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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

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I like the discussion basis here, and I especially like the props for Rollins. Philadelphians may underappreciate Jimmy's offensive game by focusing on the things he doesn't do as well, but there's almost no way they are fully appreciating his superlative defensive game as well. I almost feel that if he was a no-hit infielder like Nunez, fans would be more receptive to him, and focus on that strength. But Rollins can do so much else. Shortstop is the most demanding defensive position in the field, other than perhaps catcher, and the Phils have one with crazy mad skills. He makes the routine play every time, he makes the difficult play, he makes the impossible play; great arm, great range, great instincts. He has been a blast to watch over the past six years.

Otherwise most underrated - by the Phillies, not Beerleaguer - is Carlos Ruiz. With all due respect to Coste, Ruiz should be the starting catcher next season, and should have gotten more playing time earlier on instead of Sal Fasano. He's got decent pop in his bat and looks like he has a good idea behind the plate.

Most overrated, even now, is Burrell, who continues to start and who continues to fail miserably. The Phillies are guilty of over-estimating Burrell's ability to contribute to the offense by continuing to run him out there against all pitching and bat him as high as sixth in the order, when he only seems to ever produce after he's been benched for more than one game. With Conine, you feel you're at least going to get quality at-bats, and I still wish they'd use Bourn on even a trial basis, to see if he can't make something happen with his speed.

I agree, and think Victorino would be a better fit for the bottom part of the order, where his deficiencies could be better hid. I still think he could be an everyday player (and a pretty good one), especially when I see him routinely make terrific defensive plays - he always seems to take the best route to a ball in the outfield, and we all know how good his arm is. unfortunately he would almost certainly have to play CF, because I don't think we can afford two underperformers at key offensive positions (i.e. him and Nunez). however, if Gillick does manage to swing a real third baseman (like A. Ramirez), I could live with Victorino in right field. best case scenario, of course, is that we find someone to take on Rowand and give us something useful in return.

most overrated: lieber. aside from a nice run in the last 6 weeks, a major bust this year and an absolute liability in the field. second place goes to aaron rowand, although injuries have been a factor. then again, whose fault were those injuries?

on the subject of ruiz, i'm not sure he's underrated as much as he's enduring the semmingly mandatory shielding process that all newly-promoted players get with this franchise. its happened to virtually every player, including utley and howard. sometimes its been OK, other times the hesitation principle leads to terrible decisions (sal fasano). coste himself was given the same treatment and between spring training and his current run, its pretty obvious it was the wrong thing to do.

Underrated - Randall Simon - there are exactly "0" expectations for the Big Sausage and although he is living up to exactly those expectations, he's got to be good for a big hit somewhere along the line. Right? No, really, he's going to help this team in some way shape or form, isn't he? C'mon. I need some support here!!!

Overrated - The Phils remaining schedule being against sub-.500 teams. Really, the entire NL is mediocre at best with so many peaks and valleys by every team (Philly may be the poster child) that it is anyone's guess as to who has the easiest/toughest remaining schedule.

Excellent post as-per-usual Weitz!

I'm with ya on J-Roll. "He is what he is", is what I've been saying about him over the past few years, and I've seen RSB say the same thing. He is a good/graet SS! His numbers at the end of the season are always going to look very good. He'll have cold spells, pop out a ton to infielders, but who doesn't?

I'm with ya on the Madson front too. I thought he was going to be a good starting pitcher...boy was I wrong. He sucks as a reliever too. His rookie year was his best year, as he wasn't even that good last season.

Overrated- Manuel being a "player's manager". Although it may be true, his complete lack of bullpen management and strategy have hurt the Phillies.

Underrated- Geoff Geary. He is a the man in the bullpen. I trust him more than Flash now!

Underrated: Scoreboard porch Harry the K's.

Overrated: Bull's BBQ and all the space it uses up.

overrated:

Rhodes - people still think that he's a major league pitcher...

Lieber: very, very mediocre year. too old, too out of shape. he needs to get on Wolf's workout regimen.

Rheal Cormier - did he ever strand an inherited runner? ever?

underrated:

Rowand - he's going to be back next year, and i hope that he adjusts to whatever his injuries did to him.

Coste - he's prbly only a .280 hitter, but his clutch hitting and defense and handling of the pitching staff is amazing.

Rollins - people got down on him in the beginning of the year when he was in a huge slump. He is right up there with Reyes, and maybe better defensively.

Williard, I was actually thinking of giving Simon a "overrated" mention, but then I wonder if it's possible anyone's all that high on him. He got 3 hits in his first 4 trips, but now pitchers have re-learned how to pitch to him and he hasn't done squat since then.

gr, you're right about the 'shielding process' with Ruiz, but this is a new extreme altogether; I sense the organization does not believe in Ruiz and I don't quite understand why. He won't ever be an all-star, but he strikes me as someone who could fulfill a major-league catcher's role capably enough.

Weitzel; I gotta say that I strongly disagree on The Bulls place. Its the one place thaqt I know I dont have to stand in line for 2 innings to get a decent sammich.

Underrated: Eric Greg signing autographs behind chicke and Pete's. We miss you Eric, RIP!

Inexplicably and monstrously overrated: the Phillie Phanatic.

Underrated: Scott Franzke.

RSB: I think that the phanatic must have beat you up when you were a kid... only the big green guy, the St. Louis chicken and the Reds Baseball dude are worthwhile mascots.

(of course, my seats arent obstructed when he's parading on the home dugout :-))

I refuse to believe the Phanatic is overrated. Bull's BBQ is a waste of space indeed.

How about Matt Smith as underrated.

Underrated: Chase's good looks. My girlfriend will actually watch a game with me just to see Chase come up to bat every few innings. I'd add Lieberthal (when healthy) to the list. I hope they bring him back next year in a backup role.

Overrated: Madson. He's a long reliever and nothing more at this point.

RSB: The Phanatic is the best mascot in the business, at least as far as the one's I've seen go. Maybe you just don't like the idea of having a mascot run around, trying to get the crowd (the kids, that is) excited. But you have to admit, he's better than say Mr. Met, no?

oops... i meant the san diego chicken, st louis has a cardinal mascot, obviously.

re: ruiz, i think that he's got a personality conflict wiht some of the pitchers....

fabio castro: underrated.

(and for clout)

bobby abreu: overrated (as a phillie)

I frickin' hate the Phanatic. I'm not budging on this. Maybe Dave Raymond was a little funny. Whoever replaced him is not nearly as creative. Same old tired schtick year in and year out.

And while it's true that I am mad because he stole my pretzel once (and never gave it back), I never liked him to begin with.

oops. I was laughing at RSB for getting his pretzel taken.

Joe: Bobby Abreu didn't magically transform himself because he put on pinstripes. Look at his stats for the Phils over the years. Facts trump fantasy every time.

Jason: People either like BBQ or they don't and I think Bull's is just fine.
Happy to see your take on Victorino as it is the same thing I've been saying all year. He pretty much has to hit .300 to have value because otherwise the poor OB, lack of power and inability to steal bases becomes a liability, especially if he's your rightfielder, a classic power position. He's a fine 4th outfielder, poor choice to start.

Strangely enough, when I think of underrated Phillies, the first guy that comes to mind is Ryan Howard. Seriously. People want to avoid sounding dramatic but the simple truth is that he's putting together one of the greatest power hitting seasons in baseball history. Of course it's hard to say a guy is overrated when he's got a real shot at MVP and the respect of the national press, but if there were justice in the world his story would be getting more attention than the new Survivor and he wouldn't be allowed to breathe without getting interviewed. (That said, I'm sure he prefers it this way.)

Overrated: And it pains me deeply to say it: Chase Utley. I love his attitude and his skill but it's looking like he just doesn't have the juice to go a whole season. We'll see what happens... I sincerely hope he proves me wrong. In fact, we sort of need him to right now.

And, I also hate the Phanatic.

Underrated: All the catchers except Fasano Overrated: Madson Not Rated: Simon

Of course it's hard to say a guy is overrated when...

Obviously not what I meant to say.

clout: I absolutely, positively dont agree with your Victorino assesment. He needs to be on the field, and the team is better when he's there.

I suspect that he will learn to cut down on strikeouts and walk more, as well as learn to steal bases. He's young and has the talent and the drive.

Regarding Utley: I still think that he's dinged from the Rowand Collision.

Wildly Underrated - Me, Pat "The Bat" Burrell. If I could buy myself for what I'm worth and sell myself for what I think I'm worth, I'd be half as rich as I currently already am (wink, wink Ed Wade).

Underrated: Geoff Geary, Matt Smith, Randy Wolf, Chris Coste and Ryan Howard. Howard's got 57 homers and not a peep out of the national media. Even RSB underrates Ryan.

Overrated: Gordon, Burrell and Lieber.

Traded away players:

Underrated: Lidle

Overrated: Abreu

Mascot Question: I've seen both the Phanatic and the San Diego Chicken in person and the San Diego Chicken is a great entertainer. The Phanatic just takes up space in the park.

I also love Vic defensively, and think we should keep him in CF to replace Rowand if possible (of course neither are show-stoppers offensively). He's incredible at cutting off balls and keeping guys at first, and you can tell he wants to gun the ball to somebody on every play, videogame-style. Definitely an improvement over Rowand, even if he's not quite as crazy.

I'm sure Utley's still feeling that collision a bit, as well as about a hundred other things from the season. If he is just tired now as I suspect, it's because he's been playing all-out since day one, and you gotta respect him for that, even if the end result isn't quite what you'd hoped.

Forgot another underrated: Fabio Castro. He is so seldom used, I forgot he's still on the team.

I also agree with Jason on Madson. Long reliever - yes, closer - no way!

Howard's got 57 homers and not a peep out of the national media.

You of course are referring to the national media of Kazakhstan.

Rather off topic, but this seems to be a pretty open discussion. Did you guys see Conlin take a shot at bloggers today? I discussed this briefly over in my cyber hood.

Most likely to be traded in the off-season: Ryan Madson.

players traded away:

overrated - Lidle
underrated - Abreu

let's be honest - Lidle was not that good. we are getting arguably better results from Moyer - I say better because Moyer can actually pitch more than 6 innings. additionally, if we can put any stock in news reports, Moyer is a tremendous boost to the clubhouse. while Lidle was, at best, a tremendous boost to whoever he was buying his Turkey Hill from.

(NB: could, and should, we have gotten more for Lidle? absofrickinlutely. doesn't make him any less underrated.)

"Howard's got 57 homers and not a peep out of the national media.

You of course are referring to the national media of Kazakhstan"

I'm probably referring to the third world country of Louisiana. I hear nothing about Howard down here. If I walk down the hall where I work and ask my male coworkers if they have ever heard of Ryan Howard, I'd probably get a blank stare.

As for Lidle being underrated. He was underrated by the Phillies, as they literally added him as a "throw in" to the Abreu trade. We traded him away before we got Moyer and before Wolf was a known quantity. At the time he was the third best starter on the team, better than doughnut boy.

As for Abreu. He was overrated, definitely overpaid and overcontracted! If he was cheaper and not locked in with a no trade overpriced long term contract, then he would be rated properly as a very good player..not the Franchise.

I also have to stubbornly disagree about your assessment of Victorino.

His numbers may not be the greatest now, but keep in mind he only has 452 ML ABs and has shown dramatic improvement since mid-season. He reminds of the type of player who realizes his weaknesses and gets the most out of his experience, guys like Larry Bowa with great-fielding, weak-hitting reputations who became credible hitters over the years come to mind.
Shane needs to maximize his speed, it was nice to see him drop a drag bunt a few games ago; if he can draw the corner infielders in and start slapping the ball through the infield, he could have a decent career as a major league ballplayer.

I do agree his lack of basestealing is puzzling. Could be he doesn't want to take away the hole from the left-handers or open up 1st base. (He did have some basestealing success in his limited time in in SD in '03).
For now, I remain unconvinced that he can't be an excellent lead-off hitter and I hope he eventually gets the chance to prove himself.

Underrated: Ryan Howard's fielding!!! (No, that's not a typo). He has improved since his mid-season slump when some posts even suggested a future in the AL. Ryan has actually looked pretty slick on some of his scoops lately and the criticism has become almost non-existent; OTOH, he still does looks tentative on his throws to 2nd.
Seems that most young players have an error-filled season early in their careers before they make the adjustments. Even Albert Pujols, who ended up at 1st by default and was never considered a strong defender, struggled early in his career, but is now the odds-on choice in some circles to win the Gold Glove in the absence of Derek Lee. Because of his physical make-up, Howard will never be a Gold Glove candidate, but should develop into a solid 1st baseman.

Conlin was mostly responding to that travesty on CBS Sportsline.

I never take shots at bloggers personally, and it's because I'm comfortable with Beerleaguer and proud of my work. I cite sources and work hard to keep it credible and professional. But that's only a small aspect of what Beerleaguer is all about.

For example: I've had limited access to players and managers on occasion, wrote about it and done interviews. I learned something about the experience: When it comes to blogging, readers couldn't care less if you have access. In fact, it makes the playing field uneven and less attractive.

Here, it's better to write from a point of view that everyone can identify with. I'm fallible in my opinion, and don't have all the answers. Thus, we're all in the same boat. That comfort has blossomed into a unique personality with all the regular, passionate readers. We all know what to expect from each other, and (mostly) enjoy the company.

I don't pretend to be Jim Rome, or anyone else. I'm comfortable being Jason, watching a television, just the same as the rest of you. That's the appeal, and I believe it's ground-breaking appeal. This is a different animal than newspapers, radio television or national Web sites.

Joe: Victorino will be 26 in 2 months. In baseball terms that is NOT young.

VOR: Could be, may be, hope so. But based on what I see, I don't think so. We'll find out because if he doesn't blossom into the kind of player you think he is by next season, I don't think it's gonna happen.

On Vic:

As a fourth OF: Awesome
Starting CF: Above Average (mostly b/c of defense.
Starting RF: Liability

I don't think people really overrate Vic unless they believe he can be the everyday RF next year. The problem is that both he and Rowand are basically valuable in center and not valuable in right.

Most underated: Chris Frickin Coste!!! My god, what does this guy have to prove. On offense, aside from Howard and Delluci's initial success, he is the main reason the Phillies offense has improved. Also, it may be coincidental that the pitching has improved as well, but it has happened on his watch.

Overated: Nunez. I don't care how good the glove is or his "fit." B-Pro has him at -20 according to WARP, which basically means (for those unaquainted with this metric) that Abe is TWO wins worse than a waiver wire 3B or AAA journeyman. According to WARP, Nunez is THE WORST EVERYDAY PLAYER IN BASEBALL! Weird thing is, I still like the guy...it's amazing what demeanor can do to alter your perspective...Nunez smiles and has a pleasant face, so we like him.

Kudos to Beerleaguer, gets my vote for MVB (Most Valuable Blog)!!!

For many of the middle-aged to older bloggers who remember when baseball was America's sport and "How about those Phillies?" was a instant conversation starter, Beerleaguer has been a revelation.
With the exception a few regions, pro and/or college football rules, even the Eagles preseason games draw more viewers than the Phils in a playoff drive, and baseball discussion is getting more and more difficult to find. Beerleaguer and other blogs are the modern-day version of the corner taproom for baseball dialogue, albeit much safer!!
Can only imagine the result of a baseball discussion over too many beers between certain bloggers on this site who will remain nameless.

Thanks again Beerleaguer!!

Wow, I rechecked B-Pro's numbers and Nunez is now third from the bottom of ALL hitters at -17.

Yes, that's right, Abe is #1012 out of 1014 players who have picked up a bat this year ahead of only Tomas Perez (one actual good Gillick move!) and Clint Barmes.

Here is the link: (Jason also has it linked on the side)

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/statistics/sortable/index.php?cid=119001

LF, they were going crazy for him right after the Labor Day weekend when he broke 50, and since then his name comes up in any discussion about the NL MVP. They can't write about him every other day, because there isn't much else to say, aside from a few anecdotes about how good he was as a kid and that sort of thing.

Which is the tragedy of it all. If it hadn't been for certain late-90's players, they would find something to write about him every day, because he might be about to to match or break the all-time home run record. Alas.

I would readily sacrifice some of Nunes' defense for, say, 60 or 70 more points in average. But the way he plays defense is just fun to watch. A guy hits a ground ball so hard you just look for it in the outfield, but it's not there. You look back, and Nunez is on the ground with it. It seems to happen just like that once or twice a game.

Nunez as underrated? You have got to be kidding me. Nunez is a total stiff. There have been a couple of underrated guys on this team but my votes goes to Geary.

Geary got off to a rough start and doesn't have standout stuff; however, he has been the one constant in the Phils' pen all season. Suprised that more fans have appreciated Geary's effort this season. He is the classic grinder-guy who slips under the radar but is usally appreciated by the Philly fans.

As for overrated, it has got to be Rowand. Besides his amazing catch, he really showed little either offensively or defensively this year. Maybe Rowand has a better year next year when he is fully recovered but it will be interesting to see if the Phils' pick up his option.

Nunez's speed, that's all. Why kick the man when he's down?

It's not hard to guess which two players on the Phillies have the most walks: Howard and Burrel. But would you believe that Rollins is third, not Utley?

Rollins (BB/K): 56/76
Utley (BB/K): 55/121

Most-overrated internet baseball analyst goes to RSB:

RSB: "Most overrated, even now, is Burrell, who continues to start and who continues to fail miserably" RSB thinks Burrell should be benched for Bourn. RSB fails to explain how Burrell is overrated as he has previously insisted that a majority of phils fans think he sucks.

Fact: Over the last 7 games, 1 of which was one with one swing of his bat, pat burrell is 7 for 22, 6 runs, 6 rbis, 2 hrs, and drawn 6 bbs. He has been involved in 10 of the 34 runs scored by the phillies in those games, including the game won by homering off a "good" pitcher Roger Clemens.

Weitzel - Not hard or mean to kick a corpse and that is what Nunez has basicall provided at 3B this year.

This was one of the most level-headed discussions on here in quite some time. Mostly everyone thoroughly read others opinions and respected them...nice!

clout: doesn't the "small sample size" argument work in reverse for Victorino? He's got the physical talent, speed and a good arm. He's got to learn to be more patient at the plate, that's obvious, but beyond that he's fine.

As far as not knowing how to steal a base, I don't know if it matters all that much. With 2 lefties behind him, he only needs to be a threat to steal, in order to keep the hole open. I've yet to see them not hold him on. Even if you think it does matter, it's something he could get better at.

Victorino's base-stealing ability appears to have disappeared sometime between 2002 and 2003. in 2001 (A) and 2002 (AA), he stole 47 and 45 bases respectively, maintaining success rates of 78% and 74%. then in 2003 (AA), he stole only 16 bases in 66 games and his success rate dipped below 70%. he stole only 17 bases (26 attempts) in his 2005 IL MVP season.

as to whether or not he can draw walks, I believe he should be able to develop at least a Rollins-level walk rate (i.e. 40-60 in a season) with A) experience with major-league pitching and B) the quality of the hitters around him. I don't think strikeouts should be a huge concern - he struck out 74 times in the IL last year, which is a pretty average number. I don't see him striking out at a Howard or Burrell rate.

Underrated:
- Abraham Nunez's recent surge
- Ryan Howard's possiblity of playing linebacker for the Eagles this year
- The beer selection at CBP
- Geoff Geary
- The bases of the Vet embedded in the parking lot
- The Phillies' chances of getting to the World Series
- The Roots' new album
- Sal Fasano as a person
- Mike Lieberthal
- The Phillie Phanatic (shush, haters)

Overrated:
- Bobby Abreu's departure leading to the Phillies' surge
- Taking the Subway to the game if you don't feel like walking four blocks to the stadium
- Aaron Rowand's defense
- Abraham Nunez, April - August
- Napoleon Dynamite
- Sal Fasano as a player
- Charlie Manuel hate

Unclear:
- Moving the left field fence back and raising its height

Most Underrated has to be Geary. He's pitched in 75 games, and his ERA is 2.95. Who possibly could have seen that coming? That's not a fluke, either; he's had almost three strikeouts for every walk (53/19) while allowing just six home runs. At this point, he's clearly the second-best reliever in the bullpen.

It's great to see a homegrown guy succeeding like that--especially when you consider all the times the Phils have imported "name" relievers for big bucks and small performance.

I actually think you can make a case that Hamels has been underrated as well. Yeah, he was hyped on his talent, but given just how little he had pitched as a pro, he's exceeded my expectations for quantity, by far, and probably for quality. He hasn't just beaten weak lineups; he's shut down the Mets and Cardinals among others, and he's tended to do better the second and third time he's faced opponents than the first time--a terrific sign for going forward.

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