Tag: Roy Oswalt

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.


Sandy, the pitching angels have lost their desire for us

Bruce Springsteen. Sort of.

The table below shows, for each of the past five years, the four pitchers who have gotten the most starts for the Phillies that season and their WAR for the year as calculated by Baseball-Reference:

Year Pitcher Starts WAR
2012 Hamels 31 4.2
2012 Lee 30 4.2
2012 Kendrick 25 1.3
2012 Halladay 25 0.7
2012 Total for group 101 10.4
2011 Halladay 32 8.5
2011 Lee 32 8.3
2011 Hamels 31 6.2
2011 Oswalt 23 2.0
2011 Total for group 118 25.0
2010 Halladay 33 8.3
2010 Hamels 33 5.3
2010 Kendrick 31 0.2
2010 Blanton 28 -0.2
2010 Total for group 125 13.6
2009 Hamels 32 1.7
2009 Blanton 31 2.4
2009 Moyer 25 0.1
2009 Happ 23 4.0
2009 Total for group 111 8.2
2008 Hamels 33 4.0
2008 Moyer 33 2.5
2008 Myers 30 0.4
2008 Kendrick 30 -1.7
2008 Total for group 126 5.2

Important to note is that the WAR for the pitcher includes all of his appearances for the season, not just his starts. So, for example, Kendrick made 37 appearances in 2012 and only 25 of them were starts. His WAR for the year was 1.3 and that includes all 37 appearances, not just the 25 starts.

Again, the Phillies went to the World Series in 2008 and again in 2009 and they did it without outstanding starting pitching. This message will repeat. Happ (in 2009) and Hamels (in 2008) were the only two pitchers, starter or relievers, to post a WAR for the season better than 2.5 in either year.

Led by Hamels and Halladay, the top four was a lot better in 2010. Halladay, Hamels and Lee all had superb years in 2011.

Halladay was, as you may have noticed, way off in 2012. Hamels wasn’t as good as he had been in 2011 or 2010. Lee wasn’t as good as he had been in 2011, but the top for of the rotation were still better than they been in 2009 and a lot better than they had been in 2008.

It’s easy for some of us (by which I mean me) to forget that Lee didn’t throw a pitch for the Phillies in 2010. They Phillies have only had two years where Halladay, Hamels and Lee comprised the core of the rotation. One of those years was great for the Phillies until they were bounced out of the playoffs in the first round. The other was 2012, which is best forgotten if at all possible.

Halladay came into 2012 having not put up a WAR worse than 5.9 since 2008 — in ’08 he was an All-Star, finished second in Cy Young voting in the AL (losing to Indian and 22-game winner Cliff Lee) and seventh in WAR for pitchers across both leagues. Last year his WAR was 0.7, which is the worst mark of his career since he threw to a 10.64 ERA as a 23-year-old with the Blue Jays in 2000.

Rollins won his fourth Gold Glove.

The Phillies picked up the $5 million option on Ruiz and declined the $5.5 million option on Polanco. They will pay Polanco a $1 million buyout. The same article suggests that free agent Juan Pierre is not likely to be back with the Phillies.

This article suggests that Worley will stay in Philadelphia to rehab his elbow coming off of surgery.

This article suggests the Phillies have $135.35 million committed to ten players for next season, including Lee ($25 million), Halladay ($20 million), Howard ($20 million), Hamels ($19.5 million), Utley ($15 million), Papelbon ($13 million), Rollins ($11 million), Ruiz ($5 million), Kyle Kendrick ($4.5 million) and Laynce Nix ($1.35 million).

That’s $40 million committed to Halladay and Howard. In 2012, Howard’s Baseball-Reference calculated WAR was -1.2 and Halladay’s was 0.7.

This article quotes Amaro suggesting that that center field will have to be addressed externally. The writer goes on to list possible candidates, including Bourn, Pagan, Upton, Victorino, Hamilton, Cabrera, Jacoby Ellsbury and Dexter Fowler.

This article looks at potential corner outfielders, including free agent Juan Pierre, Nick Swisher, Cody Ross, Torii Hunter, Ryan Ludwick, Jonny Gomes, Rual Ibanez, Ichiro Suzuki, Delmon Young, Josh Willingham and Alfonso Soriano.


It’s almost enough to make you feel nostalgic for Mike Zagurski

Almost.

The combined WAR for Phillie pitchers as calculated by Baseball-Reference was 10.8 in 2012, way down from the NL-leading WARs the team posted in 2011 and 2010.

The Phillies had a long, long way to fall, though. In 2011, Baseball-Reference calculated the combined WAR for all Phillie pitchers at 35.2. That is enormously high. How high? Well, here is the list of all teams whose pitchers have posted a combined Baseball-Reference WAR of 30 or better since 1900:

Team Year WAR for Pitchers
PHI 2012 35.2
NYY 1997 31.0
CIN 1967 30.8

Not a long list and the ’11 Phillies are at the top.

Looking back to the previous post, the Phillies led the NL in combined WAR for pitchers in 2010 (21.2) and again in 2011 (35.2). 2010 and 2011 are the only two years of the last ten in which the Phillie pitchers have been over 14.8.

The average for the team for the eight of the last ten years that were not 2010 or 2011 is about 8.8. The average for 2010 and 2011 was 28.2.

The point here is that the pitchers for the Phillies aren’t going to post a WAR of 35.2 again any time soon. Or ever. So the Phils are going to need to figure out another way to win (and hopefully one that involves Freddy Galvis never, ever being allowed near third base).

In 2011, Halladay posted a WAR of 8.5 and Cliff Lee put up an 8.3. By comparison, in 2012, there were four pitchers across both leagues with a WAR better than 5.8 — Verlander (7.6), Price (6.4), Harrison (6.2) and Kershaw (6.2).

So having two guys in your rotation at 8.3 or better is a big deal.

Here is the list of pitchers across both leagues who have posted a Baseball-Reference WAR of 8.3 or higher over the last ten years:

Pitcher Year WAR
Zack Greinke 2009 10.1
Roy Halladay 2011 8.5
Johan Santana 2004 8.4
Roy Halladay 2010 8.3
Cliff Lee 2011 8.3
Justin Verlander 2011 8.3

So that’s six seasons for pitchers with a WAR of 8.3 or better over the last ten years, three of which are Halladay or Lee (Halladay did it in 2010 and again in 2011). To compare, Cole Hamels is a great pitcher and has posted a WAR for a season once that was over 5.3 (6.2 in 2011). Roy Oswalt has finished in the top six in Cy Young voting six times, but has had a WAR for the season above 5.6 just twice (6.7 in 2002 and 6.4 in 2007).

So, again, the model for success going forward might have to a lot to do with good pitching, but it can’t rely on the pitching being as good as it was in 2011, because that is never going to happen again.

Looking for potential good news, there’s always the possibility that WAR, or at least WAR as calculated by Baseball-Reference, doesn’t matter at all. Sadly, I’m afraid it does, although it does seem worthwhile to point out enormous differences between the combined WAR for pitchers in 2011 as calculated by Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs. While Baseball-Reference’s calculation of WAR suggests the 2011 Phillies had one of the most dominant pitching staffs in the history of baseball, FanGraph’s calculation of WAR suggests they weren’t even the best pitching staff in 2011. FanGraphs has them second across both leagues at 27.1 and the White Sox first at 27.3.

David Herndon is now a Blue Jay after being claimed by Toronto.

Tyson Brummett was also claimed off of waivers by the Blue Jays last week, then designated for assignment so Toronto could make room for Herndon on their 40-man roster.

Michael Martinez has been removed from the 40-man roster and sent to Triple-A.

The 40-man roster is at 36 with three players (Stutes, Contreras and Schneider) on the 60-day DL.


Nothing to see here

Cole Hamels made 31 starts last year in which he threw 213 innings, or 6.87 innings per start. Rotation-mates Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee each went more than seven innings a start — 7.30 innings per start for Halladay and 7.27 for Lee.

So, should we be worried that Hamels isn’t going as deep into games? Not so much.

First of all, Halladay and Lee are workhorses who were at the top of the innings pitched list in the NL in 2011. Halladay was second in the NL in innings pitched with 233 2/3 and Lee was fourth with 232 2/3. Hamels himself was tied for ninth with 216 innings.

The other issue is that Hamels is a whole lot younger than either Halladay or Lee.

Table below shows, for Halladay, Lee, Hamels and Oswalt, the number of starts each of the four pitchers got by age and the average number of innings they threw per start that year:

Hamels Hamels Lee Lee Halladay Halladay Oswalt Oswalt
Year GS IP/GS GS IP/GS GS IP/GS GS IP/G
21 2 7.00
22 23 5.75 18 5.80
23 28 6.55 2 5.17 13 4.67 20 6.38
24 33 6.89 9 5.81 16 6.44 34 6.82
25 32 6.05 33 5.42 34 7.04 21 6.06
26 33 6.32 32 6.31 36 7.39 35 6.74
27 31 6.87 33 6.08 21 6.33 35 6.90
28 16 6.08 19 7.46 32 6.86
29 31 7.20 32 6.88 32 6.61
30 34 6.81 31 7.27 32 6.52
31 28 7.58 33 7.38 30 6.04
32 32 7.27 32 7.47 32 6.58
33 33 7.60 23 6.04
34 32 7.30
Through age 27 180 6.44 125 5.93 140 6.57 145 6.65

Or, for those of you who prefer your data harder to understand, here’s a picture (points are plotted for years in which each of the pitchers started at least ten games):

During his age 27 season, Hamels went about 6.87 innings per start. That mark is higher than Halladay (6.33 over 21 starts at age 27) or Lee (6.08 over 33). It’s about the same but a little worse than Oswalt. In 2005, Oswalt made 35 starts for the Astros in which he threw 241 2/3 innings, which is about 6.91 innings per start.

I do want to acknowledge that the squiggly line graph is nearly incomprehensible. One thing I think it does illustrate, though, is that after their age 27 seasons, the innings pitched per start numbers for Halladay and Lee generally went up. Oswalt was a different story. He topped out in innings per start during his age 27 season and has been generally downwards since then.

The other thing is that Hamels has made a lot more starts through his age 27 season than the rest of the group has. Having just completed his age 27 season, he has 180 career starts. Through their age 27 seasons, Oswalt led the group of Halladay, Lee and Oswalt with 145. In terms of innings pitched per start through age 27, Hamels has thrown more innings per start than Lee, but a little bit less than Halladay or Oswalt.

The biggest point for the day, though, is that Hamels doesn’t have any problem with not throwing enough innings per start. He does throw fewer innings per start than Halladay or Lee, but so does pretty much everyone else in the world. In 2010, for example, Lee made 13 starts with the Mariners in which he threw 103 2/3 innings, which is a silly 7.97 innings per outing.

Phils beat Florida State 6-1 yesterday. Pete Orr made a couple of defensive miscues in the top of the seventh on a ball through his legs and a bobble of a mighta-been double-play as Florida State scored a run to tie the game a 1-1. Orr led off the bottom of the seventh with a double, though, and the Phils went on to score five times in the frame. Hector Luna hit a two-run shot in the rally. Hunter Pence doubled and walked in two plate appearances. Mayberry started at first and went 0-for-3 with five men left on base.

Austin Hyatt started for the Phils and struck out three in two perfect innings.

This says that Ryan Howard will be sidelined indefinitely after a procedure on Monday “to clean an infection from his surgical wound.” I’m not a medical expert or anything, but I think this might mean it’s okay to call it a setback now.

Erik Kratz says that Phillippe Aumont is a bulldog in this article. I don’t think he’s being literal. I think we would need to start to seriously consider the effectiveness of the scouting process if the fact that Aumont was a bulldog rather than a baseball player had somehow slipped through the cracks before trading for him.


Can’t we do both?

The past few posts have looked at a couple of areas where John Mayberry has been outstanding over the past two seasons — since he’s joined the Phils, Mayberry has hit home runs at a very high rate and also seen a large percentage of his hits go for extra-bases given his batting average.

On area where he’s a little off early in his career is the number of walks he’s drawing for a guy who has hit homers at such a high rate. For his career, Mayberry now has 369 plate appearances in which he has hit 21 home runs, which is 5.69% of his plate appearances. He has walked in just 29 of his 369 plate appearances, though, which is just 7.86%. And that percentage is low for a guy hitting home runs at that rate.

Here are the walks and home run rates of the ten players in either league from 2011 who got 200 plate appearances and homered in at least 5.69% of them (sorted by the number of plate appearances):

PA BB HR
Curtis Granderson
Mark Teixeira
Jose Bautista
Albert Pujols
Mark Reynolds
Adrian Beltre
Mike Napoli
Chris Heisey
Andruw Jones
Brent Lillibridge
Group Total
691
684
655
651
620
525
432
308
222
216
5004
12.30%
11.11%
20.15%
9.37%
12.10%
4.76%
13.43%
6.17%
13.06%
7.87%
11.53%
5.93%
5.70%
6.56%
5.68%
5.97%
6.10%
6.94%
5.84%
5.86%
6.02%
6.06%

Ten players hit home runs in at least 5.69% of their plate appearances in 2011. That group combined to get 5,004 plate appearances in which they walked 577 times, which is 11.53%. Of the ten, Mayberry’s career walk rate of 7.86% is better than just two of the members of the group, Beltre and Heisey, and about the same as Lillibridge’s.

In 2010 there was nobody who got 200 plate appearances, homered in at least 5.69% of them and walked in less than Mayberry’s career rate of 7.86% of plate appearances.

PA BB HR
Jose Bautista
Jim Thome
Paul Konerko
Albert Pujols
Miguel Cabrera
Adam Dunn
Russell Branyan
Andruw Jones
Edwin Encarnacion
Joey Votto
Group
Total
683
340
631
700
648
648
428
328
367
648
5421
14.64%
17.65%
11.41%
14.71%
13.73%
11.88%
10.75%
13.72%
7.90%
14.04%
13.13%
7.91%
7.35%
6.18%
6.00%
5.86%
5.86%
5.84%
5.79%
5.72%
5.71%
6.24%

Encarnacion was close, but still managed to top the Mayberry’s walk rate by a small margin.

It’s important to remember that Mayberry’s walk rate was terrible in 2009, when he walked twice in 60 plate appearances in his first action in the majors. Since 2009 it has been a lot better. In 2010 and 2011 combined, Mayberry walked in 27 of his 309 plate appearances, which is about 8.74%.

Over the last two year’s, Mayberry’s walk rate is already above his walk rate while in the minor leagues, so I’m not sure how much we should expect it to rise. It’s still just a tiny number of chances for Mayberry at the major league level, but in the chances he’s had he has hit the ball out of the yard with alarming frequency — both compared to the rest of baseball and compared to his own numbers in the minors.

This article from the Phillies web site says that Roy Oswalt is very interested in returning to the Phils. Sounds good to me.

This article suggests that Oswalt may be looking to skip the early part of the year and join a team around midseason.

Kevin Frandsen, who ruptured his Achillies in March, 2008, suggests it might take a year to a year and a half to fully recover from that injury in this article.

The same article linked above seems to suggest that Rich Dubee thinks that Jake Diekman has a better fastball than his fellow lefty Antonio Bastardo.

It also says that Justin De Fratus remains sidelined with a sore right elbow.

There’s not much about Utley’s ongoing issues with his right knee that sound very good.


Underflyin’ Hawaiian?

The total number of bases stolen by the Phillies was down in 2011 compared to recent years. In my previous post, I suggested that a big part of the dropoff has to do with the number of bases that are being stolen by Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino.

In 2011, Rollins stole 30 bases for the Phils and Victorino stole 19. Based on their career numbers for stolen bases based on plate appearances and the number of times they have been on base, which of those numbers should come as a bigger surprise?

      Before 2011       In 2011    
  SB PA TOB SB per PA SB per TOB PA Expected SB based on PA Expected SB based on TOB Actual SB
Rollins 343 6906 2257 .0497 .152 631 31.34 32.37 30
Victorino 143 3043 1034 .0470 .138 586 27.54 28.49 19

I think the answer is that based on his pre-2011 numbers, Rollins’s stolen base total of 30 given his plate appearances and times on base is a lot closer to expected than Victorino’s 19. The 30 stolen bases isn’t really even a surprise of Rollins, given his past history of stolen base totals relative to the number of plate appearances he gets and the number of times he gets on base. Rollins missed time with injuries in 2011, limiting his plate appearances to 631 for the season. His stolen base rate in 2011 was very similar to what it was in 2006. That year he got 758 plate appearances, was on base 253 times and stole 36 bases. Based on his ’11 rate, he would have stolen 36 bases over 758 plate appearances in 2011 as well.

While his 2006 and 2011 rates of stolen bases are similar, Rollins has slowed a bit in the stolen base department over the past three years. He stole a career high 47 bases in 2008 and in that year his rates for stolen bases per plate appearance and stolen bases per time on base were also the highest for his career. In the three years since, Rollins has gotten 1,750 plate appearances, been on base 553 times and stolen 78 bases. Had he stolen bases at the rate he had through the end of 2008 and gotten the same number of plate appearances and times on base, we would have expected between 85 (if you use times on base) and 89 (if you use plate appearances) stolen bases.

The other thing I think the table above illustrates is that whether you base it on his stolen bases per plate appearance or his stolen bases per times on base, Rollins has been more likely to steal a base over his career than Victorino.

Victorino saw a bigger drop in his stolen bases in 2011, having stolen 132 bags over his last four seasons, an average of 33 per year.

Victorino stole more than 40 bases in the minors in both 2001 and 2002. In 2003 he got just 86 plate appearances with the Padres, but still stole seven bases. He arrived with the Phils in 2006 and didn’t run at all, getting just four stolen bases in 462 plate appearances. He followed that up with four years with the Phils as an everyday player in which he stole an average of 33 bases a year, at least 25 in every season and at least 30 in three of the four, before stealing just 19 in 2011.

Victorino was effective in his stolen base attempts in 2011, he just made fewer of them. He was caught stealing just three times, giving him a safe rate of 86.4%, which was the second-best of his career after 2007 when he stole 37 bags and was caught just four times (90.2% safe). He also saw considerable time in the leadoff spot in the order, getting 237 plate appearances batting first in the order. While hitting first in the order he stole just nine bases — in 2010 he had gotten 386 plate appearances as a leadoff hitter and stole bases at a much higher rate, getting 22 for the season while batting first.

So why did Victorino run less last year? I don’t know. But I think it’s important to remember that even when you include stolen bases, 2011 was the most productive year of his career as an offensive player. He walked at the best rate of his career, hit a career-high 16 triples and, as a percentage of his plate appearances, delivered extra-base hits and home runs at the highest level of his career. Remember, as good as Victorino’s year was, he had even better numbers before slowing at the end of the season. After going 2-for-4 with a walk and a triple against the Fish on September 2, Victorino was hitting a monster 308/384/542 in 471 plate appearances for the season. His numbers tumbled after that as he hit 163/237/288 over his last 115 plate appearances.

Victorino will appear on the February 20 episode of Hawaii Five-O.

This article by Jayson Stark suggests the Phils may be trying to trade Joe Blanton and that doing so might enable them to try to bring back Oswalt.


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