Tag: juan pierre

Great Scott

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


What’s the matter here? I mean, besides the obvious things

And by obvious things, what I have in mind is Utley and Howard topping out their combined Spring Training production by fielding ground balls while sitting in a chair. Stuff like that.

The Phillies can’t score in Spring Training, which wouldn’t matter at all except there’s a whole lot of fans out there worried they won’t be able to score when they start playing games where nobody is running laps in the outfield either.

As if on cue, the Phils got four hits yesterday, all singles, as they lost to Toronto 2-0 to drop to 9-10 in official Spring Training action. Over their last six games they’ve scored 16 runs, which is about 2.67 runs per game.

Cliff Lee started the game for the Phillies and pitched very well. He went six innings, allowing a run on five hits to drop his ERA to 3.45. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out seven.

Chad Qualls set Toronto down in order in the seventh, dropping his spring ERA to 5.40. Contreras pitched the eighth and allowed an unearned run. Travis Snider reached on an error by Podsednik in center with one out and Kelly Johnson followed that with a double to right that scored Snider. Contreras got the next two batters, dropping his ERA to 27.00 after two outings and 1 1/3 official innings.

The Phillies got one hit, a single by Ruiz, and two walks (Nix and Mayberry) over five shutout innings by Brandon Morrow. Ruiz was 2-for-3 on the day, upping his average to .478. Mayberry 1-for-2 with a walk to up his line to 224/283/306 in 49 at-bats.

Podsednik 0-for-1 with an error. Pierre 0-for-3 with a pickoff/caught stealing and left five men on base. His average is down to .257. He has stolen two bases this spring and been caught three times.

Galvis started at second and hit eighth, going 0-for-3 to drop his average to .255.

Miguel Abreu played three innings defensively at short, handling one grounder and going 0-for-1. He’s 1-for-3 with a single and an RBI at the plate so far. Just about anybody who can play short warrants attention for the Phils, but Abreu probably doesn’t have the bat to help the team no matter what he can do defensively. Abreu has a career 265/293/382 line in 2,811 minor league plate appearances. That’s not real inspiring, but he does top Freddy Galvis in all three categories (246/292/321 for Galvis). I’d say there’s just about no chance for Abreu, but it’s not that kind of thing anymore when it comes to middle infielders for the Phillies. Abreu and Galvis were born on the same day, November 14, with Abreu born five years earlier.

Abreu is also not a shortstop. He has primarily been a second baseman in the minors, making just four appearances at short over the 711 minor league games he has appeared in.

The Phillies play the Yankees this afternoon with Worley expected to pitch.

This suggests that Polanco could be back in the lineup within a few days.

The article linked above says that Thome played seven innings in a minor league game yesterday and things went well.


Something old and something phew

Okay, maybe more than one thing phew.

Juan Pierre went 1-for-2 in yesterday’s game against Baltimore, raising his Spring Training batting average to .281. Thanks to five walks, which ties him for the team lead, Pierre is on-basing an impressive .378 so far.

That’s good news for Pierre, especially given that his role with the team would primarily be to try and get on base and more specifically to try and get on base against right-handed pitching.

It’s important to remember that Pierre has had years when he was a fantastic hitter against right-handed pitching. In 2001 he hit 337/383/435 against righties for the Rockies. In 2003 he played for the Fish and posted a 303/368/377 line against right-handed pitching. In 2004 it was 334/379/422.

The problem is, though, that most of his success against right-handed pitching came early in his career. Three of the last four years his numbers against righties are not good at all. In 2009, Pierre got 305 plate appearances against righties for the Dodgers and hit 304/347/389 against them. In the other three years, though, 2008, 2010 and 2011, Pierre has been pretty awful. In those three seasons combined, Pierre got 1,373 plate appearances against righties in which he hit just 264/308/318. Here’s what the numbers for Pierre against righties look like before and after the end of the 2005 season:

PA AVG OBP SLG
2005-2011 3243 279 322 354
Before 2005 2307 313 363 389

Against right-handed pitching, Pierre has hit for just about the same amount of power before and after the end of 2005. After 2005 his isolated power is .075 against righties and through the end of 2005 is was .076. His batting average is off about thirty points, though, and he has walked a lot less. Through the end of the 2005 season he had walked in about 6.7% of his plate appearances against righties. Since the end of 2005 he has walked in about 5.0%.

The Phillies beat Baltimore 4-1 yesterday.

Halladay started for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing a run on three hits. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out five, dropping his spring ERA to 6.59. Papelbon, Stutes and Herndon followed Halladay and each threw a scoreless inning. Herndon struck out two in a 1-2-3 ninth to earn the save and push his ERA down to 2.25.

Galvis, Phillies second basemen of the present, hit leadoff for the Phils and played second. He went 1-for-5 with yet another triple, his second in two days. 273/300/477. He’s been really good so far. If you’re looking for predictions, though, if they set the over-under for his slugging percentage for the regular season at .477, take the under.

Martinez was 1-for-2 with a double, raising his average to .323. Speaking of taking the under, he’s now slugging .516 and on-basing .400. All of that’s going to matter a little less to the Phils in the short term given that Martinez’s right foot was broken yesterday when he was hit by a Jim Johnson pitch in the seventh inning. The linked article mentions Orlando Hudson and Maicer Izturis as players who might make sense for the Phils were they to try to bring in an infielder from outside the organization.

Sounds good to me.

Podsednik 1-for-1 to up his line to 389/463/528 in 36 at-bats. Pierre 1-for-2 with a single and hitting 281/378/281. Montanez started in left and went 0-for-4, but is still at 394/417/576 through 33 at-bats.

Pence (.292), Ruiz (.450) and Wigginton (.257) all were 2-for-3 for the Phils in the game.

Frandsen was 0-for-3 to drop his average to .156. He was reassigned after the game.

Pete Orr was 1-for-1 with an RBI in the game, upping his line to 290/361/367 in 31 at-bats. Hector Luna is hitting .281 after an 0-for-2 day. It would seem it would be tough for the Phillies to carry either of those players unless they think one of them can play short. Then again, if things continue at their current pace, those guys might be looking pretty good in about a week or so.

Erik Kratz homered in his only at-bat of the game for the Phils, upping his spring average to .353 (6-for-17).

The Phils don’t play today. That should help some. Toronto tomorrow afternoon.

This article on Utley’s knee problems doesn’t seem to be brimming with optimism that his return is imminent.


Who is righter?

One other thing about Podsednik and Pierre. Given that either would be a part-time player who would play (hopefully) far more often against righties than lefties, the answer as to who would be the better match for the Phillies seems to have a lot to do with what the lefties do against right-handed pitching.

For their careers, their numbers are similar. Pierre has a 293/339/369 line against right-handed pitching while Podsednik is at 283/344/391. Pierre has hit for the slightly higher average, but Podsednik has offered more power and walked more. Against righties, Podsednik has walked in about 8.1% of his plate appearances while Pierre has walked about 5.7% of the time. Podsednik’s isolated power of .108 is considerably better than Pierre’s .076 against righties.

Pierre was absolutely terrible against righties in 2011, hitting just 264/296/325 against them over 536 plate appearances. A .296 on-base percentage with no power isn’t really what you’re looking for a left-handed corner outfielder against right-handed pitching. Pierre hit just .264 and walked in just 4.1% of his plate appearances against righties. Advantage Podsednik, there, who didn’t appear in the majors in 2011. In 2010, though, he hit them hard, putting up a 300/349/406 line against them over 445 plate appearances. 2009 he was good, too — 297/352/429 over 426 plate appearances.

The Phils played twice yesterday in split-squad action, beating the Braves and playing to a tie against the Rays.

The Phils beat the Braves 6-4.

Blanton started the game, allowing three runs over five innings. He allowed a solo home run to Matt Diaz in the second and a pair of runs on three singles in the third. That’s the first time Blanton has been charged with a run in official Spring Training action. In three starts he’s now thrown to a 2.70 ERA with a 1.10 ratio over ten innings in three starts. Herndon was next, facing four batters, retiring three and allowing a two-out homer to Uggla, upping his ERA to 1.69. Willis and Bastardo followed with scoreless innings. Qualls allowed a single and struck out two in a scoreless ninth.

Nice to see Willis put up a zero. He walked the first man he faced on four pitches, but got a fly ball and double-play behind that. Got his ERA down to 16.88. Bastardo has allowed one hit and no walks in four scoreless frames.

Rollins, Polanco and Thome (DH), all went 2-for-4 in the game for the Phils. Mayberry continued his hot hitting, going 1-for-3 with a double and a walk and getting his average up to .226. He’s 2-for-5 with two doubles and two walks over the last two days after a slow start. Podsednik had two more hits, going 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI and upping his average to .333. He leads the team with four doubles.

The Phillies lost a late lead in the other game, allowing two runs in the last two innings as they tied the Rays 6-6.

Piniero started that one and allowed a run on two hits and a walk over two innings. He’s got a 4.50 ERA and a 1.50 ratio through three appearances. Purcey followed that with two scoreless frames, dropping his ERA to 1.80 in five innings. Elarton gave up three runs in the fifth on a double, two singles and a walk before coming back to throw a scoreless sixth. Coming off an awful outing, Horst allowed two hits in a scoreless inning in the seventh to drop his ERA to 6.75. Schwimer started the bottom of the eighth with a 6-4 lead, but allowed a run in the eighth and another in the ninth that allowed the Rays to tie the game at 6-6. Jordan Whatcott, probably not coming soon to a theater near you, took over for Schwimer with two outs in the ninth and a man on second and got a ground out to end the ninth.

Elarton came into the game having allowed just one run on one hit over six innings, but has now allowed four earned runs over eight innings (4.50 ERA).

Pierre played center field and hit leadoff, going 2-for-4 and driving in two runs. Frandsen went 0-for-3 at short and dropped his average to .174. Montanez went 1-for-3 in right and is now hitting .450 (9-for-20). Pete Orr was 2-for-4 with a double and is at .280.

The Phils play the Pirates this afternoon with Cliff Lee expected to pitch.

Halladay does not sound worried about his Spring Training results to this point. I’m not either. Halladay has thrown to a 10.57 ERA so far, but has also struck out ten in 7 2/3 innings.

Contreras threw a scoreless innings in a minor league game, allowing a single and getting three ground outs.

In this article, Manuel says there’s “a good chance” Utley will play April 5 against Pittsburgh. The article also suggests that Manuel thinks that Galvis can play second base in the majors. Let’s hope he doesn’t start against Pittsburgh on April 5. Galvis has a .639 OPS in 30 at-bats this Spring Training. In 2011, Wilson Valdez put up a .634 OPS for the Phils over 300 plate appearances.

Laynce Nix was scratched yesterday because of sore left ribs that continue to be thought of as not serious no matter how many times he’s scratched. Brown was scratched due to a stiff neck.


Minors problem

Between left field and first base, it’s likely we’re going to see a whole lot of John Mayberry early in 2012. And with good reason. Mayberry has shown enormous power with the Phillies over the past three years. And while most of the projections for 2012 don’t expect Mayberry’s success to continue, many fans would also say he’s earned a chance to prove that what he’s done so far at the major league level is not a fluke.

In 369 plate appearances with the Phillies, Mayberry has put up a surprising 265/328/518 line. In 2011, he got 296 plate appearances and slugged .513. Of the 141 NL players who got at least 275 plate appearances in 2011, Mayberry’s .513 slugging percentage was 15th-best. Of those same 141 players, his isolated power of .240 was tenth and the best on the Phillies. Ryan Howard’s isolated power of .235 was 13th-best among NL players with 275 plate appearances in 2011. Coming into 2011, Mayberry had hit six home runs in 73 plate appearances and had an absurd isolated power mark for his career of .304.

From 2005 to 2011, John Mayberry got 2,975 plate appearances at various levels in the minor leagues and posted a 258/328/457 line overall. About half of those plate appearances came at the Triple-A level for Mayberry — he spent most the 2008 season hitting in the extremely hitter-friendly PCL before seeing time in Lehigh Valley in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

Since the start of 2009, Mayberry has gotten 1,027 plate appearances at Lehigh Valley in which he has hit 263/325/431.

Here are Mayberry’s numbers from all levels in the minors, just at Lehigh Valley over the past three years and with the Phillies. Also included are the percentage of plate appearances in which he has walked, struck out, singled, doubled or homered for each:

PA AVG OBP SLG % BB % 1B % 2B % HR % SO
All minors 2975 258 328 457 8.2 13.4 5.3 3.8 21.8
Lehigh Valley ’09-’11 1027 263 325 431 7.6 15.1 5.2 3.1 22.2
Phillies ’09-’11 369 265 328 513 7.9 12.7 5.4 5.7 22.2

Mayberry hasn’t just matched his minor league numbers in the big leagues, he has exceed them. He hit for a better average than he did in the minors with the same on base percentage and a higher slugging mark.

Mayberry’s strikeouts and walks with the Phils are very similar to what they were in the minors. He has struck out at almost the same rate while walking more regularly than he did at Lehigh Valley, but less than his time in the minors overall.

He has been more likely to get a hit with the Phils than he was in the minors. He has gotten a hit of any kind in 24.1% of his plate appearances with the Phils. He got hits in a similar 23.7% of his plate appearances with Lehigh Valley and in 23.0% of his plate appearance in the minors combined.

What he hasn’t done is hit singles. His percentage of plate appearances that ended in a single are a lot lower than they have been at Lehigh Valley and lower than in the minors altogether.

He’s been a little more likely to double with the Phils than he was in the minors.

He’s been a whole lot more likely to hit a home run. 3.8% of his plate appearances in the minors overall, 3.1% in his plate appearances with Lehigh Valley and 5.7% of his plate appearances with the Phillies.

So far for his career, 47.2% of his hits at the major league level have gone for extra-bases. In the minors overall he saw 41.9% of his hits go for extra-bases. At Lehigh Valley is was 36.2%.

Important to remember is that while Mayberry showed monster power in limited chances in 2009, his other numbers were rather awful. Mayberry made his debut with the Phillies that year and on-based .250 in 60 plate appearances, going 12-for-57 with two walks and a hit by pitch. He ended the year at 211/250/474. In 2010 and 2011 combined, he’s posted a far better 276/343/527 line in 309 plate appearances.

Over the last two years with the Phils, he has walked in a higher percentage of his plate appearances (8.7%) than he did in either the minors overall (8.2%) or at Lehigh Valley (7.6%). He’s gotten a hit in 24.9% of his plate appearances with the Phils, also more than he did in the minors (23.0%) or at Lehigh Valley (23.7%). He has struck out less (19.1% with the Phils, 21.8% all minors, 22.2% at Lehigh Valley). The power numbers are where he’s up the most. With the Phillies he has registered an extra-base hit in 11.3% (9.6% all minors and 8.6% Lehigh Valley) of his plate appearances over the last two years and a home run in 5.5% (3.8% all minors and 3.1% Lehigh Valley).

So, will Mayberry’s numbers with the Phils continue to dwarf his minor league output? Let’s hope for the best. Either way, he should be getting a whole lot of chances in the early going in 2012.

This suggests we shouldn’t expect to see too much of Utley early in Spring Training. It also suggests that Contreras could be ready for Opening Day and that Justin De Fratus has some tightness in his right elbow.

The Phillies and Kyle Kendrick agreed to a two-year, $7.5 million contract.

Manuel calls Juan Pierre a top-of-the-order hitter in this article. In 2011, Pierre got 729 plate appearances with the White Sox in which he on-based .329.

The Phils will get a supplemental pick in the 2012 draft now that Ibanez has signed with the Yankees.

Here’s the Spring Training roster for the Phillies.


Look, if I throw the ball to first base, somebody’s gotta get it. Now who has it?

Still all about who should be playing first for the Phillies against right-handed pitching with Howard out and Thome not being a first baseman. Last post we looked at offensive numbers for five players who look like they have a chance to get into the lineup for the Phils against righties early in the year, either in left field or at first base. Based on being worst in both the career and 2011 categories, I’m dropping Pierre from the list. That leaves us with Wigginton, Nix, Mayberry and Brown.

A big issue when looking at those four players is that Mayberry and Brown both have less than 250 career plate appearances against right-handed pitching. Brown has 230 and Mayberry has 205. Nix and Wigginton have both had far more chances against righties, at least 1,500 for each. Nix and Wigginton got a nearly identical number of plate appearances against righties in 2011 with far better results for Nix.

Of the guys with a lot of plate appearances, Wigginton has the slightly better wOBA against righties for his career, but Nix has been better over the last three years. In this post I pointed out that Nix’s career can be looked at in three phases, three years with Texas where he was pretty bad, three years where he didn’t get much time in the majors and the last three years in which he’s been a lot better offensively than he was early in his career.

Here’s the wOBA Nix and Wigginton have posted against righties for the past three seasons:

2011 2010 2009
Nix 341 335 336
Wigginton 310 325 326

In each of the last three seasons, Nix has been better against righties than Wigginton. In 2011 the difference was the most dramatic. Nix got 320 plate appearances against righties for the Nats last year in which he hit 263/306/475 with 16 homers. Wigginton played in Colorado, got 319 plate appearances with the Rockies and hit 235/292/413. Against right-handed pitching, Nix got on base more and hit for more power than Wigginton. While he’s not a lock to get on base against righties more than Wigginton in 2012, he’s a real good bet to hit for a lot more power against them and be the better player offensively overall.

As I pointed out in this post, in each of the last three seasons, Wigginton’s wOBA against right-handed pitching has been worse than it was in the previous season. 2008 was probably Wigginton’s best year against righties — he hit 265/322/488 in 311 plate appearances for the Astros that year.

Looking at 2012, I think it’s reasonable to expect that the lefty Nix, a left-handed hitter who can pretty much only play against righties, will be better offensively against right-handed pitching than the righty Wigginton.

A big part of the question is how those two players stack up against lefty Domonic Brown and righy John Mayberry, two hitters who have not had nearly the same number of plate appearances as Nix and Wigginton have for their careers. Nearly everyone would expect the lefty Brown to be better than the righty Mayberry against right-handed pitching over their careers. And while nobody can know for sure what Mayberry and Brown will do in 2012, people can guess. And they do. And you’re going to struggle to find projections that suggest Mayberry will be better than Brown overall this season, much less against right-handed pitching. Looking at two of the publicly available free projections, here’s Bill James’s predictions for the two players from FanGraphs for 2012 as well as their ZiPs projections:

AVG OBP SLG wOBA
Brown James 275 355 455 361
Brown ZiPS 273 330 465 345
Mayberry James 257 313 439 332
Mayberry ZiPS 246 300 427 317

Those numbers are total projections, not left-right splits. Both of those projections are better for Brown than Mayberry overall and you also need to assume that as a left-handed hitter he’s going to be far better against righties than Mayberry.

Nearly all of the projections you’ll find for Mayberry suggest he’s going to have a hard time getting on base. I haven’t seen one yet that projects his on-base percentage to top .320.

Of course, Mayberry has been a lot better than that in limited playing time with the Phils over the past two years, hitting 276/343/527 over 309 plate appearances, which is remarkable given his 258/328/457 line over 2,975 minor league plate appearances. If Mayberry continues to produce offense at the rates he has with the Phils over the last two years it will be an outstanding development for the team.

Most projections don’t seem to think that will happen.

In the group of Brown, Nix, Mayberry and Wigginton, Brown is the guy I’d pick to put up the best numbers against right-handed pitching in 2012. Wigginton is the member of the group likely to put up the worst.

Bottom line for me is this: Offensively, against right-handed pitching, Brown is the best choice for the Phils in left field.

It seems likely that both Nix and Mayberry will prove unable to provide league average offense as a first baseman against right-handed pitching in 2012. The lefty Nix seems like the conservative choice and the player of the two more likely to produce near league-average production at the position. Mayberry seems to have a higher upside, but against righties it’s likely his numbers in 2012 will drop rather than improve.

The Phillies, of course, have a bigger decision to make than just who is the player who will be the best offensively against righties in left and first. Especially if Brown starts the year in the minors, I think it’s likely we’re going to see all three of Mayberry, Nix and Wigginton at first against righties early in the season.

This suggests that the Phillies and Yankees are the two teams pursuing 19-year-old outfielder Jorge Solar the hardest. The right-handed Cuban defector is likely years away from the majors.

The article reviews pitchers that will be in camp for the Phils.


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