Tag: Jimmy Rollins

The highway is alive tonight, but nobody’s kiddin’ nobody about where it goes

Sittin’ down here in the campfire light, searchin’ for the ghost of like six different people, including, surprisingly, Cliff Lee.

The Phillies exploded for 14 Opening Day runs yesterday afternoon, topping the Rangers 14-10. The Phils jumped out to an early 6-0 lead with the help of a second-inning grand slam from Jimmy Rollins, but Texas stormed back with eight runs charged to Lee over his five innings.

The Phillie offense kept pounding away, though, bashing out 17 hits, including six for extra-bases. Rollins, Byrd and Asche all hit home runs in the game. Utley, Asche and Revere all had three hits. John Mayberry came off the bench to deliver a pinch-hit, two-run double in the fifth.

The Phils hit 13 home runs in their final 26 games in 2013.

The bullpen was actually a little better than you might think for a team that allowed ten runs. Lee obviously wasn’t at his best, allowing eight runs, but Bastardo and Papelbon were very solid at the back of the pen in the game, combining to throw 2 1/3 scoreless frames in which they allowed one base-runner. Diekman was fantastic in the sixth, but came back to start the seventh and allowed both of the hitters he faced to reach base. Rosenberg tried to bail him out, but didn’t have much success, allowing three of the four hitters he faced to reach as Texas scored twice.

The Phillies are 1-0 on the year after beating the Texas Rangers 14-10 yesterday afternoon.

Lee got the start for the Phillies and went five innings, allowing eight runs on 11 hits and a walk. Four of the hits went for extra-bases, three doubles and a three-run homer. After striking out 26 in 24 2/3 innings in Spring Training, he struck out just one.

Opponents are hitting .423 against Lee after one start. He didn’t allow 11 or more hits in any of his 31 starts in 2013 and allowed more than nine once (April 25 he allowed ten hits to the Pirates).

Lee set the Rangers down in order in the bottom of the first.

He started the second up 6-0. Adrian Beltre led off with a double to left and held second when Alex Rios reached on an infield single. Mitch Moreland flew to center for the first out before J.P. Arencibia drew a walk that loaded the bases for Leonys Martin. Martin singled to right and everyone moved up a base. 6-1 with the bases still loaded for Josh Wilson. Wilson doubled to left, clearing the bases. 6-4. Shin-Soo Choo grounded to second for the second out with Wilson moving up to third. Elvis Andrus flew to right to leave Wilson stranded.

Four runs in the frame for the Rangers on two doubles, two singles and a walk. All to righties except the single by the lefty Martin. Righty Josh Wilson delivers the big hit of the frame, a two-run double. The righty Beltre doubles off of Lee to get things started. Lee was ahead of Arencibia 0-2 but couldn’t put him away as Arencibia worked a seven-pitch walk ahead of the Martin single.

Prince Fielder and Beltre singled back-to-back to start the third, putting men on first and second for Rios. Rios hit a 1-0 pitch out to left-center, putting Texas up 7-6. Lee got the next three hitters in order with the help of a nice diving play by Revere in center on a ball hit by Arencibia for the second out.

The righty Rios delivers the second three-run swing in two innings for the Rangers.

It was 7-7 when Lee started the fourth. He allowed singles to Wilson and Andrus in the frame, but kept the Rangers off the board, getting Beltre on a ground ball to third to end the inning with two men on.

He started the fifth up 9-7. Arencibia doubled with two outs and scored when Martin followed with a single to center. 9-8. Wilson flew to center for the third out.

The Phillies led 13-8 when Diekman threw a 1-2-3 sixth, striking out Choo and Fielder.

The lefty Diekman impresses against the big Texas lefties, striking out Choo (left) looking and Fielder (left) swinging. Nice time for Sandberg to use Diekman and like the Mayberry move it worked out well for him.

Diekman came back for the seventh and things didn’t go as well. He faced Beltre and Rios, both righties, and they both reached on a Beltre walk and a Rios single. It left men on first and second with nobody out and Rosenberg came in to pitch to the right-handed pinch-hitter Michael Choice. Choice singled to center, loading the bases for Arencibia. Rosenberg got Arencibia to ground into a double-play, scoring Beltre from third (13-9) and leaving Rios at third with two down for Martin. Rosenberg walked Martin and the left-handed Jim Adduci hit for the righty Wilson. Adduci singled to left, scoring Rios (13-10) and moving Martin up to second. Bastardo took over to pitch to the lefty Choo and walked him, putting two men on for Andrus. Andrus grounded to Utley to end the inning.

After a fantastic sixth, Diekman faces two hitters in the frame and both reach base.

Rosenberg faces four hitters in the game, allowing two singles and a walk and getting the other, Arencibia, to ground into a double-play.

Bastardo faces two hitters in the frame, walking the lefty he was called on to get out before retiring the righty Andrus on a ground ball.

Bastrado set Fielder, Beltre and Rios down in order in the eighth with the Phils up 14-10.

Impressive frame for Bastardo against some good hitters. He gets four outs in the game. He got more than three outs in just five of his 48 appearances in 2013.

Papelbon threw a 1-2-3 ninth with a four-run lead in the ninth.

Diekman and Bastardo both appear in two innings in the game. Diekman threw 23 pitches and didn’t have success coming back for the second frame. Bastardo threw 24 pitches and was great coming back for a second inning. Rosenberg wasn’t charged with a run in the game, but didn’t pitch well, throwing 12 pitches. Twelve pitches for Paplebon in his 1-2-3 frame.

Overall the pen went four innings in the game, allowing two runs on three hits and three walks. Three is too many to walk in four innings. Four is too many innings for the pen to pitch regularly. Diekman tries to go more than one inning after a great sixth and it doesn’t work. Rosenberg comes into the game with a 5.44 career ERA and struggles. Bastardo and Papelbon both pitch really well. You probably don’t want to see Papelbon pitching with a four-run lead too often, even with Thursday’s scheduled off-day. Ditto Bastardo going more than one inning.

The Phillie lineup against righty Tanner Scheppers went (1) Ben Revere (2) Jimmy Rollins (3) Chase Utley (4) Ryan Howard (5) Marlon Byrd (6) Domonic Brown (7) Carlos Ruiz (8) Cody Asche (9) Tony Gwynn, Jr. Brown at DH with Gwynn in left. The righty Byrd breaks up lefties Utley, Howard and Brown. Revere leads off with Rollins hitting second. Rollins last led off for the Phils on August 22, 2013. He hit somewhere other than leadoff for his last 140 PA in ’13. Revere was hitting leadoff for 192 of his 332 plate appearances in 2013, about 57.8%. He was in the leadoff spot on July 7, 2013, when he injured his ankle to end his season and had been for seven straight games. He entered the game with a career .313 on-base percentage while hitting first in the order over 773 plate appearances.

Brown at DH on Opening Day sure isn’t a sign the Phillies have a lot of confidence he has achieved his goal of being the best defensive outfielder in the game yet. Ryan Howard played defense for the Phils in the game — playing Howard defensively in a DH game is a poor idea.

Do you remember that the Phillies started John Mayberry and Erik Kratz on Opening Day in 2013? They did. Michael Young, too.

Revere, Rollins and Utley went in order in the top of the first.

The Phillies scored six times in the top of the second. Howard and Ruiz both drew walks while Brown and Byrd when down on a line out and a ground out. It left the Phils with two down and runners on first and second for Asche. Asche doubled to left on a 1-0 pitch, putting the Phils up 1-0 with men on second and third. Gwynn walked to load the bases for Revere. Revere singled into center with everyone moving up a base. 2-0 with the bases still loaded for Rollins. Rollins hit a 1-0 pitch out to right for a grand slam. 6-0. Utley grounded to second to end the frame.

Three walks in the frame. Howard, Ruiz and Gwynn. Rollins delivers the big blow on Opening Day after a ridiculous Spring Training in which he hit .173. Howard manages to score from second on a two-out double.

The lead was cut to 6-4 when the Phillies hit in the third. Howard and Bryd started the inning with back-to-back singles and moved up to second and third with Brown at the plate. Brown popped out to Beltre at third for the first out. Ruiz was next and hit a ground ball to short with Andrus coming home to get Howard for the second out. Asche grounded back to Scheppers to turn the Phils away.

No run for the Phils after putting men on second and third with nobody out. Brown pops out for the first out and Howard is thrown out at the plate on the ground out.

The Phillies trailed 7-6 when they hit in the fourth. Revere singled to left with one out and stole second before Rollins went down looking for the second out. Utley was next and singled to right on a ball deflected by Wilson at second, scoring Revere. 7-7. Howard moved Utley up to third with another single before Byrd popped to first to set the Phillies down.

Ruiz singled off of lefty Pedro Figueroa with one out in the fifth. Asche followed with a walk and Mayberry hit for the lefty Gwynn, lining a two-run double to center that put the Phils up 9-7. Revere and Rollins both flew out to leave Mayberry at second.

The lefty Asche draws a walk off of the lefty Figueroa. Great to see Mayberry hitting against lefties and he delivers the two-run double.

The lead was cut to 9-8 when the Phillies hit in the sixth. Utley and Howard went down to start the frame before Byrd hit the first pitch he saw from Figueroa out to left, putting the Phils up 10-8. Brown followed and singled into center. He stole second before righty Alexi Ogando took over for Figueroa and walked Ruiz, putting men on first and second for Asche. Asche singled on a ball deflected by Ogando, allowing Brown to score (11-8) and moving Ruiz up to second. Mayberry followed with a walk that loaded the bases for Revere and Revere singled to center, scoring Ruiz and Asche (13-8) and leaving runners on the corners. Rolilns grounded to second to set the Phillies down.

Mayberry gets on base again, this time walking against the rigthy Ogando. Byrd’s first homer with the Phils. Revere delivers a two-run single on a three-hit day.

Utley singled off of Ogando to start the seventh, but Howard, Byrd and Brown all struck out behind him.

It was 13-10 when the Phils hit in the top of the eighth. With one out, Asche homered to right off of righty Scott Tolleson. 14-10. Mayberry and Revere went down behind him.

Monster day for Asche as he goes 3-for-4 with a walk, a double and a home run.

Utley doubled to left off of righty Seth Rosin with one out in the ninth, but Howard and Byrd went down to leave him stranded.

Rangers giving a ton of room off the third base line to lefties and Asche and Utley both deliver doubles to left in the game.

Revere 3-for-6 with three singles, a stolen base and three RBI. Made a very nice diving catch in center to take a double away from Arencibia in the third.

Rollins 1-for-6 with a grand slam.

Utley 3-for-6 with a double and an RBI.

Howard 2-for-5 with a walk and two singles. Struck out three times. If he’s going to on-base .500, he can strike out as much as he wants. He’s not going to.

Byrd 2-for-6 with a home run. Left five men on base.

Brown 1-for-5 with a single and a stolen base.

Ruiz 1-for-3 and walked twice.

Asche 3-for-4 with a double, a home run and a walk. Two RBI. I’d watch what he does against left-handed pitching pretty closely in the early going — so far he’s 0-for-0 with a walk. He went 7-for-32 with a .265 on-base percentage against lefties last year.

Gwynn 0-for-1 with a walk. Hoping for the best, but he’s not really a guy you should be thrilled starting in left field for you on Opening Day. Came into the game having on-based .297 over his last 956 plate appearances.

Mayberry didn’t start, but had a big day. 1-for-2 with a walk, a double and two RBI. Sandberg picked a fantastic time to use him as a pinch-hitter, whether it worked or not. It worked.

A..J Burnett makes his first start as a Phillie tonight against lefty Martin Perez. Burnett has had two good years in a row and comes into the outing with a 3.41 ERA and a 1.23 ratio over his last 61 starts. The 22-year-old Perez made 20 starts for the Rangers in 2013, throwing to a 3.62 ERA and a 1.34 ratio. Lefties actually fared a little better than righties against the lefty Perez in 2013, posting a 282/349/410 line compared to 262/312/406 for righties.


J-Roll’s lack of energy and positive influence force Rosenberg to allow five of the six men he faces in the eighth to reach base as Phils fall again

His lack of energy and positive influence is a powerful force not to be trifled with. If only the Phils had found a way to work Freddy Galvis in to the mix. The Pirates probably would have just quit before the game even started and everyone could have just gone out for some pie.

Pittsburgh 6, Philadelphia 5. Manship, De Fratus and Diekman combined to allow two runs over the first six innings and the Phils took a 4-2 lead into the eighth, but B.J. Rosenberg struggled in that frame and the Pirates plated four runs to go up 6-4. The Phils loaded the bases with nobody out in the top of the ninth, but managed to score just once.

So what’s the matter with the Phillies? Maybe they’re distracted. Maybe Jimmy Rollins is spending too much time on the bench telling Ryne Sandberg what it’s like to play in the World Series. Maybe the team just can’t get enough of Sandberg’s story about the time he told the world that his band of loveable losers that hadn’t been to the playoffs in 13 years was the team to beat in their division, then made sure it happened, hitting .286 with 16 homers before the All-Star break on his way to being named league MVP.

Maybe they just can’t figure out whether to start Cliff Lee or Miguel Gonzalez on opening day.

I don’t think it’s any of that, though. I think what’s wrong with the Phillies is that they’re about four good players away from being a good team. That’s not Ryne Sandberg’s fault, but it’s not Jimmy Rollins’s, either. Suggesting it is is a mistake.

Jeff Manship got the start for the Phillies. He entered with a 1.29 ERA and an 0.71 ratio over three appearances and went four innings, allowing two runs on six hits and no walks. Andrew McCutchen hit a solo home run off of him in the first. He allowed a run on a double and two singles in the third.

2.45 ERA and a 1.00 ratio for Manship after 11 innings.

Justin De Fratus threw a 1-2-3 fifth. He came back to start the sixth and allowed a leadoff single to McCutchen before being pulled. Dropped his ERA to 1.80 on the day and his ratio stays at 1.00.

Jake Diekman took over for De Fratus. He struck Pedro Alvarez out swinging for the first out and got Travis Snider to ground into a double-play to end the inning.

Two batters, three outs for Diekman. 7.50 ERA and a 1.50 ratio. Opponents were hitting .348 against him for the spring coming into the game.

B.J. Rosenberg allowed a single in a scoreless seventh. He came back to start the eighth with the Phils up 4-2 and faced six hitters, allowing four singles and a walk. The Pirates would score four runs charged to him in the frame.

Rosenberg goes 1 1/3 innings in the game, allowing four runs on five hits and a walk. They sure stuck with him a long time. 6.14 ERA and a 1.23 ratio for him for the spring. He came into the game having pitched really well, with a 1.50 ERA and an 0.50 ratio over three appearances and six innings.

Mario Hollands took over for Rosenberg with one out in the eighth and Willy Garcia on first. He faced two men in the game and retired them both, dropping his ERA to 1.29 and his ratio to 1.00 after five outings.

The Phillies scored five runs in the game on eight hits.

Ryan Howard hit a solo homer in the sixth, his first home run of the spring. He was 1-for-4 in the game with two strikeouts to up his average to .206.

Darin Ruf was the only Phillie with more than one hit. He’s hitting .270 after going 2-for-4 with a double.

Brown 1-for-2 with a single and walked twice. He’s walked eight times but is just 6-for-32 (.188) with a triple.

Utley was 1-for-4 and drove in two runs. He’s hitting .207.

Rollins started and hit second with Tony Gwynn, Jr leading off. Rollins 0-for-4 to drop his average to .105. Gwynn is hitting .222 after going 1-for-4.

Mayberry 1-for-3 with with a walk to drop his average to .348.

Asche is up to .148 after going 1-for-3 with a walk. First single of the spring for Asche — he’s 4-for-27 with a single, two doubles and a home run.

Galvis DNP.

For the record, Ryne Sandberg never making it to the World Series has a lot more to do with some awful Cubs teams than it did with Ryne Sandberg. His Cubs made the post-season twice in his career. In 1984, Sandberg hit .368 in the NLCS, but the Padres beat Chicago three games to two in the last five-game NLCS. Up 3-0 going into the bottom of the sixth in the deciding game five, the Cubs allowed two in the bottom of the sixth and four in the bottom of the seventh. In 1989 the Giants beat the Cubs four games to one with Sandberg hitting .400 in the set. Overall he hit 385/457/641 in 47 post-season plate appearances for his career. He was the MVP of the National League in ’84, hitting 314/367/520 in 700 plate appearances that season and winning a Gold Glove.

Lee is expected to pitch tomorrow night as the Phils face the Red Sox.


Third time plucky

Phils topped the Tigers 10-6 this afternoon for their first spring victory.

Kyle Kendrick started the game for the Phils and got hit hard in the first, allowing three runs on two walks, a single and a three-run double by Nick Castellanos. He allowed a leadoff walk and uncorked a two-out wild pitch in the second, but kept the Tigers off the board.

The Phils came into the game with starters Cliff Lee and Roberto Hernandez having allowed three runs in four innings pitched in their starts combined. Kendrick goes two innings, allowing three runs on two hits, three walks and a wild pitch. So after three games, the starters have allowed six earned runs in six innings on eight hits and three walks (9.00 ERA with a 1.83 ratio).

Kendrick made 30 starts last year and walked more than two in five of them. Walked three in two innings today.

Righty Sean O’Sullivan struck out two in a 1-2-3 third. He came back for the fourth and retired the first two before hitting Luis Exposito with a pitch. O’Sullivan retired the next hitter on a popup to Hernandez at second to end the frame.

O’Sullivan suddenly seems like he has a shot for some early starts, given the combination of injury questions around pitchers like Hamels, Martin and Pettibone and the miserable early opinions around Gonzalez. The 26-year-old righty had a 6.14 career ERA over 193 2/3 innings in the majors before throwing to a 3.96 ERA in 25 innings for the Padres in 2013. He had a 1.80 ratio to go with his 3.96 ERA last year — 31 hits and 14 walks as opponents on-based .393 against him. He didn’t pitch very well, 3.96 ERA or not. Pitched well today, throwing two scoreless innings without allowing a hit or a walk while striking out three.

Aumont pitched the fifth, coming off of a miserable outing his first time out and set the Tigers down in order.

Luis Garcia made his first official appearance in the sixth and allowed three runs on two singles and a double. Only one of the runs was earned due to a Reid Brignac error at short.

Cesar Jimenez threw a 1-2-3 seventh in his first official appearance and followed that up by setting the Tigers down in order in the eighth. The 29-year-old lefty walked ten in 17 innings for the Phils last year, which is a lot. Had a 0.00 ERA and an 0.89 ratio in nine innings through his first eight appearances and a 7.88 ERA and a 2.00 ratio over eight innings his last 11 times out (and walked seven in those eight innings). Did a better job at preventing walks at Triple-A, throwing to a 3.12 ERA and a 1.31 ratio while walking 26 in 66 1/3 innings.

Justin De Fratus made his first appearance in the ninth. He allowed back-to-back singles to the first two batters he faced before striking out the next three to end the game with runners on first and second.

De Fratus struck out 42 in 46 2/3 innings for the Phils last year. Walking 25 was the problem and it led to a 1.50 ratio to go with his 3.86 ERA. Walk rate of 2.0 per nine innings in 424 1/3 innings in the minors and 4.8 in 61 1/3 innings in the majors. I would guess his walk rate will go down in 2014.

The Phillies scored eight runs in a bottom of the third that featured three walks, two singles, a hit-by-pitch, a Tiger error and a three-run homer by J-Roll.

Rollins’s shot came off of righty Jose Valdez with two outs in the third. He was 1-for-1 with a home run and two walks in the game.

Gwynn started the game in center for the Phillies and went 0-for-3 with a walk. He’s 0-for-3 with two walks so far. Think we should be following what he does offensively and especially defensively when playing center given the Phils seemingly neverending problem trying to backup center field. Things I know for sure: 1) John Mayberry is really, really not the answer 2) Cesar Hernandez, a backup infielder, really, really is not the answer. The Phils have so many problems it’s hard to feel like backup center fielder should go near the top of the list. I think there’s potential for a moral victory here, though.

Utley started at second and went 1-for-3.

Franco started at third and was 0-for-1 with a walk and no errors. He’s seen action in all three official games and gone 0-for-5 with two errors and two walks.

Byrd 2-for-3 with two singles and 3-for-5 with an RBI in the early going.

Howard 0-for-3 and struck out twice. 1-for-5 with a single so far.

Brown 0-for-3 with a walk and an RBI. 1-for-6 overall.

Ruiz 0-for-1 with a walk and an RBI. 0-for-3.

Lou Marson doubled to start the bottom of the eighth, which led to a Phillie run. He was 1-for-1 with a double on the day in his first action.

Ruf 1-for-3 with a single that drove in a run in the second inning. 1-for-3 with two RBI on the day. 2-for-6 with two walks so far.

Yankees tomorrow.


With a little luck, though, the special teams could be something special

Fingers crossed. I’m especially excited about what they might do with the punting game.

The last couple of posts have been about declining WAR amongst the Phillie pitchers, but things aren’t going particularly swimmingly on the hitting side, either. Looking at the non-pitchers, Carlos Ruiz, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins have been the core of the hitters over the past seven years and all four are likely to impact the 2014 Phillies as well.

The news when it comes to the hitting core of the Phils isn’t good for two big reasons. The first is that the combined WAR produced by that core group of players is a) bad and b) getting worse. The second is that the total WAR accumulated by Phillie hitters other than that group of four is also a) bad (really atrocious in 2013) and b) getting worse.

Here are the WAR numbers for each of those four players, the four as a group and for the rest of Phillie hitters over the last seven seasons as calculated by Baseball-Reference:

’07 ’08 ’09 ’10 ’11 ’12 ’13
Total for 4 18.8 16.2 16.4 13.3 10.1 8.8 6.0
Ruiz 2.0 0.1 2.7 4.1 2.8 4.5 1.7
Howard 2.9 1.7 3.8 1.3 1.1 -1.1 0.6
Utley 7.8 9.0 8.2 5.8 3.7 3.0 3.5
Rollins 6.1 5.4 1.7 2.1 2.5 2.4 0.2
Rest of PHI hitters 14.4 12.6 12.6 10.2 5.9 8.1 -2.4
Top 3 other hitters Rowand 5.1 Victorino 4.3 Werth 4.5 Werth 5.8 Victorino 5.4 Pierre 2.0 Brown 2.5
Victorino 3.3 Werth 3.7 Victorino 3.7 Polanco 3.2 Pence 2.2 Victorino 1.5 Revere 0.8
Werth 3.0  Burrell 2.3 Ibanez 2.9 Victorino 3.1 Polanco 1.9 Kratz 1.4 Frandsen 0.5

The total bWAR for the group of Ruiz, Howard, Utley and Rollins topped out at 18.8 in 2007. In 2013 it was down for the fourth year in a row and was at 6.0.

Ruiz has had two years in which he posted a bWAR better than 2.8 — 2010 and 2012. In 2013 he was at 1.7 after averaging about 3.3 over the past three seasons.

Howard has had a bWAR of three of better once in the last seven seasons. Less than two in five of the last six years.

Utley has been in the threes in bWAR for three straight years, which is nice, but a drop from ’07 to ’09 when his bWAR range was 7.8 to 9.0 over a three-year span. From 2005 through 2009 he was over seven for five straight seasons.

Rollins hasn’t topped 2.5 in any of the last five years. From 2004 to 2008 he was in the range of 4.6 to 6.1 for five seasons in a row.

The other big problem for the Phils is that the guys other than the core four have been getting worse. A lot worse. Gone are Jayson Werth and Shane Victorino. Placido Polanco was one of the team’s top position players in 2010 and again in 2011. Domonic Brown had a nice year for the Phils in 2013, but the second best hitter outside of the big four for the Phils was Ben Revere. Revere’s bWAR of 0.8 was worse than the bWAR of the third-best non-Ruiz/Howard/Utley/Rollins hitter on the team in the past six years.


And it’s all your fault. Yes, you. Next you’ll probably ask Howard to hit lefties, and who knows what might happen then.

In a recent post I pointed out that Darin Ruf walked in 11.3% of his plate appearances in 2013, which was the best rate of any Phillie by a lot. But that’s not what this post is about. This post is about the guy who finished second in that category. Among the Phillies with at least 35 plate appearances in ’13, the second-best walk rate on the team belonged to Jimmy Rollins.

Remember this? Earlier this year, before the start of the 2013 season, I pointed out that after years of fans pleading with him to improve his walk rate, Jimmy Rollins had done exactly that. He walked in about 7.2% of his 6,512 plate appearances from 2000 to 2009 and in about 9.3% of his 1,724 plate appearances from 2010 to 2012. That trend continued in 2013 — here’s what the numbers look like now:

PA BB%
2000-2009 6512 7.2
2010-2013 2390 9.2

In each of the past four seasons, Rollins has walked at a rate that’s better than league average:

NL AVG BB%
2010 8.5 10.2
2011 8.1 9.2
2012 7.9 8.9
2013 7.7 8.9

The problem is he walked more from 2010 to 2013 and became a worse hitter. From ’00 to ’09 he hit 274/329/439 and from 2010 to 2013 he hit 254/323/389. More walks, but a lot less hits over the last four seasons and with less power. His isolated power from 2000 to 2009 was .165 and over the last four years it’s been .135. In 2013, it dropped to .097, which is the first time he’s had an isolated power under .100 in any season in which he got 100 plate appearances.

Rollins was best offensively from 2004 to 2008. Here’s some of what he did offensively in those years, from 2000 to 2009 and from 2010 to 2013:

Years PA Line H% 1B% 2B% 3B% HR% BB or HBP%
00 to 09 6512 274/329/439 25.0 15.9 5.4 1.5 2.2 7.7
04 to 08 3618 286/342/468 26.1 16.3 5.6 1.7 2.5 8.1
10 to 13 2390 254/323/389 22.8 15.6 4.5 0.5 2.2 9.4

His walks are up over the past four years, but his hits are way down. He hit .274 through the end of 2009 and has hit .254 since the start of 2010. His rate of hitting singles isn’t off that terribly, 15.9% of plate appearances from ’00 to ’09 and 15.6% over the last four years, but his extra-base hits have dropped dramatically. He delivered extra-base hits in about 9.1% of his plate appearances through 2009 and about 7.2% since. His home run rate has stayed about the same, but with a third of his ’00 to ’09 rate for triples over the past four seasons while his double rate has dropped from about 5.4% to 4.5%.

The Phillies traded Erik Kratz and left-handed pitcher Rob Rasmussen to the Blue Jays for 28-year-old right-handed pitcher Brad Lincoln. Lincoln was the fourth pick of the 2006 draft and has a 4.66 ERA and a 1.39 ratio over 97 major league appearances, 22 of which have been starts. The Phils acquired the 24-year-old Rasmussen from the Dodgers in the Michael Young deal in early September. I think it’s a good deal for the Phils. Lincoln has upside and has been better over the last two years, throwing to a 3.76 ERA with a 1.29 ratio while striking out 113 in 119 2/3 innings. He walked way too many hitters last year, holding opponents to a .233 average, but with a .366 on-base percentage as he walked 22 in 31 2/3 innings.

The Phils also signed 36-year-old right-handed catcher Wil Nieves and Nieves will presumably backup Ruiz. Nieves had the best offensive year of his career last season, hitting 297/320/369 with one home run in 206 plate appearances with the Padres. He’s had a negative bWAR for six straight seasons and it’s a little tough to get excited about the move. I think Kratz is better than Nieves even if Rasmussen turns out not to be a contributor for anyone. So let’s hope things work out with Lincoln.


You wanna build a what?

For 2013, Baseball-Reference calculates the combined WAR for Phillie hitters at 3.7.

I’ll be here all week. Don’t forget to tip your waitress.

What? We have to do more?

There were 32 individual NL hitters last year with a bWAR better than 3.7. As you probably guessed, things aren’t exactly headed in the right direction for the Phils in this area — the team was first in bWAR for batters in 2009 after being second in ’08. They slipped to fifth in 2010 and have been in the bottom half of the league ever since. They were 14th in 2013, ahead of only the Marlins.

Here are the eight non-pitchers on the ’13 Phillies who have both a WAR calculated by Baseball-Reference that’s greater than zero and a WAR calculated by FanGraphs that’s greater than zero:

Player bWAR (NL Rank) fWAR (NL Rank)
Utley 3.5 (36) 3.9 (28)
Brown 2.5 (52) 1.6 (83)
Ruiz 1.7 (78) 1.4 (91)
Revere 0.8 (114) 0.9 (108)
Howard 0.6 (127) 0.4 (143)
Rollins 0.2 (170) 1.6 (85)
Quintero 0.2 (180) 0.4 (151)
Rupp 0.2 (181) 0.1 (199)

That’s not good. Using the FanGraphs data, for example, Domonic Brown has the second-best fWAR on the team at 1.6, which was 83rd best in the league.

Baseball-Reference’s guide on interpreting WAR suggests 5+ for an All-Star, 2+ for a starter, 0-2 for a reserve and less than zero replacement level. The Phillies had two hitters with a bWAR higher than two in 2013 and five of the eight players listed above have a bWAR less than one.

Humberto Quintero is a good bet not to be on the Phillies in 2014. Carlos Ruiz is a free agent that could be back, but I wouldn’t count on it. Ruiz not being back is a blow to the Phils — less because he was good last year and more because, by WAR calculated by Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs, he was the third or fourth-best non-pitcher on the Phillies last season despite on-basing .320 with five home runs

That leaves the Phils with six players on the ’14 team that had a positive WAR at both sites in ’13: Chase Utley, Domonic Brown, Jimmy Rollins, Ben Revere, Ryan Howard and Cameron Rupp.

Utley was clearly the best non-pitcher on the Phillies in 2013. He’s had a bWAR that’s ranged from 3.0 to 3.7 over the last three years and seems like a good bet to be in that range again in 2014. The problem is that he was the best non-pitcher on the Phils in 2013 and was about the 28th or 36th best non-pitcher in the 15-team league. That and there’s a pretty monster drop off behind him.

Again, Utley’s bWAR was 3.5. The total bWAR for all the hitters on the team was 3.7. Milwaukee was seventh in the NL in bWAR for hitters at 20.6 last year and the Padres were eighth at 20.3. So to get to about middle of the pack in the NL last year, the Phllies would have needed to add about 16.7 or so bWAR from their hitters, which is about 4.8 players with the 3.5 bWAR of their best hitter. Obviously it’s more complicated than that, because they couldn’t just add players without taking away some that contributed to their 3.7 bWAR in the first place, but the point is they’re a long way away from being in the middle of the pack in the NL.

Brown impressed with the bat in 2013, but he sure can’t play defense. Posted a positive bWAR for the first time in his career, but fWAR was a lot less impressed. Still, he seems like a good bet to get better and is one of a very few blocks the Phillies have to build on.

Rollins put up a bWAR of 0.2, the worst mark for any year in his career in which he’s gotten at least 100 plate appearances. Coming into the season, his bWAR range for the four previous seasons had been 1.7 to 2.5. If he bounces back, it might not be that high. His -1.0 dWAR was the worst mark for his career. FanGraphs had his UZR/150 at short at -2.7 coming off of positive marks for ten years in a row.

Revere is still young, still never going to walk and never hit for power. The Phillies will need him to be an elite defensive player if he’s going to be good and I’m not sure why you’d think that would happen. He wasn’t in 2013, posting the worst dWAR of his career at -0.4 despite less playing time than he had in the last two years. His UZR/150 in center as calculated by FanGraphs was negative for the second straight year as well. He did hit a monster 407/426/482 in his last 123 plate appearances before injury ended his season. I think he’ll probably be okay on the WAR fronts if he can keep that up. Even assuming he doesn’t, I don’t see center field as one of the biggest areas of concern for the Phillies, where they have a good chance to have a very cheap player who will make a positive contribution. If you want to worry, I’d go with right field, first base and catcher in that order. And cross your fingers about Cody Asche at third base.

Howard on-based .319 in 2013 and his isolated power (.199) dropped under .200 for the first time in his career. Over the last two years his average bWAR is -0.25 and his average fWAR is -0.35. Over his last four years his average bWAR is 0.48 and his average fWAR is 0.45.

The Phillies are due to pay Utley, Rollins and Howard a combined $51 million in 2014 and there’s a real chance only one of the three will put up a bWAR better than one. The trio made $46 million in 2013 with Utley the only player of the group with a bWAR better than 0.6. Per the table above, FanGraphs thought Rollins was a lot better than Baseball-Reference.

Cameron Rupp makes a surprise appearance on the list. Let’s hope for the best, but there are going to be some surprised folks out there if he proves to be more than a backup catcher. He also has 14 career plate appearances. Presumably the Phillies will add a catcher before the season starts, which will prevent them from going into the season with Kratz and Rupp handling the catching duties and, presumably, will mean Rupp starts the year somewhere other than on the active roster.


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