Tag: matt diaz

What now?

It’s no secret the Phils are going to need to add a right-handed outfielder to try and replace some of Jayson Werth’s production. The Phillies already have Ben Francisco, and this article from yesterday mentions as possible additions Jeff Francoeur, Matt Diaz, Scott Hairston, Juan Rivera and Josh Willingham. Matt Diaz won’t be with the Phils this year, cause he just signed with the Pirates, but Jeff Francoeur rumors abound and the same names keep on coming up.

Today’s point is that Josh Willingham is a lot better hitter than the rest of those guys.

Here’s the ’11 age, career numbers and OPS for each of the players mentioned above as well as what they’ve done in the last three years:

’11 Age Career OPS Last 3
years
OPS
Francisco 29 263/329/446 775 263/331/442 773
Francoeur 27 268/310/425 735 256/301/389 690
Diaz 33 301/350/456 806 281/342/438 780
S Hairston 31 245/303/435 737 245/305/432 737
Rivera 32 280/328/461 789 266/314/445 760
Willingham 32 265/367/475 841 260/373/476 850

It’s really not very close. Diaz is the only guy on the list who is really close to Willingham. And Diaz can’t hit right-handed pitching and is on the Pirates. Here’s what the career splits against righties and lefties look like for those guys:

vs R OPS vs L OPS
Francisco 262/323/440 762 267/347/460 806
Francoeur 256/296/403 699 299/343/481 824
Diaz 269/327/382 710 335/373/533 907
S Hairston 227/288/402 690 278/331/498 829
Rivera 276/326/441 768 288/333/499 832
Willingham 264/382/446 828 277/409/500 909

Willingham has the best numbers of those six players against both righties and lefties. All of the other guys on the list have a career on-base percentage against righties that’s under .330. If the question is who is the player besides Willingham on that list who is better than Francisco, I think a reasonable answer is nobody. At least nobody is enough of an improvement to be worth investing in. Rivera has been better over his career, but I don’t think you would have enough confidence that he’s going to be significantly better in 2011 to put both of them on the team next year.

The problem of course, is that Willingham isn’t a free agent. The Phils would have to trade for him to get him from the Nationals and he is due to become a free agent after the end of the 2011 season. So, better or not, I am going to be surprised if Willingham winds up with the Phils.

Finally, the list of players the Phillies are considering is surely larger than the five (now four) non-Phillies listed above. A bunch of right-handed bats remain available, including Jose Guillen, Bill Hall, Andruw Jones, Austin Kearns and Magglio Ordonez. Some people think the Padres might be persuaded to trade Ryan Ludwick. This article suggests that Aaron Rowand has “become a strong consideration” off of three bad years in a row and a terrible 2010 in which he on-based .281. A lot of those guys bring some baggage with them, like being about to be suspended for a long time or having not been good since 2008, or just have a strong need to be unconsidered really soon, but they’re out there.

And that’s good news for the Phillies. Cause the guys people are speculating they might have interest in aren’t that exciting, except for the one they’re probably not going to be able to get.


Come to think of it, I don’t really care for how Jayson Werth has been distributed either

The Phillies played 162 regular season games in 2010 and scored 772 runs, which is about 4.77 runs per game. Not every starting pitcher got the same offensive support in their starts, of course. For example, the Phillies went 18-15 in the games that Cole Hamels started, but fared better in the games that Joe Blanton started (17-11) despite the fact that Hamels pitched much better. That has a whole lot to do with what their offense did in the games started by Hamels compared to what it did in the games that Blanton started. In the games that Hamels started, the offense scored an average of 3.76 runs per game, which is more than a full run lower than their average for the season. In the games that Blanton started, the offense scored an average of 5.89 runs per game — more than a full run more than their average for the season.

If the Phils had scored 4.77 runs in each of the 162 games they had played, they would have gone 98-64 instead of 97-65. That’s not much of a difference. But while it might not add up to a huge difference overall, it did make a difference when it came to their results based on who the game’s starting pitcher was.

The table below shows, for the six Phillies who started at least 12 games for the team in 2010, the average runs scored per game in that pitcher’s starts, the team’s actual record in their starts, what the team’s record would have been if they had scored 4.77 runs in every game started by that pitcher, and the wins the team would have added or lost if that had happened.

R per game Team actual
W-L
W-L if team
scored 4.77 in every game
Wins +/-
Hamels 3.76 18-15 22-11 +4
Halladay 4.42 22-11 26-7 +4
Oswalt 4.33 10-2 11-1 +1
Moyer 4.58 9-10 9-10 0
Kendrick 5.48 17-14 15-16 -2
Blanton 5.89 17-11 11-17 -6

So, for example, the Phillies scored 3.76 runs per game in the 33 games that Hamels started and went 18-15. If the Phillies had scored 4.77 runs in every game that Hamels started, but allowed runs exactly as they did, they would have gone 22-11 in the games that Hamels started. That’s four more wins, which is why there’s a four in the +/- column.

For me, the biggest surprise is how things evened out. The Phils may have cost themselves some games in 2010 by not putting up runs with Halladay and Hamels on the mound, but they just about made up for it by pounding the ball when Blanton and Kendrick were on the hill. As I mentioned above, if they had scored the same number of runs in every game they only would have won one more game. And that’s if they could figure out how to put .77 runs on the board.

Did you hear the one about the Phillies’ best offensive player from last year deciding he’d rather play for a team that has lost 298 games over the past three years and has made the playoffs less often in the 42-year history of its organization than the Phillies have in the last two years? And that the Phils won’t be getting a good pick back as compensation? It’s a hoot.

That said, it’s tough to be too hard on Werth. What with putting up a 1.361 OPS against the Rays in ’08 as he helped the Phils win the World Series and whatnot.

No worries, though, this article suggests that Jeff Francoeur, Matt Diaz, Scott Hairston, Josh Willingham or Juan Rivera might be the cure for what ails the Phils. I’m having some trouble getting excited about that, really especially Francoeur, Diaz or Hairston. Willingham or Rivera might be okay, I suppose.

In this article linked above, Amaro seems to suggest that Domonic Brown might not start the year with the Phils. It suggests that Amaro said that Gload might be part of a left-handed platoon in the outfield. Maybe they can put Gload and Rivera out there and give us all a chance to see just how fast Shane Victorino really can be.


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