Tag: Phillippe Aumont

Kendrick making sure everyone knows that Halladay’s beard looks like his and not the other way around

After eight more scoreless innings from the starters, the five guys who have started for the Phillies in official spring training games have a 1.41 ERA and an 0.81 ratio. Kyle Kendrick has surprisingly been the best of the bunch, allowing just four hits over nine scoreless innings without walking a batter. It may be enough to make him wish he pitched for a team that was considering spring training when choosing its starting rotation.

Blanton, Halladay and Kendrick have combined to not walk a batter in twenty innings. Happ, Halladay and Kendrick have combined not to allow a run in 20 1/3 innings.

Yesterday Kendrick shut out Baltimore for four innings but the Phils lost 4-3. Kendrick left with a 1-0 lead, but Escalona got hit hard again after Kendrick left the game. Escalona was charged with three runs in the fifth inning, raising his spring ERA to 13.50. Drew Carpenter followed Escalona and allowed a run over three innings to drop his spring ERA to 1.13 over eight innings.

Polanco went 2-for-3 in the game to raise his average to .375 (9-for-24 with nine singles).

Saturday Happ threw four strong innings as the Phils topped the Twins 5-4. Happ held Minnesota to a single single and struck out three before Bastardo got hit hard in the sixth inning. Bastardo allowed four runs on five hits — only three of the runs were earned. Durbin, Madson, Contreras and Baez all threw a scoreless inning in the game. Francisco hit a solo shot in the game and Cody Ransom had a three-run homer. Clay Condrey pitched the sixth for the Twins and allowed a run on a pair of singles.

This suggests that Madson will close if Lidge can’t start the year.

Scott Eyre may be open to the idea of pitching again.

First cuts of camp for the Phillies included Scott Mathieson, Phillippe Aumont, Tyson Gillies, Jesus Sanchez, Joe Savery and Drew Naylor.

Amaro says it’s probably unlikely that Romero will be available to start the season in the article linked above. I think it’s definitely unlikely.

Not many people have been blown away by what Bastardo, Zagurski or Escalona are doing in spring training.


Phils hopeful about their pitching just as long as nobody moves them to the ACC

While the Phils struggled some in the early innings last season, it was still the relievers who had more trouble overall. The table below shows the Phillies rank in the NL for starters and relievers for 2009 in ERA, ratio, runs allowed per nine innings and runs allowed per batter faced:


NL Rank
  ERA Ratio Runs
allowed per 9 innings
Runs
allowed per batter faced
Starting
Pitchers
7 6 7 7
Relief
Pitchers
9 7 9 9

Of the 16 teams in the NL, it seems fair to say that the Phillies starters were seventh best in the league and the relievers were ninth best in the league.

That’s a little misleading, though, because the Phillies had some awful problems with their rotation in 2009. They started the season terribly. At the end of May, Phillies starters had thrown to a 5.86 ERA and a 1.51 ratio over 48 games. They had an awful stretch to end the season as well. They didn’t get a quality start in their last 12 games, pitching to a 6.60 ERA and a 1.66 ratio over those games. They were pretty good in between, though. Here’s their ERA and ratio by month for 2009:

Month ERA Ratio
April 6.35 1.68
May 5.53 1.39
June 4.10 1.39
July 3.02 1.09
August 3.16 1.27
Sept/Oct 4.39 1.33
     
Total 4.29 1.34

In June, July and August, Phillies starting pitchers threw 499 1/3 innings with a 3.41 ERA and a 1.25 ratio. Atlanta’s starters had the best ERA in either league in ’09 — they threw to a 3.52 ERA with a 1.27 ratio for the season.

The Phils beat Florida State 13-6 last night in their first spring training action, a game that was most notable for an ugly debut for Phillippe Aumont. Aumont got hit hard in the third inning, getting just two outs while being charged with five runs on three walks and two hits, including a three-run homer. The Phils outscored Florida State 13-1 after finding themselves in a 5-0 hole in the third. Dane Sardinha went 2-for-2 with a double and four RBI and the Phillies walked 16 times in the game. Drew Naylor, Joe Savery and Jesus Sanchez threw four perfect innings to end the game and struck out nine batters combined. Happ got the start and allowed a single and a walk over two scoreless innings.

The Phils play the Yankees this afternoon, with Halladay and Kendrick expected to pitch.


Second inning wretch

The second, fifth and ninth were pretty clearly the problem innings for the Phils in 2009. When your closer puts up a 7.21 ERA for the season you don’t have to look real hard to figure out what went wrong in the ninth, but it surely means there were some guys pitching a lot and getting hit real hard in the second and the fifth, too.

So who were they? Well, opponents put up an .802 OPS against the Phils in the second inning in 2009. There were three pitchers who faced at least 100 batters in the second and allowed an OPS worse than .802 — Moyer, Blanton and Happ. Opponents hit to a .786 OPS against the Phils in the fifth. Two Phillies pitchers faced a hundred or more batters with an OPS worse than that — Blanton and Moyer.

Blanton and Moyer are on both lists. Moyer just had a rough year all around and his numbers for the second and fifth weren’t remarkable compared to the other innings in ’09, but here’s what batters did against Blanton in the second and fifth innings compared to what they did against him in all other innings in 2009:


Second and Fifth Innings

Other innings
AVG OBP SLG OPS AVG OBP SLG OPS
306 351 532 883 240 306 392 698

Nine of the 128 batters that Blanton faced in the fifth inning in 2009 homered (7%), but just four of the 266 (1.5%) he faced in the third and fourth innings.

Happ notably got hit real hard in the second and the sixth and pretty much not at all any other time in the game. Overall, the sixth wasn’t a big problem for the Phils. It was for Happ, though. Here’s his second and sixth versus all the other innings he pitched in 2009:


Second and Sixth innings

Other innings
AVG OBP SLG OPS AVG OBP SLG OPS
344 395 586 981 200 273 318 592

Happ was pretty much untouchable when he pitched in the fourth or fifth innings last year. The 190 batters he faced combined to go 35-for-171 against him (205/271/304). Apparently the batters were resting up for the sixth, though, when they pounded him to the tune of 362/402/649. So there was some drop off.

Happ starts tonight against Florida State. Phillippe Aumont is also scheduled to pitch. Victorino will not play with a sore shoulder.

The article linked above also suggests that Amaro is not currently pursuing any trades or signings.

Interesting stuff on Happ in this article.

Phillies opening day payrolls 1986-2010 here.


Second helpings

It might not be till we’re well into the 2010 season, but I think that when the batting order settles down for the Phillies it will go Rollins, Victorino, Utley, Howard, Werth, Ibanez, Polanco, Ruiz. In this article, though, Manuel seems to suggest that the Phillies may start the season with Polanco hitting second and Victorino hitting sixth or seventh.

I think he’ll change his mind before 2010 is over. Either way, are the Phillies better off with Polanco or Victorino hitting second?

If you were to make the decision based solely on their numbers from last season, Victorino was clearly the better hitter and the better choice to fill the two-hole in the order. Victorino hit 292/358/445, topping Polanco’s 285/331/396 line for the year in all three categories.

One of Polanco’s biggest problems in 2009 was that he didn’t hit left-handed pitching. At all. Both Polanco and Victorino have been good hitters against lefties over their career — Polanco has a 316/357/462 line against them for his career and Victorino is at 288/357/479. Polanco struggled against them in 2009, though. He played a full season and hit a weak 266/304/434 against left-handed pitching while Victorino pounded away to the tune of 314/385/459.

Given how much better Polanco’s career line against left-handed pitching is than the numbers he put up last season, it sure seems likely he’ll bounce back against lefties in 2010. Lets’ hope so, especially if he’s going to be hitting second against them.

The chart below shows numbers for Victorino and Polanco for ’09 and for their careers along with the average numbers for #2, #6 and #7 hitters in the NL last season (although I don’t think you’re going to see a lot of lineups in ’10 that include Utley, Howard, Werth and Ibanez with none of those players hitting second that would have Victorino hitting sixth). They are ordered by OPS.

  AVG OBP SLG OPS
Victorino ’09 292 358 445 803
Victorino
Career
284 347 428 775
Polanco
Career
303 348 414 762
NL #6 ’09 273 333 423 756
NL #2 ’09 273 337 405 742
Polanco ’09 285 331 396 727
NL #7 ’09 255 319 401 719

So, again, Polanco didn’t have a good 2009. He was outhit by the average NL #2 hitter while Victorino was a lot better than the average #2 hitter. On the other hand, over their careers both players have been better than the average #2 hitter was in the NL in 2009.

The biggest question we’re going to get at least part of an answer to in 2010 is whether the weak ’09 season for Polanco is a fluke or part of a trend. While he and Victorino have very similar numbers over their careers I think it’s very reasonable to expect that Victorino will be the more productive offensive player the rest of the way. Here’s the percentage of plate appearances in which the two have gotten hits, walks or extra-base hits over the past three seasons:

 
Polanco

Victorino
Year % H % BB % XBH % H % BB % XBH
2007 31.2 5.8 7.5 25.1 7.3 7.5
2008 28.3 5.6 7.2 26.6 7.2 8.3
2009 26.1 5.3 6.7 26.1 8.6 8.9

For each of the three categories Polanco’s numbers are down in 2008 and 2009 compared to the previous year. The numbers aren’t as dramatic for Victorino, but his numbers have generally been getting better.

Important to remember is that Polanco had a monster season in 2007, probably the best of his career. He hit a career-high .341 and on-based a career-high .388. So there was a lot of room to fall. In terms of the percentage of plate appearances in which they got a hit or a walk, Polanco buried Victorino in 2007. It was very close in 2008 — 33.86% for Polanco and 33.81% for Victorino with more of Victorino’s hits going for extra-bases. In 2009, Victorino sailed past Polanco. We’ll see if it’s for good or not.

Ben Sheets signed a one-year, $10 million contract with Oakland. The linked article also says that Greg Golson is now a Yankee.

Charlie Manuel has lost about sixty pounds.

MLB.com announced it’s list of the top 50 prospects, which includes Domonic Brown at 14 and Phillippe Aumont at 47 (that link is unusually interesting and includes video of the players). Michael Taylor is 35 and Kyle Drabek 17.


The doctor is in

Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee are among the elite pitchers in baseball, but there’s no question that Halladay has had the better career to this point. Halladay is less than a year and a half older than Lee, but has thrown 850 more innings than Lee. His innings have been better, too, as the numbers Halladay has put up overall are simply better than Lee’s.

Lee had a miserable 2007 season. He strained his groin in spring training and things got worse from there. He ended the year with a 6.29 ERA. He was fantastic in 2008 as he won the AL Cy Young award. Even over the last two years, though, Halladay has been better. Here’s what the two did in ’08 and ’09 combined:

  IP ERA Ratio
Halladay 485 2.78 1.09
Lee 455 2.89 1.18

That includes 2009, when Lee pitched about 35% of his innings in the National League.

Halladay has certainly been more the more consistent of the two. Lee has had two disastrous seasons out of the past six — 2007 and 2004. Halladay was awful over 67 2/3 innings in 2000, but that’s the only year of his career he’s put up an ERA+ under 115.

Here’s the rate at which the two have allowed hits, walks, extra-base hits, doubles and triples and home runs per 100 plate appearances over their careers:

  H/100 BB/100 XBH/100 (2B+3B)
/100
HR/100
Halladay 23.7 5.4 6.8 4.7 2.0
Lee 24.1 6.5 8.0 5.4 2.6

Halladay comes out ahead in all five categories.

It tightens up a little if you just look at the last two years. Important to remember is that Halladay has had five seasons in which he threw 100 innings or more with an ERA+ that was better than his ERA+ the year that he won the Cy Young award (2003). Lee’s Cy Young came in 2008 and he hasn’t had another year that was nearly as good. Here are their rates for the same five categories for the past two years:

  H/100 BB/100 XBH/100 (2B+3B)
/100
HR/100
Halladay 23.3 3.8 6.6 4.5 2.1
Lee 24.7 4.1 6.5 4.9 1.6

Halladay still was better at preventing hits and walks, but did allow home runs at a slightly higher rate than Lee.

One obvious difference between the two pitchers is that Halladay is right-handed and Lee is a lefty. It’s Halladay that’s been the better of the two against lefties over his career, though. They’ve both been good, but Halladay has held lefties to a puny 240/270/377 line while lefties have hit slightly better, 268/309/405, against Lee. Halladay, as you would expect, has been better against righties (278/305/389 compared to 262/318/415 against Lee).

The series of moves that brings Halladay to Philadelphia and sends Lee to Seattle are done. First the Phillies traded Lee to the Mariners for right-handed pitchers Phillippe Aumont and JC Ramirez and center fielder Tyson Gillies. The Phillies then traded Kyle Drabek, Michael Taylor and Travis d’Arnaud to the Blue Jays for Halladay and $6 million.

The article linked above says that Halladay has signed a three-year extension that will make Halladay a Phillie through at least 2013. Halladay will make $20 million a year for three years after making $15.75 million in 2010.

It’s great to have Halladay on the team. If he’s not the best pitcher in baseball he’s definitely in the conversation. The frustrating thing, of course, is that the Phillies were unwilling to keep Lee for 2010 given how reasonable his contract was. When you think back to how much the Phillies have paid Geoff Jenkins and Adam Eaton not to play in recent years, and how much they will be paying Moyer to play this year, the failure to keep Lee for reasons that seem to be purely financial is even a little more frustrating. The prospects the Phillies traded away are better and more likely to contribute at the big league level in the next few years than the ones they got back. It’s great to have Halladay for three more years, but if you’re willing to pay your ace $20 million a year you’ve got a really good chance to get someone fantastic.

On the other hand, the Phillies are better today than they were before the trade. Halladay seems to clearly want to be in Philadelphia. He would have gotten a much better contract somewhere else if he had waited. If you’re willing to pay your ace $20 million you’re going to get someone really good, but you’re not going to get Halladay to sign a short three-year contract.


Halladay shopping

A trade may be in the works that would bring 32-year-old right-handed pitcher and former Cy Young winner Roy Halladay to Philadelphia. Maybe you’ve heard.

Speculation abounds, but the best guess at this point seems to be that the Phillies will get Halladay, cash and some prospects. The Seattle prospects the Phillies get may include right-handed pitchers Phillippe Aumont and Juan Ramirez and center fielder Tyson Gillies.

The Phillies may trade away Cliff Lee and some combination of players that could include Michael Taylor, Travis d’Arnaud, Kyle Drabek and JA Happ. It has also been speculated that the Phillies would also need to trade Joe Blanton to clear away payroll.

Nobody seems to know for sure. We’re going to have to wait and see what happens.

I think we do know these things, however:

  • Both pitchers have been very good over their careers, but Halladay has been better than Lee.
  • Lee was outstanding for the Phillies in the post-season last year. Halladay has never pitched in the playoffs, but it’s hard to imagine that he could contribute more than Lee did in 2009.
  • Lee has the much better contract for 2009, but Halladay appears to be more willing to sign an extension to pitch for the Phillies beyond 2010 than Lee.

Again, we’re going to have to wait and see what if anything happens. Halladay is fantastic, but so is Lee. And Drabek or Taylor or Happ is a lot of talent to trade away. Hopefully the price for the opportunity to pay Halladay $20 million a year or more in 2011 and beyond isn’t too steep.

In other less dramatic news, the Phillies did not offer a contract to Clay Condrey before Saturday’s deadline, but will be bringing back his fellow right-handed reliever Chad Durbin. Here’s what the two have done for the Phils over the past two seasons:

  IP ERA Ratio
Condrey 111 3.16 1.40
Durbin 157 1/3 3.55 1.39

And here are the rates the two have allowed hits, walks, extra-base hits, doubles and triples and home runs per 100 plate appearances over the past two seasons:

  H BB XBH 2B+3B HR
Condrey 25.6 6.9 7.3 5.2 2.1
Durbin 20.2 12.1 5.6 3.7 1.9

Condrey gave up more hits and Durbin walked batters more regularly. Durbin had a monster walk rate last year. His rate of allowing hits per 100 plate appearances was better than any pitcher on the team except for Eyre and Romero. He walked way too many, though, his rate of walks per 100 plate appearances was the worst of any Phillies pitcher except for Romero.

There’s no question that Condrey had the better 2009 of the two. Durbin held opponents to a .220 batting average against, but walked 47 in 69 2/3 innings and posted a ratio of 1.48 for the year. While Condrey was solid in both 2008 and 2009, Durbin’s 2008 was the best of the two years for either of the two. Durbin was outstanding in 2008. He faded a bit in the second half but threw 52 1/3 innings with a 1.89 ERA and a 1.20 ratio in the first half of that year and was a stabilizing force in a very good Phillies bullpen as the Phils won it all.

Over the past three years, Durbin has seen the rate at which he’s allowing hits decrease and the rate at which he’s walking batters increase dramatically. It’s certainly great to see him allowing fewer hits, but he’s going to have a hard time being successful if he continues to walk batters at his ’09 levels.

The bottom line for me on this one is that I’m a little disappointed that the Phillies will not be bringing Condrey back. The reasoning was no doubt that he had pitched well enough in recent years that he would have been given a pretty significant raise in 2010 had the Phillies offered him a contract. I don’t think it was a mistake to bring back Durbin, but I think the Phillies are going to wind up paying him more than someone else will be paying Condrey and there’s a good chance that Condrey will have a better year.


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