Tag: Ben Francisco

Rivero cruise

The Phils beat Baltimore yesterday, winning 4-3 on a two-run walkoff single in by Carlos Rivero.

Hamels started the game for the Phils and allowed two first-inning runs on two walks and a double. After the first, he set down nine Baltimore batters in order. He has now made three spring starts, allowing three hits and four walks while throwing to a 1.80 ERA and striking out seven over ten innings. If he were to allow 2.7 hits per nine innings in the regular season, it would be notable.

Contreras, Baez, Meyer and Carpenter all threw scoreless innings in the game. Despite a rough early outing in a B-game, Baez had now thrown 3 1/3 scoreless frames in official action. Contreras and Carpenter have now both made two appearances and each has thrown two scoreless innings. Meyer had an ugly outing early and has allowed two runs on two hits in three innings overall.

Lidge pitched the other inning and allowed the other run. He hit Nolan Reimold with one out and Reimold came around to score on a two-out double by Josh Bell. Lidge has now made four appearances and allowed runs in three of them, throwing to a 6.75 ERA and allowing five hits, a walk and hitting two batters over four innings.

Howard homered in the fourth, his third of the spring. 292/346/708 after 24 at-bats.

Victorino doubled in the fifth to plate Josh Barfield for the second run. Victorino was 2-for-3 in the game to raise his spring average to .333. Barfield started at second and went 0-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored. He’s 5-for-10 so far.

The Phils started the bottom of the ninth down 3-2. They loaded the bases on walks to Barfield, Dane Sardinha and a bunt single by Michael Martinez before Rivero lined a two-run single into center. Martinez played center field in the game and went 2-for-2, raising his average to .190 (4-for-21 with no walks). Rivero played third and went 2-for-2. He’s 4-for-12 so far.

Mayberry doubled in the second inning. He was 1-for-3 on the day and has a 280/333/600 line for the spring (7-for-25 with two walks, two doubles and two homers).

Rollins was 0-for-3 to drop his average to .185 (5-for-27 with a double and no walks). Polanco is hitting .208 after going 0-for-3. Ibanez 0-for-2 with a walk to drop his average to .182 — he’s 4-for-22 with four singles.

Delwyn Young played right and went 1-for-4. 320/346/360 over 25 at-bats (8-for-25 with a double and a walk).

Blanton pitches today as the Phils face the Tigers.

Ben Francisco has a stiff neck.

No new news on Utley, except that we keep getting closer to games that matter and he keeps not playing.

This article from Sunday wonders if the Phils might be interested in trading for Mike Cameron. I’m going to be surprised if the Phillies trade for a right-handed outfielder.


Right fielders without partners

Idea day at Philliesflow. Not good idea day, though. Just idea. You’ll have plenty of advanced notification before good idea day arrives.

Idea one: Switch-hitter Delwyn Young should platoon with Francisco in right field. Idea two: lefty Brandon Moss should platoon with Francisco in right field.

Numbers to the rescue — here’s some career numbers against right-handed pitching for Young, Moss and Francisco:

PA BB % SO % AVG OBP SLG OPS
Francisco 867 6.7 19.0 262 323 440 .762
Young 567 7.2 23.8 260 317 393 .710
Moss 604 7.6 22.5 236 298 387 .685

It really seems like Brandon Moss sure ought to be the answer to this question. But he’s not. There’s not really any case to be made that Moss has been better against right-handed pitching to this point in his career than Francisco has. It seems like Moss ought to be a lot younger than those other guys, too, but, again, he’s not. Okay, he’s a little younger. Moss turns 28 in September, Francisco 30 in October and Young 29 in June.

Of course, if you want to worry about Francisco against righties, I hope you won’t let anything you read here stop you. A good place to start would be Francisco’s numbers against righties in 2010:

PA BB % SO % AVG OBP SLG OPS
Francisco 101 5.9 19.8 253 310 330 .640

101 plate appearances should go a long way there towards making you feel at least a little better. Not all better though, cause a .330 slugging percentage isn’t really what you’re looking for from your corner outfielder. Jayson Werth, for example, slugged .556 against righties last season. So if Francisco’s was to slug .330 against righties and play regularly in right in 2011, I think it wouldn’t take too long for us to notice a difference. He was miserable against righties in 2010 and the Phillies are going to have a big problem if those numbers don’t improve a whole lot against them in 2011. I think they will, but finding a corner outfielder that can hit lefties doesn’t seem like it should be too daunting a task. At the same time, the Phillies haven’t done it yet and their best candidate just broke his hand after going 1-for-16 with nine strikeouts.

Yesterday the offense was shut down and the Oswalt scuffled as the Phils fell to the Yankees, 7-1. The Phillies are 5-6 in official spring games.

Oswalt got the start and didn’t fare well, allowing five runs over 2 2/3 innings. Eduardo Nunez hit a three-run homer off of him in the second and Curtis Granderson connected for a two-run shot in the third. Worley finished off the third and threw a scoreless fourth before allowing a pair of runs on three singles and a walk in the fifth. After Worley, Drew Naylor, Brian Bass and Ryan Feierabend combined to give the Phils 3 1/3 scoreless innings.

Worley has now allowed ten hits and two walks over six innings.

The Phils had two hits through six innings, a single by Victorino and a solo home run by Valdez. Rollins had a single in the seventh and Pete Orr doubled in the eighth. Joel Naughton had a pinch-hit single in the ninth for the other Phillie hit. Polanco was 0-for-3 with an error. Howard, Francisco and Gload were all 0-for-3. Gload continues to not play the outfield, what with not being an outfielder and all. He started the game at first.

Among the regulars who haven’t had a great spring, Rollins is hitting .208, Ibanez .200 and Polanco .238.

Hamels starts against the Orioles today.

This says that Ibanez would likely hit third if Utley were to miss a lot of time.

This says that the Phils now don’t expect to know how the much the cortisone injection has helped Utley until the weekend. It also says that Brown will have surgery on his hand today in Philadelphia.

Madson would like to close and will be a free agent after the 2011 season.


First pitches

The Phils are 3-3 through six official spring games. Over the six games, they’ve scored 23 runs (3.83 runs per game) and allowed 26 (4.33 per game).

Of the 26 runs they’ve allowed, 12 of them have been charged to Justin De Fratus (who has allowed four runs over three innings, Eddie Bonine (four runs over two innings) and Michael Schwimer (four runs in one inning).

Overall, the pitchers have thrown to a 3.83 ERA with a 1.28 ratio and 42 strikeouts in 52 innings. Excluding the three guys above, the Phils have thrown to a 2.44 ERA with a 1.13 ratio and 39 strikeouts in 48 innings.

The 13 pitchers who (in my mind) with the best chance to make the Phils this year who have thrown so far (Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Oswalt, Blanton, Kendrick, Worley, Lidge, Zagurski, Baez, Herndon, Madson and Romero) have combined to pitch to a 1.86 ERA with a 1.03 ratio and strike out 19 in 29 innings. Lidge is the guy of that group you might want to start worrying about a little — in two outings he’s allowed four hits, including a home run, and hit a batter over two innings.

Finally, the group of Halladay, Lee, Oswalt, Hamels and Blanton has combined to throw 15 innings, allowing three earned runs on seven hits and six walks. That’s a 1.80 ERA and an 0.87 ratio. They’ve struck out 11 in 15 innings.

On Wednesday, the Phils lost to Baltimore 6-5. Oswalt got the start and allowed a run on two hits and a walk over two innings. Lidge followed him, giving up a run on three singles. Worley was next, making his second spring appearance, and allowed a run on four singles over two innings. David Herndon and Brian Gordon both threw scoreless frames, while De Fratus and Brian Bass combined to allow three runs on six hits over two innings.

Michael Martinez and John Mayberry both hit solo homers for the Phils in the ninth. Mayberry also doubled in the game.

Hamels was fantastic yesterday as the Phils topped the Red Sox 2-0. He threw four shutout innings, allowing a single to Mike Cameron and a walk. Over six shutout spring innings, he’s allowed two hits and two walks. Cameron’s single off of Hamels was the only Boston hit on the day. Mathieson followed Hamels with two shutout frames before Michael Stutes tossed two scoreless innings of his own. Juan Perez allowed a walk in a scoreless ninth.

Nice outing for Mathieson after he allowed a pair of runs in two innings in his first appearance. Perez has now walked three in his two innings. Stutes has allowed two hits and struck out five in four scoreless frames without walking a batter — the 24-year-old righty threw to a 3.42 ERA with a 1.32 ratio in 53 relief appearances between Double-A and Triple-A for the Phils last year. In 76 1/3 innings he struck out 79.

Jeff Larish went 1-for-3 with a two-run double in the second that accounted for all the scoring in the game. He’s 1-for-7 with a walk so far. Delwyn Young was 0-for-2 with a walk to drop his spring average to .364. Francisco was 2-for-3 with a pair of singles. He’s hitting .375. Brown 0-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout, making him a hide-your-eyes 0-for-15 with nine strikeouts for the spring. Michael Martinez was 0-for-4 and is 1-for-12. Mayberry went 1-for-3 with a walk — he has an impressive 333/375/600 line after 15 at-bats. He also stole his second base of the spring yesterday.

Joe Blanton is expected to start today as the Phils face the Pirates.

No news is no news on Chase Utley. He can take batting practice, but not run or field. The most interesting part of the article may be Amaro’s quotes about the defense of Delwyn Young at second base. He doesn’t sound particularly enthusiastic.

The article linked above also says that Brian Schlitter has a tender elbow and that Bastardo could pitch in today’s game.

Wilson Valdez took the wrong bus yesterday.

Carlos Ruiz left camp Wednesday for the birth of his second child and should return today.


Who’s on anywhere?

Here’s today’s guess on who starts the year with the Phillies.

First the hitters. If everybody is healthy, I think these 11 guys are on the team to start the year:

1 Ruiz
2 Schneider
3 Howard
4 Utley
5 Rollins
6 Polanco
7 Ibanez
8 Victorino
9 Francisco
10 Gload
11 Valdez
12
13

I think the last two spots are wide open. At least one of the two, if not both, needs to go to an outfielder, assuming you don’t believe Valdez or Gload can play the outfield. Mayberry and Brown and my guesses to fill those spots at this point. That said, I have no idea. If you told me they were going to go to Robb Quinlann and Delwyn Young (or just about anybody), I wouldn’t feel real comfortable arguing for Mayberry and Brown instead.

Also, I know that’s not how you spell Robb Quinlan’s name. Just amusing myself.

I think we know these ten pitchers will start the year with the Phils, barring injury:

1 Halladay
2 Lee
3 Oswalt
4 Hamels
5 Blanton
6 Madson
7 Lidge
8 Baez
9 Contreras
10 Romero
11
12

For better or worse, I think Baez is here to stay, despite getting hammered in a B-game on Saturday.

Assuming the Phils go with 13 hitters and 12 pitchers, that leaves two spots to fill with relievers with Romero as the sole lefty in the pen so far. I see Kendrick, Worley, Herndon and Bastardo as the front-runners for those spots. Forced to guess now I would go with Kendrick and Bastardo, despite the problems that Bastardo has had with illness and his elbow to start spring training. Kendrick’s probably a much safer guess there than Bastardo.

So here’s the final guess for today. Hitters (13): Ruiz, Schneider, Howard, Utley, Rollins, Polanco, Ibanez, Victorino, Francisco, Gload, Valdez, Mayberry and Brown. Pitchers (12): Halladay, Lee, Oswalt, Hamels, Blanton, Madson, Lidge, Baez, Contreras, Romero, Kendrick and Bastardo.

The Phils are 2-2 in spring training after falling to the Tigers 6-2 yesterday afternoon. Lee started the game and allowed two runs over two innings. He hit one batter, walked another and gave up an RBI-triple to Will Rhymes. Kendrick followed Lee with two scoreless innings before Eddie Bonine allowed four runs in the fifth and sixth. Zagurski and Meyer pitched scoreless frames. Baez bounced back from Saturday’s ugliness with a scoreless eighth, although he did allow a two-out double to Robert Brantley.

Second appearance for Zagurski in official games. He’s allowed a hit and a walk in two scoreless frames.

Josh Barfield doubled with one out in the third and came in to score when Rollins followed with a single for the first run for the Phils. Ibanez singled to start the sixth and came in to score on a ground out by Francisco for the other run.

After a 2-for-3 day, Barfield is now 4-for-5 with a double in the early going. Domonic Brown went 0-for-3 with two more strikeouts, making him 0-for-12 with eight strikeouts in official spring action.

Oswalt is expected to pitch this afternoon as the Phils play Baltimore.

Utley is hitting, but not running hard.


Right place at the right time

Question for the day is whether or not it makes sense for the Phillies to play Ben Francisco in left field against left-handed pitching instead of Raul Ibanez regularly in 2011.

I think the answer for the day is no. But not because Ibanez is a better hitter against lefties. He’s not. In big part, it’s cause there’s only one of Francisco.

Here’s what Francisco has done against lefties for his career:

PA AVG OBP SLG OPS
354 267 347 460 806

And Ibanez:

PA AVG OBP SLG OPS
1746 269 324 433 757

It makes sense that Francisco would be the better hitter against lefties. And he is. Ibanez has hit for a slightly higher average over his career, but just about everything else favors Francisco. Against lefties, Francisco has struck out less (16.4% of plate appearances compared to 19.8% of plate appearances for Ibanez) and walked more (10.5% for Francisco and 6.9% for Ibanez). Francisco has also been more likely to deliver an extra-base hit — 9.6% of plate appearances for Francisco and 8.5% for Ibanez.

Francisco has just been a better hitter against lefties over his career than Ibanez has.

The problem is that Francisco can only play one of the corner outfield positions at a time and Domonic Brown has 14 rather unimpressive career plate appearances against lefties. The question for Brown in 2011, at least to start the year, isn’t whether he’s good enough to play right field every day. It’s whether or not he’s good enough to play right field against righties. Regardless of the answer to that question, until Brown demonstrates that he’s ready, Francisco needs to be in the lineup against left-handed pitching and I think it’s likely he will be.

Given how things have gone for Brown early this spring training, Francisco might be seeing a whole lot of time in right no matter who is pitching.

The Phils beat the Blue Jays 6-3 yesterday. Halladay, JC Ramirez and Michael Stutes combined to strike out eight in six shutout innings. Juan Perez allowed a run in his inning and Scott Mathieson two in his. Matt Anderson threw a scoreless eighth (this article says he hit 96-mph on the radar guy while doing it). Brown was 0-for-4 with a walk and two strikeouts, he’s 0-for-9 in official spring action. Francisco 1-for-2 with a walk and an RBI — he’s 4-for-7 with three extra-base hits.

On Sunday, Blanton went three shutout innings, but the Phils lost to the Yankees 7-3. Justin De Fratus and Michael Schwimmer both were charged with runs and Brad Lidge gave up a solo homer in the ninth. Francisco was 2-for-4 with a home run and all three of the Phillie RBI.

Saturday they beat the Yanks 5-4. Hamels allowed an unearned run over two innings and Worley threw two scoreless frames. Pete Orr and Josh Barfield handled second for the Phils and combined to go 3-for-5 with an RBI. Francisco was 1-for-1 with a walk and a triple.

Cliff Lee pitches today as the 2-1 Phils face the Tigers.

This says that Bastardo will make his spring debut on Friday.

Chase Utley has tendinitis in his right knee and will play, well, some time.


Sliding scale

Is there any argument to be made that Francisco actually has more power than Ibanez or Utley? Or Werth?

Well, not if you look at their career numbers. The table below shows, for each of the four, their isolated power calculated in two different ways, the percentage of their hits that have gone for extra-bases and the percentage of their plate appearances in which they have delivered an extra-base hit. The first isolated power column is just career slugging minus career batting average. The second isolated power column uses the formula (2B + 3B + (HR*3))/AB (which treats doubles and triples the same).

ISO (SLG-BA) ISO (formula) % of H XBH % of PA XBH
Ibanez .192 .185 37.3 9.5
Utley .221 .213 40.4 10.2
Francisco .183 .181 41.7 9.8
Werth .209 .204 39.9 9.3

So no, there’s not much of a case for Francisco as a hitter with more power than any of those guys over their careers. He has seen a higher percentage of his hits go for extra-bases than the others in the group, but lags behind everyone pretty much everywhere else except that the percentage of his plate appearances in which he delivered an extra-base hit is higher than Werth or Ibanez.

In trying to make sense of the numbers above, it’s important to understand that the extra-base hits delivered by Francisco aren’t as good as the extra-base hits delivered by the other three players. The extra-base hits by the other three guys, on average, went for more bases. Here’s the career rates of total bases for extra-base hits for the four:

TB per XBH
Werth 2.93
Utley 2.86
Ibanez 2.82
Francisco 2.66

There’s a different story, though, if you look at the numbers from last year. Unfortunately, that might say more about what was wrong with Ibanez and Utley in 2010 than what it does about what was right with Francisco. There’s no case to be made that Francisco has more power than Werth, so he’s dropped from the table below, which now includes the numbers for Ibanez, Utley and Francisco from 2010 and Francisco for his career.

ISO (SLG-BA) ISO (formula) % of H XBH % of PA XBH
Ibanez ’10 .160 .169 37.7 9.1
Utley ’10 .165 .170 32.5 7.4
Francisco ’10 .173 .173 39.6 9.6
Francisco Career .183 .181 41.7 9.8

So that might be good for Francisco, if his goal is to have about the same power as Ibanez or Utley, but it’s real bad news for the Phils given how far off the power numbers were for Ibanez and Utley in 2010 compared to the rest of their careers. Francisco’s numbers were off his career levels, but still good enough to top both Ibanez and Utley.

The Phillies claimed right-handed pitcher Brian Schlitter and designated Andrew Carpenter for assignment. Schlitter turns 26 in December and threw eight innings for the Cubs in 2010 in his first major league action. In 190 innings in the minor leagues, Schlitter has walked 75. It’s a devastating blow to the theory that Amaro’s plan for world domination is all about preventing walks. Carpenter made five appearances with the Phillies over the past three seasons and was hit hard in 9 2/3 innings. He threw to a 4.05 ERA with a 1.36 ratio in 27 starts at Triple-A in 2010.

This says that John Mayberry will spend some time at first base this spring and Wilson Valdez some time in the outfield.

This says that the Phillies are willing to offer pitcher John Maine a minor league deal and suggests that Maine will decide what he wants to do in the next couple of days.

This says that Bastardo has still not thrown off a mound yet and now has been dealing with an illness as well as elbow issues from this winter.


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