Tag: Tad Iguchi

Golson set

The Phillies traded Greg Golson to the Texas Rangers for John Mayberry, a right-handed corner outfielder who turns 25 next month. The Rangers took Mayberry with the 19th pick in the first round of the 2005 draft. Golson was taken by the Phillies in the first round of the 2004 draft, but is about two years younger than Mayberry. Golson turned 23 in September.

Both of these guys are going to need to figure out how to get on base to have a career. Mayberry has a career .330 on-base percentage in the minor leagues while Golson’s is .309. Golson plays center field, though, and has a couple more years to develop.

In 764 at-bats above A-ball, Mayberry has hit 257/314/471, with 34 home runs, 54 walks and 168 strikeouts. That’s not a huge strikeout rate. Mayberry is a monster physically, 6′ 6″ and 230 pounds — it’s nice to see he’s kept his strikeouts under control. The .314 on-base percentage as he turns 25 is a big problem, though. Strikeouts are an issue for Golson, who whiffed 130 times in 426 at-bats at Double-A for the Phils last year in what is his most promising pro season to date.

Mayberry put up a .474 slugging percentage in 437 at-bats in the PCL last season. Sounds nice, but a little less nice in the context of the rest of the PCL– his .474 was 40th in the league. Val Pascucci, another right-handed hitter who the Phillies released in April of 2008, for example, hit 290/410/553 with 27 homers in 396 at-bats in the PCL in ’08.

My reaction to the trade is mostly surprise. I think Golson could still develop, but if he does it’s not going to be for several years. I worried the Phillies saw him as someone that could help them in the next year or so. Given his age and athletic ability it’s far too early to give up on him. Glad to see the Phillies add a potentially big right-handed bat to the organization in Mayberry, an area where they need a lot of help. I do find some comfort in the trade knowing that it ensures that Golson will not be seeing any time with the Phils in the immediate future.

I would guess there is close to zero chance Mayberry starts the season with the Phillies, but I think he is a lot closer to helping them than Golson was.

Elsewhere, Chase Utley will have hip surgery and probably miss the start of the season. Jason Donald appears to be a candidate to see time at second to start the season. You would have to think that the Phils would consider bringing back Iguchi as well. I’d rather see them bring back Iguchi (or another veteran free agent) than take a chance on Donald at this point.


Take inaction!

I thought it might be nice to take a break from hoping for the Phils to get new players to hope briefly that some of the players they do have put up better numbers next year. In that spirit I would like to offer a personal plea to Carlos Ruiz: For the love of all things sacred, please, please, please stop swinging at the first pitch.

Ruiz often swings at the first pitch and, at least this season, his results when he does are just miserable. Ruiz was 7-for-50 (.140) with a .220 slugging percentage when his plate appearance ended on the first pitch. He posted a .393 OPS in those 55 plate appearances. In his 191 plate appearances when he got behind in the count 0-1 he hit 267/300/400 (a .700 OPS). In the 183 plate appearances he took ball one and got ahead 1-0 he posted an .880 OPS.

If you’re going to compare the OPS on the first pitch to the plate appearance to the OPS overall, it’s critical to remember that you can’t walk on the first pitch of the plate appearance (thus improving your on-base percentage and OPS). That said, Ruiz’s numbers were still miserable. He walked 42 times this season and posted a 259/340/396 line overall — if he hadn’t walked once all year his line would have been 259/267/396. That’s still a .663 OPS, significantly better than the .393 in his plate appearances that ended after one pitch.

For the 11 Phillies that got at least 200 plate appearances this season, here’s a look at their overall OPS, the number of plate appearances they had that ended in one pitch, the percentage of plate appearances that represented, their OPS in one-pitch plate appearances and the difference between that and their OPS overall.


Player

PA

OPS

1p PA

% 1 p

1p OPS

OPS DIF
Rollins 778 875 65 8.4 815 -60
Rowand 684 889 83 12.1 808 -81
Utley 613 976 45 7.3 990 14
Howard 648 976 57 8.8 1364 388
Burrell 598 902 65 10.9 1114 212
Victorino 510 770 51 10.0 1043 273
Ruiz 429 735 55 12.8 393 -342
Dobbs 358 780 44 12.3 682 -98
Helms 308 665 36 11.7 593 -72
Werth 304 863 11 3.6 819 -44
Nunez 287 600 51 17.8 680 80

In the chart above, 1p PA is the number of plate appearances that ended on the first pitch, % 1 p is the percent of the player’s plate appearances that ended in one pitch, 1p OPS is the player’s OPS in his plate appearances that ended in one pitch and OPS DIF is the difference between his OPS on plate appearances that ended on the first pitch and his overall OPS. For example, the chart suggests that J-Roll got 778 plate appearances last year overall in which he posted an .875 OPS. Of those plate appearances, 65, or 8.4%, ended after one pitch and in those 65 plate appearances he posted an .815 OPS, which is .060 lower than his overall OPS for the season.

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Now wait just a secondary

Despite his strong offensive year, Aaron Rowand’s secondary average this season was just .288, 43rd best among the 75 National League players that had at least 500 plate appearances. That was especially surprising to me given his .515 slugging percentage — his secondary average was lower than Shane Victorino’s. Someone needs to get to the bottom of this and I’m here to help.

The Phillies were a tremendous offensive team in 2007, which can be demonstrated in a bunch of different ways. One of them is this: among NL players with 500 plate appearances this season, the Phils had four players in the top 20 in secondary average:



Player


SECA


NL Rank

Howard

.520

1

Burrell

.487

3

Rollins

.352

17

Utley

.343

19

Fantastic. Way to go, fellas. Alert the press. Would probably be even better if we knew what secondary average actually was or understood what it meant. A moment, please, and I’ll give it my best shot.

Another way to demonstrate that the Phillies were a fantastic team is this: among the NL players that had 500 plate appearances, the Phillies had four of the top 20 players in slugging percentage.



Player


SLG


NL Rank

Howard

.584

4

Utley

.566

6

Rollins

.531

15

Rowand

.515

18

Five good offensive players, but the lists aren’t the same. Burrell was third in the league in secondary average and not in the top 20 in slugging (he was 21st). Howard dominated the league in secondary average, but three players posted a higher slugging percentage. Utley’s slugging percentage was way better than his secondary average and you have to look hard to find Rowand’s secondary average (43rd of 75 NL players with 500 PA) despite that fact that he was 18th in the league in slugging.

What secondary average is is easy. Secondary average is TB-H+BB+SB-CS/AB.

Understanding what it means isn’t quite so easy, but secondary average measures a player’s offensive contribution. Players that walk a lot and get a lot of extra-base hits have high secondary averages. But players that have high slugging percentages don’t necessarily.

Singles hitters, especially ones that don’t walk or steal bases, get hammered. Singles don’t help your secondary average, but, unlike slugging percentage, walks do. For example, a player that is 10-for-10 with ten singles and no walks or stolen bases has a slugging percentage of 1.000 and a secondary average of .000.

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