Archive for October, 2010

Who are these %$#@! guys?

I don’t think we’re going to know for sure who’s on the NLDS roster for the Reds until Wednesday, but I’m going to guess the offensively they will have their eight regulars plus Hanigan, Janish, Heisey, Cairo, Francisco and Nix.

If that guess is right, they would have ten right-handed hitters for the series with the Phils. Regulars Ramon Hernandez, Brandon Phillips, Orlando Cabrera, Scott Rolen, Jonny Gomes and Drew Stubbs and reserves Ryan Hanigan, Paul Janish, Chris Heisey and Miguel Cairo.

Of those ten righties, five have been pretty good against right-handed pitching this season:


PA

BA OBP SLG OPS
Chris Heisey 126 0.321 0.389 0.536 0.925
Scott Rolen 359 0.295 0.343 0.517 0.860
Miguel Cairo 152 0.304 0.353 0.459 0.813
Ramon Hernandez 266 0.295 0.360 0.426 0.786
Ryan Hanigan 170 0.304 0.379 0.392 0.771

So the bad news is that’s five righties who hit right-handed pitching pretty well. The good news is that Hanigan and Hernandez can’t catch at the same time and Cairo and Heisey will likely be coming off the bench.

The other five righties have been less impressive against right-handed pitching this year:


PA BA OPB SLG OPS
Drew Stubbs 398 0.262 0.338 0.427 0.765
Brandon Phillips 496 0.268 0.336 0.405 0.741
Jonny Gomes 375 0.257 0.301 0.408 0.709
Paul Janish 153 0.237 0.311 0.356 0.667
Orlando Cabrera 388 0.240 0.275 0.326 0.601

I think we should expect to see a lot of Cabrera, Gomes, Phillips and Stubbs in the series. All four of them have had some problems with righties this season and gotten a lot of opportunities.

If the roster guess is right, there will be four lefty hitters for the Reds. Starters Joey Votto and Jay Bruce and bench players Juan Francisco and Laynce Nix. Francisco only got 55 at-bats all season and didn’t fare exceptionally well against anyone. He hit 283/340/413 in 46 at-bats against righties and went 2-for-9 against lefties.

Votto, as you probably know, hammered right-handed pitching this year. Bruce and Nix were also good, but not quite as terrifying:


PA BA OBP SLG OPS
Joey Votto 414 0.347 0.442 0.673 1.115
Jay Bruce 394 0.283 0.353 0.469 0.821
Laynce Nix 163 0.289 0.346 0.45 0.795

Here’s what those lefties did against left-handed pitching this year:


PA BA OBP SLG OPS
Jay Bruce 179 0.277 0.352 0.547 0.899
Laynce Nix 19 0.313 0.389 0.5 0.889
Joey Votto 234 0.283 0.393 0.47 0.863

If you’ve been losing sleep wondering what lefty on the Phils is going to get out Votto and Bruce, you might want to take a break. The numbers above suggest you might not need a lefty to go after Bruce. He has actually been better against left-handed pitching than right this season. He has hit for about the same average, but walked at a higher rate and delivered extra-base hits at a better rate. That’s a little curious given that in 2009 he was awful against lefties, hitting 210/313/330 against them while he blasted 20 home runs in 245 at-bats against righties.

Still, given what he’s done this year I feel okay using a righty against him. Votto is good against lefties, but has been significantly better against righties over his career.

Here’s what the 14 players, both lefties and righties, did over the last 14 days of the regular season:


PA BA OBP SLG OPS
Ryan Hanigan 16 0.571 0.625 0.714 1.339
Jay Bruce 31 0.370 0.452 0.815 1.266
Joey Votto 28 0.333 0.464 0.667 1.131
Drew Stubbs 37 0.333 0.459 0.633 1.093
Brandon Phillips 35 0.345 0.429 0.586 1.015
Chris Heisey 16 0.313 0.313 0.563 0.875
Miguel Cairo 14 0.333 0.429 0.417 0.845
Laynce Nix 9 0.286 0.444 0.286 0.730
Jonny Gomes 35 0.294 0.314 0.412 0.726
Juan Francisco 12 0.273 0.333 0.364 0.697
Ramon Hernandez 21 0.222 0.333 0.222 0.556
Paul Janish 21 0.167 0.250 0.222 0.472
Orlando Cabrera 25 0.182 0.208 0.227 0.436
Scott Rolen 26 0.160 0.192 0.160 0.352

The bad news there is that Votto and Bruce come into the series hot. Bruce is 10-for-his-last-25 with four home runs. Votto 8-for-his-last-25 with three home runs.

Stubbs was hitting 237/307/401 for the year at the end of the day on September 6. He has hit 350/442/675 over his last 95 plate appearances.

Phillips tore things up over the last two weeks, but that’s a recent development. Between September 3 and September 24 he went 12-for-83 with a double and a home run, posting a 145/220/181 line. He finished the regular season going 6-for-13.

Gomes hit .364 in May and .246 in all the other months combined. He put up a 301/320/438 line over 19 games to end the season.

Hernandez is hitting 257/341/338 over 85 plate appearances since August 23.

Cabrera and Rolen both coming into the series in a funk. Cabrera went 2-for-5 with a double to end the season, but had been 6-for-his-last-39 with a double before that (154/195/179). The difference between Rolen and Cabrera is that Cabrera is a bad offensive player playing badly while Rolen has been a great offensive player but is playing badly. Rolen was hitting 303/374/542 at the end of the day on August 17. He has gotten 144 plate appearances since in which he has hit 234/313/375.

This is no time for him to wake up.

Did you know there is a Start Log for playoff starts since 2007? There is.


Reds dawn

The Phils start their series with the Reds on Wednesday. Cincinnati comes into the playoffs with the best offense in the National League this year, having scored 790 runs in the regular season. The Phils were second in runs scored with 772.

The charts below report results for the eight Phillies regulars and the eight Cincinnati players who have seen the most time at each position this season. The eight Cincinnati players are lefties Joey Votto and Jay Bruce and righties Ramon Hernandez, Brandon Phillips, Orlando Cabrera, Scott Rolen, Jonny Gomes and Drew Stubbs. Three other players for Cincy have also started at least ten games since the beginning of September but aren’t included on the list. All three of them are righties — catcher Ryan Hanigan, infielder Paul Janish and outfielder Chris Heisey.

For the 16 players (eight for the Phils and eight for the Reds), here’s the percentage of plate appearances in which they have walked and singled this season:

% BB % 1B
Joey Votto
Carlos Ruiz
Jayson Werth
Chase Utley
Raul Ibanez
Jimmy Rollins
Jay Bruce
Ryan Howard
Drew Stubbs
Scott Rolen
Ramon Hernandez
Shane Victorino
Jonny Gomes
Brandon Phillips
Placido Polanco
Orlando Cabrera
14.04%
12.70%
12.58%
12.33%
10.69%
10.15%
10.12%
9.52%
9.43%
9.31%
8.24%
8.18%
6.83%
6.70%
5.32%
5.21%
Placido Polanco
Ramon Hernandez
Carlos Ruiz
Orlando Cabrera
Brandon Phillips
Jonny Gomes
Joey Votto
Jay Bruce
Chase Utley
Shane Victorino
Raul Ibanez
Ryan Howard
Jimmy Rollins
Drew Stubbs
Scott Rolen
Jayson Werth
21.59%
19.03%
17.32%
17.32%
16.89%
15.94%
15.74%
15.71%
15.46%
15.12%
15.09%
15.00%
14.72%
14.41%
14.34%
13.65%

Votto is the king of the walks for the group, but things look good for the Phils overall — six of the bottom eight slots on the list belong to Cincinnati players. Not only that, but we’ve finally found somebody who walks less than Polanco. Polanco finds himself atop the list of the players most like to single in a particular plate appearance.

The percentage of hits that a player has that goes for singles is obviously a different number than the percentage of plate appearances in which he singles. Werth is the player in the group that has had the lowest percentage of hits go for singles. He has 164 hits on the year and only 89 of them (54.3%) were singles. Rolen and Votto are right behind him — Rolen saw just 57.5% of his hits go for singles and Votto 57.6%. Polanco is at the other end of that list. 78.8% of his hits went for singles and nobody else is real close. Hernandez (72.0%) and Orlando Cabrera (71.5%) are next.

Here’s the plate appearances that ended in a single or a walk and the percentages of plate appearances with a double or triple:

% BB or 1B % 2B or 3B
Carlos Ruiz
Joey Votto
Chase Utley
Ramon Hernandez
Placido Polanco
Jayson Werth
Jay Bruce
Raul Ibanez
Jimmy Rollins
Ryan Howard
Drew Stubbs
Scott Rolen
Brandon Phillips
Shane Victorino
Jonny Gomes
Orlando Cabrera
30.02%
29.78%
27.79%
27.27%
26.91%
26.23%
25.83%
25.79%
24.87%
24.52%
23.84%
23.65%
23.58%
23.30%
22.77%
22.53%
Jayson Werth
Scott Rolen
Carlos Ruiz
Raul Ibanez
Orlando Cabrera
Joey Votto
Shane Victorino
Brandon Phillips
Ramon Hernandez
Jay Bruce
Jimmy Rollins
Placido Polanco
Jonny Gomes
Ryan Howard
Chase Utley
Drew Stubbs
7.36%
6.89%
6.70%
6.60%
6.15%
5.86%
5.56%
5.53%
5.40%
4.89%
4.82%
4.82%
4.73%
4.52%
4.31%
4.29%

Ruiz is the most likely member of the group to get on board due to a walk or single. He walked more than Votto, and while Votto is more likely to get a hit overall (27.3% to 25.9%), Ruiz was more likely to single.

Werth’s 46 doubles leads the group and the league. Rolen was just 19th in the league in doubles with 34, but came to the plate 115 fewer times, so his rate of hitting doubles and triples isn’t too far behind Werth.

I don’t think you want to overlook Orlando Cabrera’s place on the doubles/triples list. The numbers above show he never walks and the numbers below will show he never homers, but he gets more than his share of singles and doubles despite the .263 average for the year.

Here are the rates for home runs and strikeouts:

% HR % SO
Joey Votto
Ryan Howard
Jay Bruce
Jayson Werth
Drew Stubbs
Scott Rolen
Jonny Gomes
Chase Utley
Shane Victorino
Brandon Phillips
Raul Ibanez
Jimmy Rollins
Ramon Hernandez
Carlos Ruiz
Placido Polanco
Orlando Cabrera
5.71%
5.00%
4.36%
4.14%
3.77%
3.72%
3.15%
3.13%
2.78%
2.62%
2.52%
2.03%
1.99%
1.85%
1.00%
0.74%
Drew Stubbs
Ryan Howard
Jay Bruce
Jayson Werth
Jonny Gomes
Joey Votto
Raul Ibanez
Scott Rolen
Ramon Hernandez
Carlos Ruiz
Chase Utley
Shane Victorino
Brandon Phillips
Orlando Cabrera
Jimmy Rollins
Placido Polanco
28.82%
25.32%
23.73%
22.55%
21.54%
19.29%
16.98%
15.27%
13.92%
12.47%
12.33%
12.19%
12.08%
9.87%
8.12%
7.81%

Drew Stubbs struck out a higher rate than Howard last year and it wasn’t very close. Stubbs whiffed 168 times in 583 plate appearances for the year (28.8%) while Howard struck out in 157 of 620 (25.3%).

Five of the top seven spots on the home run list belong to the Reds. Their top guy, Votto, has a better home rate than the Phillie with the best home run rate (Howard) and their second best guy (Bruce) has a better rate than the second-best guy for the Phils (Werth). The other three spots belong to Reds.

Any idea who is going to get Votto and Bruce out for the Phils? Me neither. JC Romero and Antonio Bastardo sure look like they’re the guys who are going to try. Amaro suggests the problems in Romero’s lower back that forced him from the final game in Atlanta won’t be an issue in this article. Bastardo has faced two batters in his post-season career, striking out Jason Giambi with two outs and the bases loaded in the eighth inning of game four of the 2009 NLDS and allowing a double to Andre Ethier to start the seventh inning in game one of the ’09 NLCS.

You kind of get the feeling that Manuel remembers the double he allowed to Ethier more than the strikeout of Giambi. We will see.

The same article says that Ruiz will be okay after getting drilled by Tim Hudson yesterday.

Here’s my latest guess for the NLDS roster:

Hitters (14): Ruiz, Schneider, Howard, Utley, Rollins, Polanco, Ibanez, Victorino, Werth, Francisco, Valdez, Sweeney, Gload, Dobbs

Pitchers (11): Halladay, Oswalt, Hamels, Blanton, Kendrick, Lidge, Madson, Contreras, Romero, Bastardo, Durbin

Dobbs is the guy I feel least confident about. I’m going to be surprised if one of the other guys is left off. I wouldn’t be that surprised to see Baez, Brown or Herndon take the Dobbs spot.


Man at the top may be thinking it’s not as lonely up there as he would like

The good news for the Phillies is that Jimmy Rollins is back on the field. The bad news is that he has on-based .304 over his last 1,107 plate appearances and isn’t hitting for any power. Slowed by injuries, he’s slugging .366 for the season with two extra-base hits in his last 61 times to the plate. This article suggests he won’t be at 100 percent until next Spring.

His return is an issue for the Phils and the issue is complicated because 1) Shane Victorino was a monster out of the leadoff spot during Rollins’s recent absence and is hitting 276/345/466 while batting first for the season and 2) Wilson Valdez, who replaced Rollins at short defensively when Rollins was out most recently, is playing very well both offensively and defensively, hitting 333/413/431 over 59 plate appearances in his last 15 games.

It’s surely less of a factor, but Rollins also hasn’t played particularly well in the post-season the last three years, posting a 231/297/366 line over 149 playoff plate appearances.

While fans might disagree about what Charlie Manuel and the Phils should do with Rollins, what they almost surely will do is start him at shortstop and bat him at the top of the order. Manuel is pretty good about remembering that it wasn’t too long ago that Rollins was the MVP of the league.

But. For the eight Phillie regulars and Wilson Valdez, here’s the percentages of plate appearances this season in which they have singled, walked or been hit by a pitch:

Player % of PA
single, walk or HBP
Utley 31.4
Ruiz 31.1
Polanco 28.1
Werth 27.3
Ibanez 25.6
Howard 25.5
Rollins 25.4
Victorino 24.3
Valdez 23.4

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but there’s not a whole lot there that suggests that either Rollins or Victorino is the guy that should be leading off for the Phillies. Compared to the other guys on the list, Rollins isn’t likely to reach base on a single, walk or hit by pitch and Victorino is even less likely.

Rollins hasn’t been likely to deliver an extra-base hit this year, either. Here’s the percentage of plate appearances in which the nine players have had any kind of extra-base hit, a double or a triple or a home run this year:

Any XBH

2B or 3B

HR

Werth 11.3 Werth 7.3 Howard 5.1
Howard 9.7 Ibanez 6.8 Werth 4.0
Ibanez 9.3 Ruiz 6.6 Utley 3.2
Ruiz 8.4 Victorino 5.5 Victorino 2.8
Victorino 8.3 Valdez 5.0 Ibanez
2.6
Utley 7.6 Polanco 4.9 Ruiz 1.9
Rollins 6.5 Rollins 4.7 Rollins 1.8
Valdez 6.1 Howard 4.6 Valdez 1.1
Polanco 5.9 Utley 4.4 Polanco 1.0

If the reason Rollins shouldn’t be leading off is because he’s struggled offensively overall for a while now, the reason that Victorino isn’t an ideal fit might have as much to do with what he does well as it does with how infrequently he singles, walks or is hit by a pitch. For the year he has been more likely to homer in a given plate appearance than Ibanez and more likely to hit a double or a triple than Utley. Where all Utley’s doubles have gone is a question for another day — over the last two seasons he has hit doubles less than half as regularly as he did from 2005 through 2008.

With Victorino and Polanco at the top of the order hitting one and two, it’s hard for me to see why you wouldn’t be better off with Victorino hitting behind Polanco. Polanco has been much more likely to reach base on a single, walk or hit by pitch while Victorino has been more likely to deliver a double or a triple and nearly three times as likely to hit the ball out of the yard. Polanco’s power has been absent for a long, long time now. After slugging .473 over his first 160 plate appearances for the season, he has hit 291/339/356 over his last 435 plate appearances with just 22 extra-base hits. Of those extra-base hits, 19 have been doubles.

Again, I don’t think it’s likely you’re going to see Polanco or Victorino and especially not Valdez hitting leadoff for the Phils any time soon. Rollins is the guy for the Phillies, and when he’s healthy enough to play I think you’ll see him in the lineup and hitting first. So let’s hope he hits.


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