Tag: Pat Burrell

High on leverage

Baseball-Reference tracks high leverage hitting splits. The high leverage concept is based on work by Tom Tango, which is described here. Baseball-Reference suggests that high leverage plays account for about 20% of all plays.

Overall in 2008, Phillies hitters got 6,273 plate appearances in which they hit 255/332/438. Of those, 1,230 plate appearances were tagged as high leverage. In those plate appearances, the Phils as a team hit 247/332/423. A tiny bit worse, but about the same.

Here’s what key Phillies hitters did in high leverage situations in 2008, ranked by OPS:

Burrell 132 280 379 607 986
Dobbs 59 358 407 547 954
Howard 152 265 342 545 888
Feliz 92 291 378 506 884
Werth 102 276 373 448 821
Rollins 104 258 343 404 748
Utley 128 215 315 402 717
Victorino 106 240 305 396 701
Taguchi 19 250 333 313 646
Ruiz 72 238 300 333 633
Coste 74 215 268 323 591
Bruntlett 54 191 269 255 525
Jenkins 62 176 290 216 506

If you compare the player’s OPS in high leverage situations with their OPS overall for the year, there are six players whose OPS in high leverage situations were better than their OPS for the year:

Player High
Leverage OPS
OPS for
Feliz 884 705
Dobbs 954 824
Burrell 986 875
Taguchi 646 580
Ruiz 633 620
Howard 888 881

And seven players from the group whose OPS overall for the year was better than their OPS in high leverage situations:

Player High
Leverage OPS
OPS for
Rollins 748 786
Werth 821 861
Bruntlett 525 594
Victorino 701 799
Coste 591 748
Jenkins 506 694
Utley 717 915

The players at the top of that list have small differences between their OPS in high leverage situations and their OPS overall for the year. Rollins and Werth, for example, have very similar numbers compared to their overall OPS for the year. At the bottom of the list, Utley had a huge difference, posting a .717 OPS in high leverage situations compared to a .915 OPS overall.

Similarly, if you look at the late and close splits for the guys at the bottom of that list, Utley, Coste and Jenkins, the numbers are pretty ugly. For the guys at the top of the list, Feliz, Dobbs and Burrell, the numbers are much better. Late and close plate appearances are ones that come in the seventh inning or later with the batting team tied, ahead by one, or the tying run at least on deck.

Late and close
Feliz 89 313 368 575
Dobbs 56 380 446 560
Burrell 111 295 441 636
Coste 69 220 288 271
Jenkins 63 148 270 204
Utley 117 221 353 347

Article about the outlook for the pen.

This article suggests that Dobbs could fill in at second if Utley doesn’t start the year. That actually seems like a fine idea. A Bruntlett/Dobbs platoon at second would put up pretty nice numbers offensively, the problem being that Dobbs can’t play both second and third at the same time against a righty.

Ad: Ticketcity has 2009 Phillies tickets.

Right light

Replacing Pat Burrell with Raul Ibanez almost surely means the Phils will be seeing more left-handed pitching in 2009. If we look back at the NL teams from 2008, here’s how many plate appearances they had and how many of their plate appearances came against lefties and righties:

Team PA v L PA v R Total PA % v L % v R
ATL 2004 4364 6368 31.5 68.5
SD 1959 4285 6244 31.4 68.6
STL 1971 4399 6370 30.9 69.1
CIN 1913 4275 6188 30.9 69.1
PHI 1902 4371 6273 30.3 69.7
NYM 1880 4508 6388 29.4 70.6
WAS 1816 4376 6192 29.3 70.7
LA 1806 4388 6194 29.2 70.8
MIL 1740 4512 6252 27.8 72.2
ARI 1662 4494 6156 27.0 73.0
CHI 1696 4688 6384 26.6 73.4
FLA 1620 4586 6206 26.1 73.9
HOU 1572 4479 6051 26.0 74.0
SF 1583 4562 6145 25.8 74.2
COL 1574 4738 6312 24.9 75.1
PIT 1506 4772 6278 24.0 76.0

Three NL teams, the Braves, Padres and Reds, all 1) had more plate appearances than the Phillies against lefties in 2008 2) had a higher percentage of their plate appearances come against lefties 3) had fewer plate appearances against righties and 4) had a lower percentage of their plate appearances come against righties.

Three of those things are true for the Cardinals as well, but the number of plate appearances that St Louis had against righties was higher than the number of plate appearances that the Phillies had against righties.

In 2008, the average NL team got 6,250 plate appearances. About 28.2% of them came against lefties and about 71.8% of them came against righties.

While the Phillies did see a lot of lefties in 2008, they weren’t in the top quarter of the league in either the number of plate appearances they had against lefties or the percentage of their plate appearances that came against lefties. That seems likely to change in 2009, so if you know of any good right-handed hitters available I wouldn’t wait much longer.

The Phillies signed 28-year-old right-handed reliever Gary Majewski to a minor league contract. Majewski will be a long shot to make the team out of spring training. It currently looks as if there is no spot available in the bullpen — if one opened, Majewski and fellow veteran righty Mike Koplove would likely be in the mix for the spot.

Majewski was good for Montreal and Washington in 2004 and 2005. In those two seasons combined, he threw to a 3.11 ERA over 107 innings. He’s always allowed a lot of base runners, though, even in ’04 and ’05 his ratio for those seasons combined was 1.40.

Since 2005, he’s thrown to a 5.81 ERA 133 1/3 innings with a 1.70 ratio.

The Reds put him on the DL with a sore shoulder after trading for him in 2006, causing some problems.

At ALStradeup.com, Ed Foley started with a 2007 Charlie Manuel baseball card and is trying to trade it enough times for enough other stuff that he donates to ALS research to get the Phillies to let him throw out the first pitch at a game.

Duck luck?

For the 11 Phillies who got the most plate appearances in 2008, here’s how many total plate appearances each had and how many of them came with the bases empty and how many came with at least one man on base:

Player PA PA bases
runner(s) on
% empty % on
Utley 707 369 338 52.2 47.8
Howard 700 349 351 49.9 50.1
Burrell 645 377 268 58.4 41.6
Victorino 627 360 267 57.4 42.6
Rollins 625 406 219 65.0 35.0
Werth 482 275 207 57.1 42.9
Feliz 463 240 223 51.8 48.2
Ruiz 373 214 159 57.4 42.6
Jenkins 322 187 135 58.1 41.9
Coste 305 160 145 52.5 47.5
Dobbs 240 128 112 53.3 46.7

And here’s the same 11 players ranked by their OPS for the season and the percentage of their plate appearances that came with men on base:

  Ranked by
Ranked by
% of PA with runners on base
1 Utley Howard
2 Howard Feliz
3 Burrell Utley
4 Werth Coste
5 Dobbs Dobbs
6 Victorino Werth
7 Rollins Ruiz
8 Coste Victorino
9 Feliz Jenkins
10 Jenkins Burrell
11 Ruiz Rollins

It’s not surprising to see the leadoff man Rollins at the bottom of the list, but it’s a little surprising to me to see Burrell right above him. Feliz isn’t the guy you want getting the second-highest percentage of his plate appearances with men on base.

There’s also a big dropoff between the percentage of plate appearances with men on that Dobbs (fifth on the list) had compared to Werth (sixth on the list). 46.7% of Dobb’s plate appearances came with men aboard compared to 42.9% for Werth. There were five guys, Dobbs, Coste, Utley, Feliz and Howard, who got between 46.1% and 50.1% of their plate appearances with men on and another group of five, Werth, Ruiz, Victorino, Jenkins and Burrell, who all got between 41.6% and 42.9% of their plate appearances with men aboard. And then there’s Rollins, who was way below everyone.

Ryan Howard won’t be in the World Baseball Classic.

Former Phil Travis Blackley was signed by the Diamondbacks.

Article about Mike Arbuckle here.

Interview with Doug Glanville at Jimmy Scott’s High and Tight.

Next post will be around December 29.

No empty promises from Ibanez

Situational hitting seems to be some of what drew the Phillies to Raul Ibanez. Here are some of the situational hitting numbers for Ibanez and Burrell for 2008:

Pat Burrell — 2008
RISP 234 358 469 827
RISP, 2 outs 183 341 366 707
Bases Loaded 222 333 333 667
Men on, 2
194 331 379 709
Man on 3rd, <
2 outs
381 441 476 917
Raul Ibanez — 2008
RISP 327 397 480 877
RISP, 2 outs 324 407 479 886
Bases Loaded 400 438 800 1.238
Men on, 2
280 362 400 762
Man on 3rd, <
2 outs
444 468 694 1.163

Ibanez was better. To make any decision based on those numbers would be absurd, though. Burrell, for example, had 12 plate appearances with the bases loaded in 2008. Here’s what the two have done over their careers:

Pat Burrell — Career
RISP 263 386 467 853
RISP, 2 outs 244 389 467 856
Bases Loaded 293 385 463 848
Men on, 2
264 395 511 906
Man on 3rd, <
2 outs
302 405 442 847
Raul Ibanez — Career
RISP 305 380 493 873
RISP, 2 outs 287 385 469 854
Bases Loaded 371 387 621 1.008
Men on, 2
295 374 486 859
Man on 3rd, <
2 outs
392 430 653 1.083

Generally speaking, Ibanez was better. Burrell’s numbers with runners in scoring position and two outs are a tiny bit better if you go by OPS, and his results with two outs and men on are better. Overall, though, Ibanez has hit better in those situations.

This all seems fantastic. There’s a problem, though. Burrell is a better hitter than Ibanez overall, which means that there must be some situation in which he’s a lot better than Ibanez. And there is:

Pat Burrell — 2008
Bases Empty 264 393 540 933
Raul Ibanez — 2008
Bases Empty 255 311 453 764

Enormous difference in how much they got aboard with the bases empty. Burrell also outslugged Ibanez by a lot. In 2008, 344 of Ibanez’s 707 plate appearances, about 49%, came with the bases empty. For Burrell it was 377 of 645 plate appearances (about 58%) that came with the bases empty. That seems counter-intuitive, to me at least, given that Burrell hit behind Utley and Howard and Ibanez spent much of the year hitting behind low on-basers, including Jose Lopez (.322) and Jeremy Reed (.314). I’d guess some of the factors include Burrell leading off an inning more often than Ibanez (just barely, though, about 20% of his plate appearances compared to about 19.7% for Ibanez) and the number nine hitter in the AL not making an out nearly as often as the nine hitter in the NL. Howard or Utley also cleared the bases with a home run a little more regularly than Lopez or Reed.

If you look at the career numbers, Burrell is still better, but not by as much:

Pat Burrell — Career
Bases Empty 248 356 482 838
Raul Ibanez — Career
Bases Empty 272 328 456 784

The gap narrows there, but Burrell is still getting on base a lot more of the time.

Also of note is that if you consider all situations with any runner on base, Burrell has also been a little better overall if you measure using OPS. In his career, Burrell has hit 267/378/488 (.866 OPS) with runners on while Ibanez has hit 302/366/490 (.857 OPS).

The Phillies have invited ten players to spring training as non-roster invitees, most notably Mikes Cervenak and Koplove.

The article linked above also reports that the Phillies have signed 11 minor league free agents. Included in that group is 24-year-old right-handed pitcher Yorman Bazardo, who has appeared for the Tigers in three of the last four years. Righty Yoel Hernandez was also signed — Hernandez threw to a 5.28 ERA in 15 1/3 innings with the Phils in 2007. He was great in his first 11 appearances, throwing to an 0.75 ratio while allowing four earned runs in 10 1/3 innings (2.70 ERA). Over his last three appearances in 2007 he allowed five runs in two innings. He is 28.

Brian Stavisky is a left-handed 1B/corner outfielder who has a career minor league line of 307/396/474. He’s 28 and all but about 200 of his at-bats have come below AAA.

Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard may play in the World Baseball Classic.

This suggests that Rocco Baldelli was misdiagnosed with mitochondrial disease and actually has channelopothy, which may be more treatable.

This says the Angels are close to re-signing Juan Rivera.

And that’s why they don’t call him Pat the Glove

Some have suggested in recent days that Raul Ibanez is as bad or worse defensively in the outfield than Pat Burrell. That may be the case. What is hard for me to believe is that Burrell gets to as many fly balls as Ibanez does.

Here’s how many innings each of them played in left field in 2008 and how many putouts they had:

Player Innings in
Burrell 1198.1 202
Ibanez 1340 302

Burrell had about .17 putouts per inning in left field, Ibanez had about .23 putouts per inning while in left. If Burrell had played the same number of innings in left as Ibanez and continued to record putouts at the same rate, he would have had 226 putouts compared to 302 for Ibanez.

Ibanez led all MLB left fielders in putouts in 2008. He also played more innings in left than just about anyone — Jason Bay played about five more innings, but he was the only player in either league to spend more time in left. Ryan Braun and Delmon Young each also played at least 1,300 innings in left in ’08.

Here’s the ten players who played the most innings in left field in either league this season, how many innings they played, how many putouts they recorded and how many putouts per inning:

Player Innings PO PO per
Jason Bay 1345.2 254 .189
Raul Ibanez 1340 302 .225
Delmon Young 1324 282 .213
Ryan Braun 1310.1 275 .210
Matt Holliday 1229.1 240 .195
Pat Burrell 1198.1 202 .169
Carlos Quentin 1147 228 .199
Adam Dunn 981.2 210 .214
Manny Ramirez 974 190 .195
Alfonso Soriano 937.1 186 .198

Of the ten players, Burrell has the worst rate of putouts per inning and Ibanez has the best.

Burrell and Ibanez weren’t fielding in the same parks or behind the same pitchers. And it is true that Phillies pitchers struck out more hitters than Mariners pitchers and got fewer fly ball outs than Seattle pitchers. But not by a huge amount:

  K GO AO K+GO+AO % K % GO % AO
PHI 1081 1718 1465 4,264 25.4 40.3 34.4
SEA 1016 1691 1522 4,229 24.0 40.0 36.0

The number of outs you get in the air reflects, of course, not just how often your pitchers make pitches that are hit in the air but also how good the outfielders are at catching the balls after they are hit in the air.

The Mariners were 15th among the 30 teams in the number of outs they got in the air.

As a team, the Mariners got 1.039 times as many outs in the air as the Phillies did in 2008. Even if you adjust Burrell’s putouts to give him as many innings in left as Ibanez, which, again, puts him at 226, Ibanez’s total of 302 is still 1.34 times higher than Burrell’s.

Over the past two seasons, Ibanez has played 2,454 1/3 innings in left for Seattle and recorded 526 putouts. That’s .2143 putouts per inning. Eight other players have appeared in left field for Seattle and combined to play 415 1/3 innings. In their 415 1/3 innings, they recorded 85 putouts, or .2047 (less) per inning. Burrell, on the other hand, has played 2,226 2/3 innings in left and recorded 378 putouts (.1698) while other Phillies left fielders have played 681 2/3 innings and recorded 163 putouts (.2391 per inning (way more).

There were other things that Burrell did in left better than Ibanez. He made errors at a lower rate in 2008, for example, and despite playing about 140 fewer innings defensively threw more runners out on the bases. There’s a lot of bad things that can happen after you get to the ball, but I’m going to be surprised if Ibanez doesn’t prove to be much better at that that Burrell. I think we’ll be able to see it both from watching the games and in the statistics.

The Phillies signed 24-year-old right-handed pitcher Santo Hernandez from the independent United Baseball League.

Lots of people seem to think Raul Ibanez is a swell fella.

The list of free agents.

Vintage Blue, a Philadelphia-based, vintage-inspired sportswear line for women that holds exclusive license to the All American Girls Professional Baseball League, would like you to know they’re out there. Here, specifically.

Good Burrells go to heaven, but the bad Burrells go everywhere

Disappointing news this morning as Jayson Stark reports the Phillies have agreed to a three year, $30 million deal with 36-year-old left-handed outfielder Raul Ibanez. Ibanez is a very good hitter, but so was longtime Phillie Pat Burrell. It’s hard to imagine the financial commitment the Phils appear to be willing to make to Ibanez is much less than it would have taken to bring back Burrell. The Phils will apparently be paying Ibanez about $10 million a year when he’s 39 years old and will give up a draft pick to bring him in.

The addition leaves the Phils just about naked from the right side of the plate. Jayson Werth was fantastic in 2008. The second-best right-handed hitter on the team is Pedro Feliz, Chris Coste or Ronny Paulino. Take your pick. Switch-hitter Shane Victorino hit lefties well last season, 282/345/537. Fellow switchy Jimmy Rollins was a little better against righties than lefties. He hit 288/341/436 against left-handed pitching. The Phillies needed two right-handed bats without the addition of Ibanez. Still do, and if Ibanez joins the team there’s less places for them to play.

None of this is Raul Ibanez’s fault. Ibanez has pumped out at least 20 home runs four years in a row and put up 338 RBI in the last three years. He strikes out far less often than Burrell — over his career, Ibanez has struck out in 787 of his 5,301 plate appearances, which is about 14.8 percent of the time. Burrell has struck out 1,273 times in 5,388 plate appearances, about 23.6 percent of the time. It should also be pointed out that Ibanez has put up his recent numbers at Safeco Field, which is not a particularly good place to hit. Curiously, however, in three of the last four years his numbers have been better at Safeco than away.

Other than his age, the downside with Ibanez as an offensive player as I see it is his 268/322/411 career line against left-handed pitching. That .733 OPS is worse than Burrell’s 251/352/467 (.819 OPS) against his same side. Burrell’s .950 career OPS against his opposite side (left) of .950 is also better than the .849 OPS Ibanez has put up against righties. There are more right-handed pitchers than left, though, and Ibanez pounded lefties in 2008. In 2008 he hit 305/368/497 against left-handed pitching, after hitting a miserable 256/294/356 against them in 2007 and a miserabler 243/301/362 against them in 2006.

Interesting question about who will hit behind Howard in 2009 for the Phils. The answer is almost surely Jayson Werth at this point, assuming Utley and Howard continue to hit three-four.

It’s a little tough to separate how this will affect the Phillies on the field and the disappointment with the realization that it means Burrell won’t be back. I do think Burrell is the better hitter and will be this year as well, but not by a huge amount. All the left-handed hitters is a problem for the Phils that needs a solution. Overall, though, I would have to disagree with Amaro who suggested previously in relation to Burrell that it was not the time to be sentimental. I think it was a perfect time to be sentimental.

Cole Hamels has some stuff to say about the Mets and their ability to finish. Interesting question for me has been how Hamels is going to motivate himself after winning the World Series and being named the MVP of the NLCS and World Series all before he turned 25. That may be the answer.

If you’re every wondering if the article about Brad Harman you’re reading is from an Australian news source, learning that he was “overawed” by facing Randy Johnson and that Tim Lincecum throws 150km/h (that’s 90 miles an hour) should clue you in. No word on how things came out between Victoria and Queensland, though.

This suggests that Derek Lowe will get about four years, $65 million.

This says the Brewers are interested in Jamie Moyer.

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