Tag: Bobby Abreu

Take two

Wasn’t a lot better than the first one.

The Phils fell to Toronto for the second straight day this afternoon, losing 7-5.

Cliff Lee started the game, coming off of a 2013 campaign in which he was the best Phillie by a wide margin. He went two innings in the game, allowing a run on two hits while striking out three.

He allowed a run on back-to-back doubles to righties Jose Bautista and Moises Sierra in the first and struck out two in a 1-2-3 second.

Brad Lincoln started the third and should have set Toronto down in order. Didn’t happen. With two outs and nobody on, Sierra hit a ball that Asche fielded at third. Asche threw to first, but Maikel Franco didn’t handle the throw at first and was charged with his second error in two days. Bautista followed that with an RBI-double before Lincoln got Edwin Encarnacion looking to leave Bautista at second.

Franco charged with a fielding error at first after making a throwing error fielding Chris Getz‘s bunt at third yesterday. He appeared at first eight times in 2013 at Double-A after not appearing there at all in any previous years.

Diekman pitched the fourth and faced seven batters, allowing two runs on four hits, all singles.

Not a good start for Diekman, but I’d guess he has a good shot to start the year with the team despite his 5.70 ERA in 30 innings at Triple-A last year. He fared much better while with the Phils, throwing to a 2.58 ERA with a less impressive 1.30 ratio.

Ethan Martin pitched the fifth and it wasn’t good. He faced four batters and all four reached on walk, single, double, double. Michael Stutes took over for him and faced four batters, three of which he retired and one of which reached on a throwing error by the catcher Nieves.

Awful for Martin, who left the game with discomfort in his right shoulder, but a nice showing for Stutes in his first appearance.

Mario Hollands pitched the sixth for the Phils and set Toronto down in order. The 25-year-old lefty made 27 appearances (20 starts) between Clearwater and Reading in 2013, throwing to a 2.86 ERA with a 1.23 ratio.

Rosenberg followed Hollands. He set Toronto down in order in the seventh and again in the eighth.

Great day for Rosenberg. Threw to a 2.45 ERA with a 1.09 ratio in his first 16 appearances before allowing six runs in five innings his last six times out for the Phils last year. May be older than you think — he turned 28 in September.

The Phillies scored five runs in the game. Ruf hit a two-run homer off of righty Esmil Rogers and Mayberry hit a solo shot off of lefty Aaron Loup. Revere scored on a passed ball in the first and Franco scored in the eighth on a play that featured a throwing error by Toronto first baseman Andy LaRoche on a might-have-been double-play.

Ruf was 1-for-3 with a walk and a two-run homer after drawing a walk in his only appearance yesterday. Was good (269/363/500) against righties last year and homered off of one today.

Mayberry 2-for-3 with a solo homer in his first action. Didn’t appear in center field even once today, which should be lauded.

Revere was 3-for-4 with three singles. 4-for-6 in the early going.

Abreu 0-for-2 with two more walks. 0-for-3 with four walks.

Franco, Nieves, Frandsen, Asche all went 0-for-3. Franco drew a walk. Galvis 0-for-4.

Franco made an error on a non-catch and Nieves a throwing error.

This from Ryne Sandberg on Ryan Howard: “You want to see if he can make [lefties] throw the ball over the plate. Be patient, be relaxed in those situations. Get a good ball to hit. Make the pitcher come to him. If it means being patient and taking walks, that’s for the betterment of the team. Spit on it, take the walk and be a baserunner. Will that result in some walks? Seventy-five to 100, 120? Probably.” I offer two related predictions: 1) Ryan Howard will walk less than 120 times in 2014 2) if Ryan Howard walks 120 times in 2014 the Phillies will win the World Series. Howard has averaged 24 walks a season over the past two years, walking 48 times in 609 plate appearances. He walked more than 100 times in a season twice — 108 in 2006 and 107 in 2007. Walking a hundred times in a season is hard. Across both leagues, three players did it in 2013. Joey Votto (135), Shin-Soo Choo (112) and Mike Trout (110).

I really don’t see a lot of reason for left-handed pitchers to walk Ryan Howard, either. Howard hit 173/218/321 against lefties in 2013 after hitting 173/226/378 against them in 2012. He’s walked eight times against left-handed pitching over the past two seasons (193 PA).

Tigers tomorrow with Kendrick expected to pitch.


First thud

The Phillies saw their first official spring action today, falling 4-3 to Toronto in a game called due to rain after the top of the seventh.

Roberto Hernandez started the game, seeing his first action for the Phils having thrown to a 5.03 ERA over his last 146 appearances in regular season action. He went two innings, allowing two runs on four hits and no walks. Jose Bautista hit a solo homer off of him in the first and he allowed another run on back-to-back doubles to start the second. Both of the doubles were off the wall, the first, by righty Brett Lawrie, was off the top of the wall and nearly out of the yard.

Seems a good a time as any to point out that Hernandez has allowed 46 home runs over his last 302 1/3 innings pitched, which is about 1.37 per nine innings. Nobody on the Phillies who threw 65 or more innings in 2013 allowed more than one home run per nine innings. Among the guys with at least 65 innings, Lee had the worst rate at 0.89 per nine innings. The righty Bautista got Hernandez in the first, but lefties hit 305/369/537 against the righty Hernandez in 2013 with 17 home runs in 315 plate appearances.

Phillippe Aumont pitched the third, coming off of a 2013 effort in which he walked 51 in 55 innings between the minors and majors. He walked the two first batters he faced and the Blue Jays scored two runs charged to him in the inning on a single, two walks and a wild pitch.

Righty Jeff Manship, who has struggled to retire hitters at the major league level, struck out two in a 1-2-3 fourth and kept the Blue Jays off the board in the fifth as well. One hit, a single, in two scoreless innings for Manship as he strikes out three and gets Bautista to ground into a double-play. The less good news is the career 6.42 ERA and a 1.62 ratio for the 29-year-old righty in 116 1/3 career innings. Righties have hit 329/375/556 against him for his career.

Bastardo pitched the sixth. He allowed a two-out triple to righty Moises Sierra, but retired Dioner Navarro on a fly ball to center to leave Sierra at third.

25-year-old righty Kevin Munson, a Rule 5 pick (be afraid, be very afraid), pitched the seventh. Chris Getz bunted for a single to start the frame with Maikel Franco fielding and throwing it away for an error that left Getz at second with nobody out. The Blue Jays bunted the runner to third with the first out, but Munson struck Kevin Pillar out with one down and the man on third. He walked Anthony Gose before getting Dan Johnson to line to short to leave runners on the corners.

Two hits and a walk in the frame, but Munson keeps Toronto from scoring with the help of the big strikeout with a runner on third and one out. He struck out 66 in 54 2/3 innings between Double-A and Triple-A in 2013.

The offense plated three runs in the game — two in the bottom of the first on RBI-singles by Howard and Byrd and the third in the bottom of the fifth when a one-out walk to Tony Gwynn, Jr was followed by a Ronny Cedeno double.

A day after singling and homering off of lefties in an intrasquad game, Howard lined an RBI-single into center off of lefty JA Happ in the bottom of the first. He flew to left in his other at-bat.

Abreu was at DH for the Phils and went 0-for-1 with two walks.

Cedeno’s double in the fifth after the Gwynn walk was the only extra-base hit of the game for the Phils. Cedeno 1-for-1 with a double and Gwynn 0-for-0 with a walk.

Byrd 1-for-2 with an RBI-single and a strikeout.

Ruf walked in his only appearance.

Revere 1-for-2 with a single and Rollins 0-for-1 with a walk.

Brown 1-for-3 with an infield single and a strikeout.

Utley 0-for-2, Asche 0-for-2, Ruiz 0-for-2.

Franco 0-for-1 with the game’s only error at third.

Blue Jays again tomorrow with Cliff Lee and Ethan Martin expected to pitch for the Phils.


Wait, what was it again that was just another word for nothing left to lose?

Phillie fans didn’t care much for Bobby Abreu when he was great, so it’s a little tough to see them getting too excited about the news the 39-year-old Abreu is coming to Spring Training to try to win a job with the team.

Does he have a chance? I think he does. Mostly because 1) the Phillies are terrible 2) Abreu still has a chance to hit right-handed pitching and 3) a lot of guys the Phillies have been giving chances lately really don’t.

The Phillies would love Abreu to do three things — play defense, hit left-handed pitching and hit right-handed pitching.

He’s a lock not to do two of those things.

He’s an atrocious defensive player and has been for a long time. Negative dWAR as calculated by Baseball-Reference in each of the last 14 years he’s played. dWAR of -1.5 or worse in five of those years. By comparison, Baseball-Reference had 18 players who appeared in the NL last year with a dWAR of -1.5 or worse (four of them, Delmon Young, Michael Young, Darin Ruf and John Mayberry, played for the Phils). FanGraphs gives him a negative UZR/150 in right for nine straight years and negative in left for three straight years.

He’s also not going to hit left-handed pitching. Here’s what he’s done over the last four years in which he appeared in MLB (he didn’t play in MLB 2013):

Year PA v L AVG OBP SLG ISO
2009 201 267 348 386 119
2010 206 228 296 342 114
2011 167 238 319 279 041
2012 50 267 340 378 111
Total 624 246 323 342 096

246/323/342 over his last 624 plate appearances against left-handed pitching. That’s not enough for a corner outfielder who can’t play defense.

The numbers against righties are a lot better, though:

Year PA v R AVG OBP SLG ISO
2009 466 305 408 457 152
2010 461 267 377 478 211
2011 418 259 366 400 141
2012 207 236 353 333 098
Total 1552 272 380 431 159

Abreu was great against righties in 2009 and 2010, hitting 286/393/468 against them over 927 plate appearances. Those numbers carry him to a 272/380/431 line for the four-year span.

In 2011 and 2012 combined he hit 251/362/378 against them. That’s a .362 on-base percentage with an isolated power of .127.

Here’s the complete list of 2013 Phillies who had both an on-base percentage of .362 or better against righties and an isolated power of .127 or better against righties:

Player

PA

OBP vs Right

ISO vs Right

D Ruf

212

363

261

That’s it.

Here’s the guys who made it for one of the two, but not the other (among the players with 50 PA vs righties for the Phils last year):

Player

PA

OBP vs Right

ISO vs Right

D Brown

381

336

235

C Utley

361

360

193

J Mayberry

276

283

143

R Howard

230

357

220

D Young

219

283

143

E Kratz

173

295

189

F Galvis

167

287

145

C Asche

145

310

162

C Hernandez

87

368

050

R Bernadina

67

242

161

Utley comes the closest to hitting the .362/.127 marks, falling short by just a couple of points of on-base percentage. Howard almost did it as well. Nobody else came real close. The Phillies only had two players on the team on-base better than .360 against righties — Ruf and Cesar Hernandez.

Important to remember is that not reaching those marks doesn’t mean those who didn’t were lesser offensive players. Utley, for example, was a way better hitter against righties than a player who on-based .362 with an isolated power of .127 despite not matching both categories. Ditto Howard. Brown’s on-base percentage was way below .362, but his isolated power against righties was a whole lot better than .127.

As a group, though, there’s some room for improvement. Of course, miserable offensive production by the 2013 Phillies doesn’t make Abreu good. It might, though, make him more likely to make the team.

Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose.


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.


No, you don’t understand: we really, really want a pitcher and not a belly-itcher

Here are the combined WAR, oWAR and dWAR for the non-pitchers for the Phillies over the past ten years as calculated by Baseball-Reference:

Year WAR oWAR dWAR
2012 15.0 14.0 1.0
2011 14.2 19.9 -5.4
2010 21.3 21.8 -0.6
2009 26.3 24.6 2.0
2008 27.3 20.3 7.0
2007 31.1 27.3 3.7
2006 20.0 21.6 -2.1
2005 27.7 18.8 8.9
2004 22.1 20.8 1.4
2003 25.8 24.0 2.1

So that’s bad, generally, although overall WAR for the non-pitchers actually improved from 2011 to 2012. Coming into the season, it had been down from the previous year for four straight seasons.

It was up in 2012 despite the fact that the oWAR for the team was worse than 2011 (14.0 in ’12 compared to 19.9 in ’11). It was the dWAR that improved dramatically, going from -5.4 in 2011 to 1.0 in 2012.

That’s where the good news ends, though. In both 2011 and 2012, the combined WAR for the non-pitchers was less than half of what it was in 2007. In 2007, the Phils were first in the NL in oWAR and second in dWAR.

In 2008, the team’s dWAR was 7.0, which was best in the NL. By 2010, the defense had slipped a lot and was down to -0.6. Howard put up a -2.3 dWAR that year and ugliness from Ibanez (-2.0) and Werth (-1.2) contributed as well. By 2011 the problem was even more dramatic as the team’s dWAR of -5.4 was third worst among the 16 NL teams. Again, Ibanez (-3.1) and Howard (-2.4) led the anti-charge, joined by Francisco (-1.3) and Brown (-1.2).

This Phils bounced back some in 2012. Ibanez and Francisco left. Brown got a little better. Howard played less and posted a dWAR of just -1, which was his best mark since 2005 (although Wigginton and Nix didn’t help much filling in for him at first). Freddy Galvis was solid defensively when he played.

The oWAR for the last ten seasons peaked in 2007 at 27.3. The Phillies led the NL in runs scored that year with 892. Their oWAR of 27.3 led the league and it wasn’t real close. The Mets were second at 22.7. Utley (5.9), Rollins (5.5), Rowand (4.5), Howard (3.2) and Burrell (3.0) all put up an oWAR of three or better that season.

The oWAR of 14.0 for the Phillies in 2012 was the lowest it has been since 2000, when the team’s oWAR for the year was an NL-worst 6.7. That was remarkable in that the Phillies had two players with an oWAR of 3.6 or better for the season — Abreu at 4.6 and Rolen at 3.6. The Phillies had ten players that year who got at least 100 plate appearances and put up a negative oWAR.


Ooze views

With the ooze just about over, Bobby Abreu, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard are likely atop most lists of the best hitters for the Phils over the past ten years. Here’s what Abreu, Utley and Howard did for the Phillies in the 00′s:

  Years PA AVG/OBP/SLG OPS OPS+
Abreu 2000-2006 4634 298/412/510 .922 137
Utley 2003-2009 3813 295/379/523 .902 129
Howard 2004-2009 3145 279/376/586 .961 142

Howard hit 222 home runs, which is by far the most of the trio. Despite getting about 1,500 fewer plate appearances, Howard also drove in about as many runs as Abreu. Abreu nipped him 647 to 640 with Utley lagging behind with 585. Pat Burrell hit more home runs in the decade (251) and drove in more runs (827) than any of the three, but had nine seasons to do it and hit just .257 for the Phils in those years.

Here are the rates that Abreu, Utley and Howard registered hits, walks, extra-base hits, doubles and triples and home run runs per 100 plate appearances while playing for the Phillies in 2000 through 2009:

 
H/100

BB/100

XBH/100

(2B+3B)/100

HR/100

Abreu

24.5

16.3

10.1

6.7

3.4

Utley

25.6

9.4

10.6

6.4

4.2

Howard

23.8

12.9

11.7

4.7

7.1

Utley and Abreu both got hits at a better rate than Howard and were a lot more likely to hit a double or a triple. Utley doesn’t keep pace with Abreu or Howard when it comes to walks and Howard just buries the rest of the group in hitting home runs.

Howard seems like he’s clearly the best Phillies hitter of the decade, but all those times that Abreu failed to make an out makes it a little closer than I would have guessed. Here’s the percentage of plate appearance in which each of the three got hits or walks, singles or walks, extra-base hits or walks or home runs or walks for the decade:

  H or BB 1B or BB XBH or BB HR or BB
Abreu 40.8 30.7 26.3 19.7
Utley 35.1 24.5 20.0 13.7
Howard 36.8 25.0 24.6 20.0

Looking at the home runs or walks category can obviously be misleading because a home run is a whole lot better than a walk and the fact that he drew so many walks is what allows Abreu to hang with Howard. The fact that he hit so many home runs is what makes Howard the best hitter of the group, though.

Finally, the reason that Utley’s rate of getting hits or walks is worse than Howard’s despite the fact that he had a better on-base percentage is in large part because Utley is so regularly hit by a pitch. He was hit by a pitch about 3 1/2 times as often as Howard for the decade and about seven times as often as Abreu during Abreu’s plate appearances with the Phillies. If we changed the hit or walk column to hit, walk or hit by pitch, Utley would top Howard 37.9 to 37.6. Utley got 668 more plate appearances than Howard in the decade but was hit 107 times compared to 25 for Howard.

On the other hand, Howard was given a lot more intentional walks than Utley was and by a margin that was very similar to the margin for hit by pitches. Howard was walked intentionally 105 times while Utley was passed intentionally just 25.

The middle chart suggests that Howard has walked more often than Utley. He has. The gap shrinks, though, if you take out all of the plate appearances in which Howard or Utley have been given an intentional walk. With all of those plate appearances eliminated, Howard drew walks in 301 of 3,040 (9.9%) of his plate appearances while Utley drew walks in 335 of his 3,813 (8.8%) of his.

The Phillies have picked up their 2011 option on Rollins. Rollins will make $8.5 million in 2011. The linked article points out that the Phillies will have Ruiz, Howard, Utley, Rollins, Polanco, Ibanez and Victorino all under contract for 2011 with Werth as the only position player of their starting eight becoming a free agent. Pitchers Halladay, Hamels, Happ, Lidge and Madson will also remain under Phillies control for 2011.

Fernando Rodney signed with the Angels.

The Phillies may be close to signing righty reliever Danys Baez or righty reliever Mike MacDougal.

This says that the Phillies have an agreement in place with a reliever that will not be announced until the first week of January and that “the team’s recent focus has been on free-agent reliever Danys Baez.”

Adding either of Baez or MacDougal would be good news for the Phils.

This says that Chan Ho Park is unlikely to re-sign with the Phillies.


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