Archive for December, 2012

Hit parade

So just who on the Phillies did John Lannan plunk? A review.

July 26, 2007. Lannan faced the Phillies in his major league debut. The Phillies led 3-2 going into the bottom of the fifth. Victorino grounded to second for the first out in the frame before Lannan hit Utley in the hand, breaking it. He then hit Howard in the back and was ejected from the game. The Phillies took a 5-2 lead into the seventh inning, but the Nats scored two in the seventh and Jesus Flores hit a three-run homer off of Zagurski in the eighth. Nats won 7-6.

July 31, 2008. Lannan hit Shane Victorino, the second batter of the game for the Phillies, in the bottom of the first. The Phils went on to score eight runs charged to Lannan in 5 2/3 innings.

May 15, 2009. This game between the Nats and Phils featured five hit batters, including two by Lannan. Utley led off the top of the sixth with the Phillies down 4-1 and Lannan hit him with a pitch. Lannan got the next two before hitting Ibanez. Feliz followed with a single that scored Utley and knocked Lannan from the game. Down 6-4 in the bottom of the ninth, the Nats scored two runs off of Lidge to sent the game into extra-innings. The Phils scored four in the top of the twelfth and won 10-6.

August 1, 2010. Ryan Howard was the fourth batter of the game, coming to the plate in a scoreless tie with two down and Werth on second. Lannan drilled him on the right elbow. The elbow was x-rayed after the game and the x-rays came back negative. Howard injured his ankle running the bases and would not appear again for the Phillies until August 21.

September 27, 2010. The Phils were up 1-0 in the sixth with one down and Victorino on first when Lannan hit Utley. The Phils went on to score three runs in the frame and beat the Nats 8-0 as they clinched the NL East.

April 13, 2011. The Phillies led 2-0 in the fifth with two outs and the bases loaded. Lannan hit Howard on the right wrist, forcing in a run. Howard stayed in the game and x-rays after the game were negative. Halladay hit Nat Laynce Nix in the seventh and the Phillies won 3-2 behind a complete game, 123 pitch outing from Halladay.

May 5, 2011. Lannan hit Victorino, the second batter of the game for the Phillies in the bottom of the first inning of a scoreless tie.

June 1, 2011. Lannan hit Mayberry with one out in the top of the third and the bases empty. Mayberry is the only right-handed batter (not including the switch-hitter Victorino) to be hit by Lannan with the Phillies. Nix made a spectacular catch on a ball hit by Brown with the bases loaded to end the sixth inning in that game and the Nats went on to win 2-1.

September 26, 2012. Down 5-0, Howard led off the bottom of the second was hit by Lannan. The Nats pounded Kendrick in the game on their way to an 8-4 win.

And how did it work out for him? Not so great. It’s hard to tell if hitting batters is the cause or the symptom of problems, but, either way, his numbers overall in innings in which he has hit a Phillie batter aren’t so good. Here they are:

7/26/07 0.3 0 0 2 2 1 Utley, Howard
7/31/08 1 1 0 1 0 0 Victorino
5/15/09 0.7 1 0 2 2 2 Ibanez, Utley
8/1/10 1 3 0 1 2 2 Howard
9/27/10 0.7 2 1 1 3 3 Utley
4/13/11 1 3 0 1 2 2 Howard
5/5/11 1 0 0 1 0 0 Victorino
6/1/11 1 1 0 1 0 0 Mayberry
9/26/12 1 0 0 1 0 0 Howard
Total 7 2/3 11 1 11 11 10

Ten earned runs over 7 2/3 innings is an 11.74 ERA. Notably, he’s walked just one hitter in the 7 2/3 innings (Polanco ahead of Utley on 9/27/10), so his control has been pretty good even in the innings when he’s plunking folks. 1.57 ratio for the 7 2/3 frames.

Even leaving the Phillies wasn’t enough to save Victorino. Lannan hit four batters in 2012 — Dan Uggla, Chipper Jones, Ryan Howard and Victorino when he was with the Dodgers.

Here are his career rates of hitting Phillies, non-Phillies and some of your favorite Phillies and non-Phillies:

PA HBP % of PA
All teams 3402 30 0.8
PHI 484 11 2.3
Not PHI 2918 19 0.7
Utley 48 3 6.2
Howard 46 4 8.7
Victorino 47 3 6.4

There are four players that Lannan has hit three or more times in his career. Three of them are current or former Phils. He’s hit Howard four times and Utley, Victorino and Nate McLouth three times each.

The next update to Philliesflow will be around January 3.

So the John Lannan glass is kinda maybe half fullish and, if that’s not enough for you ingrates, there’s the chance we might, just might, be in the mix to acquire Vernon Wells

That there could solve everything.

One way to look at John Lannan’s career is that he’s had four seasons in which he’s made at least ten starts and three of them have been pretty good.

Lannan has spent parts of six different seasons in the majors from 2007 through 2012. Of those, in two, 2007 and 2012, he threw less than 40 innings. If you remove those two, that leaves you with the four years from 2008 to 2011. In each of those four years, Lannan made at least 25 starts and over those years combined he threw to a 4.00 ERA with a 1.42 ratio.

Only one of the four seasons was really bad, though, his 2010 effort in which he threw to a 4.65 ERA with a 1.56 ratio. Opponents hit .302 against him. Removing 2010, in the three other years in which he’s made ten or more starts he has a 3.83 ERA with a 1.38 ratio.

Here are the four years of his career in which he’s thrown more than 40 innings.

Year GS IP ERA Ratio
2008 31 182.0 3.91 1.34
2009 33 206.3 3.88 1.35
2010 25 143.3 4.65 1.56
2011 33 184.7 3.70 1.46
’08 to ’11 122 716.3 4.00 1.42
’08, ’09 and ’11 97 573 3.83 1.38

Remember, that’s pretty much his whole career, removing only a total of 67 1/3 innings thrown in 2008 and 2012 combined. And if you take out 2010, things look pretty okay, at least judging by his 3.83 ERA and 1.38 ratio.

So what went wrong in 2010? Not his walk rate. He walked just 7.6% of the batters that he faced, which is the lowest mark for his career and well below his career walk rate of 8.7%. It wasn’t home runs — he allowed home runs to 2.2% of the hitters he faced, which was a decrease from his mark from the two previous years and is below his career home run rate of 2.3%.

What he did do was allow a lot more hits.

IP AB H Opp Avg H/9 % of PA H
2010 143 1/3 580 175 .302 11.0 27.2
Career 783 2/3 3,018 820 .272 9.4 24.1
Not 2010 640 1/3 2,438 645 .265 9.1 23.4
’08, ’09 and ’11 573 2,184 576 .264 9.0 23.4

So his hit rate skyrocketed in 2010. But so did his batting average for balls in play. Coming into 2010, Lannan had thrown 423 innings over three seasons. His Baseball-Reference calculated BABIP for those three years is .275 with a range of .272 to .277 (.277 in 2007, .272 in 2008 and .277 again in 2009). In 2010 it was .322.

The other thing about Lannan’s BABIP is that after it took off in 2010, it stayed up. .301 in 2011 and .314 in 2012. From 2007 to 2009, opponents hit .261 against Lannan with a BABIP of .275. From 2010 through 2012, opponents hit .284 against him with a BABIP of .311.

Also important to remember is that Lannan’s best year by ERA, 2011, when he put up a 3.70, is far from his best year in the majors. He’s going to have trouble keeping his ERA at that level with a 1.46 ratio and we should all be hoping he can bring his ratio down to 2008 and ’09 levels. Opponents hit .272 against him in ’11 and his walk rate of 3.7 batters per nine was above his career mark of 3.4.

Another thing that odd about Lannan is his recent history around giving up home runs. He hasn’t allowed one in his last 11 starts. Between August 13, 2011 and August 31, 2011, Lannan allowed five home runs in 21 innings for the Nationals. Since then he’s made 11 starts, throwing 57 1/3 innings without allowing a home run.

This article suggests that the Phillies have Cody Ross and Vernon Wells on their shopping list. Let’s hold out hope that either 1) it’s a really, really long list or 2) it’s a list from the 2010 off-season that somebody just recently uncovered. Wells is owed $21 million in 2013 and $21 million in 2014 and has hit 222/258/409 in 791 plate appearances over the last two years.

This article from yesterday’s Boston Globe says, “Ross has drawn considerable interest from the Braves, Phillies, Mets, Yankees, and Orioles, but nothing is close, according to a major league source.” The article also speculates on the possibility that Boston wants to trade Ellsbury, move Victorino to center and then sign Ross.

This suggests that the Phillies may be interested in acquiring left-handed reliever JP Howell. I’d be pretty surprised if the Phillies added a left-handed relief pitcher without trading away one of the six they currently have on their 40-man roster (Bastardo, Horst, Valdes, Diekman, Savery and Robles, in that order, in my opinion). Maybe they could add another fourth outfielder who can’t play center? Oh wait, they’re working on that.

And not just that — Vance Worley never mistook Chase Utley and Ryan Howard for his own personal pinata

It appears that the Phillies have reorganized their rotation in recent weeks, outing 25-year-old-righty Vance Worley and inning 28-year-old lefty John Lannan.

So who’s better — Lannan or Worley? It’s hard to know who will fare better in 2013, and the issue is complicated because Lannan is (almost exactly) three years older, but it’s hard to make the case that Lannan has been better than Worley in the time they’ve spent in the majors.

Here are some of their numbers for their careers, including Lannan’s combined numbers through his age 25 season (Worley just finished his age 25 season):











Worley ’10











Worley ’11











Worley ’12
































Lannan ’07











Lannan ’08











Lannan ’09











Lannan ’10











Thru 25











Lannan ’11











Lannan ’12






















Through their age 25 seasons, Lannan had thrown far more innings in the majors than Worley. He had thrown 566 1/3 innings through the end of the 2010 season while Worley has still thrown just 277 2/3 for his career.

In just about every other way, though, Worley has been better. Through their age 25 seasons, Worley has a better ERA, has thrown to a lower ratio, allowing fewer hits, walks and home runs per nine innings while striking out batters at a higher rate. All of those things are also true if you compare the career numbers of the two.

Worley has also had the best year by WAR. Using both Baseball-Reference and FanGraph’s calculations of WAR, the best season either of the two has had to date is Worley’s 2011 performance. On the other hand, Lannan’s 2009 was almost as good and Lannan has had two very good seasons, 2008 and 2009, while Worley has only had one.

Notably, Lannan’s two best seasons came before his age 25 year. Over the last three years, he’s started 64 games and thrown to a 4.12 ERA with a 1.50 ratio, allowing 402 hits in 360 innings while opponents have hit .284 against him. The 4.12 ERA and 1.50 ratio for Lannan over the last three seasons are pretty similar to the 4.20 ERA and 1.51 ratio that Worley put up in his worrisome 2012 season.

Coming up in the same division, Worley and Lannan each spent time in the Double-A Eastern League and Triple-A International League. Here’s what the two have done in each of those leagues:

Ages IP ERA Ratio H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9
Lannan AA 22 and 25 76.7 3.76 1.37 9.4 0.6 2.9 5.6
Worley AA 21 and 22 266 4.43 1.36 9.4 0.9 2.9 6.2
Lannan AAA 22 and 27 186.7 3.76 1.37 9.4 0.8 3.0 5.1
Worley AAA 22 and 23 96 3.00 1.14 8.2 0.8 2.1 8.1

They have very similar numbers at Double-A with Lannan posting a better ERA. Lannan has thrown more than twice as many innings in the Triple-A Eastern League, but Worley’s numbers are significantly better as he has allowed fewer hits and walks while striking out batters at a higher rate.

The biggest question as we look towards 2013 and beyond is whether you think Worley’s enormous hit rate in 2012 was a fluke or not. He has close to no chance of being successful in the long run with opponents hitting .296 against him. He was also victimized by one of the highest rates of BABIP of all pitchers in baseball.

Todd Zolecki suggests that trading for a player like Vernon Wells or Alfonso Soriano might make sense for the Phillies if they don’t sign Cody Ross here.

Baseball America’s Top Ten Prospects for the Phillies was released with 21-year-old lefty Jesse Biddle at the top of the list.

The pitching news

Busy weekend for the Phillies that saw them agree to deals with two pitchers — lefty John Lannan appears to be set to serve as the fifth starter and righty Mike Adams looks likely to set up Papelbon.

This article says that the deal with Adams is for two years, $12 million and the deal with Lannan is one year, $2.5 million.

Lannan has made 19 starts against the Phillies over his career, throwing to an ugly 5.53 ERA with a 1.74 ratio. Opponents have hit 329/404/546 against him in Citizens Bank Park. So that could be better. In 94 1/3 innings against the Phillies in all stadiums he’s hit 11 batters. In 689 1/3 innings against all other teams, he’s hit 19 batters. In his major league debut on July 26, 2007, Lannan was ejected in the fifth inning after hitting Utley and Howard back-to-back. The ball that hit Utley broke his hand.

Here’s my guess on how the pitcher staff for 2013 looks at this point as well as the top candidates to fill the last two slots:

Role Pitcher Others
1 SP Halladay (R) Stutes (R)
2 SP Lee (L) Schwimer (R)
3 SP Hamels (L) De Fratus (R)
4 SP Kendrick (R) Cloyd (R)
5 SP Lannan (L) Rosenberg (R)
6 RP Papelbon (R) Valdes (L)
7 RP Adams (R) Savery (L)
8 RP Bastardo (L) Diekman (L)
9 RP Horst (L)
10 RP Aumont (R)
11 RP
12 RP

On Friday, the Phillies claimed 23-year-old left-handed reliever Mauricio Robles off of waivers from Seattle. Robles was primarily a starter in Seattle minor league system through 2011. In 2012 he made 43 appearances, 37 of which were in relief, and threw to a 5.78 ERA with 1.69 ratio between Double-A and Triple-A. He walked 63 in 71 2/3 innings. That’s not a joke, it’s actually a stat.

This suggests that the Phillies and Mariners are among the teams interested in Cody Ross and that Ross may be looking for a three-year, $25 million contract.

This suggests that the Phillies may have one payroll slot left, which would allow them to pay a new outfielder about $7 million.

A history of non-violence

Do Ben Revere’s numbers in the minor leagues suggests he’s likely to increase his walk rate or isolated power any time soon? Not as much as one might hope.

Here they are:

Year Age League Level PA BB % ISO
2007 19 Gulf Coast Rookie 216 6.0 .136
2008 20 Midwest A 374 7.2 .118
2009 21 Florida State A+ 517 7.7 .058
2010 22 Eastern AA 406 7.9 .058
2011 23 International AAA 141 4.3 .061
2012 24 International AAA 101 4.0 .010
Total - - - 1755 7.0 .078

Looking first at the walk rate, in his first four years in the minors, 2007 to 2010, he walked 112 times in 1,513 plate appearances. That’s a walk rate of 7.4%. In 2011 and 2012 at Triple-A, Revere got a total of 242 plate appearances and walked in just ten of them — a walk rate of 4.1%.

Revere had a monster season at Single-A Beloit in the Midwest League in 2008, hitting .379 and stealing 44 bases with an OPS of .930. He still didn’t walk a ton despite being an elite player in that league in ’08, drawing walks in just 7.2% of his plate appearances.

Looking at the isolated power, things started off looking promising. In 2007 and 2008 combined, Revere hit .360 with a slugging percentage of .484 over 530 plate appearances, giving him an isolated power of .124 to that point in his career.

Since 2008, he’s gotten 1,165 minor league plate appearances in which he has hit .310, but slugged just .364. That gives him an isolated power of .054 in the minors over those plate appearances.

In the years when he posted a higher isolated power, ’07 and ’08, it was because he hit triples, not home runs.

From ’07 to ’08 he got 590 plate appearances, hitting 20 triples and one home run with a .360 average, a .484 slugging percentage and an isolated power of .124.

In 2009 in the Florida State League, he hit two home runs in 517 plate appearances, but with just four triples. He still hit .311, but his slugging percentage dropped all the way to .369 (despite the fact his home run rate increased) and his isolated power dove to .058.

It hasn’t really been seen since.

This article reviews nine non-roster invitees to Spring Training for the Phillies this year, including Andres Blanco, Josh Fields, Cesar Jimenez, Steven Lerud, Jermaine Mitchell, Michael Martinez, Zach Miner, Pete Orr and Humberto Quintero. It seems like Quintero or Lerud have a good chance to take a spot on the Opening Day roster. I would guess there’s a big advantage to Quintero between the two.

The Phillies just signed outfielder Jermaine Mitchell to a minor league contract. Mitchell is left-handed and has played mostly center field in the minors. He had a monster year in 2011, hitting 332/430/530 between Double and Triple-A with a career high 15 home runs. He was off that pace in 2012, though, hitting just 252/345/386 in the PCL. He became a free agent earlier this month when he was non-tendered by Oakland. He turned 28 in November.

This suggests that Ichiro and the Yankees are finalizing a two-year deal worth between $12 million and $13 million. This suggests that the Phillies offered him more than that — $14 million over two years. This article talks all about it.

Josh Hamilton is set to become an Angel, leaving the Phillies with dwindling options among the outfielders thought to be available. The linked article mentions Cody Ross and Nick Swisher as well as the possibility that Anaheim will trade an outfielder since adding Hamilton.

This suggests Ty Wigginton will be a Cardinal on a two-year deal in the $5 million range. They must have missed 2012?

Walk rate state

Ben Revere walked in 5.2% of his plate appearances in 2012. Here’s that 5.2% walk rate in the context of Phillies hitters with at least 100 plate appearances in 2012:

Chase Utley 362 11.9
Ty Wigginton 360 10.3
Domonic Brown 212 9.9
Laynce Nix 127 9.5
Jimmy Rollins 699 8.9
Ryan Howard 292 8.6
Hunter Pence 440 8.4
Shane Victorino 431 8.1
League Average 7.9
John Mayberry 479 7.1
Erik Kratz 157 7.0
Carlos Ruiz 421 6.9
Mike Fontenot 105 6.7
Placido Polanco 328 5.5
Ben Revere 553 5.2
Juan Pierre 439 5.2
Kevin Frandsen 210 4.3
Michael Martinez 122 4.1
Freddy Galvis 200 3.5
Team Total 6172 7.4

Revere just tops Pierre, walking in 5.244% of his ’12 plate appearances compared to 5.239% for Pierre. Again, it feels like it’s a good time to point out that Pierre and Revere are kind of similar offensive players, except that Pierre has more power.

Also, Kevin Frandsen deserves mention for walking in just nine of his 210 plate appearances in 2012, giving him a walk rate below a lot of the guys you would normally put on the suspect list of people who never walk. 4.3% is low even for him, but he’s not a guy who takes walks. He’s walked in about 5.4% of his plate appearances over his career. So if he wants to on-base .383 again, he should make sure to remember to hit .338 or so.

Also catching your eye has to be Ruiz, who on-based .394 thanks to hitting .325, but despite a walk rate well below league average. After walking in at least ten percentage of his plate appearances for the last four years, Ruiz’s walk rate dropped to 6.9% in 2012.

This suggests the chances that Josh Hamilton will stay in Texas have increased in recent days.

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