Tag: Gary Majewski

2009 one last time

We won’t have to wait that much longer to actually see who’s going to be on the Phillies opening day roster, so here’s my final guess.

Still looks like ten hitters we know for sure are on the squad:


Ryan Howard

2 Chase Utley
Jimmy Rollins

Pedro Feliz

Shane Victorino

Jayson Werth

Raul Ibanez

Carlos Ruiz
10 C
Eric Bruntlett

Greg Dobbs


Assuming the Phils start the year with 13 hitters, which I think they will, there are three spots left. One has to go to a catcher and another to a fourth outfielder.

The top candidates for the three spots look to include Marcus Giles, Miguel Cairo, Pablo Ozuna, Ronny Paulino, Chris Coste, John Mayberry, Matt Stairs and Geoff Jenkins.

Of the three spots, one has to go to either Paulino or Coste. Jenkins is a strong front-runner for the second. I think Jenkins is on the team as the fourth outfielder, partly because he’s harder to trade than Stairs because of his contract. He is also far better defensively.

One of Coste or Paulino has to make the team as the second catcher along with Ruiz. Both can be sent to the minors if they’re still in the organization when the season starts and both have been awful this spring. Paulino has hit just 185/267/333 in 27 at-bats. Coste has been slowed by injury and gone just 2-for-18 (.111) with two singles.

I’ve been saying all along that I thought Paulino would make the team. He has gotten a big chance this spring and done nothing with it. Multiple reports, including this one, suggest the Phillies are looking to trade Paulino. The linked article suggests Robert Andino as possible fruit of a Paulino trade. Ew. I would be a little surprised to see Paulino traded, I’ve been assuming Coste is the guy they want to trade. I’m going to flip on this one nonetheless and guess Coste at this point.

That leaves one spot for Cairo, Ozuna, Paulino, Giles, Mayberry or Stairs. I don’t think the Phils will keep three catchers, especially given how badly Paulino has hit this spring. Giles also got a chance, but he has hit just 182/289/273 in 33 at-bats this spring. Despite his solid 279/323/525 line this spring, I think Mayberry is going to the minors. His .323 on-base percentage shouldn’t be overlooked, given that his career on-base percentage in the minors is .330.

I would be more surprised to see the Phils keep Ozuna than Cairo. Ozuna has actually outhit Cairo. Pablo has been on fire this spring and put up a 364/432/455 line in 33 at-bats compared to an also impressive 302/348/535 line for Cairo over 43 at-bats. My guess is if it’s one or the other it will be Cairo rather than Ozuna, mostly just based on the fact that the Phils have given Cairo more time this spring.

That leaves Stairs. I would guess that he will not be with the organization when the season starts. If he is, though, he’s on the team, either in the spot I just gave to Cairo or as the 14th hitter with the Phils going with 11 pitchers.

Ten of the Phillies pitching spots are likely to be filled by these guys:


Cole Hamels (left)

Brett Myers (right)

Joe Blanton (right)

Jamie Moyer (left)

Ryan Madson (right)
Chan Ho Park (right)

Clay Condrey (right)

Scott Eyre (left)

Chad Durbin (right)

Brad Lidge (right)


In part because of the minor injury problems with Hamels and Park, I think the Phillies will go with 12 pitchers to start the season despite having three off-days before they play their eighth came of the season. Especially with Hamels having been unable to work up his pitch counts, I think the Phils will want to carry seven relievers.

I think Park won the fifth starter’s job this spring. I think Happ is still on the team to pitch out of the pen as the second lefty. That assumes the Phillies do not add another lefty before the start of the season.

That leaves one spot, assuming the Phils carry 12 pitchers. I think that goes to Majewski or Koplove and both have been very good this spring. Majewski has a 3.27 ERA and a 1.27 ratio in 11 innings. Koplove has pitched less, just 6 1/3 innings, but thrown to a 1.42 ERA with a 1.11 ratio. I think it’s interesting that Majewkski has thrown significantly more innings than Koplove, which may mean the Phils are leaning that way. I think Koplove has a better chance to make a significant positive contribution this season, though, so that’s the way I’ll guess.

That slot seems like it would be the one to go if the Phils carried just 11 pitchers, presumably with Stairs being the 14th hitter. The other issue is that if Stairs does get traded, the deal may bring in a player that will start the year with the team and take up a roster spot. That move would also presumably knock off Majewski or Koplove. It could also knock off Happ for the first few games of the season if he proved to be the winner of the fifth starter competition rather than a guy who will pitch out of the pen.

Here’s my guess then:

Hitters (13): Howard, Utley, Rollins, Feliz, Ibanez, Victorino, Werth, Ruiz, Bruntlett, Dobbs, Jenkins, Coste, Cairo.

Pitchers (12): Hamels, Myers, Blanton, Moyer, Park, Madson, Happ, Condrey, Eyre, Durbin, Koplove, Lidge.

The Phillies did not play yesterday. They play the Yankees today with Carlos Carrasco expected to pitch.

Philliesflow still has a Twitter page.

First pitch pitch

Getting ahead of the batter 0-1 instead of behind him 1-0 is hugely important for a pitcher. One way you can tell is by looking at the results of plate appearances in which the pitcher got ahead or behind.

The chart below shows the batting average and slugging percentage that batters hit to against the Phillies in plate appearances where the pitcher got behind 1-0 or ahead 0-1. Also included are the results of the plate appearances where the ball was put in play on the first pitch (no on-base percentage is included because a batter cannot walk on the first pitch of his plate appearance):


So it’s good to get ahead. Duh. The curious thing, of course, is that the chart makes it look like the pitcher is better off when the count is 1-0 than if the batter put the ball in play on the first pitch. I don’t think you want to jump to that conclusion, though. In the same way the batter can’t walk on the first pitch, he also can’t strike out. If you take all the strikeouts away from the plate appearances, opposing hitters hit .345 and slugged .551 against the Phils in ’08 when they got ahead 1-0.

I don’t want to profess to have any idea what goes through a pitcher’s head when delivering the first pitch of plate appearance. I would guess, though, that the intention is rarely to deliver ball one. I would also guess that it is, by a wide margin, to throw strike one rather than have the batter hit the ball in a way that creates an out — the consequence of that is putting the ball over the plate where it can be hit at a time the batter expects just that.

In 2008, 11 of the 16 NL teams saw batters hit to a lower OPS in the plate appearances where the pitcher got behind 1-0 than the plate appearances where the plate appearance was over with one pitch. The Phillies were one of the five teams that saw batters hit to a lower OPS in plate appearances that ended in one pitch.

The five teams that did put up a better OPS against the batters that got ahead of them 1-0 than the batters whose plate appearances ended on one pitch were the Phils, Dodgers, Rockies, Marlins and Braves. Every one of those teams, like the Phillies, still saw batters hit to a higher batting average and slugging percentage on the first pitch plate appearances than they did on the plate appearances when they got behind 1-0 (again, perhaps in large part because you cannot strike out on the first pitch).

So a lot of teams are getting hurt on their plate appearances that end on the first pitch, presumably for the benefit of getting ahead in the count. All of the teams in the NL did not benefit equally by getting ahead in the count, though. The table below lists, for each NL team, the OPS that opposing batters hit to against them in plate appearances when they got ahead and behind in the count:

Team 1-0 PA OPS 0-1 PA OPS Diff
HOU 2440 .908 2915 .611 .297
FLA 2678 .886 2890 .592 .294
MIL 2589 .855 2871 .583 .272
PHI 2554 .858 2897 .610 .248
ATL 2628 .868 2931 .645 .223
LAD 2478 .800 2951 .580 .220
SDP 2608 .829 2938 .609 .220
STL 2524 .857 2997 .644 .213
SFG 2710 .830 2956 .624 .206
PIT 2888 .892 2839 .693 .199
CIN 2636 .886 3055 .688 .198
CHI 2551 .784 2937 .586 .198
ARI 2332 .798 3038 .602 .196
COL 2640 .872 2944 .676 .196
NYM 2627 .820 2990 .627 .193
WSN 2676 .853 2925 .677 .176

So the Astros had the biggest difference in the OPS that batters who got ahead 1-0 put up against them and the batters who got behind 0-1. Batters who got ahead 1-0 hit 294/399/509 (.908 OPS) against them and batters who got behind 0-1 hit 222/265/345 (.611 OPS). The difference between the two is .297. At the other end of the list was the Nats, who saw hitters that got ahead hit 274/394/459 (.853) and hitters who got behind hit 248/293/384 (.677) — that difference still seems dramatic, but was the smallest of the 16 NL teams.

The Phillies, meanwhile, were near the top of the list in terms of the benefit they got by OPS by getting ahead of hitters on the first pitch. So at least they got something out of all those first-pitch home runs they gave up.

Yesterday the Phillies scored three runs in the top of the ninth to beat Toronto 7-6. They are 10-11 in spring training.

Park got the start for the Phils and allowed three runs over four innings on four hits and a walk. He struck out seven and has a spring ERA of 2.87. Durbin and Madson each threw a scoreless inning for the Phils. Majewski went two innings and allowed two runs on four hits and a walk, pushing his spring ERA up to 3.27.

Park has amazing strikeout and walk numbers this spring training. He’s thrown 15 2/3 innings and allowed one walk while striking out 18.

Back from the World Baseball Classic, Rollins and Victorino were atop the lineup for the Phils. They both went 0-for-2 with a walk. Cairo was 1-for-1 with a walk. He’s hitting .303 this spring. Coste was at DH for the Phils and went 1-for-4 to raise his spring average to .111. Werth was 2-for-3 with his fourth spring home run. Utley hit his first, a two-run shot in the seventh. He’s hitting .278.

The Phillies do not play today.

Can’t tell the players without a program (and they sometimes look kind of similar even with a program)

For bullpen candidates Dave Borkowski, Gary Majewski and Mike Koplove, here’s the percentage of hitters over their careers who have struck out, walked or been hit by a pitch, hit a fly ball, ground ball, line drive or bunted:


Majewski has actually had a higher percentage of the batters he’s faced hit ground balls than Koplove. He’s also struck people out less regularly than Koplove (and walked them less frequently), though, and the rate at which he’s given up fly balls is much higher than the rate for Koplove. If you look just at the batters that don’t walk or strike out, Koplove’s ground ball rate is a little better. Of the batters they’ve faced that did not walk or strike out, Koplove has gotten 51.7% of those batters to hit a ground ball while Majewski has gotten 49.4% of them to hit a ground ball.

Still, though, when you factor in all of the hitters, Majewski has been more likely to get a hitter to hit the ball on the ground than Koplove over his career.

Here’s what right-handed batters have done against the three over their careers:


Koplove clearly has the best numbers against righties of the group.

Here’s what they’ve done against lefties:


The average and slugging are still impressive for Koplove against lefties, but the on-base percentage takes a huge hit. Over his career, Koplove has faced 620 right-handed hitters and walked just 26 of them — that’s about 4.2%. He’s walked 77 of the 465 left-handed hitters he’s faced, which is about 16.6%. That’s too many.

Lefties have hit 294/385/472 against Borkowski over his career, which makes him tough to use against left-handed batters.

Oddly, by OPS, Majewski has been a little better against lefties than righties over his career. Righties have hit 309/368/438 (.806 OPS) against him while lefties have hit 291/367/420 against him (.787). Of the three he has also faced lefties with the least regularity — 40.5% of the hitters he’s faced have been left-handed compared to 42.9% for Koplove and 44.3% for Borkowski.

Yesterday the Phils and Blue Jays played to a 7-7 tie. The Phils are 7-10 with one tie in spring training.

Happ got the start and went four innings, allowing three runs on three hits and a walk. Happ gave up two home runs in the game, a two-run shot Brad Emaus and a solo homer to Jason Lane. Majewski followed Happ and threw two innings, allowing a run on two hits and a walk to raise his spring ERA to 2.00. The Phillies led 7-4 to start the top of the ninth, but Joe Bisenius gave up three runs in the frame.

Jayson Werth broke a 4-4 tie in the bottom of the seventh with a three-run homer. He was 2-for-4 on the day and is hitting .357 this spring. Cairo went 0-for-5 to drop his average to .303. Donald 0-for-1. Coste 0-for-2 with two strikeouts and was twice hit by a pitch. He’s 0-for-8 in spring training. Paulino is hitting .200 after going 0-for-3. Mayberry went 1-for-3 with a single.

The Phillies play the Marlins today.

The Phillies have three off-days between their first game of the regular season and their eighth game of the regular season. All that rest could allow them to carry just 11 pitchers to start the year, a possibility Manuel talks about here.

Roundtable discussion of Phillies bloggers at We Should be GM’s.

Ski trip

Chan Ho Park has been impressive in the battle for the fifth starter job so far this spring. If he were to win the job it would open another spot in the bullpen and righties Mike Koplove, Gary Majewski and Dave Borkowski would be among the top contenders for the opening.

That’s a lot of skis and it can be tough to tell them apart.

Majewski is 29-years-old. Koplove and Borkowski are both 32.

Koplove basically hasn’t pitched in the majors in the last three years, throwing just nine innings. Borkowski and Majewski have both thrown at least 23 innings in each of the past three seasons.

Borkowski has started 21 games in his career. His most recent start came in 2004. Majewski and Koplove have only worked in relief.

All three have been very good in spring training so far. Here are their numbers:









0 2 3 4


0 1 1 5


1 5 1 6


And here are the career numbers for the three pitchers:
































Koplove has the best career numbers, but he’s hardly pitched in the majors over the past three seasons. Here’s is what the three have done over the past three years:






























All three have some ugly numbers. Advantage Koplove, though, for not pitching much. He didn’t pitch at all in 2008 and threw six innings for the Indians in ’07 and three for Arizona in ’06.

Here’s what opposing batters have done against them over their careers:

Borkowski 1564 .285 .357 .469 25.1 9.5 16.9 9.4 3.1
Koplove 1085 .246 .331 .359 21.3 9.5 16.1 5.7 1.8
Majewski 1092 .302 .367 .430 26.6 8.2 13.0 7.6 1.6

Despite being about three years older than Majewski, Koplove has faced about the same number of hitters over his career.

Majewski has issued walks less regularly than Koplove or Borkowski over his career, but has also struck batters out at a lower rate. Borkowski, who has spent the last three years pitching in Houston, has allowed extra-base hits and home runs at a much higher rate than the other two.

Borkowski has pitched seven seasons and never posted an ERA+ of 100 or better.

Majewski was solid in 2004 and 2005, throwing 107 innings with a 3.11 ERA and a 1.40 ratio. He has struggled since, throwing to a 7.14 ERA over the past two seasons after an uninspired 2006. .302 is a lot for opponents to hit against you over your career — it’s a little worrisome when your ratio is 1.40 when you’re at your best.

Koplove was effective from 2001 through 2004. He threw 196 innings for Arizona, pitching to a 3.44 ERA and a 1.28 ratio in those years combined. He was hit hard in 2005, putting up a 5.07 ERA and hasn’t pitched more than six innings in a season since.

Yesterday the Phils beat the Reds 8-1 to improve to 7-10 in spring training.

Myers was fantastic. He went 5 2/3 shutout innings. He allowed four hits and didn’t walk a batter. He struck out seven. Borkowski finished off the sixth for him, walking a batter before getting a strikeout to end the inning. Durbin and Condrey each pitched a scoreless frame to keep their spring ERAs at 0.00.

Mayberry had two more hits, going 2-for-5 with a double. Ozuna 1-for-1 with an RBI. Cairo 0-for-1. Giles’s average is down to .143 after an 0-for-2. Ibanez was 2-for-3 with a double and a walk. Stairs was 1-for-4 with a double and three RBI.

The Phillies play the Blue Jays this afternoon. JA Happ is expected to pitch.

Team USA eliminated Puerto Rico last night with a dramatic win in the World Baseball Classic. Trailing 5-3 in the bottom of the ninth, Victorino started the inning with a single off of JC Romero. Brian Roberts moved Victorino to second with another single off Romero. Romero got Derek Jeter to fly out for the first out before walking Jimmy Rollins to load the bases with one down and the US team down by two runs. Fernando Cabrera replaced Romero and walked Kevin Youkilis to force in a run. 5-4 with the bases still loaded. David Wright singled to right, scoring Roberts and Rollins and giving the US a 6-5 win.

Rollins was 0-for-2 with two walks in the game. Victorino 3-for-4 with an RBI. Romero went 2/3 of an inning for Puerto Rico and was charged with three runs on two hits and a walk. For the tournament, Romero made three appearances. In 2 2/3 innings he allowed three runs on four hits and a walk.

The US plays Venezuela tonight in a non-elimination game.

Mexico was eliminated from the World Baseball Classic with a 7-4 loss to Cuba on Monday night. Rodrigo Lopez did not pitch in the game. He made two appearances in the tournament, allowing a run over two innings on two hits and a walk.

Rich Dubee says it’s a long shot that Hamels will pitch on opening day. I would guess that Hamels isn’t a long shot in the same way that you and I are, though.

This offers encouraging news about Hamels’ elbow.

And not just that, but the hide-your-eyes per nine innings for Kendrick continues to skyrocket

Yesterday I mentioned that Chan Ho Park lowered his walk rate last year compared to his career numbers while pitching mostly in relief for LA. That’s a good sign, because overall relief pitchers tend to walk more hitters than starting pitcher.

Here’s how many walks per nine innings NL starters and relievers have issued over the past five seasons, along with the numbers for the Phillies:


As you can see, the blue lines for the NL walk rates are pretty stable, with the relievers consistently walking more hitters than the starters. The lines for the Phillies flail about a little more. Phillies starters actually walked batters at a higher rate than their relievers in 2004 — that season the Phils relievers were outstanding at preventing walks, they had the third best rate in the NL, while the starting pitchers were closer to the league average.

Finally, the tremendous success of the 2008 bullpen wasn’t built on preventing walks. The ’08 pen actually walked batters at a rate slightly higher than the league average. They did manage to reduce the walk rate significantly from 2007, however.

Kyle Kendrick. Kyle Kendrick did not have a good day yesterday. He got bombed for the second straight outing as the Phils lost to the Braves 12-10. The Phillies are 4-7 in spring training.

Coming off a weak start on Friday where he was charged with four runs in 2 2/3 innings, Kendrick went three innings yesterday and allowed eight runs on ten hits and a walk. Over his last two starts he’s allowed 12 earned runs on 15 hits and a walk in 5 2/3 innings. That’s a 19.06 ERA and a 2.82 ratio.

Yesterday Clint Sammons hit two home runs off of him, a two-run homer in the second and a solo shot in the fourth. Kendrick started the fourth down 4-1 and failed to retire any of the four batters he faced in the inning before being pulled.

Kendrick is likely to get three more starts in spring training. But if he ever was in the driver seat for the fifth starter job he’s knocked himself way, way out of it and into a deep hole. To have a chance now he’s going to have to pitch a whole lot better than he has been and he’s also going to need Happ and Park, especially Park, to pitch worse.

Assuming that doesn’t happen, with Eyre as the sole lefty in the pen, unless the Phillies add another left-handed reliever before the start of the season I think Happ goes to the pen. That would make Park the fifth starter and open another (Park’s) spot in the bullpen. Gary Majewski, Dave Borkowski and Mike Koplove look to me to be the prime contenders for the extra spot in the pen if one opened. All three pitchers in the group have pitched well, but Koplove is the favorite in my eyes if one them makes the team. Majewski and Borkowski both pitched yesterday. Majewski was charged with two runs on three hits in an inning (only one of the runs was earned) to put his ERA at 1.29. Borkowski allowed a hit in a scoreless eighth to keep his official spring ERA at 0.00 — he’s allowed two hits in 3 2/3 innings this spring without walking a batter. He also threw a perfect inning against Team Canada last Wednesday, which doesn’t count towards his official stats.

Koplove, meanwhile, did not pitch yesterday but has tossed three innings without allowing a run or a hit. He has walked one.

Offensively, Mayberry homered again for the Phillies. He hit a solo shot in the fourth off of Jo-Jo Reyes and finished the day 2-for-3. Donald had another fantastic day as well, going 3-for-4 to raise his spring average to .379. Giles 0-for-2 with a walk. Cairo was 1-for-2 with a solo homer in the ninth.

Team USA lost to Venezuela yesterday, 5-3. Rollins was 0-for-4 with a walk and Victorino 1-for-2. It’s on to round two for the US team. They will play Puerto Rico on Saturday. Venezuela plays the Netherlands, also on Saturday.

Mexico beat Australia 16-1. Harman went 0-for-2. Drew Naylor got one out and was charged with three runs on two hits and a walk. Rodrigo Lopez pitched for Mexico in relief. He threw a perfect 1 1/3 innings, striking out two. Australia was eliminated with the loss. Harman went 3-for-9 with three singles and a walk in their three games. Naylor’s only action came against Mexico. Mexico plays Cuba today to determine the winner of Pool B, but both teams will advance to the second round and play either Japan (today’s winner) or Korea (today’s loser).

Puerto Rico beat the Netherlands 5-0 to win Pool D. Romero did not pitch.

Manuel talks about the possibility of keeping a veteran like Stairs or Cairo and letting Donald and Mayberry start the year in the minors in this article.

Feliz, Lidge and Durbin all played in an intrasquad game yesterday. The linked article also says that Manuel thinks Utley will play in a game next week.

The Phillies play Tampa Bay this afternoon. Happ is expected to pitch.

Right light

Replacing Pat Burrell with Raul Ibanez almost surely means the Phils will be seeing more left-handed pitching in 2009. If we look back at the NL teams from 2008, here’s how many plate appearances they had and how many of their plate appearances came against lefties and righties:

Team PA v L PA v R Total PA % v L % v R
ATL 2004 4364 6368 31.5 68.5
SD 1959 4285 6244 31.4 68.6
STL 1971 4399 6370 30.9 69.1
CIN 1913 4275 6188 30.9 69.1
PHI 1902 4371 6273 30.3 69.7
NYM 1880 4508 6388 29.4 70.6
WAS 1816 4376 6192 29.3 70.7
LA 1806 4388 6194 29.2 70.8
MIL 1740 4512 6252 27.8 72.2
ARI 1662 4494 6156 27.0 73.0
CHI 1696 4688 6384 26.6 73.4
FLA 1620 4586 6206 26.1 73.9
HOU 1572 4479 6051 26.0 74.0
SF 1583 4562 6145 25.8 74.2
COL 1574 4738 6312 24.9 75.1
PIT 1506 4772 6278 24.0 76.0

Three NL teams, the Braves, Padres and Reds, all 1) had more plate appearances than the Phillies against lefties in 2008 2) had a higher percentage of their plate appearances come against lefties 3) had fewer plate appearances against righties and 4) had a lower percentage of their plate appearances come against righties.

Three of those things are true for the Cardinals as well, but the number of plate appearances that St Louis had against righties was higher than the number of plate appearances that the Phillies had against righties.

In 2008, the average NL team got 6,250 plate appearances. About 28.2% of them came against lefties and about 71.8% of them came against righties.

While the Phillies did see a lot of lefties in 2008, they weren’t in the top quarter of the league in either the number of plate appearances they had against lefties or the percentage of their plate appearances that came against lefties. That seems likely to change in 2009, so if you know of any good right-handed hitters available I wouldn’t wait much longer.

The Phillies signed 28-year-old right-handed reliever Gary Majewski to a minor league contract. Majewski will be a long shot to make the team out of spring training. It currently looks as if there is no spot available in the bullpen — if one opened, Majewski and fellow veteran righty Mike Koplove would likely be in the mix for the spot.

Majewski was good for Montreal and Washington in 2004 and 2005. In those two seasons combined, he threw to a 3.11 ERA over 107 innings. He’s always allowed a lot of base runners, though, even in ’04 and ’05 his ratio for those seasons combined was 1.40.

Since 2005, he’s thrown to a 5.81 ERA 133 1/3 innings with a 1.70 ratio.

The Reds put him on the DL with a sore shoulder after trading for him in 2006, causing some problems.

At ALStradeup.com, Ed Foley started with a 2007 Charlie Manuel baseball card and is trying to trade it enough times for enough other stuff that he donates to ALS research to get the Phillies to let him throw out the first pitch at a game.

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