Tag: Jim Thome

Great Scott

Scott Podsednik had another big day yesterday, going 2-for-2 with a home run to raise his spring line to 362/423/532. This article points out the Phillies need to let Podsednik’s fellow left-handed outfield candidate Juan Pierre know Friday whether he’ll start the year on the 25-man roster or not. Pierre’s Spring Training line is at 289/360/311.

Yesterday the Phils topped the Pirates 5-4 on a walkoff homer by Podsednik in the bottom of the ninth.

Lee started the game for the Phils and was great. He threw six shutout innings, allowing two singles, a double and a walk while striking out three. He dropped his spring ERA to 2.49. Kendrick followed Lee, striking out two in a scoreless seven to keep his ERA at 0.00.

Bastardo started the eighth but couldn’t finish it. He walked the leadoff man and got the next two before an RBI-single by Nick Evans. Eric Fryer was next and he doubled home Evans. Stutes took over for Bastardo, but he gave up a double to the first man he faced. Fryer scored and Bastardo was charged with three runs in two-thirds of an inning, raising his ERA to 4.26. Papelbon threw a perfect ninth to drop his ERA to 1.00.

Podsednik was 2-for-2 with a walkoff home run, his first homer of the spring. Thome played six innings at first base, going 1-for-2 with a double and a walk. Orr started the game at short and played five innings there. He was 2-for-4 in the game and his average is up to .311. Pierre is hitting .289 after going 0-for-1.

Polanco played third and went 1-for-3. He’s hitting 440/481/480 so far (11-for-25 with a double and no walks).

This article suggests there is mild concern about Bastardo’s velocity.

This says Jose Contreras will only pitch in minor league games the rest of Spring Training, which seems to suggest he many not be with the team to start the season.

The truth is out there — way, way, way out there

This just in: No timetable for Chase Utley’s return. No, really. And apparently we should all just try and calm down a little.

As if.

Two games for the Phils over the weekend.

Jim Thome played first base in an official Spring Training game for the first time this year yesterday as the Phils and Orioles played to a 3-3 tie.

Halladay started for the Phils and struck out nine over 6 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on seven hits and two walks. He has a 5.40 ERA and a 1.30 ratio through five starts, but has struck out 24 in 20 innings.

Bastardo took over for Halladay in the seventh, faced two men with runners on the corners and struck both out. Contreras pitched the eighth in his third appearance and allowed a run on a single and a double. He has now been charged with six runs in 2 1/3 innings, but the good news is there may be something magical about the way the ball is coming out of his hand. Papelbon threw a scoreless ninth to drop his ERA to 1.13. Juan Morillo threw a 1-2-3 tenth.

Thome played five innings at first and went 1-for-3 with a double and two RBI. No balls were hit to him. Ruiz was 2-for-4 with a double to up his line to 484/515/774 after 31 at-bats. Mayberry went 0-for-5 to drop his line to 217/266/263.

Galvis was 3-for-4 with three singles, upping his line to 271/292/475.

Orr, Galvis and Ruiz all homered for the Phils on Saturday in a 10-5 win over Boston.

Hamels started the game for the Phils and allowed two runs over four innings on four hits and two walks, raising his ERA to 4.00. Qualls and Diekman each threw a scoreless inning in the game, with Diekman keeping his ERA at 0.00. Raul Valdes went two frames and was charged with a run on three singles, pushing his ERA to 2.08. Sanches pitched the eighth and allowed a run on a walk and three singles, which pushed his ERA up to 6.43.

Galvis started at second and went 1-for-4 with his second spring home run and first error. Pierre was 2-for-5 with a double. Podsednik 0-for-2. Ruiz 2-for-4 with a double and a home run. Orr 2-for-4 with his first homer. Nix had two hits, going 2-for-4 with an RBI and raising his average to .226.

Polanco played third base on Sunday and went 1-for-2.

Ryan Madson will have Tommy John surgery and miss the 2012 season.


Last week I pointed out that Phillie relievers walked a ton of hitters in 2011. While the average NL bullpen saw their pitchers walk about 9.5% of the batters they faced and about 3.64 per nine innings, the Phils’s pen walked 10.5% of the batters they faced and 3.99 per nine innings.

Here’s how the numbers break down for guys who faced batters in relief for the Phils in 2011:

Juan Perez 
Justin De Fratus 
Mike Zagurski 
Vance Worley 
J.C. Romero 
Brad Lidge 
Jose Contreras 
Antonio Bastardo 
Michael Schwimer 
Michael Stutes 
Scott Mathieson 
David Herndon 
Kyle Kendrick 
Andrew Carpenter 
Danys Baez 
Ryan Madson 
Joe Blanton 
Cole Hamels 
Joe Savery 
Wilson Valdez 
Team Total 
3 1/3
6 2/3
16 1/3
19 1/3
14 1/3
31 2/3
9 1/3
60 2/3
2 2/3
412 1/3

They are sorted by percentage of batters faced that were walked. Everyone from Kyle Kendrick and above both walked more than 9.5% of the batters they faced and walked more than 3.64 batters per nine innings.

There were four guys in the bullpen for the Phillies last year who threw more than 36 innings in relief. Stutes, Madson, Bastardo and Herndon combined to 237 innings out of the pen. That’s 57.5% of the total innings that relievers for the Phils threw for the year.

Of those four, Stutes, Herndon and Bastardo were all above the league average in terms of walks for both the percentage of hitters that they walked and their walks per nine innings. Madson was the only guy of the group who was under in either category — he was well under in both, but his ability to prevent walks doesn’t look like it’s going to help the team much in 2012.

Papelbon was great at preventing walks in 2011, walking just 10 of the 255 batters he faced. That’s 3.92% of batters and 1.40 per nine innings, both of which are better than Madson’s numbers. In 2009 and 2010 combined, though, his walk rate was much higher. In those two years combined, Papelbon walked 3.46 hitters per nine and about 9.1% of the hitters he faced.

The Phillies are 5-5 in Spring Training action after beating the Pirates 4-1 yesterday afternoon.

Worley was the story of the game. He started for the Phillies and was outstanding, striking out eight in four perfect innings. Pat Misch followed Worley and he was very good, too, retiring five in a row before walking Eric Fryer to give the Pirates their first base-runner of the game with two outs in the sixth inning. Herndon was next and he allowed an unearned run on a single, a stolen base and an error by Martinez at short. Bastardo and Schwimer followed Herndon and each threw a scoreless inning.

Herndon, Bastrado and Schwimer haven’t been charged with an earned run yet in official Spring Training action.

Hector Luna and Jimmy Rollins both homered for the Phils, the first of Spring Training for Rollins and the second for Luna.

Scott Podsednik started in right for the Phillies and went 1-for-3, dropping his average to .350 (7-for-20). Brown was 1-for-1 with an RBI-triple. Pierre 1-for-3 with a single to up his average to .278 (5-for-18 with five singles). Tyson Gillies went 0-for-3 to drop his average to .158 (3-for-19 with a double).

The Phils face the Astros this afternoon with Cole Hamels and Dave Bush expected to pitch.

Jim Thome played four innings of first base in a minor league game yesterday. Sounds kinda like it wasn’t a problem except for when someone hit the ball near him.

Contreras also played in a minor league game yesterday, getting five outs and throwing 21 pitches.

The same article linked above says that Nix left Monday’s game after just one at-bat because he didn’t feel good. Nix suffered a bruise to his left rib cage in a collision at the plate in Sunday’s game against the Tigers.

And if Mayberry can just keep pace wtih Matt Downs, the Phils might be in business

In a previous post I pointed out that there are not many players over the last two seasons who have walked, gotten hits and especially hit home runs at the rate that John Mayberry has with the Phillies over the past two seasons. Another thing that Mayberry has done with the Phillies over the past two seasons is have a large percentage of his hits go for extra-bases while hitting for a relatively high average.

In 2010 and 2011 combined, Mayberry has gotten 309 plate appearances with the Phillies in which he has hit .276 (77-for-279). Of his 77 hits, 17 are doubles, one is a triple and he has hit 17 home runs. About 45.45% of his hits over the past two years have gone for extra-bases.

How many players in either league in 2011 meet all three of these criteria: Got 200 plate appearances, hit at least .276 and had 45.45% or more of the hits they did get go for extra-bases? Two.

PA AVG % of hits XBH
Mike Napoli 432 .320 46.6
Matt Downs 222 .276 50.9

And in 2010? Four.

PA AVG % of hits XBH
Jayson Werth 652 .296 45.7
Miguel Cabrera 648 .322 46.7
Jim Thome 340 .283 55.1
Jim Edmonds 272 .276 50.0

Again, like in the previous post, it’s the high percentage of extra-base hits that make this group so tough to get into.

2011 2010
% of players with 200 plate appearances who hit .276 or better 29.6 32.4
 . . . who had at least 45.45% of their hits go for extra-bases 6.8 8.4

In each of the last two years, more than a hundred players have hit better than .276 across both leagues. In both season less than 30 saw 45.45% or more of their hits go for extra-bases.

This article suggests that Mayberry will spend more time in left than at first base early in the year. Again, the critical question to me seems to be who the Phillies are going to play at first against right-handed pitching if Howard is out and Thome can’t play first. Again again, it seems to me the best choice offensively is to play Brown in left and Nix or Mayberry at first, assuming that the lefty Nix is probably the more conservative choice but that Mayberry might have higher upside. That seems unlikely to me to happen, so I think we should brace ourselves for a significant amount of Wigginton at first against righties early in the year.

Ryan Howard took batting practice and has no time table for his return. He also suggests he might not get to full-strength until around the All-Star break.

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All I’m trying to find out is the fellow’s name on first base

So, if Ryan Howard is on the DL and Jim Thome can’t play first, who should be playing first base for the Phillies? In a recent post I suggested that Ty Wigginton’s career numbers make him look like a good candidate to fill in against lefties, but not against righties. I also suggested that when the other team starts a righty with Howard and Thome unavailable to play first, it looks like between left field and first base there’s an opportunity for the Phils to start two players from the group of Wigginton, Laynce Nix, John Mayberry, Domonic Brown and maybe Juan Pierre.

So, of those five, who are the best choices offensively to play at first and in left?

Remembering that in 2011, the average NL first baseman hit 270/350/451 with an wOBA of .346, here are the numbers against righties for those five players as well as what each of them did against right-handed pitching in 2011:

Wigginton career 3238 261 313 437 329
Wigginton 2011 319 235 292 413 310
Mayberry career 205 236 317 445 325
Mayberry 2011 176 250 330 455 334
Brown career 230 239 322 408 324
Brown 2011 174 237 328 401 326
Nix career 1584 253 296 451 320
Nix 2011 320 263 306 475 341
Pierre career 5549 293 339 369 313
Pierre 2011 536 264 296 325 276

The first thing is that none of those numbers are real good. Remembering that the average NL first baseman put up a wOBA of .346 in 2011, nearly all of the numbers on the table above don’t even come close to that — the lone exception is Laynce Nix’s effort against righties from last year in which he put up a wOBA of .341 despite on-basing .306.

Just for giggles, here’s the numbers for Thome and Howard, lefties that really can hit righties and have played first in their careers (although in the interest of full disclosure, Thome hasn’t seen significant time at first since 2005 and likely won’t in 2012, either):

Howard career 2948 298 397 623 416
Howard 2011 459 266 370 550 383
Thome career 7256 293 428 612 432
Thome 2011 233 257 352 470 353

So it’s safe to say that Howard and Thome have been better against righties over their careers than the five guys in the first table.

Back to our five guys. If you put them in order by career wOBA against righties, the list looks like this:

  1. Wigginton, .329
  2. Mayberry, .325
  3. Brown, .324
  4. Nix, .320
  5. Pierre, .313

Again, it’s bad news that Ty Wigginton tops that list cause he’s a career 261/313/437 hitter against righties. You really don’t want a guy who’s a career 261/313/437 hitter against righties playing first base for you against them. If you order them by what they did in 2011, the list looks like this:

  1. Nix, .341
  2. Mayberry, .334
  3. Brown, .326
  4. Wigginton, .310
  5. Pierre, .276

Sure looks like the answer is not Pierre, but beyond that it gets a little confusing. Part of what makes it confusing is that Mayberry and Brown have so few plate appearances — they each have less than 250 plate appearances against righties for their career while Nix and Wigginton both have at least 1,500. Beyond that, Wigginton’s career numbers against righties are a little better than Nix’s, but Nix’s numbers over the last few seasons top Wigginton’s. Tune in next time.

This article about the Phillies rotation and guys to watch reminds that Austin Hyatt, who will be in Spring Training as an NRI, struck out 171 batters in 154 1/3 innings for Reading last season while throwing to a 3.85 ERA over 28 starts.

Who else is on first?

So who is going to play first base for the Phils against right-handed pitching while Howard is out? Jim Thome is the obvious answer if he can get onto the field, but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of optimism that is going to happen with much regularity. Let’s hope for the best, but I think we have to assume we won’t be seeing much at all of him at first base this year.

So what’s Plan B? Or C or D, for that matter?

Ty Wigginton is the first guy that leaps to mind. But while his career numbers make him look like a solid fill-in against left-handed pitching, his numbers against righties have to make you wary about penciling him in against right-handed pitching too often. Here are Wigginton’s career numbers against lefties and righties as well as the average for NL first basemen in 2011:

Wiggonton career vs L 1288 274 353 461 359
Wigginton career vs R 3238 261 313 437 329
2011 NL average 1B 270 350 451 346

The right-handed hitting Wigginton has been significantly better against left-handed pitching than right over his career. His isolated power against lefties and righties has been similar (.187 against lefties and .176 against righties), but he has a lower average against righties and has drawn walks at a much lower rate. Over his career, Wigginton has walked in about 10.5% of his plate appearances against lefties, but only about 6.0% of his plate appearances against righties. The combination of the slightly lower average against righties and the significantly worse walk rate against them adds up to a .313 career on-base percentage against right-handed pitching. And that makes it tough if you want to play first base against righties.

His numbers against righties over the last three years have actually been a little worse than his career numbers. Here’s what he’s done against righties since 2009:

2011 vs R 319 235 292 413 310
2010 vs R 476 252 307 436 325
2009 vs R 275 285 313 437 326


The .285 he hit against righties with the Orioles in 2009 looks nice, but he also showed the least power of the three seasons that year, posting and isolated power of .154 against righties (.184 in 2010 and .178 in 2011). He hasn’t on-based better than .313 against righties in any of the last three years.

Over the last two seasons, between the Orioles and Rockies, Wigginton has gotten 795 plate appearances in which he has hit 245/301/427 against right-handed pitching. In each of the last three seasons, Wigginton’s wOBA against right-handed pitching has been worse than it was in the previous season. 2008 was probably Wigginton’s best year against righties — he hit 265/322/488 in 311 plate appearances for the Astros that year.

Bottom line for me is that I’m hoping we don’t see a whole lot of Wigginton starting at first against right-handed pitching. If everybody is healthy, the best options against a right-handed starter to me appear to include:

  • The righty Mayberry at first and the lefty Nix in left or vice-versa
  • The lefty Brown in left and Mayberry or Nix, probably the lefty Nix instead of the righty Mayberry, at first

The other bottom line for me is that against a righty you can get two of Nix, Mayberry, Wigginton and Brown (or Pierre) into the lineup between first and left. Of those five players, Nix, Mayberry and Wigginton are the three I would guess are likely to appear at first for the Phils this year. I’d also guess Nix, Mayberry and Brown will appear in left. I’ll look at this more in a future post, but Brown in left and Nix at first against a righty with Howard out seems like the best way to go to me.

This article suggests it was the ’93 Phillies and not Jonah Hill that inspired Moneyball. Or something like that.

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