Tag: Chad Durbin

Help wanted

After having the best bullpen in the National League in 2008, the Phillies’ pen faded to the middle of the pack in 2009. At this point it looks like five of the bullpen spots for 2010 have been filled by Lidge, Durbin, Madson, Romero and Baez. The table below shows what those five combined to do in 2009 and what the Phillies bullpen overall combined to do for the year:

  IP H BB SO
ERA Ratio
Five 2010 PHI
relievers in 2009
294 273 138 253 4.47 1.40
2009 PHI pen 492 457 223 417 3.91 1.38

So if those five guys each did exactly what they did in 2009 in 2010, here’s what the other guys in the Phillies pen would need to do this year to match the overall numbers for last year’s bullpen in those categories:

IP H BB SO
ERA Ratio
198 184 85 164 3.09 1.36

Golly. That’s a lot of pretty good innings the as yet unannounced pitchers would need to give to match a Phillies bullpen from 2009. They would need to pitch much better than the five pitchers in the pen combined to pitch last year. Even if they did, the 2009 Phillies bullpen wasn’t very good.

The five guys we know are in the pen aren’t going to do what they did in 2009 in 2010, of course. Brad Lidge will almost surely pitch better and if he doesn’t he will almost surely pitch less often. He was so miserable in 2009, though, he could still be a lot better without being good. Romero, too, seems like a good candidate to contribute more in ’10 than he did in ’09. In 2009 he threw just 16 2/3 innings for the Phils — if he does that in 2010 as well the Phils are going to have a whole bunch of problems.

Madson has had very similar numbers over the past three seasons as a full-time reliever. I think it’s possible he gets better in 2010, but I wouldn’t count on it.

Durbin’s 2009 wasn’t impressive, but it’s important to remember that he outperformed his career levels for ERA and ratio. He prevented home runs at a better rate and struck out batters more regularly than he has for his career. He was fantastic in the first half of 2008. Maybe he will be again, but I think it’s more reasonable to expect that his numbers for his career are the more relevant measuring stick.

Baez could see some improvement coming over from the American League, but he is coming off of his best year since 2005. The 1.13 ratio he posted in 2009 was outstanding, his best mark since 2001. He dropped his walk rate compared to his career levels, but his strikeouts dipped way below his career levels in 2009 and his batting average for balls in play was a tiny .232 on a Baltimore team where the average pitcher had a batting average for balls in play of .309. The .232 mark was the lowest it has been for Baez in any year of his career. I’m not saying that Baez isn’t going to help. Not at all. The Phillies need him. I am saying that he’s not going to have a 1.13 ratio this year.


What if they threw a bullpen and nobody came?

It sure seems like the Phillies are going to need to find a bunch of fellas to pitch out of their bullpen in the next couple of months. Right now it looks like they have five (Madson, Durbin, Lidge, Baez and Romero). Of those five, two, Lidge and Romero, may not be ready for the start of the season.

There were 18 players who pitched in relief for the Phillies in 2009. The table below shows the percentage of the team’s innings they each threw in relief and the percentage of the batters the Phils faced in relief that were faced by that pitcher. For the pitchers that appeared solely as relievers (didn’t start any games), the aLI column shows the average leverage index for the pitcher while pitching in relief as calculated by Baseball Reference. The site talks a little about what that stat means here, but basically it reflects the fact that Brad Lidge pitched in much more important situations for the Phils last year than Sergio Escalona or Steven Register — one is average, above one is more important situations and closer to zero is less important situations. Here’s the list, which is ordered by the percentage of innings in relief that were thrown by the pitcher:


Player

% IP

% batters faced

aLI

Madson

15.7

14.9

1.626

Durbin

14.2

14.7

0.828

Lidge

11.9

13.2

2.064

Park

10.2

9.6

Condrey

8.5

8.1

1.061

Walker

7.2

7.0

0.412

Eyre

6.1

6.0

1.133

Taschner

6.0

6.7

0.614

Happ

4.4

4.2

Moyer

3.8

3.3

Romero

3.4

3.4

1.601

Kendrick

3.0

2.9

Escalona

2.8

2.8

0.430

Myers

1.4

1.4

Lopez

0.5

0.8
 

Register

0.4

0.5

0.015

Carpenter

0.3

0.4
 

Bastardo

0.2

0.2
 

To the degree that there’s good news there, the Phillies will bring back the three guys they used most in relief in 2009 for the 2010 season. The bad news is that of those three, one, Lidge, was absolutely terrible last year and another, Durbin, was pretty bad.

The other thing that sure seems worrisome is that after Lidge there’s a group of five guys, Park, Condrey, Walker, Eyre and Taschner, who all seem sure or almost sure not to return for 2010. So far the Phillies have brought in Danys Baez to help fill in for those guys, but that’s not going to be enough.

Baez isn’t left-handed, either. Hopefully Romero is back and can be counted on early in the season, but it doesn’t seem like a sure thing. Lefties combined to throw 131 innings in relief for the Phillies in 2009. Here’s how those innings were divided up:

  % IP
Eyre 22.90
Taschner 22.39
Happ 16.54
Moyer 14.25
Romero 12.72
Escalona 10.43
Bastardo 0.76

Of that group, Eyre and Taschner look like locks not to return. Moyer and Happ will be back, but I’m not sure you want to count on either of those guys carrying a big load in relief in 2010. Let’s hope JC Romero can be the guy, but that’s another thing I don’t think you want to be counting on. Escalona looks likely to see an expanded role in 2010, but even if he does the Phillies are going to need more.

Right-handed relievers threw 361 innings for the Phils. Here’s how those innings broke down:

  % IP
Madson 21.42
Durbin 19.30
Lidge 16.25
Park 13.85
Condrey 11.63
Walker 9.79
Kendrick 4.16
Myers 1.94
Lopez 0.74
Register 0.55
Carpenter 0.37

Again, Madson, Lidge and Durbin are back, but it’s not clear who is going to make up for the 127 1/3 innings that Park, Condrey and Walker combined to throw in relief in 2009. They were really good, too, combining to throw to a 2.83 ERA and 1.18 ratio. Baez again is surely a big part of the answer — he did throw 71 2/3 innings last year, but didn’t pitch at all in 2008 and had a 6.44 ERA in 2007. I don’t know how much or how well he’s going to pitch in 2010, but I’m guessing against 127 1/3 innings with a 2.83 ERA and a 1.18 ratio. It would solve some problems, though.


Walking on empty

During the 2007 season, Phillies pitchers walked 558 batters. That’s too many. Only five NL teams walked more that year. The number of walks the Phillies issued dropped in 2008 and dropped even more in 2009. During the 2009 season, Phillies pitching allowed just 489 walks. St Louis was the only team in the NL to give up fewer walks.

So the Phillies have cut down the number of walks that they issue over the past couple of seasons, which is a very good thing. That’s not today’s point, though. Today’s point is that in 2009 some Phillies pitchers were better at preventing walks with the bases empty than others.

During 2009, Phillies pitcher walked about 6.6% of the batters they faced when the based were empty and about 9.3% of the batters they faced when there was at least one man on base. Not all Phillies pitchers saw that kind of increase in the walks they allowed, though. Some walked batters at a lower rate when the bases were empty in 2009 than they did when there was at least one man on. Of the 22 pitchers who appeared for the Phillies in 2009, nine of them were better at preventing walks when there were men on base than when the bases were empty. The chart below shows, for the nine, the walks they issued per 100 plate appearances with the bases empty, where this ranks among the 22 Phillies pitchers for 2009, the walks they issued per 100 plate appearances with men on base, where this ranks among the ’09 Phillies pitchers and how much higher their rate of walking men with the bases empty was compared to with men aboard as a percentage (pitchers who faced less than 150 batters are in bold):

Player BB per 100
empty
Rank BB per 100
men on
Rank %
Myers 7.6 13 7.6 9 100.1
Taschner 14.0 19 14.0 19 100.6
Carpenter 13.3 18 11.8 16 113.3
Hamels 5.9 8 4.4 4 134.6
Bastardo 9.5 15 7.0 6 136.5
Lee 3.7 3 2.1 2 174.7
Eyre 16.7 20 8.8 11 188.9
Kendrick 10.6 16 4.3 3 243.9
Register 33.2 22 0.0 1 -

So, for example, Cole Hamels walked about 5.9% of the batters he faced with the bases empty (which was fifth-best on the team) and about 4.4% of the batters he faced with men on base (fourth-best on the team). Overall for the year his walk rate with nobody on base was about 135% of what it was with men aboard.

At the bottom of that list, Stephen Register faced just 11 batters all year long for the Phils. He walked one of the three he faced with the bases empty, giving him the worst rate of walks per 100 plate appearances on the team with nobody aboard, but none of the eight hitters he faced with men on base.

Being on the list above doesn’t mean that you’re necessarily good at preventing walks, just that in ’09 you were at least a little bit better at it than you were when there were men on base. Eyre, for example, gave up way too many walks overall, but cut down his rate considerably when there were ducks aboard.

Hamels and Kendrick are the pitchers of that group that seem likely to impact the Phillies in the future. Hamels saw his walk rate drop in 2009 while the rest of his numbers went up. He had a lot more success in 2007 and 2008 than he did in 2009 — in each of those years he rate of walking batters was better with the bases empty than with men aboard, which is the opposite of his results for 2009 (in 2006 his rates were nearly identical).

Kendrick didn’t face a ton of hitters in 2009, but was much better at preventing walks when their were men on base than when there weren’t. His walk rate overall was lower than his miserable 2008, but worse than his mark for 2007 when he was very effective. By opponent OPS, Kendrick was the Phillies best pitcher in 2009 with the bases empty. Opponents hit 203/288/203 against him (12-for-59 with 12 singles and seven walks and a .491 OPS). By comparison, they hit 287/321/393 (.753) against Cliff Lee with the bases empty. Since he didn’t walk anyone with me on base you’d think Kendrick would be pretty much invincible, but sadly despite not walking anyone Kendrick allowed opponents to hit .375 against him with men on base, which will mess things up in a jiffy.

Here’s the numbers for the 13 pitchers who allowed walks more regularly when there were runners on base:

Player BB per 100
empty
Rank BB per 100
men on
Rank %
Romero 17.2 21 18.2 21 105.5
Madson 6.5 10 7.3 8 113.3
Moyer 5.4 6 7.2 7 133.8
Condrey 6.9 12 9.6 12 138.4
Happ 6.7 11 10.1 15 151.2
Lopez 6.0 9 10.0 14 167.5
Durbin 11.0 17 19.7 22 178.5
Blanton 5.1 5 9.9 13 193.9
Lidge 8.2 14 16.2 20 198.2
Walker 3.8 4 8.3 10 216.7
Park 5.6 7 13.4 18 241.5
Martinez 1.9 1 6.9 5 358.6
Escalona 3.4 2 12.9 17 374.2

Remember that overall the Phillies walked about 9.3 batters per 100 plate appearances with men on base and about 6.6 batters with the bases empty. So the average pitcher had a walk rate that was about 141% of his walk rate with the bases empty.

Again, being on this list doesn’t necessarily mean you issued a lot of walks. Pedro, for example, issued walks at about 3 1/2 times his bases empty rate with men on base. His rate of allowing walks with men on base was still fifth-best on the team despite how much more regularly he issued walks with men aboard.

Looking again to the guys who will impact 2010, the rates that Durbin and Lidge issued walks with men on base has to be the scariest data from the chart above. Durbin walked nearly one in five men he faced with runners aboard and Lidge was nearly as bad.

Blanton also saw his rate of walks increase dramatically. With nobody on he was among the best on the team at preventing bases on balls. When men got on base he gave up a lot more and fell to the middle of the pack. Happ started in the middle and saw his rate increase at about the rate that was the average for the team.

Romero just walks a ton of folks regardless of the situation.

Madson and Moyer both walked more with men on base, but not a whole lot more and their rates for allowing walks in both circumstances were pretty good compared to the rest of the team.

This suggests that the Phillies may announce the signing of Danys Baez if he passes his physical this week. Baez missed all of 2008 after Tommy John surgery, but threw to a 4.02 ERA and a 1.13 ratio for Baltimore in 2009.

The article linked above also says that the Phillies have made a minor league offer to Eyre.

Today is the first day that players can file for arbitration. This article talks about what we might expect to happen with Victorino, Blanton, Ruiz and Durbin.


Halladay shopping

A trade may be in the works that would bring 32-year-old right-handed pitcher and former Cy Young winner Roy Halladay to Philadelphia. Maybe you’ve heard.

Speculation abounds, but the best guess at this point seems to be that the Phillies will get Halladay, cash and some prospects. The Seattle prospects the Phillies get may include right-handed pitchers Phillippe Aumont and Juan Ramirez and center fielder Tyson Gillies.

The Phillies may trade away Cliff Lee and some combination of players that could include Michael Taylor, Travis d’Arnaud, Kyle Drabek and JA Happ. It has also been speculated that the Phillies would also need to trade Joe Blanton to clear away payroll.

Nobody seems to know for sure. We’re going to have to wait and see what happens.

I think we do know these things, however:

  • Both pitchers have been very good over their careers, but Halladay has been better than Lee.
  • Lee was outstanding for the Phillies in the post-season last year. Halladay has never pitched in the playoffs, but it’s hard to imagine that he could contribute more than Lee did in 2009.
  • Lee has the much better contract for 2009, but Halladay appears to be more willing to sign an extension to pitch for the Phillies beyond 2010 than Lee.

Again, we’re going to have to wait and see what if anything happens. Halladay is fantastic, but so is Lee. And Drabek or Taylor or Happ is a lot of talent to trade away. Hopefully the price for the opportunity to pay Halladay $20 million a year or more in 2011 and beyond isn’t too steep.

In other less dramatic news, the Phillies did not offer a contract to Clay Condrey before Saturday’s deadline, but will be bringing back his fellow right-handed reliever Chad Durbin. Here’s what the two have done for the Phils over the past two seasons:

  IP ERA Ratio
Condrey 111 3.16 1.40
Durbin 157 1/3 3.55 1.39

And here are the rates the two have allowed hits, walks, extra-base hits, doubles and triples and home runs per 100 plate appearances over the past two seasons:

  H BB XBH 2B+3B HR
Condrey 25.6 6.9 7.3 5.2 2.1
Durbin 20.2 12.1 5.6 3.7 1.9

Condrey gave up more hits and Durbin walked batters more regularly. Durbin had a monster walk rate last year. His rate of allowing hits per 100 plate appearances was better than any pitcher on the team except for Eyre and Romero. He walked way too many, though, his rate of walks per 100 plate appearances was the worst of any Phillies pitcher except for Romero.

There’s no question that Condrey had the better 2009 of the two. Durbin held opponents to a .220 batting average against, but walked 47 in 69 2/3 innings and posted a ratio of 1.48 for the year. While Condrey was solid in both 2008 and 2009, Durbin’s 2008 was the best of the two years for either of the two. Durbin was outstanding in 2008. He faded a bit in the second half but threw 52 1/3 innings with a 1.89 ERA and a 1.20 ratio in the first half of that year and was a stabilizing force in a very good Phillies bullpen as the Phils won it all.

Over the past three years, Durbin has seen the rate at which he’s allowing hits decrease and the rate at which he’s walking batters increase dramatically. It’s certainly great to see him allowing fewer hits, but he’s going to have a hard time being successful if he continues to walk batters at his ’09 levels.

The bottom line for me on this one is that I’m a little disappointed that the Phillies will not be bringing Condrey back. The reasoning was no doubt that he had pitched well enough in recent years that he would have been given a pretty significant raise in 2010 had the Phillies offered him a contract. I don’t think it was a mistake to bring back Durbin, but I think the Phillies are going to wind up paying him more than someone else will be paying Condrey and there’s a good chance that Condrey will have a better year.


Last man sitting

This suggests that the Phillies have signed Ross Gload to a two-year contract.

Gload is a 33-year-old left-handed batter who can play first base and maybe the corner outfield positions. He’s made between five and 20 appearances in the outfield in each of the last four seasons.

Assuming that Dobbs is on the team, the move seems to complete the Phillies offensive roster. Eight regulars: Ruiz, Howard, Utley, Rollins, Polanco, Ibanez, Victorino and Werth. Five bench guys: Dobbs, Castro, Schneider, Gload and Francisco. That’s three lefties in Schneider, Dobbs and Gload. Dobbs and Gload seem like very similar players — left-handed hitters that don’t do much defensively.

I like this move because I think Gload is a solid hitter, but it’s a little unclear to me if the Phils see Gload as someone who can do anything besides be a left-handed pinch-hitter. It seems like they had that role covered with Dobbs, who saw his defensive use drop dramatically for the Phils in 2009. After appearing in 52 games at third for the Phils in ’08, Dobbs made just 16 there in ’09. Dobbs did miss a lot of time at the end of August and in the first half of September, but the Phillies seemed less interested in playing him at third base in 2009 than they had been the year before. It also seems possible that Dobbs’s injury problems last year made it harder for the Phillies to use him at third — basically I think that the Phillies should keep Dobbs on the team and let him play third more often than they did in 2009. If they aren’t going to let him play third I think that roster spot could be used better, especially with Gload around.

If those are the five guys on the bench when the season starts it leaves the Phils a little thin from the right side. I think there’s a chance there may be more activity around the bench before the season starts because there is so much overlap between what Gload and Dobbs can do.

Gload hit 261/329/400 in 259 plate appearances for the Marlins last season, but a much more impressive 271/345/432 against righties. He has been pretty good against lefties over his career, though, hitting 298/321/382 against left-handed pitching over his career compared to 278/330/414 against righties.

Gload had two really good seasons as a part-time player, both with the White Sox. In 2004 he hit 321/375/479 in 260 plate appearances and in 2006 he hit 327/354/462 in 167 plate appearances. He doesn’t walk or hit for a lot of power, but he is a career .283 hitter.

This suggests that the Phils may still be in the running for Halladay. It also speculates they might have to trade Blanton if they trade for Halladay.

This says the Phils are likely to offer arbitration to Condrey and Durbin. It also says that Mathieson, Escalona and Bastardo could be in the bullpen mix this year.


Drop off location

Earlier this week I wrote that after leading the NL in runs allowed per nine innings by relievers in 2008, the Phils dropped to ninth in that category in 2009. Despite the big drop in 2009, opponents posted very similar batting lines against the Phillies relief pitchers in 2009 and 2008:


Year

AVG

OBP

SLG

2009

246

335

373

2008

251

333

371

Again, the ’08 pen was a lot better than the ’09 pen, but those numbers look very similar.

Curiously, you were more likely to get a hit or a walk against the ’08 guys than you were the ’09 guys.

In 2009, the Phillies pen faced 2,143 batters and allowed 457 hits (21.3% of batters) and 223 walks (10.4%). So about 31.7% of hitters got a hit or a walk. In 2008 the pen faced 2,071 hitters and allowed 456 hits (22.0%) and 211 walks (10.2%). About 32.2% of hitters got a hit or a walk against the ’08 pen.

That’s a little perplexing because opponents posted a better on-base percentage in 2009 than they did in 2008. A big part of the explanation is that Phillies relievers hit a lot more batters in 2009 than they did in 2008 — they plunked 32 in ’09 after hitting just 16 in ’08.

You were also more likely to get an extra-base hit against the ’08 pen than you were against the ’09 pen.

The ’09 pen allowed 134 extra-base hits to 2,143 hitters (6.25%) and the ’08 pen allowed 136 extra-base hits to 2,071 hitters (6.57%).

It sure seems like you should get better if you improve the rate at which you allow hits or walks while you improve the rate at which you allow extra-bases. But the Phillies bullpen got worse.

A big part of this was how bad the extra-base hits that the Phillies gave up were in 2009. Despite the fact that they allowed fewer extra-base hits overall in 2009, the extra-base hits they allowed in 2009 did more damage.

In 2008, the Phillies pen allowed 136 extra-base hits — 92 doubles, seven triples and 37 home runs. That’s 353 total bases or 2.6 bases per extra-base hit.

In 2009 they allowed 134 extra-base hits — just 79 doubles, nine triples and 46 home runs. That’s a total of 369 total bases or 2.75 bases per extra-base hit. So a better rate of preventing extra-base hits in 2009, but the extra-base hits they allowed were worse.

The most important difference between the bullpen of 2008 and the bullpen of ’09 was that the ’08 pen was outstanding at preventing home runs compared to the rest of the league while the ’09 pen was not. The ’08 pen allowed 37 home runs, which was the fewest in the NL. In ’09, only six NL teams allowed more home runs than the 46 that the Phils’ relievers gave up.

In ’08, the Phillies had seven relief pitchers who threw 20 or more innings for the team. Of those seven, Tom Gordon allowed the most home runs per nine innings. He allowed three in 29 2/3 innings or about 0.91 per nine innings.

In 2009 there were nine Phillies pitchers who threw 20 or more innings in relief. Of those nine, four, Walker, Durbin, Taschner and Lidge, all allowed more than 0.91 home runs per nine innings while pitching in relief. Eyre was almost a fifth — he allowed 0.90 homers per nine innings.

The home run problem would have been a whole lot worse for the relievers were it not for Chan Ho Park. Park pitched 50 innings in relief for the Phillies in 2009 without allowing a home run. In 33 1/3 innings as a starter he gave up five. The Braves’ Peter Moylan was the only reliever in either league besides Park to throw 35 or more innings in relief in ’09 without allowing a home run.

The charts below show the four Phillies pitchers that threw at least 20 innings in relief in each of the last two seasons and had the worst rates of allowing runs per nine innings pitched as a reliever on the team. For each of the pitchers it shows the number of innings the player threw in relief that year, the runs they allowed per nine innings and the home runs they allowed per nine innings:


2008
       
Player IP Runs/9 HR/9
Durbin 87 2/3 3.4 0.51
Condrey 69 3.4 0.78
Seanez 43 1/3 5.0 0.42
Gordon 29 2/3 5.8 0.91
       

2009
       
Player IP Runs/9 HR/9
Condrey 42 3.6 0.86
Durbin 69 2/3 4.9 1.03
Taschner 29 1/3 5.5 0.92
Lidge 58 2/3 7.8 1.69

The biggest thing about that list is that the guys at the top who were the worst among the 2008 pen in terms of runs allowed per nine innings were pretty good. Durbin was great in ’08, throwing to 2.87 ERA with a 1.32 ratio and allowing just five home runs in nearly 90 innings. Condrey wasn’t quite as good, but threw to a 3.26 ERA with a 1.51 ratio. He also was pretty good at keeping the ball in the yard, allowing 0.78 homers per nine in a season when the average NL reliever allowed about 0.96.

In 2008, the Phillies had just two relievers who threw more than 20 innings for the season and allowed more than 3.4 runs per nine innings for the season. Those two, Seanez and Gordon, combined to throw 73 innings. In 2009 the Phils had four relievers who threw more than 20 innings and allowed more than 3.4 runs per inning and those four combined to throw 199 2/3 innings.

This says that the Phillies talks with Polanco are getting serious. I think it would be pretty bad news if the Phillies signed Polanco to be their third baseman.

This suggests the Phillies could have interest in John Smoltz. Please no.

The Phillies did not offer arbitration to Park or Eyre. I think both of those guys still have a chance to be back next year.

Billy Wagner is a Brave.

The Phillies signed Brian Schneider to be Ruiz’s backup.


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