Tag: michael young

Oh, for it to be 2008 again

Yesterday’s post suggested that if you look at Young’s overall WAR numbers over the last five seasons, he doesn’t fare that well compared to the rest of the Phillies. That, in large part, is due to the fact that he’s been a pretty miserable defensive player of late, posting a negative dWAR in four of the last five years. Looking at the top five hitters by WAR on the Phillies over the last five seasons means he’s competing with players who accumulate significant value from their defense (Utley, Rollins, Ruiz and Victorino especially), which Young has not been able to do.

If you look just at the offensive numbers, Young’s bids to get into the top five among Phillie hitters in recent years improve quite a bit. Arguably, Young would have been the best hitter on the Phillies in 2011 among the players that got 400 plate appearances — 2011 wasn’t that long ago and it saw Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Carlos Ruiz, Raul Ibanez, Placido Polanco and Shane Victorino all get at least 400 plate appearances with the Phils.

The table below shows where Young’s oWAR for all Phillies hitters and wOBA (for hitters with at least 400 plate appearances) ranks among Phillies for the last five seasons:

Year Rank oWAR wOBA
2008 1 Utley 5.7 Utley .389
2008 2 Rollins 3.5 Burrell .375
2008 3 Victorino 3.3 Werth .374
2008 - Young 3.2 (4) Young .328 (7)
2009 1 Utley 6.0 Utley .394
2009 2 Werth 4.0 Howard .392
2009 3 Howard 3.9 Ibanez .378
2009 - Young 4.0 (T-2) Young .385 (3)
2010 1 Werth 4.9 Werth .396
2010 2 Utley 3.9 Utley .370
2010 3 Ruiz 3.2 Ruiz/Howard .368
2010 - Young 2.7 (T-4) Young .336 (6)
2011 1 Victorino 5.0 Victorino .368
2011 2 Rollins 3.1 Howard .355
2011 3 Utley 2.9 Utley .338
2011 - Young 3.5 (2) Young .369 (1)
2012 1 Ruiz 4.0 Ruiz .398
2012 2 Rollins 3.1 Pence .340
2012 3 Utley 2.0 Rollins .322
2012 - Young -1.0 (26) Young .297 (7)

Young has been really good offensively in two of the last five years, hitting 338/380/474 in 2011 and 322/374/518 with 22 homers in 2009.

By oWAR, he would have been in the top two among Phillie hitters twice in the past five years and in the top four in four of the five.

By wOBA, he would have been the best Phillie hitter with at least 400 plate appearances in 2011 and the third best in 2009.

In 2012 he was unarguably terrible, but his career wOBA of .344, had he produced that and not the actual .297 he did put up, would have been second best on the team behind only Ruiz.

Young has had four really good offensive years, only one of which has come in the last five seasons. 2004, 2006 and 2009 were all really good and 2005, when he put up a 331/385/513 line, was probably the best.

Oh, for him to be Michael Young again

Michael Young’s 2012 season didn’t impress a whole lot of people. Baseball-Reference calculates his WAR at -2.4, the worst mark for any player, hitter or pitcher, in either league. FanGraphs calculates his WAR at -1.4 with only four players across both leagues compiling a worse WAR, all hitters.

Both sites agree he was bad at both offense and defense. Baseball-Reference calculates his oWAR at -1.0 (only ten players across both leagues had a worse mark) and his dWAR at -2.2 (only Rickie Weeks had a worse mark across both leagues). FanGraphs calculates his wOBA at .297, which is 104th best of the 114 players across both leagues with at least 550 plate appearances and gives him an UZR/150 rating of -20 or worse at both second and third base.

So he didn’t have a good year.

He has before, though. And recently.

Year bWAR fWAR
2008 2.8 2.8
2009 2.5 3.1
2010 1.6 2.6
2011 2.1 3.7
2012 -2.4 -1.4

So there was a big drop off in 2012 relative to recent years.

Where would his total WAR have ranked among Phillie batters over the last five years? The table below shows the top three hitters by WAR for each of the last five seasons as well as Young’s bWAR and fWAR and where that would rank among Phillie hitters:

Year bWAR fWAR
2008 1 Utley 8.8 Utley 8.3
2008 2 Rollins 5.3 Rollins 5.6
2008 3 Victorino 4.2 Werth 5.2
2008 - Young 2.8 (5) Young 2.8 (6)
2009 1 Utley 8.0 Utley 8.2
2009 2 Werth 4.2 Werth 5.0
2009 3 Howard/Victorino 3.5 Howard 4.6
2009 - Young 2.5 (T-6) Young 3.1 (6)
2010 1 Utley 5.7 Utley 5.4
2010 2 Werth 4.3 Werth 5.3
2010 3 Ruiz 3.9 Ruiz 4.4
2010 - Young 1.6 (7) Young 2.6 (6)
2011 1 Victorino 5.2 Victorino 5.9
2011 2 Utley 3.7 Utley 4.0
2011 3 Ruiz 2.6 Rollins 3.9
2011 - Young 2.1 (6) Young 3.7 (4)
2012 1 Ruiz 4.4 Ruiz 5.5
2012 2 Utley 2.9 Rollins 4.9
2012 3 Rollins 2.3 Utley 3.2
2012 - Young -2.4 (26) Young -1.4 (26)

By fWAR, his 2011 season would have had him fourth with the Phillies. By bWAR, his 2008 season would have had him fifth. Those are the only two years times in the last five seasons his total WAR would have had him in the top five for the Phillies using the calculation of either site.

In this mailbag from the Phillies web site, Todd Zolecki discusses the possibility that Ruf will start the year at Triple-A.

Bennie and the jets

The table below shows how Revere’s numbers compare to the numbers of fellow left-handed speedsters Juan Pierre and Michael Bourn in their age 23 and 24 seasons. Also included are the numbers for Pierre and Bourn for their next two years as well as what they did in 2011 and 2012 (Revere’s age 23 and 24 seasons).

Player and age Year PA AVG/OBP/SLG wOBA bWAR fWAR UZR/150 in OF
Revere 23 ’11 481 267/310/309 .278 (-.038) 0.7 2.0 14.4
Revere 24 ’12 553 294/333/342 .300 (-.015) 2.4 3.4 18.6
Pierre 23 ’01 683 327/378/415 .350 (+.023) 2.9 2.6 UKN
Pierre 24 ’02 640 287/332/343 .304 (-.022) 0.4 2.3 15.3
Pierre 25 ’03 747 305/361/373 .328 (+-0) 3.4 4.7 9.1
Pierre 26 ’04 748 326/374/407 .345 (+.015) 3.7 4.4 -4.9
Pierre 33 ’11 711 279/329/327 .296 (-.020) -0.8 -0.5 -10.7
Pierre 34 ’12 439 307/351/371 .320 (+.005) 1.9 1.7 -0.4
Bourn 23 ’06 11 - - - - -
Bourn 24 ’07 133 277/348/378 .320 (-.011) 0.9 1.2 22.9
Bourn 25 ’08 514 229/288/300 .267 (-.061) 0.7 0.2 4.0
Bourn 26 ’09 678 285/354/384 .330 (+.001) 4.7 4.9 9.9
Bourn 28 ’11 722 294/349/386 .325 (+.009) 3.0 4.1 -6.2
Bourn 29 ’12 703 274/348/391 .326 (+.011) 6.0 6.4 22.5

For wOBA, it’s important to remember that the average wOBA changes from year to year. So, for example, the 2011 wOBA line for Revere means that his actual wOBA for 2011 was .278 and that .278 was .038 lower than the average wOBA for the year of .316.

You can see the constants that FanGraphs uses for calculating wOBA here.

Bourn barely played at all when he was 23 or 24. Pierre was better offensively than Revere in his 23 and 24-year-old seasons, but not as good defensively, at least by UZR/150 in all outfield positions combined.

If you total up the WAR for Revere and Pierre for their age 23 and 24 seasons, Revere is at 3.1 bWAR and Pierre 3.3. By fWAR, Revere tops Pierre 5.4 to 4.9. Important to remember is that Pierre got a lot more chances to play and accumulate WAR in his age 23 and 24 seasons, getting 289 more plate appearances in the two years combined and playing 468 1/3 more innings in the outfield.

Bourn, notably, got just 144 plate appearances through his age 24 seasons and then was terrible in his age 25 season before putting up a big year with the Astros at age 26 (285/354/384 with 61 stolen bases).

Revere has displayed no power to date, even relative to the light-hitting Pierre and Bourn, and almost surely never will.

His isolated power in 2011 was .042. That was 175 of 175 players across both leagues with 450 or more plate appearances. Pierre was 174th on that list at .049.

In 2012, Revere was at .049. That was 114th of 114 players across both leagues with 550 or more plate appearances. Nobody else with 550 or more PA came close to showing that little power last year. Yunel Escobar was 113th of 114 and his isolated power was .091.

If you remove the 2006 season for Bourn in which he got 11 plate appearances, there are 13 seasons between Pierre, Bourn and Revere on the table above. Revere’s best mark for isolated power over the last two seasons is .049. There’s only one season in which either Pierre or Bourn has an isolated power worse than .049 — Pierre put up an .049 in 2011 on his way to a miserable, negative WAR season.

Bourn’s isolated power in 2012 was .117, which is the highest mark for any of the 13 seasons. Between both leagues, there were 148 players who got at least 500 plate appearances in 2012. Bourn’s isolated power of .117 was 122nd best of the 148.

The Phillies traded relievers Josh Lindblom and Lisalverto Bonilla to Texas for Michael Young. The linked article also suggests that the Rangers will pay about $10 million of Young’s 2012 salary, leaving $6 million for the Phillies to pay. It also suggests the Phillies paid Young $1.2 million to waive his no-trade clause and will give him a new no-trade clause.

Young was terrible in 2012. If he’s that bad again in 2013, that’s not going to work out for the Phillies. I like the deal, though, cause he still has upside and willing be playing for his next contract. Linblom’s numbers out of Dodger Stadium were never real impressive.

This article says that after the trade of Worley, the Phillies are looking for a low-risk, high-reward type guy to help fill out the rotation and mentions John Lannan, Dallas Braden, Carlos Zambrano and Roy Oswalt.

Vance out of his trance

Back to bWAR and how the Phillies pitching overall might possibly improve in 2013 shortly. Looking back at yesterday’s post, though, the thing that caught my eye the most looking at the data was Vance Worley’s 1.51 ratio in his 23 starts with the Phillies.

That’s awful.

In 2011, Worley went 11-3 with a 3.01 ERA and a 1.23 ratio in 131 2/3 innings for the Phils. He made 25 appearances and 21 of those were starts. Last year he made 23 appearances, all starts, throwing to a 4.20 ERA with a 1.51 ratio.

Ratio is just hits plus walks over innings pitched, so given that his ratio went from 1.23 to 1.51 from 2011 to 2012, either his rate of giving up hits or walks must have gone up dramatically.

One of them did. Here’s his percentage of batters faced who got a hit or a walk in 2011 and 2012:

Year % H % BB
2011 21.0 8.3
2012 26.1 8.0

Worley faced 553 batters in 2011 and 590 in 2012. His walk rate actually went down in 2012 as he walked just 8.0% of the batters he faced. The hits were way up as he allowed hits to 26.1% of the hitters he faced after allowing hits to just 21.0% of hitters in 2011.

Even down from his ’11 mark, Worley’s walk rate of 8.0% was high relative to the rest of the pitchers who started games for the Phillies in 2012. Higher than Hamels (6.0%), Lee (3.3%), Kendrick (7.3%), Halladay (5.6%), Blanton (3.2%), Cloyd (5.1%) and Valdes (4.4%). Higher than everyone but Rosenberg — BJ Rosenberg started one game for the Phillies in 2012 and ended the year with a walk rate of 13.2% (he walked 14 in 25 innings, which is a candidate for stuff to work on going forward).

So Worley’s walk rate was high, at least compared to the other starters for the Phillies. But lowering his walk rate in 2012 didn’t make his ratio go up. It was all of the hits.

Opponents hit .237 against Worley in 2011. They hit .296 against him in 2012. He dominated left-handed hitters in 2011, holding them to a paltry 201/271/299 line. In 2012, lefties hit a less paltry 312/386/462 against him. Righties fared remarkably similarly against him in both years, hitting 272/336/439 against him in 2011 and 280/331/433 in 2012.

Worley had a stunning year in 2011, pitching extremely well in the minors and then extremely well with the Phillies.

Here are his minor and major league numbers combined for hits allowed per nine innings for the years before 2011, 2011 itself and 2012:

Innings H per 9
Before 2011 393 1/3 8.97
2011 182 1/3 7.75
2012 133 10.42
Total 708 2/3 8.93

So clearly he had much more success in preventing hits in 2011 than he had had in the years before or has had since.

For his career, he’s thrown a lot more innings in the minors than in the majors. In his 431 innings in the minors, about 78% of which have come below Triple-A, he has allowed 8.9 hits per nine innings. That includes his 2011 season, when he was fantastic in the minors at preventing hits (7.3 per nine) over 50 2/3 frames. Excluding 2011, over his career he’s allowed 9.09 hits per nine innings in the minors. In 2011, he spent most of the year in the majors and allowed 7.75 hits per nine innings.

And again, in 2011 and 2012, righties posted a nearly identical line against him. Lefties killed him in 2012 and he was unusually fantastic against him in 2011.

So one could make the argument that 2011 was simply a fluke in which Worley allowed way fewer hits than we should expect him to allow in the future.

That’s pretty close to what I believe.

I think there’s a lot of hope out there for people who don’t believe that, though, starting with his outrageous BABIP in 2012.

During 2012, Worley threw 133 innings with a ridiculous batting average for balls in play of .340. Across both leagues, there were 111 pitchers who threw 130 or more innings. Of those 111, only one, Detroit’s Rick Porcello, had a BABIP worse than Worley’s .340. Porcello threw 176 1/3 innings in 2012 with a BABIP of .344.

Beyond that, Worley was really solid in his first 12 starts of the season, throwing to a 2.92 ERA with a 1.26 ratio. His BABIP over those 12 starts was .297. Things went nuts after that, though. Over his last 11 starts, Worley threw to a 5.80 ERA with a 1.83 ratio. Opponents hit .350 against him, with an enormous BABIP of .404. Worley didn’t walk a lot of people in those games and he didn’t give up a lot of home runs. He just allowed a ton of hits.

A quick trip to Worley’s page on FanGraphs seemingly reveals more good news about 2012. His ground ball percentage was up in 2012 relative to 2011. He saw more of his fly balls go for home runs in 2012 than he did in 2011, which could help explain why his numbers dropped overall. His FIP was not terrible, notably better than Kendrick’s despite Kendrick’s better numbers using more traditional stats.

So maybe he really did just get extremely unlucky in 2012.

Maybe not, too.

This suggests that the Phillies are in serious talks with Texas about acquiring Michael Young.

This suggests that Texas might pay more than half of the $16 million that Young is owed in 2013.

This suggests that Schwimer might be the reliever the Phillies would be most willing to part with in a deal for Young.

After being bad defensively at third for three straight years, Young advanced to atrocious in 2012 in limited time. He played just 215 innings at the hot corner last season. Overall, he posted a -2.4 WAR as calculated by Baseball-Reference for the season in 2012 and a -1.4 WAR as calculated by FanGraphs.

This suggests the Phillies have a five-man list for center field that includes Bourn, Hamilton, Curtis Granderson, Ben Revere and Dexter Fowler.

Of those, Hamilton, Granderson and Fowler would be terrible defensive players in center.

This suggests Hamilton is very close to going to Seattle.

This suggests that Nate Schierholtz has agreed to a one-year, $2.25 million deal with the Cubs.

The Rule 5 Draft started this morning at 10 AM. Look for the Phillies to pick up a starting third baseman, a starting center fielder and an eighth inning guy. Just kidding. But not as much as I wish I was.

Update: The Phillies traded Worley and Trevor May to the Twins for Ben Revere.

Bullpen market

Here’s some lefties that have pitched for the Phils this spring who, even if they don’t have much of a chance to pitch out of the pen for the Phils at the start of the season, sure won’t be in the starting rotation.

Spring IP Spring ERA Spring ratio Career IP Career ERA Career ratio
JC Romero 3 0.00 1.00 624 2/3 4.08 1.49
Antonio Bastardo 1 0.00 0.00 42 1/3 5.53 1.49
Mike Zagurski 4 2.25 1.25 28 1/3 6.99 1.73
Ryan Feierabend 3 3.00 1.67 106 7.22 1.80
Dan Meyer 3 6.00 1.33 113 2/3 5.46 1.55
Juan Perez 3 3.00 1.33 15 2/3 5.17 1.79

Of those guys, Romero is a lock to make the team and Bastardo and Zagurski seem to have a huge advantage over the other candidates. Despite having three fewer appearances, I would guess it’s still advantage Bastardo at this point.

Also, the career numbers on those guys sure are ugly.

Yesterday the Phils topped the Tigers 5-3 to improve to 7-6 in spring action.

Blanton got the start for the Phils and went five innings, allowing two runs on five hits and a pair of walks. He’s thrown to a 3.09 ERA with a 1.11 ratio over 11 2/3 innings in three starts.

Madson, Romero and Herndon followed him with scoreless innings before Zagurski allowed a run on a double, a single and two walks in the ninth.

Romero hasn’t walked a batter in three innings so far. Madson’s allowed one hit in three shutout frames and Herndon has given up two hits and two walks over four scoreless innings.

Brian Schneider homered for the Phils, a three-run shot in the second. It was his second home run of the spring. Jeff Larish also connected for a solo shot, he’s 2-for-10 with a double and a home run.

Ibanez went 2-for-3 with a double, raising his average to .240. Martinez 0-for-2 and hitting .174. Rivero 0-for-1 and hitting .308. Dewlyn Young 1-for-3, raising his average to .321 after 28 at-bats. No Phillie has more plate appearances than Young this spring — he, Polanco and Rollins all have 30.

I think it’s a lot more likely that Delwyn Young is going to start the year with the Phillies than I did a few weeks ago. I do wish we were seeing more of Josh Barfield in official games — he’s 5-for-10 with a walk and a double. I think both those guys are better bets to help the Phils than Martinez or Rivero.

Halladay starts today against the Yankees.

I don’t know when you’re going to see Chase Utley playing baseball next, but I’m pretty sure it won’t be soon. In the linked article, Amaro says, “We don’t know exactly when he is going to be playing for us, but I expect him to be playing for us at some point — hopefully in the early part of the season, maybe even the beginning of the season.” That’s not good.

Amaro says that Utley would be replaced by Wilson Valdez if needed in this article. There’s some drop off there, given that Valdez has a career on-base percentage of .289 and never had 150 plate appearances in a season coming into last year.

The Phillies have come to a deal with Charlie Manuel that will keep him managing the team through 2013.

This says that the Phillies hadn’t contacted the Rangers about Michael Young as of yesterday morning. Moving Polanco to second and trying to get a third baseman makes a lot more sense to me than trying to get a second baseman.

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