Tag: Cameron Rupp

Phillie pitchers don’t manage a lot of O’s against the Orioles

One, actually. You know who they might have asked about that? Baltimore pitchers. I’m sure they would be happy to help. Cause when we work together, everybody wins.

Everybody didn’t literally win today. Just the Orioles.

Baltimore 15, Phillies 4. Burnett allowed four in the third and Gonzalez followed that up by allowing four in the fourth. Those weren’t good moments, but to suggest they were all that went wrong might leave you with an incomplete picture.

A.J. Burnett started the game for the Phils and went three innings, allowing six runs on seven hits and a walk.

He allowed a one-out double to Nick Markakis in the top of the first, but got the next two. J.J. Hardy singled to left on a ball deflected by Asche at third with two outs in the second. Lefty Ryan Flaherty was next and hit a 1-1 pitch out to center. Burnett got Jemile Weeks on a fly ball to center to end the inning. Baltimore scored four runs in the third, all earned. Burnett faced ten batters in the frame. He got three out, hit two, walked one and allowed singles to the other four.

Burnett gave up a home run in the second, but excelled at preventing home runs in 2013, allowing just 11 in 191 innings. That rate of 0.52 per nine innings was fourth best in the NL. His ’13 rate of allowing the long ball was much better than it had been over his career. In 2013, he allowed 11 home runs to 801 batters, which is about 1.37% of the batters he faced. Coming into 2013 he had allowed home runs to about 2.39% of the 9,230 batters he had faced (he also spent six full seasons pitching in the DH-loving AL).

12.60 ERA and 1.80 ratio for Burnett over his two starts. He allowed a run on one hit and no walks over two innings in his other start.

Miguel Gonzalez was next and got hammered. Markakis tripled to right on his first pitch of the frame and it went on from there. He wound up allowing four runs in the inning on four hits (three singles and the triple) and two walks. One of the runs scored on a wild pitch.

16.88 ERA and a 4.50 ratio for Gonzalez in his first two outings, both of which have been awful. He’s walked six and allowed six hits in 2 2/3 innings.

I’ve heard it suggested that Gonzalez needs mound time. I believe the people who think that are right. Not real sure he’s going to be getting a whole lot more mound time in settings where you and I can easily see him pitch, however. Long way to go, but he’s looked like a big, expensive mistake in the early going. If the results are going to be this ugly, the team might decide they’re better off being seen by fewer people. There seemed to be some pretty significant concerns before we saw him pitch in a game. Seeing him pitch in a game hasn’t helped.

Michael Stutes pitched the fifth and allowed two runs on a double, a single and a walk. Howard made an error in the frame. Stutes has been charged with seven runs in three innings in his three appearances.

David Buchanan was next, making his case for early starts after two solid innings in his first appearance. He allowed a leadoff double to Flaherty and Flaherty scored on a two-out single by David Lough.

3.00 ERA and an 0.67 ratio for Buchanan after two times out.

Ken Giles pitched the seventh. He had allowed one hit in a scoreless frame in his only official outing. He gave up a run on a hit and two walks in the frame. Steve Pearce and Quentin Berry were the first two batters he faced and they reached on a single and a walk. Pearce would score on a sac fly by Caleb Joseph. Giles retired former Phil Delmon Young in the frame — Young pinch-hit for
Nelson Cruz and flew to right for the first out.

4.50 ERA and a 2.00 ratio for Giles after two innings over two appearances.

Cesar Jimenez pitched the eighth. He allowed a leadoff homer to Jonathan Schoop, but retired the next three.

Third appearance for the 29-year-old lefty Jimenez. 3.86 ERA and a 1.50 ratio (six hits and a walk) over 4 2/3 innings.

The Phillies scored four runs in the game. Howard doubled Brown home in the fourth and scored when Byrd followed with a single. Cameron Rupp hit a solo homer in the seventh off of righty Alfredo Aceves. Ruf homered off of Aceves in the eighth.

Five home runs for the Phils in the last two games.

Rupp was the only Phillie with more than one hit. 2-for-3 with a solo homer. 3-for-10 with a home run so far. Homered 14 times in 355 plate appearances between Double-A and Triple-A in 2013.

Ruf hits his second spring homer in his only at-bat. 6-for-19 (.316) with three walks and two home runs.

Howard 1-for-3 and struck out twice, but raised his average to .188. 3-for-16 with three singles. Made one of two Phillie errors. Andres Blanco made the other, which was his second error in two days.

Byrd 1-for-3 with an RBI to drop his average to .368.

Asche 1-for-3 with a double and a walk. Struck out twice. 1-for-15 so far and hitting .067. The lefty doubled off of righty Miguel Gonzalez, but not the one who pitched for the Phillies.

Domonic Brown was 0-for-2 with a walk. 2-for-19 (.105) with two singles and five walks.

Revere 0-for-3 (.278), Rollins 0-for-2 with a walk (.222), Abreu 0-for-3. Abreu is 2-for-15 (.133) with two singles and five walks.

Roberto Hernandez is expected to pitch against the Astros tomorrow.


You wanna build a what?

For 2013, Baseball-Reference calculates the combined WAR for Phillie hitters at 3.7.

I’ll be here all week. Don’t forget to tip your waitress.

What? We have to do more?

There were 32 individual NL hitters last year with a bWAR better than 3.7. As you probably guessed, things aren’t exactly headed in the right direction for the Phils in this area — the team was first in bWAR for batters in 2009 after being second in ’08. They slipped to fifth in 2010 and have been in the bottom half of the league ever since. They were 14th in 2013, ahead of only the Marlins.

Here are the eight non-pitchers on the ’13 Phillies who have both a WAR calculated by Baseball-Reference that’s greater than zero and a WAR calculated by FanGraphs that’s greater than zero:

Player bWAR (NL Rank) fWAR (NL Rank)
Utley 3.5 (36) 3.9 (28)
Brown 2.5 (52) 1.6 (83)
Ruiz 1.7 (78) 1.4 (91)
Revere 0.8 (114) 0.9 (108)
Howard 0.6 (127) 0.4 (143)
Rollins 0.2 (170) 1.6 (85)
Quintero 0.2 (180) 0.4 (151)
Rupp 0.2 (181) 0.1 (199)

That’s not good. Using the FanGraphs data, for example, Domonic Brown has the second-best fWAR on the team at 1.6, which was 83rd best in the league.

Baseball-Reference’s guide on interpreting WAR suggests 5+ for an All-Star, 2+ for a starter, 0-2 for a reserve and less than zero replacement level. The Phillies had two hitters with a bWAR higher than two in 2013 and five of the eight players listed above have a bWAR less than one.

Humberto Quintero is a good bet not to be on the Phillies in 2014. Carlos Ruiz is a free agent that could be back, but I wouldn’t count on it. Ruiz not being back is a blow to the Phils — less because he was good last year and more because, by WAR calculated by Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs, he was the third or fourth-best non-pitcher on the Phillies last season despite on-basing .320 with five home runs

That leaves the Phils with six players on the ’14 team that had a positive WAR at both sites in ’13: Chase Utley, Domonic Brown, Jimmy Rollins, Ben Revere, Ryan Howard and Cameron Rupp.

Utley was clearly the best non-pitcher on the Phillies in 2013. He’s had a bWAR that’s ranged from 3.0 to 3.7 over the last three years and seems like a good bet to be in that range again in 2014. The problem is that he was the best non-pitcher on the Phils in 2013 and was about the 28th or 36th best non-pitcher in the 15-team league. That and there’s a pretty monster drop off behind him.

Again, Utley’s bWAR was 3.5. The total bWAR for all the hitters on the team was 3.7. Milwaukee was seventh in the NL in bWAR for hitters at 20.6 last year and the Padres were eighth at 20.3. So to get to about middle of the pack in the NL last year, the Phllies would have needed to add about 16.7 or so bWAR from their hitters, which is about 4.8 players with the 3.5 bWAR of their best hitter. Obviously it’s more complicated than that, because they couldn’t just add players without taking away some that contributed to their 3.7 bWAR in the first place, but the point is they’re a long way away from being in the middle of the pack in the NL.

Brown impressed with the bat in 2013, but he sure can’t play defense. Posted a positive bWAR for the first time in his career, but fWAR was a lot less impressed. Still, he seems like a good bet to get better and is one of a very few blocks the Phillies have to build on.

Rollins put up a bWAR of 0.2, the worst mark for any year in his career in which he’s gotten at least 100 plate appearances. Coming into the season, his bWAR range for the four previous seasons had been 1.7 to 2.5. If he bounces back, it might not be that high. His -1.0 dWAR was the worst mark for his career. FanGraphs had his UZR/150 at short at -2.7 coming off of positive marks for ten years in a row.

Revere is still young, still never going to walk and never hit for power. The Phillies will need him to be an elite defensive player if he’s going to be good and I’m not sure why you’d think that would happen. He wasn’t in 2013, posting the worst dWAR of his career at -0.4 despite less playing time than he had in the last two years. His UZR/150 in center as calculated by FanGraphs was negative for the second straight year as well. He did hit a monster 407/426/482 in his last 123 plate appearances before injury ended his season. I think he’ll probably be okay on the WAR fronts if he can keep that up. Even assuming he doesn’t, I don’t see center field as one of the biggest areas of concern for the Phillies, where they have a good chance to have a very cheap player who will make a positive contribution. If you want to worry, I’d go with right field, first base and catcher in that order. And cross your fingers about Cody Asche at third base.

Howard on-based .319 in 2013 and his isolated power (.199) dropped under .200 for the first time in his career. Over the last two years his average bWAR is -0.25 and his average fWAR is -0.35. Over his last four years his average bWAR is 0.48 and his average fWAR is 0.45.

The Phillies are due to pay Utley, Rollins and Howard a combined $51 million in 2014 and there’s a real chance only one of the three will put up a bWAR better than one. The trio made $46 million in 2013 with Utley the only player of the group with a bWAR better than 0.6. Per the table above, FanGraphs thought Rollins was a lot better than Baseball-Reference.

Cameron Rupp makes a surprise appearance on the list. Let’s hope for the best, but there are going to be some surprised folks out there if he proves to be more than a backup catcher. He also has 14 career plate appearances. Presumably the Phillies will add a catcher before the season starts, which will prevent them from going into the season with Kratz and Rupp handling the catching duties and, presumably, will mean Rupp starts the year somewhere other than on the active roster.


Rate hike

Questions yesterday about whether opposing hitters were more likely to walk in 2013 when Carlos Ruiz was catching for the Phils. That part’s easy — the answer is yes, they were. The harder part is how important that information is and I’m a lot less sure about that. In order to conclude anything, we’d need to look at more complete information about who was doing the pitching, the game situation and the quality of the hitters they were facing.

Still, the overall results were a little surprising to me. The Phillies used five catchers in 2013: Ruiz, Erik Kratz, Humberto Quintero, Cameron Rupp and Steven Lerud. Here’s the total number of plate appearances each caught and the team’s walk rate with them catching:

BF % of BF BB %
All PHI 6213 100 8.1
Ruiz 3251 52.3 9.0
Kratz 2060 33.2 7.5
Quintero 718 11.6 6.4
Rupp 116 1.9 6.0
Lerud 68 1.1 7.4
Not Ruiz 2962 47.7 7.2

So Ruiz caught 52.3% of the batters and during those plate appearances, Phillie opponents walked 9.0% of the time. The other four catchers caught 47.7% of the time and in those chances opponents walked in 7.2% of their plate appearances.

Here’s the breakdown for the three catchers other than Rupp and Lerud for the eight starting pitchers on the ’13 Phils that got at least eight starts.

Pitcher BF Ruiz Kratz Quintero
Hamels 905 61.8/5.9 26.4/5.9 11.8/2.8
Lee 876 55.0/4.1 39.2/3.2 5.8/2.0
Kendrick 800 38.8/4.2 55.1/6.8 6.1/8.2
Pettibone 437 52.6/10.0 21.3/7.5 26.1/7.0
Lannan 332 57.5/10.5 10.8/5.6 31.6/5.4
Cloyd 282 33.9/11.6 50.7/7.7 -
Halladay 282 50.0/16.3 15.2/11.6 34.8/8.2
Martin 190 66.8/15.7 24.7/10.6 -

So, looking, for example, at the top line, Ruiz caught 61.8% of the batters that Hamels pitched to in 2013 and those batters walked in 5.9% of their plate appearances. Quintero caught 11.8% of the batters Hamels faced in 2013 and those batters walked in 2.8% of their PA.

Cloyd and Martin both pitched to Lerud and Rupp. Those numbers aren’t included above.

Of the eight pitchers listed above, six of them pitched to all three of Ruiz, Kratz and Quintero. Of those six, five, everyone except for Kendrick, issued walks at the highest rate while pitching to Ruiz and the at the lowest rate when pitching to Quintero (for Hamels, the 5.9% to Ruiz is a little higher, 5.903, than his 5.9% to Kratz, which is 5.858).

The other of the six that pitched to all three was Kendrick. He walked batters at his lowest rate while pitching to Ruiz and at his highest while pitching to Quintero. It should be noted that Kendrick’s time pitching to Quintero was especially limited. Quintero was behind the plate for just 49 of the 800 batters that Kendrick faced (6.1%).

The other two pitchers on the list, Cloyd and Martin, didn’t pitch to Quintero, but each of them walked batters at a higher rate while pitching to Ruiz than they did to Kratz.

I think it’s hugely important to remember there are a lot of factors at play. For example, Roy Halladay and Ethan Martin each had very high walk rates for the season, regardless of who was catching them. Ruiz caught more than two-thirds of Martin’s innings and half of Halladay’s, which surely contributed to his walk rate being high relative to other catchers on the team. While the rate that each of those guys allowed walks was higher with Ruiz behind the plate, I still think it’s a leap to attribute much of anything to Ruiz without more complete information about the game situation and the quality of hitters the pitchers were facing.

If you look back at the last few years, it’s also not true to say that batters consistently walk more with Ruiz behind the plate than with someone else catching. It was in 2012, 7.1% for Ruiz and 6.2% for everyone else on the Phils, but in 2011 he was way under the walk rate with others catching (6.4% for Ruiz and 7.2% for everyone else). In both 2009 and 2010, the walk rate for hitters with Ruiz behind the plate was just about the same as the walk rate with anyone else behind the plate (6.8/6.9 in ’10 and 7.9/7.7 in ’09).


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