Tag: Jimmy Rollins

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

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

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

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

2000-2009 6512 7.2
2010-2012 1724 9.3

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

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

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

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

Quality is a start

Continuing down the Start Log is more information on quality starts. Here’s some info on quality starts by Phillies pitchers over the past three seasons:

2012 2011 2010
% of starts QS 61.1 66.7 58.0
% of starts not QS 38.9 33.3 42.0
Record in QS 62-37 (.626) 83-25 (.769) 69-25 (.734)
Record in not QS 19-44 (.302) 19-35 (.352) 28-40 (.412)
ERA in QS 2.02 1.65 1.66
Ratio in QS 0.97 0.94 0.94
ERA in not QS 7.61 6.25 7.21
Ratio in not QS 1.74 1.59 1.67

So the percentage of starts the Phillies made that were quality starts in 2012 is down from 2011, but higher than it was in 2010. The quality starts they did get were worse than in either of the two previous years and the non-quality starts they got were also worse than they have been in either of the two previous years.

Most importantly, though, the team’s results in 2012 were a whole lot worse in games when they either got or didn’t get a quality start. Their winning percentage in quality starts in 2012 was .626. Their winning percentage in all games in 2011, whether they got a quality start or not, was .630. The .626 winning percentage in quality starts in 2012 was .143 lower than their winning percentage in quality starts in 2011 and .108 lower than their winning percentage in quality starts in 2010.

For non-quality starts, the winning percentage is down .050 from 2011 and .110 from 2010.

The drop in all of those winning percentages obviously has more than a little to do with the offense. The Phillies were eighth in the NL in runs scored in 2012, seventh in 2011 and second in 2010.

Jimmy Rollins appears to be the shortstop for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. Gillies, Aumont and Orr will play for Team Canada. The WBC starts on March 2. It has been held twice before, in 2006 and 2009, with Japan winning both times. USA’s best finish has been fourth (in 2009).

This article suggests that Cody Asche could be the team’s third baseman in 2014. It’s going to surprise me if the Phillies give him the everyday job in 2014. It’s going to surprise me a little if he gets more than a handful of at-bats for the Phillies in 2014, actually. Asche has two years in the minors so far. In one of them he hit .192 in 268 plate appearances in the New York-Penn League.

Article on 22-year-old right-handed pitcher Kyle Simon here. Simon joined the Phillies last year in the Thome deal. He had struggled in Baltimore’s minors in 2012, but threw to a 1.36 ERA with an 0.71 ratio in 39 2/3 innings between Clearwater and Reading after joining the Phils.

Oh, for it to be 2008 again

Yesterday’s post suggested that if you look at Young’s overall WAR numbers over the last five seasons, he doesn’t fare that well compared to the rest of the Phillies. That, in large part, is due to the fact that he’s been a pretty miserable defensive player of late, posting a negative dWAR in four of the last five years. Looking at the top five hitters by WAR on the Phillies over the last five seasons means he’s competing with players who accumulate significant value from their defense (Utley, Rollins, Ruiz and Victorino especially), which Young has not been able to do.

If you look just at the offensive numbers, Young’s bids to get into the top five among Phillie hitters in recent years improve quite a bit. Arguably, Young would have been the best hitter on the Phillies in 2011 among the players that got 400 plate appearances — 2011 wasn’t that long ago and it saw Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Carlos Ruiz, Raul Ibanez, Placido Polanco and Shane Victorino all get at least 400 plate appearances with the Phils.

The table below shows where Young’s oWAR for all Phillies hitters and wOBA (for hitters with at least 400 plate appearances) ranks among Phillies for the last five seasons:

Year Rank oWAR wOBA
2008 1 Utley 5.7 Utley .389
2008 2 Rollins 3.5 Burrell .375
2008 3 Victorino 3.3 Werth .374
2008 - Young 3.2 (4) Young .328 (7)
2009 1 Utley 6.0 Utley .394
2009 2 Werth 4.0 Howard .392
2009 3 Howard 3.9 Ibanez .378
2009 - Young 4.0 (T-2) Young .385 (3)
2010 1 Werth 4.9 Werth .396
2010 2 Utley 3.9 Utley .370
2010 3 Ruiz 3.2 Ruiz/Howard .368
2010 - Young 2.7 (T-4) Young .336 (6)
2011 1 Victorino 5.0 Victorino .368
2011 2 Rollins 3.1 Howard .355
2011 3 Utley 2.9 Utley .338
2011 - Young 3.5 (2) Young .369 (1)
2012 1 Ruiz 4.0 Ruiz .398
2012 2 Rollins 3.1 Pence .340
2012 3 Utley 2.0 Rollins .322
2012 - Young -1.0 (26) Young .297 (7)

Young has been really good offensively in two of the last five years, hitting 338/380/474 in 2011 and 322/374/518 with 22 homers in 2009.

By oWAR, he would have been in the top two among Phillie hitters twice in the past five years and in the top four in four of the five.

By wOBA, he would have been the best Phillie hitter with at least 400 plate appearances in 2011 and the third best in 2009.

In 2012 he was unarguably terrible, but his career wOBA of .344, had he produced that and not the actual .297 he did put up, would have been second best on the team behind only Ruiz.

Young has had four really good offensive years, only one of which has come in the last five seasons. 2004, 2006 and 2009 were all really good and 2005, when he put up a 331/385/513 line, was probably the best.

It’s not the only reason the Phillies have been getting worse on the bases, but it’s a big piece

Quick — across both leagues, who’s the player who has hurt his team the most on the bases over the past three seasons? Hint: if you’re a Phillies fan, you probably saw him hobbling around the bases quite a bit in 2012.

The bad news is he wasn’t coming off of a major achilles injury in 2010 or 2011.

Here are Ryan Howard’s base running runs above average as calculated by FanGraphs over the past three seasons:

Year Base Running Rank MLB players
2010 -7.1 946 of 948
2011 -9.3 935 of 936
2012 -5.6 952 of 962
’10 to ’12 -22.0 1399 of 1399

Howard’s -5.6 in 2012 was his best mark of the three years, but it’s hard to see that as a mark of much hope. Howard got just 292 plate appearances in ’12 — less than half of what he got in ’10 or ’11. If he accumulated base running runs above (below) average at his 2012 rate over 600 plate appearances, he would have been at about -11.5 for the year.

No doubt about it that Howard was coming off of a major injury in 2012. Less sure about how much that injury could have been impacting him in 2010 and 2011.

Over the last three years, there have only been five players whose total base running runs below average has been worse than -15.8 overall — David Ortiz (-19.7), Billy Butler (-19.7), Prince Fielder (-19.8), Paul Konerko (-21.5) and Howard (-22.0).

Even with only about half a season of plate appearances in 2012, Howard’s base running from 2010 to 2012 is still worse than Phillie-poster-boy-for-bad-on-the-bases Pat Burrell’s horrendous base running during Burrell’s worst years.

Year Base Running Year Base running
Hoawrd 2010 -7.1 Burrell 2005 -8.8
Howard 2011 -9.3 Burrell 2006 -5.3
Howard 2012 -5.6 Burrell 2007 -4.2
Howard ’10 to ’12 -22.0 Burrell ’05 to ’07 -18.3

At the height of his base running suck, 2005 to 2007, Burrell got 1,834 plate appearances with a total base running runs below average of -18.3. Over the last three years, Howard has 1,556 plate appearances and a base running runs below average of -22.0.

There’s not a whole ton of silver lining on the Ryan Howard base running front, but there are guys who have been worse on the bases than he has in recent history. Looking at three-year periods going back to 2000, here’s the player who had the best and worst base running runs above average as calculated by FanGraphs:

Years Worst Best
2010-2012 Howard -22.0 Michael Bourn 28.6
2009-2011 Konerko (tie) -20.7 Bourn 33.9
Carlos Lee (tie) -20.7
2008-2010 Fielder -23.4 Bourn 25.0
2007-2009 Kendry Morales -20.1 Rollins 26.6
2006-2008 Bengie Molina -18.9 Ichiro 28.5
2005-2007 Bengie Molina -19.7 Figgins 29.1
2004-2006 Luis Gonzalez -20.5 Crawford 25.7
2003-2005 Alex Gonzalez -22.5 Beltran 29.5
2002-2004 Alex Gonzalez -22.3 Beltran 30.6
2001-2003 Alex Gonzalez -17.8 Beltran 24.1
2000-2002 Alex Gonzalez -10.0 Jeter 15.4

So from 2008 to 2010, Prince Fielder (-23.4) was worse than Howard (-22.0) ’10 to ’12. Prior to that, you’ve got to go back to Alex Gonzalez (the other one) from ’03 to ’05 to find a three-year period where someone out-worsened Howard’s ’10 to ’12 over a three-year period. Gonzalez also did it ’02 to ’04. Alex Gonzalez had a whole bunch of problems trying to steal bases from 2000 to 2005, playing for five different teams and getting caught 24 times, picked off nine and stealing just 34 bases.

At least Howard doesn’t get caught stealing. He’s got 12 stolen bases for his career and has been caught just four times (picked off three).

On the other side of the table, Jimmy Rollins was the best running in baseball by base running runs above average from 2007 to 2009 with 26.6. And again, Michael Bourn demonstrates that he brings a lot of value with what he does with his defense and on the bases as he appears atop the list for 2008 to 2010, 2009 to 2011 and 2010 to 2012.

From 2008 to 2012, Bourn’s base running runs above average is 44.7. That leads all players across both leagues and nobody else is close. Ian Kinsler is second at 32.5 and Victorino third at 31.0.

Todd Zolecki suggests the chances the Phillies will land Josh Hamilton are pretty slim.

In the same piece, he also suggests the Rangers would have traded young third baseman Mike Olt for Hamels last year, but that he’s not sure they would trade him for Cliff Lee at this point.

The deadline for setting the 40-man roster ahead of the Rule V draft was last night. Matt Gelb speculated on who the Phillies might protect in this article.

The Phillies added four players to their 40-man roster in advance of the December 6 Rule V draft, including outfielder Zach Collier and pitchers Trevor May, Ethan Martin and Jonathan Pettibone. They now have 38 players on their 40-man roster, including six outfielders, five of which are left-handed.

This suggests the Phillies may have interest in free agent Koji Uehara. The 37-year-old right-handed reliever threw to a 1.75 ERA with an 0.64 ratio for Texas in 2012, striking out 43 in 36 innings. He missed about two months last year with a problem with his right lat. He returned at the end of August and made 17 appearances between that time and the end of the season, throwing to a 1.23 ERA over 14 2/3 innings while striking out 21 and holding opponents to a .160 on-base percentage.

So at least somebody in town has a running game

Last week’s posts were about things the Phillies used to be great at, outfield defense and outfield offense, and suddenly aren’t. Today’s is about base running — something the Phillies have been great at in recent history, but were just pretty good at in 2012.

Here’s the base running total (runs above average) for the Phillies over the past six years as calculated by FanGraphs and how it compares to the other MLB teams (base running includes stolen bases and caught stealing, while UBR does not):

Year Base running MLB Rank
2007 16.0 1
2008 17.8 1
2009 11.6 5
2010 4.4 10
2011 -1.4 15
2012 4.5 11

So the Phils were best in baseball at the statistic in 2007 and 2008. They had dropped to the middle of the pack in 2011, but came back a little to eleventh across both leagues in 2012.

In 2007, across all players in both leagues, the Phillies had two players in the top 20 in base running. Rollins was second at 11.2 and Victorino was 18th at 6.9.

In 2008, they led the league again in the category with two guys in the top ten. Rollins was third at 10.5 and Victorino ninth at 8.4.

Victorino isn’t on the team anymore, but Jimmy Rollins can’t shoulder much of the blame for the Phillies’s drop from their spot as the best team in baseball in the category. In 2012, Rollins’s 8.3 base running runs above average was second best among all players in baseball, behind only Mike Trout of the Angels.

Juan Pierre appears to be headed to the Marlins on a one-year, $1.6 million deal.

Darin Ruf homered yesterday, giving him ten home runs in 120 at-bats in Venezuela. This article suggests he probably won’t hit ten more to tie the league record, cause he’s headed back to the US later this week and probably won’t return to the league for the second half.

This suggests that BJ Upton, who has already visited the Phillies and Braves, will also visit at least three other teams, which may include the Nationals and Giants. Rotoworld suggests Upton is likely to get about five years and $75 million. If he gets it from the Phillies, let’s hope he proves to be a whole lot better than Shane Victorino, who seems likely to get a lot less than five years, $75 million.

Sandy, the pitching angels have lost their desire for us

Bruce Springsteen. Sort of.

The table below shows, for each of the past five years, the four pitchers who have gotten the most starts for the Phillies that season and their WAR for the year as calculated by Baseball-Reference:

Year Pitcher Starts WAR
2012 Hamels 31 4.2
2012 Lee 30 4.2
2012 Kendrick 25 1.3
2012 Halladay 25 0.7
2012 Total for group 101 10.4
2011 Halladay 32 8.5
2011 Lee 32 8.3
2011 Hamels 31 6.2
2011 Oswalt 23 2.0
2011 Total for group 118 25.0
2010 Halladay 33 8.3
2010 Hamels 33 5.3
2010 Kendrick 31 0.2
2010 Blanton 28 -0.2
2010 Total for group 125 13.6
2009 Hamels 32 1.7
2009 Blanton 31 2.4
2009 Moyer 25 0.1
2009 Happ 23 4.0
2009 Total for group 111 8.2
2008 Hamels 33 4.0
2008 Moyer 33 2.5
2008 Myers 30 0.4
2008 Kendrick 30 -1.7
2008 Total for group 126 5.2

Important to note is that the WAR for the pitcher includes all of his appearances for the season, not just his starts. So, for example, Kendrick made 37 appearances in 2012 and only 25 of them were starts. His WAR for the year was 1.3 and that includes all 37 appearances, not just the 25 starts.

Again, the Phillies went to the World Series in 2008 and again in 2009 and they did it without outstanding starting pitching. This message will repeat. Happ (in 2009) and Hamels (in 2008) were the only two pitchers, starter or relievers, to post a WAR for the season better than 2.5 in either year.

Led by Hamels and Halladay, the top four was a lot better in 2010. Halladay, Hamels and Lee all had superb years in 2011.

Halladay was, as you may have noticed, way off in 2012. Hamels wasn’t as good as he had been in 2011 or 2010. Lee wasn’t as good as he had been in 2011, but the top for of the rotation were still better than they been in 2009 and a lot better than they had been in 2008.

It’s easy for some of us (by which I mean me) to forget that Lee didn’t throw a pitch for the Phillies in 2010. They Phillies have only had two years where Halladay, Hamels and Lee comprised the core of the rotation. One of those years was great for the Phillies until they were bounced out of the playoffs in the first round. The other was 2012, which is best forgotten if at all possible.

Halladay came into 2012 having not put up a WAR worse than 5.9 since 2008 — in ’08 he was an All-Star, finished second in Cy Young voting in the AL (losing to Indian and 22-game winner Cliff Lee) and seventh in WAR for pitchers across both leagues. Last year his WAR was 0.7, which is the worst mark of his career since he threw to a 10.64 ERA as a 23-year-old with the Blue Jays in 2000.

Rollins won his fourth Gold Glove.

The Phillies picked up the $5 million option on Ruiz and declined the $5.5 million option on Polanco. They will pay Polanco a $1 million buyout. The same article suggests that free agent Juan Pierre is not likely to be back with the Phillies.

This article suggests that Worley will stay in Philadelphia to rehab his elbow coming off of surgery.

This article suggests the Phillies have $135.35 million committed to ten players for next season, including Lee ($25 million), Halladay ($20 million), Howard ($20 million), Hamels ($19.5 million), Utley ($15 million), Papelbon ($13 million), Rollins ($11 million), Ruiz ($5 million), Kyle Kendrick ($4.5 million) and Laynce Nix ($1.35 million).

That’s $40 million committed to Halladay and Howard. In 2012, Howard’s Baseball-Reference calculated WAR was -1.2 and Halladay’s was 0.7.

This article quotes Amaro suggesting that that center field will have to be addressed externally. The writer goes on to list possible candidates, including Bourn, Pagan, Upton, Victorino, Hamilton, Cabrera, Jacoby Ellsbury and Dexter Fowler.

This article looks at potential corner outfielders, including free agent Juan Pierre, Nick Swisher, Cody Ross, Torii Hunter, Ryan Ludwick, Jonny Gomes, Rual Ibanez, Ichiro Suzuki, Delmon Young, Josh Willingham and Alfonso Soriano.

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