Tag: Chase Utley

Braves celebrate Opening Day by announcing Open Season on pitches thrown by Cole Hamels

The 2013 season started for the Phillies last night and it didn’t start well. Cole Hamels made his first Opening Day start and came up with a klunker, allowing three home runs as the Braves scored five runs charged to him in five innings.

Michael Young didn’t play very well at third and Chad Durbin’s first outing of the year was a dud. Durbin faced three hitters and all three reached base as he was charged with two runs without getting an out.

What did go well was the offense, which plated five runs, and especially Chase Utley. Utley was fantastic at the plate, going 3-for-5 with three RBI. He homered off of righty Tim Hudson in the fourth and tripled off of lefty Eric O’ Flaherty in the seventh.

The Phillies are 0-1 on the season after losing to the Braves 7-5 last night.

Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went five innings, allowing five runs on seven hits and a walk. Five of the hits went for extra-bases, two doubles and three home runs. He struck out five.

He walked Jason Heyward with one out in the bottom of the first. Justin Upton was next and Hamels struck him out swinging 3-2, but Freddie Freeman followed and blasted a 2-1 pitch out to right, putting Atlanta up 2-0. BJ Upton went down on a ball hit hard back to Hamels to end the inning.

The lefty Freeman had some success against Hamels in the game.

Dan Uggla led off the bottom of the second. Uggla got ahead 3-0 and then hit the fourth pitch of his at-bat out to left. 3-0. Hamels got the next three.

Two of the first six batters that Hamels faces on the year homer. Uggla’s was the only one of the three long balls that Hamels actually turned to look at to see if it would leave the yard. On the other two he just hung his head on the mound when the pitch was hit.

Andrelton Simmons doubled to left to start the third. Hamels got the next two hitters before Freeman lined a single to right, scoring Simmons to put Atlanta up 4-0. Upton flew to center for the third out.

Again the lefty Freeman gets the lefty Hamels. Three RBI in two at-bats for Freeman for the season at that point.

Chris Johnson singled with one out in the fourth and the Atlanta lead cut to 4-1. It brought Gerald Laird to the plate and Laird hit a ball hard down the third base line and off the glove of a diving Young. The ball rolled into foul territory and Young chased — Johnson wound up on third and Laird was at second with a double. The pitcher Tim Hudson was next and grounded to Rollins with the runners holding for the second out. Simmons was next and grounded to third to end the inning.

Generous of the home town scorer to call Laird’s ball on the misplay by Young a double. Hamels puts up his first zero of the year after Atlanta scores in each of the first three innings. The Phils get lucky that it’s the pitcher coming to the plate with one out and men on second and third after the Laird double.

The Atlanta lead was cut to 4-3 when Hamels started the fifth. He got Heyward on a fly ball to right before Justin Upton hit a 1-2 pitch out to left center. Hamels got ahead of him 0-2, but Upton just crushed his 1-2 offering to make it 5-3. Hamels got the next two to set the Braves down.

Third homer of the game for Atlanta. Two to righties (Uggla and Justin Upton) and the other to the lefty Freeman.

Durbin started the sixth for the Phillies and walked the leadoff man Uggla on six pitches. Johnson was next and doubled into left on the first pitch of his at-bat, sending Uggla to third. It brought Laird to the plate with nobody out and men on second and third. He was swinging at the first pitch as well and blooped a single into left-center. Brown charged and mishandled the ball, but Revere was right there to pick it up and get it into the infield. Uggla scored on the play to make it 6-3 with one out and runners on the corners. Lefty Juan Francisco hit for the pitcher Luis Avilan and Horst came in to pitch to him. Righty Reed Johnson hit for Francisco and hit a ball back up the middle, off the edge of Horst’s glove to Rollins. Rollins went to second for the first out and Utley relayed to first for the second. As the throw went to first to complete the double-play, Johnson came home from third. Howard took the throw at first and threw home, but his throw was not handled and Johnson would have been safe anyway. 7-3. Simmons popped out to first to end the inning.

Much confusion about whether or not Manual made an error around bringing in Horst before the lefty Juan Francisco was announced as the pinch-hitter or not. Francisco was definitely in the on-deck circle when Horst came in, but announcers on the TV broadcast indicated the he had not been announced and therefore the righty Reed Johnson was hitting for the pitcher Avilan and not the left-handed pinch-hitter Francisco. The box score on the MLB.com web site shows that Francisco actually hit for Avilan. I don’t know. Either way, Horst faced the righty Reed Johnson and got him to hit into a double-play.

Not a good start for Durbin. He faces three batters in the game, allowing a walk, a single and a double without getting an out. Durbin pitched for the Braves last year, which makes it a little more interesting that both Johnson and Laird were swinging first pitch on their hits.

Nice job by Revere to be right on the ball and prevent Johnson from scoring when Brown mishandled the bloop by Laird. Didn’t wind up mattering as Johnson scored on the double-play, but it was a nice play.

Horst was back for the seventh. Freeman blooped a single to left with two outs, but Horst struck out BJ Upton to leave Freeman at first.

Freeman’s bloop was a little odd. It stayed in the air for a long, long time and Brown wasn’t close to getting there. Looked like he was playing really deep in left given the left-handedness of the hitter.

Horst goes two scoreless innings in the game, striking out two and allowing a bloop single on a ball that might have been handled.

Aumont pitched the eighth. He walked Johnson with one out. Laird was next and hit a ball hard to third. It probably would have been a double-play ball if Young had handled it cleanly. He didn’t, but picked it up and threw to first. The throw was in the dirt, but Howard did a nice job to scoop it for the second out as Johnson moved up to second. Switch-hitter Ramiro Pena hit for the pitcher Jordan Walden and grounded to first to end the inning.

Aumont goes one scoreless inning in the game, striking out one and allowing a walk. Last year he walked nine for the Phillies in 14 2/3 innings and walked 34 in 44 1/3 innings in the minors. That’s too many walks. The Phillies should have turned a double-play on the ball hit by Laird.

Overall the pen goes three innings in the game, allowing two runs on three hits and two walks while striking out three. Horst pitched great. Durbin did not. Aumont threw a scoreless innings but needs to walk fewer hitters. Horst threw 17 pitches, Aumont 14 and Durbin eight. All three seem likely to be available for game two of the set given the off-day today.

The Phillies lineup against righty Tim Hudson went (1) Revere (2) Rollins (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) M Young (6) Brown (7) Mayberry (8) Kratz. Two of the nine players the Phillies start were also in the lineup for game one in 2012 (Rollins and Mayberry). Kratz starts behind the plate with Ruiz suspended. Brown in left with the righty Mayberry in right and the lefty Nix on the bench. Mayberry comes into the game with good numbers against Hudson — 4-for-13 with two home runs. Revere leads off against the righty with Rollins hitting second. One of the things that does is prevents three lefties two through four in the lineup from Revere to Howard (if Revere were hitting second). Revere and Michael Young make their Phillie debuts. Erik Kratz enters the game with zero career plate appearances in April and seven career plate appearances in March, April, May or June.

The Phillies went in order in the first.

They were down 2-0 when they hit in the top of the second. Young walked with one out and moved up to second when Brown followed with a single to right. It put two men on for Mayberry and Mayberry grounded into a double-play to set the Phillies down.

Mayberry hits into a lot of double-plays. So far, this year is no exception.

Revere singled to left with two outs in the second and the Phils down 3-0. He stole second before Rollins grounded to second to leave him stranded.

The Phillies were trailing 4-0 when Utley started the fourth with a home run to center. 4-1. Howard grounded out to Uggla in shallow right field for the first out and Young struck out swinging for the second before Brown drew a walk. Mayberry struck out looking to leave Brown at first.

With one out in the fifth, the Phillies loaded the bases for Utley on singles by Hamels and Rollins and a walk to Revere. Utley singled to right, scoring Hamels and Revere to cut the lead to 4-3 and taking second as the throw came in to third. It put men on second and third with one down for Howard and lefty Luis Avilan came in to pitch to him. Avilan quickly got ahead of Howard 0-2 and struck him out swinging for the second out. The righty Young was walked intentionally to load the bases for Brown. Brown grounded to second to leave them loaded.

Second big hit for Utley in two innings after the homer in the fourth. Howard comes up empty in a big spot, striking out with one out and men on second and third. Intentionally walking Michael Young so your lefty can pitch to Domonic Brown in the fifth inning is a poor idea, but it worked out well for the Braves in this case. I don’t think that’s in the best interest of your team in the long run, however.

The Phils trailed 5-3 when they hit in the sixth. Mayberry and Kratz went down for the first two outs. With the lefty Avilan still on the mound for the Braves, Frandsen hit for Hamels and singled into center. Revere grounded to short to end the frame.

Avilan pitched well in the game for Atlanta, holding the Phils to a single (by the righty Frandsen) and an intentional walk (to the righty Young) over 1 2/3 innings.

Atlanta led 7-3 when lefty Eric O’ Flaherty started the seventh for the Braves. Utley tripled with one out and scored on a Howard ground out, cutting the lead to 7-4. Young grounded to third to set the Phillies down.

Utley triples off of the lefty after homering off the righty Hudson earlier in the game.

Mayberry doubled to left off of righty Jordan Walden with one out in the eighth. He took third on a wild pitch before scoring on a Kratz single to cut the lead to 7-5. Nix hit for Horst and Kratz took second on another wild pitch before Nix flew to left for the second out. Revere struck out swinging to leave Kratz stranded.

Righty Craig Kimbrel set Rollins, Utley and Howard down in order in the ninth.

Revere was 1-for-4 in the game with a walk and a stolen base. Made a nice defensive play to be in the area when Brown mishandled the single in the sixth.

Rollins 1-for-5.

Utley 3-for-5 with a triple, a home run and three RBI.

Howard 0-for-5 with an RBI. Struck out with one out and men on second and third at a big moment in the fifth.

Young didn’t look good defensively at third. He was 0-for-2 and walked twice (once intentionally).

Brown 1-for-3 with a walk. Less than outstanding in left. Mishandled one ball while charging but was backed-up nicely by Revere. Queerly was nowhere close to catching Freeman’s bloop single in the seventh.

Mayberry 1-for-4 with a strikeout and grounded into a double-play. He hit 229/291/335 against right-handed pitching in 2012. So it’s not a good sign if you’re starting him in one of your corner outfield positions against a righty on Opening Day.

Kratz 1-for-4 with an RBI.

The Phillies don’t play today. Game two of the season and the series is tomorrow night.


The doctor is not exactly out, but he’s not looking real in, either

Roy Halladay’s final spring start was neither a disaster or a resounding success. For those of us looking for signs of the old Halladay, though, it looked a little closer to a disaster. Halladay allowed two runs over 4 1/3 innings, but surrendered eight hits, walked two and got three outs on the bases as the Phils topped Toronto 7-2.

Five of the seven runs that the Phillies scored came on home runs. Utley hit a two-run shot in the sixth and Nix hit a three-run homer in the eighth.

Utley was 1-for-3 on the day with his fifth homer. Nix 1-for-4 with his second. 273/368/545 for Utley and 200/250/333 for Nix.

Revere had two more hits. 2-for-4 with his tenth stolen base. 337/382/398.

Rollins 0-for-3 to drop his average to .258. 258/395/355. Three extra-base hits, all doubles, in 31 at-bats has his isolated power under .100.

Brown 1-for-2. 376/430/671.

Kratz 1-for-3 to up his line to 273/293/550.

Galvis started at third and went 0-for-4, dropping his line to 269/288/526.

Inciarte 0-for-1 and hitting 276/364/310. Orr 0-for-2 and at 250/250/500.

Halladay got the start for the Phillies and went 4 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on eight hits and two walks. He retired the first four men he faced before Adam Lind doubled to left with one out in the second. Halladay walked the next two hitters on eight pitches, but struck Maicer Izturis and Emilio Bonifacio out back-to-back to leave them loaded. He allowed two runs in the third on four more hits, then gave up one single in a scoreless fourth. Two of the three batters he faced in the fifth singled before righty Hector Neris took over for the Phils.

Three of the 13 outs that Halladay got came on the bases. Two caught stealings and another runner was retired on a single.

6.06 ERA and a 1.84 ratio for Halladay. Opponents hit .323 against him. He walked nine in 16 1/3 innings, which is about 4.96 per nine and higher than his career walk rate of 1.86. Three home runs in 16 1/3 innings is about 1.65, which is also higher than his career rate of 0.75. Not a lot went well.

Through three starts, in the third of which he threw behind Washington’s Tyler Moore, Halladay had a 2.16 ERA and an 0.96 ratio and had pitched 8 1/3 innings. Since then he’s made three starts in which he’s thrown eight innings with a 10.12 ERA and 2.87 ratio.

Neris got the last two outs in the fifth and Cesar Jimenez struck out the side in the sixth.

Aumont threw a 1-2-3 seventh. 2.45 ERA and an 0.82 ratio in 7 1/3 innings. Opponents are hitting .120 against him without a home run.

Adams threw a 1-2-3 eighth. 1.13 ERA and an 0.63 ratio in eight innings. Opponents are hitting .143 against him with one walk and no home runs.

Papelbon set the Blue Jays down in order in the ninth. He’s been very good since a rocky start. Numbers are still ugly, though. 8.64 ERA with a 1.32 ratio.

The Phils play the Blue Jays tonight in Philadelphia with Lee expected to pitch. It’s the Blue Jays again on Saturday in another tuneup, then off on Sunday and the Braves for real in Atlanta Monday night.

This article from the Phillies web site has a projected Opening Day lineup against righty Tim Hudson. It has Brown in right hitting sixth and Nix in left hitting seventh. Three lefties two through four in Revere, Utley and Howard. I would guess we will not regularly see Revere, Utley and Howard hitting all in a row often during the regular season. If Domonic Brown continues to OPS 1.101 during the regular season, you won’t see him hitting sixth for very long.

This suggests the Phillies would rather play Brown in left field than right. That seems like a very good idea to me.

This suggests that when Delmon Young arrives, hopefully in early May, Young will play right with Brown in left. I’m going to be surprised if we see Young play much in right this year. If he does, I’m going to be even more surprised if he’s not terrible there.


Johnny B not-so-goode

The Blue Jays demolished John Lannan yesterday, scoring 12 runs charged to Lannan in his four innings on their way to a 13-4 win.

Down 13-0, the Phillies got on the board with four runs in the top of the ninth.

They had one extra-base hit in the game, a double by Frandsen in the ninth inning. Frandsen was 2-for-4 on the day and was also the only Phillie with more than one hit. Just one walk in 59 plate appearances and a 286/310/518 line. Frandsen walked in just 4.3% of his 210 plate appearances with the Phillies in 2012. If you’re not going to walk or play good defense, slugging .518 is the way to go.

Revere was 1-for-2 with a walk and a stolen base. 329/372/397 for the spring. Five walks in 79 plate appearances is 6.3%, which is a little better than his career mark of 5.4%.

Rollins 1-for-3. 292/452/417 in 24 at-bats. There’s a good chance he doesn’t on-base .452 for the regular season, but if he does I’m picking the Phillies to win the World Series.

Utley 0-for-4 and struck out once. Mayberry 0-for-4 and struck out twice. Mayberry’s line drops to an ugly 194/250/269.

Brown 0-for-3 and struck out three times. 354/414/646.

Kratz was 1-for-4 with a two-run single in the ninth-inning rally. 270/289/568 with six extra-base hits and 11 RBI in 38 plate appearances.

Lannan got the start for the Phillies and went four innings, allowing 12 runs on 14 hits and a walk. After a 1-2-3 first, Lannan allowed eight runs in a bottom of the second that included a three-run homer for JP Arencibia and a two-run triple by Jose Reyes. Toronto scored their ninth run in the third on three singles. Arencibia hit another homer off of Lannan in the fourth, this time a two-run shot, as Toronto scored three more times.

Lannan started the day with a 3.21 ERA and ended it with an 8.50 ERA. Opponents have hit .338 against him over 18 innings, cause 14 is a lot of hits to give up in four innings. He had pitched well prior before yesterday’s disaster.

Miner pitched the fifth. He allowed a leadoff homer to Melky Cabrera before getting the next three. One run in one inning keeps Miner’s ERA at nine after nine official appearances. Opponents have hit .364 against him.

Mike Adams allowed a leadoff walk to start the sixth, but struck out the next three hitters he faced. 1.29 ERA and an 0.71 ratio for Adams. He’s allowed four hits and a walk over seven innings.

Aumont threw a 1-2-3 seventh and Kyle Simon a 1-2-3 eighth. Aumont has allowed just three hits and three walks in 6 1/3 innings over six appearances. He seems like a lock to start the year with the Phils. Simon has allowed two runs in four innings over six appearances.

The Phillies play the Rays this afternoon.

This article suggests that Horst and Valdes are the front-runners for the two bullpen jobs with Aumont ahead of Stutes for the final spot. If the Phillies carry Stutes to start the season and do not carry Aumont I will be stunned.

Kendrick pitched in a minor league game on Monday and allowed five runs in six innings. He gave up three home runs in the game.

This article talks about who will lead off for the Phillies in 2013. I am going to be very surprised if Ben Revere leads off against left-handed pitchers.

Update: The Phillies released Aaron Cook.


Chase ups the pace

Chase Utley sprang to life offensively this weekend, hitting three home runs in two games as the Phils went 1-1. They beat Baltimore 13-4 on Saturday and lost 7-6 to the Red Sox yesterday.

Utley and Howard hit back-to-back homers in each of the game. Howard continues his fantastic spring, but Utley’s had been far less fantastic prior to this weekend’s explosion. He’s 5-for-his-last-8 with three home runs.

Boston beat the Phillies 7-6 yesterday.

Utley hit a two-run homer off of righty Noe Ramirez in the eighth inning, his third home run in two days. 3-for-4 with four RBI in the game. His line has soared to to 291/400/545.

Howard also homered, his seventh. 1-for-4 in the game. 329/364/700 for the spring. He has also homered two days in a row.

Revere was 2-for-3 with a walk, upping his line to 324/360/394.

Rollins was 0-for-2 and walked twice. 286/464/429.

Mayberry’s average dropped to .206 with an 0-for-2 day. 206/265/286.

Brown was 0-for-4 and is at 368/429/671.

Nix 0-for-3 to drop his line to 212/241/308.

Inciarte was 0-for-1 with an error. Mitchell appeared in right but did not get an at-bat in the game. 261/370/304 for Inciarte in 23 at-bats. Mitchell is hitting 269/321/577 in 26 at-bats — he was reassigned to minor league camp on Friday.

Lee started the game for the Phillies and allowed six runs on nine hits and no walks over 5 1/3 innings. Only four of the runs were earned and he struck out seven. Jackie Bradley hit a three-run homer off of him in the second. Singles by the first three Boston batters in the third led to three more runs, two of which were unearned due to an error by Rollins.

Opponents have hit .324 against Lee for the spring. He has a 5.94 ERA with a 1.68 ratio. Twenty-four hits, including four home runs, over 16 2/3 innings.

Papelbon got the last two outs of the sixth inning on a double-play, dropping his spring ERA to 11.37. He has been good after a miserable start.

Stutes allowed a walk and a single in a scoreless seventh. He got the first batter in the eighth and was replaced by Horst.

Stutes has walked eight in ten innings, which is too many. 8.10 ERA with a 1.80 ratio.

Horst got the last two outs in the eighth. He returned to pitch the ninth in a 6-6 game. He allowed singles to the first three men he faced in the ninth with the third, by Shannon Wilkerson, scoring Xander Boegarts, to put Boston up to stay at 7-6. The run was unearned due to an Inciarte error on the second single of the inning.

5.54 ERA and a 1.38 ratio for Horst. Fifteen hits, including four home runs, allowing in ten innings.

On Saturday they beat Baltimore 13-4.

Utley hit two home runs, both two-run shots off of Bruce Chen. 2-for-4 with four RBI on the day.

Howard 1-for-2 with a walk and his sixth home run.

Brown 2-for-4 with a three-run homer, his seventh.

Betancourt was 1-for-1 with a three-run homer, his first of the spring.

Eleven of the 13 runs scored on home runs.

Cook started the game for the Phillies and allowed two runs over 4 2/3 innings on four hits and no walks. The Phils jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the game before Cook allowed a two-run double to JJ Hardy in the bottom of the fourth to get Baltimore on the board.

Cook has a 3.38 ERA and a 1.23 ratio in official spring action. He leads team in innings pitched.

Aumont took over for Cook in the fifth, getting the final out in that frame. He came back for the sixth and allowed a run on a leadoff double and a walk, which upped his spring ERA to 3.38 as well. Opponents have hit just .158 against him in official spring action, but he has walked three in 5 1/3 innings.

Bastardo pitched a scoreless seventh to drop his ERA to 4.70.

Adams pitched the eighth and allowed a run on a single and a double, which plated the first run he’s been charged with the spring. 1.50 ERA and an 0.67 ratio in six innings.

JC Ramirez allowed three singles in the ninth, but kept the O’s off the board. 7.36 ERA with a 2.18 ratio in 3 2/3 innings. Opponents have hit .375 against him.

The Phillies released Yuniesky Betancourt, which makes it likely that Freddy Galvis and Kevin Frandsen will both make the team as bench players.

Roy Halladay was hit hard in a minor league start on Saturday, allowing 11 of 18 batters he faced to reach base.

The Phillies traded 22-year-old right-handed pitcher Julio Rodriguez to Baltimore for 25-year-old outfielder Ronnie Welty. Rodriguez made 29 appearances for Reading last year, 22 of which were starts, in which he threw to a 4.23 ERA with a 1.47 ratio, walking 76 in 134 innings. Wielty hits right-handed and has played primarily right field in the minors, posting a 284/359/468 line over 2,113 plate appearances.


Chase Utley, you are the walking man

In posts from last week I looked at the differences in the number of walks the Phillies drew in 2007, when they were the best team in the NL at drawing walks, and 2012, when their walk rate was 15th in the league.

In those posts I suggested there were four positions where the Phillies walked about the same number of times in 2007 as they had in 2012 — second base, right field, DH/pinch-hitter and pitcher.

At second base, Chase Utley’s walk rate of 11.9% in 2012 was higher than his walk rate of 8.2% in 2007. The problem was that Utley only got about 53.3% of the plate appearances at second in 2012. Galvis, Fontenot, Martinez and Orr combined to get the rest with Galvis getting about three times more than any of the other three. Galvis walked in just 2.8% of his 178 plate appearances as a second baseman for the Phils in 2012.

Like Jimmy Rollins, Utley has increased his walk rate in recent years.

Years PA BB%
2003-2008 3126 8.7
2009-2012 2014 11.6

The best year in recent history for the Phillies in terms of walks from their second basemen was 2009. Utley got about 94.1% of the PA for second basemen that year and walked in a career-high 12.8% of his chances. The team wound up at 12.4% at the position.

I can’t find a whole ton interesting about the walk rate of the pitchers or pinch-hitters/DHs. Phillies third baseman walked in a miserable 4.7% of their plate appearances in 2012, so it did seem worthwhile to check and make sure they walked more often than the pitchers. They did — the pitchers walked in 3.8% of their PA combined. In three of the last eight years, though, the pitchers for the Phils posted a walk rate near or above 4.7% for the season — they walked in 5.9% of their PA in 2006, 4.9% in 2008 and 4.6% in 2009.

That leaves us with the right fielders. In 2007 the right fielders for the Phillies walked in 9.0% of their plate appearances, which is just about the same as the 8.9% they walked in 2012. It’s been kind of a wild ride in between, though. Here are the walk rates for Phillies right fielders as a group over the last six seasons:

Year BB%
2012 8.9
2011 11.3
2010 11.4
2009 13.1
2008 9.4
2007 9.0

So, in 2012, the Phils RF wound up in about the same place they had been in 2007, but they had been up a lot higher than that in the years in-between.

In ’07, the Phillies got 743 PA in right. Of those, 482 (64.9%) went to Victorino and he walked in about 6.6% of them. Werth was the other major contributor — he walked in about 14.8% of his 223 plate appearances as a RF (about 30% of the team’s PA at the position).

Werth got the bulk of the PA from ’08 to ’10 as the walk rate at the position climbed. Werth walked in about 12.7% of his walks in those years combined.

In 2011, Ben Francisco, Domonic Brown and Hunter Pence all got around a third of the team’s PA in right field. All three walked a lot — Pence and Francisco each walked in about 11.1% of their chances and Brown walked in about 12.2% of his while playing right.

In 2012, Pence got about 64% of the Phillie plate appearances in right and walked in about 8.4% of them. Brown brought the number for the team up a little, getting about 22% of the PA in right and walking in about 11.3% of those chances.


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.


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