plate appearances (24.6%). Utley has a way higher batting average because of what happened in the pair’s plate appearances that weren’t a hit and how many of them counted as at-bats and were used to calculate batting average.

For the eight Phillies regulars, here’s the rate at which they had hits, walks, doubles and triples, extra-base hits and home runs per 100 plate appearances this season:

  H/100 BB/100 (2B+3B)/100 HR/100 XBH/100
Howard 24.5 10.7 5.8 6.4 12.2
Utley 23.4 12.8 4.7 4.5 9.2
Feliz 24.6 5.6 5.1 1.9 7.0
Rollins 23.2 6.1 6.6 2.9 9.5
Ibanez 24.1 9.9 6.2 6.0 12.2
Victorino 26.1 8.6 7.5 1.4 8.9
Werth 22.6 13.5 4.0 5.3 9.3
Ruiz 21.6 12.4 7.1 2.4 9.5

Victorino is the only guy of the group who got hits more regularly than Feliz. Utley, Werth and Ruiz all had monster walk rates. Howard, Utley, Ibanez and Werth all delivered more than 30 home runs, but it was Howard and Ibanez who had the best home run rate of that group. It doesn’t seem like it should be possible that Ruiz had a better rate of getting extra-base hits than Utley or Werth, but he did. Ruiz had 36 extra-base hits in 379 plate appearances (one every 10.52 plate appearances) while Utley had 63 in 687 (one every 10.90) and Werth 63 in 676 (one every 10.73).

Had Ruiz gotten the 703 plate appearances that Howard got and continued to deliver extra-base hits at the same rate he had over his 379 plate appearances for the season, he would have hit 48 doubles, two triples and 17 home runs. Houston’s Miguel Tejada led the NL in doubles in 2009 with 46 (Rollins was fourth with 43).

Here’s what the same eight players did in 2008, remembering that Ibanez played for Seattle:

  H/100 BB/100 (2B+3B)/100 HR/100 XBH/100
Howard 21.9 11.6 4.3 6.9 11.1
Utley 25.0 9.1 6.4 4.7 11.0
Feliz 22.9 7.1 4.5 3.0 7.6
Rollins 24.6 9.3 7.5 1.8 9.3
Ibanez 26.3 9.1 6.5 3.3 9.8
Victorino 26.6 7.2 6.1 2.2 8.3
Werth 23.7 11.8 3.9 5.0 8.9
Ruiz 18.8 11.8 3.8 1.1 4.8

Finally, for each of the eight players the chart below compares their rate for 2009 to their rate for 2008. If the number is over one the cell is green and it means they were better in that area, if it’s under one and red it means they were worse. A “1.14″ means that they got 114% of whatever the category reported was in 2009 compared to their rate for 2008.

  H/100 BB/100 (2B+3B)/100 HR/100 XBH/100
Howard
1.12

0.92

1.36

0.93

1.10
Utley
0.94

1.42

0.73

0.97

0.83
Feliz
1.08

0.79

1.13

0.63

0.93
Rollins
0.94

0.65

0.88

1.65

1.03
Ibanez
0.91

1.09

0.95

1.85

1.25
Victorino
0.98

1.20

1.24

0.65

1.08
Werth
0.96

1.14

1.01

1.07

1.04
Ruiz
1.15

1.05

1.90

2.21

1.97

So, for example, the chart means that in 2009 Howard’s hit rate per 100 plate appearances was 112% of what it was in 2008. His walk rate was 92%, his rate of hitting doubles and triples 136%, his home run rate 93% and his rate of extra-base hits overall up 110%.

Important to note is that there are five categories and three of them, the three rightmost, all have to do with extra-base hits.

Utley’s walk rate in 2009 was way up compared to 2008, but the other categories were all down. He had 20 fewer plate appearances in 2008 than he did in 20099, but in ’08 he hit 13 more doubles, two more home runs and walked 24 fewer times.

Feliz had the worst walk rate on the team in 2008 and it got worse in 2009. In 162 more plate appearances in 2009, he hit two fewer home runs. He hit about 63% of the home runs per 100 plate appearances in ’09 that he did in 2008. That’s the worst mark for any of the players in any category (although Rollins’ walks and Victorino’s home runs are close).

Rollins was way down in walks and down in hits. He hit 21 homers after hitting just 11 in ’08.

Ibanez’s home run rate shot way up as he hit 34 in 2009 in 565 plate appearances after hitting 23 in 707 plate appearances for the Mariners in ’08. He did rip 43 doubles for Seattle in ’08, so that rate was down, and his batting average dropped twenty-one points.

Home runs were down for Victorino, but he led the NL in triples with thirteen.

Werth had a big jump in his walk rate and hit for more power.

Ruiz was the only player who was up in all five areas. He more than doubled his home run rate, the biggest increase for any player in any category in the group.

The NL Rookie of the Year will be announced today.


Just dropped in to see what condition my position was in

For each of the eight offensive positions, here’s the Phillies team OPS at the position, the rank of that OPS in the NL this year, the NL average for the season, the team’s OPS rank in the NL in 2008 and the ’09 OPS for the position over the NL average OPS for the position as a percentage:

POS OPS NL Rank NL AVG OPS Rank ’08 OPS/NL AVG
C .757 5 .709 10 107
1B .928 5 .858 4 108
2B .896 1 .741 1 121
3B .686 12 .752 15 91
SS .699 10 .721 6 97
LF .827 4 .781 5 106
CF .831 2 .762 4 109
RF .898 1 .781 12 115

So, for example, the chart shows that Phillies catchers overall posted a .757 OPS this season, which was the fifth-best for the teams in the league. The average NL team saw their catchers post a .709 OPS. The Phillies’ .757 is about 107% of .709.

There are 16 teams in the NL. By OPS, the Phillies were in the top five in six of the eight positions. The two where they were not were shortstop and third base.

By rank of the positional OPS compared to other teams, the Phillies improved at five positions in 2009 compared to 2008: catcher, third base, left field, center field and right field. They were down at two, first base and shortstop, and they had the best OPS at second base in both 2008 and 2009. Despite dropping from fourth to fifth in the league in OPS by first basemen, the Phils still got a lot of production from the position. The Padres and Cubs both topped the Phils in OPS at first base after the Phils had finished ahead of them in 2008.

Finally, if you rank how the team OPS by position compares to the league averages, the list goes like this:

  1. 2B (121)
  2. RF (115)
  3. CF (109)
  4. 1B (108)
  5. C (107)
  6. LF (106)
  7. SS (97)
  8. 3B (91)

I have added a page where I will track my guess at who will be on the 2010 Phillies team that you can access through the 2010 link at the top of the page.

The Phillies aren’t going to trade Cole Hamels or trade for Roy Halladay. If Amaro trades Cole Hamels for Roy Halladay they should fire him. He won’t, but if he did getting fired would be the least of his problems — his first priority would no doubt be finding someone to exercise the baseball-illiterate demon that had taken up residence within him. It is a little interesting if the Phillies truly don’t have any interest in Halladay, although I don’t think the Phillies need to add a big starting pitcher before the start of the season. They might need to add one before the end of season, though, and they had mixed results with that in 2009. The Lee trade was fantastic, but signing Pedro cost them.

The article linked above also says that Moyer will have surgery on his left knee in December.

Amaro says the two top priorities are third base and the bullpen. Figgins, Tejada, Belte, DeRosa and Polanco seem like the most common guesses about who the Phils might go after for third. Polanco is the least exciting name in that group, coming off of a season where he hit 266/304/434 against lefties.

Rollins and Victorino won Gold Gloves.

This says the Phillies may be interested in Fernando Rodney.

Lidge had elbow surgery and should be throwing within eight weeks. Amaro says he’s hopeful that Lidge will be ready close to opening day.


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