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Thursday, March 27, 2008

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Should our trash on the MLB staff go sour, we'll have plenty of no-talent ass-clowns in the Lehigh Valley to choose from...yippie!!!

IronPigs will have a very left-handed rotation: Blackley, Happ, Mazone, Youman.

you are annoying

Odds are against Blackley ever being a success, but the more guys whgo have like this, the better your chances of getting lucky.

Bap (from last thread), the problem is that last year was the only good ERA Durbin has had and even that was a mirage.

According to the Hardball Times, his FIP ERA was 5.73, meaning (sorry if you know this) that based on his peripheral numbers, he just got plain lucky to post an ERA that low.

There is a reason that almost every projection stat (which looks at peripheral data rather than ERA) projects the Durbins and Blackley all around the same ERA.

And I could care less about what the respective pitchers did in 15 spring training innings.

kdon: "I could care less about what the respective pitchers did in 15 spring training innings."

Yeah, if I was pumping up the Bad Durbin the way you are I'd say the same thing! LOL

That may be true clout, but in my case it's consistent. I said I didn't care about Floyd's ST in '06, and I didn't care about Karim Garcia last year.

It's been my general philosophy for a long time that with all the advanced statistics available to measure ability, the accomplishments in a few weeks in Florida against varying levels of competition and effort mean little.

And even if you don't like the prospects of the Real Deal, the only possible moniker is *Worse* Durbin.

MG - You're looking like the sometimes mental genius you are with Lohse. He pitched five scoreless today. Granted, it was against the Marlins.

kdon: Like I said at the end of last thread, I'm no great fan of Chad Durbin. However, he has proven, at least in one season, that he can throw strikes at the major league level. Blackley has been unable to do that in his 2 major league try-outs, and he was unable to do it in pring training. That is the reason why Durbin has a major league job & Blackley doesn't.

Another great spring day. Eaton 7 runs in 4 innings, Gordon 6 runs in 1/3 of an inning. Hard to get excited about that.

". . . with all the advanced statistics available to measure ability, the accomplishments in a few weeks in Florida against varying levels of competition and effort mean little."

I don't disagree with you when you're talking about players who actually have a significant major league data pool from which to calculate their various statistics. But when you're dealing with guys who have little or no major league experience, there's no choice but to judge them based on spring training performance. Spring training performance may be based on a tiny sample size, but a tiny sample size is still better than NO sample size.

"But when you're dealing with guys who have little or no major league experience, there's no choice but to judge them based on spring training performance."

I couldn't disagree more. Full seasons of minor league statistics are much more valuable than ST.

It's funny, because with all of this, no one has brought up what I think is the best argument for C. Durbib: his '06 AAA campaign. His performance that year in Toledo gives me way more confidence he could be good than his "strike-throwing" luck-filled performance for the Tigers last year.

Unfortunately, that stands out as a big exception in his record.

I've heard Claudio Vargas and Josh Towers were both released today. Is that true?

If so I think TOwers would be a great pick-up

Tower's ERAs the past 2 seasons: 8.42 and 5.38. Pass.

Imagine if the Phillies won the Erik Bedard Sweepstakes, and then he goes out and posts a 2-2 record, 8.63 ERA, gives up the most amount of earned runs in ST (23 - two more than The Real Deal!), a K/BB of 10/8, and a WHIP of 1.79.

We'd be fitting him up for a cross right now.

"MG - You're looking like the sometimes mental genius you are with Lohse. He pitched five scoreless today. Granted, it was against the Marlins."

Funny thing is that any supposed pundit is right wrong even about half the time is usually called a "genius."

Only time it is interesting is when a pundit makes a really outlandish/bold prediction that comes true like "Carpenter will be this year's Kendrick and win 10+ games."

kdon: Full seasons of minor league stats are SOMEWHAT more valuable than ST. But if a hot pitching prospect whizzed through the minors, then showed up at major league ST & got lit up, then literally every major league GM would conclude that the guy is not ready for the majors & should not make the team.

There are plenty of good minor leaguers who simply can't make the jump to the majors (See, i.e., Chris Roberson, Brian Sanches), and AAA stats can't really predict who might fall into this category. To make the majors, or at least stay in the majors, you at some point have to take advantage of your opportunities -- brief as those opportunities may be -- by showing that you can perform at the major league level.

Actually, with a 50% success rate, you probably get the afternoon drive time on WIP...

From last thread, MG wrote:

Myers on the starting rotation:

“It’s probably the best in the National League. That’s my opinion, and nobody is going to care about my opinion.”

Not much to say here for such a ridiculous comment. I just hope the Phils' rotation is even league average this year because they make the playoffs is that is the case.

****************

Well... as ridiculous as it is, let's hope it ends up being as prophetic as J-Roll's "ridiculous" comment from last spring training!

Fine get Vargas then if it's true..I don't care.

I think Towers moving to the NL would affect his ERA iniitally downward so maybe a one year deal would be best. I don't know if he'd go for that though.

They need to try and get someone in here to help out

"Well... as ridiculous as it is, let's hope it ends up being as prophetic as J-Roll's "ridiculous" comment from last spring training!"

JRoll's comment last year wasn't ridiculous. Bold, maybe but even that was overplayed and taken out of context a bit. If you want a ridiculous JRoll comment, his "100 wins" this season fits the bill.

This team could have added Santana and I don't know if they would win 100 games.

Its funny because the WIP guys (particulary Mitch Williams) seem to mock the projected stats guys/saber guys and deride them with negative stereotypes. Yet at the same time they talk about stuff like OBP and other more advanced stats at times too.

Generally put the radio guys coverage of the Phils' in the "yahoo" category in terms of coverage of the Phils unless Eskin can scoop a story. You get far superior coverage and insight on the various Phils' blogs.

Well bap it seems we've come to an impasse because I just disagree with how you think GMs evaluate talent, and there is no real way to settle it. I really think that the order in which GMs assemble talent goes

1) Major league performance
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.
2) Scouting
2a) Minor league performance
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.
.
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.
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3) Spring training

I think there are many good reasons not to like Blackley or the Real Deal, but ST is not one of them.

"There are plenty of good minor leaguers who simply can't make the jump to the majors (See, i.e., Chris Roberson, Brian Sanches), and AAA stats can't really predict who might fall into this category."


And I disagree with this. Any reasonable analysis of minor league statistics includes the age and level, and neither Roberson nor Sanches did anything to suggest they would be better than fringe players. (Neither, for that matter, has Blackley)

I mean for every player who perform well in the minors but don't make the majors, there are probably dozens of guys who have nice springs never to be heard from again (Casey Smith).

I think you significantly underestimate the ability of minor league statistics (adjusted for age, level, park, etc) to predict major league success, or at least relative to the ability of spring training to predict success.

The next time B-Pro or Baseball America adjusts their prospect rankings based on ST will be the first.

This spring training if it were a movie:

Gillick III: The Search For Relievers

kdon: You're great with the straw man. Really, a master. BAP isn't remotely arguing that a single spring training performance is a greater predictor of major league performance than a fair analysis of minor league stats.

He is simply saying that if a rookie comes to spring training and stinks the joint up, most GMs would conclude he's not ready and will send him back down.

As for minor league stats being predictive, I agree, but they aren't remotely a guarantee of success. In fact, even among the elite, Grade A quality prospects (i.e. someone who's in an organizations top 5), there's a substantial failure rate. Check out those Baseball America lists of top prospects from 5 or more years ago.

I think spring training has to correlate to something. At the very least, wouldn't you agree that how a guy plays in March tells you something about how he might play in April, just as how he plays in April tells you something about how he might play in May? I think it has to be somewhat encouraging that, for instance, Romero is pitching well, and that one has to be somewhat concerned about Gordon pitching so poorly. I don't expect what they do all season long to match what they're doing now, but it would be a little surprising if the guys who are playing terribly now start doing what they're supposed to the instant the real season starts.

Clout, I assume you are just trying to be annoying but did you read the entire exchange?

"He is simply saying that if a rookie comes to spring training and stinks the joint up, most GMs would conclude he's not ready and will send him back down."

No, actually bap also said this:

1)"But when you're dealing with guys who have little or no major league experience, there's no choice but to judge them based on spring training performance."

2) "Full seasons of minor league stats are SOMEWHAT more valuable than ST."

Do you agree with either of these?

kdon: I agree with much of what you wrote. Minor league stats ARE the best predictor of major league performance, but I disagree that they're a perfect predictor. Maybe this was before your time, but when I was growing up, the Dodgers had a first base prospect named Greg Brock, who posted ungodly stats at every level of the minors. When he got to the majors, he was just atrocious. Everyone kept looking at his minor league stats & assuming he'd eventually figured it out, but he never really got appreciably better. Of course, there have been other, more recent examples of this; Brock is just the one that always comes right to mind because the drop-off was so enormous.

Because minor league stats are an imperfect predictor, a young, unproven player has to perform in spring training or he won't make the team. That may not be entirely fair, since ST is a very short window of opportunity. But it's certainly not irrational. Before adding a guy to the major league team, the GM needs to at least have some clue that the guy is ready to be in the majors. If the guy goes 0 for spring training, that clue still isn't present.

"but I disagree that they're a perfect predictor."

Who said they were perfect?

I agree, however, that ST can serve as a kind of validation for a prospect or a journeyman, but I think this is more of a "cover-your-ass" move by a GM than an accurate way to predict major league success.

It's like a manager making a "book" move; it might not make the most sense logically, but since it's conventional, it makes a good excuse.

And on Brock: Hey, the guy posted a career OPS+ of 105 in over 3000 ABs, so maybe those minor league numbers weren't such bad predictors after all ;-)

Possibly the reason why everyone thought he was "attrocious" was that playing in Chavez Ravine during the 80s wasn't exactly a hitter's paradise.

Where was the Dodgers AAA system back then? I'd bet you dollars to donuts it was a good hitter's park.

Okay, so I looked it up.

Brock was at Albuquerque, in the PCL!!!! No wonder everyone was disappointed!

Things may have changed in 20 years, but in 2007, Alb played as a 120 park factor, which is basically like Coors Field during the Blake Street Bomber era.

Making him go in the 80s from Alb in the PCL to Chavez Ravine in the NL West is like adding 10 ounces to his bat!

kdon: Yes, their AAA team was in the PCL, which is a great hitter's league. But the guy raked at Single and Double A as well.

Not to extend the argument, or, really, to take sides, but one piece missing in the worthiness/worthlessness of ST discussion is that some (if not a lot) of what is looked at, by those doing the evaluation, does not correlate with game results. And what the coaches and manager are looking for differ from player to player. From looking at box scores, or even watching the games, we may not see what they're looking for. For all we know, they think VD or Blackley are secret weapons waiting for the middle of the season - or, conversely, organizational filler that they don't have to acquire some other way.

Maybe, but it's not exactly like Brock's numbers were that misleading. Even if you don't account for competition, the park move alone would surpress his offensive totals by almost %20.

To see how hard it was to hit in LA during the 80s look at Brock's 1984 season. He hit 225/319/402...good enough for a 104 OPS+!

That may sound ridiculous, but the Dodgers as a team only scored 580 runs that year and only 3 Dodgers bested his 721 OPS.

ANd maybe I'm a little too bored, but I was rooting around on SABRs new minor league database, and it looks like there were quite a few people on Brock's team that were raking as well:

http://minors.sabrwebs.com/cgi-bin/roster.php?team=31687

Hard to expect you and your friends to have an appreciation of park factor back then, but I think you guys may have been a bit hard on Mr. Brock.

One stat I would love to see:

The number of Adam Eaton official jerseys sold in the past 12 months.

Here is Brock year-by-year with the teams games and runs

1980: Lodi (A) 140 - 696
1981: San Antonio (AA) 133 - 775
1982: Albuquerque (AAA) 143 - 956
1983: Dodgers (ML) 162 - 580

Not surprisingly, Mr. Brock's offensive output has a similar trajectory.

Truth Injection: Yes on Claudio Vargas being cut (http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080325&content_id=2457072&vkey=spt2008news&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb) but I have yet to see anything on Towers.

Okay, according to his ESPN Profile, Scouts Inc says: "Mar. 27 : Towers was placed on waivers Wednesday, reports the team's official website."

I don't see a release on their website, but sure enough, if you go to the Blue Jay's rosters, Towers is not on there.

OTOH, Towers is listed, phila fan in dc, on Colorado, where he signed in the off-season.

I suggest looking on the Rox web-site.

Even if Towers is waived, I see nothing in his last two years' stats to suggest he is, in any way, a solution for the Phils. He qualifies mainly as (and this is only as far as I know) a warm body.

kdon: Yes, but during that 1984 season when he had the OPS+ of 104, you're ignoring the 22-day period when Brock hit just .075 with a .281 slugging pct. If it weren't for that 22-day period, the Dodgers would have won the division that year. So, in actuality, Brock totally sucked that year.

OK . . . I admit, I made this stuff up. I just thought I'd mess with you by trying to do a poor Clout imitation.

Actually, on Brock, if his poor MLB hitting was attributable to Chavez Ravine, you would expect that his home-away splits would show it. They do not. His first two full years he hit worse away than home. The next two, he was about even. His numbers did not improve at Milwaukee.

He probably never was very great. But maybe the places he played in the minors helped his numbers. Or, maybe, as some have asserted, he never could bridge the gulf between AAA and MLB.

From ESPN poll:

3) Which team has the best bullpen in the NL East?

34.7% Philadelphia Phillies
30.7% Atlanta Braves
30.2% New York Mets
2.8% Washington Nationals
1.7% Florida Marlins

The results of over 15,000 responses. More proof the casual baseball fan is like Sgt. Schultz, "I know nothing!"

Around that same time, the Dodgers also had Mike Marshall, who was another guy that posted huge minor league numbers & was supposed to be the second coming of Joe Dimaggio. He was a marginally better major leaguer than Brock -- at least by traditional hitting measures (I haven't really done a deeper analysis). But he was a pretty big flop also.

bap, that was a true laughing out loud! I was starting to get angry 1/2 way through, thinking "c'mon man, is he serious?"
...you had me...

Andy, that is an excellent (and annoying!) observation, but it wasn't just the home parks (which admittedly I focused on) but the league environment.

The PCL was (and is) a hitter paradise, while the NL West in the 80s was not.

But, yes, I do take the general point that minor league numbers are not perfect (Jack Cust would have made a great modern example except for his inconvenient breakout year last year).

Yeah, I'm coming down on the "park factor" side of this argument...whoever that means. In his two years at ALB, the first of which coincided with Brock, Orel Hershiser gave up 26 HRs in 258 innings. Upon reaching the majors, it was his fourth season (third full) that he finally gave up his 26th MLB HR, after 593.2 innings. I would say that, by Orel reckoning, it was much easier to rake in the PCL than the NL West in the early '80s.

MG - that poll is early coming out. It wasn't due out until April 1st.

Man, you Dodgers fans were just setting yourself up for dissapoitment with sluggers in the 80s. Marshall was good! 7 years, never an OPS+ below 109. In 1985, a 140 OPS+

He strikes me as a Pat Burrell without the walks...although, thinking about that, that's not too good.

MG aka Colonel Clink - I assume you are addressing the 1.7% Florida Marlins response or thereof......

MG: How about

Gillick III: Eaton's Revenge

or

Gillick III: Return of the Stiff's

or

Gillick III: Six Finger's Curse

Or to go in a different direction

Pirates of the Waiver Wire III: This Sh*t just isn't working.

Nice one there mm. Just saw the Rockies released Jose Capellan. If no one puts a claim in for him I don't see why we shouldn't give him a shot. He's got a decent arm if I remember correctly and he actually has some upside to him if he matures a little. Waiver wire fodder.

What do you guys believe we need more right now another starter or reliever?

On a somewhat positive note. Tim Kirkjian is picking the Phillies to win the NL wildcard.

From my blog this morning (which happens to be it's 2nd birthday)-
The Phillies pitching staff is in shambles. We're all crossing our legs, toes, arms, fingers, and whatever other appendages that can be crossed in hopes that Brad Lidge returns healthy sometime soon. Interim closer Tom Gordon isn't exactly instilling faith in this fan's heart with his 12.38 spring era. Here's to hoping mending starting pitcher Kris Benson is ready by May, because resident shitcicle (yes, that's a frozen turd still attached to the bunghole) Adam Eaton is doing his best impersonation of a batting practice pitcher. Seriously though, I'm worried about the state of our pitching staff. Currently there are only 10 active pitchers and 30% of them suck (Eaton, Condrey, and Gordon being the 3 out of 10). Let's not forget Chad Durbin, Kendrick, and Moyer are mediocre/questionable too. Who to blame? Pat Gillick. He's the GM, he knew this was a problem, and yet he signed Pedro Feliz and So Taguchi rather than truly addressing the pitching. Don't get me wrong, Feliz and Taguchi are welcomed additions, and should help the club, but not at the expense of pitching. Patty G could still swoop in and get lucky with some table scraps that other teams are about to push down the garbage disposal (Fultz, Seanez, etc.), but that's yet to be determined. Either way, living off of supposed trash is no way to live, unless of course you're a freakin' hobo. It's a shame that the pitching of the 2008 Philadelphia Phillies could be the death of the 2008 Philadelphia Phillies. Sorry for being a Negative Nancy today, but I'm only being honest.

My preference, Gion, would be one of each - but then they'd need to jettison Eaton, which they won't do. So, I'm thinking, based on the kind of dreck being heaped on the waiver pile, Patty oughta dig him up some reliever-type slop.

What I mean is: the "rotation" is set and we're short two pitchers (short term - one long term). So we need relievers. Or even the thing that Gillick will get us: "relievers."

(Hope y'all know the difference between relievers and "relievers," cause Gillick doesn't.)

And Gion, where do you live? A 4:23 AM post?

Okay: here's when you know that you've done too much beerleaguer posting. Last night I actually dreamed I met clout in person.

It's time to set up an appointment with my therapist.

"Generally put the radio guys coverage of the Phils' in the "yahoo" category in terms of coverage of the Phils unless Eskin can scoop a story. You get far superior coverage and insight on the various Phils' blogs."

MG, I have been saying that on this site for over a year. Glad you agree. What's most troublesome about the guys on WIP is the insufferable arrogance and feigned knowledge of some of them.

They act like having a forum qualifies them as experts - as though they invented the game. I would put numerous BeerLeaguers' knowledge of the sport above that of some of the WIP hosts.

Since finding this and other blogs, I listen to WIP a lot less. They just don't have that much to offer anymore - at least as far as baseball is concerned.

If I need info on a player the Phillies acquired in a trade I come here first. Period.


To all of you above who are arguing which should weigh more in evaluating players I, once again, offer a Bill James' Primer from his 1988 Abstract:

"1. Minor-league batting statistics will predict major league batting performance with essentially the same reliability as previous major-league statistics."

The question I have is: Can the same be said for minor league pitching statistics?

Sorry, the last anonymous poster was none other than little old me.

Jimbo: Not correct. Capellan was placed on waivers, not released. If no one claims him ahead of the Phillies they could indeed put in a waiver claim. I do agree he's the kind of guy they should take a chance on, although they are already loaded with good stuff/no command types. He only got 3 IP with the Rocks in ST, giving up no runs. He'd be an upgrade over Condrey.

Andy: Was he big and old and mean?

AWH: To be fair, James is NOT saying that minor league performance will yield the same offensive stats at the major league level. In his projections he makes adjusments for the tougher competition at the major league level.

Pitching, of course, is much more difficult to predict, but K/BB and K/9 ratios are a pretty good starting place.

clout, I understand what James meant. He was merely commenting in the "reliability" of the statstics at both levels of play.


Bill Conlin must be reading BeerLeaguer. He's finally come around to writing what many of us have been saying here for over a year.


"...the Phillies have had the worst pitcher development track record in baseball history...


Read his column today for the complete scoop.

Welcome aboard, Bill!

Hey, AWH. I thought of it first, you rat-bastard poseur!

clout - I presume you're joking and really don't want to know.


BUT - you were shorter and thinner than I expected and younger. Oh, and you were polite, which was the biggest surprise. We shook hands in my living room. There was some other un-named BL person there, too.

"Hey, AWH. I thought of it first, you rat-bastard poseur!"

Well...there's the proof that Conlin reads BL - he talks just like one of us.

MLBTradeRumors has Ryan Freel potentially coming to the Phillies...

Did he learn how to pitch left handed while I wasn't paying attention or are we seriously wasting our time with another utility outfielder?

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