Tag: Pat Burrell

And this year if you could win the World Series twice I think everyone will be happy with that

Did Ruben Amaro take a Phillies team that won the World Series and make it better? I think he did. Whether or you agree with that opinion or not, the Phillies are on pace to win more games in 2009 than they did in 2008. After last night’s game the Phillies are on pace to go 95-67 on the year, which would give them three more wins than they had in 2008.

With a win on Tuesday night the Phillies also did something they hadn’t done since the 1993 season. They went 23 games above .500. Here’s the most games above .500 they’ve been for each of the last 17 years:

Year Most games
above .500
1993 35
1994 3
1995 19
1996 5
1997 1
1998 5
1999 13
2000 0
2001 17
2002 3
2003 16
2004 10
2005 14
2006 9
2007 16
2008 22
2009 23

After topping out at 22 games above .500 in 2008, the Phils hit 23 games above .500 this week. But is the team better than the other teams in the last 17 seasons? Better than last year’s team? For each of the seasons through the last time they were 23 games above .500 or better, here’s the average number of runs the Phillies have scored and allowed per game, the difference between those numbers and how that difference compares to the other seasons in the group:

Year RS/G RA/G Diff Diff Rank
1993 5.41 4.57 0.85 1
1994 4.53 4.32 0.21 9
1995 4.27 4.57 -0.30 13
1996 4.01 4.88 -0.86 16
1997 4.12 5.19 -1.06 17
1998 4.40 4.99 -0.59 14
1999 5.19 5.22 -0.03 11
2000 4.37 5.12 -0.75 15
2001 4.60 4.44 0.17 10
2002 4.41 4.50 -0.09 12
2003 4.88 4.30 0.58 4
2004 5.19 4.82 0.36 7
2005 4.98 4.48 0.50 5
2006 5.34 5.01 0.33 8
2007 5.51 5.07 0.44 6
2008 4.93 4.20 0.73 3
2009 5.12 4.36 0.76 2

So, for example, the 1993 team scored an average of 5.41 runs per game and allowed an average of 4.57 runs per game. The difference between the average number of runs they scored and allowed is 0.85 and of the 17 teams in the list the 0.85 difference is the best (ranked one of 17).

After the 1993 team the 2009 Phillies are the team in the group with the best differential between the average number of runs they scored and allowed.

Amaro obviously didn’t do it all himself. The players, for example, deserve most of the credit. Still, just about everything has come up roses for Amaro in his first year as GM. There have been two enormous decisions that Amaro has made so far for 2009 and both of them have worked out really well for the Phillies. First, the Phillies brought in Ibanez to take over for Burrell. Despite the long slump with the bat, Ibanez has been better offensively and defensively. Second, the Phillies needed to make a deal for a pitcher at the deadline and did they ever — Amaro deftly navigated a dicey situation with Roy Halladay and pulled an ace in Cliff Lee without giving up the farm.

It’s hard to get too excited about it when Francisco is on-basing .261 with the team, but I think the addition of Francisco is going to be an important one down the stretch. The Phillies had an enormous need for a right-handed hitter and Francisco was a great fit. The Phils also answered the questions about who would be the fifth starter in Amaro’s first year — whoever was responsible for the decision to plug Happ into the role, Happ has gone 8-4 with a 2.81 ERA and a 1.20 ratio in his 19 starts with the team.

I wasn’t a fan of the Ronny Paulino for Jack Taschner deal, but I think it’s pretty tough to find much criticism for what Amaro has done this year. Even if the Phillies somehow tanked and didn’t make the playoffs or got bounced out of the playoffs early I don’t think I’d feel like that happened because the team was poorly constructed. I think there may be one exception to that and one big test left, which is what they are going to do at the back of the bullpen with Lidge. Lidge has been awful almost all year long and if a weak performance from Lidge costs the Phils in the post-season I think the team will have opened itself up to some criticism.

Kyle Drabek and Michael Taylor won the Paul Owens Award for the best pitcher and position player in the Phillies’ minor league system. Drabeck appeared in 25 games between Single-A and Double-A and went 12-3 with a 3.19 ERA and a 1.21 ratio. Drabek turns 22 in December. Taylor played mostly at Double-A but also at Triple-A this season and hit 320/395/549 with 20 home runs and 21 steals. He turns 24 in December.

The article linked above says that Condrey and Bastardo will both make rehab appearances today. It also seems to suggest that the Phillies might have problems finding space for both Condrey and Walker on the post-season roster if there is a post-season roster and both are healthy. If both are healthy I would be surprised if both are not on the post-season roster.


All that plus you never have to throw stuff at your TV cause the Phillies just used Bruntlett to pinch-run for him in the sixth inning of a tie game

Raul Ibanez has had a fantastic start to 2009. So far he has been inarguably better than Pat Burrell was last year with both the bat and with the glove. The table below shows Ibanez’s putouts and assists for the season, along with the numbers he would post if he continues to record them at that rate for the entire season and for the 1198 1/3 innings that Burrell played in left last season. It also shows Burrell’s numbers in left from ’08, the total numbers for all PHI left-fielders last year and the numbers for the ’08 left fielders that weren’t Burrell:

Player INN PO A E PO/INN
Ibanez, 2009 268.0 58 2 0 .216
Ibanez w/PB
innings
1198.3 259 9 0 .216
Ibanez season
pace
1447.2 313 11 0 .216
Burrell, 2008 1198.3 202 12 2 .169
All PHI LF ’08 1449.7 260 13 5 .179
Non-Burrell PHI
LF ’08
251.3 58 1 3 .231

So if Ibanez were to continue to make plays at the rate he has so far for 2009, and played as many innings this year as Burrell did last year, he would record 57 more putouts while making three fewer assists and two less errors.

The difference between Ibanez’s putouts per inning and Burrell’s is about .047. So Ibanez is creating about 1/20th more of an out every inning than Burrell. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but fifty-seven putouts over less than a year does. Ibanez has been catching balls at a rate that betters Burrell’s numbers from ’08 and is better than the putout rate for Phillies’ leftfielders overall last year. His putout rate is not as good as the non-Burrell Phillies who manned left last season — that group, which played 251 1/3 innings, includes Taguchi, Werth, Bruntlett, Bohn and Dobbs.

In 2008, Phillies left fielders, led by Burrell, made fewer plays per nine innings than the NL average. Baseball-Reference tracks the stats, and in 2008 the league average for range factor per nine innings was 1.91. Led by Burrell, the Phillies’ was 1.69. In 2009, the Phillies are getting more plays per nine innings from their left fielders (only Ibanez to this point) than the league average. The league average for range factor per nine innings in 1.92 and the mark for the Phillies is 2.01.

Finally, like Burrell, Ibanez is primarily in left field for the purposes of his bat. Unlike Burrell, Ibanez gets to play the whole game, which is a huge advantage for the Phillies. Burrell played just under 83% of the innings in left field last year and was regularly pulled for defensive purposes. That’s a lot of at-bats for Eric Bruntlett as a corner outfielder, which isn’t really what you’re looking for. Ibanez has played every inning in left so far this year for the Phils.


For openers

Brett Myers faces Derek Lowe tomorrow night as the Phillies open their season against the Atlanta Braves.

Myers comes off a solid spring. In five starts he threw to a 3.52 ERA with a 1.26 ratio. He walked just six hitters in 23 innings, a rate of 2.34 per nine innings that’s better than his career mark of 3.15. He made two starts against the Braves in 2008 and was hit hard in both. He was hammered on May 14, allowing eight runs over 4 1/3 innings. On September 24 he also lasted just 4 1/3 and was charged with six runs. Overall he was 0-2 with a 10.38 ERA and a 2.77 ratio against Atlanta last season.

Chipper Jones and Brian McCann both have a lot of at-bats against Myers and have hit him hard. Chipper is 10-for-30 with three home runs against him (333/474/667). McCann 10-for-27 with four doubles and a home run (370/414/630). Martin Prado 3-for-3. Kelly Johnson just 3-for-17.

Lowe made one regular season start against the Phils in 2008. While with the Dodgers, he allowed three runs over 6 1/3 innings on August 11. Jimmy Rollins hit a seventh-inning triple off of Chan Ho Park in that game.

Lowe also started games one and four of the NLCS for Los Angeles and allowed four earned runs over 10 1/3 innings in the two starts combined. Lowe pitched very well in game one of the NLCS, but a Rafael Furcal error in the sixth was followed by a home run by Utley and another by Burrell. The Phils won that game 3-2. Game four featured a late home run by Matt Stairs off of Jonathan Broxton.

Lowe had a nice spring as well, making six starts with a 3.81 ERA and a 1.08 ratio. In 26 innings he walked just two.

The Phillies have a lot of ugly career numbers against Lowe. Feliz 5-for-23 (.217). Ibanez 2-for-19 (.105) with two home runs. Howard 2-for-16 (.125) with two singles. Rollins and Utley are among the exceptions. Rollins 6-for-20 (.300) with two doubles. Utley 5-for-14 with three doubles (.357).

The Phillies beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-2 at Citizens Bank Park last night. Jason Donald won it with a walk-off RBI single to right in the bottom of the ninth.

Blanton got the start and was very good yet again, allowing two runs on six hits. Again he didn’t get hurt by the walk — he struck out three and didn’t walk a batter. Durbin, Eyre, Madson and Lidge all pitched scoreless innings. None of those guys seem likely to pitch today given that the Phils play a game that counts tomorrow.

Werth was 2-for-3 with a double. Coste 0-for-3 with a walk. Bruntlett 0-for-2 and walked twice.

Burrell was 1-for-3 with a walk and an RBI.

Cole Hamels is on the mound this afternoon as the Phils face the Rays again (Burrell homered off of him in the first).

I would like to point out that the money the Phillies have to pay Jenkins this season not to play is very similar to the amount they presumably would have had to pay to have Burrell on the team in ’09. The Phils owe Jenkins $6.75 million in salary plus a $1.25 million buyout for 2010. That’s $8 million. Burrell signed a two-year, $16 million deal with the Rays. I think we’re going to miss Pat’s bat this year.

Update: 4/5 The Phils 25-man roster is set and includes Miguel Cairo. Miguel Cairo and Eric Bruntlett is too many backup infielders to have on your team that includes 13 hitters (too many by one).

Philliesflow maintains a Start Log, which is a record of the performances by starting pitchers on the squad. The ’09 version is ready for action. You can view the older Start Logs here.


Not just that, but I don’t much care for the look in Anderson Hernandez’s eyes either

Earlier this week I mentioned the Marlins infield and the astonishing 29 home runs they got from four different infielders. Between all the hype given to Utley and Howard and Reyes and Wright, you might think the Mets or the Phillies have the best infield in the division. But, in 2008 at least, they didn’t. Arguably, the Marlins didn’t either.

If you look at the players from each team who got the most at-bats at each of the four infield positions in 2008, add up what they did and compare the total OPS for the five NL East teams, here’s how things look:

The Braves:


Player

AB

HR

BB

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS
M
Teixerira

381

20

65

.283

.390

.512

.902
K
Johnson

547

12

52

.287

.349

.446

.795
C
Jones

439

22

90

.364

.470

.574

1.044
Y
Escobar

514

10

59

.288

.366

.401

.766

Total

1881
64
266

.305

.392

.477

.869

The Marlins:


Player

AB

HR

BB

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS
M
Jacobs

477

32

36

.247

.299

.514

.812
D
Uggla

531

32

77

.260

.360

.514

.874
J
Cantu

628

29

40

.277

.327

.481

.808
H
Ramirez

589

33

92

.301

.400

.540

.940

Total

2225

126

245

.273

.349

.511

.861

The Mets:


Player

AB

HR

BB

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS
C
Delgado

598

38

72

.271

.353

.518

.871
L
Castillo

298
3
50

.245

.355

.305

.660
D
Wright

626

33

94

.302

.390

.534

.924
J
Reyes

668

16

66

.297

.358

.475

.833

Total

2210
90
282

.284

.365

.481

.846

The Phillies:


Player

AB

HR

BB

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS
R
Howard

610

48

81

.251

.339

.543

.881
C
Utley

607

33

64

.292

.380

.535

.915
P
Feliz

425

14

33

.249

.302

.402

.705
J
Rollins

556

11

58

.277

.349

.437

.786

Total

2198

106

236

.268

.346

.487

.833

And the Nats:


Player

AB

HR

BB

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS
A
Boone

232
6
18

.241

.299

.384

.683
F
Lopez

325
2
32

.234

.305

.314

.619
R
Zimmerman

428

14

31

.283

.333

.442

.774
C
Guzman

579
9
23

.316

.345

.440

.786

Total

1564
31
104

.279

.326

.406

.732

The Marlins gave a higher percentage of their defensive innings at the four infield positions to the players listed above than the Braves did. So if you compare what all players did while playing defensively at each of the infield positions (and not just the player who appeared their the most often), the Marlins wound up with a better OPS for the season:

Florida

Player

AB

HR

BB

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS

All 1B

640

40

44

.253

.304

.506

.811

All 2B

602

33

78

.259

.351

.497

.848

All 3B

651

23

46

.270

.324

.438

.761

All SS

643

34

93

.303

.396

.530

.926

Total

2536

130

261

.272

.344

.493

.837

Atlanta

Player

AB

HR

BB

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS

All 1B

616

24

93

.279

.378

.458

.836

All 2B

643

11

61

.288

.350

.440

.790

All 3B

623

24

96

.345

.431

.530

.961

All SS

656

11

65

.273

.343

.387

.730

Total

2538
70
315

.296

.376

.453

.828

If you’re wondering how Kelly Johnson can hit 12 home runs and the Braves’ second basemen combine to hit 11, it’s because Johnson hit one as a pinch-hitter and all other players who played second base for Atlanta in ’08 combined to hit zero.

Eric Hinske recalls facing Brad Lidge with the World Series on the line in this article. The same article also suggests that Mike Zagurski could be ready to join a minor league team in mid-April and Scott Mathieson around mid-August.

Pat the Bat will take the bus to face the Phils on Saturday.

The Phils played their first spring training game yesterday and got bombed by the Pirates, 8-2. Joe Bisenius and Scott Nestor combined to pitch two innings and allow seven runs, three of which came on a three-run homer by Shelby Ford off of Bisenius with two outs in the fourth. Mike Koplove is a guy fans should be watching — he struck out two in a perfect eighth. I think Koplove is a long shot to make the team out of spring training, but one scenario where it would be possible is if Park won the fifth starter job and Koplove took Park’s spot in the pen.

Offensively, Jeremy Slayden went 2-for-2 with a double, which was the only extra-base hit of the game for the Phils. If he was right-handed people would be getting rightfully geeked up. He’s not. Ibanez 1-for-2 with an RBI. Marcus Giles 0-for-2 and struck out twice. Jenkins was 1-for-1 with a walk — if you’re looking for places the Phillies can get better in 2009, one is by getting more offense out of Jenkins.

The Phils play Toronto today. JA Happ and Carlos Carrasco are among the Phillies scheduled to pitch.

Jason Donald will play third in today’s game, according to Todd Zolecki’s blog. If Utley is healthy, I think the Phillies would have to believe Donald can play third base for him to have much of a chance to make the opening day roster.

Ad: TicketCity has Phillies tickets for spring training and regular season games.


So you’re scared and you’re thinking that maybe we ain’t that young, or slugging .659, anymore

The Phillies outscored the Mets 892 to 804 in 2007, a difference of 88 runs. That difference disappeared completely in 2008 as both teams scored an identical 799 runs. Offense was down across the league last year, but the Mets seemed less bothered than most teams. They scored five fewer runs than they had the year before while the Phillies scored 93 fewer.

There were injuries for the Phillies, most notably to Jimmy Rollins. Let’s hope that was it. Let’s hope what was not it is that the idea that the Mets are built around a pair of young stars in Reyes and Wright while the Phillies are built around a pair of young stars in Utley and Howard just isn’t as true as we’d like it to be. All four are definitely stars, part of baseball’s elite, but some of them are younger than others. Utley is 30 already and Howard turns 30 in November. Reyes won’t be 26 till June and Wright turns 27 in December. Utley and Howard, and Rollins for that matter, who turns 31 in November, are all going to start to get worse sooner than the younger Mets stars. I’m not saying that it’s started already, I don’t think it has. But it will, and when you look at some pairings of Mets and Phillies players over the past three years there are some concerning trends that help shed some light on how the difference in runs scored closed so dramatically in ’08.

Here’s the runs created, as calculated by Baseball-Reference, for Rollins and Reyes over the past three seasons:

rollinsreyes.jpg

Rollins was hurt for a lot of 2008, which will mess up your runs created, but even when he wasn’t Reyes outhit him. Reyes hit 297/358/475 for the year while Rollins hit 277/349/437.

Here’s Utley and Wright:

utleywright.jpg

After being outhit by Utley in 2006, Wright has been better in 2007 and 2008. It should also be noted that there were only four NL players whose runs created were better than the 130 that Utley put up in 2008 — Wright just happens to be one of them.

This one might be the most disturbing of all, comparing Howard and Delgado:

howarddelgado.jpg

Carlos Delgado isn’t the offensive player that Ryan Howard is, let’s not get silly here. But the similarity in the amount of offense they produced in 2008 is alarming. Even more alarming than the fact suggestion that Delgado and Howard created a similar amount of offense in 2008 is how dramatically Howard’s output has dropped since 2006 — for 169 in ’06 to 113 in ’08.

Finally, this one isn’t a natural pairing at all, but Carlos Beltran produced more offense than Burrell consistently over the past three seasons and widened the gap in 2008:

burrellbeltran.jpg

The two were very close in 2007. Both created more runs in 2008 than they had the year before, but Beltran had greater improvement between the two seasons.


Runs down rundown

The massively improved bullpen helped the Phillies win the World Series in 2008, but the team also produced far fewer runs offensively. After scoring 892 runs in 2007, the Phils scored 799 in 2008.

Runs were down across the league last year. In 2007, NL teams combined to score 11,741 runs, about 734 runs per team. In 2008, they combined to score 12,208 runs, about 763 runs per team. The Phillies drop off was larger than the rate overall — across the league about 96.2% of the runs that were scored in 2007 were scored in 2008. The Phillies scored about 89.6% of the runs they had scored in 2007 in 2008.

Things would be easy to explain if the Phils had installed a forty foot wall in left field, but it doesn’t look like the problem was Citizens Bank Park. The difference in the average number of runs the team scored in their home and away games between ’07 and ’08 is actually larger for the team’s games away from home:

 
Home

Away
Year Runs R/G Runs R/G
2007 450 5.55 442 5.46
2008 412 5.09 387 4.78

So where did all those runs go? To try and help understand I took a look at the offensive production by 11 different groups of players: the offense produced by players playing all nine of the positions (P, C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, LF, CF, RF) plus designated hitters and pinch-hitters. Those groups are not all equally important, of course. Pitchers got fewer at-bats than the players manning the other eight positions, pinch-hitters fewer than that and designated hitters fewer still.

For each of those 11 groups, I looked at the OPS they hit to and, using the technical version of the runs created formula, their runs created.

Of the 11 groups, both by OPS and runs created, nine were clearly worse in 2008 than they were in 2007. The only two that weren’t were pinch-hitters and third base.

Led by Dobbs, Phillies pinch-hitters were simply better in 2008 than they were in ’07. In 281 plate appearances, Phils’ pinch-hitters put up a 253/309/415 line a year after hitting 230/307/391 in 2007. The bad news is that of the 11 groups, designated hitter is the only group that got fewer plate appearances than the pinch-hitter group.

The other place where the Phillies were not clearly worse was at third base. This one was a split decision. The 245/295/400 line gave Feliz and cohorts a .695 OPS for 2008, which is better than .688 OPS (255/321/368) Nunez and pals put up in ’07. On-base percentage trumps slugging, though, so runs created thinks the ’07 group was a little bit better than last year’s.

The other nine groups were all worse than what they did in the previous year. But not by the same amount. Here’s the difference in the runs created for all 11 groups between 2007 and 2008:

Group RC
SS 30.0
1B 19.0
2B 17.8
LF 16.3
RF 15.1
CF 13.5
C 7.3
P 4.0
3B 3.6
DH 2.5
PH -3.4

The chart suggests that Phillies shortstops created 30 fewer runs in 2008 than they had in 2007 while, at the bottom of the list, pinch-hitters created about three and a half more.

If you add up the runs created numbers, they don’t equal the difference in runs that the Phillies scored in 2008 and 2007. They equal 125.8. If you adjust the chart so the total difference in runs created is the actual 93 runs (892 runs scored in 2007 minus 799 scored in 2008), the chart looks like this:

Group RC
SS 22.2
1B 14.0
2B 13.2
LF 12.1
RF 11.2
CF 10.0
C 5.4
P 2.9
3B 2.7
DH 1.8
PH -2.5

If you think back to 2008, four of the Phils’ best hitters had a worse year than they had in 2007. Burrell, Utley and Howard all had fantastic years, but all three weren’t as fantastic as they had been the year before. Rollins was much worse with the bat in 2008 than in 2007. At the top of the list you see all four of their positions in a row.

While first, second and left are all down in about the same level, though, shortstop is down a lot more. The position got hit with a double-whammy in ’08. First, Rollins’ production was way down. After hitting 296/344/531 with 30 homers in ’07, he hit 277/349/437 with 11 home runs in 2008. Second, after starting every game for the Phils in 2007, Rollins started just 132 in 2008. Bruntlett started the other 30 games, and although he hit well while playing the position (274/331/393) it still brought the numbers down for the position compared to the previous season.

In right field, the group led Victorino and Werth in ’07 put up more offense than the ’08 group led by Werth and Jenkins. Jenkins struggled badly for most of the year, hitting 252/308/383 in 266 at-bats while playing right.

Surprisingly to me, the Phils did well to keep pace in center field coming off a fantastic year with the bat from Aaron Rowand. By OPS, the Phils’ 292/354/470 line in ’08 was still the best in the National League. It was just a bit off the 311/377/507 mark of ’07, which was the best in the league that year by a wide margin. Coming into 2008, I would have guessed that center field would be the position where the Phils offense would be down the most compared the previous season. Not even close.

Catchers, pitchers and third basemen fared about as well in ’08 as they had in ’07.

Here are the Phillies hitting splits by position for 2008 and for 2007.

Jimmy Rollins is okay with playing behind Derek Jeter in the World Baseball Classic and doesn’t want to talk about the Mets yet.

This from the Phillies web site seems to suggest that Kendrick could pitch out of the pen if he does not win the fifth starter job. I’d be surprised if they keep Kendrick on the team to pitch out of the pen.

Ad: Ticketcity has tickets for the 2009 Phillies season.


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