Part of CSNPhilly.com


« Focus on Florida: Marlins trying to reel in Rios | Main | Mets expected to sign free agent Chan Ho Park »

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Comments

I'm not a big fan of projections, but I do like to look at them, I just don't rely on them (if that makes sense).

I personally think we'll see improvements in 4 out of our 5 rotations memembers.

Hamels- no longer a rookie, and will continue natural progression.

Myers- in shape and apparently focused.

Garcia- NL is easier than AL.

Eaton- for the mere fact that he's healthy.

Moyer will probably do the same thing he's been doing.

Our rotation is solid! Of course there's always injury potential, but I havne't been this pleased with a rotation on paper since...well, I can't remember.

What makes the Phils' staff appear formidable is depth -- 6 starters. A trade would lessen this depth. I prefer the Dodgers' staff to the Phils. The Phils even with a Lieber trade are comparable to the Brewers, Giants, and Braves. The Pads are counting on two forty somethings. I prefer the Phils' staff even sans Lieber.

On another note, I just read that Paul Shuey chose the Orioles over the Philadelphia Phillies, in part because he didn't want to play in Ottawa if sent down to the minors. There were some here that commented that Ottawa could hurt the Phils obtain Quad A types like Shuey.

http://blogs.baltimoresun.com/sports_custom_roch/2007/02/in_the_zone.html

I think I'd rather play in Ottawa than Reading.

And I don't know how great this rotation is, but I think it's fair to say that there are no real weak links in it. Each of them ought to be an average NL pitcher at the least.

Ottawa is only a year, no worries.

I might have overvalued the Padres a little. You're probably right - Phils look better. As for the Braves ... they're league average in my view.

Well the rotation will be 5, but which 5? Or should I re-phrase that and ask which #5? If it's Eaton, will he be/stay healthy? If it's Lieber can we feel comfortable in our predictions for his numbers? I agree that potentially we have an excellent starting corps...but it's way too early to get over excited. Now the Dodgers, they have something with very little to question.

Heres a question: had the phillies been ableto(or had they been interested in) retaining Randy wolf, still signed eaton, and traded lieber: would we all be more content with eaton as a LRP/6th starter?

Jason, you are right. The Phils starting 6 or 5 is better than the Braves. I like Smoltz, Hudson, and James, but big questions after that.

If the ZIPS projection turn out to be true, then the Phils will have a very solid rotation (with or without Lieber).

Only X factor is injury and even here I feel good here too. Myers and Garcia are unlikely to land on the DL and I bet Moyer is healthy too. Lieber, Myers, and Garcia would benefit from learning and following Moyer's training regimen.

See either Eaton or Hamels as the most likely to spend some time on the DL. Unfortunately, if Hamels spends a prolonged period on the DL this team won't make the playoffs yet again this year. Keep your fingers crossed.

To all those that say that Ryan Howard is going to flame out in 4-5 years, I have to sit down so that I dont fall over laughing. Personally, I think that 10-20-30 years ago, that may have been the case, but no longer. I dont know if it's the drugs, evolution, or a combination, but the MLB is an old mans game today, at least in the past 7-8 years. I dont know the exact number of over players ages 30-38 that are seemingly at the top of their games, but it is high, particularly in the last 7-8 years. I personally thought that one of the collateral impacts of a strict steroid policy would be to make the leauge much younger. I figured that these old guys would fade into oblivion when they had to cast away their siringes. That has not happened, at least thus far, and in case nobody noticed some guy hit 73!!!!! home runs at the age of 38. I'm not saying, nor do I believe that Howard is juicing, but c-mon people, look at the league. Its an old mans game, at least compared to other sports (Not many Basketball or football players tearing it up past the age of 35). I get the physical strains of those sports are different, but that only strengthens the point, baseball players are able to retain their peaks for longer than other sports. Whether its legit or not, well were all baseball fans, you can be your own judge. Just please, stop clamoring abot how Howard is going to be a shadow of himself at the age of 32-33. Give me a freaking break.

Dodgers
Marlins
Padres

To me - these are the only Staffs that I would consider trading straight up for the Phils Rotation.

I would trade for the Dodgers for the next couple years.

I would trade Marlins long term, with a shot for the Marlins to be better this year if they walk the injury tightrope.

I would rather have the Pads rotation this year. Peavy as the Ace, Young one of the best #2s in the NL. Maddux and Wells, you know what you will get which is more than a combo of Moyer, Eaton and Lieber. And Clay who is coming into his most productive years.

Phils are right there with all of them though, which is more than I could have hoped for...

Sorry to get off topic with the last comment. I also think that the starting rotation looks excellent especially with the offense. If they can only sign Ray King, and Jose Mesa to shore up the bullpen, they will be a juggernaut.

I'm not sure how much stock one should put into ZIPS projections, but when I look at Jason's chart above, one word screams out to me: MEDIOCRITY.
The best one is a 13-game winner. The best one is 5 games over .500. The total record of the staff is 13 games over .500, not enough to win anything (87 wins?). If you trade Liebr, the starting rotation is projected to win 59 games. That would mean the Phillies bullpen would have to put 30+ wins on the board! Our bullpen?? The ERAs are all average.
If there is a strength at all, it seems to be that #1 thru #6 are all around the same, more like having 6 #3 starters. Granted, this is a statistical projection, but it doesn't get me too excited.

So, is there a breakout season in there for someone like Myers or Hamels? Can Eaton have a productive season? Can Moyer maintain his performance level? Will Garcia thrive in the NL?

One of these things is going to have to happen if the Phillies want to play in October. Meeting those Zips projections won't hack it.


Parker, we have no choice but to go off-topic if we want to continue a discussion, since the Beerleaguer tradition is to drop a thread as soon as Jason puts up a new post. And since I was the one who slagged Howard in the last thread, let me do it again.

The still-slugging old man you mentioned, Mr. Bonds, hit his 73 home runs at an advanced age because he's been using human growth hormone for years. No, I can't prove it -- nobody except Greg Anderson can, and he's willing to go to jail rather than rat on his client. But I have a friend who has covered the Giants for years, and it's been a common assumption around the club for a decade that he's on HGH -- that's why, at an age when every player of every previous generation has lost bat speed, Barry gained it. Bat speed is something that once was unavoidable with age, and if and when a test for HGH comes about, it will be again.

Remember that Howard has a rather long swing to begin with, which is why there were some in the organization skeptical of his ability to make it in the majors. Remember Dale Murphy? He was what, 35 when he lost the fraction of a second that made hitting the last couple of HRs to reach 400 impossible. Howard, by every account, doesn't juice to begin with. You think he won't decline? I think he will, and I have a century of history on my side; all you have on yours is a decade of juicer history. Howard has a very limited menu of skills -- good eye, hits for power. He already has below average speed, something that will decline with age even if he starts juicing, and below average fielding skills even for a first baseman. He's four or five years from being a DH. In five years, by contrast, Miguel Cabrera will be 29 years old. I have no doubt that Howard will stay even with Cabrera for the next 3 or 4 years; after that, barring a major injury for Cabrera, it will be no contest who the more valuable player will be. I'm willing to bet that, again excepting a major injury, Cabrera will still be playing 6 or 7 years after Howard retires.

On the current topic, George has nailed it -- too much mediocrity, but at least we're deep. Here's a question for you: Who starts the opener, Garcia or Myers? I would say both of them are No. 2 starters, and Hamels is a solid No. 3, but I'd also say the rest of them are No. 5s. Here's the problem with shedding one of those guys, though -- we don't know which one will come in below projections. My guess on the weak link is Moyer, because I've never seen a pitcher other than a knuckleballer succeed with a "fast" ball that can't crack 84 mph. When Maddux dropped to that speed, he became basically a .500 pitcher -- and he's Greg Maddux, a future Hall of Famer.

Alby,

I like what George concluded from the ZIPS projections but disagree with the projections themselves and your opinions of the staff.

I think Myers & Garcia are both #1s albeit not in the top 10 and Hamels if healthy is a #1-2 but would accept him as #3.

Moyer is a strong #5 and Eaton & Lieber have potential to be #3s if healthy but more likely #4-5s.

Lieber has gone from opening day starter to number 6 in depth - pretty awesome but needed upgrade in one year.

I beg to differ with George. If (as in IF) the Phils starters make those ZiPS ERA projections, that will be enough to get the job done and make the playoffs (assuming the offense doesn't slip much). The Hardball Times recently published ERA averages for each rotation "slot" and they aren't as good as you might think (link, scroll down to "Finally, the numbers"). The Phils projections way outpace those averages.

Alby, I agree that if the league could get rid of steroids/HGH then we might see the decline of old man sluggers. The point is, we are not living in the Dale Murphy era anymore. As I said previously, 20 years ago you would be right, Howard would be due for a down turn by the age of 33. In the current climate of Baseball, or any professional sport for that matter, everything is the same but everything is different. We have aging sluggers that last well into their mid to late 30's or more. I dont think that Howard is on anything now, but what about when he turns 34 or so, he might change his mind. Once he loses this apparent fleeting bat speed then he might turn to something for a boost. I am of the opinion that: 1.) Professional Sports cannot control the substances that the athletes use, 2.) It is not necessarily in their best interest to control them. We all like our stars, and baseball and all other sports like us to like their stars. The biggest fish that this newfangled testing policy has netted is Rafael Palmerio, an old and inconsequential player. And, pardon me for not caring, but, oh my god, Barry Bonds tests positive for Amphetemines. Big surprise there. No one cares. No one will care as long as there are home runs hit, touchdowns scored, big hits. We are in the old man's league from now on brother, accept it or not. 10 years from now everyone will be wondering how these guys still keep it up at the age of 40? I dont know what excuse they will have then, but there will be something. I am a baseball fan, and I chose to be one of my own volition, but I'm no fool. I can read the writing on the wall when guys are posting numbers at such late ages. Its not like it is one player, like Bruce Matthews, playing for 18 years in the NFL, there are many. And there will be many more. I think it is time we all come to grips with the changing nature of sports. And when Howard is hitting 40 HR's at the age of 38, I for one will not be surprised.

I should hope they are not the 1993 Braves or the '79 Orioles. They didn't win the World Series.

But seriously, are there similar ZiPS projections for relievers? I am still counting on an average of 5.3 runs a game, similar to last year. It's the extra 50 runs that they gave up last year, mostly attributed to bad fifth slot pitching and some memorable late inning implosions.

On the "mediocrity" of the Phils staff, you have to factor in two things:

1) The ballpark. If you translated Hamels, Myers, Moyer, and Garcia into a park like Petco, they would all look like #1 or #2 starters. An ERA around 4 in Citizens is very good.

2) The ZiPS projections are median percentile projections, basically meaning it is the midpoint of their abilities. Hardly any pitchers are going to be projected to have a "median" win total around 17 or 18, because that would mean the high end would be like 23 or 24 wins, which is basically impossible in this day and age.

I pretty much agree with the above posters that health is the key. This would seem to flow naturally with my earlier comments about moving Eaton to the pen to start the season. This would likely remove the "if" from a lot of these comments. If you keep all six, you can pretty confidently say "The Phillies will have one of the best starting staffs in the NL."

MH, I would link to the Phils ZiPS projections, but I can;t seem to fit it in the space.

Just google "2007 ZIPS Projections Philadelphia Phillies" and it will be the first link.

And yes, the bullpen is as bad as you would imagine.

I guess the chart is taking into consideration the possibility of Eaton being on the DL and the Phils not trading Lieber. I agree with those who say that there is no way that the Phillies go into the regular season with a $7 millon 5th and 6th starter. Surely there is no way that both are on the team by the start of the season, and Lieber is older, but seemingly more durable. There is no way the Phils get rid of Eaton after just signing him, so its has to be Lieber that is gone. I really think that Eaton will be able to win some games if healthy in the 5 spot. Eaton may not be great, but he is a much better 5th starter than most of the teams the Phils will play.

I'm not buying into the hype. I think the Phillies rotation is considered good due to the depth, but it is not a star studded rotation. I like the upside potential of Myers and Hamels. I think they'll exceed their ZIP projections. I feel that Garcia will have a solid year, but don't have a strong feeling that he'll win more than 14 games. Sometimes, new pitcher to a league will clean up like John Denny winning 19 games for the 1983 Phillies after coming over from Cleveland. It could happen, but I don't expect it. I think Moyer is pitching on borrowed time and could tank at any moment. I have no faith in either Eaton or Doughnut Boy doing anything in 2007.

I'm a big fan of Schmidt, but he has no idea what he's talking about - especially when he says pitchers would rather face Luzinski because "he put the ball in play." really? the Greg Luzinski who struck out 151 times in 596 AB in 1975 (#2 in MVP voting) and 140 times in 554 AB in 1977 (#2 in MVP voting)? the Greg Luzinski who averaged 133 strikeouts per 162 games?

this is the problem with baseball veterans (I'm looking at you, Joe Morgan) - selective memory. I'm sure Schmidt sincerely believes that he would have been a better player if he struck out less, and he may even be right. but who's to say that if he "choked up on the bat with two strikes and hadn't been so aggressive and gave in to the pitcher," he wouldn't have lost his ability to get on base at an incredible rate, or seen his power drop because he didn't have the patience to wait for a pitch he could drive?

I loved Schmidt as a player, but he's annoying as a person. He was my favorite player of all-time, but some of the stuff he says is just stupid.

Mets signed Chan Ho Park...I'm shaking in my boots.

Some observations on the rotation.
1. Hamels and Myers both have #1 potential. I think Myers will achieve it.

2. At age 31, Garcia's skills are starting to slip a bit. He's still a solid starter and will be for another 3 years, but he will never be a #1.

3. I think the rotation is among the top 5 in the NL. I like the Dodgers, Marlins and D'backs better. Padres could be as good if Wells & Maddux have anything left. Their top 3 is first rate (Peavy, Hensley, Young.)

4. I agree with Parker that Lieber will not be on the Opening Day roster.

5. The fortunes of this team rest on upgrading the bullpen. The other pieces are there.

Ther Giants are another team whose pitching could be surpisingly good. If Zito gets the usual AL-to-NL-lift that most pitchers get, he will be very, very good. Lowry & Cain are 2 of the best young pitchers in the NL, Morris is an acceptable #4 and Jonathan Sanchez a decent gamble as #5. If Sanchez fails and they're forced to use Russ Ortiz, then that's a big dropoff. I actually like the Giants rotation better than the Brewers.

re Garcia and his ace potential or lack thereof: in his 6 starts in Sept. 2006, Garcia went 4-1 with a 2.49 ERA in 43 innings. struck out 29, walked 8. surrendered 29 hits for a .190 OAV.

I remember reading at the time of the trade that Garcia's success late in 2006 was attributed to a new pitch he picked up, although I'm having trouble finding more info at work. can he win a Cy Young? unlikely. but I think he has a real chance-altho by no means a certainty-to be one of the 10 best pitchers in the NL (and before you scoff, try to make a list of the ten best pitchers in the NL last year). that would make him an "ace" or a "#1" in my book.

clout, why would Zito be "very, very good" with the AL-to-NL boost, while Garcia would merely be a "solid starter?" compare their numbers in the last few years (with Zito in a very favorable pitchers' park and Garcia in a relatively strong hitters' park). I know Garcia is a few years older, but he's still only 31.

ae: If 6 games are enough to predict a full season performance, you win. And maybe his new pitch will be a winner. I think he gets helped by switching leagues, but I'd bet Myers is the better pitcher this season.

It seems that every year one of the Phillies starting pictures implodes. Last season I think it was Lieber, though it could have been worse. I would almost prefer some depth in the rotation. This season it could be Hamels.

clout, you're right of course that it's impossible to predict anything close to long-term success based on a small sample; I'm not trying to argue that. but I do think there's reason for more optimism on Garcia than you've got in that last post - definitely moreso than Myers, who I think is too prone to the HR to really make The Leap to a top-level pitcher.

ae: Do you honestly think Garcia has been as good as Zito?

Zito career: 3.55 ERA 1.25 WHIP 0.9 HR/9
Garcia career: 4.01 ERA 1.29 WHIP 1.05 HR/9

ae: Garcia pitched in the best pitcher's park in the AL for the first 5 years of his career. He's only been in Chicago for 2 1/2 seasons.

Giants look good, too. Lowry will have a better season, and Cain is a nice young pitcher. The bottom line here is the Philles have a good rotation, but nothing indicates they're the new yardstick. Giants overall could be an exciting team if they weren't fielding the same offense for the last 108 years. They will be a factor regardless.

Clout, I'm sure ae is cabable of defending himself, but he did say to compare Garcia and Zito "in the last few years."

Last 3 years ERA+:

Garcia 125, 115, 103
Zito 105, 116, 116

WHIP:
Garcia 1.24, 1.25, 1.27
Zito 1.39, 1.20, 1.40

kdon: Who do you think is the better pitcher garcia or Zito?

yep kdon, that was the point I was trying to make. based on their entire careers, Zito is obviously the better pitcher. over the last two/three years, I am not sure it's much better than a push.

ae: Would you like to bet who has the better season this year?

clout remember, you owe me a morton's steak dinner if Vic manages to steal 30+ bases.

clout, based on what? WHIP? ERA? DIPS? wins? I think it's likely that Zito posts a better ERA since he's playing in the pitcher-friendly NL West, but that Garcia puts up better peripherals and wins more games with the Phils' run support.

I wouldn't bet clout, because I think the two pitchers will be fairly similar, once you adjust for context. Considering that I think it is about equally likely for Garcia or Zito to have the better season, it doesn't make sense to bet either side.

FWIW, Garcia is projected by ZiPS to put up a 4.33 ERA in Citizens, while Zito is projected for a 4.01 ERA in Pac Bell. That is pretty close.

Additionally, it would be nice if you presented evidence for why you think Zito will be so good, other than just stating that you are confident about him being good.

Oh, sorry, Garcia is at 4.53, not 4.33. So maybe there is some difference, but it isn't very much.

OK, too much coffee. Garcia IS at 4.33 in ZiPS for 2007. Good grief!

kdon: I posted his career stats. It's obvious to any objective observer, based on past performance and current age/skill level that Zito is better. How many baseball GMs would agree with you that Zito is no better than Garcia?

And, yes, Zito will have the better season this year. The Giants are not very good offensively and not as good a team overall as the Phillies, but based on measures like WHIP & peripherals Zito will be better than Garcia.

clout, what do you base that on? last year, Garcia was better than Zito in WHIP, DIPS, ERC, K/BB...Zito was a half a K/9 better and gave up fewer HR, but that was it as far as I can tell.

Clout, you are a sophisticated enough poster to rely on things other than career stats, especially when not adjusted for context. Also, the appeal to authority (what most GMs would do) is shocking for an iconoclast like yourself. Truly dissapointed.

I'm not going to lie. I had to look up "iconoclast" at dictionary.com

I think you also have to consider their contracts. I don't want any parts of that deal Zito got. Sure Freddy will get paid next off season but nothing like what Zito got. As you guys have said he's only a slightly better pitcher than Freddy.

Not really sold on this SD Padres staff. Looking at last years stats, which I am sure most are doing, They weren't that great vs. teams outside their division. The big hitting teams fared pretty well vs. SD except Cin. But good hitting teams they weren't exactly awesome. Maddox another year older, Wells is another year older and another 50 lbs. heavier. JK. but Not sold on SD, their park helps that staff out alot. Same with the Dodgers. These teams play in such a pitchers park which helps them out alot.

The comments to this entry are closed.

EST. 2005

Top Stories

HardballTalk

Rotoworld News

Follow on Twitter

Follow on Facebook

Contact Weitzel

CSG