Tag: Roy Halladay

Log jog

I finalized the Start Log for 2012.

I think there’s some interesting stuff there that reminds a lot about what went wrong for the Phillies in 2012.

Looking at the blue band in the middle and starting at the top, we see the team’s record by starting pitcher. Some highlights:

  • The Phillies went 14-11 in Halladay’s starts in 2012. Coming into the season, in Halladay’s two years with the Phils the team was 46-19 in the games he started.
  • 21-10 in games started by Hamels, by far the best mark of any pitcher on the team. The Phils finished the year 81-81, so that means they were 60-71 when someone other than Hamels started. That’s a little remarkable given that two of the team’s other starters were Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay.
  • In 2011, the Phillies won 15 or more games in the starts made by four different pitchers (24-8 under Halladay, 18-13 Hamels, 22-10 Lee and 16-5 Worley). In 2012, the team only won 15 or more games in the starts made by Hamels.
  • The Phillies went 23-32 when Lee or Worley started. They were 38-15 in starts by that duo in 2011 (22-10 when Lee started and 16-5 when Worley started). In 2011, the Phillies had a better record in Worley’s 21 starts (16-5 for a .762 winning percentage) than they did in Halladay’s starts (24-8, .750).
  • Despite a nice year from Kendrick, the team was still just 11-14 in the games he started. The Phillies went 1-9 in the first ten games in which Kendrick appeared in 2012 — he started five of those games and appeared in relief in the other five. Over the last two season the Phils are 30-41 in games in which Kendrick appeared and 18-22 in the 40 games that he started.
  • 11-9 in the Blanton starts. The Blanton era ends in Philly with good results for the team. He made exactly 100 starts for the Phils between 2008 and 2012 with the Phillies going 58-42 in the games that he started. Since 2008, the Phillies have won about as many games that were started by Blanton (58) as they have games started by Halladay (60). Blanton has made 100 starts for the Phils over the last five seasons while Halladay has made 90. Hamels is the only pitcher who has started more games that the Phillies won over the past five season — they are 92-68 in games started by Hamels since the beginning of ’08.

The Phillies have signed 37-year-old right-handed pitcher Rodrigo Lopez to a minor league deal. Lopez made seven appearances with the Phillies in 2009, ending the year with a 5.70 ERA. He had a 3.09 ERA with a 1.37 ratio through his first four starts and took a 3.99 ERA into his final appearance of the season on August 9. Lopez allowed six runs in two-thirds of an inning in that game, which was also memorable because Shane Victorino was ejected for arguing balls and strikes while he was in center field with the other team batting. Lopez will try to make the team in spring training as an NRI.

This mailbag from the Phillies web site mentions Humberto Quintero and Zach Miner as top candidates to make the team to start the year among the non-roster invitees. I will be surprised if Miner makes the team to start the year and surprised if Qunitero does not. The same article suggests the possibility of bringing Delmon Young to the Phillies and mentions his “baggage” as one of the reasons that might be difficult. Another is he is a bad defensive outfielder and has had two bad years offensively in a row. The mailbag also guesses that Cloyd will start the year in Triple-A.

This article suggests that the Phillies could easily be in rebuilding mode by July. The Phils would have a real tough time rebuilding if they weren’t able to trade Howard, Utley and Halladay. I would guess they would have some difficulty trading Howard at this point unless they were willing to pay a whole lot of his salary.

Doing their part

The last post looked at the Baseball-Reference’s bWAR for the four elite pitchers on the Phillie pitching staff, Halladay, Lee, Hamels and Papelbon, have produced over the last five seasons. Those four haven’t all been on the Phillies over the past five years (the Phils only had all four of them in 2012) but here’s a look at the bWAR the four of them have contributed to Phillie teams over the past five seasons and how their contributions as a group compares to what the rest of the Phillie staff has done:

Year Big 4 bWAR Team bWAR P Not big 4 % ip by big 4 % bWAR big 4
2012 (all four) 10.7 10.8 0.1 45.0 99.1
2011 (all but Pap) 23.0 35.2 12.2 46.2 65.3
2010 (Halladay/Hamels) 13.6 21.2 7.6 31.5 64.2
2009 (Lee/Hamels) 2.7 10.2 7.5 18.8 25.3
2008 (Hamels) 4.0 11.1 7.1 15.7 36.0

The most alarming thing about that table is 2012 — the only year in which the Phillies had all four of Halladay, Hamels, Lee and Papelbon. Last season, all of the other pitchers on the team other than those four combined to do close to nothing. The 16 other pitchers put up a combined bWAR of 0.1.

Over the last five years, the bWAR provided by Phillie pitchers other than that quartet has ranged from 0.1 to 12.2 and averaged 6.9. It’s obviously hugely important that all four of that group were not with the Phillies in any year other than 2012, as the absent members of the group gave others chances to pitch and accumulate WAR. In 2008, for example, Hamels was the only guy in the group with the team.

Over the past two years, the group of Halladay, Lee, Hamels and Papelbon have thrown an average of 45.6% of the innings for the Phillies. Over the past five years, that group’s percentage of total bWAR for the Phillies has been about 1.86 times the percentage of total innings they have pitched. If they threw 45.6% of the team’s innings in 2013 and the percentage of the team’s total bWAR they provided was 1.86 times greater than that, they would account for about 84.8% of the team’s total bWAR for pitchers.

This says that Angel Pagan and the Giants have agreed to a four-year deal.

Nate Schierholtz was not offered a contract and became a free agent.

This article mentions Josh Hamilton, Michael Young, Ichiro Suzuki, Cody Ross, Alfonso Soriano, Michael Cuddyer and Dexter Fowler as players that the Phillies could target to acquire.

In the article linked above, Amaro seems to suggest that Mayberry could play center if the team was strong enough in right and left. That would be a disaster. It would look a lot like last year’s disaster.

This suggests that the Phillies have “long coveted” Peter Bourjos, but that a deal with the Angels is unlikely. It also suggests the Phillies might be interested in a trade for Josh Willingham if he were available.

The whole thing is starting to take on the feel of a slow-moving disaster. Not over yet, though.

The men at the top

A post earlier this week looked at the total bWAR of hitters and pitchers for the top teams in the NL over the last five years. In 2012, it appears the Phillies will have four elite pitchers on their pitching staff. What should we expect the Phillies to get from the group of Halladay, Lee, Hamels and Papelbon in 2013?

Here’s a look at the Baseball-Reference calculated WAR for each of the four over the past five seasons:

’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 Avg High Low
Halladay 0.7 8.5 8.3 6.6 5.9 6.0 8.5 0.7
Lee 4.2 8.3 4.8 5.1 6.5 5.8 8.3 4.2
Hamels 4.2 6.2 5.3 1.7 4.0 4.3 6.2 1.7
Papelbon 1.6 1.5 0.0 3.4 1.8 1.7 3.4 0.0
Totals 10.7 24.5 18.4 16.8 18.2 17.7 24.5 10.7

So, looking at those four players, over the last five seasons the combined bWAR they have contributed has ranged from 10.7 to 24.5 with an average of 17.7.

Sadly, by a wide margin, the worst year of any of the five is the most recent.

Also sadly, that group has been outrageously healthy over the last five seasons. Halladay’s 2012 season is one exception, but he still made 25 starts and threw 156 1/3 innings. Lee has thrown more than 200 innings in each of the last five years. Hamels has made at least 31 starts every year of the last five. Papelbon has thrown at least 60 innings in relief in each year.

So it’s likely they are going to spend less time on the field in the future than they have over the last five years, giving them less opportunities to accumulate bWAR.

The good news is that the average mark for the last five years, 17.7, would be a huge improvement over what they did in 2012.

The previous post suggested that the total combined bWAR for the team’s pitchers and hitters should be around 36 to give the team a solid shot to be among the four best by bWAR in the NL. If you assume a return to the five-year average for the group of Halladay, Lee, Hamels and Papelbon, that gives the Phils 17.7. Over the last two seasons, the best combined bWAR for all of the Phillie position players is 15.0. That’s 32.7. That sounds like it should be good news — it means that all pitchers on the team other than Halladay, Lee, Hamels and Papelbon, including the missing 40% of the rotation, would only need to post a cumulative bWAR of 3.3 to get the Phils to 36.


In 2012, the Phillie pitchers other than that quartet combined to throw to a bWAR of 0.1. Halladay, Lee, Hamels and Papelbon were at 10.7. The other 20 pitchers who appeared for the Phillies combined for a 0.1 — that includes negative bWAR performances from 11 guys (Blanton, Schwimer, Bastardo, Contreras, Qualls, Sanches, Stutes, Diekman, Savery, Lindblom and Rosenberg).

The obvious other big issue here is Halladay, whose 2012 bWAR dropped to 0.7 coming off of back-to-back seasons in which he was amazing, posting a bWAR better than eight in both years. If you saw any sign in 2012 that Halladay was about to return to 2010-2011 form, I sure missed it. And for now, at least, the Phillies are built around the rather reasonable notion that Roy Halladay is going to be the elite pitcher he has been in recent years.

So let’s hope for the best. But if you suggest that Halladay, Lee, Hamels and Papelbon are going to combine to post a bWAR of 17.7 or better in 2013, I’m taking the under. They all have to stay healthy for one thing. And even if they do, they have close to no chance unless Halladay is way, way better than he was in 2012. Also, the entire pitching staff for the Phillies has thrown to a combined bWAR of 17.7 or better twice in the last 29 years — in each of the seasons in which they did, Hallday posted a bWAR better than eight. In one of them, 2011, Lee also posted a bWAR better than eight.

Bottom line is that the group of four has set the bar almost impossibly high for themselves in terms of whether or not they can ever return to previous, especially 2011, form. In 2011, those four pitchers combined to produce a bWAR of 24.5. Over the past ten seasons, only four NL teams other than the ’11 Phils have put up a combined bWAR for their pitchers of 24.5 or better for their entire staff (the ’12 Reds (26.4), ’09 Giants (24.6), ’08 Cubs (26.9) and ’03 Snakes (27.6)).

In this article from last night, Jim Salisbury suggests the deal for Wilton Lopez is not a sure thing.

This says that BJ Upton and the Braves have agreed to a five-year, $75 million deal. I truly do not know what Upton is going to do over the next five years. But if it’s similar to what he’s done over the last four years, I think it will be good news for the Phils that it’s the Braves and not them paying him $15 millionish a year. He does have huge upside, though. So we’ll see.

Update1: This says the Wilton Lopez deal fell apart.

Update2: This says Denard Span has been traded to the Nats for pitcher Alex Meyer.

Updates one and two are both bad news for the Phillies. Span would have filled the center field hole very nicely.

You’ve come a long way in the wrong direction, baby

Phillies fans spend much of their time these days thinking about how to improve the offense. That’s always a good idea. But if you compare what the Phillies did in 2011 to what they did in 2012, it seems clear that pitching accounts for the massive drop.

So shouldn’t the Phillies be focusing on their pitching?

It seems like the answer is almost surely no. If the value of the position players stays about the same, the pitching is going to have to be extraordinary for the Phillies to return to their recent levels of regular season success. And the pitching is never, ever going to be as good as it was in 2011. In both 2011 and 2012, the team’s hitters were far from exceptional — by combined bWAR for all hitters, the Phils were ninth in the NL in 2012 and eighth in 2011. In 2011, the pitching was so enormously fantastic the Phils were able to dominate the regular season anyway. In 2012, the overall contribution of the position players was about the same as it was in 2011 — the pitching just wasn’t elite in a way that allowed the Phillies to overcome it.

Not only is the pitching not going to be as fantastic as it was in 2011, it probably isn’t going to be as fantastic as it was in 2010. The combined WAR for Phillie pitchers in 2010 was 21.2. Over the past 20 years, other than 2011, the closest the Phillies have gotten to the 21.2 mark was 2006 when their pitchers combined to post a bWAR of 14.8.

Of course, for a lot (18) of the past 20 years, the Phillies didn’t have Halladay, Lee and Hamels atop their rotation. In 1997, for example, Mark Leiter, Matt Beach, Tyler Green and Calvin Maduro combined to make 82 starts for the Phillies, throwing to a 5.61 ERA combined as the Phillies put up a combined WAR for their pitchers of 1.6. Those days are mercifully gone, but in 2012 the Phils gave 86 starts to Halladay, Lee and Hamels and that didn’t turn out real well either.

Given that the pitching is never going back to where it was in 2011, the Phillies are going to need to have both their position players and pitchers improve if they want to retake their position among the elite teams in the NL.

Just how far do they have to go? Really, really far. At least if you look at WAR as calculated by Baseball-Reference.

The table below shows the WAR for hitters and pitchers for the NL teams that won the most games in each of the last five years (the 2012 Phillies are also included, despite not being close to one of the four best teams in the NL last year):

2012 WAS 98 20.6 20.2 40.8
CIN 97 14.3 26.4 40.7
SF 94 28.9 5.5 34.4
ATL 94 23.2 11.7 34.9
(PHI) 81 15 10.8 25.8
2011 PHI 102 14.2 35.2 49.4
MIL 96 23.7 14.6 38.3
ARI 94 23.6 7.3 30.9
STL 90 24.4 9.4 33.8
2010 PHI 97 21.3 21.2 42.5
SF 92 20.8 19.5 40.3
CIN 91 29.5 8.1 37.6
ATL 91 22.8 15.4 38.2
2009 LAD 95 27.1 17.6 44.7
PHI 93 26.3 10.2 36.5
COL 92 17.8 17.9 35.7
STL 91 22.4 14.9 37.3
2008 CHC 97 18.9 26.9 45.8
PHI 92 27.3 11.1 38.4
MIL 90 24.3 13.6 37.9
NYM 89 23.1 12.6 35.7

So, for example, in 2012, the hitters for the Phillies accumulated a total bWAR of 15.0 and the pitchers accumulated a total bWAR of 10.8. If you add them together they total 25.8 — significantly worse than the total for the NL’s fourth-best team by wins, Atlanta (34.9), the third-best team the Giants (34.4), the second-best team the Reds (40.7) or 98-win Nats (40.8).

The 25.8 mark was also hugely worse than the 2011 Phils (49.4).

Again, if you look at the bWAR H column, Baseball-Reference’s calculation suggests that the total WAR for the Phillie position players in 2012 was better than the total WAR for the Phillie position players in 2011.

Over the last five years, here are the average bWAR for hitters and for pitchers for the teams who have won the most, second-most, third-most and fourth-most games in the NL:

Avg bWAR H Avg bWAR P H+P
#1 20.42 24.22 44.64
#2 22.48 16.36 38.84
#3 24.82 10.48 35.3
#4 23.18 12.8 35.98
Actual bWAR H Actual bWAR P H+P
PHI 2012 15 10.8 25.8
PHI 2011 14.2 35.2 49.4
PHI 2010 21.3 21.2 42.5
PHI 2009 26.3 10.2 36.5
PHI 2008 27.3 11.1 38.4

So that suggests to get to the level of the fourth-best team in the NL over the past five seasons, the Phillies would need to add a little more than ten WAR between their hitters and pitchers to their 2012 marks.

That’s a lot.

Important to note is that in 2010, when the Phillies were great, the total WAR for their pitchers was 21.2, which is the second-highest mark for the team in the past 20 years behind only the 35.2 from 2011. I believe you have to go back to 1983 to find a year (other than 2011) in which the combined bWAR for Phillie pitchers was better than 21.2. In 1983, John Denny won the Cy Young for the Phils, Steve Carlton was very good in 37 starts and Kevin Gross and Charles Hudson were both pretty good. Al Holland finished sixth in Cy Young voting pitching out of the pen.

None of that is the real point, though. The real point is that even in 2010, when the pitching was fantastic, the best it had been since 1983, the Phillies still got 21.3 combined WAR from their position players, which is a whole lot more than they got in either of the last two seasons. It’s also a whole lot more than they’re going to get in 2013 without significant additions among the position players.

This suggests that the Angels are close to signing Ryan Madson and that Madson will close for the Angels.

This suggests there are seven teams interested in Shane Victorino. The Phillies are not on the list. It is surprising to me if the Phillies are not interested in bringing Victorino back.

The Phillies signed right-handed pitcher Brian Erbe to a minor league deal. Erbe made Baseball America’s list of top 100 prospects before the 2007 (#76), but has been awful in the minors over the last three years, throwing to a 6.13 ERA over 108 2/3 innings. He missed much of the 2011 season after surgery for a torn labrum and turns 25 next month.

Update: This says Carlos Ruiz has been suspended for 25 games after testing positive for an Amphetamine.

Starters for five

A recent post looked at the combined WAR for Phillie starting pitchers over the past five years. This post will look how the core of the Phillie rotation, Halladay, Lee and Hamels, compare to other elite pitchers across both leagues in terms of cumulative WAR for pitchers over the past five seasons.

Spoiler alert — they compare really well.

The table below shows pitchers who have 1) made more than 100 starts over the past five seasons and 2) have a Baseball-Reference calculated WAR per game started better than .125:

Pitcher GS # Relief appearances WAR WAR/GS
Roy Halladay 155 1 30.0 .194
Cliff Lee 155 0 28.9 .186
Josh Johnson 115 0 21.0 .183
CC Sabathia 164 0 27.0 .164
Clayton Kershaw 149 2 23.7 .159
Justin Verlander 168 0 26.7 .159
Felix Hernandez 165 0 24.1 .146
Zack Greinke 160 0 23.0 .144
Cole Hamels 160 1 21.4 .134
Jon Lester 161 0 21.1 .131
John Danks 133 0 17.2 .129
Jared Weaver 160 0 20.7 .129
Adam Wainwright 119 0 15.2 .128
Chris Carpenter 103 1 13.0 .126
Matt Cain 165 0 20.8 .126

Again, the table above displays the total WAR accumulated from 2008 through 2012, then divides that total by the number of games that the pitcher started. So pitchers who accumulated WAR in relief appearances get a tiny advantage over pitchers who did not, although the entire group of 15 pitchers in the table above has combined to make just five relief appearances since the start of 2008.

Halladay is the key thing to focus on here and just how good he was from 2008 through 2011. He stays atop the chart despite his miserable 2012.

Here’s what Halladay’s numbers look like if you break them down from 2008-2011 and 2012 separately.

GS # Relief appearances WAR WAR/GS
Halladay 2008-2011 130 1 29.3 .225
Halladay 2012 25 0 0.7 .028
Total 155 1 30.0 .194

So, again, even with the ugly 2012 performance from Halladay, he still finds himself above the chart of elite pitchers at the top of the post.

By WAR, 2010 and 2011 were the best years of Halladay’s career. He spent both of them with the Phillies. In those two seasons, he had a combined Baseball-Reference calculated WAR of 16.8 over 65 starts, which is about .258 per start.

Lee also fares very well on the top table, second only to Halladay. Like Halladay, his 2012 wasn’t as good as his previous four years, although it was a lot better than Halladay’s. Here’s the same chart for Lee, broken up into 2008 through 2011 with an individual entry for 2012:

GS # Relief appearances WAR WAR/GS
Lee 2008-2011 125 0 24.7 .198
Lee 2012 30 0 4.2 .140
Total 155 0 28.9 .186

Like Halladay, Lee’s mark for 2012 was worse than 2008 through 2011, although not nearly as dramatically.

Hamels’s two best years for WAR were 2010 and 2011. His numbers for the last five years combined are dragged down by his ugly 2009 season in which he threw to a 4.32 ERA over 32 starts with an ERA+ of 97, posting a WAR for the year of 1.7.

Here’s how his numbers look if you break them down by ’08 and ’09, ’10 and ’11 and 2012:

GS # Relief appearances WAR WAR/GS
Hamels 2008-2009 65 0 5.7 .088
Hamels 2010-2011 64 1 11.5 .180
Hamels 2012 31 0 4.2 .135
Total 160 1 21.4 .134

So Lee and Hamels were about the same in 2012 in terms of WAR per game started, with Lee having been a lot better over the past four years.

Even if you take out Hamels’s ’09 season, that leaves him at 19.7 WAR over 128 starts in ’08 and ’10 through ’12. That’s about .154 WAR per game started, which is very good, but still not as good as Lee’s 2008 through 2011.

The Reading Phillies (Double-A) are getting a new name, which will be revealed on November 17.

The votes aren’t all counted yet, but I think we can agree that Adam Eaton was not the answer

Here’s the Baseball-Reference calculated combined WAR for pitchers who have made at least ten starts for the team over the past five seasons:

Pitcher GS # Relief appearances WAR WAR/GS
Halladay 90 0 17.6 .196
Lee 74 0 13.5 .182
Happ 30 16 5.0 .167
Oswalt 35 1 5.2 .149
Hamels 160 1 21.4 .134
Worley 46 7 4.4 .096
Moyer 77 5 2.7 .035
Blanton 100 5 2.5 .025
Myers 40 8 0.8 .020
Kendrick 103 41 1.7 .017
Eaton 19 2 -1.2 -.063

Important to remember is that the WAR calculation includes games pitched in relief. So, for example, the WAR for Kendrick over the last five seasons includes his 41 appearances out of the bullpen. His .017 for WAR/GS is his total WAR in all appearances divided by the number of games he started (not the total number of games in which he pitched).

The 11 pitchers above combined to make 774 of the 810 starts for the Phillies over the last five seasons. Not appearing on the list are guys who made fewer than ten starts, including Pedro Martinez (9), Chan Ho Park (7), Tyler Cloyd (6), Rodrigo Lopez (5), Antonio Bastardo (5), Raul Valdes (1), Andrew Carpenter (1), Nelson Figueroa (1) and BJ Rosenberg (1). Those 36 total starts plus the 774 for the 11 guys above gets you to 810.

Hamels is the guy who has made the most starts for the Phillies over the past five years with 160. And he’s been very good. After that, though, there are two guys in Blanton and Kendrick who have gotten a ton of starts over the past five seasons without being very good.

Kendrick is second in starts over the last five seasons with 103. His best year for WAR was 2007 (which doesn’t count for the table above as it was more than five years ago). In 2007, Kendrick made 20 appearances for the Phillies, all starts, going 10-4 with a 3.87 and putting up a WAR of 2.1. Kendrick was terrible in 2008 and finished the year with a -1.7 WAR. In the four years since his combined WAR has been just 3.4 — 3.4 + (-1.7) = 1.7, his mark for the past five years combined.

Blanton has made 105 appearances over the last five years for the Phillies, including 100 starts (more than anyone but Kendrick or Hamels). In the five seasons that Blanton pitched all or part of the year with the Phillies, he had a Baseball-Reference calculated WAR better than 0.1 only once. His best year with the Phillies was 2009 — he made 31 starts that year with a 4.05 ERA and a 1.32 ratio, posting a 2.4 WAR for the season. He had a -0.2 WAR in 29 appearances with the Phillies in 2010 and a -0.1 WAR in 21 appearances with them in 2012. He threw just 41 1/3 innings in 2011, all with the Phils, and put up a 0.0 WAR for that season.

The point here is that Blanton and Kendrick have pitched a lot for the Phillies over the past five years, making about as many starts (203) as Halladay, Lee and Worley (210). Overall, they’ve made about 25.1% of the starts for the Phillies over the past five seasons. And they haven’t been very good.

And while Blanton doesn’t have much of a chance to be not very good for the Phillies again in 2013, Kendrick does.

Gone also from the mix of the last five years are Happ and Oswalt. Both of those pitchers didn’t pitch a ton for the Phillies over the past five years, but put up good numbers overall in their time with the team.

Happ’s 4.83 ERA since he left the Phillies makes it easy to forget that he was great for the Phillies in 2009, going 12-4 with a 2.93 ERA and a 1.23 ratio in his 35 appearances (23 starts). He led the team in WAR for pitchers that year at 4.0. Hamels made 32 starts for the Phillies in ’09, finishing the year with a WAR of 1.7.

Oswalt threw to a 2.96 ERA in 36 appearances (35 starts) with the Phils between 2010 and 2011. He appeared in just 13 games for the Phillies in 2010 (12 starts), but managed to post a WAR of 3.2, third best on the staff behind Halladay and Hamels.

This suggests Josh Hamilton wants seven years, $175 million.

Amaro mentions Adam Morgan favorably in this article. Morgan is a 22-year-old lefty the Phillies took in the third round of the 2011 draft. He made 27 appearances between Clearwater and Reading in 2012, 26 of which were starts, throwing to a 3.35 ERA with a 1.11 ratio and striking out 169 in 158 2/3 innings.

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