Archive for March, 2010

Putting nothing extra on it

This is yesterday’s chart again with two new columns. Next to the (TB+BB)/IP is ((TB+BB)/IP)/ratio, which is how many times bigger that pitcher’s (TB+BB)/IP is than his ratio ((H+BB)/IP). The column next to that is percentage of hits that the pitcher allowed with the Phils in ’09 that went for extra-bases:

IP Ratio ((TB+BB)/IP) ((TB+BB)/IP)/ratio % of
hits XBH
Joe Blanton 195.3 1.32 2.00 1.52 35.4%
Cole Hamels 193.7 1.29 1.94 1.51 35.4%
J.A. Happ 166.0 1.23 1.81 1.46 35.6%
Jamie Moyer 162.0 1.36 2.07 1.53 33.9%
Chan Ho Park 83.3 1.40 1.84 1.31 29.8%
Cliff Lee 79.7 1.13 1.68 1.49 36.3%
Ryan Madson 77.3 1.23 1.66 1.35 26.0%
Brett Myers 70.7 1.37 2.39 1.74 48.6%
Chad Durbin 69.7 1.48 2.02 1.37 37.5%
Brad Lidge 58.7 1.81 2.68 1.48 36.1%
Pedro Martinez 44.7 1.25 2.04 1.63 41.7%
Clay Condrey 42.0 1.21 1.64 1.35 24.3%
Tyler Walker 35.3 1.13 1.64 1.45 29.0%
Scott Eyre 30.0 1.27 1.77 1.39 36.4%
Rodrigo Lopez 30.0 1.77 2.53 1.43 40.5%
Jack Taschner 29.3 1.98 2.56 1.29 26.3%
Kyle Kendrick 26.3 1.37 1.48 1.08 3.7%
Antonio Bastardo 23.7 1.48 2.32 1.57 46.2%

One of those things is really a lot not like the others. Look at Kendrick’s results in the two right-most columns. Kendrick faced 112 batters last year and allowed one extra-base hit (a home run to Anderson Hernandez on September 13). That’s not just unusual compared to the rest of the guys on the Phillies — among all NL pitchers who faced at least 10 batters in 2009, Kendrick’s rate of allowing 0.89 extra-base hits per 100 plate appearances was the best in the league. Was that a fluke? I’d bet yes if I had to bet, but we’re not going to have to wait long to find out.

Finally, on a more general point about the table, as the numbers in the ((TB+BB)/IP)/ratio columns go up, the numbers in the % of hits that were extra-base hits also generally go up. Not always, though. If you look at Madson’s ((TB+BB)/IP)/ratio, for example, it’s higher than Park’s even though Park had a higher percentage of hits go for extra-bases. Worse extra-base hits is the explanation there, I think. Madson allowed 52 total bases on 19 extra-base hits, or about 2.74 bases per XBH, while Park allowed 61 total bases on 25 XBH, or about 2.44 bases per extra-base hit.

The Astros beat the Phillies 5-2 yesterday. Contreras getting blasted again was the biggest pitching story of the day. He allowed three runs on three hits and two walks in 2/3 of an inning, puffing his ERA for the spring to 9.00. He’s allowed 20 hits in 12 innings and also given up two runs that were unearned. Ibanez was 1-for-3 with walk to raise his spring average to .114.

Jamie Moyer will be the Phillies fifth starter.

This suggests that Lidge likely will not be able to pitch for the Phils by April 10 as previously hoped.

Ratio race

Here are the ratios ((H+BB)/IP) and (TB+BB)/IP for the 17 Phillies pitchers who faced more than 100 batters last season. They are ordered by innings pitched:

IP Ratio (TB+BB)/IP
Joe Blanton 195.33 1.32 2.00
Cole Hamels 193.67 1.29 1.94
J.A. Happ 166.00 1.23 1.81
Jamie Moyer 162.00 1.36 2.07
Chan Ho Park 83.33 1.40 1.84
Cliff Lee 79.67 1.13 1.68
Ryan Madson 77.33 1.23 1.66
Brett Myers 70.67 1.37 2.39
Chad Durbin 69.67 1.48 2.02
Brad Lidge 58.67 1.81 2.68
Pedro Martinez 44.67 1.25 2.04
Clay Condrey 42.00 1.21 1.64
Tyler Walker 35.33 1.13 1.64
Scott Eyre 30.00 1.27 1.77
Rodrigo Lopez 30.00 1.77 2.53
Jack Taschner 29.33 1.98 2.56
Kyle Kendrick 26.33 1.37 1.48
Antonio Bastardo 23.67 1.48 2.32

The total ratio for that group was 1.34 and the total result of (TB+BB)/IP was 1.97 (Blanton’s innings had more impact on those numbers than, for example, Jack Taschner’s). The average ratio was 1.39 and the average (TB+BB)/IP was 2.00 (Blanton and Taschner’s numbers had the same impact).

The Braves beat the Phillies 5-4 yesterday. Happ allowed two runs over five innings and walked five. Durbin followed Happ and gave up a two-run homer to Brooks Conrad in the seventh, tying the game at 4-4. Eric Hinske homered off of Madson in the top of the ninth to put the Braves on top to stay. Madson has a 6.43 ERA and a 1.57 ratio for the spring. Polanco went 2-for-4 and is hitting .408. Francisco 2-for-3 with a walk and two RBI. Werth was 0-for-2 and left six men on base, dropping his spring line to 170/278/298.

Romero pitched against minor leaguers yesterday and fared well.

The Phillies released Brad Wilkerson and Joe Bisenius. The linked article also says that Raul Ibanez, who hasn’t played since being hit on the elbow by a pitch on Friday, is expected to play today.

Exchange ratio

Just wanted to start by saying that there was a point about the Phillies coming. I mean, not today, but it’s coming.

Whether you call it ratio or WHIP, thanks to fantasy baseball, most fans are familiar with the idea of hits plus walks over innings pitched.

There’s a big limitation to that stat, of course, and that’s that not all hits are the same. The context in which an inning is pitched or a walk is given might make it more important than another inning pitched or walk, but what an inning pitched or a walk means doesn’t change. That’s not that case with hits — a hit can be a single, a double, a triple or a home run. That’s part of why pitchers with the same ratio (or WHIP) can have dramatically different results.

For example, take the case of two NL pitchers from the 2009 season, San Diego righty Josh Geer and the Nats lefty hand breaker John Lannan. Both had threw to the same 1.35 ratio in 2009, but with hugely different results:

  IP ERA H BB Ratio
Geer 102 2/3
5.96 116 23 1.35
Lannan 206 1/3
3.88 210 68 1.35

Same ratio, but Lannan’s ERA is more than two runs lower than Geer’s despite the fact that Geer was much better at preventing walks. Was Geer unlucky? Maybe he was, but the bigger deal was that the hits that Geer gave up were way worse than the hits that Lannan gave up. And ratio (or WHIP) doesn’t care because it treats all hits the same.

I think ratio is a nifty stat mostly because lots of people understand what it means and can quickly interpret that a 1.18 ratio is really good and a 1.58 ratio is pretty bad. Counting all hits the same is pretty limiting, though. They aren’t the same. Let’s look at Geer and Lannan again, and instead of using ratio ((hits + walks)/IP), let’s look at their total bases allowed plus walks over innings pitched in ’09:

Geer 102 2/3 23 3 27 226 23 2.43
Lannan 206 1/3 50 3 22 332 68 1.94

The point here isn’t that Lannan didn’t give up a lot of extra-base hits. He did. Only one player in the NL allowed more doubles than the 50 he gave up. The point is that Geer gave up more (53 in 102 2/3 or about .516 XBH per inning for Geer compared to 75 in 206 1/3 innings or about .363 per inning for Lannan) and that the extra-base hits that Geer gave up were worse than the extra-base hits that Lannan gave up. You can tell that by seeing that Geer allowed five more homers than Lannan in 103 2/3 fewer innings. The average extra-base hit yielded by Geer went for 3.08 bases while the average extra-base hit yielded by Lannan went for 2.63 bases. The difference between the severity of the hit that was allowed isn’t reflected by ratio, but it is if you replace it hits with total bases in the formula.

Jamie Moyer had a fantastic outing on Friday at the Phils topped the Yankees 3-0. Moyer allowed one hit and didn’t walk a batter over 6 2/3 innings, dropping his official spring ERA to 0.77. Victorino was 2-for-4 and drove in a pair of runs for the Phils.

I’m going to be very surprised if Moyer isn’t in the rotation at the start of the season.

Hamels didn’t fare as well on Saturday as the Phils fell to the Twins 8-4. Hamels allowed five runs on seven hits and two walks over 6 1/3 innings. His ERA for the spring is up to 5.57. Contreras had a rough outing in the game as well, allowing three runs in 2/3 of an inning. Jim Thome connected for a two-run homer off of Contreras. Dobbs homered for the Phils and Francisco, Schneider and Castro all had two hits.

The Phillies and Pirates were rained out yesterday.

The Phillies sent John Mayberry to minor league camp yesterday. Mayberry hit 289/349/447 this spring and will be presumably be back the first time the Phillies need an outfielder or bench player. The linked article also says that Ibanez would not have played in yesterday’s game if it had not been rained out due to a bruise on his right arm.

Jayson Werth and Reggie Jackson had lunch on Friday. Werth suggests it didn’t have anything to do with the fact that he’s a free agent after the 2010 season.

Madson will be the Phillies closer to start the season.

Third word

Placido Polanco hasn’t played third base for a while, but how good was he when he did? The table below looks at each of the years of his career in which he has played at least 100 innings at third and compares his Total Fielding Runs Above Average (Rtot/yr) per season as calculated by Baseball-Reference to the other players on the same team that played at least 100 innings at third the same year:

Year Team Innings at
Worse than
2000 STL 187 Fernando
Tatis (27.0 to -8.4)
Paquette (27.0 to -2.1)
2001 STL 810 Albert Pujols
(22.1 to 6.9)
Paquette (22.1 to -1.9)
2002 STL 587 Albert Pujols
(13.3 to -2.5)
Scott Rolen
(13.3 to 22.2)
2002 PHI 479 2/3 Scott Rolen
(21.3 to 8.4)
2003 PHI 179 Tyler Houston
(-22.8 to -23.2)
David Bell
(-22.8 to 16.0)
        Tomas Perez
(-22.8 to 2.8)

Polanco was very good in all of those years except 2003. Craig Paquette, Fernando Tatis and Albert Pujols aren’t guys especially known for their glove work, but Polanco fared better than all three of them at St Louis according to the stat before Rolen arrived on the scene. 2003 was a miserable year defensively for Polanco at third. In 2004 he didn’t quite get the 100 innings he needed to make the chart — he played just 96 innings at third in ’04 but was very good, putting up Rtot/yr of 51.2 in limited action.

Yesterday the Phillies beat the Astros 8-7. Kendrick got the start and pitched well again, allowing two runs, only one of which was earned, over 5 2/3 innings. Bastardo gave up a three-run homer to Chris Shelton in the eighth inning, pushing his spring ERA to 7.71. Ben Francisco hit his third home run of the spring. Victorino was 3-for-3 and is hitting .314. Castro played short and made a pair of errors.

Kendrick has a 1.37 ERA and an 0.81 ratio in 19 2/3 spring innings.

This says that the Phillies continue to look for pitching depth.

This suggests that the Phillies might let us know if Kendrick or Moyer is the fifth starter on or around March 31.

Early show with David Herndon

David Herndon might be on the Phillies opening day roster or he might not, but he’s making it pretty tough to ignore how well he’s pitching. Herdon has allowed four hits and four walks over nine scoreless innings this spring.

Herndon has an impressive walk rate in his minor league career. He’s walked just 60 batters in 387 2/3 innings or about 1.4 per nine innings. He’s obviously having some success the spring despite walking more batters than that. It’s a little tough to imagine that this stretch of preventing hits can keep up a whole lot longer though — over his minor league career he’s given up about 10 hits per nine innings or about 2 1/2 times the rate he’s allowed hits in his seven appearances this spring. Whether the hit rate can be sustained or not, it’s great to see him on a nice run now as it looks like he may have a chance to impact the bullpen when the real season gets underway.

Yesterday Herndon allowed a hit and two walks in his inning, but again didn’t allow a run.

The rest of the team didn’t have as much luck. The Phillies were shut out for the third time in six games, falling to the Braves 8-0. Three hits on the day for the Phils — Polanco was 2-for-3, raising his spring average to .410, and Rollins went 1-for-3. Happ got the start and didn’t pitch very well, allowing four runs over five innings. Atlanta hit three home runs off of him. Madson gave up a pair of runs in the eighth. He has a 7.20 ERA this spring and has allowed two runs that were unearned in just five innings pitched.

Ruiz was back in the lineup after battling the flu. He went 0-for-2 with a walk to drop his spring average to .211.

The Phillies aren’t worried that Ibanez is hitting .108 this spring. Me neither.

Madson getting so tired of telling people where the bathroom is he may be thinking of having little cards made up

With 12 pitchers left in camp, the Phillies pitching staff could be set. If it is, the bullpen guys aren’t exactly going to wow you with their experience. David Herndon and Antonio Bastardo have combined to throw one inning in relief for their careers. Kendrick, who could still be in the rotation to start the year, and Contreras have mostly been starters — they have combined to toss just 43 2/3 innings in relief. Here’s what the career numbers pitching in relief look like for those four guys, keeping in mind they have a chance to make up more than half of the Phillies pen when the season kicks off:

  IP ERA Ratio K
Contreras 27 2/3 3.90 1.63 28
Kendrick 16 3.94 1.31 8
Bastardo 1 0.00 1.00 0
Herndon 0 - - 0
Total 44 2/3 3.83 1.50 36

That’s not a whole lot of innings. Clay Condrey, for example, threw 42 innings in relief for the Phillies last year. In 2009, the Phils started the year with Condrey, Durbin, Lidge, Madson, Happ, Eyre and Taschner in the pen. By innings pitched in relief, Happ (8), Taschner (140), Durbin (153) and Condrey (158 2/3) were the four guys with the least experience. That group of four pitchers had combined to throw 459 2/3 innings in relief entering the 2009 season.

Howard homered twice yesterday as the Phils topped the Rays 4-3 yesterday. Blanton allowed two runs over 5 1/3 innings to drop his spring ERA to 3.86. Contreras threw 1 2/3 scoreless innings and Durbin allowed an unearned run over two frames, keeping his spring ERA at 0.00. Victorino also homered in the game. Dobbs was 2-for-4 with a double, raising his average to .345.

This article suggests that despite the fact the Phillies have 12 pitchers in camp at this point, they are not necessarily the 12 that will start the season with the team. Interpret that as you will, but I choose to hope it means a secret deal for CC Sabathia is in the works. Fingers crossed.

A post here looks at some pitchers who may be available now or in the coming days.

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