Archive for November, 2012

They coulda been a contender . . . oh wait, they were a contender

Not long ago, the Phillies were pretty good defensively in the outfield compared to the rest of baseball. Not so much anymore. Here’s the UZR/150 for all Phillie outfielders combined for the last six seasons as calculated by FanGraphs and how it compares to teams across both leagues:

Year UZR/150 all PHI OF Rank MLB
2007 4.1 8
2008 8.0 7
2009 0.7 13
2010 -5.5 25
2011 -8.4 28
2012 -4.8 25

So, from 2007 through 2009, the Phillies were in the top half of teams defensively in the outfield across both leagues by UZR/150. Over the last three years they have been no better than 25th.

There’s only 30 teams out there, so being 25th or worse for three straight years counts as a problem. It’s arguable that the Phillies have had the worst outfield defense in baseball over the past three seasons. It’s kind of a pick ‘em between the Phils, Orioles and Mets.

Notably, ugly outfield defense or not, the Phillies went 199-125 in 2010 and 2011 combined. I think it’s safe to say they were good at other things.

Using Baseball-Reference’s dWAR, only twice in the past three seasons have the Phillies had a player who both played at least 100 outfield innings for the team in a season and posted a dWAR greater than zero for the year. Victorino did it both times, putting up a 0.5 in 1,150 innings in 2011 after putting up a 0.4 in 1,265 innings in 2010.

In 2007, Victorino (16.6 UZR/150 in the outfield, mostly right), Bourn (22.9 in about 300 innings, about 200 of which were in left) and Werth (30.5 in 446 innings in right, 127 2/3 innings in left and two in center) were all outstanding defensively. Rowand played more than 94% of the defensive innings in center field and posted UZR/150 in the outfield of 4.5. Burrell played just over 70% of the innings in left, dragging down the numbers for the team overall with his UZR/150 in the outfield of -29.6. Despite that they were still eighth-best in the category among all MLB teams.

In 2008, Victorino moved over from right, where he had been very good defensively, to center. He was very good there as well, playing about 82.5% of the innings in center with an UZR/150 in the outfield for the year of 5.8 — a little better than Rowand’s 4.5 from 2007. Werth and Jenkins combined to get about 90% of the innings in right in 2008 and were good defensively. Werth was great with an outfield UZR/150 mark of 28.5. Jenkins was very good, too, playing to an UZR/150 of 15.2 in 642 outfield innings. Burrell continued to be the guy in left, playing about 83% of the innings there. He was still bad defensively, -12.3 in the outfield for the year, but that was still a big improvement over his 2007 mark of -29.6. Overall, by UZR/150, the Phillies popped up to seventh-best across both leagues, their best mark for the six seasons presented in the table above.

In 2009, their UZR/150 dropped from 8.0 in the previous year to 0.7. Jenkins was gone and so was Burrell. The Phillies went Ibanez, Victorino and Werth from left to right on most days. Ibanez was a big improvement over Burrell in left, at least as calculated by UZR/150. He played about 77% of the innings in left and posted an UZR/150 for the year of 4.9 in the outfield, which was a huge improvement over the big negative numbers Burrell had put up in the two previous seasons. Victorino manned center and his numbers were way down as he oddly posted a UZR/150 for the year in the outfield of -5.6, which was, by far, the worst mark of his career. UZR/150 suggests that Werth didn’t have nearly the impact defensively he had in the two previous seasons, but he still put up a solid 4.4 for the year in the outfield. Overall, thanks to the replacement of Burrell with Ibanez, the Phillies had a huge change to improve on their overall numbers from 2008. Didn’t work out that way as both Victorino and Werth played a lot of innings and each found themselves off their pace from the previous year.

Things got worse in 2010 as the Phils dropped from thirteenth all the way to twenty-fifth. They still primarily went Ibanez, Victorino, Werth left to right. Victorino improved on his 2009 number, up to 2.8 for the year in his 1,265 1/3 outfield innings. But Werth and Ibanez were both worse. After five straight years of at least 575 outfield innings with an UZR/150 in the outfield of 4.4 or better, Werth’s UZR/150 in the outfield plunged to -7.8 over 1,342 innings. Ibanez, who had posted a 4.9 in 2009, saw his mark drop to -7.2. For the year, Victorino improved on his ’09 numbers, but Ibanez and Werth both saw theirs take a huge dive. The Phillies wound up near the bottom of the league in UZR/150 for their outfielders as a result.

2011 was a nightmare defensively for the Phillies in the outfield, the worst year of the six as their UZR/150 for all outfielders dropped to 28th in the league. Only the Mets and Orioles were worse — notably, the Mets were worse in large part because Angel Pagan was their center fielder and he was awful, posting a UZR/150 for the year in the outfield of -16.1. Ibanez was still the primary guy for the Phils in left and Victorino in center. Victorino was still good, putting up a 5.7 UZR/150 for the season. Ibanez went from real bad, -7.2, to terrible, posting a Burrell-like -21.8. Right field was shared by three guys in Pence, Brown and Francisco, all of who ended the year having played about 30% of the innings for the Phillies defensively in right. Pence played about 32.7%, Brown 30.5% and Francisco 30.1%. Pence was very good defensively for the Phils when he played, putting up an 8.6 for the year with the team. Brown and Francisco were both terrible — Brown’s mark for the year was -26.0 and Francisco’s was -16.1. For the season, Ibanez was terrible in left, Victorino solid in center and Pence, Brown and Francisco split right almost equally, with Brown and Francisco being atrocious while Pence was very good. Put it all together and the Phils were the 28th-best team in the league for UZR/150 in the outfield.

Things were still atrocious in 2012, if slightly improved from the two previous seasons. Pierre was the primary guy in left, getting about 55% of the innings. He was backed up by Mayberry, who got about 23% of the innings at the position. Pierre put up a better-than-expected mark of -0.4 and Mayberry was solid when playing left with a 5.4. Victorino was the primary guy in center until he was traded. He wound up playing about 60% of the team’s innings in center field for the season and posting an UZR/150 of 0.9. Mayberry took over the gig after Victorino was traded and was terrible, posting a -20.7 UZR/150 in center in 474 1/3 innings. Pence played most of the innings in right field for the Phils in 2012, about 62%, and was awful in right when he did play, posting an UZR/150 with the Phils of -13.5, well off his 2011 mark. Domonic Brown was the other guy to see a lot of time in right, playing about 21% of the defensive innings at the position. He was significantly better than he was in 2012, but still not good, putting up a UZR/150 of -7.9 for the year.

Looking to 2013, there are still big questions to be answered about the makeup of the Phillie outfield. The Phils appear to have five guys in-house in the mix in Brown, Mayberry, Schierholtz, Nix and Ruf. If you had to pick one of them, most fans would guess that Brown is the player of that group who is likely to play the most defensive outfield innings for the Phils in 2013. And we know he’s been a really bad defensive player so far in his career. I think we also know that Mayberry can put up some ugly defensive numbers in center field — he seems sure to do so if the Phillies give him that opportunity. Schierholtz and Nix have both been pretty good defensively over their careers in the outfield, although neither of them seem likely to see much time in center and it’s a little hard to believe the Phillies think they need to carry both left-handed backup outfielders going in 2013. Ruf is the other guy in that group — if he proves to be a good defensive outfielder in the majors it’s going to surprise a lot of people.

The Phillies finalized a one-year, $850,000 deal with Kevin Frandsen.

Many Marlins appear to be on the move to Toronto, including Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle.

This suggests that Amaro kind of wishes that Ruf would have had more of an opportunity to play at the end of the year, but that Amaro understands Manuel playing Juan Pierre instead. Not sure I completely believe all of that.

At least now the Phillies have a good idea what Juan Pierre brings to the table.

It will be pretty interesting to see if Ruf can play left field — I think he’s going to get some chances to do so with the Phillies in 2013. I’m guessing he can’t in a think Pat Burrell kind of way. So let’s hope for 51 more home runs.


Top ten reasons the Phillies should get some new outfielders

Here are the best seasons for Phillie outfielders by total WAR as measured Baseball-Reference over the past ten years (2003-2012) as well as their NL rank for bWAR for hitters in that season:

Player Year bWAR bWAR rank NL batters
1 Abreu 2004 6.3 8
2 Victorino 2011 5.2 9
3 Abreu 2003 5.2 10
4 Rowand 2007 4.8 12
5 Werth 2010 4.3 17
6 Werth 2009 4.2 15
6 Victorino 2008 4.2 T-17
8 Werth 2008 3.6 T-23
9 Victorino 2009 3.5 T-23
10 Burrell 2005 3.4 T-26
10 Lofton 2005 3.4 T-26
10 Abreu 2005 3.4 T-26

Thanks to a three-way tie for the tenth spot, 12 different seasons appear on the list. Werth, Abreu and Victorino all appear three times each and Rowand, Burrell and Lofton each appear once.

Two of the top three seasons in which a Phillie outfielder has posted a bWAR better than 4.8 came a long time ago — two of the top three spots belong to Bobby Abreu and his ’03 and ’04 seasons.

Comparing that list to Friday’s post about potentially available center fielders, you’ll see there are a number of players whose 2012 season would have had them on the list had they been playing for the Phillies and put up the same bWAR. They include:

  • Michael Bourn’s 6.0 would have been second-best of any Phillie outfielder in the past ten seasons
  • Torii Hunter’s 5.2 would have also been second-best
  • Melky Cabrera’s 4.7 would have been fifth-best
  • Curtis Granderson’s 4.1 would have been eighth-best
  • Angel Pagan’s 4.0 would also have been eighth-best
  • Josh Hamilton’s 3.4 would have tied him for tenth-best

It seems like there may be a case to be made that the Phillies really haven’t had their share of monster bWAR seasons from their outfielders over the past ten years. For example, over the last ten years, the Phillies have had three seasons in which an outfield posted a bWAR better than 4.8. The Braves had three outfielders do it last year in Bourn (6.0), Heyward (5.5) and Prado (5.4).

This suggests that the Phillies are in talks with Cody Ross and that Ross is looking for $25 million over three years. This should work out great if the Phils can just convince everyone to replay the 2010 NLCS and get Ross to put up a 1.385 OPS for them instead of the Giants.

This suggests that issues between the Phillies and Scott Boras stemming from last year’s negotiations around Ryan Madson could impact a potential deal for Michael Bourn, a Boras client.

The article linked above suggests that Amaro said the backup catcher’s job is Erik Kratz’s to lose.

This article mentions the Phillies as a possible fit for Torri Hunter. This suggests the Dodgers are no longer pursuing Hunter.

This suggests the Phillies might be willing to pay Josh Hamilton the amount of money he wants, but not for the number of years he wants.


And not just that, some of those guys haven’t even ever been on Hawaii Five-0

More today on eight of the potential center fielders whose names will be thrown about this off-season as the Phillies try to finalize their outfield. The table below shows their Baseball-Reference calculated oWAR per 600 plate appearances over the past three years and over their career as well as their FanGraphs calculated UZR/150 at center for their career and for any of the last three seasons in which they played at least 500 innings in center:

2010-2012 Career Career 2012 2011 2010
oWAR per 600 PA oWAR per 600 PA UZR/150 CF UZR/150 CF UZR/150 CF UZR/150 CF
Hamilton 5.19 4.51 -9.6 -26.3 <500 <500
Hunter 3.70 2.84 -0.5 <500 <500 -6.4
Upton 3.09 2.81 3.9 -3.2 1.6 1.9
Pagan 2.99 2.65 -0.8 -0.1 -16.1 13.3
Victorino 2.15 2.57 3.1 -2.4 5.7 2.8
Bourn 2.51 2.01 10.7 22.5 -6.2 20.6
Cabrera 3.22 1.97 -7.3 <500 -9.7 -25.2
Mayberry 1.75 1.56 -15.9 <500 <500 <500

Hamilton, Hunter, Cabrera and Mayberry really shouldn’t be getting too many defensive innings in center field.

Hunter has only played 8 2/3 innings in center field since the end of 2010. From 2006 to 2010, he played at least 800 innings in center field for five straight seasons, posting a negative UZR/150 at the position in each of the five seasons.

Hamilton sure can hit, but he’s posted a negative dWAR in four of the last five seasons. His career UZR/150 in left of 8.5 is a whole lot better than his career UZR/150 of -9.6 in center. Last year he put up a -26.3 in 687 innings in center for the Rangers.

Mayberry’s UZR/150 in center last year was -20.7.

Cabrera didn’t play an inning in center field in 2012, making 106 appearances in left for the Giants and 11 in right. He was bad defensively for the Royals in 1,265 2/3 innings in center in 2011 and terrible for the Braves in 385 innings in 2010.

Cabrera’s offensive production over the last three years is a lot better than it has been for his career. 3.22 oWAR per 600 plate appearances for the last three years, 1.97 for his career and 0.98 for his career before the start of the 2010 season. For 2005 to 2009, Cabrera got 2,148 plate appearances in which he combined for a total oWAR of 3.5 ((3.5/2148)*600=0.98).

Hamilton and Hunter could obviously help the Phillies at a corner outfield position, which is a place where the Phillies could use some help. I think that’s really, really unlikely given the combination of how much they are going to cost and the presence of Brown, Ruf, Schierholtz, Mayberry and Nix.

Bourn is the best defensive center fielder of this group by a wide margin. Upton and Victorino are way behind him. Pagan may have the strangest UZR/150 numbers of the group — he was great for the Mets in center in 2010, terrible for the Mets in center in 2011 and then put up a -0.1 for the Giants in 2012.

Compared to the previous post, Upton looks like a much better offensive player than Michael Bourn. The previous post looked at the numbers for four years, 2009 through 2012, while the first oWAR column in the table above reports on three years, 2010 through 2012. In 2009, Bourn hit 285/354/384 in his best offensive season in the last four years while Upton had his worst offensive season of the last four years, posting a 241/313/373 line.

Bourn’s career .201 oWAR per 600 plate appearances is a little frightening. He was just miserable offensively from 2006 to 2008, hitting 237/299/313 over 658 plate appearances for the Phils and Astros. Since the end of 2008, his oWAR per 600 plate appearances has been 2.66 over 2,708 plate appearances.

Here are the Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs calculations of total WAR for the last three years for each of the eight players:

bWAR ’12 bWAR ’11 bWAR ’10 bWAR ’10-’12 fWAR ’12 fWAR ’11 fWAR ’10 fWAR ’10-12
Hamilton 3.4 3.5 8.4 15.3 4.4 4.1 8.4 16.9
Hunter 5.5 3.4 2.7 11.6 5.3 2.6 3.7 11.6
Upton 2.6 2.8 1.0 6.4 3.3 4.1 4.1 11.5
Pagan 4.0 1.0 5.1 10.1 4.8 0.9 5.4 11.1
Victorino 2.4 5.2 2.8 10.4 3.3 5.9 3.8 13.0
Bourn 6.0 3.0 5.3 14.3 6.4 4.1 4.7 15.2
Cabrera 4.7 4.1 -0.5 8.3 4.6 4.2 -1.1 7.7
Mayberry 0.5 1.6 0.2 2.3 0.4 2.5 0.2 3.1

So here’s how the list of cumulative WAR over the past three seasons for those eight players goes using Baseball-Reference’s calculation:

  1. Hamilton, 15.3
  2. Bourn, 14.3
  3. Hunter, 11.6
  4. Victorino, 10.4
  5. Pagan, 10.1
  6. Cabrera, 8.3
  7. Upton, 6.4
  8. Mayberry, 2.3

And here’s the list using the FanGraphs calculation of WAR:

  1. Hamilton, 16.9
  2. Bourn, 15.2
  3. Victorino, 13.2
  4. Hunter, 11.6
  5. Upton, 11.5
  6. Pagan, 11.1
  7. Cabrera, 7.7
  8. Mayberry, 3.1

Those lists have some things in common:

  • Using both the Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs calculation, Hamilton is first, Bourn is second and Mayberry is eighth of the eight players in combined WAR for 2010-2012. Mayberry obviously played a lot less than the other seven guys, giving him less chances to accumulate WAR, but I think it’s also relevant that top table shows him at the bottom on oWAR per 600 plate appearances for the last three years and for his career and with the worst UZR/150 at center for the group
  • Both have Hunter and Victorino third and fourth, with Baseball-Reference showing Hunter ahead of Victorino and vice-versa for FanGraphs
  • Both lists think Victorino had a monster 2011 — his ’11 season is third-best on the FanGraphs list and fourth-best on the Baseball-Reference list
  • Both have Pagan, Cabrera and Upton in slots 5-7 with the players ordered differently. Pagan, Cabrera, Upton for Baseball-Reference and Upton, Pagan, Cabrera for FanGraphs
  • Both agree that the best of the seasons in the last three years was Hamilton’s 2010 and both agree the worst was Cabrera’s 2010

The bottom line for me is that four of those eight guys, Hamilton, Hunter, Cabrera and Mayberry, need to be disqualified from any search for a center field because they aren’t or shouldn’t be center fielders. That leaves four — Bourn, Upton, Pagan and Victorino. Of those four, WAR calculated by Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs suggests that, over the last three years, Bourn has been the best overall player and Victorino has been second-best. The sites disagree about Upton and Pagan — FanGraphs has Upton slightly ahead of Pagan in WAR for the three-year period while Baseball-Reference has Pagan with a big advantage over Upton over the last three seasons.

Biggest thing that came out of the post for me is that Shane Victorino might have been a little better than we thought. Sure, it was a little tough to appreciate his greatness while he was hitting 229/296/333 against righties last year, but maybe it was there.


If it was Upton to me

A brief break from pitcher WAR to talk about free agent center fielders Michael Bourn and BJ Upton, a pair of players some Phillies fans have their sights set on this off-season. Despite their needs in center field, I don’t think the Phils are likely to bring on either player. Just in case, though, I thought it might make sense to look at some of the differences between the two. The highlights:

  • Bourn is left-handed
  • Upton is right-handed
  • Bourn will turn 30 in December
  • Upton turned 28 in August
  • They are very different offensive players — Upton is a low average slugger while Bourn hits for a higher average with less power. Despite the differences in their offensive strengths, though, there is not a huge difference in the amount of offense they have produced over the last four years.
  • Bourn is an outstanding defensive player — in two of the last three seasons, he has been one of the best in the game. Upton is not.

Here’s are the lines for each of them over the last last four seasons, as well as their Baseball-Reference calculated WAR, oWAR and dWAR for each of those years:

Age PA AVG/OBP/SLG WAR oWAR dWAR
Bourn ’12 29 703 274/348/391 6.0 3.2 3.0
Bourn ’11 28 722 294/349/386 3.0 3.2 0.0
Bourn ’10 27 605 265/341/346 5.3 2.1 3.5
Bourn ’09 26 678 285/354/384 4.7 3.5 1.4
Bourn ’09-’12 2708 280/348/378 19.0 12.0 7.9
Upton ’12 27 633 246/298/454 2.6 3.1 -0.2
Upton ’11 26 640 243/331/429 2.8 3.6 -0.4
Upton ’10 25 610 237/322/424 1.0 3.0 -1.6
Upton ’09 24 626 241/313/373 0.8 0.8 0.3
Upton ’09-’12 2509 242/316/420 7.2 10.5 -1.9

Here’s some numbers for the two as calculated by FanGraphs:

Age PA FanGraphs WAR wOBA Innings in CF UZR/150 in CF
Bourn ’12 29 703 6.4 .326 1340.1 22.5
Bourn ’11 28 722 4.1 .325 1359.0 -6.2
Bourn ’10 27 605 4.7 .308 1189.1 20.6
Bourn ’09 26 678 4.9 .330 1326.0 9.9
Upton ’12 27 633 3.3 .323 1254.2 -3.2
Upton ’11 26 640 4.1 .333 1326.1 1.6
Upton ’10 25 610 4.1 .328 1301.2 1.9
Upton ’09 24 626 2.4 .306 1228.2 7.5

If you had asked me who walks more, Bourn or Upton, I would have said Bourn. But I would have been wrong. Upton has walked more over the past four years, walking in about 9.57% of his plate appearances compared to about 9.05% for Bourn. Over their careers, the difference has been even more dramatic. Bourn was walked in about 8.8% of his plate appearances while Upton has walked in about 10.6% of his.

Both of them have a pretty solid walk rate. Across both leagues, hitters walked in about 8.0% of their plate appearances in 2012.

Most people think of Upton as a low on-base percentage guy with good reason. He’s on-based .316 over 2,509 plate appearances over his last four years. It makes it easy to forget he excelled at getting on base earlier in his career — in 2007 and 2008 combined, he on-based .384 over 1,188 plate appearances.

Over the last four years, Bourn has hit for a higher average than Upton and walked less with less power. Bourn has 32 points of on-base percentage on Upton and Upton’s isolated power is eighty points higher than Bourn’s (.178 for Upton and .098 for Bourn).

Bourn’s total oWAR for the last four seasons is 12.0 in 2,708 plate appearances. If you adjust that to give him the same 2,509 plate appearances that Upton has, Bourn comes out at 11.12, a little higher than Upton’s 10.5.

There seems to be a case to be made that Upton has more offensive upside or potential for an explosive offensive season. His career best oWAR is 4.8 in 2007. Bourn has never been above 3.5 (2009). Upton is more than a year younger and has had five seasons with an oWAR better than three. Bourn has posted an oWAR better than three in three seasons.

By wOBA, the two are nearly tied over the past two years, with Bourn up .003 in 2012 and Upton up .008 in 2011. Upton’s wOBA for 2010 was .020 better than Bourn’s and Borun’s .330 in 2009 was .024 better than Upton’s. Over the past three years, two have been near ties and Upton has a sizeable advantage in the other.

But, if you compare their WAR as calculated by Baseball-Reference (bWAR) or FanGraphs (fWAR) over the last four years, it’s not close. Bourn has a huge advantage.

Year bWAR fWAR
2012 Bourn +3.4 Bourn +3.1
2011 Bourn +0.4 Tie
2010 Bourn +4.3 Bourn +0.6
2009 Bourn +3.9 Bourn +2.5

The difference is mostly about defense, not offense. While Bourn and Upton are very different offensive players, the amount of offense they are producing as measured by Baseball-Reference’s oWAR and wOBA are similar.

Bourn is an elite defensive player. Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs agree he was exceptional defensively in both 2010 and 2012. In 2012, his Baseball-Reference calculated dWAR was third-best across both leagues. In 2010 his dWAR of 3.5 was second.

Looking at the dWAR in the top table of the post, Bourn’s cumulative dWAR over the past four years is 7.9 and Upton’s is -1.9.

In 2012, Bourn’s UZR/150 was first among the 24 players who played at least 700 innings in center field. Upton’s was 18th of 24.

In 2010, Bourn’s 20.6 was second of 23 and Upton’s 1.9 was 13th.

Finally, while UZR/150 suggests that Bourn was an elite defender in 2012, Upton’s numbers suggest his defense has taken a dive over the past few years. From 2007 to 2009, Upton’s UZR/150 at center field ranged from 7.0 (2007) to 8.4 (’08). They have been below two every year since 2009, finally going negative in 2012 at -3.2. 2012 was also the third straight season in which Upton had posted a negative dWAR.


Starters for five

A recent post looked at the combined WAR for Phillie starting pitchers over the past five years. This post will look how the core of the Phillie rotation, Halladay, Lee and Hamels, compare to other elite pitchers across both leagues in terms of cumulative WAR for pitchers over the past five seasons.

Spoiler alert — they compare really well.

The table below shows pitchers who have 1) made more than 100 starts over the past five seasons and 2) have a Baseball-Reference calculated WAR per game started better than .125:

Pitcher GS # Relief appearances WAR WAR/GS
Roy Halladay 155 1 30.0 .194
Cliff Lee 155 0 28.9 .186
Josh Johnson 115 0 21.0 .183
CC Sabathia 164 0 27.0 .164
Clayton Kershaw 149 2 23.7 .159
Justin Verlander 168 0 26.7 .159
Felix Hernandez 165 0 24.1 .146
Zack Greinke 160 0 23.0 .144
Cole Hamels 160 1 21.4 .134
Jon Lester 161 0 21.1 .131
John Danks 133 0 17.2 .129
Jared Weaver 160 0 20.7 .129
Adam Wainwright 119 0 15.2 .128
Chris Carpenter 103 1 13.0 .126
Matt Cain 165 0 20.8 .126

Again, the table above displays the total WAR accumulated from 2008 through 2012, then divides that total by the number of games that the pitcher started. So pitchers who accumulated WAR in relief appearances get a tiny advantage over pitchers who did not, although the entire group of 15 pitchers in the table above has combined to make just five relief appearances since the start of 2008.

Halladay is the key thing to focus on here and just how good he was from 2008 through 2011. He stays atop the chart despite his miserable 2012.

Here’s what Halladay’s numbers look like if you break them down from 2008-2011 and 2012 separately.

GS # Relief appearances WAR WAR/GS
Halladay 2008-2011 130 1 29.3 .225
Halladay 2012 25 0 0.7 .028
Total 155 1 30.0 .194

So, again, even with the ugly 2012 performance from Halladay, he still finds himself above the chart of elite pitchers at the top of the post.

By WAR, 2010 and 2011 were the best years of Halladay’s career. He spent both of them with the Phillies. In those two seasons, he had a combined Baseball-Reference calculated WAR of 16.8 over 65 starts, which is about .258 per start.

Lee also fares very well on the top table, second only to Halladay. Like Halladay, his 2012 wasn’t as good as his previous four years, although it was a lot better than Halladay’s. Here’s the same chart for Lee, broken up into 2008 through 2011 with an individual entry for 2012:

GS # Relief appearances WAR WAR/GS
Lee 2008-2011 125 0 24.7 .198
Lee 2012 30 0 4.2 .140
Total 155 0 28.9 .186

Like Halladay, Lee’s mark for 2012 was worse than 2008 through 2011, although not nearly as dramatically.

Hamels’s two best years for WAR were 2010 and 2011. His numbers for the last five years combined are dragged down by his ugly 2009 season in which he threw to a 4.32 ERA over 32 starts with an ERA+ of 97, posting a WAR for the year of 1.7.

Here’s how his numbers look if you break them down by ’08 and ’09, ’10 and ’11 and 2012:

GS # Relief appearances WAR WAR/GS
Hamels 2008-2009 65 0 5.7 .088
Hamels 2010-2011 64 1 11.5 .180
Hamels 2012 31 0 4.2 .135
Total 160 1 21.4 .134

So Lee and Hamels were about the same in 2012 in terms of WAR per game started, with Lee having been a lot better over the past four years.

Even if you take out Hamels’s ’09 season, that leaves him at 19.7 WAR over 128 starts in ’08 and ’10 through ’12. That’s about .154 WAR per game started, which is very good, but still not as good as Lee’s 2008 through 2011.

The Reading Phillies (Double-A) are getting a new name, which will be revealed on November 17.


The votes aren’t all counted yet, but I think we can agree that Adam Eaton was not the answer

Here’s the Baseball-Reference calculated combined WAR for pitchers who have made at least ten starts for the team over the past five seasons:

Pitcher GS # Relief appearances WAR WAR/GS
Halladay 90 0 17.6 .196
Lee 74 0 13.5 .182
Happ 30 16 5.0 .167
Oswalt 35 1 5.2 .149
Hamels 160 1 21.4 .134
Worley 46 7 4.4 .096
Moyer 77 5 2.7 .035
Blanton 100 5 2.5 .025
Myers 40 8 0.8 .020
Kendrick 103 41 1.7 .017
Eaton 19 2 -1.2 -.063

Important to remember is that the WAR calculation includes games pitched in relief. So, for example, the WAR for Kendrick over the last five seasons includes his 41 appearances out of the bullpen. His .017 for WAR/GS is his total WAR in all appearances divided by the number of games he started (not the total number of games in which he pitched).

The 11 pitchers above combined to make 774 of the 810 starts for the Phillies over the last five seasons. Not appearing on the list are guys who made fewer than ten starts, including Pedro Martinez (9), Chan Ho Park (7), Tyler Cloyd (6), Rodrigo Lopez (5), Antonio Bastardo (5), Raul Valdes (1), Andrew Carpenter (1), Nelson Figueroa (1) and BJ Rosenberg (1). Those 36 total starts plus the 774 for the 11 guys above gets you to 810.

Hamels is the guy who has made the most starts for the Phillies over the past five years with 160. And he’s been very good. After that, though, there are two guys in Blanton and Kendrick who have gotten a ton of starts over the past five seasons without being very good.

Kendrick is second in starts over the last five seasons with 103. His best year for WAR was 2007 (which doesn’t count for the table above as it was more than five years ago). In 2007, Kendrick made 20 appearances for the Phillies, all starts, going 10-4 with a 3.87 and putting up a WAR of 2.1. Kendrick was terrible in 2008 and finished the year with a -1.7 WAR. In the four years since his combined WAR has been just 3.4 — 3.4 + (-1.7) = 1.7, his mark for the past five years combined.

Blanton has made 105 appearances over the last five years for the Phillies, including 100 starts (more than anyone but Kendrick or Hamels). In the five seasons that Blanton pitched all or part of the year with the Phillies, he had a Baseball-Reference calculated WAR better than 0.1 only once. His best year with the Phillies was 2009 — he made 31 starts that year with a 4.05 ERA and a 1.32 ratio, posting a 2.4 WAR for the season. He had a -0.2 WAR in 29 appearances with the Phillies in 2010 and a -0.1 WAR in 21 appearances with them in 2012. He threw just 41 1/3 innings in 2011, all with the Phils, and put up a 0.0 WAR for that season.

The point here is that Blanton and Kendrick have pitched a lot for the Phillies over the past five years, making about as many starts (203) as Halladay, Lee and Worley (210). Overall, they’ve made about 25.1% of the starts for the Phillies over the past five seasons. And they haven’t been very good.

And while Blanton doesn’t have much of a chance to be not very good for the Phillies again in 2013, Kendrick does.

Gone also from the mix of the last five years are Happ and Oswalt. Both of those pitchers didn’t pitch a ton for the Phillies over the past five years, but put up good numbers overall in their time with the team.

Happ’s 4.83 ERA since he left the Phillies makes it easy to forget that he was great for the Phillies in 2009, going 12-4 with a 2.93 ERA and a 1.23 ratio in his 35 appearances (23 starts). He led the team in WAR for pitchers that year at 4.0. Hamels made 32 starts for the Phillies in ’09, finishing the year with a WAR of 1.7.

Oswalt threw to a 2.96 ERA in 36 appearances (35 starts) with the Phils between 2010 and 2011. He appeared in just 13 games for the Phillies in 2010 (12 starts), but managed to post a WAR of 3.2, third best on the staff behind Halladay and Hamels.

This suggests Josh Hamilton wants seven years, $175 million.

Amaro mentions Adam Morgan favorably in this article. Morgan is a 22-year-old lefty the Phillies took in the third round of the 2011 draft. He made 27 appearances between Clearwater and Reading in 2012, 26 of which were starts, throwing to a 3.35 ERA with a 1.11 ratio and striking out 169 in 158 2/3 innings.


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