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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

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Hard to read too much into this game but the phillies pitchers did not issue a walk according to the box score.

Zolecki provided a link to beerleaguer on his new blog...which, then again, is about as exciting as Feliz hitting a single in his first phillies at bat. Still, worth a mention.

Way to start the Grapefruit League season!

It was sooooo nice to hear baseball on the radio again.

Dobbsy is picking up where he left off last spring.

It's all good.

Another home run for Mr. February, Greg Dobbs.

Better than being Mr. January, I suppose.

wow barely any posts. I worry about Carrasco's head with his family. Venezuela is a mess under Chavez. Who was the pitcher who had to pay $3 million to get his mom back again?

Wait a minute it was Urbina. Then he goes back and kills a couple of guys. I've seen the slums in Caracas, very spooky.

What makes you think they're worse than the slums in San Pedro de Macoris?

hey... if we tell dobbs all the games don't count, we've got our 3B hole filled for years!

No, we'd have somebody standing at 3B for years. Defensively it would remain a hole.

I noticed that kdon (who along with Jack is one of the ardent Feliz boosters) in the earlier thread put forth the nonsense that Feliz should hit 7th (or higher!) because he's such a great RBI man, while it's fine to hit Ruiz 8th even though Feliz makes outs in 72% of all his PAs while Ruiz makes outs in 66%.

Now the facts: Feliz, who hit either 6th or 7th, had RBIs in 12.9% of his ABs. Ruiz, who hit 8th almost exclusively, had RBIs in 14.4% of his ABs. Now who is more likely to get on base or drive in a run again?

Tomorrow's pitchers

Phils: Kendrick will start. Savery, Outman, Rosario, and Holdzkom are also scheduled.

Pirates: Gorzelanny will start followed by Bryan Bullington, Phil Dumatrait, Jaret Wright, Juan Perez, John Grabow and Matt Capps.

Alby:all bad, all sad. I hope Carlos can get his family to the states and we don't need him at all this year until September when he can come up and pitch a few games since we have such a huge lead. Unfortunately, that may be optimistic.

Clout: with those stats, who had the higher percentage of opportunities to get an RBI. Meaning if Feliz only had RBI chances 40% of the time and Ruiz had 55% chances, then that would mean Feliz is better.

Slocs: Ruiz created 4.3 runs per 9 IP, Feliz 3.9. In career OPS with runners in scoring position, it's Ruiz .824 to Feliz .735, although Ruiz only has 2 years and thus far fewer ABs.

Billy Mac-
Wow Jaret Wright, 2 years removed from a respectable year on the mound in New York and 4 years removed from an awesome season in Atlanta, pitching middle relief for the Pirates??
That's just awful.

Clout: But isn't it automatic with Charlie that catcher's always bat 8th. I worry that Charlie may bat Feliz as high as 3rd or 5th some games against lefties.

Injuries have been Wright's downfall. His innings have to be reduced because of his recurring shoulder problems, and he is likely no longer a starter. You are correct how quickly he has fallen, that at age 32, he is now just trying to make a 25 man roster.

All depends on the pitcher. Ruiz hits Oliver Perez well, but not Tom Glavine. The Outmaker, Feliz, hits Glavine ok, but is 1-8 against Oliver Perez.

I dont think we can read too much into Feliz's stats. Remember he played with San Francisco, who had an awful awful offense the last couple of years. Benjie Molina occasionally hit cleanup for them. So the runs produced numbers for Feliz are irrelevant to me.

Win is good whenever, albeit it's only spring training. Come Opening Day all spring stats and win-loss records disappear and mean nothing, but doing well is spring is still encouraging nonetheless...nice to get a win in the opener.

Gregg Dobb's may be "Mr. February", but the Phillies would have made it to October last year if not for his bat in crucial moments. (See Grand Slam v.s. Mets)

Blaming Dobbs for our woeful offensive production at 3b last season seems to me like faulting Brian Westbrook for the Eagles poor red zone offense. The guy was clutch all season long. When the sacks are loaded, there are few other batters I want to see up there. His approach is awesome and that's what makes him such a good pinch hitter. The two other guys he shared the bag with watered down the stats.

Good points stevo. Dobbs is a great PH and he did have some huge hits in clutch situations for us last year. Finally good to be able to turn down the old metaphorical hot stove and get into some actually baseball! Now if only it would warm up outside, and we could turn down the actual hot stove as well.

Of course there aren't many posts, Slocs. Something actually happened today. The Phillies played a game and won; what's there to argue? Speculation leads to more posts, not something real and boring like the Phillies putting together a seven-run fifth. Duh.

Great to see baseball back on the agenda, the Phillies look good in their first game. Ahhh Spring! :)

If you'd like to listen to a nice show on 'Ghosts in Baseball' please make you way to my blog.. www.phillywebcast.com .. at 6:45pm tonight Thursday Feb 28 2008, where we will interview the author Dan Gordon - of "Haunted Baseball". There is a lot of new stories with some Yankee players and former Mets, and a few former Phillies players run in with 'ghosts'!

clout -
My argument for batting Feliz seventh is that he is one of the worst people to place eighth. (Of course, he is one of the worst to bat anywhere; but that's a different argument.)

With a pitcher coming up after him, the opposing pitcher is even less likely to throw him a pitch in the strike zone. That means he'll be putting more bad pitches into play, hitting even worse than normal. And since he almost never walks, he'll turn the order over less frequently than Ruiz.

It is illustrative to see how many times the Giants started Feliz batting eighth in the last four years (i.e. after they got to know his (if you can call it this) "skill set." Granted, he might have been moved up because they had no one better (which is probably a stretch), but it is also likely that they realized that placing him eighth is playing russian roullette with 5 1/2 bullets.

My favorite line from yesterday's box:

Helms, DH 4 0 0 0 0 1 3 .000

It's comforting to know that all of the Phils can pick up right where they left off last fall.

"His [Dobbs'] approach is awesome and that's what makes him such a good pinch hitter."

With all due respect, I remember him swinging quite often at the first pitch and putting it in play weakly. I had no problem with his performance, but I do have one with praising his approach, which apparently is predicated on the maxim that the first pitch will always be a fastball. I would prefer him to look at more pitches, but he can't because he can't hit anything except a fastball.

"His [Dobbs'] approach is awesome and that's what makes him such a good pinch hitter."

With all due respect, I remember him swinging quite often at the first pitch and putting it in play weakly. I had no problem with his performance, but I do have one with praising his approach, which apparently is predicated on the maxim that the first pitch will always be a fastball. I would prefer him to look at more pitches, but he can't because he can't hit anything except a fastball.

Alby: People remember different things. You remember Dobbs swinging at first pitches, and Stevo remembers a few clutch hits. This is why we use stats to tell us what someone did, because you can't possibly remember everything a player did and be able to categorize that into an evaluation, at least an objective one. It's simply not possible. The stats tell us Dobbs was a slightly below-average offensive player, and a bad defensive one, and a relatively successul pinch-hitter (although I don't think that's all that meaningful because of small sample size- I'd rather look at someone overall as a hitter rather than specifically as a pinch hitter). This means he is probably well-suited to his role this year: a guy who is not a regular but a super utility guy who can play multiple positions (3B, 1B, OF) and can be the first hitter off the bench.

Also, Clout, I never talked about Feliz's position in the batting order once. He is a bad offensive player and should probably hit 8th in order to minimize his PA's over the course of the year. I don't know of any studies done about the usage of guys in the 8th position in the NL and whether you want to put a higher OBP guy there rather than 7th (which is counter-intuitive to normal lineup building, but could make sense because of turning over the lineup), so I can't comment on that. I would probably hit Ruiz 7th and Feliz 8th.

"Blaming Dobbs for our woeful offensive production at 3b last season seems to me like faulting Brian Westbrook for the Eagles poor red zone offense."

The problem with this argument is that while Dobbs played 3B last year, and hit well last year, he did not do both well at the same time.

In his 208 ABs last year while playing 3rd, he hit .232/.293/.347.

It's possible this is just random distribution, but I also think Dobbs may be the kind of guy who thrives when his only job is to hit. It's happened before, with his buddy Helms, who raked in Florida after being moved off the hot corner, and came crashing back to earth.

I'm happy he is going to be the #1 PH off then bench. In that role, he may be one of the best in the majors. At 3B, he would be one of the worst.

Great reading on Beerleaguer. It's invigorating. The spring training juices are now flowing in my body. The winning elixir is better than an overpriced Starbucks coffee to awaken the spirit within Lake Fred.

Jamie Moyer is amazing. I can't believe he still brings it at his advanced age.

I loved the discussion about AM radio vs. XM. In the future, we can get an MLB chip implanted in our brains that will receive all Phillies games all the time. I can see it now, you can be sitting on the couch with your wife pretending to be watching a DVD of the Ya Ya Sisterhood, while your wife does not suspect that your brain is hearing the play by play of every pitch!

"Blaming Dobbs for our woeful offensive production at 3b last season seems to me like faulting Brian Westbrook for the Eagles poor red zone offense."

Also, that's just a little bit of a stretch in general. Westbrook is one of the top offensive players in the league. Dobbs is... what exactly? A solid major league bench guy is where I would put him, a guy who can be a great contributor to a playoff team, the kind of guy you need, but definitley not one of your everyday starters and key contributors.

The Feliz/Ruiz argument is pretty pointless. I brought it up mostly because I thought it was funny that Cholly kept the cathcer in the 8 hole.

However, considering the offensive advantage of hitting Ruiz 7th and Feliz 8th based on their career stats is one (maybe two!) times on base over the course of the season, it is meaningless.

Interesting note, however, is that Ruiz's OBP last year was helped *by hitting 8th.* Aside from how many unintentional intentional walks he received to get to the pitcher, almost 25% of his walks were intentional (10 out of 42).

Take him out of the 8 hole, and you are looking at a 315 OBP last year.

Feliz has been a middle of the order player before, has a higher slugging, and an approach ill-suited to hitting 8th. Seems like a good fit to me to hit him 7th.

The RBI percentage #s are laughable, the exact kind of thing that give statistics a bad name.

Very interesting game yesterday for the ST lid lifter. Hard to beleive that the starting top three in the order and the DH went 0 for 10 but they still scored 8 runs on 12 hits. I thought the way to beat this team was to pitch nothing but lefties but Howard and Dobbs had no trouble against lefties yesterday. The thing that caught my attention was Howard was going to the opposite field which he was reluctant to do last year. His double was to left center and the wind knocked down a long fly ball caught down the left field line.

-Blackley's fastball was even slower than advertised, but he'll gain a couple mph by april. by all accounts, Blackley's an intense competitor, so maybe he can learn something from jamie moyer.

-when i visited caracas in the early 90s, it didn't strike me as especially dangerous for a south american city. of course, much could've changed since then.

btw- i can't believe you guys are still talking about feliz/helms/dobbs. don't you feel like you've exhausted that topic? the 3B debate will continue all year, but personally, i'm in wait-and-see mode.

Whether Ruiz or Feliz hit 8th this year couldn't be more irrelevant.
The fact that people crack on Charlie for "always hitting his catcher 8th" is silly too. As if it's some stubborn mindset of his. It's not like he's burying Mike Piazza down there. He's protecting a young, inexperienced catcher who he wants to focus most on defense/calling a game. If Ruiz's limited offensive skills improve then I'm sure he'll adjust the lineup accordingly.
And Kdon, good point on the 10 IBBs.

kdon: I know your love for Feliz is unbounded, but you don't think an opposing pitcher would walk Ruiz in order to face Feliz?

There is reality and then there are Brian G posts: "If Ruiz's limited offensive skills improve then I'm sure he'll adjust the lineup accordingly."

Among the 16 NL catchers who had 300 or more plate appearances last season, Ruiz ranked 5th in OPS. In other words, offensively, Ruiz is in the upper third of everyday NL catchers.

Considering the fact that Feliz has more power than Ruiz and swings at a lot of bad pitches (and therefore would swing at too many 'pitch-around' pitches) means he should hit seventh with Ruiz hitting eighth. I realize Ruiz doesn't have a great eye either, having only 30 or so BBs all year (outside of IBBS), but Feliz' power makes the decsion to bat him 7th easier.

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