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Monday, October 22, 2007

Comments

In other news, the Red Sox won the AL pennant last night.

kdon - thanks for the splits. I do wonder what Dobbs might do as an everyday 3B. In the splits, he shows ability to hit LHP. But that's minors. And is his defense up to the job?

I'm just not so sure that it's worth spending too much money on a 5, if we're better off spedning it on a 1.

From the other Thread - I agree. If we lose a draft pick for Silva but not Lohse, that definitely makes the argument relative to the #4 starter du jour.

I also suggest reading Phuture Phillies' interview with Keith Law. If you have not been sufficiently depressed with the state of the Phils' farm system, this ought to, at least, soberb you up (if not put you in a "Phils stink funk" for an hour or two) (good times! good times!).

Law does count D'Arnaud as a prospect incidently. But if what he says about Carrasco is true, I retract my defense of keeping him. If we can raise Cain, then let the trades fly.

one point on losing a pick for Silva - correct me if I'm wrong, but you can only lose one pick for signing a Type A free agent. so if you're signing at least one other Type A (Lowell, Cordero, Rivera, Schilling, etc.), you may as well go after Silva.

I'm excited about the "re"-emergence of Jason Jaramillo. He used to be a "prospect" then fell off in production and defense, but made had an excellent 2nd half of the season in Ottawa in '07. It's nice to know he's waiting to step in should Chooch Ruiz or Chris Coste falter.

Swindle should get fast-tracked to Philly.

Totally disagree about rushing Jaramillo to Philly. Plus, you can't call a 25-year player anymore a "prospect."

Jaramillo's value is that he gives the Phils a viable option at C if either Ruiz/Coste get hurt or struggle. Gillick won't have to waste money/roster spot on bringing in a reserve catcher will marginal ability and usefulness for the 3rd straight season.

MG: I'm using "prospect" in a more general sense of the term meaning "minor leaguer," but I still think he's a prospect of note. Catchers take a little while, usually, unless they're studs like Mauer, McCann and those guys. I'm not bothered by his timetable or age.

If Jaramillo is getting any kind of buzz, I suspect he'll be on this roster before roster expansion next year, bumping Coste to some kind of utility role or off the team entirely.

Either Jaramillo or Ruiz can be trade bait if both develop into good defensive catchers with adequate sticks.

Once again, I'll ask - and WHY hasn't Chris Coste been given an opportunity at 3B????

According to Zolecki the Phillies outrighted Yoel Hernandez and he elected for free agency. Not sure if it is the right decision. I think I would rather see him than someone like Mesa or Alfonseco. He once was considered a prospect before some arm problems.

kdon: So a walk equals a hit to you? Interesting concept.

Andy: Is a pitcher solely responsible for his ERA? Or does the bullpen (inherited runners) have something to do with it?

I would rather not get into this Silva/Lohse debate, since it's getting pretty far afield. but: clout, there's a significant difference between a walk and a hit. the pitcher has a lot of control over giving up walks, but substantially less control over giving up hits.

so yes, I would rather have a pitcher who gives up 2 walks and 10 hits per 9 than a pitcher who gives up 4 walks and 8 hits per 9, because the control pitcher, I believe, is more likely to maintain his 1.33 WHIP.

Carson: Quickie quiz: How many soft-tossing, great-control lefties dominate in A ball yet never make it to the majors?

ae: I disagree. I'll take someone who's a little wild and gives up the 4 walks and 8 hits over the guy who gives up 10 hits and 2 walks. Hits drive in runs. Walks don't. And I'd be curious for any evidence to back up your WHIP assumption.

kingman: You understand than neither Mesa nor Alfonseca are under contract for 2008, right?

Well, Keith Law's assessment of the Phils' minor league talent overall generally mirrors what many on this board have been saying about individual players for months: They ain't all that.

Also, his analysis of Carrasco and the other pitchers seems to dovetail with Gillick's assessment ashort time ago: They won't be ready in '08.

If anything, the interview has served to bring SirAlden back to reality about the prospects in the Phils' system. His comment:

"Sobering. We will see in a year if this group has progressed. I see that they have more ability, but this was a wonderful interview. Thanks."

seems a more sane assesment["we will see"], than his unqualified cheerleading about some of them (Savery) on this site earlier this year.

As some of you know, I am "Mr. Negativity" when it comes to assessing the performance of the Phillies baseball operation(can'tdevelop pitching, no $$$ for Latino scouting and signing, blah blah blah). Yet, even I was surprised at Law's depiction of some of the talent in the Phils system.

The fact that he ranks Drabek 3rd even though no one can be sure he's going to recover from the TJ surgery screams volumes about the state of the "farm".

In short, it's worse than even I thought.

So, if that's the case, Jimmy, Ryan, Coel and Chase aren't going to get a lot of help from guys being called up anytime soon.

This leads one to the conclusion that unless management does a better job getting talent in return for their MLB players, the only hope this core of young players has of staying competitive is if the Phils make a couple of big FA moves.

Based on Law's evaluation of a particular minor league outfielder(Golson), there is no help on the way in that department anytime soon. Unless Gillick can pull another rabbit out of the hat(Werth), then re-signing Rowand almost becomes a necessity.

Just my opinion.

I don't think Jaramillo ever fell off the prospect list, although he fell down it. To me a prospect is a guy who is likely to play in the big leagues some day. Jaramillo's defense says he will. The only question is whether he'll ever hit enough to be an everyday player. I don't think he will, at least at first. But he can have a very nice Rod Barajas type career.

clout, I don't believe that there are truly "effectively wild" pitchers. if you're looking for evidence, I think you need to look at is Voros McCracken's work on BABIP, where he concluded that pitchers have little to no control over allowing hits. what they can control is giving up HR and giving up walks. sure, there are legitimate disagreements with McCracken's conclusions, but it's a pretty strong and widely accepted theory.

the guy who is a little wild and manages to slip out of trouble isn't going to be able to do that consistently. look at Robinson Tejeda.

my contention about WHIP is simply an extension of my contention about walks being more controllable than hits. I'm not sure why you seem to think it's a separate issue.

(and I realize we're getting pretty far away from the Silva/Lohse issue, but wtf, it's the offseason.)

AWH: I thought Law's assessment was pretty good and quite refrehsing to see on Phuture Phillies where all prospects are future stars.

His choice of Carrasco, Savery, Drabek, Outman as the top 4 seems just fine to me. He's got d’Arnaud at #5 and I think it's way too early to have him that high considering how little playing time he's had. I'd go with Happ or Cardenas myself, hoping he eventually can be at least average with the glove at 2B. Don't forget Utley had the same fielding questions when he started out.

Here's Keith Law's best comment, when asked about Costanzo and Golson:
"I don’t see either as much of a big leaguer; Costanzo probably makes it but doesn’t stick, while Golson in all likelihood doesn’t make it at all."

JW - I tend to agree with Clout. If Jamarillo's defense is as advertised (and reports have varied on this the past 2 years), then he will likely make it the majors at some point in the next year or so.

By the way, it semantic but I thought that Jamarillo was 25 going on 26 next year. I can understand your point about catchers being slower to develop.

The minor league pipeline does appear bleak but look at the current Phillies team that came up through the system along with their current age:

Burrell - 31
Utley - 28
Rollins - 28
Ruiz - 28
Howard - 27
Myers - 27
Bourn - 24
Hamels - 23
Kendrick - 23

Looking at past prospects in our system probably would not have classified any outside of Hamels or Burrell here as "can't miss".

In fact there were concerns with many such as Howard & Utley initially and Kendrick was not on the top 10 radar but was one of the top 5-7 rookies this year.

Obviously pitching is thin on this list but that is what is the strongest in our system currently in addition to catchers which is a big benefit.

Once our team of TJs (Drabek, Mathieson, Matt Smith,etc) gets healthy in the next year the system could look altogether different.

Not defending the current state of minor league talent but just pointing out it is not always as bad (in our case) or good as some may think.

I don't disagree with your assesment of Jaramillo. The situation sets up nicely for him however. The fact that he's a switch hitter could help him earn playing time. They would probably like Ruiz to play a little less. Plus, Charlie had taken a defense-first approach to catching, which helps him over someone like Coste.

Finally had a chance to read the Keith Law stuff on Phuture Phillies:

http://phuturephillies.com/2007/10/19/prospect-qa-with-keith-law/

Pretty depressing. Keith Law has a reputation of being tough on Philly but I agree with his overall impression of the current state of the Phils' minor league system. Generally barren and not much MLB-ready talent.

Some guys who might help this out down the right but highly unlikely in 2008. Absolutely kills the Phils since they are to fill their holes by either making a trade or signing a FA.

JB: Your list drives home a very good point, often overlooked on Beerleaguer: The Phillies over the past decade have developed some very nice homegrown talent, but their judgment on trades and free agent signings has been so horrendous (see the Abreu trade, the Rolen trade, the Schilling trade, the Padilla trade, the Gio Gonzalez trade etc. etc., etc. times 10) that they have been unable to acquire quality players to support that homegrown core.

JB - Kendrick was a great story this year but let's see what he does next year. I am willing to be he is still a useful starter but posts numbers that are much closer to the league average (ERA of 4.50-5.00). Still very valuable though in market where that kind of FA pitcher is making $8-$10 million/year.

As for the other arms, I would surprised if more than 1 pitcher from the minors breaks camp from the Phils. Probably one pitcher to round out the bullpen. Maybe I am wrong but I see a ton of fringe guys (Castro, Zagurski, Hernandez) and a ton of question marks (Mathieson, Bisenius, Happ).

What Gillick has to be able to do this offseason though is find at least 1 (preferably 2) diamonds in the rough on the pitching side. Guys who likely won't start the year with the major league team but will contribute in a meaningful way at some point next season. Gillick has really done a piss poor job of this so far and hopefully it changes this offseason.

Saw this posted on Phuture Phillies in regards to the Keith Law posting:

SirAlden Says:
October 19th, 2007 at 7:20 pm

Sobering. We will see in a year if this group has progressed. I see that they have more ability, but this was a wonderful interview. Thanks.

Must have been like an alcoholic who has been drinking for 20 years, suddenly sobers up, and realizes the world is pretty different on how he perceived it.


"Is a pitcher solely responsible for his ERA? Or does the bullpen (inherited runners) have something to do with it?"

If a pitcher leaves the game so frequently with runners on base that it skews his ERA when his relievers let them in, guess what? He is mostly responsible. Both pitchers would have had guys let in by the bullpen.

How about a few figures:
Year .. Pitcher A..Pitcher B
2004.....4.21......5.34
2005.....3.44......4.14
2006.....5.94......5.83
2007.....4.19......4.62

Two starting pitchers. Which column you want?

Andy: Without context, such as age, whether he played for a good team or bad team, IP, R/L splits etc., OPS against, it's hard to say.

I would say that Pitcher A pitched more innings per year; the teams were comparable, though team B did do markedly better in its post-season prospects; Pitcher A had to face the DH, while B did not. But you already know who's who.

I do have to question how disingenuous your arguments seem relative to actual runs allowed. In the end, of what value is a better OPS against if your starting pitcher allows more runs? In three of the four years, Silva did better than a half a run better than Lohse per nine innings. In his one bad (actually abominable) year, when the 38 HRs ran up the SLG and OPS against, he still was almost equal to Lohse in ERA.

I started this discussion believing that it was a wash; but you truly have persuaded me that there is a marked difference in the quality of the two pitchers. Congratulations.

Clout,
I understand that Mesa and Alfonseca are not under contract for 2008. My point is I would rather keep a young pitcher from the organization than bring in one of the old washed up relievers they bring in year after year.

Clout,
I understand that Mesa and Alfonseca are not under contract for 2008. My point is I would rather keep a young pitcher from the organization than bring in one of the old washed up relievers they bring in year after year.

Clout, yes, I think you should look at walks allowed when evaluating pitchers. I wouldn't call that an "interesting concept," I'd call it a fairly banal and obvious one.

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