Tag: vernon wells

Who?

Three months from today, the 2013 Phillies, whoever they are, will have likely played five games. Here’s my current guess as to the hitters that are on the team at this point, as well as other candidates to fill the remaining slots:

Other candidates
1 Kratz D Ruf
2 Howard H Quintero
3 Utley S Lerud
4 Rollins K Frandsen
5 Young E Inciarte
6 Nix T Gillies
7 Revere L Collier
8 Brown J Mitchell
9 Mayberry C Hernandez
10 Galvis M Martinez
11 P Orr
12 A Blanco
13 J Fields

Of those ten, Howard, Utley, Rollins, Young and Revere seem like no-brainers. I can’t see how the Phillies could leave off Kratz, given the Ruiz suspension for the start of the year. Someone has to backup short and Galvis seems like he has a huge advantage over NRI Michael Martinez or any of the other choices that will be in camp. The Phillies are super-thin in the outfield, but I think Brown, Mayberry and Nix are all likely to start the year with the Phils if they are still with the team.

That’s not a hugely impressive group, especially given the miserable years from Young and Howard in 2012.

If those ten hitters started the year with the team it would leave three open spots (or four if the Phils started the year with 14 hitters).

Of those three open spots, one would surely go to a backup catcher and another likely to a fifth outfielder.

The backup catcher seems like it’s either Quintero or Lerud. I’d guess Quintero.

Given the addition of Young, I don’t think there’s a lot for Frandsen to do except help Galvis backup third. He did hit .338 last year, so I’d guess the Phillies give him a spot on the roster to do just that, barring an addition.

The Phillies still have time to trade for a veteran outfielder and will likely try to do so. I’d guess if they do, and don’t trade away an outfielder in the process, that guy takes the other outfield spot. If they don’t, or if they trade away Nix, Mayberry or Brown getting a new outfielder, I’d guess Ruf starts the year with the team.

At this point I would guess that Quintero, Frandsen and Ruf fill the remaining three spots on the list.

The article from the Phillies web site on Friday suggests that the Phillies continue to have interest in free agent Scott Hairston or the Angels’ Vernon Wells.

Shane Victorino says that returning to Philadelphia was his first choice this off-season. He signed a three-year, $39 million deal with Boston.


So the John Lannan glass is kinda maybe half fullish and, if that’s not enough for you ingrates, there’s the chance we might, just might, be in the mix to acquire Vernon Wells

That there could solve everything.

One way to look at John Lannan’s career is that he’s had four seasons in which he’s made at least ten starts and three of them have been pretty good.

Lannan has spent parts of six different seasons in the majors from 2007 through 2012. Of those, in two, 2007 and 2012, he threw less than 40 innings. If you remove those two, that leaves you with the four years from 2008 to 2011. In each of those four years, Lannan made at least 25 starts and over those years combined he threw to a 4.00 ERA with a 1.42 ratio.

Only one of the four seasons was really bad, though, his 2010 effort in which he threw to a 4.65 ERA with a 1.56 ratio. Opponents hit .302 against him. Removing 2010, in the three other years in which he’s made ten or more starts he has a 3.83 ERA with a 1.38 ratio.

Here are the four years of his career in which he’s thrown more than 40 innings.

Year GS IP ERA Ratio
2008 31 182.0 3.91 1.34
2009 33 206.3 3.88 1.35
2010 25 143.3 4.65 1.56
2011 33 184.7 3.70 1.46
’08 to ’11 122 716.3 4.00 1.42
’08, ’09 and ’11 97 573 3.83 1.38

Remember, that’s pretty much his whole career, removing only a total of 67 1/3 innings thrown in 2008 and 2012 combined. And if you take out 2010, things look pretty okay, at least judging by his 3.83 ERA and 1.38 ratio.

So what went wrong in 2010? Not his walk rate. He walked just 7.6% of the batters that he faced, which is the lowest mark for his career and well below his career walk rate of 8.7%. It wasn’t home runs — he allowed home runs to 2.2% of the hitters he faced, which was a decrease from his mark from the two previous years and is below his career home run rate of 2.3%.

What he did do was allow a lot more hits.

IP AB H Opp Avg H/9 % of PA H
2010 143 1/3 580 175 .302 11.0 27.2
Career 783 2/3 3,018 820 .272 9.4 24.1
Not 2010 640 1/3 2,438 645 .265 9.1 23.4
’08, ’09 and ’11 573 2,184 576 .264 9.0 23.4

So his hit rate skyrocketed in 2010. But so did his batting average for balls in play. Coming into 2010, Lannan had thrown 423 innings over three seasons. His Baseball-Reference calculated BABIP for those three years is .275 with a range of .272 to .277 (.277 in 2007, .272 in 2008 and .277 again in 2009). In 2010 it was .322.

The other thing about Lannan’s BABIP is that after it took off in 2010, it stayed up. .301 in 2011 and .314 in 2012. From 2007 to 2009, opponents hit .261 against Lannan with a BABIP of .275. From 2010 through 2012, opponents hit .284 against him with a BABIP of .311.

Also important to remember is that Lannan’s best year by ERA, 2011, when he put up a 3.70, is far from his best year in the majors. He’s going to have trouble keeping his ERA at that level with a 1.46 ratio and we should all be hoping he can bring his ratio down to 2008 and ’09 levels. Opponents hit .272 against him in ’11 and his walk rate of 3.7 batters per nine was above his career mark of 3.4.

Another thing that odd about Lannan is his recent history around giving up home runs. He hasn’t allowed one in his last 11 starts. Between August 13, 2011 and August 31, 2011, Lannan allowed five home runs in 21 innings for the Nationals. Since then he’s made 11 starts, throwing 57 1/3 innings without allowing a home run.

This article suggests that the Phillies have Cody Ross and Vernon Wells on their shopping list. Let’s hold out hope that either 1) it’s a really, really long list or 2) it’s a list from the 2010 off-season that somebody just recently uncovered. Wells is owed $21 million in 2013 and $21 million in 2014 and has hit 222/258/409 in 791 plate appearances over the last two years.

This article from yesterday’s Boston Globe says, “Ross has drawn considerable interest from the Braves, Phillies, Mets, Yankees, and Orioles, but nothing is close, according to a major league source.” The article also speculates on the possibility that Boston wants to trade Ellsbury, move Victorino to center and then sign Ross.

This suggests that the Phillies may be interested in acquiring left-handed reliever JP Howell. I’d be pretty surprised if the Phillies added a left-handed relief pitcher without trading away one of the six they currently have on their 40-man roster (Bastardo, Horst, Valdes, Diekman, Savery and Robles, in that order, in my opinion). Maybe they could add another fourth outfielder who can’t play center? Oh wait, they’re working on that.


In the company of men who can hit

Fun for today is trying to find the outfielders in either league that were better than Jayson Werth offensively in 2010. Your mileage may vary.

Here’s the outfield guys that finished ahead of Werth in runs created and runs created per 27 outs as calculated by ESPN and in offensive war (as calculated by Baseball-Reference) in 2010:

Runs Created Runs Created per 27 outs Offensive WAR
Jose Bautista Josh Hamilton Jose Bautista
Carlos Gonzalez Carlos Gonzalez Josh Hamilton
Josh Hamilton Jose Bautista Shin-Soo Choo
Matt Holliday Nelson Cruz Matt Holliday

Toronto’s Jose Bautista and Texas’s Josh Hamilton are ahead of Werth in all three of those categories. Bautista hit 54 home runs and on-based .378 for the year. Hamilton hit 359/411/633 for the year. Both of those guys need to be on any list of outfielders who were better than Werth offensively in 2010.

After that things get a little less clear. There are four players that are better than Werth in at least one of the three categories in the table above, but worse in at least one other. They are Carlos Gonzalez, Matt Holliday, Nelson Cruz and Shin-Soo Choo.

Carlos Gonzalez finished ahead of Werth in runs created and runs created per 27 outs, but behind him in offensive war. Werth got 16 more plate appearances than Gonzalez and hit seven fewer home runs while batting .296 to Gonzalez’s .336. He hit 12 more doubles, but seven fewer triples. He walked more than twice as many times as Gonzalez and put up the better on-base percentage, .388 to .376. Gonzalez hit 289/322/453 away from home while Werth hit 270/365/463. Gonzalez drove in 117 runs and Werth drove in 85. Werth had an OPS+ for the year of 145, Gonzalez 143.

Holliday topped Werth in each of the three slash categories except slugging, where they tied. He outhit him .312 to .296 and on-based .390 to Werth’s .388. In 23 more plate appearances, Holliday struck out 54 fewer times than Werth. Holliday’s OPS+ of 149 tops Werth’s 145.

Cruz got just 445 plate appearances on the season, but outhit Werth .318 to .296 and out-slugged him .576 to .532 with an OPS+ of 150. Werth drew walks more regularly, so despite the fact that Cruz’s batting average was twenty-two points higher, he posted the better on-base percentage (.388 for Werth and .374 for Cruz).

Choo hit 300/401/484 in his 646 plate appearances with an OPS+ of 148. Werth had six more plate appearances and hit five more homers and 15 more doubles. Choo drew 83 walks to Werth’s 82 and struck out 29 fewer times.

In my mind, Gonzalez and Holliday were both better than Werth. I think it’s very close between Werth and Choo, but I would give the slight nod to Werth. I think Cruz has the weakest case of those four players, just because he had so many fewer chances to hit in 2010.

So that’s four on my list: Hamilton, Bautista, Gonzalez and Holliday.

The next question needs to be if there are outfielders that didn’t appear on the table above that could have been better than Werth offensively in 2010. My nominations for the four most productive outfielders not on the table above are Carl Crawford, Ryan Braun, Andrew McCutchen and Vernon Wells.

Crawford may be the guy with the best case there, but I think that Werth has him beat. Five more plate appearances for Werth in which he hit eight more home runs, 16 more doubles and drew 36 more walks. Crawford outhit him .307 to .298 and delivered 11 more triples and stole 34 more bases while striking out 43 fewer times. Better power numbers and the better on-base percentage gives Werth an OPS that’s 70 points better than Crawford’s for the season.

Braun got 32 more plate appearances than Werth and hit fewer home runs and fewer doubles and walked 26 fewer times. He had a nice season, but he wasn’t better than Werth.

So did Andrew McCutchen. But, in one more plate appearance than Werth had fewer doubles, fewer homers and fewer walks. Werth out-OPSed him by more than a hundred points.

Wells hit 44 doubles and 31 homers, but on-based just .331 for the season. Corey Hart had a similar year in the NL with not quite as many doubles and a little bit better average, but again I think his .340 on-base percentage keeps him out of the better-than-Werth picture.

That leaves the list at four. Bautista, Hamilton, Gonzalez and Holliday. I think Choo and Crawford are right behind them, with Werth having had a slightly better year offensively than both of those players.

This article compares Werth and Crawford. It also says that Werth’s agent says Werth is worth more than Jason Bay, who got four years, $66 million from the Mets last winter. Bay had a miserable year for New York in which he hit 259/347/402 with six home runs and struck out at a higher rate than Werth (22.7% of PA for Bay and 22.5% for Werth).


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