Walking haul

In 2012, NL batters walked in about 7.9% of their plate appearances. Right-handed hitters like Delmon Young walked in about 7.3% of their plate appearances. In their chances against righties they drew walks about 6.9% of the time and in their chances against lefties they walked about 8.0% of the time.

Delmon Young walks less than that and he always has.

The table below shows Young’s walk percentages for every year of his career except 2006. In 2006, he got 131 plate appearances and walked once (0.8% walk rate). Not saying it matters, but the walk came against righty Huston Street.

Year BB% vs L vs R
2007 3.8 4.1 3.7
2008 5.6 7.5 4.8
2009 2.9 2.2 3.2
2010 4.6 6.7 3.6
2011 4.6 5.6 4.2
2012 3.3 2.1 3.8
Career 4.1 4.7 3.8

His walk rate has just about always been bad. The years when it’s been really atrocious are 2009 and 2012. As I mentioned yesterday, in 2012 there were 222 players other than Young across both leagues with at least 350 plate appearances and 221 of them had a better walk rate than he did. In 2009 his 2.9% walk rate was 249th of 252 players across both leagues with at least 350 plate appearances.

In both of those years, Young’s walk rate against lefties was down super low, almost to 2%. You’ll notice that in 2010, his walk rate against righties was similar to his walk rate in ’09 and ’12, but he got his overall walk rate up to 4.6% thanks to walks in 6.7% of his plate appearances against lefties.

Young’s best walk rate of his career was 2008 when he walked in about 5.6% of his plate appearances. That still isn’t good. In Phillies context, among the players with 100 plate appearances in 2012, Polanco walked in about 5.5% of his PA and Pieree in about 5.2%. They were all below the team rate of 7.4%. And the team rate of 7.4% was terrible.

Brian Schneider seems to be retiring at age 36. Schneider spent the last three years of his career with the Phillies, hitting 212/295/327 over 384 plate appearances.’s top 100 prospect list is now available. It includes left-handed pitcher Jesse Biddle at number 60 and right-handed pitcher Ethan Martin at number 80. Given that there are 30 MLB teams, having your best prospect on the list appear at number 60 isn’t a good sign.

Welcome to the broke down machine

Shortly after the addition of Ben Revere, I whipped through a couple of posts in which I lamented the fact that, given his complete lack of power, Revere was likely either going to have to significantly up his walk rate or hit for a very high average to be able to post a league-average wOBA.

In this post, I put Revere’s 5.2% walk rate from last season in the context of the 2012 Phillies.

Delmon Young’s walk rate for 2012 was 3.3%. Here’s what the table looks like if we add him (I’ve also added Michael Young, so we can look at all three new players together):

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
NL Average - 7.9
’12 Phillie total 6172 7.4
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
Michael Young 651 5.1
Kevin Frandsen 210 4.3
Michael Martinez 122 4.1
Freddy Galvis 200 3.5
Delmon Young 608 3.3

So the table now includes the walk rate for every Phillies with at least 100 plate appearances, Revere, both Youngs, the Phillie team average and the NL average walk rates in 2012.

One of the differences between the Youngs and Revere is Revere’s near total lack of power. There’s not much reason to walk Revere if you believe he has little change to do worse than single anyway. That’s not the case with the Youngs.

Michael Young’s walk rate in 2012 was bad. Delmon Young’s walk rate in 2012 was atrocious.

Across both leagues, there were 223 players who got at least 350 plate appearances in 2012. Delmon Young’s walk rate of 3.3% was better than just one of the 223. Alexei Ramirez walked in 2.6% of his 621 plate appearances. Michael Young’s walk rate of 5.1% was 201st of the 223 players.

While we’re here, I don’t think you want to let Domonic Brown’s walk rate pass you by without notice. Especially in relation to the walk rates of Young and Young, and double especially Delmon. In 2012, Domonic Brown walked 21 times in 212 plate appearances. That’s more walks overall than Delmon Young had (20) in 608 plate appearances. Brown’s walk rate for his career is 10.4% — and he’s not even a good hitter yet. I think he will be. And I think we’re not going to have to wait that much longer.

The Phillies have agreed to a one-year deal, $1.1 million deal with 35-year-old right-handed reliever Chad Durbin. Durbin last pitched with the Phillies in 2010. He struggled with the Indians in 2011, throwing to a 5.53 with a 1.64 ratio, but bounced back nicely with Atlanta in 2012 as he pitched to a 3.10 ERA with a 1.31 ratio. He has thrown at least 60 innings in relief in each of the last five years and appears to be a lock for a bullpen spot, joining Papelbon, Adams and Bastardo in the pen and leaving two or three open slots, depending on whether the Phils start the year with 13 or 14 hitters.

Durbin was with the Phillies from 2008 to 2010, throwing to a 3.62 ERA with a 1.37 ratio in those seasons combined. 2008 was the best year of his career — he threw to a 1.56 ERA in his first 56 appearances with the Phils that season and ended the year having pitched to a 2.87 ERA and a 1.32 ratio over 87 2/3 innings. He pitched for the Phillies in the post-season in ’08, ’09 and ’10 and was particularly good in the 2009 NLCS as the Phils topped the Dodgers in five games. He pitched in four of the five games in that set, facing nine batters and retiring all nine.

The Phillies signed Yuniesky Betancourt to a minor league deal. He’ll be with the team in spring training as a NRI and try to make the squad as a utility guy. Betancourt is 30-years-old and hits right-handed. He was Milwaukee’s everyday shortstop in 2011 and Kansas City’s in 2010. He got 228 plate appearances with the Royals in 2012, playing mostly second base. He hits for a low average and doesn’t walk. He’s hit 36 home runs and 70 doubles over his last 1,400 plate appearances, which is an average of about 13 homers and 25 doubles over 500 plate appearances. He was bad defensively at second for the Royals in 2012 and put UZR/150s of -7.4 and -9.2 at short in 2011 and 2010. He’s posted a negative bWAR for six straight years and a negative fWAR in two of the last four.

Hamels seems to think we should all calm down about his shoulder.

The 70.2% making their voice heard in Delmon Young’s occupy negative WAR movement

First thing is just a coincidence. During 2012, the Phillies got a total of 6,172 plate appearances. Of those, 4,330 came against right-handed pitching and 1,842 came against left-handed pitching. So that’s 70.2% against right-handed pitching and 29.8% against left-handed pitching.

Over the last two seasons, Delmon Young has gotten 1,111 plate appearances. Of those, 780 (70.2%) have come against righties and 331 (29.8%) have come against lefties.

So the percentage of plate appearances that Young has gotten against lefties and righties over the last two years is very similar to the percentage of plate appearances the Phillies overall have gotten against lefties and righties. It’s weird they’re exactly the same, but given that Young played regularly against both lefties and righties it’s not that odd they’re similar.

In 2013, we should expect that the Phillies will get about 690 plate appearances in left and the same number in right. If they are divided left-right the same way all plate appearances were for all Phillie hitters in 2012, we should expect about 484 plate appearances for left fielders against righties and about 206 plate appearances against lefties. And the same number for right fielders.

Forgetting whether Young plays left or right, based on what he’s done over the last two seasons, here’s what we should expect Young to do if he got all 690 plate appearances at one of those plate appearances, 70.2% came against right-handed pitching, 29.2% came against left-handed pitching and he produced offense at the rates he has over the last two years:

vs. R 484 454 19 0 12 19 251 283 376
vs L 206 196 11 1 6 7 305 335 467
Total 690 650 30 1 19 27 267 299 403

Again, the percentage of plate appearances against right and left-handed pitching there are the same as his actual percentages over the last two years. So the results are the same and his 267/299/403 line matches his actual 267/299/403 line for the last two years.

Young has been better against left-handed pitching than right over the last years. So if you give him a higher percentage of plate appearances against left-handed pitchers and fewer against right, while continuing to use his rates of offense over the past two seasons, the numbers look better. Here, for example, is how things look if he gets 75% of the 206 plate appearances against lefties and 30% of the 484 against righties:

vs. R 145 136 6 0 4 6 251 283 376
vs L 155 148 8 1 5 6 305 335 467
Total 300 284 14 1 8 11 279 310 423

Average up, on-base percentage up, slugging up. Isolated power up despite the increase in average, at .144 compared to .136 for the top table.

With all the charts in this post, there are some rounding issues. For example, six walks against righties plus six walks against lefties doesn’t equal 11 walks (just like four homers vs righties and five homers vs lefties doesn’t get you to eight homers overall). It’s actually 5.76 walks against righties (rounds to six) plus 5.62 walks against lefties (rounds to six). 5.76 plus 5.62 = 11.38.

More importantly, though, it’s not a lot of walks. After walking in 4.6% of his plate appearances in both 2010 and 2011, Young’s walk rate in 2012 dropped to 3.3%. That’s really not good. Young hit .308 against left-handed pitching last year and slugged .500, but he walked just four times in 189 plate appearances against lefties. That’s on his good, much better, side. In 2011, his walk rate against lefties was 5.63% — it dropped to 2.12% last year.

I think the other thing the table above illustrates is that his home run rate against lefties is not that much better than his home run rate against righties over the last two years. Since the start of 2011, Young has homered in 3.02% of his plate appearances against lefties and about 2.56% of his plate appearances against righties. In 2011, his home run rate was better against right-handed pitching than left. He hit nine home runs in 361 plate appearances (2.49%) against righties and three in 142 plate appearances (2.11%) against lefties.

Here’s what his numbers would look like in the not-gonna-happen situation where he got the same number of plate appearances against lefties and righties based on his numbers over the last two seasons:

vs. R 350 328 14 0 9 14 251 283 376
vs L 350 333 18 2 11 13 305 335 467
Total 700 662 32 2 20 27 278 309 421

Again, that can’t happen, because even if Young gets every plate appearance he can against lefties, he’s not going to get close to 350.

I think it does show that his walk rate against righties over the last two years has been better than his walk rate against lefties. And that his walk rate is very low. And that his rate of delivering doubles and home runs against lefties is slightly better than it is against righties. Most importantly, of course, he got way more hits against lefties than he did against righties.

None of this matters if the Phillies are committed to playing him every day, regardless of the opposing pitcher. I think they are. So let’s hope his results, especially against righties, improve significantly in 2013.

Amaro suggests in this article that the Phillies are good enough to contend for the division. The same article suggests that the Phillies are pursuing catching depth and possibly relief pitching.

Phils getting Younger, just maybe not in the way you were hoping

Earlier this month I took a guess at the hitters likely to make the team coming out of spring training. Here’s what I came up with:

Other candidates
1 Kratz D Ruf
2 Howard H Quintero
3 Utley S Lerud
4 Rollins K Frandsen
5 Young E Inciarte
6 Nix T Gillies
7 Revere L Collier
8 Brown J Mitchell
9 Mayberry C Hernandez
10 Galvis M Martinez
11 P Orr
12 A Blanco
13 J Fields

I guessed Frandsen, Ruf and Quintero would win the three remaining spots.

Since then, the Phillies have added Delmon Young, adding the right-handed corner outfielder everyone knew they were looking for. They also signed 30-year-old right-handed outfielder Joe Mather. Mather will come to spring training as an NRI and the linked article says he will be joined by Tommy Joseph and Cody Asche.

Here’s my updated guess on how things look at this point:

Other candidates
1 Kratz D Ruf
2 Howard H Quintero
3 Utley S Lerud
4 Rollins K Frandsen
5 M Young E Inciarte
6 Nix T Gillies
7 Revere L Collier
8 Brown J Mitchell
9 Mayberry C Hernandez
10 Galvis M Martinez
11 D Young P Orr
12 A Blanco
13 J Fields
J Mather
T Joseph
C Asche

I think Galvis still has to make the team. Somebody has to backup short. I think Martinez is the only guy with a real shot to take that slot from him and I don’t think it will happen.

Five outfielders now — Young, Revere, Brown, Mayberry and Nix. I think all five start the year with the Phils unless they are traded or injured before Opening Day.

Five infielders on the list — Howard, Utley, Rollins, Young and Galvis. Galvis can backup second, third and short and the outfield crew can backup first. I think it means another infielder isn’t a necessity.

If all those guys make the team and the Phillies start the year with 13 hitters, it means they have two slots open. One of them has to go to a catcher. I’d still give that slot to Quintero. Lerud seems like the other guy with a shot to be the second catcher, but I’d guess Quintero takes the job.

That would just leave one open position on a team with five infielders, five outfielders and two catchers. Ruf and Frandsen seem like the obvious choices to fill the final hitting position. My guess is still that it will go to Frandsen.

That would give the Phillies 13 hitters — Kratz, Quintero, Howard, Utley, Rollins, Michael Young, Galvis, Frandsen, Delmon Young, Revere, Brown, Mayberry and Nix.

Six new NRI invites to spring training are discussed here.

In this article, Amaro says that Brown and Ruf will be battling it out for the left field position. It also points out that Brown and Ruf have options remaining that would allow them to be sent to the minors while Mayberry does not. Again, I like the idea of Brown playing in left field rather than right a lot. I am going to be surprised if Young spends much time in right field in 2013, though. If Brown is uninjured and does not start the year with the team, I will be stunned.

Delmon Young’s contract includes $2.75 million in incentives. The article suggests that $600,000 in incentives are related to his weight.

Phils finally land their DH, which should allow them to focus full-time on bringing in a quality goalkeeper before the season starts

It will be here before you know it. You just don’t want to go into the season without someone you can trust in the net. I don’t mean to quibble, but they’re never going to get the Golden Snitch without a decent Seeker, either.

The Phillies have signed the right-handed, oufielder-like Delmon Young to a one-year deal worth $750,000. The first pick of the 2003 draft, Young has struggled over the past two years, hitting 267/299/403 while playing miserable defense in left field when he got the chance.

He didn’t get the chance a whole lot. In 2012, Young started 145 games — 116 at DH and 29 in the outfield.

All that said, I think this is a good move for the Phillies. As bad as he’s been over the past two seasons, the Phillies are super-thin in the outfield and Young comes off an impressive post-season in which he hit 313/365/542 over 52 plate appearances. He was named MVP of the ALCS, hitting 353/421/765 with a pair of home runs as the Tigers swept the Yankees. At the what-would-be-the-peak of a career that’s been plagued by poor performance and despicable mistakes that raise serious questions about his character, you have to believe he is desperate to get himself on track.

Word is that the Phillies want Young to start in right field, a suggestion that seems so bizarre it’s a little hard to believe. While it’s true the evidence Young can’t play right field isn’t as massive as the evidence he can’t play left, a lot of that has to do with the fact that he hasn’t gotten a chance in right in a long time. Young hasn’t played a single inning in right in the last five seasons. It’s a little tough to think the Phillies are going to slot him in there given how bad he’s looked in left in recent history.

The part I do like about that idea is that I do believe Brown would be better off in left than right. Still, I don’t think letting Young be the everyday guy in right is the way to do it and I will be surprised if that happens.

The possibility is real that the Phillies could have a defensive alignment on Opening Day that includes Brown and Young at the corner outfield positions, Michael Young at third and Howard at first. That would be four positions where you have to hope the other team never, ever hits the ball. Four is too many.

Let’s forget the defense for a second. Is Young a better hitter than his fellow right-handed outfielder John Mayberry? Mayberry turned 29 in December. Young turned 27 in September. For me, the answer is that I’d much rather give a ton of at-bats to Young than Mayberry, but I think the case can be made that Mayberry has been better overall over the last two seasons.

Here are some of their numbers against lefties over the last two years:

vs left

Young ’12 189 308/333/500 .357 .192
Young ’11 133 301/338/421 .331 .120
Young career 1,046 307/341/483 .352 .176
Mayberry ’12 180 271/317/494 .345 .223
Mayberry ’11 120 306/358/595 .405 .288
Mayberry career 344 284/328/547 .371 .263

First of all, Young has more than three times as many plate appearances against lefties as Mayberry does for his career. Mayberry was a lot better in 2011 and Young a little better in 2012. Mayberry has better career numbers against left-handed pitching, delivering much better power and walking at a slightly higher rate. Mayberry has walked in about 5.5% of his career plate appearances against lefties while Young has walked in about 4.7% of his.

Here are the numbers against righties:

vs right

Young ’12 419 247/279/370 .282 .123
Young ’11 340 256.288.382 .293 .126
Young career 2,378 275/307/401 .309 .126
Mayberry ’12 299 229/291/335 .278 .105
Mayberry ’11 176 250/330/455 .343 .205
Mayberry career 504 232/302/379 .301 .147

Again, Young has had way more chances against righties. Almost five times as many as Mayberry, who is, again, about two years older.

For the career numbers, it’s advantage Young. Mayberry still has more career power, but has hit just .232 against righties while Young has hit .275.

Looking at the last two years, Mayberry was a lot better against righties in 2011 and the two were about the same by wOBA in 2012 with a slight advantage to Young. Young’s best year against righties doesn’t make the table. In 2010, he hit 292/317/463 against righties with a wOBA of .339. Notably, Mayberry’s .343 in 2011 topped Young’s .339 mark for 2010.

Again, over the last two years, you can make the argument that Mayberry has been just as good or better offensively. There’s no question he’s a better corner outfielder, mostly because Young is hugely terrible.

Again again, I’d still rather give Young the at-bats.

Young is working to change his image.

His image is bad.

The Phillies now have nine outfielders on their roster. Lefty Jermaine Mitchell is expected to be in camp as an NRI. Revere, Young, Brown, Nix and Mayberry seem like good bets to start the year with the Phils, which makes it a little tough to see how they would carry Darrin Ruf unless he takes Mayberry or Brown’s spot or someone is traded.

Oh, to be able to hit right-handed pitching again

In 2012, Michael Young made 651 plate appearances for the Rangers, hitting 277/312/370 in what was the worst offensive season of his career. You can make the case his 2002 season, in which he hit 262/308/382 was worse, but I’ll take 2012.

Between his ugly 2002 and his ugly 2012 seasons, Young got 6,332 plate appearances in which he hit 311/358/461. He came into 2012 having hit 313/361/476 over his last three seasons.

So what went wrong for Young in 2012?

Whatever it was, it probably didn’t have a lot to do with hitting against left-handed pitching. The righty Young posted a 333/371/423 line against lefties in 2012. His career line against left-handers is 314/365/471. His isolated power against left-handed pitching was .090 in 2012. Coming into the 2012 season, he was hitting .312 against lefties with a .476 slugging percentage. That’s an isolated power of .164.

So, relative to his career numbers, in 2012 he hit for a better average against lefties, but with less power.

In terms of problems, though, the slight drop in power against lefties is nothing compared to what the right-handed Young hit against right-handed pitching in 2012. Young hit 257/291/352 against righties last year. He put up a wOBA against right-handed pitching of .280. Among the 223 players across both leagues that had at least 250 plate appearances against right-handed pitching, the .280 mark was 199th. Shane Victorino, unbearably awful against righties in 2012, was 201st with a .279 wOBA against righties.

So Young was terrible against righties in 2012. That hasn’t been the case over his career, though, or even in his recent history. Here are some of his numbers against right-handed pitching over the past eight seasons:

Year wOBA % H % BB ISO
2012 .280 24.2 4.8 .095
2011 .363 30.0 6.9 .135
2010 .320 24.8 6.4 .155
2009 .390 30.7 6.4 .201
2008 .314 25.2 7.4 .098
2007 .344 29.4 6.5 .099
2006 .352 29.7 5.8 .137
2005 .388 30.0 7.6 .189
Career .340 27.4 6.3 .138

In 2012, Young posted his lowest wOBA against righties for the last eight years, got hits in the fewest percentage of plate appearances against righties in the last eight years, walked in the fewest percentage of plate appearances against righties in the last eight years and hit for the lowest isolated power against righties in the last eight years.

Notably, Young was good against righties as recently as 2011. Given he’s going to get a whole lot of chances to hit right-handed pitching for the Phillies in 2013, let’s hope 2012 was a one-year funk.

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