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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Comments

Indeed a turnaround for The Bat. When the Phils came to Cleveland and saw all three games he was batting .201 and he was playing awful and killing them. I stand by my comment I made in late July I think it was - if there was one player the fans would want to get a game winning hit to send the team to the playoffs it would be Burrell. Not so much who they would want up there (Utley probably) but who they would most want to get that big hit.

What's the latest on Hamels? Still 12 days?

This situation is getting pretty irritating. If the Phillies are to be trusted, there's no structural or ligament damage, just discomfort, and Hamels says it isn't season-ending. Is that correct? If so, can he pitch through it? Like ... now? Or can he pitch sooner than two weeks from now at least? It's kind of an important stage of the season, no? Every time Eaton or Durbin touch the ball, they set themselves up for a loss.

Either way, the Phils are either lying or being too protective. If he's going to blow out, he's going to blow out. Might as well do it in a pennant race, rather than spring training.

Is this an all about me situation? Pacing himself for paydirt? That's what his agent would advise, certainly.

Another bonus from last night-maybe, just maybe, we've seen the last of Mesa in anything but mopup work.

Maybe.

THis just in: Steve Phillips just pronounced the Phillies season, "A nice run, but too little, too late." Notably, that is the exact opposite of what he said last week. Everything that Phillips says ends up not happening. What an idiot.

I was very surprised to see that the Philly media seemed to think that Torrealba was robbed of a grand slam. The replay seemed to show that the ball was on the way down and would have hit the wall if the fan hadn't reached over to catch it. I know the fan said it should have been a home run, but he probably didn't realize how far he reached over the wall to catch it.

Is there no one in the media, local or national, who can get an interview with Pat? His has to be the best story of the year, and I for one am curious as to what the impetus was for his turnaround.

putting in mesa in last night was absolutely inconceivable. it seemed like he WAS relegated to mop-up work after pitching horribly throughout august.....and then....BAM! there he is, in a 1-run game. buh?! charlie manuel may be a great guy and great coach, but he is a horrific gameday manager.

Who was Cholly supposed to put into the game? Alfonseca has looked just as bad recently.

dude, anyone else. there's bad, and then there's mesa.

Here's something that might surprise many people about Burrell's splits: There's virtually no change in his walk/strikeout figures. Check those numbers again, Beerleaguers, and think about them before you talk about how somebody's strikeouts are killing us.

Pat the Bat's turnaround is indeed amazing, but while he may have been streaky this season, he has been remarkably consistent year to year: around a .900 OPS, 25-30 bombs, close to 100 RBI.

He may surpass those numbers a little bit this year, but *as a whole*, this season won't be out of character at all.

But I do imagine we won't be seeing any Joe Thurston PH appearances this year!

Afish, Geary and Condrey were better options. Over both the course of the year, and especially recently, they have been far better pitchers.

kdon: Exactly right on Burrell. There's a lot of streaky guys in baseball but they usually end up close to their career norms.

Eaton starting tonight.... In my mind I just can't tell myself that Eaton is a starting pitcher anymore... how about we call him "Early Inning Relief" instead?

I was off-line for most of the weekend so perhaps I missed it, but can someone please tell me when Kendrick is not pitching tonight. It was be five days rest and it would set him up to face the Mets on Sunday.

I guess starting Eaton is the Phillies way to kick off the guys that just stepped back on the Phillies to WC train after last night's win, after having left the train after that devastating loss to the Braves last week. As for me, I'm still at the train station. I'm not convinced this train is going anywhere except disappointment. On the other hand, this season has a 1983 feel to it, when the Phillies lingered in 4th place in a 4 team race to win the division, only the somehow come on top at the end of the season and go on to the World Series.

I meant to type: "only to somehow come on to end up on top at the end of the season and go on to the World Series."

My brain and typing finger are disconnected sometimes.

Is it my imagination, or is it that bad news, like the paralyzing neck injury to NFL Buffalo Bills TE Kevin Everett, is downplayed in the media? However, Brittany's MTV performance is all over the news, as is that Idaho Senator's Minnesota restroom mischief. Am I missing something here?

Rusty: The newspapers mentioned this the other day when they started Ennis. They switched the rotation around to give Kendrick extra rest since he's pitched more innings this season than ever before. They also purposely wanted to set up Eaton to face the Mets at Shea because he's pitched better against them than almost anybody and has been horrible against the Marlins.

Lake Fred: I'd imagine that it's schadenfreude.

Apparently, the major reason for the turn around has been his overall health. I've read a few times that he is no longer ailing with wrist and ankle injuries and is the most comfortable he's been in a while. But, I think the big difference is the lassics surgery he had over the All Star break.....at least, this is what I've heard.

Time for Mesa to ship out. Gordon, at least what this season's showed of him, is close behind.

"There's a lot of streaky guys in baseball but they usually end up close to their career norms."

clout. I mostly agree with you except for two things.

1) Using so many qualifiers ("a lot" (you said "most" the last time, signifying a majority? 51%? 95%?), "usually," "close to") makes such a blanket statement somewhat meaningless.

2) Baseball statistics are still more descriptive than predictive. No one, not even great prognosticators whose blog names begin with a lower case "c" stated in May that, unequivocably, Burrell was gonna have an OPS over 1 in the second half this year. Just because we know that these streaky guys will have hot streak to go with their cold ones, sometimes, maybe often (how's that for qualifiers), they just stay cold. Richie Sexson, for example, or Adam Kennedy, or Marcus "My Mother Dresses Me Funny" Giles. And sometimes, with veterans, their bad year is just a sign that they are, indeed, beginning to taper off, as I believe Jim Edmonds is this year.
Some might have expected Burrell to get better, but no one was *saying* he was gonna have a career year in the second half.

2)

bigmyc - do you have a source on the lasik surgery?

Great question Andy, I was going to ask the same thing.

I remember the Phils were upset over the offseason that Burrell wouldn't wear contacts, because his eyes, while ok, were not 20/20.

It certainly would explain a lot. Maybe bottoming out before the break convinced him his career was at stake.

That said, some of us, clout included, were against the prevailing "trade Burrell" sentiment -- a sentiment, I might add, that's still being voiced occasionally, though not nearly so much.

Oh, Lake Fred, the two stories you mentioned were the two most frequently viewed today on the AOL news list. They get the most play because people are most interested in them -- on the internet, people vote with their eyes.

Andy: Most veteran players revert to the mean. There's been endless studies on this. Not the precise exact mean, of course, but close. Consult the studies for exact parameters.

I never once said that I predicted Pat would go bonkers as he had. No one could. Here are the facts: When everyone else was saying that Pat was washed up, I said his stats at the end of the year will be close to his career norm. I said the same thing about Abreu when he was godawful around the same time.

Again, this reversion to the mean for veteran players is not something I invented or am taking credit for. The fact that you and other posters deny such a thing exists is meaningless.

"Most veteran players revert to the mean. There's been endless studies on this. Not the precise exact mean, of course, but close. Consult the studies for exact parameters."

Can you be a bit more specific on the studies that you're talking about, so that we actually can consult those parameters? I'd be curious to know how they define 'close'.

It's been long past time to dump Mesa. Like over a month past time. There was absolutely zero reason for him to be in the game last night. How many are in the bullpen now? 7? 8 guys? Any one of them is a better choice than Jose Mesa, who has proven time and time again for weeks not to be anything more than a batting practice pitcher. And Cholly brings him in as the FIRST reliever in a 1-run game with the season on the line. Against the heart of the order. That's just beyond inconceivable. Why would you ever put your WORST pitcher in that situation? I'm still flabbergasted. 5 pitches, 1 strike, 2 runs. Did Holliday kill any fans when his laser shot hit the stands?

But thanks Pat and Ryan and Chase and the other members of the bullpen for overcoming the complete and utter idiocy of their manager to win this game. By the way, Mr. 1.80 ERA JC Romero got 3 straight outs once he replaced Mesa in the game. Any chance maybe he should have come in to start the inning, AFish?

Although Pat's strikeout/walk ratio remained the same after the all star break, he is striking out less (per AB). He's also walking less. Some of this probably due to Howard hitting behind him, and some of this due to him being more aggressive at the plate.

On another topic, MLB has to do something about September roster expansion. Pre wild card, when most pennant races were decided by September 1st, it was a good idea to give your minor leaguers a chance to play and generate some fan interest. With half the teams in the league in the wild card race, it has become a joke. You play with 25 players for 5 months and then for the 6 month, you have teams with 35 players. Colorado must have 12 pitchers in their bullpen including 4 lefties. There is no other major sport that expands the rosters, and changes the strategy of the game for the final 15 % of the season.

I'd like to see Wes Helms "revert to the mean" one of these days. I'd like to see Alfonseca and Mesa return to their means about 5 years ago, while we're at it.

People, it's called "regression to the mean."

While clout is right to say Burrell was due to bounce back, it wasn't simply that his HR totals would snap back, you also had to look at things like Batting Average on Balls In Play, a fairly good indicator of luck. Burrell during the first half of the season had a ridiculously low BABIP, meaning he was getting unlucky.

Comparably, Mesa, Alfonseca, and Helms all have peripheral numbers that indicate that their main stats (ERA, BA, WHIP, OPS, etc.) are pretty indicative of their talent; you regress to the mean of your *ability*, not to some league mean.

Billy Mac: I agree whole-heartedly.

"The fact that you and other posters deny such a thing exists"

When have I denied "such a thing" (whatever that "thing" is)?

My point is that statistics may try to be predictive, but they are, in the end, only descriptive. We cannot say with certainty how any one player is going to perform. At the time, yeah, I was feeling (wrongly) pretty much like many others, that Pat Burrell had worn out his ability to play for the Phillies. I did not, in the Spring, however expect him to deviate as far from his norm in a downward direction as he did. ("Most" "veteran" players tend to stay within "close proximity" of their career "norms." - that's my statement with an awareness of all the qualifiers in it.) When he hit the all-star break and began performing as if he had had lasek surgery or bionic implants or a vision from God (whatever), it was equally surprising. It is not that he went into a good streak, or that he, like so many players do, came back toward his performance of the past. It was the extent of his change, from incomprehensibly bad, to extraordinarily good, that has taken us by surprise.

The descriptive vs. predictive aspect is especially relevant relative to players like Werth. People, using his second half statistics as predictive rather than descriptive of a hot streak, keep pencilling him in as a starter for next year. Looking at his previous performance, I personally think of him as a fourth outfielder type, who may do reasonably above average offensively, but not outstandingly. But, who knows, maybe he will match his second half performance over the course of a year.

As for Pat the Bat, I don't know what to think about next year. Reason, and "career norms" say he'll hit somewhere between .265 and .290, have about 30 HRs and about 100 RsBI. The second half of this year, if it indicates he's finally healthy, indicates he may actually excel those figures. I may have opinions about those figures, and guesses, but predictions? I don't know.

Helms career OPS = .761
Helms 2007 OPS = .670
He has a lot of work to do if the theory applies to him.

Out of a hat:

Jim Edmonds career OPS = .910
Edmond's 2007 OPS = .717

JD Drew Career OPS = .886
Drew's 2007 OPS = .740

So ... what? You can make a blanket statement that for MOST players they revert to the norm, but what does this prove? How is this helpful unless it applies to EVERYONE? Please stop abusing stats and statistical theory.

Well I think clout would claim on an exception on Edmonds because he's at the end of his career. At least he looks to be because all of a sudden his OPS is .717. Some other players you could name though are Maggs (massively overperforming career norms), Vernon Wells, Andruw Jones, Richie Sexson, Jimmy Rollins (career OPS, .771, 2007 OPS, .877), Aaron Rowand, Torii Hunter, Jorge Posada, Placido Polanco, Edgar Renteria, and probably many others.

VOR, are you joking?

A statement is only useful, or can be "proven," if it applies to everyone?

What about statements like:

"Motorcycles are more dangerous than cars"
or

"Smoking is hazardous to your health"

"Jumping off a 10th story roof will likely kill you"

Neither of these statements are "true" for everyone, but most people would consider them "proven" statements.

I would say all of these statements are "helpful", even if they don't apply to everyone.

I guess another thread will get started later. But my question is, anytime Eaton pitches, such as tonight against an offensive juggernaut, how much chance do we have to win? It's almost like putting Mesa in a game.

numbers people love to talk burrell. is he great? does he suck? he shows enough of that it can be debated forever. he has picked it up and helped this team a ton since the break. he still sucked for the first half of the year. i love what he is doing now. more consistency is required out of a player on a contending team because every game counts even the early season ones. that said, he has put together a nice season. the time that people were way off is when they tried to crunch the numbers to prove that he was having a good first half because he walked more than most players. absurd. look at him now and look at him then and try to tell me that his first half performance was acceptable.
as for hammels, he is on the express lane towards ex-phillyville pop. shilling and rolen. the kid keeps talking about making starts if they are in the race. wake up child, you are in the race! right now today! stop crying and pitch. your arm will not fall off. he knows that if he says there is any discomfort he doesn't have to pitch, so he will keep saying there is minor discomfort. this is a poor decision cole, you might think you are staving off tommy john surgery, but you aren't if it is gonna blow it will next spring. you are furthering your rep as an injury prone pitcher. nobody pays for those.

kdon: the tenor of clout's comment was that those who thought Burrell was washed up at the beginning of the season were foolish, because we all should know that most vets revert to the mean statistically. Pat wasn't born with ".900 OPS" on the back of his neck. He is not "destined" to perform a certain way. How about he changed his swing - got contacts or lasik surgery as rumored above - maybe thats why he plays better now....
Regarding the "theory": How many is "most players?" what age group are "veteran players?" What is the standard deviation and which stats are we looking at that will "revert to the norm" for that player? i.e. is a career .300 hitter who hits .280 at the end of the season "reverting to the norm?" It is a generalist statement that can never be refuted or proven because he simply doesn't define anything.

How about what J Roll could end up doing this year....

He is 4 HR's away from 30 HR's
He is 14 hits away from 200 hits
He is 5 doubles away from 30 doubles
He is 3 triples away from 20 triples


He already has 30 SB's, 80 RBI's and 125 runs scored. And, he has done most of it in the leadoff spot.

And, could win the gold glove too.

An amazing statistical year. If the Phils somehow make the playoffs, he very well could be the MVP. Too bad he probably won't win it.

VOR:
Do not forget to include, "revert to norm" beginning when? If Burrell reverts to his career norm starting tonight, he's gonna be bad for the rest of the season, since he is doing better than his career norms, now, in terms of average, OPS, BBs, Ks and several other offensive categories.

(That's how dramatic his turnaround has been - he's now having a year BETTER than career norm, after being awful at the break.)

Oh God, please no more of this "regression to the mean" argument. Guys have career years. Guys have slumps that last a full season. Acting like Burrell's turnaround was a certainty because you've got some vague grasp of this statistical principle is really silly, especially given Burell's history of inconsistency.

It is absurd we have to juggle our rotation with 19 games to go to accomodate Adam Eaton so he can pitch against the only team he has fared well against. This is what $24 million brought us.

Now that Barajas is back, will he start tonight per usual with Eaton? Now Eaton will have no excuse when his "personal catcher" is behind the plate.

Thank you Clout!

After coming from behind last night (hard not to come from behind when the bullpen coughs up this many leads) the momentum is starting to build again. Kendrick has kept them in virtually every game, and I would hope they can take one of the Eaton / Durbin games. Keep winning the games and pray for a Padre collapse. Every year they do this to me....

Great stats on Burrell. I wonder what he would ask for to extend past 2008? Just a thought.
__________________

Apologies for the black line. That's what I get for trying to disguise my posts as e-mails while the boss is around!

Keeler: Agreed. How about we just don't start Eaton at all .... unfortunately, it's a little late to try and come up with a replacement. It's aggregious to not start Kendrick tonite against the Rockies, when the Pads & Dodgers are playing each other. Wonder if the rain will cooperate.

voice of reason: Simply go through player records one by one and you'll see they perform pretty consistently year to year assuming 1. no injury and regular amount of playing time and 2. they are not at the end of their careers.

It was quite unlikely that Pat, at age 30, was at the end of his career.

If there was no "norm" or consistency then we'd have no idea whether Nunez would hit .300 one year and .185 the next or Manny hit 45 HRs one year and then 10 the next. It would all be a big crapshoot. Obviously, it isn't.

A player's performance is not just random chance year after year. They follow a certain form based on their skills. In MOST cases that form will hold year to year.

"Revert to the norm?!" Back in my day, there was no norm - Red Doonin's QVX (or whatever new-fangled stat you kids are using) changed every year! Who cares?

Stats are stupid. Spend less time looking at stats and watch the game (it'll tell you more than stats ever will). I can make Chick Fraser look like a Hall of Famer if I isolate some states and exclude others. Grow up and get a job, nerds.

timr: Burrell's inconsistency? Except for 2003, clearly a career worst year, how big are the variations?

Congratulations, Mike Nutter. Two points to make, and you're wrong on both.

"the time that people were way off is when they tried to crunch the numbers to prove that he was having a good first half because he walked more than most players. absurd. look at him now and look at him then and try to tell me that his first half performance was acceptable."

Nobody was saying he was having a good first half. We were saying that, even with his miserable BA, he still had some value because he was getting on base. Your inability to understand the difference between those two statements stems from your inability to understand the value of a walk. Those of us who pointed this out didn't formulate this on a whim; it's the conclusion of years of studies by the SABR folks. If you disagree with it, I suggest you back it up with research, rather than just crying "Absurd!" Anybody who devotes even a tiny bit of time to baseball stats research won't be swayed by your opinion alone.


"This is a poor decision cole, you might think you are staving off tommy john surgery, but you aren't if it is gonna blow it will next spring. you are furthering your rep as an injury prone pitcher. nobody pays for those."

Actually, people pay for those all the time. My exhibit A would be tonight's PHillies starter, Mr. Eaton. Exhibit B would be Carl Pavano. Jaret WRight. Kris Benson....oh, hell, I could type names all day. The fact is you don't know a damn thing about his elbow, about whether it will "blow out" or require TJ surgery or anything else. Grow up. He has $50 million at stake, and you have what? A rooting interest? Guess which one is going to win out?

Eaton faced the Rockies @ Colorado on July 8th (back when his ERA was a slim 5.69). His line: 6 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 3 SO, 2 HR on 111 pitches (78 strikes). He was the pitcher of record, although Madson pitched much better. Eaton had 5 ground ball outs and 9 fly ball outs, and he actually shut down Holliday. Holliday was 0-4 with a SO and left 3 on base. Matsui, Helton, and Hawpe had good days. I don't think Matsui will even be in the lineup tonight. What would you all be pleased with as a realistic line tonight?

Rockies are starting Franklin Morales, according to ESPN.com. Morales only has 4 starts all year, two against the Giants, and started and returned to AAA Colorado Springs. He's yet to last more than 5 1/3 innings, but has had two solid outings: 5/13 IP 1 ER win against the Dodgers, and a 5 IP 2 ER 3 BB win against the Giants. They could certainly jump all over this guy.

I was at the game last night. Had given it all up as lost when Mesa came in, but my saavy sister decided it was time to tell me an anecdote of all the games she's attended where the offense came back late in the game. Through all the ups and downs, due to all the ups and downs to some extent, we are blessed with a highly entertaining ballclub.

I still want a definition of 'most players' and 'close' to career norms. Because there are a ton of examples who aren't close. Take Oliver Perez, no regression to career norms in sight for him.

Oh, and perhaps not coincedentally, both of Morales good starts came on the road (@ SF, @ LAD).

Chief Zimmer (if you were being ironic, please stop reading here)- Um, thanks. "Stats are stupid". We here like to have discussions about baseball. Some of these discussions naturally involve evaluating players. Stats are an effective way to do this, much more effective than "burrell just seems like he's not very good" or "I really think Nunez's hustle makes up for the fact that he hasn't gotten a hit since May".

Look, we all know that you can use certain stats to skew an argument any way you want to. But those people who think that using complicated stats is a bad way to evaluate and judge players need to realize that every single major league team, even the seemingly inept Phillies front office, uses far more complex and intricate statistical models than we come up with here. So if the people in charge of the billion-dollar business of evaluating players use stats, maybe they work? Hmmm, I don't know. Seems like it to me though. Chief Zimmer, sorry to burst your bubble, but every GM in major league baseball employs people who run these stats all day long. Retire from your job old man.

Morales splits (BA / OPS) are pretty wild actually:

VS. LEFT: .143 / .464
VS. RIGHT: .404 / 1.055

HOME: .400 / 1.106
AWAY: .306 / .783

Billy Mac: Yes, Pat is both striking out and walking less often since moving to the 3-hole. Might we theorize that this means pitchers are throwing more pitches over the plate now that he has bigger bats behind him?
His ratio, however, is the same, virtually even. What the anti-walk faction doesn't seem to understand is that swinging at ball 4 is rarely fruitful. Yes, there are a few bad-ball hitters out there (Vlad Guerrero, we're looking at you) but for the most part the pitcher WANTS you to swing at ball 4. People act as if the choice is between a walk and a double; far more often, it's between a walk and a strikeout.

clout:
OPS: .912, .915, .920 (okay so far), .713 (which you want to exclude sice it botches your numbers), .820 (wait! we need to exclude this one, too!), .893 (lower than the first three by, oh, 5%, guess that's "close"), .890 (is this a new norm?), .931 (okay that's above the initial 3 year norm, and way above that "norm-for-the-last-two-years norm").

Listen: I agree that most established players with enough relevant ABS will perform within a 6 - 7 % range (+/-) of how they've done, until they begin to taper off. Some players, however, have the capability of "exceeding" (positively or negatively) those norms in any given year.

I believe the impetus for the "Dump Pat for Pitching" movement came from the consecutive bad years followed by "normal" years that were significantly below his initial "normal" years. Simply, Pat Burrell is not the best example of someone who will revert to the norm, since his norm like, say, Aaron Rowand, is a bit of a moving target. Abreu, on the other hand (and here I think I'm saying something you may agree with) will come a lot closer, maybe even within 6 - 7% of his BA, OPS and the like.

Let's put it to bed folks. We disagree on the significance of PtB's second half. We all enjoy it however. And I, for one, will not join the "trade him off" movement again.

I'm guessing maybe the home/away splits on Morales might have something to do w/ coors?

Probably a small sample size.

It'll be interesting to see tonight's lineup with his left/right splits. I guess Helms plays 3rd and Werth in right?

yes burrell did have some value eveyrone in the bigs has some value, but he wasn't doing what the phillies needed him to do to help them win games. the team is much better with the new burrell than the old.
as for cole, yes i am a just a fan so my perspective is that of just win. but my point is, how can cole be sure that he is going to be ok. he sounds more and more like he has zero interest in pitching again this year and will do everything he can to avoid pitching this year. i could be wrong. i hope i am. i want cole to get at it asap and having a long healthy stay in philadelphia, but in case you haven't noticed keeping pitchers healthy isn't something the baseball world has figured out. limiting innings, pitch counts, extra rest and so on, yet guys still get hurt. who knows what will happen with cole? at the very least he needs to stop with this talk of pitching if the team is in the race. they are in the race. if he can pitch he should pitch.

Alby
the Hardball times recently did an analysis of swinging at pitches out of the strike zone. As you say, it pretty clearly showed that, even for "bad pitch hitters", it was better to swing at strikes. If pitchers throw bad pitches to Burrell and he walks more - that's a good thing.

Padres last 20 games:

3 games at Dodgers
3 games vs. Giants
4 games vs. Pirates
3 games vs. Rockies
3 games at Giants
4 games at Brewers

The Phils fate will be decided by the end next week. While the Phils are in New York, St. Louis and Washington, the Pads will play SF, Pitt and Colorado at home. Advantage San Diego. Only good thing is that final 4 game series in Milwaukee. The Brewers could be playing for the Central title, and their fans will be into it. The Phils finish with the Braves (who are shot) and the Nats at home. Who knows, maybe Hamels will be able to pitch by then too.

Plus, don't count out LA. The Pads and Dodgers finish out the season with SF, who laid down and quit last year, when the Phils needed them to put up a fight. The Dodgers have all games left against the West. The Dodgers need to at minimum take 2/3 against SD this week.

control - the sample size is certainly small - especially against lefties - since he's only faced 66 batters total all year.

VS. LEFT: .143 / .464 (14 AB)
VS. RIGHT: .404 / 1.055 (52 AB)

HOME: .400 / 1.106 (7 IP)
AWAY: .306 / .783 (10 1/3 IP)

Tray and VoR,

You are both right to say that there are exceptions to the idea that players perform at the same level of ability.

However, in the case of Burrell, there were several reason to believe that his pre-July numbers were an aberation.

#1) His low BABIP. I don't know how to find this stat no for where he was at, but I remember it was something around .210, which is just absurdly low. A number that low generally means bad luck.

For a counter example, Helms had a .410 BABIP last year, which led a lot of people to believe his great season was mostly luck. He has come back to around .300, and you get a good idea of his true ability.

This is also good news for J-Roll, who while putting up substatially higher totals for this year, still is near his career BABIP. In a case like J-Roll, I would argue that he likely is demonstrating a new level of ability rather than just exploring the upper reaches of his career mean.

#2
Burrell still had an extremely high walk rate in the first half. It is a pretty basic rule that bad hitters do not lead the league in walks. The reason: if they were so bad, pitchers would throw more strike and not allow them on-base. The fact that Burrell continue to draw walks even while hitting .200 shows that pitchers still felt they had to be careful with him, and that he didn't all of a sudden become Abe Nunez.

The reason stat people like walks/k's/Hr totals from both pitchers and batters is that these numbers are *far* less subject to random variation based on luck. People get bloop hits or are robbed by fantastic plays all the time, but very rarely does a walk, strikeout, or HR come about due to luck.

I missed the arguments, but I would agree that clout had no justification to be "certain" of Burrell's turnaround. He did, however, have plenty of reasons to believe a turnaround was likely.

Tray: The longer the career, the more stable and valuable the norms. The average peak year for players, when averaged over everyone, is age 27. O. Perez is now 25. This will be only his second full season; he has been hurt, ineffective or in the minors the other three (not including his first cup of coffee). If you look up his career stats, you'll see he has no "norm." His ERA+ the three partial years was 73, 68 and 68; this is sub-replacement level, which is why he was replaced. His one previous good season, at age 22 in 2004, his ERA+ was 139. This year so far it's 124. So he's been the epitome of a hot-and-cold guy, either very good or useless, and only once finishing within 20 ERA+ points of his career average, which is 94. But remember that he's still only 25. He could either continue to improve (odds are good on that) or he could revert next year to his 2005-2006 form. This is strictly a guess on my part, but if he doesn't get hurt, I'd say the odds are he finally turns in a more-or-less average season, somewhere between 90 and 110 in ERA+. But I"m not crazy enough to put money on it.

The career of a player moves in an arc, it doesn't stay on a 'norm' plateau.

Here, BTW, is a fairly good article on regression to the mean:

http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/but-i-regress/

Again, these are all averages. Anyone who wants "certainty" or to have an analysis "proven" is fooling themselves.

Evolution, relativity, the motions of planets; none of these things are proven, only (highly) likely. I don't think we should expect more from baseball analysis than we do from the physical and natural sciences.

Nutter: "yes burrell did have some value eveyrone in the bigs has some value, but he wasn't doing what the phillies needed him to do to help them win games. the team is much better with the new burrell than the old."

Yes, obviously he's doing more when his OPS is .400 points higher. But your contention that he "wasn't doing what the Phillies needed him to do" is undermined by two inconvenient truths: 1) The team's winning percentage is only a tiny bit higher since his turnaround; and 2)The team led the league in runs scored before, and they lead the league in runs scored now. If he was such a big drag on the offense, where did the effect show up?

"How can cole be sure that he is going to be ok. he sounds more and more like he has zero interest in pitching again this year and will do everything he can to avoid pitching this year."

If I was being advised by the Phillies medical staff, I'd do everything I could to avoid pitching again this year, too. If what you mean is that you've reached the conclusion that Cole Hamels is not a gut-it-out guy, well, I'd have to say all the evidence is in your favor. I grew up in an age where lots of guys gutted it out, were out of baseball a year or two later and needed help combing their hair from then on. If it hurts as much as he says, I doubt he could pitch effectively anyway. Of course, an ineffective Cole Hamels is probably better than Durbin or Eaton, but I'd rather be safe than sorry.

Pat Burrell's career BABIP is .305. his BABIP in May: .161. his BABIP in June: .136.

(and of course his BABIP in July was .480, which is absurdly high and no more sustainable than those May/June numbers. this is one of the reasons that many predicted Reggie Willits' hot start wouldn't last: he had a BABIP over .380 every month until July, which is when his average started to drop.)

it would be helpful to know what his line drive percentage was in May/June, because that's something beyond luck that would contribute to a low BABIP. unfortunately I don't know where you can get monthly LD% splits - via Fangraphs, he's at 18.4% LD for the season versus a career 21.3%, which suggests that his LD% may have dropped early in the year. that could support the argument that a midyear recovery from injury played a major role in his second half production.

Careful, ae, you'll scare Chief Z.

I'm still hoping he'll explain what "states" [sic] make Chick Fraser look like a Hall of Famer.

my guess: Texas. and Idaho.

I've had this thought lingering in my head now for about a week and a half. It is preposterous I know, but I can't help but wonder if there is some chance that the Phils would shut down Hamels intentionally to have Hamels as fresh as possible for the stretch run. While they are definately in the middle of it, there are still 20 (Maybe 19 games left). It is not unfathomable that the powers that be could say, "With this offense, there is a decent chance that we stay within 3 games of the WC/Division, with or without Hamels." If closer than that great, but if he is remotely closer to beginning of the season fresh, he could be lights out, stop you dead, good. I don't think it is impossible for this scenario to happen, especially in light of what the NE Patriots do with Tom Brady. Brady is listed as questionable in almost every game they play. That and Belicheck's constant manipulation of the injured list, suggests that some form of deception does go on within the realm of major sports, and injury specificity. Look at Eaton's recent trip to the DL, what was that for?? Inneffectiveness? There have been several guys go down this season, and the exact cause of their injuries escapes me, or it was never indicated in much detail. Maybe this is crazy, but I think, not totally impossible.

Perez is a terrible example, I just picked it because clout's been saying all year that he was pitching over his head and wasn't really this good.

Nice work ae, where did you find splits on BABIP?

And yeah, I think that's crazy parker, and totally impossible. You think they'd rather have Eaton/Durbin start several games than Hamels because when he finally comes back he'd be "stop you dead good"? You'd be giving away games and not necessarily getting anything back in return, just slightly more dominant performances from Hamels than usual. What would be the point at all? All we need to do is hold a team down to 3 runs and we usually win.

Tray
Are you saying you were trying to annoy clout? How could you!?!?!?

kdon: you can get BABIP by month on B-Ref

Thanks Andy. Where else!

"Evolution, relativity, the motions of planets; none of these things are proven"

I'd say the earth orbits the sun every 365 days, and that the earth turns on its axis once every 24 hours. My proof? Every morning the sun comes up, and every night it sets. Next, we'll debate whether water is wet and the sky is really blue.

And that article about regression to the mean kdon posted says that players who overperform in a given season are likely to regress the next year, not that players tend to perform within a standard deviation of their career norms every year.

Well, lets all hope Eaton has one of those games tonight that will help him regress to his norm.

Yes, if he goes out there and throws consecutive no-hitters, that would be totally predictable because it might actually get him close to his career ERA.

To clarify: I meant to say, limit him to 2/3 starts prior to the playoffs (If applicable). I did not mean to not start him at all prior to the playoffs. This idea seems possible to me. Hamels comments almost suggest that it is somewhat true. Did he not say: "We are going to see where we are in the standings, and then make a decision." I realize that the most likely interpretation of such a comment is that he does have an unjury and they would prefer him to sit unless it is necessary to make the playoffs. However, I am of the opinion that if it the injury is even suggestive of having long term effects, then he should be shut down. I cannot imagine that Hamels/Management would think otherwise. Hamels is too good to just throw his arm away for a playoff push that may not result in anything, except more elbow trouble. If he pitches again this year, I believe that the injury is/was not as serious as may or may not have been suggested. If he doesn't then I am inclined to think that it was/is more severe, or that they are being extremely cautious. I am no elbow expert, but an MRI showing no structural damage suggests that he is healthy, but I am aware that soft tissue damage is difficult to detect, that there could be complications that are not ascertainable from an MRI under any circumstances. If this is the case, and there is quantifiable evidence that serious injuries have occured, despite the failure of an MRI to detect any structural damage, then I would be inclined to sit him for the rest of the season.

Ken Mandel's mailbag lists Werth as a free agent in 2008 while the Inky says he has not accrued enough service time to be a free agent. Anybody know which is correct?

Glennbo
for what this is worth (harhar) MLBTradeRumors does not list him as a Free Agent.

Tray: Let me get this straight. You accept that if a player has a bad year he's likely to have a good year following as a reversion to the mean, yet you don't accept that such a thing can occur within a single season? If a single season is totally random, as you suggest, then why aren't two seasons totally random?

Andy: Werth is arbitration eligible.

Man. It is pouring again - are we getting this game in?

I Love the statistical talk. The statement most players regress ot get back to the mean. What is more true they usually regress to their mode. What they do most often. Which explains streaky.

Then there is Brady Anderson.

Phils don't have another off-day until Sept 24, when they'll probably really need it. I bet they try and force the game in tonight. The forecast says, scattered t-storms.

"Phils don't have another off-day until Sept 24"

And while the Rockies have off that day, it's between road series in San Diego & LA. I can't imagine anyone (on Colorado) would be happy about having to fly across the country for one game.

However, being that Wednesday & Thursday are night games, I'd think that it might not be impossible to have a day/night doubleheader on one of those days if needed.

loctastic - if the game isn't played tonight, they'd probably just make it a double-header tomorrow or Thursday. I wouldn't think they'd reschedule for Sept. 24 or for after the season (if necessary). Although the Rockies are also off on the 24th. in between a series against the Dodgers and Padres.

Yes, that's true. I guess they could just make a doubleheader out of it.

"I'd say the earth orbits the sun every 365 days, and that the earth turns on its axis once every 24 hours. My proof? Every morning the sun comes up, and every night it sets."

Well, actually the earth orbits the sun every 365 1/4 days, and the sun never goes up or down.

And all you are doing is giving "descriptive" analysis. You may be pretty sure the sun will "rise" tomorrow, but you sure as hell don't know it with metaphysical certainty.

VOR's "Well, lets all hope Eaton has one of those games tonight that will help him regress to his norm." is the Quote of the Day.

Sophist answered Ben Keeler's question of why Eaton is starting. Secret talks between the Rocks and the Phils had them agree to start their dog pitchers on the same day in order to keep the game competitive for both team; hence Eaton gets a start against Bow Wowser Morales.

"And all you are doing is giving "descriptive" analysis. You may be pretty sure the sun will "rise" tomorrow, but you sure as hell don't know it with metaphysical certainty."

Sure, but on the positive side, that is a fairly solid sample size to use.

"Sure, but on the positive side, that is a fairly solid sample size to use."

Depends. If you believe in the literal truth of the Bible, you only have a scant 5000 years to work with.

Since the regress to norm stuff is playing itself out (in a slow, agonizing, death by toothpicks kinda way), I have a semi-retraction. Using one measure on B-Ref I indicated that, perhaps, the Zen was not the joke everyone (well, Milton "Please Throw More Pitches at My A**" Bradley) makes it out to be. I took another look using the 2007 ML team splits page of B-Ref and looked at stadiums. CBP does indeed have the highest OPS of any stadium. Of course, as long as we're talking "joke" stadiums, the Padres homecourt is by far the WORST of any park for hitting. Indeed, with an average OPS of 74 (that's right - 74) it is the most "joke-like" stadium of all - far worse, in it's own way, than Philly. (So, maybe Chris "I Mostly Pitch in a Polo Field" Young is more the pitcher parker says he is after all.)

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