Tag: Delmon Young

Not for Nuding the Phils would still be sadly winless

The Phillies won their first spring training game in four tries yesterday, topping the Yankees 4-3.

No Phillie had more than one hit in the game. Down 1-0 in the sixth, Rollins walked with one out and scored on a double by Frandsen to tie the game at 1-1. The Phils trailed 3-1 when they hit in the seventh. Brown hit a solo homer to cut the lead to 3-2. Cody Asche doubled with two outs and Tommy Joseph followed that with a two-run homer to left that put the Phils up to stay.

Brown’s homer was pretty and went real far. Look. Now if we can just get Zach Nuding to start 35 games or so for the Nats or Braves we should be all set.

Howard was 1-for-2 with a walk. Michael Young remains hitless after an 0-for-3, he’s 0-for-8 so far. Revere is 1-for-6 with an error on the spring after an 0-for-3 with a strikeout. Mayberry 0-for-7 with three strikeouts in the early going after going 0-for-1 with a strikeout yesterday.

Kendrick started the game for the Phils allowed a first-inning run on a double and a single. He threw a scoreless second and was followed by Aaron Cook, who tossed two scoreless frames.

Durbin, Cesar Jimenez and Horst all threw a scoreless inning. Horst started the ninth with a one-run lead and got the save. He gave up back-to-back hits with two outs and nobody on, putting runners on first and third, but got someone named Cito Culver, who is 20-years-old and slugged .283 at Single-A in 2012, on a fly ball to right to end the game. Culver was a first-round pick in 2010 draft, taken by the Yankees in that round ahead of some people you may have heard more about, like Taijuan Walker, Nick Castellanos, Chance Ruffin and Mike Olt.

Look for the Phillies to take Culver in the 2019 Rule V draft and give him 587 plate appearances as their starting shortstop. You heard it here first.

After Kendrick’s run in the first inning, the only other Phillie pitcher who was scored on in the game was Zach Miner. Miner threw a scoreless sixth. He returned for the seventh with the game tied at 1-1 and yielded a pair of runs on a one-out single that was followed by a home run.

Not a great day for Zachs. Miner and Nuding combined to go three innings in the game, allowing five earned runs on six hits, three of which were home runs.

Second official appearance for Miner. He’s allowed four runs, three of which are earned, on six hits over three innings.

Chase Utley was scratched from yesterday’s lineup due to wet weather conditions.

Delmon Young suggests that his ankle problems significantly impacted his performance during the last two season. That’s discussed in this blog post.

This suggests that Mike Adams could pitch tomorrow, which would be earlier than expected.

Lannan is expected to pitch this afternoon as the Phils face the Twins.


Play ball! Not especially well, but whatever!

The Phillies have played three games since the last post. They played an intrasquad game on Friday, Houston on Saturday and Detroit on Sunday.

Yesterday the Phils and Tigers played to a 5-5 tie in ten innings. Howard was 2-for-3 with a pair for doubles. Frandsen also had two hits, including a solo home run in the fourth inning. Domonic Brown got just one at-bat in the game, but hit a solo home run pinch-hitting for Ruf in the top of the eighth to tie the game at 5-5. Ruf was 0-for-3 with a strikeout.

Pitching-wise, Halladay was the story of the game as he allowed one run on one hit, a solo homer by Victor Martinez, over two innings. Rodrigo Lopez threw three scoreless innings late in the game, striking out three. Bastardo, Savery and Justin Friend all tossed a scoreless inning. Savery got out of his inning with the help of a double-play after allowing two singles in the frame.

JC Ramirez and Diekman had less luck. Ramirez was charged with three runs in the fourth on a walk, two singles and a double. Diekman pitched the fifth and allowed a run. He gave up a leadoff walk and the pinch-runner came around to score on a two-out single after stealing second.

In 2012 with the Phillies, Diekman walked 20 in 27 1/3 innings.

On Saturday the Phils made four errors as they lost 8-3 to the Astros. Ruf’s was the most memorable, misplaying a single to allow an extra base, as his first chance to impress with his defense in left didn’t go so well. Kratz, Martinez and Revere also had errors in the game.

Pete Orr hit a solo home run for the Phils. Yuniesky Betancourt started at short and was the only Phillie with more than one hit. He went 2-for-3 with a pair of singles.

Hamels was rather impressive, throwing two shutout innings to start the game. He allowed just one hit, an infield single, and threw just ten pitches. Rosenberg was next and was hit hard, allowing two runs on five hits and a walk in two frames. Zach Miner allowed two runs on three hits in the fifth, only one of which was earned due to Revere’s error in center. Horst allowed a run over two innings and De Fratus was charged with single runs in both the eighth and the ninth, walking a batter early in both frames.

On Friday, Ruf was 2-for-2 with a pair of doubles and Brown 1-for-2 with a double in the intrasquad game. Lefty Adam Morgan also threw two scoreless frames.

Over two official spring training games, Ender Inciarte is 1-for-1 with a single and two walks. Ut oh. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

The Phillies traded Michael Schwimer to the Blue Jays for first baseman Art Charles. Charles is 22 and hits left-handed. He’s spent three years in the low minors, hitting .239, but with a 101 walks and 28 home runs in 706 plate appearances. 239/358/482 so far in the minor leagues.

The Phillies signed 24-year-old left-handed hitting 1B/3B/LF Austin Gallagher to a minor league deal and released Andres Blanco. Gallagher hasn’t made it to Double-A yet, but has hit 285/360/430 over 2,173 plate appearances at various stops in the Dodgers organization. He will begin to serve a 50-game suspension for taking a banned substance on April 1.

Delmon Young will see a doctor this week in the hopes of being cleared for more activity.

The Phillies play the Tigers this afternoon with Cliff Lee expected to pitch.


Young at hurt

Multiple articles at the end of last week raised doubts that Delmon Young would be able to start the year on the active roster for the Phillies.

This suggests he could miss much or all of April.

That puts a dent in my efforts to guess who the hitters are who will start the year with the Phillies. You can see the post about my most recent guess, from the end of January, here.

Here’s how I thought the guys on the team and other candidates looked at that point:

Other candidates
1 Kratz D Ruf
2 Howard H Quintero
3 Utley S Lerud
4 Rollins K Frandsen
5 M Young E Inciarte
6 Nix T Gillies
7 Revere L Collier
8 Brown J Mitchell
9 Mayberry C Hernandez
10 Galvis M Martinez
11 D Young P Orr
12 A Blanco
13 J Fields
J Mather
T Joseph
C Asche

I had guessed that Quintero and Frandsen would fill out the two remaining spots, assuming the Phils go into the year with 13 hitters.

Since then, in addition to the news that there’s a good chance Delmon Young will start the season on the DL, the Phillies have added Yuniesky Betancourt, who will be in camp as a non-roster invitee, and signed second baseman Matt Tolbert to a minor league deal.

Here’s how I think the locked up slots look now on the hitter side:

Other candidates
1 Kratz D Ruf
2 Howard F Galvis
3 Utley D Young
4 Rollins Y Betancourt
5 M Young H Quintero
6 Nix S Lerud
7 Revere K Frandsen
8 Brown E Inciarte
9 Mayberry T Gillies
10 L Collier
11 J Mitchell
12 C Hernandez
13 M Martinez
P Orr
A Blanco
J Fields
J Mather
T Joseph
C Asche

I moved Galvis and Delmon Young from the column on the left to the column on the right and added Betancourt to the list of candidates.

If those nine players are truly on the team and the Phils start the year with 13 hitters, that leaves them four open spots.

Of those four, one would have to be filled by a backup catcher and the other by someone who can backup short.

I still think Quintero beats out Lerud to be the backup catcher.

I’d also guess Galvis gets a roster spot to backup short, beating out competition for the job that would presumably include Betancourt, Blanco and Martinez.

I would still guess that one slot goes to Frandsen. Not sure the Phillies need him, but I’m guessing they were impressed with his .338 batting average from last year.

That leaves one slot. Of the 12 slots I’ve filled, four are filled with outfielders — Revere, Brown, Nix and Mayberry. If Delmon Young is healthy it seems clear to me that he’s the final guy. Based on what we read at the end of last week, it sounds like that’s not going to happen. I think that means that Ruf gets the final spot and starts the year with the team.

It seems like the key issue there is whether or not the Phillies truly believe that Mayberry can backup center field. As a Phillie fan, I don’t think you want to see Mayberry spend much more time playing center. I’d guess they will feel okay with that, though, and give the final spot to Ruf. If Revere gets hurt it’s going to be a big problem, but the Phils are, hopefully, going to need to solve it by acquiring or calling up another center fielder, not by giving Mayberry defensive innings there.

Anyway — four slots left based on my table above. My guesses are Galvis, Quintero, Frandsen and Ruf. That would give the Phillies 13 hitters — Kratz, Quintero, Howard, Utley, Rollins, Michael Young, Brown, Mayberry, Revere, Nix, Galvis, Frandsen and Ruf.

Michael Schwimer is still in the mix for the Phils, but I’m going be pretty surprised if we see him pitch a whole lot for the team in 2013.

This article reviews the backup catching options. Humberto Quintero is an elite defensive player — I think that’s why the Phillies acquired him and that’s why I think he’ll win the job. He’s a really bad hitter.

Freddy Galvis doesn’t care what people think of him.


Maybe we should try asking him to play both corner outfield positions

The most recent post suggested that there are two positions where the total number of walks the Phillies drew in 2012, when they were terrible at drawing walks overall, was better than it was in 2007, when the Phillies were very good at drawing walks. One was center field and the other was shortstop.

Shortstop for the Phils is all about Jimmy Rollins and has been for years. He got about 95% of the team’s plate appearances as a shortstop in 2012 and just over 99% in 2007. For years we had been pleading with Jimmy Rollins to improve his walk rate. Not sure everybody noticed, but he did.

Through the end of the 2009 season, J-Roll had one year in his career in which he walked in 8% or more of his plate appearances (9.3% in 2008). Over the last three years his lowest walk rate is 8.9%. Here are his career numbers through 2009 and for 2010-2012:

PA BB%
2000-2009 6512 7.2
2010-2012 1724 9.3

From 2003 to 2007, the Phillies were either first or second in the NL in walk rate in every season. Rollins was the everyday guy at shortstop, walking in the same 7.2% of his plate appearances as his career mark for walk rate going into 2010.

So even when the Phillies were an elite walking team, they didn’t draw a ton of walks at the position. They’re no longer an elite group of walkers, but they are getting more walks from short because Rollins has improved his rate.

Center field is the other position where the Phils drew more walks in 2012 than they did in 2007. Again, the issue there is that their walk rate in center was pretty low in 2007. Rowand was miserable at drawing walks in 2006, walking in just about 4.1% of his plate appearances in center. He got better in ’07, getting the vast majority of the PA at the position and walking in about 6.9% of his chances to help get the team’s rate up to 7.0%. Led by Victorino, the team has been in the 8% range over the past four years and were at 8.5% in 2012. Victorino walked in just 8.1% of his PA with the Phils in ’12, his worst mark since 2008, but the Phils got up to 8.5% at the position with some unexpected help from Mayberry. You probably don’t think of Mayberry as a walk machine, but he walked in about 9.7% of his 227 plate appearances as a center fielder in 2012.

Delmon Young is coming off of surgery on his right ankle. Amaro suggests that he might not be able to play in games competitively until the middle of March in this article. The same article suggests that Valdes and Stutes could both be near 100%.


You guys will fit right in

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So it’s been a good run.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


From worse to bad

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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