Tag: Sebastian Valle

Hopefully there’s a third site out there somewhere that thinks they won it all last year

I’ll keep looking.

The last post looked at the Baseball-Reference calculated WAR for the top two Phillie pitchers in recent years relative to the accumulated WAR for all pitchers on the team. In this post I’ve done the same using WAR data calculated by FanGraphs and the results are even less impressive. Using the FanGraphs data, you have to go back more than twenty years to find a year in which 1) the percentage of the WAR generated by the top two Phillie pitchers relative to the total WAR generated by all the team’s pitchers was as high as it was in 2013 or 2) the combined WAR for all Phillie pitchers other than the top two was as low as it was in 2013. Both of those things last happened in 1992.

The data on the top two pitchers by WAR and the combined WAR for the others on that year’s staff are below. There’s a good chance it includes names you haven’t thought about in the context of leading the Phillie pitching staff in WAR for a long time, probably ever, including Cory Lidle, Kevin Millwood, Randy Wolf, Vicente Padilla, Robert Person, Curt Schilling, Carlton Loewer, Mark Portugal, Mark Leiter, Sid Fernandez, Danny Jackson, Heathcliff Slocumb, Tommy Greene and Terry Mulholland.

Year Top 2 fWAR P Total P fWAR fWAR top 2 Top 2 % other P
’13 Lee (5.1), Hamels (4.2) 10.5 9.3 89 1.2
’12 Lee (4.9), Hamels (4.5) 19.0 9.4 49 9.6
’11 Halladay (8.1), Lee (6.5) 26.2 14.6 56 11.6
’10 Halladay (6.1), Hamels (3.5) 16.2 9.6 59 6.6
’09 Hamels (3.6), Lee (2.3) 11.5 5.9 51 5.6
’08 Hamels (4.3), Moyer (2.5) 14.1 6.8 48 7.3
’07 Hamels (3.7), Moyer (1.8) 8.2 5.5 67 2.7
’06 Myers (3.3), Hamels (2.4) 12.1 5.7 47 6.4
’05 Lidle (3.3), Myers (3.1) 13.9 6.4 46 7.5
’04 Millwood (2.6), Wolf (1.5) 11.0 4.1 37 6.9
’03 Millwood (4.5), Padilla (2.5) 15.5 7.0 45 8.5
’02 Wolf (3.7), Padilla (3.3) 11.3 7.0 62 4.3
’01 Wolf (3.3), Person (1.6) 12.6 4.9 39 7.7
’00 Person (3.4), Wolf (2.9) 10.6 6.3 59 4.3
’99 Schilling (3.4), Loewer (1.6) 8.5 5.0 59 3.5
’98 Schilling (8.3), Portugal (1.5) 12.2 9.8 80 2.4
’97 Schilling (8.4), M Leiter (2.0) 13.3 10.4 78 2.9
’96 Schilling (4.7), S Fernandez (1.7) 14.3 6.4 45 7.9
’95 Schilling (2.8), Quantrill (2.2) 11.4 5.0 44 6.4
’94 D Jackson (3.9), Slocumb (1.6) 10.6 5.5 52 5.1
’93 Greene (5.0), Schilling (4.9) 20.4 9.9 49 10.5
’92 Schilling (4.3), Mulholland (4.0) 8.4 8.3 99 0.1

From 1993 to 2012, the pitchers on the Phillies other than the two pitchers with the best fWAR for the team that season averaged about 6.4 fWAR. The combined fWAR of the top two pitchers on the team average about 7.3, which was an average of about 54% of the total fWAR for pitchers on the team.

Just about the only good news on the table above for the ’13 Phillies is that, relative to their own results over the last 22 years, the production of their two best pitchers is still very good. The 9.3 mark for Lee and Hamels combined in 2013 is topped in just six of the 21 years previous to ’13 — each of the last three years, two years in the late 90′s when Schilling was fantastic and 1993 when Schilling and Tommy Greene were both good.

The Schilling-led staffs of ’97 and ’98 came close, both in terms of percentage of total WAR by the top two and combined WAR for everyone other than the top two, but they didn’t get to 2013 levels in either category. That last happened in 1992.

The ’92 Phillies were miserable, going 70-92 to finish sixth in the six-team NL East. They had a fantastic offense that scored 686 runs, which was second-best in the NL that year. The pitching was terrible, allowing 717 runs in a season in which the second-worst team at preventing runs in the league, the Astros, allowed 668. Schilling, Mulholland and Ben Rivera were just about the only positives on the staff for the Phils that season.

If it makes you feel any better, you may remember that the 1993 Phils turned things around. Led by Lenny Dykstra, Darren Daulton, John Kruk and Dave Hollins, they continued to pound the ball offensively, leading the NL with 5.41 runs scored per game in a year in which teams averaged 4.49. On the pitching side, Schilling and Mulholland again pitched well and got a lot of help from Danny Jackson, Larry Anderson and Tommy Greene. They were far from great at preventing runs, but did improve to eighth-best in the 14-team NL in ’93. The combination of great hitting and middle of the pack pitching proved to be enough to top the Braves in a six-game NLCS before dropping the World Series against the Blue Jays in six. The pitching didn’t exactly excel in the World Series that year as the Phils failed to hold a 14-9 lead going into the eighth inning in game four and a 6-5 lead going into the ninth inning of game six.

The Phillies signed outfielders Tony Gwynn Jr and Dave Sappelt to minor league contracts with invites to spring training. The 31-year-old Gwynn struggles with the bat and spent 2013 in the minors, but put up bWARs in the 2.2 to 2.9 range from 2009 to 2011 thanks in large part to solid defense in center field. In 2011, Gwynn played a lot more left than center for the Dodgers, but was very good defensively in left as well. Ben Revere‘s bWAR in 2013 was 0.8. Sappelt’s offensive numbers are also offensive, but again with good defensive numbers, primarily at the corner positions in limited time. Playing Tony Gwynn Jr in center is a much, much better idea than playing John Mayberry or Cesar Hernandez in center, especially if Gwynn can still produce defensively at the position. The problem with that is that the last time anyone gave him significant innings in center was 2012 and, at least according to UZR/150 as calculated by FanGraphs, his defense was way down. Whether Gwynn is part of the answer or not, Hernandez and Mayberry combined to start 68 games in center field for the Phillies in 2013, which is something the team might want to try not doing again for the rest of recorded time. Forty appearances for Frandsen at first should probably go on that list as well.

The Phils also signed catcher Lou Marson to a minor league deal and invited him to spring training. He’s 27 now and has hit .219 in 882 major league plate appearances. He hit 314/433/416 in 395 plate appearances for Double-A Reading in 2008 before being traded to Cleveland in the deal that brought Cliff Lee to Philadelphia for the first time.

They also designated Sebastian Valle for assignment in order to make room for Roberto Hernandez on the 40-man roster. Wasn’t expecting that one. Valle hit 203/245/359 in 379 plate appearances at Reading in 2013.


Guess appearance

Today’s very early guess on who starts the year with the Phillies. Barring new injuries, I think we can count on these 12 hitters:

1 Ruiz
2 Utley
3 Rollins
4 Polanco
5 Mayberry
6 Nix
7 Victorino
8 Pence
9 Wigginton
10 Thome
11 Schneider
12 Valdez

Notable no-shows on that list include Ryan Howard, still recovering, Domonic Brown and Michael Martinez.

Assuming you don’t count Wigginton, there are just four outfielders on that list including one, Nix, who can never, ever be used against lefties. On a related note, I have some trouble buying completely into the idea that Wigginton is the nearly every day first baseman while Howard is out. If Thome can play first at all (he probably can’t) he’s clearly the better choice. I think Mayberry is a better choice offensively as well, but to give him much time at first the Phils are going to need someone who can man left field against left-handed pitching. Maybe someone like Ben Francisco? Oh, wait.

I see one or two hitting spots as open, depending on how many pitchers the Phils decide to carry. I think one of them is filled by a fifth outfielder, either Domonic Brown or someone not currently on the roster who hits right-handed.

I think these 12 pitchers are likely to start the year with the Phils:

1 Halladay
2 Lee
3 Hamels
4 Blanton
5 Worley
6 Kendrick
7 Papelbon
8 Contreras
9 Bastardo
10 Stutes
11 Willis
12 Herndon

That assumes Contreras is healthy enough to start the year, of course, which is far from a sure thing. After Contreras, Stutes and Herndon seem like the two pitchers with the least solid hold on their slot. Brian Sanches, Phillippe Aumont and Justin De Fratus seem like the most likely candidates to squeeze past them or take Contreras’s spot if he’s not ready to go.

I have trouble seeing the Phils carrying more than two lefties out of the pen to start 2012. Unless Bastardo or Willis get hurt, or are consistently and resoundingly awful in spring training, I’d be surprised to see Joe Savery or Jake Diekman start the year with the Phils.

Joe Blanton says he’s feeling and throwing well. If he’s healthy he seems like a lock for the rotation. If he’s not I’d guess Kendrick takes his turns in the rotation, barring a big effort in the spring from NRIs Dave Bush and Joel Pineiro.

If the Phillies went with 14 hitters to start the year, my guess would be that Stutes and Herndon would be fighting for the eleventh pitching slot, advantage Stutes.

Cesar Hernandez was fifth on MLB.com’s list of the top ten second base prospects. Sebastian Valle ninth on the list of catching prospects.

Thome says that Spring Training will be the true test for his back in terms of when and how often he might be able to place defensively at first this year. I’m going to be surprised if we see much at all of Thome at first in 2012.

This says the Phillies are one of four teams still in the mix to land Francisco Cordero.

Update: Wilson Valdez was traded to the Reds for 26-year-old left-handed reliever Jeremy Horst.


Division of labor

Trying to guess who the Phillies might have playing third base next year is kinda fun, but what kind of year the Phils have in 2010 is going to have a lot more to do with what they can do to improve their pitching this off-season.

In 2009 the Phillies used 22 pitchers. They combined to throw 1,455 2/3 innings and allow 709 runs.

Ten of the 22 pitchers that the Phillies used had a percentage of the team’s 1,455 2/3 innings that they threw that was higher than their percentage of the team’s 709 runs that they allowed.

They are in the chart below. For each of the ten there are columns for the percentage of the team’s innings that they pitched, the percentage of the team’s runs that they allowed, the percentage of the runs allowed over the percentage of the innings pitched and the rank of that column compared to the other players in this group. The list is ordered by the number of innings that the player threw for the Phils in 2009.

  % of IP
% of Runs
allowed
Runs
Allowed/IP
Rank for
group
Blanton 13.4 12.6 0.94 10
Happ 11.4 7.8 0.68 2
Lee 5.5 4.9 0.90 9
Madson 5.3 4.1 0.77 5
Martinez 3.1 2.5 0.83 6
Condrey 2.9 2.4 0.83 7
Walker 2.4 1.7 0.70 3
Eyre 2.1 0.8 0.41 1
Kendrick 1.8 1.6 0.86 8
Romero 1.1 0.8 0.74 4

So, for example, Joe Blanton threw about 13.4% of the Phillies innings this season and allowed about 12.6% of the runs. 12.6 over 13.4 is 0.94, which is tenth best among the ten players who allowed a percentage of runs that was lower than the percentage of innings they pitched.

Please note that the rounding of the two percentage columns makes the math look wrong. For example, Eyre’s row shows 2.1 and 0.8, but .8 over 2.1 equals about 0.38 and not 0.41 — that’s cause the numbers are really 2.061 and 0.846 and not 2.1 and .8.

When you look at the difference between the percentage of the runs allowed and percentage of innings pitched it’s important to take into account the number of innings pitched. Eyre had the most dramatic difference between the two numbers, but Blanton was a lot more important to the team despite the worse difference since he threw more than six times as many innings as Eyre.

There were 12 pitchers for the Phils this year who allowed a percentage of the team’s runs that was higher than the percentage of the teams’ innings that pitcher threw. Here are the 12, using the same categories as above (the ranking continues from where the top list left off):

  % of IP
% of Runs
allowed
Runs
Allowed/IP
Rank for
team
Hamels 13.3 13.4 1.01 11
Moyer 11.1 12.8 1.15 17
Park 5.7 6.1 1.06 14
Myers 4.9 5.4 1.10 15
Durbin 4.8 5.4 1.12 16
Lidge 4.0 7.2 1.78 21
Lopez 2.1 3.4 1.64 20
Taschner 2.0 2.5 1.26 18
Bastardo 1.6 2.5 1.56 19
Escalona 0.9 1.0 1.05 13
Carpenter 0.4 1.0 2.54 22
Register 0.1 0.1 1.03 12

Again, the number of innings that the pitcher threw is critical. Andrew Carpenter was miserable compared to the rest of the group, but he only threw 5 2/3 innings. Guys who threw more innings, like Lidge and Moyer especially, obviously hurt the Phils more.

Article here about what some Phillies prospects have been doing in the AFL and winter leagues. If you don’t know who Sebastian Valle is it might be time to find out.

It sure seems like there’s a big opportunity for Mayberry these days. He’s hitting 314/390/521 in Mexico with seven home runs in 121 at-bats. It wasn’t a great year from him at Triple-A, but it’s nice to see him taking more walks in 2009 than he did in ’08 or ’07 — take a look at his minor league numbers.


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