Archive for February, 2011

Thing one and thing two

One more thing about walks and then they’ll never be mentioned in this space again. Er, not for a while. End of the week at least.

Okay, two things.

Thing one. Last year, Hamels had a walk rate that was worse than Halladay, Moyer, Blanton, Oswalt, Kendrick or Lee. But was it bad? The NL average was 3.32 walks per nine innings and Hamels walked 2.63 per nine. There were 39 NL pitchers who made at least 30 starts in 2010. Of those 39, Hamels’ walk rate was 14th-best.

BB/9 Rank BB/9 for Group
Roy Halladay
Ted Lilly
Adam Wainwright
Hiroki Kuroda
Roy Oswalt
Jason Hammel
Chris Carpenter
Mat Latos
Kyle Kendrick
Matt Cain
Bronson Arroyo
Tommy Hanson
Rodrigo Lopez
Cole Hamels
Brett Myers
Johnny Cueto
Livan Hernandez
Derek Lowe
Tim Hudson
Randy Wells
Mike Pelfrey
Paul Maholm
Chris Volstad
Wandy Rodriguez
Jonathon Niese
Tim Lincecum
Anibal Sanchez
Chad Billingsley
Ian Kennedy
Dave Bush
Clayton Richard
Clayton Kershaw
Ryan Dempster
Randy Wolf
Yovani Gallardo
Ubaldo Jimenez
Barry Zito
Jon Garland
Jonathan Sanchez
1.08
2.04
2.19
2.20
2.34
2.38
2.41
2.44
2.44
2.46
2.46
2.49
2.52
2.63
2.66
2.71
2.72
2.83
2.91
2.92
3.00
3.01
3.09
3.14
3.21
3.22
3.23
3.24
3.25
3.36
3.48
3.57
3.59
3.63
3.65
3.74
3.79
3.92
4.47
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39

So while Hamels saw his walk rate go in the wrong direction last year, and while it’s higher than the other guys we’re likely to see starting for the Phils in 2011, it’s not exactly awful.

Thing two.

Here’s the average walk rate for NL teams over the past four years, the walk rate for the Phillies over the last year and the Phillies rate over the average:

NL BB/9 PHI BB/9 PHI/NL
2007 3.34 3.44 1.03
2008 3.45 3.31 0.96
2009 3.52 3.02 0.86
2010 3.32 2.57 0.77

So, not only have the Phillies decreased their walks per nine innings in each of the last three seasons, in each of those seasons the gap between the Phils and the rest of the NL has widened compared to the previous year. Also of note is that in 2008 and 2009, the walk rate went up for the league, but down for the Phillies.

Here’s the spring training schedule for the Phils.

This piece on “Phillies players under the radar” discusses Ben Francisco in right, saying “Suggesting that Francisco needs to platoon in rightfield with a Domonic Brown, a guy who can’t play the position and who managed 13 hits in spot play last season, is insulting. Brown is a raw talent who needs polish. Francisco is a major league baseball player.”


Walks, walks till we drop

Just in case there was someone out there who isn’t tired of reading about walks yet.

Earlier this week I looked at 2010 Phillies that walked both less than 3.32 batters per nine innings and less than 8.59% of the batters they faced.

For the players in that group who threw at least 50 innings, the table below shows how their walk rate per nine innings with the Phillies in 2010 compares to their career walk rate per nine innings coming into the season. They are ordered by the difference between their ’10 walk rate with the Phils and their walk rate coming into last season.

BB/9 before 2010 BB/9 in 2010 Difference
Moyer 2.57 1.61 0.96
Halladay 1.96 1.08 0.88
Contreras 3.27 2.54 0.73
Madson 2.82 2.20 0.62
Blanton 2.56 2.20 0.36
Kendrick 2.70 2.44 0.26
Herndon No history 2.92 -
Oswalt 2.06 2.29 (0.23)
Hamels 2.28 2.63 (0.35)

Despite throwing to a 4.84 ERA, Jamie Moyer had a 1.10 ratio last season. In 111 2/3 innings, he walked just 20. He posted the best walk rate of his career in his 24th season.

Halladay has been in the top seven in his league for fewest walks per nine innings for each of the past five seasons. In four of those years he’s been in the top three. His walk rate per nine innings was also the best of his career.

Contreras nearly had the best rate of walks per nine for his career. He was a tiny bit better in 2006, but was still way below his career levels in 2010.

Madson posted the best rate of his career (with the exception of 2003, when he didn’t walk any of the six batters he faced). In 2007, all of Madson’s appearances came in relief and he walked 23 of the 237 batters he faced (9.7%). In 2010, Madson walked 13 of the 217 batters he faced (6.0%).

Blanton finished sixth in the NL in fewest walks per nine innings. It was his sixth season in a row in which he has made at least 28 starts. The only year of his career where he had a better rate of walks per nine innings was 2007 when he was with Oakland.

Kendrick’s best year at preventing walks came in 2007, when he threw to a 3.87 ERA for the Phils over 20 starts. In that season he only threw 121 innings, but walked just 25. That’s a rate of 1.86 walks per nine innings. Kendrick didn’t have enough innings to qualify among the league leaders, but in 2007, Greg Maddux led the NL with 1.14 walks per nine and Aaron Harang was second at 2.02. In 2008 and 2009 combined, Kendrick walked 66 in 182 innings, which is too many (3.26 per nine). That number was way down in 2010, but not down to his 2007 levels.

Between his time with the Astros and Phillies combined, Oswalt was seventh in the NL in fewest walks per nine innings. In less than 100 innings with the Phils, his walk numbers were slightly higher than his career levels, but still low. In his 10-year career, Oswalt has been in the top ten in fewest walks per nine innings seven times.

The walk rate for Hamels was up. In his first year in the league, 2006, Hamels walked about 3.3 batters per nine innings. Over the next three years, Hamels made 93 starts combined starts and walked 2.07 batters per nine. That was up to 2.63 last year.

Comcast SportsNet will air eight Phillies Spring Training specials, the first of which will air on Sunday. Schedule here.

This article on the bullpen guesses that Bastardo and Kendrick win the last two spots in the pen, joining Lidge, Madson, Contreras, Romero and Baez. That is my guess as well.

This article on the bench suggests that Brown, Mayberry and Delwyn Young may be the top candidates to join Gload, Schneider and Valdez. I am going to be surprised if the Phils start the season with Francisco and Mayberry as the guys in right. Delwyn Young and Valdez on the same bench seems like it would be more guys of the Delwyn Young and Wilson Valdez ilk than one team would need at one time. Young is a switch-hitter and can play the outfield, but his 260/317/393 line against righties doesn’t really cry out for regular playing time in right no matter how desperate the Phils get for platoon partners for Francisco.


Everybody doesn’t walk anyone, woo hoo

Last week I pointed out that the Phillies excelled at preventing walks last year. While Roy Halladay led the charge, the pitchers other than Halladay were exceptionally good at preventing walks as well.

In 2010, NL pitchers combined to throw 23,088 1/3 innings and walked 8,508 batters. That’s a walk rate of 3.32 per nine innings. They faced 99,037 batters — 8,508 walks is a walk rate of 8.59%.

Here’s the list of 2010 Phillies that had a walk rate of less than 3.32 per nine innings and those who walked less than 8.59% of the batters they faced:

IP BB BB/9 BF BB % BF BB
Andrew Carpenter
Roy Halladay
Jamie Moyer
Joe Blanton
Ryan Madson
Roy Oswalt
Kyle Kendrick
Jose Contreras
Cole Hamels
Vance Worley
David Herndon
Nelson Figueroa
3.0
250.7
111.7
175.7
53.0
82.7
180.7
56.7
208.7
13.0
52.3
26.0
0
30
20
43
13
21
49
16
61
4
17
9
0
1.1
1.6
2.2
2.2
2.3
2.4
2.5
2.6
2.8
2.9
3.1
Andrew Carpenter
Roy Halladay
Jamie Moyer
Joe Blanton
Ryan Madson
Kyle Kendrick
Roy Oswalt
Jose Contreras
Cole Hamels
David Herndon
Vance Worley
14
993
460
765
217
771
316
233
856
232
51
0
30
20
43
13
49
21
16
61
17
4
0.00%
3.02%
4.35%
5.62%
5.99%
6.36%
6.65%
6.87%
7.13%
7.33%
7.84%
Totals 1214 283 2.10 4908 274 5.58%

Those lists are not ordered the same, but they contain the same pitchers with the exception of Nelson Figueroa. In his 26 innings with the Phils last year, Figueroa walked nine, giving him a rate of walks per nine innings better than 3.32 batters per nine innings even though he walked more than 8.59% of the batters he faced.

Here’s the list of the guys who had a walk rate worse than 3.32 batters per nine or who walked more than 8.59% of the batters that they faced:

IP BB BB/9 BF BB % BF BB
Chad Durbin
Danys Baez
Antonio Bastardo
Brad Lidge
Mike Zagurski
J.A. Happ
J.C. Romero
Scott Mathieson
Nate Robertson
68.7
47.7
18.7
45.7
7.0
15.3
36.7
1.7
1.0
27
23
9
24
5
12
29
2
2
3.5
4.3
4.3
4.7
6.4
7
7.1
10.8
18
Nelson Figueroa
Chad Durbin
Antonio Bastardo
Danys Baez
Brad Lidge
Mike Zagurski
Scott Mathieson
J.C. Romero
J.A. Happ
Nate Robertson
104
291
86
216
193
34
12
171
70
10
9
27
9
23
24
5
2
29
12
2
8.65%
9.28%
10.47%
10.65%
12.44%
14.71%
16.67%
16.96%
17.14%
20.00%
Totals for group 242.3 133 4.94 1083 133 12.28%
Team totals for 2010 1456.3 416 2.57 5991 407 6.79%

A couple of things stick out when you compare the good walks group to the bad walks group. The first is how much more frequently the good walks group pitched than the bad walks group. By innings pitched, the good walk group of pitchers threw about 83.4% of the total innings thrown by the Phillies in 2010. By batters faced is was about 81.9%.

The second thing is how much better the good group was than the first. By walks per nine innings, the bad group walked about 2.35 times as many hitters. By percentage of walks per batter faced it was about 2.20 times as many.

Greg Gross says a flaw in Domonic Brown’s swing has been fixed.

At The Hardball Times, Chris Jaffe points out that 10,000 days ago Steve Carlton got his 300th win.


A little help from his friends

If you’re wondering how the pitching staff for the Phils was so dominating when it came to preventing walks in 2010, Roy Halladay seems like a good place to start. After leading the AL in fewest walks per nine innings in 2009, Halladay led the NL in fewest walks per nine with the lowest walk rate of his career in 2010. In 250 2/3 innings for the Phils last year, Halladay walked 30 batters. That’s 1.078 batters per nine innings. Ted Lilly, who pitched for the Cubs and the Dodgers in 2010, finished second in the league. Between his work with the two teams, Lilly walked 44 in 193 2/3 innings, or 2.045 batters per nine, which is about 1.9 times the walk rate per nine innings for Halladay.

Over the last ten seasons, Greg Maddux led the NL in fewest walks per nine innings five times. Only twice in those ten seasons, Maddux in 2001 (1.043) and David Wells in 2004 (0.920), has the pitcher who lead the NL in fewest walks per nine innings pitched allowed walks at a lower rate than Halladay did in 2010.

So he didn’t walk a lot of folks.

Not only did he not walk a lot of folks, he also pitched a ton of innings. No NL pitcher has thrown more innings than the 250 2/3 that Halladay threw in 2010 since Livan Hernandez threw 255 for the Expos in 2004.

So Halladay was great. There’s a thing, though, and here it is: While it’s easy to attribute the amazing success of the Phillies last year at preventing walks to Roy Halladay, the Phils that weren’t Roy Halladay were great at preventing walks, too.

As I mentioned in my previous post, the Phillies staff overall excelled at preventing walks in 2010. As a team they issued fewer walks than any other NL team since 1995. In 1,456 1/3 innings pitched, they walked just 416 batters, which is just 2.57 batters per nine innings. The St Louis Cardinals were the second-best team in the league at preventing walks overall. They walked 477 in 1,453 2/3 innings (2.95 per nine innings).

Even without Halladay’s numbers, the pitchers for the Phils still walked batters at a lower rate than any other team in the NL:

INN BB BB per 9
All PHI ’10 1456 1/3 416 2.57
All STL ’10 1453 2/3 477 2.95
’10 PHI other than Halladay 1205 2/3 386 2.88

So while Halladay might have been the most outstanding Phillie at preventing walks in 2010, he couldn’t have been the only guy that was really good at preventing the free pass.

Speaking of guys who are great at preventing walks, Cliff Lee says the Phillies are a better team than the Yankees here. I’m sure that will go over well.

In 2010, Lee walked 18 in 212 1/3 innings between the Mariners and the Rangers. That’s about 0.76 per nine innings, which was way lower than Halladay’s mark and way lower than anyone else in the American League. Carl Pavano finished second in walks per nine innings in the AL last year — he walked 1.51 batters per nine, which was way, way behind Lee.

Shane Victorino says he isn’t one to stir the pot or make bold predictions, but “if you look on paper, we’re the favorites to win it all.”

At least nobody is lacking confidence. No word yet that the season has been canceled cause all the other teams decided it was a waste of their time to show up. Further bulletins as events warrant.


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