Tag: Josh Hamilton

A history of non-violence

Do Ben Revere’s numbers in the minor leagues suggests he’s likely to increase his walk rate or isolated power any time soon? Not as much as one might hope.

Here they are:

Year Age League Level PA BB % ISO
2007 19 Gulf Coast Rookie 216 6.0 .136
2008 20 Midwest A 374 7.2 .118
2009 21 Florida State A+ 517 7.7 .058
2010 22 Eastern AA 406 7.9 .058
2011 23 International AAA 141 4.3 .061
2012 24 International AAA 101 4.0 .010
Total - - - 1755 7.0 .078

Looking first at the walk rate, in his first four years in the minors, 2007 to 2010, he walked 112 times in 1,513 plate appearances. That’s a walk rate of 7.4%. In 2011 and 2012 at Triple-A, Revere got a total of 242 plate appearances and walked in just ten of them — a walk rate of 4.1%.

Revere had a monster season at Single-A Beloit in the Midwest League in 2008, hitting .379 and stealing 44 bases with an OPS of .930. He still didn’t walk a ton despite being an elite player in that league in ’08, drawing walks in just 7.2% of his plate appearances.

Looking at the isolated power, things started off looking promising. In 2007 and 2008 combined, Revere hit .360 with a slugging percentage of .484 over 530 plate appearances, giving him an isolated power of .124 to that point in his career.

Since 2008, he’s gotten 1,165 minor league plate appearances in which he has hit .310, but slugged just .364. That gives him an isolated power of .054 in the minors over those plate appearances.

In the years when he posted a higher isolated power, ’07 and ’08, it was because he hit triples, not home runs.

From ’07 to ’08 he got 590 plate appearances, hitting 20 triples and one home run with a .360 average, a .484 slugging percentage and an isolated power of .124.

In 2009 in the Florida State League, he hit two home runs in 517 plate appearances, but with just four triples. He still hit .311, but his slugging percentage dropped all the way to .369 (despite the fact his home run rate increased) and his isolated power dove to .058.

It hasn’t really been seen since.

This article reviews nine non-roster invitees to Spring Training for the Phillies this year, including Andres Blanco, Josh Fields, Cesar Jimenez, Steven Lerud, Jermaine Mitchell, Michael Martinez, Zach Miner, Pete Orr and Humberto Quintero. It seems like Quintero or Lerud have a good chance to take a spot on the Opening Day roster. I would guess there’s a big advantage to Quintero between the two.

The Phillies just signed outfielder Jermaine Mitchell to a minor league contract. Mitchell is left-handed and has played mostly center field in the minors. He had a monster year in 2011, hitting 332/430/530 between Double and Triple-A with a career high 15 home runs. He was off that pace in 2012, though, hitting just 252/345/386 in the PCL. He became a free agent earlier this month when he was non-tendered by Oakland. He turned 28 in November.

This suggests that Ichiro and the Yankees are finalizing a two-year deal worth between $12 million and $13 million. This suggests that the Phillies offered him more than that — $14 million over two years. This article talks all about it.

Josh Hamilton is set to become an Angel, leaving the Phillies with dwindling options among the outfielders thought to be available. The linked article mentions Cody Ross and Nick Swisher as well as the possibility that Anaheim will trade an outfielder since adding Hamilton.

This suggests Ty Wigginton will be a Cardinal on a two-year deal in the $5 million range. They must have missed 2012?


Don’t walk

The last post suggested that if Ben Revere is going to continue to hit for (almost literally) no power, he’s going to need to dramatically improve his walk rate if he’s ever going to post a wOBA above league average. He could also try hitting like .340 or so, but let’s just assume that’s not going to happen.

There are, though, guys who walk at the rate Ben Revere has, 5.2% of his plate appearances in 2011 and about 5.4% in 2012, and still post a wOBA better than league average.

Here’s the list of the guys over the past five seasons who have gotten enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title and walked in between 5.2% and 5.4% of their plate appearances as well as their FanGraph‘s calculated wOBAs.

% BB wOBA League average wOBA ISO
Pierzynski ’12 5.4 .351 .321 .223
Hardy ’12 5.3 .290 .321 .151
Boesch ’12 5.2 .288 .321 .132
Cozart ’12 5.2 .298 .321 .153
Montero ’12 5.2 .295 .321 .126
Viciedo ’12 5.2 .321 .321 .188
Suzuki ’11 5.4 .281 .316 .064
Infante ’11 5.3 .306 .316 .105
Soriano ’11 5.3 .326 .316 .225
Guerrero ’10 5.4 .364 .321 .196
Polanco ’10 5.3 .322 .321 .088
Cabrera ’10 5.2 .292 .321 .091
Callaspo ’10 5.2 .297 .321 .109
Aybar ’09 5.4 .340 .329 .111
Byrd ’09 5.3 .346 .329 .196
Polanco ’09 5.3 .321 .329 .112
’08 — no players - - - -

So there are 16 instances over the past five seasons of a player with enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title who also walked in 5.2% to 5.4% of his plate appearances (like Ben Revere).

Of those 16, seven had a year in which their wOBA was league average or better.

If you’re never going to walk, or walk about 5.4% of the time or so, the two most likely ways to do that are to hit for a monster average or hit with monster power. Or a combination of the two.

Adrian Beltre, who does not appear on the table above, is the king of posting huge wOBA numbers with a low walk rate. He does both. In 2012, Beltre was ninth among the 143 qualified players across both leagues with a .388 wOBA despite a walk rate of just 5.5%. He hit .321 with 33 doubles and 36 home runs. In 2011 he walked in just 4.8% of his plate appearances but was 22nd across both leagues in wOBA, thanks to hitting .296 with 32 homers.

Ben Revere is never, ever going to hit for monster power.

Of the seven guys who got to average or better, five of them did it showing very good isolated power. Those five are: Pierzynski in 2012, Viciedo in ’12, Soriano in ’11, Guerrero in 2010 and Marlon Byrd in 2009. Of that group of five, the worse isolated power mark is Dayan Viciedo’s .188 in 2012 — he hit 25 home runs in 543 plate appearances for the White Sox last year. The best isolated power mark of that group of five is the .225 for Soriano in 2011.

The other two guys who fill out the list are Placido Polanco in 2010 and Erick Aybar in 2009. Those guys made it to league average or better (although just barely in Polanco’s case) for wOBA despite not walking and not hitting for power.

Polanco hit 298/339/386 that year with an isolated power of .088. Revere can hit .298 and can even on-base .339. We’ll have to wait and see, but an isolated power of .088 seems like it might require a little wishful thinking. Polanco didn’t steal any bases in 2010, just five for the year. So that’s an element Revere could bring to his wOBA to deliver a ’10 Polanco-like year without as much power if he does not improve his walk rate.

Aybar hit .312 in ’09, posting a 312/353/423 line with a .340 wOBA that put him well above league average. His isolated power of .111 for the year was even better than Polanco’s and seems well out of reach for Revere.

So, if Revere’s going to get to league average or better in wOBA, it looks like there’s a bunch of things he’s going to have to do in combination to have a chance to get there — hit for a real high average, steal a whole lot of bases without getting caught hardly at all, increase his walk rate and do as much as possible to deliver some more power. The power from year to year is probably going to be a fluke — you’re not going to see him hit the ball out of the yard ten or five or probably even three times in a season. What you might see is a bunch of weird bounces that give him five or seven doubles in a year that turn into triples, which would do good things for his isolated power.

Recent Phillie rumors include 1) the Phillies are interested in Alfonso Soriano and may have offered Domonic Brown straight up for him and 2) the Phillies have offered Josh Hamilton a three-year deal.

The linked article points out that if Josh Hamilton was willing to take a three-year deal there would be a whole lot of teams interested in giving him one.

The White Sox got Jeff Keppinger on a three-year, $12 million deal.

This article mentions Joe Saunders, Chris Young, Carl Pavano, Derek Lowe, John Lannan, Jair Jurrjens, Kevin Millwood, and Chien-Ming Wang as the type of player the Phillies might target to fill out their rotation. Both Pavano and Jurrjens were awful in 2012, but they seem to me to be the guys on the list with the biggest upside for 2013.


And not just that, some of those guys haven’t even ever been on Hawaii Five-0

More today on eight of the potential center fielders whose names will be thrown about this off-season as the Phillies try to finalize their outfield. The table below shows their Baseball-Reference calculated oWAR per 600 plate appearances over the past three years and over their career as well as their FanGraphs calculated UZR/150 at center for their career and for any of the last three seasons in which they played at least 500 innings in center:

2010-2012 Career Career 2012 2011 2010
oWAR per 600 PA oWAR per 600 PA UZR/150 CF UZR/150 CF UZR/150 CF UZR/150 CF
Hamilton 5.19 4.51 -9.6 -26.3 <500 <500
Hunter 3.70 2.84 -0.5 <500 <500 -6.4
Upton 3.09 2.81 3.9 -3.2 1.6 1.9
Pagan 2.99 2.65 -0.8 -0.1 -16.1 13.3
Victorino 2.15 2.57 3.1 -2.4 5.7 2.8
Bourn 2.51 2.01 10.7 22.5 -6.2 20.6
Cabrera 3.22 1.97 -7.3 <500 -9.7 -25.2
Mayberry 1.75 1.56 -15.9 <500 <500 <500

Hamilton, Hunter, Cabrera and Mayberry really shouldn’t be getting too many defensive innings in center field.

Hunter has only played 8 2/3 innings in center field since the end of 2010. From 2006 to 2010, he played at least 800 innings in center field for five straight seasons, posting a negative UZR/150 at the position in each of the five seasons.

Hamilton sure can hit, but he’s posted a negative dWAR in four of the last five seasons. His career UZR/150 in left of 8.5 is a whole lot better than his career UZR/150 of -9.6 in center. Last year he put up a -26.3 in 687 innings in center for the Rangers.

Mayberry’s UZR/150 in center last year was -20.7.

Cabrera didn’t play an inning in center field in 2012, making 106 appearances in left for the Giants and 11 in right. He was bad defensively for the Royals in 1,265 2/3 innings in center in 2011 and terrible for the Braves in 385 innings in 2010.

Cabrera’s offensive production over the last three years is a lot better than it has been for his career. 3.22 oWAR per 600 plate appearances for the last three years, 1.97 for his career and 0.98 for his career before the start of the 2010 season. For 2005 to 2009, Cabrera got 2,148 plate appearances in which he combined for a total oWAR of 3.5 ((3.5/2148)*600=0.98).

Hamilton and Hunter could obviously help the Phillies at a corner outfield position, which is a place where the Phillies could use some help. I think that’s really, really unlikely given the combination of how much they are going to cost and the presence of Brown, Ruf, Schierholtz, Mayberry and Nix.

Bourn is the best defensive center fielder of this group by a wide margin. Upton and Victorino are way behind him. Pagan may have the strangest UZR/150 numbers of the group — he was great for the Mets in center in 2010, terrible for the Mets in center in 2011 and then put up a -0.1 for the Giants in 2012.

Compared to the previous post, Upton looks like a much better offensive player than Michael Bourn. The previous post looked at the numbers for four years, 2009 through 2012, while the first oWAR column in the table above reports on three years, 2010 through 2012. In 2009, Bourn hit 285/354/384 in his best offensive season in the last four years while Upton had his worst offensive season of the last four years, posting a 241/313/373 line.

Bourn’s career .201 oWAR per 600 plate appearances is a little frightening. He was just miserable offensively from 2006 to 2008, hitting 237/299/313 over 658 plate appearances for the Phils and Astros. Since the end of 2008, his oWAR per 600 plate appearances has been 2.66 over 2,708 plate appearances.

Here are the Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs calculations of total WAR for the last three years for each of the eight players:

bWAR ’12 bWAR ’11 bWAR ’10 bWAR ’10-’12 fWAR ’12 fWAR ’11 fWAR ’10 fWAR ’10-12
Hamilton 3.4 3.5 8.4 15.3 4.4 4.1 8.4 16.9
Hunter 5.5 3.4 2.7 11.6 5.3 2.6 3.7 11.6
Upton 2.6 2.8 1.0 6.4 3.3 4.1 4.1 11.5
Pagan 4.0 1.0 5.1 10.1 4.8 0.9 5.4 11.1
Victorino 2.4 5.2 2.8 10.4 3.3 5.9 3.8 13.0
Bourn 6.0 3.0 5.3 14.3 6.4 4.1 4.7 15.2
Cabrera 4.7 4.1 -0.5 8.3 4.6 4.2 -1.1 7.7
Mayberry 0.5 1.6 0.2 2.3 0.4 2.5 0.2 3.1

So here’s how the list of cumulative WAR over the past three seasons for those eight players goes using Baseball-Reference’s calculation:

  1. Hamilton, 15.3
  2. Bourn, 14.3
  3. Hunter, 11.6
  4. Victorino, 10.4
  5. Pagan, 10.1
  6. Cabrera, 8.3
  7. Upton, 6.4
  8. Mayberry, 2.3

And here’s the list using the FanGraphs calculation of WAR:

  1. Hamilton, 16.9
  2. Bourn, 15.2
  3. Victorino, 13.2
  4. Hunter, 11.6
  5. Upton, 11.5
  6. Pagan, 11.1
  7. Cabrera, 7.7
  8. Mayberry, 3.1

Those lists have some things in common:

  • Using both the Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs calculation, Hamilton is first, Bourn is second and Mayberry is eighth of the eight players in combined WAR for 2010-2012. Mayberry obviously played a lot less than the other seven guys, giving him less chances to accumulate WAR, but I think it’s also relevant that top table shows him at the bottom on oWAR per 600 plate appearances for the last three years and for his career and with the worst UZR/150 at center for the group
  • Both have Hunter and Victorino third and fourth, with Baseball-Reference showing Hunter ahead of Victorino and vice-versa for FanGraphs
  • Both lists think Victorino had a monster 2011 — his ’11 season is third-best on the FanGraphs list and fourth-best on the Baseball-Reference list
  • Both have Pagan, Cabrera and Upton in slots 5-7 with the players ordered differently. Pagan, Cabrera, Upton for Baseball-Reference and Upton, Pagan, Cabrera for FanGraphs
  • Both agree that the best of the seasons in the last three years was Hamilton’s 2010 and both agree the worst was Cabrera’s 2010

The bottom line for me is that four of those eight guys, Hamilton, Hunter, Cabrera and Mayberry, need to be disqualified from any search for a center field because they aren’t or shouldn’t be center fielders. That leaves four — Bourn, Upton, Pagan and Victorino. Of those four, WAR calculated by Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs suggests that, over the last three years, Bourn has been the best overall player and Victorino has been second-best. The sites disagree about Upton and Pagan — FanGraphs has Upton slightly ahead of Pagan in WAR for the three-year period while Baseball-Reference has Pagan with a big advantage over Upton over the last three seasons.

Biggest thing that came out of the post for me is that Shane Victorino might have been a little better than we thought. Sure, it was a little tough to appreciate his greatness while he was hitting 229/296/333 against righties last year, but maybe it was there.


The votes aren’t all counted yet, but I think we can agree that Adam Eaton was not the answer

Here’s the Baseball-Reference calculated combined WAR for pitchers who have made at least ten starts for the team over the past five seasons:

Pitcher GS # Relief appearances WAR WAR/GS
Halladay 90 0 17.6 .196
Lee 74 0 13.5 .182
Happ 30 16 5.0 .167
Oswalt 35 1 5.2 .149
Hamels 160 1 21.4 .134
Worley 46 7 4.4 .096
Moyer 77 5 2.7 .035
Blanton 100 5 2.5 .025
Myers 40 8 0.8 .020
Kendrick 103 41 1.7 .017
Eaton 19 2 -1.2 -.063

Important to remember is that the WAR calculation includes games pitched in relief. So, for example, the WAR for Kendrick over the last five seasons includes his 41 appearances out of the bullpen. His .017 for WAR/GS is his total WAR in all appearances divided by the number of games he started (not the total number of games in which he pitched).

The 11 pitchers above combined to make 774 of the 810 starts for the Phillies over the last five seasons. Not appearing on the list are guys who made fewer than ten starts, including Pedro Martinez (9), Chan Ho Park (7), Tyler Cloyd (6), Rodrigo Lopez (5), Antonio Bastardo (5), Raul Valdes (1), Andrew Carpenter (1), Nelson Figueroa (1) and BJ Rosenberg (1). Those 36 total starts plus the 774 for the 11 guys above gets you to 810.

Hamels is the guy who has made the most starts for the Phillies over the past five years with 160. And he’s been very good. After that, though, there are two guys in Blanton and Kendrick who have gotten a ton of starts over the past five seasons without being very good.

Kendrick is second in starts over the last five seasons with 103. His best year for WAR was 2007 (which doesn’t count for the table above as it was more than five years ago). In 2007, Kendrick made 20 appearances for the Phillies, all starts, going 10-4 with a 3.87 and putting up a WAR of 2.1. Kendrick was terrible in 2008 and finished the year with a -1.7 WAR. In the four years since his combined WAR has been just 3.4 — 3.4 + (-1.7) = 1.7, his mark for the past five years combined.

Blanton has made 105 appearances over the last five years for the Phillies, including 100 starts (more than anyone but Kendrick or Hamels). In the five seasons that Blanton pitched all or part of the year with the Phillies, he had a Baseball-Reference calculated WAR better than 0.1 only once. His best year with the Phillies was 2009 — he made 31 starts that year with a 4.05 ERA and a 1.32 ratio, posting a 2.4 WAR for the season. He had a -0.2 WAR in 29 appearances with the Phillies in 2010 and a -0.1 WAR in 21 appearances with them in 2012. He threw just 41 1/3 innings in 2011, all with the Phils, and put up a 0.0 WAR for that season.

The point here is that Blanton and Kendrick have pitched a lot for the Phillies over the past five years, making about as many starts (203) as Halladay, Lee and Worley (210). Overall, they’ve made about 25.1% of the starts for the Phillies over the past five seasons. And they haven’t been very good.

And while Blanton doesn’t have much of a chance to be not very good for the Phillies again in 2013, Kendrick does.

Gone also from the mix of the last five years are Happ and Oswalt. Both of those pitchers didn’t pitch a ton for the Phillies over the past five years, but put up good numbers overall in their time with the team.

Happ’s 4.83 ERA since he left the Phillies makes it easy to forget that he was great for the Phillies in 2009, going 12-4 with a 2.93 ERA and a 1.23 ratio in his 35 appearances (23 starts). He led the team in WAR for pitchers that year at 4.0. Hamels made 32 starts for the Phillies in ’09, finishing the year with a WAR of 1.7.

Oswalt threw to a 2.96 ERA in 36 appearances (35 starts) with the Phils between 2010 and 2011. He appeared in just 13 games for the Phillies in 2010 (12 starts), but managed to post a WAR of 3.2, third best on the staff behind Halladay and Hamels.

This suggests Josh Hamilton wants seven years, $175 million.

Amaro mentions Adam Morgan favorably in this article. Morgan is a 22-year-old lefty the Phillies took in the third round of the 2011 draft. He made 27 appearances between Clearwater and Reading in 2012, 26 of which were starts, throwing to a 3.35 ERA with a 1.11 ratio and striking out 169 in 158 2/3 innings.


In the company of men who can hit

Fun for today is trying to find the outfielders in either league that were better than Jayson Werth offensively in 2010. Your mileage may vary.

Here’s the outfield guys that finished ahead of Werth in runs created and runs created per 27 outs as calculated by ESPN and in offensive war (as calculated by Baseball-Reference) in 2010:

Runs Created Runs Created per 27 outs Offensive WAR
Jose Bautista Josh Hamilton Jose Bautista
Carlos Gonzalez Carlos Gonzalez Josh Hamilton
Josh Hamilton Jose Bautista Shin-Soo Choo
Matt Holliday Nelson Cruz Matt Holliday

Toronto’s Jose Bautista and Texas’s Josh Hamilton are ahead of Werth in all three of those categories. Bautista hit 54 home runs and on-based .378 for the year. Hamilton hit 359/411/633 for the year. Both of those guys need to be on any list of outfielders who were better than Werth offensively in 2010.

After that things get a little less clear. There are four players that are better than Werth in at least one of the three categories in the table above, but worse in at least one other. They are Carlos Gonzalez, Matt Holliday, Nelson Cruz and Shin-Soo Choo.

Carlos Gonzalez finished ahead of Werth in runs created and runs created per 27 outs, but behind him in offensive war. Werth got 16 more plate appearances than Gonzalez and hit seven fewer home runs while batting .296 to Gonzalez’s .336. He hit 12 more doubles, but seven fewer triples. He walked more than twice as many times as Gonzalez and put up the better on-base percentage, .388 to .376. Gonzalez hit 289/322/453 away from home while Werth hit 270/365/463. Gonzalez drove in 117 runs and Werth drove in 85. Werth had an OPS+ for the year of 145, Gonzalez 143.

Holliday topped Werth in each of the three slash categories except slugging, where they tied. He outhit him .312 to .296 and on-based .390 to Werth’s .388. In 23 more plate appearances, Holliday struck out 54 fewer times than Werth. Holliday’s OPS+ of 149 tops Werth’s 145.

Cruz got just 445 plate appearances on the season, but outhit Werth .318 to .296 and out-slugged him .576 to .532 with an OPS+ of 150. Werth drew walks more regularly, so despite the fact that Cruz’s batting average was twenty-two points higher, he posted the better on-base percentage (.388 for Werth and .374 for Cruz).

Choo hit 300/401/484 in his 646 plate appearances with an OPS+ of 148. Werth had six more plate appearances and hit five more homers and 15 more doubles. Choo drew 83 walks to Werth’s 82 and struck out 29 fewer times.

In my mind, Gonzalez and Holliday were both better than Werth. I think it’s very close between Werth and Choo, but I would give the slight nod to Werth. I think Cruz has the weakest case of those four players, just because he had so many fewer chances to hit in 2010.

So that’s four on my list: Hamilton, Bautista, Gonzalez and Holliday.

The next question needs to be if there are outfielders that didn’t appear on the table above that could have been better than Werth offensively in 2010. My nominations for the four most productive outfielders not on the table above are Carl Crawford, Ryan Braun, Andrew McCutchen and Vernon Wells.

Crawford may be the guy with the best case there, but I think that Werth has him beat. Five more plate appearances for Werth in which he hit eight more home runs, 16 more doubles and drew 36 more walks. Crawford outhit him .307 to .298 and delivered 11 more triples and stole 34 more bases while striking out 43 fewer times. Better power numbers and the better on-base percentage gives Werth an OPS that’s 70 points better than Crawford’s for the season.

Braun got 32 more plate appearances than Werth and hit fewer home runs and fewer doubles and walked 26 fewer times. He had a nice season, but he wasn’t better than Werth.

So did Andrew McCutchen. But, in one more plate appearance than Werth had fewer doubles, fewer homers and fewer walks. Werth out-OPSed him by more than a hundred points.

Wells hit 44 doubles and 31 homers, but on-based just .331 for the season. Corey Hart had a similar year in the NL with not quite as many doubles and a little bit better average, but again I think his .340 on-base percentage keeps him out of the better-than-Werth picture.

That leaves the list at four. Bautista, Hamilton, Gonzalez and Holliday. I think Choo and Crawford are right behind them, with Werth having had a slightly better year offensively than both of those players.

This article compares Werth and Crawford. It also says that Werth’s agent says Werth is worth more than Jason Bay, who got four years, $66 million from the Mets last winter. Bay had a miserable year for New York in which he hit 259/347/402 with six home runs and struck out at a higher rate than Werth (22.7% of PA for Bay and 22.5% for Werth).


Left doubt

Off the Mets now and on to the lineup and whether or not it’s a big deal that the Phils hit Utley and Howard back-to-back as well as the general problem with the lack of right-handed hitters on the team. Three related points coming in this and upcoming posts: 1) (today!) Utley and Howard get a higher percentage of their plate appearances against left-handed pitching than many of the other elite left-handed hitters in baseball 2) this is a bigger deal for Howard than it is for Utley and 3) whether it’s because they hit back-to-back or not, in 2008 Utley and Howard both had numbers against relief pitchers that were a) bad and b) worse than they had been in recent years.

Pretty much I’m thinking that a lineup that goes Utley-Howard-Ibanez 3-4-5 isn’t the way to go (or the way the Phillies will go).

Today’s point is that Utley and Howard get more of their plate appearances against left-handed hitting than many of the other best left-handed hitters in baseball.

In 2008, Howard and Utley each got about 38% of their plate appearances against left-handed pitching. By OPS, Utley was the best left-handed hitter (.915) in the NL in ’08 and Howard was fifth best (.881). If you compare the percentage of their plate appearances that came against lefties for 2008 to the percentage of plate appearances that came against lefties for the four other top hitters in the NL, Utley and Howard faced lefties more often.

The chart below presents, for the six left-handed NL hitters with at least 500 plate appearances in 2008 who posted the best OPS, the percentage of their plate appearances that have come against left-handed pitchers in 2008 and in ’06 and ’07:

nlvleft.jpg

In 2006, Adam Dunn got 32.8% of his plate appearances against lefties while Howard got 32.0% of his plate appearances against lefties. Since then, though, none of the rest of the group has gotten as high a percentage of their plate appearances against lefties. That adds up to a lot of plate appearances. Brian McCann, for example, has had 1,617 total plate appearances over the past three years and 480 (29.7%) have come against lefties. Utley has had 2,059 total plate appearances and 752 of them, 36.5%, of them have come against lefties. So Utley has had 442 more total plate appearances, but 272 of them have come against left-handed pitching.

Utley and Howard are also getting a higher percentage of their plate appearances against lefties than the top left-handed hitters in the American League. By OPS, here are the top six left-handed hitters in the AL from 2008 and the percentage of their plate appearances that have come against lefties over the past three years:

alvleft.jpg

The highest mark for that group for the last three years is the 35.5% of Justin Morneau’s plate appearances that came against left-handed pitchers in 2008. Utley and Howard have both faced a higher percentage of lefties in each of the last two seasons.

It should also be noted that, like Utley and Howard, in 2008 Morneau hit almost exclusively behind another very good left-handed hitter. The Twins lineup regularly featured Joe Mauer hitting third and Morneau in the cleanup slot.

Interesting Q&A with Pat Gillick here in which he suggests the Phillies might have been willing to bring Burrell back but the length of the contract that Burrell was looking for was a problem. I also find it fascinating given how regularly Gillick wins the World Series that when asked why he pushed for the Ibanez signing the first thing he mentions is that Ibanez will be a positive influence in the clubhouse. Gillick also suggests that Ibanez may hit for more power at Citizens Bank Park and that he hits left-handed pitching well.

In this article, Charlie Manuel says that Ibanez has hit lefties well for the last few years. Ibanez smoked lefties to the tune of 305/368/497 in 2008, but hit 256/294/356 against them in 2007 and 243/301/362 against them in ’06.

This article says that Feliz hasn’t swung a bat since his surgery in November. Also says that Feliz expects to be ready for the start of the season.


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