Tag: Pat Burrell

A fella and Ruiz

With the exception of the final game of the season, when Lou Marson caught Kyle Kendrick, Chris Coste and Carlos Ruiz handled all of the duties behind the plate for the Phillies in 2008. For the five Phillies pitchers that made the most starts in ’08, here’s the percentage of their batters caught by each of the catchers and the numbers opposing hitters put up with each of them behind the plate:

 
RUIZ
  % of
batters caught
AVG/OBP/SLG OPS
Hamels 79.0 219/265/381 .646
Moyer 59.9 240/317/371 .688
Kendrick 63.2 316/385/484 .869
Myers 23.1 291/360/539 .900
Eaton 46.9 267/332/411 .743
       
Total 55.1 256/320/417 .737

And here are the numbers for Coste:

 
COSTE
  % of
batters caught
AVG/OBP/SLG OPS
Hamels 21.0 257/298/397 .695
Moyer 40.1 294/339/453 .792
Kendrick 34.6 286/353/478 .831
Myers 76.9 260/321/439 .760
Eaton 53.1 348/425/557 .981
       
Total 44.0 283/343/460 .802

You don’t want to compare the total lines — the .737 OPS with Ruiz behind the plate to the .802 OPS with Coste behind the plate. Each of the catchers did not catch the starters the same amount of the time. It is, for example, a big advantage to get to catch 79% of the batters Hamels faced.

Hamels, Moyer and Eaton all fared better pitching to Ruiz than they did to Coste. Kendrick had better luck pitching to Coste and Myers was much better pitching to Coste. Ruiz was behind the plate for Hamels nearly all of the time and Myers threw almost exclusively to Coste, but for the other three starters the catching was divided up more evenly.

A word about Adam Eaton. I think there’s not much chance you’re going to see Eaton pitch for the Phillies again. If he does, though, let’s hope it’s to Ruiz and not to Coste. If there’s a glimmer of hope for Eaton it’s got to be that his problem is not that he can’t pitch, it’s that he can’t pitch to Chris Coste. Eaton’s numbers for the season in 2008 were terrible (again), but the (267/332/411 (.743 OPS)) line that opponents posted against him when he wasn’t pitching to Chris Coste was far more encouraging. That line, for example, is very similar to the 263/337/409 (.746 OPS) that opponents hit against Randy Wolf and slightly less similar to the 287/328/410 (.739 OPS) put up against Aaron Cook.

The rumor of the day from the winter meetings has the Phils in a multi-team deal that winds up with them giving up JA Happ and Chris Coste and getting Mark DeRosa. I’m not going to be surprised if the Phillies trade Coste, but I will be a bit more surprised if they trade Happ. What to do with DeRosa after Utley returns is the big question in the deal for me. He’s had two nice seasons with the bat in a row, but I wouldn’t feel good about counting on him to see a lot of time in left field. The Phillies do need to add two right-handed bats — I would be thrilled if DeRosa was the second-best right-handed bat they add. Not so much if he was the best.

This suggests that Jamie Moyer wants two years, $18 million and that the Phillies have offered two years, $14 million.

This suggests the Phils are unlikely to bring back Tad Iguchi.

This suggests Mark Teixeira may sign with Boston. It has been suggested that the Angels may be interested in Burrell to play first base if they lose Teixeira.


If you want to see what God thinks of money, just look at all the people He gave it to (Dorothy Parker)

Pat Burrell had a big contract in 2008 and he’s going to have a big contract in 2009. He’s not much of a defensive player, but does he produce offense at levels similar to other highly paid hitters? In 2008, Burrell made $14.25 million and posted an OPS+ of 125. Using the salary data that you can access here, I compared his OPS+ to 40 non-pitchers who made $12 million or more in ’08.

Some problems with this, including: 1) it ignores defense 2) even if Burrell is as good an offensive player as the other guys making a lot of money they could all be overpaid. Nate McLouth, for example, made $425,000 in 2008 and was arguably a more productive offensive player than at least 30 of the 41 players on the lists below and 3) I’m comparing the OPS+ of National League players to the OPS+ of American League players. That’s a problem as the formula for OPS+ compares a player’s on-base percentage and slugging to the on-base and slugging percentages for their league rather than for both leagues combined. I have put the OPS+ for AL players in red.

All that said, here it is:

  Made at least $12M in ’08 but
OPS+ lower than Burrell

Player

Salary

AB

OPS+
Carlos Guillen 12.0 420 114
Jose Guillen 12.0 598 96
Paul Konerko 12.0 438 102
Ivan Rodriguez 12.379 398 87
Mike Lowell 12.5 419 103
Troy Glaus 12.5 544 124
Garrett Anderson 12.6 557 97
David Ortiz 13.0 416 123
Hideki Matsui 13.0 337 108
Johnny Damon 13.0 555 118
Jorge Posada 13.1 168 103
Derrek Lee 13.25 623 110
Gary Sheffield 13.326 418 90
Adrian Beltre 13.4 556 109
Alfonso Soriano 14.0 453 121

Unlike OPS+, sOPS+ allows us to compare a hitter’s right/left splits to all hitters in the major leagues rather than just other hitters in his league. Burrell’s sOPS+ against righties in ’08 was 132, against lefties it was 144.

Looking at some of the players who were close to Burrell, Carlos Guillen’s sOPS+ right/left splits were 110/111.

David Ortiz’s were 136/110, suggesting that Ortiz was slightly better against righties and worse against lefties. Baseball Reference calculates Ortiz’s runs created at 79 for 2008 compared to 106 for Burrell.

Mike Lowell’s sOPS+ for ’08 were 108/146. A little better than Burrell against lefties. More than a hundred fewer at-bats and fewer runs created.

Damon 128/104. Runs created of 104.

Glaus killed righties but not lefties, 147/97. Soriano was the opposite, 114/182. Both had lower runs created than Burrell.

  Made at least $12M in ’08 and had an
OPS+ better than Burrell
Player Salary AB OPS+
Chipper Jones 12.33 439 174
Mark
Teixeira
12.5 574 151
Carlos Lee 12.5 436 144
Adam Dunn 13.0 517 129
Albert Pujols 13.87 524 190
JD Drew 14.0 368 137

Burrell did have a better runs created than either JD Drew or Carlos Lee, though, because those players had significantly fewer at-bats in ’08 than Burrell. Chipper also had many fewer at-bats but created more runs.

Dunn’s sOPS+ right/left were 143/121.

Here’s the players that made as much or more than the $14.25 million Burrell made in ’08:

  Made as much or more  in ’08 but
OPS+ lower than or equal to Burrell

Player

Salary

AB

OPS+

Pat Burrell

14.25

536
125

Andruw Jones

14.726

209
34

Miguel Tejada

14.811

362
92

Richie Sexson

15.5

280
89

Jim Thome

15.66

503
123

Bobby Abreu

16.0

609
120

Torii Hunter

16.5

551
110

Todd Helton

16.6

299
100

Ichiro Suzuki

17.102

686
102

Derek Jeter

21.6

596
102

Thome’s sOPS+ was 123/142, again worse than Burrell’s 132/144. Created fewer runs than Burrell.

Torii Hunter 118/122.

The lefty Abreu was better against lefties than righties in ’08, 114/146. His runs created were very similar to Burrell’s — the same using the formula that Baseball-Reference is using and better using the formula used by ESPN‘s baseball stats.

These guys made more money than Burrell and put up a better OPS+:

  Made more money than Burrell and had a
better OPS+

Player

Salary

AB

OPS+

Lance Berkman

14.5

554
159

Aramis Ramirez

15.0

554
128

Vlad Guerrero

15.5

541
130

Rafael Furcal

15.73

143
164

Magglio Ordonez

15.768

561
127

Carlos Delgado

16.0

598

127

Carlos Beltran

16.0

598
127

Manny Ramirez

18.929

552
164

Jason Giambi

23.428

458
128

Alex Rodriguez

28.0

510
150

Aramis Ramirez comes out on top of Burrell because he pounded right-handed pitching. 163/87. Like Ramirez, Carlos Delgado was better than Burrell, but it was close. Delgado did have a better runs created, but Burrell’s sOPS+ right/left splits are a little better than Delgado’s 133/122. Delgado hit for a higher average, .271 to .250, and outslugged Burrell .518 to .507. He also hit five more home runs (38 for Delgado and 33 for Burrell) and drove in 115 runs to Burrell’s 86.

Burrell created more runs than Furcal, who had just 143 at-bats on the season. He also, however, had a better runs created than Vlad Guerrero (whose sOPS+ right/left were 150/112), Jason Giambi (127/140) or Magglio Ordonez (140/125).

This article points out that Jermaine Dye has a no-trade clause and that the Phillies are one of the teams on his no-trade list.

The Braves are expected to finalize their trade for Javier Vazquez today. This article suggests that the Braves may also offer AJ Burntett a five-year deal and that the Phillies have made an offer to Derek Lowe.


Not only that, but you can also get pregnant if you have sex in a pool

There’s a widespread perception that Pat Burrell is a product of Citizens Bank Park. Like so many other widespread perceptions, that one is simply not true.

What is true is that Burrell was significantly better at home than on the road in 2007. In ’07, Burrell hit just .220 on the road but kept his numbers at their traditional levels by posting a monster 295/430/586 line at home.

In 2006 and 2008 Burrell was better on the road than at home. In 2006 he was slightly better. In 2008 he was significantly better.

 
Home
Year AVG OBP SLG OPS
2006 .261 .394 .487 .880
2007 .295 .430 .586 1.016
2008 .230 .348 .439 .786
         
Total Home
’06-’08
.260 .389 .500 .889
         
 
Away
2006 .254 .383 .517 .900
2007 .220 .370 .424 .795
2008 .270 .387 .577 .964
         
Total Away
’06-’08
.249 .380 .508 .888

In 2008, among the 218 MLB players with at least 200 plate appearances away from home, Burrell’s .577 slugging percentage was fifth best (Michael Bourn, incidentally, was last — he slugged .277 in 261 plate appearances on the road in ’08). Two players in that group of 218, Albert Pujols and Manny Ramirez, posted a better OPS on the road than Burrell did. The only players to hit more home runs than the 21 Burrell hit away from home were Ryan Howard and San Diego’s Adrian Gonzalez. They both hit 22.

The Phillies did not offer arbitration to Jamie Moyer or Burrell, which is not a problem unless they sign with another team. I would still guess the Phillies bring both of them back.

Interview with Chad Durbin at Jimmy Scott’s High and Tight.


All you need is Koplove

The Phillies signed 32-year-old right-handed reliever Mike Koplove to a minor league contract. The Phils will almost surely add a veteran right-handed reliever to the roster before the start of the season, but Koplove is a long shot to be the guy.

Koplove is a Philadelphia native who had outstanding years with the Diamondbacks in 2002 and 2003, throwing to a 2.90 ERA with a 1.12 ratio over 99 1/3 innings. His numbers dropped in 2004 and were miserable in 2005. He’s thrown nine innings in the majors since ’05.

Koplove has thrown more than ten innings in four seasons. Here’s what lefties have slugged against him in those four seasons:

2002 .261
2003 .397
2004 .444
2005 .487

Despite those struggles, Koplove still has a career 3.82 ERA and a 1.31 ratio. He was good in ’08 in the PCL, throwing to a 3.46 ERA and a 1.12 ERA in 54 2/3 innings while striking out 46. He was also fantastic in the Olympics, allowing one walk and no hits over 5 1/3 innings while striking out six.

I don’t think it’s going to happen, but I don’t think it would be a problem if Koplove won the spot as the last righty in the bullpen (joining, presumably, Madson, Romero, Condrey, Eyre, Durbin and Lidge). The problem would be counting on Koplove without a backup plan — I’d be stunned if that happened, cause I think you have to assume that Koplove is the backup plan (or at least part of it).

The other thing I think you have to remember is that Condrey, despite his fantastic year in ’08, was hit hard by lefties. They hit 320/370/448 against him last year, and I think the Phillies may be concerned about putting two righties at the back of their pen who don’t have much of a chance against lefties if they see any other options.

This article suggests that the Phillies will almost surely offer arbitration to Jamie Moyer and Pat Burrell and that both are likely to decline. Tom Gordon and Rudy Seanez could also be offered arbitration before the deadline at midnight on Monday, which is almost surely not going to happen.

Utley had surgery on his right hip on Monday without complications. GM Ruben Amaro suggests in the linked article that nobody can predict how long Utley will be out, but a gaggle of folks have managed to predict four to six months, which would put the window for his return between March 24 and May 24.

Any guess which Phillie is the assistant hockey coach at John Bapst High School in Bangor, Maine? A hint: his name is probably somewhere in the back of Jonathan Broxton’s mind and probably will be for a while.

November 25 was Shane Victorino Day in Wailuku.


Pat chat

I still think the likely solution in left field for the Phillies is that they’ll bring back Pat Burrell. In case they don’t, the list below includes hitters that 1) are right-handed 2) have spent time in the outfield over the past three seasons and 3) were among the top 40 right-handed hitters who got at least 400 plate appearances in 2006, 2007 or 2008 (using OPS as the measure). The left column is their name, the middle column is their OPS over the last three seasons and in the right column is a note if the player is thought to be available via free agency or trade.

Player OPS 2006-2008 Indications
the player is available?

Better OPS than Burrell 2006-2008
Manny Ramirez 991 YES — FREE
AGENT
Matt Holliday
979
Ryan Braun 938
Vlad Guerrero 925
Ryan Ludwick 913 MAY BE
AVAILABLE VIA TRADE
Magglio
Ordonez
910 MAY BE
AVAILABLE VIA TRADE
Carlos Lee 901
Jermaine Dye 900 MAY BE
AVAILABLE VIA TRADE
Alfonso
Soriano
897
Pat Burrell 889 YES — FREE
AGENT

Worse OPS than Burrell ’06-’08
Kevin
Youkilis
869
Carlos
Quentin
864
Jason Bay 859
Josh
Willingham
838
Alex Rios 836
Hunter Pence 834
Ty Wigginton 827
Torii Hunter 825
Xavier Nady 824

Conor Jackson

822
Juan Rivera 821 YES — FREE
AGENT
Corey Hart 816
Vernon Wells 814
Aaron Rowand 803
BJ Upton 801
Mike Cameron 801 MAY BE
AVAILABLE VIA TRADE

Marlon Byrd

796
Gary
Sheffield
790 MAY BE
AVAILABLE VIA TRADE
Bill Hall 786
Reed Johnson 778
Morgan
Ensberg
775
Melvin Mora 770
Justin Upton 769

Several of the players without a note in the right column are surely available, I only made a note where for players where there have been stories in the press suggesting their team may be looking to trade them. I’d guess that Morgan Ensberg could be pried away from Cleveland, for example.

That’s not a real long list when you’re looking to replace Burrell. I think there’s very little chance the Phillies sign Manny or trade for Ludwick or Ordonez. Trading for Jermaine Dye seems somewhat more reasonable, but you’d still have to pay him big money plus give up players to get him. It is a shorter term commitment, which is no doubt appealing, but Burrell is also younger than Dye and has been better over the past two seasons. Dye was a monster in 2006 when he hit 44 home runs, which puts his OPS for the three-year period ahead of Burrell at .900. Over the last two seasons, though, Dye has posted an .847 OPS. I think it’s likely that Burrell will outproduce him offensively in 2009.

Jason Bay is an interesting name on the list. He’s almost surely going nowhere after joining the Red Sox last season, but two of his last three seasons have been outstanding. He was miserable in 2007, but in ’06 and ’08 he hit to an impressive .911 OPS. If there was an opportunity to acquire him it looks like it closed last season, though, and you gotta believe the Phillies did the right thing what with winning the World Series and whatnot.

Josh Willingham is another guy that caught my eye. In what looks to me to be an outstanding deal for the Nationals, Florida sent Josh Willingham and Scott Olsen to the Nats last week for Emilio Bonifacio and minor leaguers Jake Smolinski (2B) and PJ Dean (RHP). Willingham can hit — I’d be surprised if both of these things proved to be true: 1) the Phillies think they will not be able to bring back Burrell and 2) they had no interest in trading for Willingham. If they don’t think it’s very likely they will re-sign Burrell and could have gotten Willingham, I think they made a mistake (especially if the price the Nats paid reflects what it would have cost the Phillies). Either way, it looks like the window to trade for him is closed as well.

Juan Rivera has had one good season out of the last three. Replacing Burrell’s bat with his, or a platoon of Rivera/Stairs, Jenkins/Stairs or Dobbs/Stairs would mean a big dropoff in offensive production at the position for the Phils. One of the things about Rivera that’s not true of a lot of the players lower on the list is that he’s been about as good against lefties as righties over his career, hitting 284/336/458 against left-handed pitching and 284/322/486 against righties. So unlike some of the other options, Rivera wouldn’t need to purely be a platoon player.

Here’s eight more available right-handed hitters and what they’ve done over the past three seasons with the bat, again using OPS as the measure:

Player OPS
2006-2008
Moises Alou 910
Rocco
Baldelli
806
Gabe Kapler 753
Kevin Mench 730
Emil Brown 727
Jason
Michaels
700
Jay Payton 692
Jerry
Hairston
681

Alou’s .910 OPS over the last three years is a bit misleading. He had 49 at-bats in 2008. I don’t think it’s likely that the Phillies would bring in Alou to be the main guy in left field given his age and injury history.

Close to zero chance they bring back Jason Michaels, I would guess. Jay Payton also seems exceptionally unlikely.

Hairston’s numbers over the past three years are miserable, but he did post career highs in ’08 as he posted a 326/384/487 line in 261 at-bats. To count on that kind of production as a regular player or even a platoon player in left field would be a huge mistake that the Phillies are very unlikely to make.

I’d love to see Baldelli on the Phillies, but not as the guy the Phils were counting on to play in left field regularly given his health concerns. I think whoever winds up with Baldelli in 2009 will be looking for a backup plan — if it’s the Phils let’s hope it’s a good one.

Mench has great career numbers against lefties, 299/358/542, better than Kapler’s 294/344/484. Either of those guys would have to man left as part of a platoon and Mench looks like the better option.

Emil Brown blasted 72 doubles in 2005 and 2006, but on-based .246 against righties in 2007 and .272 against them in ’08. So if he does anything for the Phils lets home it’s against left-handed pitching. His career line against lefties is 270/338/446, worse than Kapler and Mench.

Again, the emergence of Werth in 2008 took a big right-handed bat off the bench for the Phils. I think the Phillies need to add two right-handed hitters to their team before the start of ’09, meaning there may be room for Burrell plus another guy on one of the two lists. The dream scenario in my mind would be to add Burrell and Baldelli, although I would guess the chances of that are close to zero given that Baldelli will have lots of opportunities to join teams that will be able to give him far more playing time.

In a scenario where the Phillies don’t bring back Burrell, they seem almost guaranteed to lose offense at the position. In a Burrell-free world, my first guess would be that they would bring in Rivera. Second guess would be that they try to sign one of Baldelli, Kapler, Mench or Brown to come in and share left in a platoon with Stairs, Dobbs or Jenkins. I put Mench at the top of that wish list just because of the numbers against lefties over his career, but Baldelli would be high on it as well. If it were Baldelli the Phils would almost surely have to add a second right-handed bat that can play outfield as insurance.

I will be surprised if the Phillies trade for anyone to play left field for them, given the Willingham trade and the options that appear to be available without a trade.


2009 on the mind

Back to the managers soon.

I put up the 2009 Phillies page, where I will track my best guess at who will be on the ’09 squad.

It looks to me like there are seven spots open for next year, three for pitchers and four for hitters.

Of the pitcher’s spots, two are in the starting rotation behind Hamels, Myers and Blanton. Jamie Moyer looks like a good bet to take one of them. I would still call Kendrick the front-runner for the #5 spot, with Happ behind him and Eaton way, way behind both of them.

The other spot appears to be for a right-handed relief pitcher. Romero and Eyre look likely to handle the left-handed duties, joining righties Lidge, Madson, Condrey and Durbin in the pen. That leaves one spot, and I’m guessing it goes to a righty veteran reliever not currently with the organization. It could be Gordon or Seanez, but I would still go with field as a better guess at this point.

The bigger questions are with the offense. I think there’s a good chance the Phils will bring back Burrell. They should try and I think they will. His absence would leave a huge gap in the lineup, leaving Werth as the best right-handed hitter on the team. Werth is great, but the second-best right-handed hitter on the team would be Feliz, which is not great. Again, we’ll have to cut Feliz at least a little break what with winning the World Series and whatnot.

The emergence of Werth as an everyday player has created a problem for the Phillies with a lack of right-handed options off the bench. They went out of their way to demonstrate this by starting Chris Coste as their DH in the World Series. I think you can argue that the Phillies need two right-handed hitters, a big one, like Burrell, to play left, and another to backup the outfield and hit off the bench. The Phillies had a problem with not having enough right-handed hitters last year and that was with Burrell.

The Phillies either need Burrell back or they need a big right-handed bat in his place. Might as well just make it Burrell. I would be surprised if they traded for or signed an expensive right-handed free agent to play left field that wasn’t Burrell. My guess is that one of the four remaining offensive slots will be taken either by Burrell or a cheap right-handed hitter who can play left field and will play often.

That leaves three spots — one catcher spot behind Ruiz, one more outfielder and another bench spot that will probably be taken by a fifth outfielder.

With Victorino, Werth and Burrell (or his replacement) in the outfield, the Phillies don’t look like they have room for all of Stairs, Jenkins and Golson. I think a disaster scenario for the Phils is one where they trade Victorino to let Golson play regularly in center field. Golson needs to be a fifth outfield if he’s on the team in ’09 — if he is on the roster I think he will be. A less disastrous scenario in my mind is trading Victorino and letting Werth play center regularly with Golson backing him up. That plan is still a bit worrisome as it’s not a lot of backup for Werth, who still has limited experience playing every day. It would mean that Golson would probably get a job backing him up, but he wouldn’t have much of an organizational net behind him.

Werth can play center, though, well enough to be there regularly if the Phils had the hitters to man the corner outfield spots.

I would guess that the Phils will not start ’09 with both Stairs and Jenkins on the team. Dobbs, Stairs and Jenkins is too many left-handed hitters coming off of the bench, especially given that Stairs and Dobbs are hard to use defensively. I’d guess they trade Stairs given that he’s cheaper and more tradable. I have Jenkins penciled in as the fourth outfielder, giving them Victorino, Werth, Jenkins and Burrell or cheap right-handed free agent.

I hope in 2009 we will see Dobbs’ role expand to include signficant time in the outfield against right-handed pitching.

Jenkins and Burrell are two of the four spots. Leaves one bench spot and a catcher.

Ruiz is surely coming back, but I feel much less sure about Coste. The in-house options for second catcher along with Ruiz include Coste, Jason Jaramillo and Lou Marson. Jaramillo was not especially impressive at Triple-A last year and Marson was at Double-A. Marson is 22, Jaramillo is 26. Some people think 19-year-old Travis D’Arnaud is going to be better than both of them, although there’s about zero chance you’ll see him next year. My guesses are 1) that the Phillies would only put Jaramillo or Marson on the 25-man roster to start the season if it was as a third catcher and 2) if they did it would be Jaramillo and not Marson. You have to believe that Jaramillo could be had in a trade if people really think he’s a potential regular player. Here’s what I think is likely for the Phils at catcher at this point, in order of likelihood 1) they sign a veteran catcher to share duties with Ruiz 2) Coste and Ruiz 3) Ruiz, Coste (or veteran catcher) plus Jaramillo 4) Ruiz plus Jaramillo.

The addition of the second catcher leaves one spot on the roster, which could be taken by a fifth outfielder, a third catcher or a pitcher. I think you can assume that Bruntlett will handle the utility role. 23-year-old Brad Harman is coming, but I don’t think it’s yet. This spot may go to Golson, but I don’t think it should. I’d go with a right-handed hitter here that can also play a corner outfield position — a part-time player that’s probably not currently in the organization.

Here’s my guess then at this point as to who will be on the 25-man roster when the ’09 season starts:

Pitchers (12): Hamels, Myers, Blanton, Moyer, Kendrick, Lidge, Madson, Durbin, Condrey, Romero, Eyre and a veteran right-handed relief pitcher that is currently not with the organization.

Hitters (13): Howard, Utley, Rollins, Feliz, Ruiz, Burrell, Victorino, Werth, Jenkins, Bruntlett, Dobbs, veteran catcher not currently with the team, veteran right-handed corner outfielder not currently with the team.


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