Archive for February, 2012

Been safe stealing

Nothing like adding Juan Pierre to your team to get you thinking about stolen bases.

In 2011, Pierre stole 27 bases for the White Sox and was caught 17 times. So he was safe in about 61.4% of his steal attempts and out in about 38.6% of them. Between both leagues in 2011 there were 50 players who stole 20 or more bases last year. Of those 50, his 38.6% caught rate was the worst and nobody else was above 33.3%. Three players, Willie Bloomquist, Melkey Cabrera and Hanley Ramirez, stole 20 bases and were caught ten times, giving them a caught percentage of 33.3%.

Pierre has traditionally been a better base-stealer than that. His 61.4% safe rate in 2011 is the worst for his career since 2000 when he stole seven bases and was caught six times. For his career, his safe rate is about 74.5%. He was better than that as recently as 2010, when he stole 68 bases and was caught just 18 times for a safe rate of 79.1%. It was best in 2007. That year he stole 64 bases for the Dodgers and was caught just 15 times, for a safe rate of 81.0%. That’s the only time in his career he’s topped 80%.

One thing to love about Charlie Manuel as a manager is that his teams don’t get caught stealing. In each of his seven years at the helms of the Phils, the team has had a safe rate of at least 78.6%.

Over the last 20 years, the Phillies have had four different managers. Here’s the number of bases they’ve stolen each year and the number of times they’ve been caught.

Year SB CS Safe Manager
2011
2010
2009
2008
2007
2006
2005
2004
2003
2002
2001
2000
1999
1998
1997
1996
1995
1994
1993
1992
96
108
119
136
138
92
116
100
72
104
153
102
125
97
92
117
72
67
91
127
24
21
28
25
19
25
27
27
29
43
47
30
35
45
56
41
25
24
32
31
80.0%
83.7%
81.0%
84.5%
87.9%
78.6%
81.1%
78.7%
71.3%
70.7%
76.5%
77.3%
78.1%
68.3%
62.2%
74.1%
74.2%
73.6%
74.0%
80.4%
Manuel
Manuel
Manuel
Manuel
Manuel
Manuel
Manuel
Bowa
Bowa
Bowa
Bowa
Francona
Francona
Francona
Francona
Fregosi
Fregosi
Fregosi
Fregosi
Fregosi

One thing the table above shows is that the base-stealing for the Phils has gotten a bit less prolific over the past few years. In 2011, for the fourth straight year, the Phillies stole fewer bases than they had in the previous season. In three of those four years, their safe rate went down from the previous year.

Over the last 20 years, the best year for the Phils with the stolen base was 2007 when they stole 138 and were caught just 19 times. The worst was 1997 when Francona’s Phils were safe just 62.2% of the time as they stole 92 bags while being caught 56 times. It may have been a little hard to notice just what was going on on the bases that year, what with all the going 68-94 and whatnot.

If you total up the steals and caught stealings for those 20 years by manager, here’s what they look like:

Manager Years SB CS Safe
Manuel 7 805 169 82.6%
Bowa 4 429 146 74.6%
Francona 4 416 166 71.5%
Fregosi 5 474 153 75.6%

Charlie Manuel has managed the Phillies for seven years. In 2006, the team’s safe rate on steal attempts of 78.6% was fourth best in the NL. In each of the other six seasons, the Phils have had the best safe rate in the league.

So getting thrown out 40% of the time or so might not go over well. Just saying.

This article reviews where some of the 2011 Phils who won’t be with the team in 2012 are now.

This article looks at the top 20 prospects for the Phillies as ranked by MLB.com. Here’s Baseball America’s top ten list for the team.

Interested in online betting sites? Visit our sponsor The Sports Geek at http://www.thesportsgeek.com/sportsbooks/


The Juan left behind?

So what do you do if you’re a professional baseball team, you have John Mayberry and Domonic Brown in your organization, just bid farewell to Raul Ibanez and his .707 OPS over 575 plate appearances from last year and are looking to get better in left field in 2012? I don’t know for sure, but I have some ideas and I’m a little surprised that bringing on Juan Pierre made the list for the Phillies.

After hitting 279/329/327 in 711 plate appearances for the White Sox last year, Pierre has hit 277/335/322 in 1,445 plate appearances over the last two seasons. In 2011, he stole 27 bases, which tied him for 21st-best in all of baseball. He was caught 17 times, which was more than any other player. There were only four players in either league who were caught stealing more than 12 times. In his defense, Pierre was a far more effective base-stealer with the White Sox in 2010. The active career leader in stolen bases swiped an AL-best 68 bases and was caught just 18 times.

Despite on-basing .329 last year, Pierre still has a career on-base percentage of .345. And if he can get on base, that would go a long way towards making up for the gaping lack of power and diminishing speed. But in six of the last seven years he’s on-based under .345. From 2000 to 2004, he on-based .361. Since the end of 2004 he’s on-based .334. And that makes things tough for an outfielder without power who hasn’t appeared in a game at center field since 2009.

Pierre has never hit for a lot of power. He arrived on the scene with Colorado in 2000 and had two extra-base hits in 219 plate appearances, both doubles. He hit .310 that year and slugged .320, giving him and isolated power of .010. No player with 200 plate appearances in either league has posted an isolated power that low since. His isolated power topped out in 2006 with the Cubs at .096 as he hit 292/330/388 with 32 doubles, 13 triples and three home runs over 750 plate appearances.

Over the last two seasons, Pierre has hit .277 and slugged .322, giving him an isolated power of .045. In 2011, among the 146 players in either league with 500 plate appearances, his isolated power of .049 was 146th. In 2010 his isolated power of .041 was 149 of 151 as he topped infielders Cesar Izturis and Elvis Andrus in the category.

Pierre’s isolated power for his career is .067, and he’s hit that mark or better just once in the last five seasons (.084 with the Dodgers in 2009). By comparison, Wilson Valdez has a career isolated power of .087 and an isolated power of .097 while with the Phillies. Martinez’s isolated power last year was .086. Polanco’s for his career is .105, last year it was .062.

Here’s what Mayberry, Ibanez, Pierre and the average NL left fielder did in 2011:

PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA
John Mayberry 296 273 341 513 361
NL AVG LF 259 328 421 327
Raul Ibanez 575 245 289 419 309
Juan Pierre 711 279 329 327 295

The NL average for left fielders in 2011 for wOBA was .327. Pierre’s career wOBA is .315. Over the past five seasons, he’s posted a wOBA of .327 or better just once — in 2009 in his 425 plate appearances with the Dodgers. Pierre put up a wOBA in the .293 to .298 range in each of the other four seasons.

The Phillies signed 33-year-old right-handed reliever Chad Qualls to a one-year, $1.15 million contract. Qualls was great from 2004-2008 and pretty good in 2009 before a miserable 2010 season in which he threw to a 7.32 ERA and allowed 85 hits and 21 walks in 59 innings. Last year he bounced back some, if not to his ’04-’08 levels, throwing to a 3.51 ERA with a 1.25 ratio for the Padres.

This article points out some of the recent issues involved with trying to use Chad Qualls against lefties or if you’re not playing at Petco.

Locks for the pen at this point look to me to include Kendrick, Papelbon, Qualls, Willis and Bastardo. Contreras seems likely to take the sixth of seven spots if he’s healthy. Stutes seems close to a sure thing and Herndon would be my first guess to take Conteras’s spot if Contreras can’t go.

If you’re interested in baseball handicapping, check out our sponsor Kevin’s MLB picks blog at http://www.mlbpredictions.org.


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