Tag: Greg Golson

Second helpings

It might not be till we’re well into the 2010 season, but I think that when the batting order settles down for the Phillies it will go Rollins, Victorino, Utley, Howard, Werth, Ibanez, Polanco, Ruiz. In this article, though, Manuel seems to suggest that the Phillies may start the season with Polanco hitting second and Victorino hitting sixth or seventh.

I think he’ll change his mind before 2010 is over. Either way, are the Phillies better off with Polanco or Victorino hitting second?

If you were to make the decision based solely on their numbers from last season, Victorino was clearly the better hitter and the better choice to fill the two-hole in the order. Victorino hit 292/358/445, topping Polanco’s 285/331/396 line for the year in all three categories.

One of Polanco’s biggest problems in 2009 was that he didn’t hit left-handed pitching. At all. Both Polanco and Victorino have been good hitters against lefties over their career — Polanco has a 316/357/462 line against them for his career and Victorino is at 288/357/479. Polanco struggled against them in 2009, though. He played a full season and hit a weak 266/304/434 against left-handed pitching while Victorino pounded away to the tune of 314/385/459.

Given how much better Polanco’s career line against left-handed pitching is than the numbers he put up last season, it sure seems likely he’ll bounce back against lefties in 2010. Lets’ hope so, especially if he’s going to be hitting second against them.

The chart below shows numbers for Victorino and Polanco for ’09 and for their careers along with the average numbers for #2, #6 and #7 hitters in the NL last season (although I don’t think you’re going to see a lot of lineups in ’10 that include Utley, Howard, Werth and Ibanez with none of those players hitting second that would have Victorino hitting sixth). They are ordered by OPS.

Victorino ’09 292 358 445 803
284 347 428 775
303 348 414 762
NL #6 ’09 273 333 423 756
NL #2 ’09 273 337 405 742
Polanco ’09 285 331 396 727
NL #7 ’09 255 319 401 719

So, again, Polanco didn’t have a good 2009. He was outhit by the average NL #2 hitter while Victorino was a lot better than the average #2 hitter. On the other hand, over their careers both players have been better than the average #2 hitter was in the NL in 2009.

The biggest question we’re going to get at least part of an answer to in 2010 is whether the weak ’09 season for Polanco is a fluke or part of a trend. While he and Victorino have very similar numbers over their careers I think it’s very reasonable to expect that Victorino will be the more productive offensive player the rest of the way. Here’s the percentage of plate appearances in which the two have gotten hits, walks or extra-base hits over the past three seasons:


Year % H % BB % XBH % H % BB % XBH
2007 31.2 5.8 7.5 25.1 7.3 7.5
2008 28.3 5.6 7.2 26.6 7.2 8.3
2009 26.1 5.3 6.7 26.1 8.6 8.9

For each of the three categories Polanco’s numbers are down in 2008 and 2009 compared to the previous year. The numbers aren’t as dramatic for Victorino, but his numbers have generally been getting better.

Important to remember is that Polanco had a monster season in 2007, probably the best of his career. He hit a career-high .341 and on-based a career-high .388. So there was a lot of room to fall. In terms of the percentage of plate appearances in which they got a hit or a walk, Polanco buried Victorino in 2007. It was very close in 2008 — 33.86% for Polanco and 33.81% for Victorino with more of Victorino’s hits going for extra-bases. In 2009, Victorino sailed past Polanco. We’ll see if it’s for good or not.

Ben Sheets signed a one-year, $10 million contract with Oakland. The linked article also says that Greg Golson is now a Yankee.

Charlie Manuel has lost about sixty pounds.

MLB.com announced it’s list of the top 50 prospects, which includes Domonic Brown at 14 and Phillippe Aumont at 47 (that link is unusually interesting and includes video of the players). Michael Taylor is 35 and Kyle Drabek 17.

Golson set

The Phillies traded Greg Golson to the Texas Rangers for John Mayberry, a right-handed corner outfielder who turns 25 next month. The Rangers took Mayberry with the 19th pick in the first round of the 2005 draft. Golson was taken by the Phillies in the first round of the 2004 draft, but is about two years younger than Mayberry. Golson turned 23 in September.

Both of these guys are going to need to figure out how to get on base to have a career. Mayberry has a career .330 on-base percentage in the minor leagues while Golson’s is .309. Golson plays center field, though, and has a couple more years to develop.

In 764 at-bats above A-ball, Mayberry has hit 257/314/471, with 34 home runs, 54 walks and 168 strikeouts. That’s not a huge strikeout rate. Mayberry is a monster physically, 6′ 6″ and 230 pounds — it’s nice to see he’s kept his strikeouts under control. The .314 on-base percentage as he turns 25 is a big problem, though. Strikeouts are an issue for Golson, who whiffed 130 times in 426 at-bats at Double-A for the Phils last year in what is his most promising pro season to date.

Mayberry put up a .474 slugging percentage in 437 at-bats in the PCL last season. Sounds nice, but a little less nice in the context of the rest of the PCL– his .474 was 40th in the league. Val Pascucci, another right-handed hitter who the Phillies released in April of 2008, for example, hit 290/410/553 with 27 homers in 396 at-bats in the PCL in ’08.

My reaction to the trade is mostly surprise. I think Golson could still develop, but if he does it’s not going to be for several years. I worried the Phillies saw him as someone that could help them in the next year or so. Given his age and athletic ability it’s far too early to give up on him. Glad to see the Phillies add a potentially big right-handed bat to the organization in Mayberry, an area where they need a lot of help. I do find some comfort in the trade knowing that it ensures that Golson will not be seeing any time with the Phils in the immediate future.

I would guess there is close to zero chance Mayberry starts the season with the Phillies, but I think he is a lot closer to helping them than Golson was.

Elsewhere, Chase Utley will have hip surgery and probably miss the start of the season. Jason Donald appears to be a candidate to see time at second to start the season. You would have to think that the Phils would consider bringing back Iguchi as well. I’d rather see them bring back Iguchi (or another veteran free agent) than take a chance on Donald at this point.

2009 on the mind

Back to the managers soon.

I put up the 2009 Phillies page, where I will track my best guess at who will be on the ’09 squad.

It looks to me like there are seven spots open for next year, three for pitchers and four for hitters.

Of the pitcher’s spots, two are in the starting rotation behind Hamels, Myers and Blanton. Jamie Moyer looks like a good bet to take one of them. I would still call Kendrick the front-runner for the #5 spot, with Happ behind him and Eaton way, way behind both of them.

The other spot appears to be for a right-handed relief pitcher. Romero and Eyre look likely to handle the left-handed duties, joining righties Lidge, Madson, Condrey and Durbin in the pen. That leaves one spot, and I’m guessing it goes to a righty veteran reliever not currently with the organization. It could be Gordon or Seanez, but I would still go with field as a better guess at this point.

The bigger questions are with the offense. I think there’s a good chance the Phils will bring back Burrell. They should try and I think they will. His absence would leave a huge gap in the lineup, leaving Werth as the best right-handed hitter on the team. Werth is great, but the second-best right-handed hitter on the team would be Feliz, which is not great. Again, we’ll have to cut Feliz at least a little break what with winning the World Series and whatnot.

The emergence of Werth as an everyday player has created a problem for the Phillies with a lack of right-handed options off the bench. They went out of their way to demonstrate this by starting Chris Coste as their DH in the World Series. I think you can argue that the Phillies need two right-handed hitters, a big one, like Burrell, to play left, and another to backup the outfield and hit off the bench. The Phillies had a problem with not having enough right-handed hitters last year and that was with Burrell.

The Phillies either need Burrell back or they need a big right-handed bat in his place. Might as well just make it Burrell. I would be surprised if they traded for or signed an expensive right-handed free agent to play left field that wasn’t Burrell. My guess is that one of the four remaining offensive slots will be taken either by Burrell or a cheap right-handed hitter who can play left field and will play often.

That leaves three spots — one catcher spot behind Ruiz, one more outfielder and another bench spot that will probably be taken by a fifth outfielder.

With Victorino, Werth and Burrell (or his replacement) in the outfield, the Phillies don’t look like they have room for all of Stairs, Jenkins and Golson. I think a disaster scenario for the Phils is one where they trade Victorino to let Golson play regularly in center field. Golson needs to be a fifth outfield if he’s on the team in ’09 — if he is on the roster I think he will be. A less disastrous scenario in my mind is trading Victorino and letting Werth play center regularly with Golson backing him up. That plan is still a bit worrisome as it’s not a lot of backup for Werth, who still has limited experience playing every day. It would mean that Golson would probably get a job backing him up, but he wouldn’t have much of an organizational net behind him.

Werth can play center, though, well enough to be there regularly if the Phils had the hitters to man the corner outfield spots.

I would guess that the Phils will not start ’09 with both Stairs and Jenkins on the team. Dobbs, Stairs and Jenkins is too many left-handed hitters coming off of the bench, especially given that Stairs and Dobbs are hard to use defensively. I’d guess they trade Stairs given that he’s cheaper and more tradable. I have Jenkins penciled in as the fourth outfielder, giving them Victorino, Werth, Jenkins and Burrell or cheap right-handed free agent.

I hope in 2009 we will see Dobbs’ role expand to include signficant time in the outfield against right-handed pitching.

Jenkins and Burrell are two of the four spots. Leaves one bench spot and a catcher.

Ruiz is surely coming back, but I feel much less sure about Coste. The in-house options for second catcher along with Ruiz include Coste, Jason Jaramillo and Lou Marson. Jaramillo was not especially impressive at Triple-A last year and Marson was at Double-A. Marson is 22, Jaramillo is 26. Some people think 19-year-old Travis D’Arnaud is going to be better than both of them, although there’s about zero chance you’ll see him next year. My guesses are 1) that the Phillies would only put Jaramillo or Marson on the 25-man roster to start the season if it was as a third catcher and 2) if they did it would be Jaramillo and not Marson. You have to believe that Jaramillo could be had in a trade if people really think he’s a potential regular player. Here’s what I think is likely for the Phils at catcher at this point, in order of likelihood 1) they sign a veteran catcher to share duties with Ruiz 2) Coste and Ruiz 3) Ruiz, Coste (or veteran catcher) plus Jaramillo 4) Ruiz plus Jaramillo.

The addition of the second catcher leaves one spot on the roster, which could be taken by a fifth outfielder, a third catcher or a pitcher. I think you can assume that Bruntlett will handle the utility role. 23-year-old Brad Harman is coming, but I don’t think it’s yet. This spot may go to Golson, but I don’t think it should. I’d go with a right-handed hitter here that can also play a corner outfield position — a part-time player that’s probably not currently in the organization.

Here’s my guess then at this point as to who will be on the 25-man roster when the ’09 season starts:

Pitchers (12): Hamels, Myers, Blanton, Moyer, Kendrick, Lidge, Madson, Durbin, Condrey, Romero, Eyre and a veteran right-handed relief pitcher that is currently not with the organization.

Hitters (13): Howard, Utley, Rollins, Feliz, Ruiz, Burrell, Victorino, Werth, Jenkins, Bruntlett, Dobbs, veteran catcher not currently with the team, veteran right-handed corner outfielder not currently with the team.

Bench slayers

The Phillies played their final game of the regular season yesterday, fielding a team of bench players that rolled over the Nats to get the Phils an 8-3 win.

Lou Marson made his major league debut and hit a two-run homer. So Taguchi, on the bench all season long, led the offense with three hits and three runs driven in. Taguchi got just 91 at-bats this season, many of them miserable, but looks likely to be part of the active roster when the Phils play the Brewers on Wednesday.

Kyle Kendrick wont’t be. Kendrick got the start and again didn’t pitch well. He threw to a 7.59 ERA after the All-Star break and leaves the Phils with a big question at the back of the rotation whenever they get around to thinking about next year.

Probably won’t be today.

The Phillies beat the Washington Nationals yesterday, winning 8-3. They end the regular season 92-70, which is the most wins since they’ve had since they won 97 in 1993. They have won three in a row. Twenty-two games above .500 is their best mark for the season.

Kyle Kendrick got the start for the Phillies and went four innings, allowing three runs on four hits. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, two doubles and a home run. He struck out one and ends the season with a 5.49 ERA.

Kendrick set down the first six batters he faced before Luke Montz started the third with a home run to left that tied the game at 1-1.

The Nats pulled ahead 3-1 with two runs in the top of the fourth. Anderson Hernandez and Kory Casto led off the inning with back-to-back doubles. Alberto Gonzalez drove in Hernandez with a one out single to center.

Walrond struck out four as he threw a scoreless fifth and a scoreless sixth after the Phils hit for Kendrick in the bottom of the fourth.

Happ pitched the seventh and allowed a two-out single to Pete Orr, but struck out Lastings Milledge, pinch-hitting for the pitcher Shairon Martis, to leave Orr stranded with the Phils up 5-3.

Happ returned to start the eighth. He walked Anderson with one out before he struck out Casto for the second. Pinch-hitter Ryan Langerhans moved Anderson to second and Seanez came in to pitch to the righty Gonzalez. Seanez got Gonzalez to fly to right for the third out.

Condrey allowed a single and a walk in a scoreless ninth.

Condrey and Seanez both seem likely to have a chance to make the Phils post-season roster. The use of Happ was interesting — I think we may see Hamels, Myers, Moyer as the rotation against the Brewers with Blanton as the fourth option. If Happ makes it on to a post-season roster, which seems unlikely, I’d guess it will be to pitch out of the pen. Kendrick has been told he will not be part of the post-season roster.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Odalis Perez went (1) Taguchi (2) Bruntlett (3) Iguchi (4) Jenkins (5) Coste (6) Cervenak (7) Golson (8) Marson. Taguchi in left, Bruntlett at short, Coste at first, Cervenak at third, Golson in center and Marson catching. Marson making his major league debut. Cervenak and Golson getting their first career starts.

With Bruntlett on third (singled) and Iguchi on second (doubled) with one out in the first, Bruntlett came in to score on a wild pitch with Jenkins at the plate to put the Phils up 1-0. Jenkins couldn’t bring Iguchi in to third with one out, though, he flew to left for the second out. Coste walked before Cervenak struck out to leave both men stranded.

Marson struck out in his first major league at-bat for the second out of the second.

The Phils started the fourth down 3-1 and scored three times to take a 4-3 lead. Marson singled with two outs. Werth hit for Kendrick and moved Marson to third with a single. Werth stole second before Taguchi brought both runners in with a single (3-3) and took second on a fielding error by Casto. Bruntlett followed with a double that scored Taguchi and put the Phils up 4-3.

With two outs in the sixth, Howard hit for Walrond singled. Taguchi followed with a triple that scored Howard and put the Phils up 5-3.

With Golson on first and one out in the eighth, Marson hit a 1-2 pitch from Marco Estrada out to left to put the Phillies up 7-3. Stairs followed, hitting for Seanez, and he homered to right. 8-3.

Taguchi 3-for-5 with a triple and three RBI in the game. He had six RBI for the season coming into the game.

Bruntlett 2-for-5 with a double and an RBI.

Iguchi 2-for-5 with a double.

Jenkins 1-for-4.

Coste 0-for-3 with a walk.

Cervenak 0-for-4.

Golson 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.

Marson 2-for-4 with a two-run homer.

Rollins was 2-for-6 with two doubles and three walks in the series. He has stolen 21 bases since the end of July and been caught twice. After hitting 313/411/458 in September, he’s hitting 277/349/437 at the end of the regular season.

Werth was 4-for-10 with a home run in the series, including a single today. He came into the series 1-for-his-last-21. 273/363/498 for the year.

Utley 4-for-8 with a double in the series. 292/380/535.

Howard was 4-for-9 with a double and a home run. 251/339/543. He goes into the post-season 7-for-his-last-15.

Burrell 1-for-4 with two walks in the set. 250/367/507 for the year.

Victorino 4-for-8 with a double in the series. 293/352/447 to end the season after hitting 344/378/516 in September. Hasn’t gotten the recognition he deserves for how well he played down the stretch.

Feliz was 1-for-4 with a double in the series. 249/302/409 for the season. He ends the season with a .705 OPS — over the last four seasons, the range of his OPS at the end of the year has been .705 to .717.

Dobbs was 1-for-3 with a double in the series and ends the year at 301/333/491.

Ruiz 0-for-6. 219/320/300 on the year. 0-for-his-last-15.

The Phils play the Brewers on Wednesday.

This article suggests this is who we should expect on the Phillies post-season roster:

Hitters: Howard, Utley, Rollins, Feliz, Dobbs, Coste, Ruiz, Burrell, Victorino, Werth, Bruntlett, Stairs, Jenkins, Taguchi.

Those guys can hit, but missing from the group is a right-handed bat off the bench — no matter who the Phils pick for their post-season roster, I don’t think they can solve that problem.

Pitchers: Hamels, Myers, Moyer, Blanton, Lidge, Romero, Durbin, Madson, Condrey, Eyre, Seanez

Assuming the Phillies go with 11 pitches, I think Golson or Taguchi as the 14th hitter is the only real choice for the Phillies. I would go with Golson, but I don’t think the Phillies will, especially after Taguchi’s big day yesterday.

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