Tag: Raul Ibanez

They coulda been a contender . . . oh wait, they were a contender

Not long ago, the Phillies were pretty good defensively in the outfield compared to the rest of baseball. Not so much anymore. Here’s the UZR/150 for all Phillie outfielders combined for the last six seasons as calculated by FanGraphs and how it compares to teams across both leagues:

Year UZR/150 all PHI OF Rank MLB
2007 4.1 8
2008 8.0 7
2009 0.7 13
2010 -5.5 25
2011 -8.4 28
2012 -4.8 25

So, from 2007 through 2009, the Phillies were in the top half of teams defensively in the outfield across both leagues by UZR/150. Over the last three years they have been no better than 25th.

There’s only 30 teams out there, so being 25th or worse for three straight years counts as a problem. It’s arguable that the Phillies have had the worst outfield defense in baseball over the past three seasons. It’s kind of a pick ‘em between the Phils, Orioles and Mets.

Notably, ugly outfield defense or not, the Phillies went 199-125 in 2010 and 2011 combined. I think it’s safe to say they were good at other things.

Using Baseball-Reference’s dWAR, only twice in the past three seasons have the Phillies had a player who both played at least 100 outfield innings for the team in a season and posted a dWAR greater than zero for the year. Victorino did it both times, putting up a 0.5 in 1,150 innings in 2011 after putting up a 0.4 in 1,265 innings in 2010.

In 2007, Victorino (16.6 UZR/150 in the outfield, mostly right), Bourn (22.9 in about 300 innings, about 200 of which were in left) and Werth (30.5 in 446 innings in right, 127 2/3 innings in left and two in center) were all outstanding defensively. Rowand played more than 94% of the defensive innings in center field and posted UZR/150 in the outfield of 4.5. Burrell played just over 70% of the innings in left, dragging down the numbers for the team overall with his UZR/150 in the outfield of -29.6. Despite that they were still eighth-best in the category among all MLB teams.

In 2008, Victorino moved over from right, where he had been very good defensively, to center. He was very good there as well, playing about 82.5% of the innings in center with an UZR/150 in the outfield for the year of 5.8 — a little better than Rowand’s 4.5 from 2007. Werth and Jenkins combined to get about 90% of the innings in right in 2008 and were good defensively. Werth was great with an outfield UZR/150 mark of 28.5. Jenkins was very good, too, playing to an UZR/150 of 15.2 in 642 outfield innings. Burrell continued to be the guy in left, playing about 83% of the innings there. He was still bad defensively, -12.3 in the outfield for the year, but that was still a big improvement over his 2007 mark of -29.6. Overall, by UZR/150, the Phillies popped up to seventh-best across both leagues, their best mark for the six seasons presented in the table above.

In 2009, their UZR/150 dropped from 8.0 in the previous year to 0.7. Jenkins was gone and so was Burrell. The Phillies went Ibanez, Victorino and Werth from left to right on most days. Ibanez was a big improvement over Burrell in left, at least as calculated by UZR/150. He played about 77% of the innings in left and posted an UZR/150 for the year of 4.9 in the outfield, which was a huge improvement over the big negative numbers Burrell had put up in the two previous seasons. Victorino manned center and his numbers were way down as he oddly posted a UZR/150 for the year in the outfield of -5.6, which was, by far, the worst mark of his career. UZR/150 suggests that Werth didn’t have nearly the impact defensively he had in the two previous seasons, but he still put up a solid 4.4 for the year in the outfield. Overall, thanks to the replacement of Burrell with Ibanez, the Phillies had a huge change to improve on their overall numbers from 2008. Didn’t work out that way as both Victorino and Werth played a lot of innings and each found themselves off their pace from the previous year.

Things got worse in 2010 as the Phils dropped from thirteenth all the way to twenty-fifth. They still primarily went Ibanez, Victorino, Werth left to right. Victorino improved on his 2009 number, up to 2.8 for the year in his 1,265 1/3 outfield innings. But Werth and Ibanez were both worse. After five straight years of at least 575 outfield innings with an UZR/150 in the outfield of 4.4 or better, Werth’s UZR/150 in the outfield plunged to -7.8 over 1,342 innings. Ibanez, who had posted a 4.9 in 2009, saw his mark drop to -7.2. For the year, Victorino improved on his ’09 numbers, but Ibanez and Werth both saw theirs take a huge dive. The Phillies wound up near the bottom of the league in UZR/150 for their outfielders as a result.

2011 was a nightmare defensively for the Phillies in the outfield, the worst year of the six as their UZR/150 for all outfielders dropped to 28th in the league. Only the Mets and Orioles were worse — notably, the Mets were worse in large part because Angel Pagan was their center fielder and he was awful, posting a UZR/150 for the year in the outfield of -16.1. Ibanez was still the primary guy for the Phils in left and Victorino in center. Victorino was still good, putting up a 5.7 UZR/150 for the season. Ibanez went from real bad, -7.2, to terrible, posting a Burrell-like -21.8. Right field was shared by three guys in Pence, Brown and Francisco, all of who ended the year having played about 30% of the innings for the Phillies defensively in right. Pence played about 32.7%, Brown 30.5% and Francisco 30.1%. Pence was very good defensively for the Phils when he played, putting up an 8.6 for the year with the team. Brown and Francisco were both terrible — Brown’s mark for the year was -26.0 and Francisco’s was -16.1. For the season, Ibanez was terrible in left, Victorino solid in center and Pence, Brown and Francisco split right almost equally, with Brown and Francisco being atrocious while Pence was very good. Put it all together and the Phils were the 28th-best team in the league for UZR/150 in the outfield.

Things were still atrocious in 2012, if slightly improved from the two previous seasons. Pierre was the primary guy in left, getting about 55% of the innings. He was backed up by Mayberry, who got about 23% of the innings at the position. Pierre put up a better-than-expected mark of -0.4 and Mayberry was solid when playing left with a 5.4. Victorino was the primary guy in center until he was traded. He wound up playing about 60% of the team’s innings in center field for the season and posting an UZR/150 of 0.9. Mayberry took over the gig after Victorino was traded and was terrible, posting a -20.7 UZR/150 in center in 474 1/3 innings. Pence played most of the innings in right field for the Phils in 2012, about 62%, and was awful in right when he did play, posting an UZR/150 with the Phils of -13.5, well off his 2011 mark. Domonic Brown was the other guy to see a lot of time in right, playing about 21% of the defensive innings at the position. He was significantly better than he was in 2012, but still not good, putting up a UZR/150 of -7.9 for the year.

Looking to 2013, there are still big questions to be answered about the makeup of the Phillie outfield. The Phils appear to have five guys in-house in the mix in Brown, Mayberry, Schierholtz, Nix and Ruf. If you had to pick one of them, most fans would guess that Brown is the player of that group who is likely to play the most defensive outfield innings for the Phils in 2013. And we know he’s been a really bad defensive player so far in his career. I think we also know that Mayberry can put up some ugly defensive numbers in center field — he seems sure to do so if the Phillies give him that opportunity. Schierholtz and Nix have both been pretty good defensively over their careers in the outfield, although neither of them seem likely to see much time in center and it’s a little hard to believe the Phillies think they need to carry both left-handed backup outfielders going in 2013. Ruf is the other guy in that group — if he proves to be a good defensive outfielder in the majors it’s going to surprise a lot of people.

The Phillies finalized a one-year, $850,000 deal with Kevin Frandsen.

Many Marlins appear to be on the move to Toronto, including Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle.

This suggests that Amaro kind of wishes that Ruf would have had more of an opportunity to play at the end of the year, but that Amaro understands Manuel playing Juan Pierre instead. Not sure I completely believe all of that.

At least now the Phillies have a good idea what Juan Pierre brings to the table.

It will be pretty interesting to see if Ruf can play left field — I think he’s going to get some chances to do so with the Phillies in 2013. I’m guessing he can’t in a think Pat Burrell kind of way. So let’s hope for 51 more home runs.


No, you don’t understand: we really, really want a pitcher and not a belly-itcher

Here are the combined WAR, oWAR and dWAR for the non-pitchers for the Phillies over the past ten years as calculated by Baseball-Reference:

Year WAR oWAR dWAR
2012 15.0 14.0 1.0
2011 14.2 19.9 -5.4
2010 21.3 21.8 -0.6
2009 26.3 24.6 2.0
2008 27.3 20.3 7.0
2007 31.1 27.3 3.7
2006 20.0 21.6 -2.1
2005 27.7 18.8 8.9
2004 22.1 20.8 1.4
2003 25.8 24.0 2.1

So that’s bad, generally, although overall WAR for the non-pitchers actually improved from 2011 to 2012. Coming into the season, it had been down from the previous year for four straight seasons.

It was up in 2012 despite the fact that the oWAR for the team was worse than 2011 (14.0 in ’12 compared to 19.9 in ’11). It was the dWAR that improved dramatically, going from -5.4 in 2011 to 1.0 in 2012.

That’s where the good news ends, though. In both 2011 and 2012, the combined WAR for the non-pitchers was less than half of what it was in 2007. In 2007, the Phils were first in the NL in oWAR and second in dWAR.

In 2008, the team’s dWAR was 7.0, which was best in the NL. By 2010, the defense had slipped a lot and was down to -0.6. Howard put up a -2.3 dWAR that year and ugliness from Ibanez (-2.0) and Werth (-1.2) contributed as well. By 2011 the problem was even more dramatic as the team’s dWAR of -5.4 was third worst among the 16 NL teams. Again, Ibanez (-3.1) and Howard (-2.4) led the anti-charge, joined by Francisco (-1.3) and Brown (-1.2).

This Phils bounced back some in 2012. Ibanez and Francisco left. Brown got a little better. Howard played less and posted a dWAR of just -1, which was his best mark since 2005 (although Wigginton and Nix didn’t help much filling in for him at first). Freddy Galvis was solid defensively when he played.

The oWAR for the last ten seasons peaked in 2007 at 27.3. The Phillies led the NL in runs scored that year with 892. Their oWAR of 27.3 led the league and it wasn’t real close. The Mets were second at 22.7. Utley (5.9), Rollins (5.5), Rowand (4.5), Howard (3.2) and Burrell (3.0) all put up an oWAR of three or better that season.

The oWAR of 14.0 for the Phillies in 2012 was the lowest it has been since 2000, when the team’s oWAR for the year was an NL-worst 6.7. That was remarkable in that the Phillies had two players with an oWAR of 3.6 or better for the season — Abreu at 4.6 and Rolen at 3.6. The Phillies had ten players that year who got at least 100 plate appearances and put up a negative oWAR.


The Juan left behind?

So what do you do if you’re a professional baseball team, you have John Mayberry and Domonic Brown in your organization, just bid farewell to Raul Ibanez and his .707 OPS over 575 plate appearances from last year and are looking to get better in left field in 2012? I don’t know for sure, but I have some ideas and I’m a little surprised that bringing on Juan Pierre made the list for the Phillies.

After hitting 279/329/327 in 711 plate appearances for the White Sox last year, Pierre has hit 277/335/322 in 1,445 plate appearances over the last two seasons. In 2011, he stole 27 bases, which tied him for 21st-best in all of baseball. He was caught 17 times, which was more than any other player. There were only four players in either league who were caught stealing more than 12 times. In his defense, Pierre was a far more effective base-stealer with the White Sox in 2010. The active career leader in stolen bases swiped an AL-best 68 bases and was caught just 18 times.

Despite on-basing .329 last year, Pierre still has a career on-base percentage of .345. And if he can get on base, that would go a long way towards making up for the gaping lack of power and diminishing speed. But in six of the last seven years he’s on-based under .345. From 2000 to 2004, he on-based .361. Since the end of 2004 he’s on-based .334. And that makes things tough for an outfielder without power who hasn’t appeared in a game at center field since 2009.

Pierre has never hit for a lot of power. He arrived on the scene with Colorado in 2000 and had two extra-base hits in 219 plate appearances, both doubles. He hit .310 that year and slugged .320, giving him and isolated power of .010. No player with 200 plate appearances in either league has posted an isolated power that low since. His isolated power topped out in 2006 with the Cubs at .096 as he hit 292/330/388 with 32 doubles, 13 triples and three home runs over 750 plate appearances.

Over the last two seasons, Pierre has hit .277 and slugged .322, giving him an isolated power of .045. In 2011, among the 146 players in either league with 500 plate appearances, his isolated power of .049 was 146th. In 2010 his isolated power of .041 was 149 of 151 as he topped infielders Cesar Izturis and Elvis Andrus in the category.

Pierre’s isolated power for his career is .067, and he’s hit that mark or better just once in the last five seasons (.084 with the Dodgers in 2009). By comparison, Wilson Valdez has a career isolated power of .087 and an isolated power of .097 while with the Phillies. Martinez’s isolated power last year was .086. Polanco’s for his career is .105, last year it was .062.

Here’s what Mayberry, Ibanez, Pierre and the average NL left fielder did in 2011:

PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA
John Mayberry 296 273 341 513 361
NL AVG LF 259 328 421 327
Raul Ibanez 575 245 289 419 309
Juan Pierre 711 279 329 327 295

The NL average for left fielders in 2011 for wOBA was .327. Pierre’s career wOBA is .315. Over the past five seasons, he’s posted a wOBA of .327 or better just once — in 2009 in his 425 plate appearances with the Dodgers. Pierre put up a wOBA in the .293 to .298 range in each of the other four seasons.

The Phillies signed 33-year-old right-handed reliever Chad Qualls to a one-year, $1.15 million contract. Qualls was great from 2004-2008 and pretty good in 2009 before a miserable 2010 season in which he threw to a 7.32 ERA and allowed 85 hits and 21 walks in 59 innings. Last year he bounced back some, if not to his ’04-’08 levels, throwing to a 3.51 ERA with a 1.25 ratio for the Padres.

This article points out some of the recent issues involved with trying to use Chad Qualls against lefties or if you’re not playing at Petco.

Locks for the pen at this point look to me to include Kendrick, Papelbon, Qualls, Willis and Bastardo. Contreras seems likely to take the sixth of seven spots if he’s healthy. Stutes seems close to a sure thing and Herndon would be my first guess to take Conteras’s spot if Contreras can’t go.

If you’re interested in baseball handicapping, check out our sponsor Kevin’s MLB picks blog at http://www.mlbpredictions.org.


Catch! Rising Star

Point for today is that Domonic Brown has been an atrocious defensive outfielder over the past two seasons. In 2010 his UZR/150 was -37.9 and in ’11 it was -26.0. How bad is that? In 2011 there were 62 NL players who played at least 450 innings as an outfielder — Brown’s -26.0 was the worst mark of those 62. In 2010 he only played he only played 112 defensive innings, but his UZR/150 of -37.9 was 185th-best of the 192 players across both leagues who played at least 100 innings in the outfield.

FanGraphs has UZR data starting in 2002. Among Phillie outfielders who played at least 100 innings in each of the last ten seasons, here’s who posted the best and worst UZR/150 and the number of innings they played that year:

Year Best UZR/150 Innings Worst UZR/150 Innings
2011 Mayberry 9.4 474 1/3 Brown -26.0 451
2010 Victorino 2.8 1265 1/3 Brown -37.9 112
2009 Francisco 12.6 181 1/3 Mayberry -22.6 127
2008 Werth 28.5 966 Burrell -12.3 1198 1/3
2007 Werth 30.5 575 2/3 Burrell -29.6 1028 1/3
2006 C Roberson 24.6 103 2/3 Abreu -16.9 848
2005 J Michaels 32.8 635 1/3 E Chavez -8.9 185
2004 R Ledee 51.1 175 1/3 M Byrd -18.4 753 1/3
2003 J Michaels 25.4 179 2/3 R Ledee -19.0 491
2002 D Glanville 8.7 891 1/3 R Ledee -21.5 371 2/3

And you thought you might go your whole day without thinking about Chris Roberson or Ricky Ledee even once, didn’t you?

In 2007, Pat Burrell put up an UZR/150 of -29.6 while stumbling about in left field for the Phils. That’s the only outfielder for the team, though, that played 100 innings in the outfield in a season over the past ten years and posted a mark worse than the -26.0 that Brown put up over 451 innings in 2011. No outfielder on the team over the past ten seasons has played at least 100 innings for the Phils with an UZR/150 worse than his -37.9 in 2010.

Over the last ten years combined, the Phillies have 15 players who played at least 500 innings in the outfield. Of those, Brown’s combined UZR/150 of -27.8 is fifteenth. By a lot. Ricky Ledee has the second-worst mark at -8.8.

Notably, Burrell, the poster boy for awful defensive outfielders in recent Phillie history, has an UZR/150 of -8.0 over 8,140 innings as an outfielder with the Phils since the start of 2002, considerably better than Brown, but also better than Ibanez (-8.6) or Ledee (-8.8) and the same as Francisco (-8.0). Unlike Brown, whose defensive numbers early in his career have been hideous, Burrell’s defensive numbers weren’t awful early in his career but got bad when he got older. From 2002 to 2004, his age 25, 26 and 27 seasons, Burrell played 3,629 2/3 innings in the outfield for the Phils with an UZR/150 of -0.1.

Ibanez, while we’re on the subject, also had a terrible UZR/150 of -21.8 while playing left field for the Phillies in 2011 (topped in defensive feebleness on the list above only by Brown (twice), Burrell in 2007 and Mayberry in 2009, although Mayberry did a whole lot less damage being terrible in 127 innings in 2009 than Ibanez did in 1,196 2/3 in 2011).

Since the start of 2002, there are 242 NL players that have played at least 500 innings in the outfield. Brown’s combined UZR/150 of -27.8 tops only one of them (Lucas Duda of the Mets).

The Phils traded Wilson Valdez to the Reds for 26-year-old left-handed reliever Jeremy Horst. In the linked article, Amaro mentions Michael Martinez and Freddy Galvis as players who give the Phils utility depth, but also suggests that Galvis will start the year at Triple-A. Valdez should be pretty replaceable, but trying to replace him with Michael Martinez sure seems like a move that would make the Phillies worse. The article also mentions Pete Orr, Kevin Frandsen and Hector Luna as options.

The Valdez era ends with Valdez having hit 254/300/351 in 663 plate appearances with the Phils in 2010 and 2011 combined. Valdez got at least 300 plate appearances with the teams in each of those years. Prior to coming to the Phillies, he had never gotten 150 plate appearances in a season.

On October 6, 2010, Valdez started at third for the Phils in game one of the NLDS against the the Reds, which was somehow overshadowed by Halladay throwing a no-hitter. On October 23 of the same year, he was the pinch-runner at second for Polanco when Brian Wilson struck Howard out looking to end game six of the NLCS with the Giants having topped the Phillies 3-2 to take the series.

Three Phillie pitchers made MLB.com’s list of the top 100 pitching prospects. Righty Trevor May was 54th, lefty Jesse Biddle 78th and righty Brody Colvin 80th.

I think this says that Larry Bowa will be shocked if the Phillies don’t go to the World Series. Hoping for the best, but I will not be shocked if the Phils don’t go to the World Series.

This suggests that Brad Lidge and the Nats have agreed to a deal.


Half and better half

The Phillies played 82 games from the start of the season to the end of June, going 51-31. In those 82 games, they were eighth in the NL in runs scored. After June, the Phils played 80 games, going 51-29. They led the league in runs scored in those 80 games.

Here’s a look back at what the offense did by position, breaking the season down into two halves — the 82 games through the end of June and the 80 games after the start of July.

Catcher:

Ruiz served as the primary catcher for the Phils in both the first and second half of the season. He was simply much better during the second half (after the end of June) than he was in the first.

PA HR RBI AVG OBP SLG
April-June 221 3 16 243 348 333
July to End 251 3 24 317 391 425

Ruiz played a little more in the second half and showed more power, but mostly just got a lot more hits, hitting .317 in the second half after hitting .243 in the first. He actually walked a little less regularly in the second half, about 9.2% of his plate appearances compared to about 11.3% in the first half, but his on-base percentage was a whole lot better thanks to the much better batting average.

First base:

At first, Howard fared about as well after the end of June as he had in the first 82 games of the year:

PA HR RBI AVG OBP SLG
April-June 353 17 64 254 354 488
July to End 291 16 52 252 337 488

Very similar numbers for Howard in both halves. He walked more regularly in the first half, but hit for nearly the same average with about the same power.

The Phils did see a benefit at the position in the second half of the year thanks to John Mayberry. Mayberry started just ten games at first the whole year, but nine of those starts came after the end of June. Mayberry crushed the ball in 2011 while playing first for the Phillies — in his 45 plate appearances while playing first he put up a monster 409/422/682 line.

Second:

Second base was an offensive disaster for the Phils in the early part of the season. Chase Utley returned at the end of May and hit .222 in 27 May at-bats, but followed that up with a fantastic June in which he hit 297/387/470. He was even better in July as he hit 293/369/550. From August 1 to the end of the regular season he hit a meager 227/305/343. Here’s what his numbers first and second half look like:

PA HR RBI AVG OBP SLG
April-June 140 3 16 280 381 449
July to End 314 8 28 250 328 414

Utley was simply not good after the end of June, hitting just .250 and on-basing .328. As uninspired as those numbers are, they still were a significant improvement for a team that struggled to find offense from the position while Utley was out.

Here’s the numbers of games started at second base for the Phils in the first and second halves of the year:

1st Half (April-June) 2nd half (July-end)
Utley 31 (37.8%) 69 (86.3%)
Valdez 31 (37.8%) 2 (2.5%)
Orr 16 (19.5%) 4 (7.5%)
Martinez 4 (4.9%) 3 (3.7%)

So Utley started about 38% of the games at second through the end of June and about 86% of the games after June. And even though he wasn’t hitting particularly Utley-like, that’s still important. Cause even a sluggish Utley is a whole lot better offensively than those other guys. Here’s what the four guys who started games for the Phillies at second did offensively while playing that position in 2011:

PA AVG OBP SLG
Utley 451 257 340 423
Valdez 126 246 289 307
Orr 82 213 280 240
Martinez 30 241 267 379

Even an Utley way off his game was way better than the rest of those guys, most notably out on-basing the second-best on-base percentage in the group (Valdez) by more than fifty points.

After Utley returned to the Phillies on May 23, the Phils led the NL in runs scored the rest of the way. That was despite the fact that the offense wasn’t good at all in June, though, as the Phils finished eleventh in the NL that month. Because the offense was so terrible in June (despite a monster 297/387/470 line for Utley for the month) it’s hard for me to see his return as the turnaround point for the offense. The offense was best in the NL after that date because 1) they were fantastic in July, better than any other NL team, and very strong in August and September and 2) in the nine games from May 23 to the end of May, the Phils played nine games and scored 51 runs or 5.67 runs per game.

Third base:

Polanco, you may have noticed, was atrocious in 2011. He didn’t start out that way, though. He hit nearly .400 in April, putting up a 398/447/524 line over 114 plate appearances. After that he hit 243/304/287 the rest of the way.

He played a lot less in the second half of the season, and without the huge April his numbers were a lot worse:

PA HR RBI AVG OBP SLG
April-June 340 4 39 288 339 363
July to End 183 1 11 258 328 294

When he did play in the second half, Polanco’s walk rate rose a little (8.7% of plate appearances compared to 7.6% in the first half), but his average was way off and his power nearly gone altogether. He had four extra-base hits from July 1 to the end of the year.

Here’s who started at third for the Phils through the end of June and after the start of July:

1st Half (April-June) 2nd half (July-end)
Polanco 76 (92.7%) 39 (48.8%)
Valdez 6 (7.3%) 15 (18.7%)
Martinez 0 (0%) 24 (30.0%)
Orr 0 (0%) 2 (2.5%)

Polanco got more than 90% of the starts in the first 82 games of the year for the Phils. After the start of July, Valdez, Martinez and Orr combined to start more often at third than he did.

Here’s what the guys did offensively while playing third for the Phils this year:

PA AVG OBP SLG
Polanco 513 280 337 343
Martinez 104 231 304 352
Valdez 84 253 286 354
Orr 7 000 000 000

Unlike second base, there was not a huge improvement at the position when the Phils got their starter on the field. For the year, Valdez and Martinez both offered significantly more power from the position while getting on base a little less. Not to be forgotten is that Polanco hit 243/304/287 for the year after the end of April — both Martinez and Valdez gave the Phils more offense at third when they played than Polanco did after his strong April.

Short:

At shortstop, Jimmy Rollins was a much better offensive player in the second half of the year than he was in the first.

PA HR RBI AVG OBP SLG
April-June 352 7 31 254 327 368
July to End 279 9 32 286 351 437

More hits and more power for Rollins in the second half of the season than the first. His walk rate was down, but just a tiny bit, and thanks to all the hits his on-base percentage was up to .351. From June 26 through August 20, Rollins hit 298/372/461 over 215 plate appearances.

He didn’t play nearly as much in the second half as he did the first. Valdez made 20 starts at short on the season and 15 of them came after the start of July. Valdez had solid numbers while playing short for the Phils in 2011, though, posting a 278/338/414 line over 81 plate appearances. That’s very similar to the 272/340/417 line that Rollins put up while playing short in 2011.

While playing short for the Phils in 2011, Valdez posted a 278/338/414 line over 81 plate appearances. He got 219 plate appearances as something other than a shortstop. In those plate appearances he hit 239/277/313.

Left field:

Ibanez didn’t play as much in left field in the second half of the season, but when he did he was a little better:

PA HR RBI AVG OBP SLG
April-June 309 9 34 235 285 393
July to End 266 11 50 256 293 448

He was still terrible at getting on base, but Ibanez did show a bit more power in the second half of the year.

Ibanez started in left in 72 of the first 82 (87.8%) games of the season for the Phils. After the start of July the Phils played 80 games and he started just 59 (73.7%). The other 21 second-half starts were made by Mayberry (12) and Francisco (nine).

Both of those guys were fantastic in the second half. Here’s what the two did after the start of July (at all positions, not just left field):

PA AVG OBP SLG
Mayberry 179 301 358 607
Francisco 65 322 354 407

Mayberry was absolutely fantastic in the second half, hitting 12 home runs in 179 plate appearances while on-basing .358. That’s a lot of home runs — at that pace he would hit about 37 over a season of 550 plate appearances. For the season, he actually hit 15 over 296 plate appearances, which would have him at about 25 over 550 plate appearances.

Francisco hardly played at all after the start of July, but when he did he hit .322. That’s more than a hundred points higher than the .220 he hit in 228 plate appearances in the first 82 games of the season when he had a chance to cement his status as an everyday player. Just a tiny number of chances for Francisco in the second half, but I do think it’s curious that he seemingly forgot all about try to walk and hit .322. In the first 82 games of the season he walked in 12.7% of his plate appearances and in the last 80 he got just 65 plate appearances but walked in only 6.2% of them.

As bad as Francisco was with the Phils in 2011, he on-based .340 for the season, which was a career high. I think there’s a good chance that the Phils are going to regret having given him away.

Center Field:

Victorino played about as much in center the first and second halves of the season with about the same results.

PA HR RBI AVG OBP SLG
April-June 288 9 31 289 359 504
July to End 298 8 30 270 351 479

More hits in the first half, more walks in the second with about the same power all season long. Victorino started 63 of the 82 first half games (76.8%) and 63 of the 80 second-half games (78.5%). He really only had one month of the season where he wasn’t an outstanding offensive player in 2011 and that was September. After going 2-for-4 with a walk against the Fish on September 2, Victorino was hitting a silly 308/384/542 for the season. He would hit 163/237/288 in 115 plate appearances the rest of the way. Curiously the Phils kept playing him and playing him down the stretch, even after they clinched and he continued to slump. Victorino got 125 plate appearances in September, which led the team and was also the most he had in any month in 2011.

There were 34 games for the Phils in 2011 when Victorino didn’t start at center. Mayberry started 26 of them and Martinez eight. Martinez was predictably terrible, going 5-for-39 with five singles and no walks (128/128/128).

Overall for the year, Mayberry didn’t get on base a whole lot in his 115 plate appearances as a center fielder, but he did show a ton of power. He posted a 236/296/472 line in center for the season.

In his 13 starts in center field in the first half of the year, Mayberry was wretched. In those 13 games he hit 191/255/277. In the second half he started 13 games as well, but with much different results, posting a 291/328/673. In 13 second-half starts in center, Mayberry went 16-for-55 with 12 of the 16 hits going for extra-bases — seven doubles, a triple and four home runs. Four home over 13 starts is impressive, but so is seven doubles. At that pace, over 162 starts you would tally about 50 home runs and 87 doubles.

Right field:

Hunter Pence was traded from the Astros in late July and played his first game with the Phils on July 30. He was great in August (340/413/600) and almost as great in September (317/385/550).

For the 2011 season, Pence hit 325/396/563 in 235 plate appearances as the right field fielder for the Phillies.

This is what the guys for the Phils other than Pence who played right field for the Phils did in 2011 while playing right field:

PA AVG OBP SLG
Francisco 208 232 335 367
Brown 205 240 332 391
Mayberry 26 318 423 727
Gload 10 300 300 300
Bowker 2 000 000 000
Moss 2 000 000 000

Mayberry had some nifty numbers in 26 plate appearances and Gload went 3-for-10, but those guys were bad overall. Most notably, Brown and Francisco combined to get 413 plate appearances in which they hit a meager 236/333/379 combined.

To summarize:

  • In right, Pence arrived at the end of July and was not just good but great, hitting 324/394/560 over 236 plate appearances with the Phils.
  • At second, the first half production was miserable. Utley returned on May 23 and gave the Phils an enormous boost, replacing at-bats by Valdez, Orr and Martinez with Utley at-bats. He didn’t have a Chase Utley-like performance after the start of July, hitting just 250/328/414 from the start July to the end of the season, but it was still enough to give the Phils a huge boost at the position.
  • At catcher, Ruiz was a better hitter after the start of July. Getting about the same playing time in both halves, Ruiz hit 243/348/333 before the start of July and 317/391/425 from the start of July to the end of the regular season.
  • At short, Rollins, like Ruiz, was just better at offensively during the second half, hitting 286/351/437 after the start of July having ended June with a 254/327/368 line.
  • In left, Ibanez was bad both halves, but did get better in the second half and showed more power. He also played less in the second half as Francisco and Mayberry combined to make 21 starts in left. Francisco was good in limited time in the second half and Mayberry was great, hitting 301/358/607.
  • In center, Victorino had similar numbers both halves with a little drop off after July. Mayberry started the same number of games in center in the first and second halves (13), but had much better numbers in his 13 starts in center after July than before it. In 13 starts in center before the end of June he hit 191/255/277. In his 13 starts in center after the start of July he hit 291/328/673.
  • At first base, Ryan Howard had similar numbers in both halves. The Phils got a small bump at the position from Mayberry at the second half when Mayberry started nine of the ten games he started at first for the season. For the year, Mayberry hit a silly 409/422/682 as a 1B.
  • At third, Polanco, awful with the bat in 2011, did see less time at third during the second half of the year, but his fantastic April plus the fact that the guys who replaced him at third when he didn’t play in the second half didn’t do much of anything to help the Phillies.

Again, the Phils got a huge boost from Mayberry in the last 80 games, helping out in left, center and at first base.

A big question about the second-half surge seems to be whether Utley’s return or Pence’s arrival was a bigger factor. My thinking is that Pence was a bigger factor from July to the end of the year, but Utley’s return was likely a bigger factor for the year. More on that soon.

The comments close two weeks after a post is published, which is why we could not continue the discussion from the previous about whether or not David Wright is coming to the Phils. He’s not. Or at least a lot of people are going to be real surprised if he is.


May and June bug

Overall in 2011, the Phillies finished a disappointing seventh in the NL in runs scored. Things picked up a lot towards the end of the year, though — from the start of July to the end of the regular season, the Phils led the NL in runs score.

When you think about how things went month-to-month for the Phils in 2011, it’s important to remember that the offense had two terrible months early in the year that dragged the numbers down for the season. After a solid start to the year in April, the offense dropped like a stone for the Phils in May as the team finished twelfth in the NL in runs scored for the month. They followed that up with a June in which they were eleventh in the NL in runs scored. After the first three full months of the season, the Phils were eighth in the league in runs scored. But things got better in a hurry.

The table below shows, for each month of the 2011 season, the Phillies rank in run scored for the league for that month, their rank in runs scored from the beginning of the season through the end of that month and their rank in runs scored in the league from the end of that month to the end of the regular season.

Month NL Rank RS for Month Rank RS start of season thru month Rank RS after month to end of season
April 4 4 6
May 12 8 4
June 11 8 1
July 1 6 4
August 3 6 6
Sept 6 7 -

So, for example, in May of 2011, the Phils were twelfth in the NL in runs scored. From the start of the season through the end of May, they were eighth in the NL in runs scored and from the end of May to the end of the regular season they were fourth.

Through end of June July to end of season May and June April, July, August and September
PHI NL Rank Runs Scored 8 1 12 2

Again, two bad months. Start of the season through June they were eighth in the NL in runs scored. Start of July to the end of the season they were first. In May and June combined they were twelfth. In all of the months except May and June combined they were second.

Here’s a look back at some of the monthly performances that helped contribute to the numbers above:

The offense was solid in April, fourth in the NL in runs scored.

Howard led the team in home runs (six) and RBI (27), hitting 291/351/560. Polanco was a monster, too, hitting 398/447/524 in the only month of the season in which he would put up an OPS of .700 or better. After going 2-for-3 with a double against the Mets on April 30, Polanco would hit 243/304/287 in 409 plate appearances for the rest of the season.

Ibanez was atrocious for the Phils in April, posting a 161/247/218 line over 97 plate appearances. Valdez started 19 games and hit 239/282/284.

It wouldn’t last, but Francisco put up solid numbers for April, hitting 266/347/447 for the month and starting 24 games. Things were already looking a little less than fabulous for Francisco, though. After hitting 308/386/513 over 44 plate appearances to start the season, Francisco hit 236/317/400 over the last 16 games of the month.

In May the offense tanked. Eleven NL teams scored more runs than the Phillies in May.

The good news for May was that Ibanez bounced back dramatically, hitting a team-high seven homers and also leading the team in RBI with 19 as he posted a 315/339/602 line.

The bad news was pretty much everything else. Howard hit .208. Rollins on-based .306. Polanco on-based .289 with three extra-base hits in 27 starts. Utley was back at the end of the month, but not helping much. He hit 222/364/370 in 33 May plate appearances.

Francisco couldn’t hit enough to keep the right field job and was out of the lineup regularly during the second half of the month after hitting .103 (really! .103) in his first 50 plate appearances in May (4-for-39 with four singles). It created some openings in the outfield. Mayberry couldn’t capitalize, hitting 194/275/319 in his 80 May plate appearances, but Brown looked a little better. Brown appeared in just ten games in May (seven starts), but hit 333/378/545 in limited action (37 PA).

June was almost as bad as May. The Phils were eleventh in runs scored in the league in June. The team hit .229 for the month and slugged .317 — both would be lows for the season.

Howard was solid enough, leading the team with five homers and 22 RBI. He walked 18 times, putting up a .397 on-base percentage despite hitting just .269. Victorino pounded the ball to the tune of 297/383/505. So did Utley, who would hit 295/378/511 from the start of June to the end of July over 218 plate appearances. In June he posted a 297/387/473 line.

There was more than enough bad news to make up for it, though. Brown became nearly an everyday player in June, starting 22 games and hitting a meager 165/258/354 for the month. Mayberry went 0-for-3 in his four plate appearances for the month. Rollins on-based .314. Ruiz hit .221 and Polanco .213 — that duo combined for five extra-base hits in 194 June plate appearances. Ibanez’s May magic was gone as he hit a paltry 211/258/311 in his second atrocious month with the bat on the year.

The Phillies had their best offense month of the year in July, plating an NL-best 138 runs.

Ibanez was back, hitting seven home runs and driving in 25 with a 284/320/558 line. The 25 RBI he would post in July was the most of any Phillie for any month in 2011 other than Howard’s 27 in April.

Rollins found his power stroke as well, socking six home runs of his own with a 312/375/523 line. Utley had his best month of the year: 293/369/545 with five bombs. Victorino missed a lot of the month with a thumb injury, but was awesome when he played to the tune of 364/462/600 in 66 plate appearances for the month.

Victorino’s injury opened up a lot of time for Mayberry in center and Mayberry delivered with the bat. He came into July having hit 231/316/365 in 117 plate appearances for the year, but blasted a pair of home runs against the Fish on July 6 and hit 300/327/640 for the month in 52 plate appearances. Brown, meanwhile, continued to get chances, starting 20 games. He bounced back from a miserable June in which he hit .165, hitting 296/398/366, but without a home run in 83 plate appearances. Pence would arrive at the end of the month, securing right field for the rest of the season as he hit and hit and hit.

Ruiz, who would hit 317/391/425 in 251 plate appearances from the start of July to the end of the year, started his tear with what would be his best month of the season, hitting 324/432/485 in July.

Howard didn’t join the July party for the Phils, hitting .250 with a .306 on-base percentage, walking just eight times, which was his lowest mark for any month of the season. Martinez started 17 games for the Phils in July, primarily at third, and put up what were by far his best numbers for any month with a 247/300/384 line in 81 plate appearances. Those numbers for Martinez don’t sound great, but it’s important to remember that the Phils primary third baseman, Polanco, on-based .335 and slugged just .339 for the season.

In August the Phils were still hitting, if off the July pace a little. They were third in the NL in runs scored in August.

It was Pence’s first full month with the Phils and he was hitting everything. He hit seven home runs in August, posting a 340/413/596 line over 109 plate appearances.

Victorino was back, playing regularly and still hitting. 316/393/600 in August. Between June 17 and September 2, Victorino got 233 plate appearances in which he posted a stupid 325/409/611 line.

Ruiz continued to hit, too, 329/365/429 in August.

Valdez started 15 games, filling in primarily for Rollins and Polanco, and put up an unexpected 278/322/481 line over 59 plate appearances.

Off were Utley, 245/315/347, and Ibanez, 225/254/323. Mayberry started to see some more time in left — he got just 59 plate appearances in August, but made them memorable by homering six times as he put up a 296/356/685 line. Howard blasted eight homers and drove in 22 runs, but hit just .225 while doing so.

The Phillies were sixth in the NL in runs scored in September.

Pence continued to pound the ball, hitting 317/385/548 and leading the team with 18 RBI for the month. Howard hit 290/417/522. Mayberry got 13 more starts and hit 305/382/508 for the month. In his last 177 plate appearances on the year, Mayberry had hit 302/356/611. Polanco was back and at least got on base, hitting 280/349/344 in September. He ended the season having slugged .287 over his last 477 plate appearances.

Victorino and Utley both ended the year on a downswing. Victorino hit 186/258/319 in 125 plate appearances in September. Utley hit just 205/295/337. Martinez started 13 games and hit .136. After on-basing .368 in July and August combined, Rollins on-based just .308 in September.

The Phillies signed righty Dave Bush and lefty David Purcey to minor league deals and invited them to spring training. Bush is still just 32 and had pretty good years with the Brewers as a starter in 2006 and again in 2008. The lefty Purcey was good for the Blue Jays in a relief role in 2010, throwing to a 3.71 ERA with a 1.21 ratio, before getting hit hard with three teams in 2011.

Rafael Furcal agreed to a deal with the Cardinals, meaning Jimmy Rollins is running out of teams other than the Phils to play for.

Update: The Phillies have traded Ben Francisco to the Blue Jays for left-handed pitcher Frank Gailey. Gailey turned 26 last month and has never appeared in the majors. In 304 1/3 innings in the minors he has thrown to a 2.45 ERA with a 1.03 ratio. He has never pitched above Double-A.


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