Tag: Kevin Millar

Still high on leverage

Last week I looked at how some Phillies hitters performed in situations tagged as high leverage by Baseball-Reference. Today I wanted to look at how the pitchers fared in high leverage situations.

First of all, not all the members of the staff appeared in high leverage situations with the same regularity. Here’s the percentage of batters that each pitcher who threw for the Phils in ’08 faced in high leverage situations:


Player

Batters faced

High leverage

Percent

Gordon

139

83

59.7

Lidge

292

140

47.9

Romero

255

108

42.4

Durbin

365

128

35.1

Madson

340

93

27.4

Blanton

305

67

22.0

Eyre

53

10

18.9

Walrond

49
9
18.4

Moyer

841

139

16.5

Seanez

189

31

16.4

Myers

817

117

14.3

Eaton

478

67

14.0

Hamels

914

123

13.5

Happ

138

18

13.0

Kendrick

722

92

12.7

Swindle

24
2
8.3

Condrey

303

25

8.3

Carpenter
5 0
0.0

So Gordon was the Phillie who had the highest percentage of his batter’s faced come in high leverage situations, while Andrew Carpenter didn’t face anyone in a high leverage situation all year long (he faced just five hitters in ’08). Important to notice is while the bullpen guys at the top face a higher percentage of batters in high leverage situations, the actual number of hitters faced in high leverage situations compared to the starters is not all that different. Moyer, for example, faced 139 hitters in high leverage situations while Lidge faced 140 despite the fact that Lidge was pitching in high leverage (and presumably, higher leverage) situations more regularly.

Of the 18 pitchers above, 13 faced at least 25 batters in high leverage situations in 2008. Of those 13, going by the OPS that opposing hitters put up against them, eight had better results in high leverage situations and five had worse results. Here they are, ordered by the difference in the OPS that hitters put up against them overall and in high leverage situations:


Player

OPS against season

Not High Leverage

High Leverage

Difference

Gordon

.783

.989

.632

.357

Lidge

.565

.679

.437

.242

Seanez

.682

.718

.497

.220

Romero

.647

.729

.538

.190

Madson

.675

.689

.638

.052

Blanton

.747

.754

.715

.038

Myers

.791

.795

.767

.028

Moyer

.731

.733

.719

.014

Hamels

.657

.649

.710

-.061

Kendrick

.855

.840

.951

-.110

Durbin

.675

.631

.761

-.131

Eaton

.868

.838

1.046

-.207

Condrey

.792

.769

1.052

-.283

Those numbers are based on the results against a very small number of batters. Still, the list is divided almost evenly among starters and relievers (six starters and seven relievers) and yet the five guys of the 13 whose OPS against improved the most in high leverage situations were all relievers. That may reflect that since relievers tend to face a higher percentage of batters in high leverage situations, it may be difficult to survive as a reliever without being effective when they occur.

Here are the Phillies 2008 pitching splits in high leverage situations.

This says Kevin Millar is close to signing with Toronto.

This says that Moises Alou is not healthy, doesn’t want to be a backup player, would prefer to be in the AL and hasn’t decided if he will play this year. I don’t want to imply some kind of Jedi Mind trick knowledge of the situation that does not exist, but my guess is his signing with the Phillies isn’t imminent.


Then again, maybe it is how you start

The Phillies started different players at third base and catcher regularly in 2008. Here is a look at the team’s record in games where they started Feliz or Dobbs at third, remembering that the Phillies went 92-70 overall, which is a .568 winning percentage:

Player GS at 3b W-L PCT
Pedro Feliz 106 63-43 .594
Greg Dobbs 42 21-21 .500

Eric Bruntlett started 13 games at third for the Phils in ’08. The team went 7-6 in those games. Mike Cervenak started the last game of the year at third for the Phils, which the team won.

Except for the last game of the year, which was caught by Lou Marson, Carlos Ruiz and Chris Coste split the catching starts in 2008. Ruiz got 92 and Coste 69:

Player GS at C W-L PCT
Carlos Ruiz 92 55-37 .598
Chris Coste 69 36-33 .522

Coste and Ruiz shared the starts with Rod Barajas in 2007 as well, and again the Phillies played to their best winning percentage with Ruiz behind the plate (in ’07 the Phillies went 89-73, which is a .549 winning percentage):

Player GS at C W-L PCT
Carlos Ruiz 100 58-42 .580
Rod Barajas 37 17-20 .459
Chris Coste 25 14-11 .560

Over the last two years, the Phillies are 113-79 (.589 winning percentage) in the games that Ruiz started at catcher and 68-64 (.515) in the games someone else started at catcher.

In all three examples, Feliz in ’08, Ruiz in ’08 and Ruiz in ’07, the team’s winning percentage when starting the better defensive player is better than the team’s winning percentage overall for the season. This could be caused by a whole lot of things other than Pedro Feliz or Carlos Ruiz making the Phillies win when they start. For example, to generalize, I think it’s safe to say that Charlie Manuel starts his better defensive players in games that are started by his better starting pitchers. Ruiz, for example, caught 26 of Hamels’ 33 starts in ’08 and 19 of his 28 starts in 2007. At the same time, the Phillies went 19-14 in the 33 games that Hamels started in 2008. That’s a .576 winning percentage, worse than the .598 winning percentage that the Phillies posted overall in the games started by Ruiz. In ’07, the Phils went 19-9 in the 28 games started by Hamels, a .679 winning percentage that was better than the .580 in the games started by Ruiz.

To speculate further, another factor is surely that Manuel considers Feliz and Ruiz his best players at the position and puts them into games he sees as the ones the Phillies need to win. For that reason, it may be that the presence of Feliz or Ruiz in the lineup reflects that the lineup is stronger overall, because Manuel chose to play what he saw as he best players at all positions and not just third and catcher, rather than cause the lineup to be stronger. Still, that’s a whole lot of wins over the last two years in games that Ruiz started.

Finally, it’s interesting to note that Ruiz’s catching duties actually shrunk slightly last year for the Phils, both in terms of the number of games he started (92 down from 100) and the number of innings he caught (828 down from 912 2/3).

Interview with Charlie Manuel at Beerleaguer.

This article lists Nomar Garciaparra, Ty Wigginton, Moises Alou, Rich Aurilia, Mark Grudzielanek and Kevin Millar as the right-handed hitters the Phillies are interested in. Wigginton would be the prize of that group by a lot and a fantastic fit with the needs of the team. This says that the Orioles are interested in Wigginton, but he wants a two-year deal and Baltimore would prefer to give him one year.


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