Tag: Juan Cruz

The murky dozen

Here was the most recent guess about the pitchers who start the year with the team, which came in this post at the end of January:

Other candidates
1 Halladay (R) P Aumont (R)
2 Lee (L) T Cloyd (R)
3 Hamels (L) J De Fratus (R)
4 Kendrick (R) M Schwimer (R)
5 Lannan (L) M Stutes (R)
6 Papelbon (R) BJ Rosenberg (R)
7 Adams (R) E Martin (R)
8 Bastardo (L) J Pettibone (R)
9 JC Ramirez (R)
10 Z Miner (R)
11 J Cruz (R)
12 A Cook (R)
R Lopez (R)
J Friend (R)
K Simon (R)
J Horst (L)
R Valdes (L)
J Diekman (L)
J Savery (L)
M Robles (L)
C Jimenez (L)
A Morgan (L)

There have been some developments since then. The biggest is that Chad Durbin was signed and appears to be a lock to be a righty out of the pen. Juan Cruz and the Phillies have parted ways, presumably because Durbin appears to be a lock to be a righty out of the pen. JC Ramirez was DFA’ed and then sent to Triple-A. And the Phillies signed two lefties who are unlikely to see time with the big league club soon, David Newmann and Corey Young.

So I add Durbin to the list and removed Cruz. Ramirez will still be in camp as an NRI, although he seems like a long shot to start the year with the team, he’s still in the right-hand column of other candidates.

Other candidates
1 Halladay (R) P Aumont (R)
2 Lee (L) T Cloyd (R)
3 Hamels (L) J De Fratus (R)
4 Kendrick (R) M Schwimer (R)
5 Lannan (L) M Stutes (R)
6 Papelbon (R) BJ Rosenberg (R)
7 Adams (R) E Martin (R)
8 Bastardo (L) J Pettibone (R)
9 Durbin (R) JC Ramirez (R)
10 Z Miner (R)
11 A Cook (R)
12 R Lopez (R)
J Friend (R)
K Simon (R)
J Horst (L)
R Valdes (L)
J Diekman (L)
J Savery (L)
M Robles (L)
C Jimenez (L)
A Morgan (L)

So nine slots now filled. Five starters and four relievers. Of the relievers, they have a closer, a setup guy and one lefty.

Assuming 12 pitchers to start the year, they have three open spots.

Last time I guessed I had them with eight filled slots and gave the last four to Horst, Aumont, Valdes and De Fratus, which left the Phils with three lefties in the pen and no true long man.

One big question with the current staff is whether Chad Durbin can pitch more than one inning or if the Phillies will use him to do so. Durbin was very good in 2012, arguably the best he had been since ’08 with the Phils, but didn’t go more than an inning a whole lot of times. Durbin got more than three outs in three of his 76 appearances for Atlanta in ’12. He threw more than 25 pitches in a game in four of 76. In 2008, the Phillies had Durbin throw more than 25 pitches in 18 of 71 appearances. On May 18, 2008, Durbin threw 66 pitches in relief of Kendrick after Kendrick exited after just one inning.

But it’s not 2008 anymore. And I would guess we aren’t going to see Durbin go more than an inning very often. So I’d say they still don’t have a long guy out of the pen.

I really have trouble seeing the Phillies not carry Horst to start the year given his performance in 2012 (he threw to a 1.15 ERA with a 1.12 ratio and 40 strikeouts over 31 1/3 innings).

I think that gets them to ten and leaves them with two slots open. I see Aumont, De Fratus, Stutes and Valdes as the guys with the best chances to fill the remaining slots. Aumont seems to have the biggest upside of the group. De Fratus has been fantastic in the minors in recent years. Stutes will need to prove he’s healthy, but was a big contributor for the 2011 Phils. Valdes threw to a 2.90 ERA with an 0.74 ratio for the Phils in 2012.

Aumont’s upside potential makes me feel like there’s some separation between him and the rest of the candidates. So I’ll put him in the eleventh spot. I think the last spot is a total tossup. Valdes would give the Phillies three lefties, so I’ll go with De Fratus once again.

That gives us 12 pitchers: Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Lannan, Kendrick, Papelbon, Adams, Durbin, Bastardo, Horst, Aumont and De Fratus.

Ben Revere wants to get on base more.

This article talks about depth in the starting rotation beyond the top five starters. It’s not real good.

Former Phillie hitting coach Greg Gross comments on some past and current Phillie hitters in this article.


The third men

The walk rate for Phillie third baseman in 2012, when the Phils were 15th in the league in walk rate, was worse than it was in 2007, when Phillie hitters overall drew more walks than any other team in the league. The bigger problem, though, is that the team’s walk rate at the position is just terrible and has been for years.

For the last six seasons, here’s the percentage of plate appearances in which the Phillies third basemen have drawn walks, the average for the league at the position and the team’s rank in the NL for walks drawn by third basemen:

Year PHI 3B BB% NL AVG 3B BB% NL Rank BB @ 3B
2012 4.7 8.1 16
2011 7.8 7.5 7
2010 5.6 8.5 15
2009 5.6 9.1 16
2008 6.7 8.9 14
2007 8.7 9.0 10

So that’s bad. Four of the last five years the Phillies have been 14th or worse in 16-team NL in walk rate at third base. 2011 was the only year in the last six they’ve been non-terrible. Polanco led the way that season, walking in 8.0% of his plate appearances as a third baseman. That was the best walk rate of his career and well above his career-average of 5.5%.

In 2012, the Phillies walked in just 4.7% of their plate appearances at third, their worst mark of any of the last six miserable years (at least for walking at the position). They drew just 32 walks for the season, which was less than any other NL team.

Polanco got about 47% of the plate appearances at third for the Phillies in 2012 and walked in about 5.1% of them. Frandsen got about 30% of the chances and walked in about 3.9% of those. Wigginton, Fontenot, Martinez, Orr and Luna combined for the other plate appearances at the position and walked in about 5.2% of them.

Michael Young looks to be the guy for the Phils at third in 2013. In 2012, he walked in about 5.1% of his plate appearances, not much better than the 4.7% of PA the Phils walked in during 2012. There’s a good chance a 5.1% walk rate for the Phillies at the position would likely still have them 16th in the NL in total walks at third in 2013. The two teams that were within striking distance for the Phils in 2012 were the Rockies and Astros — both of those team saw their third basemen walk in about 5.3% of their plate appearances.

Finally, Michael Young’s career walk rate is about 6.6%. If he managed to walk in about 6.6% of his plate appearances during 2013 and got all of the Phillie chances at third, the team would likely be around 13th at the end of the year (at least based on 2012 results).

Juan Cruz is not yet in camp due to what Amaro suggests is a communication issue.

This suggests that Michael Stutes is feeling well.

Update: Juan Cruz and the Phillies have apparently decided to “part ways.”


Irregular season

Freeze frame, November, 2012. The Phillies shock the baseball world by naming you their new GM. Your job — add a starting center fielder, a starting third baseman, a starting corner outfielder, a top setup man and a fifth starter. Trade Vance Worley, Trevor May, Josh Lindblom and Lisalverto Bonilla if you want, but make sure you take on less than $20 million in 2013 payroll.

Good luck.

If that’s your charge and you come back with Ben Revere, Michael Young, Delmon Young, John Lannan and Mike Adams, you’ve done your job.

Obviously Amaro had more flexibility than that, especially around who he traded. Keeping Worley would have made adding a fifth starter unnecessary. And some of the positions he filled from outside of the organization could have been filled from within. If the Phillies fail to play Domonic Brown just about every day to start 2013, they’re making a mistake. But they haven’t done that yet and, no matter what they say in January, I don’t think they will. And I don’t think that the off-season has been a disaster for the Phillies.

If there’s a disaster here, and despite how ugly 2012 was, I don’t think this is a disaster yet, it didn’t start this off-season. It started a couple of years ago and moves slow.

Success or failure for the 2013 Phillies is going to have a whole lot more to do with what Ryan Howard, Jonathan Papelbon, Chase Utley, Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee combine to produce for the $137ish million the Phils have committed to pay them than it will with what Delmon Young produces for the $750,000 they’ve committed to pay him. And a lot of what we saw in 2012 should make you worry about that group’s ability to produce $137 million worth of value in 2013.

You can pay all five of the new guys mentioned above this season with the $20 million the Phils have committed to Howard. With a couple of million left over. You can get most of the way there with the $13 million they’re going to pay Papelbon.

It’s a lotta eggs in a small number of baskets. There is no solution if those eggs can’t play anymore or simply have bad contracts — but it’s not Delmon Young’s fault, either. The choices are declare it’s over and rebuild or declare it’s not and do what you can with the limited flexibility that you have left. I’m glad they chose the later. This is what do what you can with the limited flexibility you have looks like.

Bottom line for me is that the Phillies may have made mistakes. Some of them are big mistakes. Maybe too big for the team to overcome in next few seasons. I’m a lot less sure they came this off-season, though.

Yesterday I updated my guess on who the hitters on the team are at this point. Earlier this month I made a guess on the pitching side. Here’s what I came up with then:

Other candidates
1 Halladay (R) P Aumont (R)
2 Lee (L) T Cloyd (R)
3 Hamels (L) J De Fratus (R)
4 Kendrick (R) M Schwimer (R)
5 Lannan (L) M Stutes (R)
6 Papelbon (R) BJ Rosenberg (R)
7 Adams (R) E Martin (R)
8 Bastardo (L) J Pettibone (R)
9 JC Ramirez (R)
10 Z Miner (R)
11 J Horst (L)
12 R Valdes (L)
J Diekman (L)
J Savery (L)
M Robles (L)
C Jimenez (L)

Assuming 12 pitching spots to start the season, I gave the four open slots to Horst, Aumont, Valdes and De Fratus.

Not a whole lot has changed since January 9. The Phillies signed free agent righties Rodrigo Lopez, Aaron Cook and Juan Cruz and announced that righties Justin Friend and Kyle Simon would be invited to camp as NRIs, along with lefty Adam Morgan.

The list looks pretty much the same in my mind these days, with the exception of the addition of a few candidates:

Other candidates
1 Halladay (R) P Aumont (R)
2 Lee (L) T Cloyd (R)
3 Hamels (L) J De Fratus (R)
4 Kendrick (R) M Schwimer (R)
5 Lannan (L) M Stutes (R)
6 Papelbon (R) BJ Rosenberg (R)
7 Adams (R) E Martin (R)
8 Bastardo (L) J Pettibone (R)
9 JC Ramirez (R)
10 Z Miner (R)
11 J Cruz (R)
12 A Cook (R)
R Lopez (R)
J Friend (R)
K Simon (R)
J Horst (L)
R Valdes (L)
J Diekman (L)
J Savery (L)
M Robles (L)
C Jimenez (L)
A Morgan (L)

I still feel pretty good about the Horst and Aumont picks. That gets the Phillies to ten pitchers — five starters and five relievers, including two lefties in Bastardo and Horst.

I feel like there’s a chance that Cook can challenge Lannan for the fifth starter job. But I still think Lannan is the guy. Kendrick ended the season pitching really well out of the rotation, but I shake the feeling that the Phillies would be better off using him as a long reliever. I don’t think that’s going to happen, though, at least not to start the season.

Assuming Kendrick is in the rotation, there’s still an issue about long relief. The Phillies don’t have a long man in the ten guys I mentioned. Juan Cruz seems like he might get some consideration for that role. I’d guess the Phils think Rosenberg could give them more than one inning.

I still think the last two spots are pretty wide open. Valdes and De Fratus were the two relievers I picked last time. Valdes was fantastic for the Phillies in 2012 and De Fratus has put up outstanding numbers in the minors over the last few years.

Valdes would be the third lefty in the pen, though. And they still wouldn’t have a long man. Stutes is the other guy who seems like a legit candidate if he shows he’s healthy early in camp. He was solid for the Phillies in 2011 and got four or more outs in 14 of his 57 appearances.

Anyway, I’ll stick with Horst, Aumont, Valdes and De Fratus for the last four spots. That leaves the Phils with 12 pitchers — Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Kendrick, Lannan, Papelbon, Adams, Bastardo, Horst, Aumont, De Fratus and Valdes. Still three lefties and still no long reliever. My top candidates among the guys not on that list would be Cruz, Rosenberg and Stutes.

This article suggests the Phillies have had the third-best off-season in the NL East.


AbsoluteLee unexpected

The Phillies went 12-18 in Cliff Lee’s starts last year, which was odd given that Lee was in the top ten in the NL in ERA, ratio, strikeouts and WAR for pitchers. While Lee was off his outstanding 2011 pace, he was still very good and a lot had to go wrong for the Phillies in his starts for them to go 12-18. A lot did.

Here are some of the lowlights:

  • The Phillies scored 3.60 runs per game in the games started by Lee and 4.36 in the games he did not start. They scored a total of three runs in the first three games he started in 2012 and a total of three runs in the last three games he started in 2012 and the Phils went 0-6 in those games. 3.60 runs per game of offense in their starts is the worst mark for any starting pitcher who started more than one game for the team in ’12 (although Worley was close behind at 3.61 runs of offense per game he started).
  • The Phillies went 10-11 in the 21 games in which Lee delivered a quality start. In those 21 games he threw to a 1.86 ERA with an 0.97 ratio. The Phillies went 52-26 in quality starts that were made by any pitcher other than Lee.
  • The bullpen pitched to a 4.82 ERA with a 1.43 ratio in the 30 games that Lee started. In the 132 games that he didn’t start, the bullpen pitched to a 3.79 ERA with a 1.27 ratio.

So Lee was good, the offense was bad, the bullpen was bad and even when Lee pitched well the Phillies didn’t win. There’s got to be more than a little plain old bad luck in there as well. You wouldn’t expect your team to go 10-11 in the games where their starting pitcher throws to a 1.86 ERA and a ratio under one.

Seven of the 18 games the Phillies lost that Lee started were one-run games.

The Phillies were 4-12 in the first 16 games that Lee started. Over those 16 starts, the Phils managed to lose a game in which Lee threw 10 shutout innings, another in which he struck out 12 while allowing two runs over 7 2/3 innings and a third in which he allowed a run on two hits and a walk over eight frames.

That’s not to say Lee excelled at all times during those first 16 starts. That simply wasn’t the case. Most notably, from June 10 to June 29 (outings 10 to 13 on the year), Lee made four starts bad starts in a row, throwing to a 7.30 ERA in those outings and puffing his ERA on the year from 2.92 to 4.13. After June 29, Lee pitched to a 2.44 ERA over his last 17 starts and the Phils went 9-8 in those games.

Bastardo filed for arbitration yesterday.

The Nats appear to have agreed to a deal with right-handed reliever Rafael Soriano that will pay Soriano $28 million over the next two years. Soriano has been very good in two of the last three years.

This suggests that the Phillies may have interest in right-handed pitcher Brandon Webb. It doesn’t suggests that Webb has become an outfielder. Now 33, Webb had six good years with the Diamondbacks from 2003 to 2008, throwing to a 3.24 ERA over 198 appearances, 197 of which were starts. He has been slowed by shoulder problems since, throwing just 16 innings between the majors and minors since the start of 2009.

The Phillies signed Juan Cruz to a minor league deal. Love this move. I’ve always been a huge fan of Cruz. I forget why, cause his results haven’t been especially good and he walks too many hitters to be consistently successful. Cruz is a 34-year-old right-handed pitcher with a 4.05 ERA and a 1.41 career ratio in 655 innings over 13 years. He’s had several miserable years, including 2003, 2005 and 2009. Over the last three years, he’s made 104 appearances, all in relief, and thrown to a 3.41 ERA with a 1.51 ratio. In 89 2/3 innings, he’s walked 51. His walk rate for his career is 4.8 batters per nine innings. The years when he’s been good he still walked a ton of people, just didn’t allow many hits.


  • Calender

    April 2014
    M T W T F S S
    « Mar    
     123456
    78910111213
    14151617181920
    21222324252627
    282930  
  • Online Marketing
    Add blog to our blog directory.



    Web Directory

    Blogging Fusion Blog Directory

  • Copyright © 1996-2010 Philliesflow.com. All rights reserved.
    iDream theme by Templates Next | Powered by WordPress