Tag: Ben Revere

Left way behind

Back to walks. To recap — the Phillies were great at walking as a team as recently as 2007, when they led the league in walk rate. In 2012 their walk rate was down to 15th in the league. If you look at the hitters position by position, the two biggest drops have been at first base and left field.

In 2012, Phillie hitters walked 187 times less than they had in 2007. Two positions, left field and first base, combined to walk 141 fewer times in 2012 than they had in 2007.

I posted about Ryan Howard and first base last week. Left field is the big one, though. In 2012, the Phillies walked 85 fewer times in 2012 than they had in 2007.

Here’s the walk rate for Phillies left fielders over the past eight years and the rank for that walk rate among NL teams:

Year BB% for LF NL Rank
2012 6.3 15
2011 6.8 13
2010 9.8 6
2009 8.6 9
2008 15.4 1
2007 17.4 2
2006 14.8 3
2005 13.9 2

So, again, Phillie left fielders used to be great at walking, in the top three in the league at drawing walks in the position from ’05 to ’08. They’re awful now, 15th in the league in walk rate for left fielders in 2012. In 2007, their left fielders were nearly three times as likely to draw a walk in a given plate appearance than they were in 2012 (okay, about 2.76 times as likely).

The answer to the question why Phillie left fielders walked 85 less times in 2012 than they had in 2007 has two parts. The first is that their left fielders used to be really great at drawing walks and the second is that their left fielders from ’12 were unusually bad at drawing walks.

They used to be great in this area because of Pat Burrell. Burrell left after 2008 and the walk rate for the team’s left fielders has gone pretty hard in the wrong direction since.

From 2000 to 2008, Pat Burrell got 5,388 plate appearances for the Phillies and walked in 14.6% of them. That seems important, so here it goes again — from 2000 to 2008, Pat Burrell got 5,388 plate appearances for the Phillies and walked in 14.6% of them. 5,388 plate appearances over nine years is an average of about 599 a season.

I’d show you the list of Phillies since the end of the 2008 who have gotten at least 150 plate appearances in a season and walked in at least 14.6% of them if I could. There is none. Nobody has done it. Ryan Howard seems like the primary candidate — he was over 14.6% in both ’06 and ’07, but his best mark since the end of 2008 is 11.7% in 2011. A 14.6% walk rate isn’t close to the best of Burrell’s career — he topped a 14.6% walk rate in five different years, ’05-’08 with the Phillies and 2011 when he was with the Giants. In 2007, Burrell walked in 114 of his 598 plate appearances for the year, which was a career high 19.1%.

For the record, here’s who has led the Phillies in walk rate in the years since Burrell left among players that got at least 150 plate appearances:

Year Player PA BB%
2012 Utley 362 11.9
2011 Brown 210 11.9
2010 Ruiz 433 12.7
2009 Werth 676 13.5

Matt Stairs got pretty close to topping 14.6% in 150 plate appearances, but didn’t quite get the PA. In 2009, Stairs walked in 23 of his 129 plate appearances, which is 17.9%.

This article from the Phillies web site suggests that Hamels could start on opening day with Halladay pitching game two of the season. Manuel seems to reinforce the notion that Rollins will hit leadoff in the same article.

More on that here. I’m going to be real surprised if Rollins isn’t hitting leadoff. I think the bigger question is where Ben Revere is going to hit. My guess is that the left-handed hitting Revere hits second against righties early in the season. Less sure where he’ll hit against lefties. Lower seems like a good guess.


The murky dozen

Here was the most recent guess about the pitchers who start the year with the team, which came in this post at the end of January:

Other candidates
1 Halladay (R) P Aumont (R)
2 Lee (L) T Cloyd (R)
3 Hamels (L) J De Fratus (R)
4 Kendrick (R) M Schwimer (R)
5 Lannan (L) M Stutes (R)
6 Papelbon (R) BJ Rosenberg (R)
7 Adams (R) E Martin (R)
8 Bastardo (L) J Pettibone (R)
9 JC Ramirez (R)
10 Z Miner (R)
11 J Cruz (R)
12 A Cook (R)
R Lopez (R)
J Friend (R)
K Simon (R)
J Horst (L)
R Valdes (L)
J Diekman (L)
J Savery (L)
M Robles (L)
C Jimenez (L)
A Morgan (L)

There have been some developments since then. The biggest is that Chad Durbin was signed and appears to be a lock to be a righty out of the pen. Juan Cruz and the Phillies have parted ways, presumably because Durbin appears to be a lock to be a righty out of the pen. JC Ramirez was DFA’ed and then sent to Triple-A. And the Phillies signed two lefties who are unlikely to see time with the big league club soon, David Newmann and Corey Young.

So I add Durbin to the list and removed Cruz. Ramirez will still be in camp as an NRI, although he seems like a long shot to start the year with the team, he’s still in the right-hand column of other candidates.

Other candidates
1 Halladay (R) P Aumont (R)
2 Lee (L) T Cloyd (R)
3 Hamels (L) J De Fratus (R)
4 Kendrick (R) M Schwimer (R)
5 Lannan (L) M Stutes (R)
6 Papelbon (R) BJ Rosenberg (R)
7 Adams (R) E Martin (R)
8 Bastardo (L) J Pettibone (R)
9 Durbin (R) JC Ramirez (R)
10 Z Miner (R)
11 A Cook (R)
12 R Lopez (R)
J Friend (R)
K Simon (R)
J Horst (L)
R Valdes (L)
J Diekman (L)
J Savery (L)
M Robles (L)
C Jimenez (L)
A Morgan (L)

So nine slots now filled. Five starters and four relievers. Of the relievers, they have a closer, a setup guy and one lefty.

Assuming 12 pitchers to start the year, they have three open spots.

Last time I guessed I had them with eight filled slots and gave the last four to Horst, Aumont, Valdes and De Fratus, which left the Phils with three lefties in the pen and no true long man.

One big question with the current staff is whether Chad Durbin can pitch more than one inning or if the Phillies will use him to do so. Durbin was very good in 2012, arguably the best he had been since ’08 with the Phils, but didn’t go more than an inning a whole lot of times. Durbin got more than three outs in three of his 76 appearances for Atlanta in ’12. He threw more than 25 pitches in a game in four of 76. In 2008, the Phillies had Durbin throw more than 25 pitches in 18 of 71 appearances. On May 18, 2008, Durbin threw 66 pitches in relief of Kendrick after Kendrick exited after just one inning.

But it’s not 2008 anymore. And I would guess we aren’t going to see Durbin go more than an inning very often. So I’d say they still don’t have a long guy out of the pen.

I really have trouble seeing the Phillies not carry Horst to start the year given his performance in 2012 (he threw to a 1.15 ERA with a 1.12 ratio and 40 strikeouts over 31 1/3 innings).

I think that gets them to ten and leaves them with two slots open. I see Aumont, De Fratus, Stutes and Valdes as the guys with the best chances to fill the remaining slots. Aumont seems to have the biggest upside of the group. De Fratus has been fantastic in the minors in recent years. Stutes will need to prove he’s healthy, but was a big contributor for the 2011 Phils. Valdes threw to a 2.90 ERA with an 0.74 ratio for the Phils in 2012.

Aumont’s upside potential makes me feel like there’s some separation between him and the rest of the candidates. So I’ll put him in the eleventh spot. I think the last spot is a total tossup. Valdes would give the Phillies three lefties, so I’ll go with De Fratus once again.

That gives us 12 pitchers: Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Lannan, Kendrick, Papelbon, Adams, Durbin, Bastardo, Horst, Aumont and De Fratus.

Ben Revere wants to get on base more.

This article talks about depth in the starting rotation beyond the top five starters. It’s not real good.

Former Phillie hitting coach Greg Gross comments on some past and current Phillie hitters in this article.


You guys will fit right in

The Phillies have added three key offensive players this off-season. Two of them are bad defensive players who don’t walk and the other is a good defensive player who doesn’t walk.

All three of them join a team that doesn’t walk anymore.

Here’s the walk rate for Phillie batters over the last ten years and the rank of that walk rate in the NL for that season:

Year BB% NL Rank
2012 7.4 15
2011 8.6 6
2010 8.9 4
2009 9.3 8
2008 9.3 5
2007 9.8 1
2006 9.6 2
2005 10.1 1
2004 10.0 2
2003 10.3 1

That’s obviously not going in the direction one would hope. In five of the last ten years, and every year from 2003 to 2007, the Phillies were first or second in the NL in walk percentage. In 2012, they were 15th in the league. The Rockies were the only team to walk in a lower percentage of their plate appearances than the Phillies.

In 2012, the team’s walk rate was down for the fifth year in a row (it’s actually 9.34% in ’08 and 9.29% in ’09).

And then the Phils added three guys that look likely to 1) play just about every day and 2) walk even less than the 7.4% of plate appearances that Phillie batters walked in 2012.

Even with the disappointment of 2012 and the playoff loses in ’10 and ’11, Amaro’s time as the GM of the Phils has been a success. The Phillies had the best record in baseball in 2011 and the best record in baseball in 2010. In 2009, they went to the World Series and lost to a better team.

So it’s been a good run.

What is true, though, is that the Phillies hitters have walked a whole lot less in the four years since Amaro has arrived than they did in the four seasons before his arrival.

Amaro became the team’s GM in November of 2008. Here’s the team’s walk rate over the four years he’s been at the helm (2009-2012) compared to the teams’ walk rate in the previous four seasons (2005-2008):

Amaro years
Year PA BB BB%
2012 6172 454 7.4
2011 6279 539 8.6
2010 6291 560 8.9
2009 6338 589 9.3
Total 25080 2142 8.5
Four previous years
2008 6273 586 9.3
2007 6537 641 9.8
2006 6509 626 9.6
2005 6345 639 10.1
Total 25664 2492 9.7

In the four years since Amaro joined the team, the Phillies have averaged 535.5 walks per season. In the four years previous to 2009, they walked an average of 623 times a year. So they’re down about 87.5 walks a season on average since Amaro took over compared to ’05 to ’08.

Not to be forgotten in all of this is that, declining walk rate or not, the Phils led the NL in runs scored per game in 2009 and were second in 2010. In ’09, they led the league in runs scored per game despite having the eighth-best walk rate in the NL.

There’s a lot of differences between the ’09 and ’10 teams than the 2012 team, though. The biggest one is that the ’09 and ’10 teams won a whole lot of games and the 2012 team did not.

The walk rate of 7.4% for the Phillies in 2012 is really low. How low? If you run out of stuff to do this weekend, look up how long it has been since Phillie batters walked in 7.4% of their plate appearances or less. It might take you longer than you would have guessed.


From worse to bad

Michael Young’s walk rate is bad. Unlike Delmon Young’s, though, it’s not atrocious. And I think it’s more reasonable to expect Michael Young’s walk rate to significantly improve in 2013 than it is to expect Delmon’s to improve. And it’s definitely more likely we’ll see Michael Young’s walk rate approach league average than it is to see Delmon’s.

In 2000, Young got two plate appearances and didn’t walk in either of them. He made his debut pinch-running for Pedro Valdes with two outs in the top of the ninth and his Rangers down 7-5 on September 29, 2000. The next day he entered in the sixth inning and went 0-for-2 in the game. Scott Service struck him out swinging in his first career at-bat and lefty Todd Belitz got him on a fly ball to deep left to end the game. The A’s beat Young’s Rangers 23-2 that day.

The table below shows Michael Young’s walk rates overall and against lefties and righties in every year since 2000. It also shows the average MLB walk rate for that season:

Year MLB AVG BB% BB% vs L vs R
2001 8.5 6.1 7.4 5.6
2002 8.7 6.5 5.5 6.8
2003 8.5 5.0 3.8 5.6
2004 8.6 6.0 8.3 5.1
2005 8.2 7.9 8.9 7.6
2006 8.4 6.4 8.2 5.8
2007 8.5 6.8 7.7 6.5
2008 8.7 7.8 8.9 7.4
2009 8.9 7.9 11.8 6.4
2010 8.5 7.0 8.4 6.4
2011 8.1 6.8 6.5 6.9
2012 8.0 5.1 6.0 4.8
Career - 6.6 7.6 6.3

So Young has failed to match the NL walk rate for any year of his career. That’s less than ideal. The best offensive year of his career is 2005 and it’s also the year he came the closest. He hit .331 for the Rangers that season with 24 home runs, but walked in just 58 of his 732 plate appearances. There were 150 players across both leagues in 2005 with at last 500 plate appearances and Young’s walk rate among those was in the middle of the pack. 7.9% put him at 84th among the 150.

In 2012, Young’s walk rate was 5.1%, which is the worst mark of his career other than 2003. His walk rate against righties of 4.8% was the worst for his career and his 6.0% walk rate against lefties was the worst it had been since 2003.

His walk rate against lefties was down, but it’s the walk rate against righties that really hammered him in 2012.

From 2003 to 2010, Young’s walk rate against lefties ranged from 7.7% to 11.8% and averaged 8.9%. That dropped way off in 2011, down to 6.5%, and dropped again down to 6.0% in 2012.

The bigger drop, though, was against right-handed pitching. Coming into 2012, Young’s walk percentage against rigties over the last five seasons had ranged from 6.4% to 7.4% with an average of 6.7%. In ’12, that plummeted all the way to 4.8%.

As I pointed out in this post, the right-handed Michael Young was simply atrocious against righties in 2012, hitting 277/312/370 with a wOBA of .280. That’s coming off of a 2011 in which he hit 330/373/465 against righties with a wOBA of .363.

Bottom line is that Michael Young has been way better at hitting righties (and walking against them) over his career than he was in 2012, as evidenced by his career 297/341/435 line and .340 wOBA against righties. And it’s not like he’s been undergoing a consistent and gradual decline against right-handed pitching. His drop from 2011 to 2012 against righties was dramatic. If he doesn’t improve against righties relative to his 2012 numbers, his career, at least as an everyday player, is just about over. But there’s also reason to believe that his chances of bouncing back against righties in 2013 are good.

Todd Zolecki takes a guess at the batting order for the Phillies here. It goes:

  1. Rollins (SS)
  2. M Young (3B)
  3. Utley (2B)
  4. Howard (1B)
  5. D Young (RF)
  6. Brown/Ruf/Mayberry (LF)
  7. Kratz (C)
  8. Revere (CF)

The Phillies are really going to have to start Delmon Young in right field before I’m willing to believe they think he should be playng there. I think Michael Young will hit lower than that and the left-handed Revere will hit higher, at least against right-handed pitching — he stole 40 bases last year and I don’t think the Phillies want him doing that in front of the pitcher in 2013.

If Domonic Brown is healthy on Opening Day and not in the starting lineup against a righty, I will be very surprised.

Here’s my guess for Opening Day, in which the Phils seem likely to face righty Tim Hudson:

  1. Rollins (SS)
  2. Revere (CF)
  3. Utley (2B)
  4. M Young (3B)
  5. Howard (1B)
  6. D Young (LF)
  7. Brown (RF)
  8. Kratz (C)

Biggest thing there is that Utley and Howard and not hitting 3/4 in the order. Howard is fifth with the righty Michael Young splitting the lefties Utley and Howard. Would the Phillies really hit Ryan Howard fifth? Against a righty? On Opening Day? I think they should. If they don’t on Opening Day, I think they will before long. When’s the last time Howard started a game hitting anywhere but cleanup in the order? June 29, 2008 against the Rangers in a DH game. Utley third, Burrell fourth, Howard fifth and Dobbs the DH sixth. Burrell breaking up the lefties Utley and Howard. Howard hit fifth in four games in ’08, all DH games — 6/25, 6/27, 6/28 and 6/29.

They’re all DH games for the Phillies in 2013 given they’re an NL team with three of them. Howard is just about a lock to be awful defensively. Both of the Youngs started more games at DH in 2012 than any other position.

Michael Young hitting cleanup against a righty to break up Utley and Howard isn’t exactly ideal, given that he’s right-handed and hit 257/291/352 against right-handed pitching in 2012.

I could easily see another catcher, like Quintero, starting instead of Kratz. I think it makes sense to hit Brown ahead of Young against a righty, but would guess that the Phillies do it the other way around. It seems to me like Revere will likely hit at the bottom of the lineup against left-handed pitching. I’d guess he hits higher against righties.


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):

PA BB %
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.


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?


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