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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

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Feliz stinks!

...just checking to see if this thing was worknig.


-Savery's ERA resembles another lefy in the Phils organization's ERA-Hamels.

Having been at this for about five seasons, it's interesting to track page traffic, because there's a definite pattern. For the first two weeks, there's a blitz of activity, then it definitely settles down. This weekend, activity was down. Right now, it's it's actually at its lowest point since the very last days of spring training.

There seemed to be less chatter during Saturday's game, but I was assuming that was because of the weather being so nice.

Of course, it doesn't help to top posts with the headline "Injury news and notes."

BB: That's definitely a factor.

I'm sure you'll see a spike this weekend...

Anyway, what the hell is going on in the MLB right now? The Tigers are the worst team in baseball, the Marlins are leading the division, and Brian Bannister looks like Cy Young.

I think Mets fans, myself included, need to accept the fact that El Duque is done. Finished. Nothing left. We can't expect him to throw a single pitch in a Mets uniform. Pedro.... yikes. I'll be excited when he comes back, but hesitant because you just know he'll go down again after 2-3 starts.

Here's to hoping Figueroa and Pelfrey can give us decent innings...

I'd say the lack of traffic is because the Flyers and Sixers are both in the playoffs. That's the only reason I haven't been paying as much attention to the Phils as I normally would...there's only so many sports-related hours in the day.

I saw David Wright of the Muts on the Letterman show last night. He talked about the Muts-Phillies rivalry. It was pretty cool. We're in their heads! Head to head contests should be pretty good for many seasons to come.

Speaking of Sixers, what an ending last night. Tough week in Philly. Reyes at the plate (arguable), DeRosa's home run (obvious botch), and now the last second foul (arguable).

Jason:

Are you actually getting breakdowns of people who view but aren't necessarily posting? As an infrequent poster, I wonder how many others like me there are who read everyday but don't have the time/ambition to take part of daily discussions, but still want to hear other opinions or arguments.

I love Beerleaguer for breakfast. I think its fun that we are all tracking the Mets from the very beginning of the season. Its crazy that they have only hit 5 home runs all season. Do you think David Wright IBBs will start happening more since the rest of that lineup is so un-scary?

I notice similar traffic trends on my blog. Monday is usually a big day for us, but the weekend is the slowest by far...not that I get nearly the amount of hits that BeerLeaguer does.

Glad to see Savery flourishing. If he has a couple more good starts I say bump him up to the next level and fast track the kid because I think he's got the makeup.

Greg Golson's success is very suprising to me, and I hope that I eat my words about him never amounting to anything at the MLB level...that would be a case where I'd be glad to be wrong.

Your Conscience: My tracking program doesn't go into much detail, but lurkers outnumber posters by a vast margin. You figure only a dozen or so participate in game chats on any given night.

Letterman actually beaned Wright last night... the bastard...

"Letterman actually beaned Wright last night."

Wright was leaning over the plate. The rule-breaker had it coming.

Jonesman:

I wouldn't be surprised. Beltran is actually doing OK, but Delgado really needs to step it up. Teams have no reason to give Wright anything to hit. Hopefully Alou can pick up where he left off last year and take some of the pressure off Beltran and Delgado.

What sucks even more is that Reyes is in a funk and Castillo is horrible. Wright has a black hole in front of him, so 1B will always be empty for him.

Here's something worth discussing from Sunday's thread, reposted from MG:

"While the Phils had their struggles the first two weeks, so has every team in the NL East. More importantly, I highly doubt that any team will be able to build any kind of real momentum through the rest of the month because of the shaky pitching.

"With Glavine going down today, each of the contenders in the East now have at least 2 question marks in their starting rotations. As long as the Phils can play .500 this month, I am willing to bet they will only be back a game or two at the end of April.

"That's fine considering they have been 5 or 6 games back by the end of April the past two years."

**********

Frankly, this is a marginal division, maybe for the rest of the season. With these mounting injuries to the Mets, I stand by my prediction that under 90 wins will be enough to take it.

Monday is always the biggest traffic day for most sites. People have to go back to work - hence more Internet usage.

stjoehawk:

Touche!

The mediocrity of the NL East so far just seems to prove the prevalent Beerleaguer statement from the winter...that the wild card will come from the NL West. Too deep with pitching and four good teams that likely can't beat each other up enough to hold all of the 3 non-division winners back. Plus the Giants are awful and should be beaten up by the rest of the division. I still think one of them falls off in the end and the Wild Card comes down between two NL West teams and the Brewers.

The resilience of Jamie Moyer. The Phils are the only of the three perceived-contenders in the NL East without a starting pitcher on the DL.

What are people's intuitions on the status of Rollins tonight?

Bentz:

I think you're right. The NL East doesn't really have a beatup team like SF. It was supposed to be Florida.... but they're leading the division. The Nats were a .500 team last year after May, but have stumbled in the early going.

I wonder at what point Mets fans realize that Reyes isn't "in a huge funk" as much as he's just never going to live up to the lofty expectations that Mets fans originally gave him. He's simply not that good (offensively).

A frequent lurker, but I'll come out of the shadows for today...

I kind of feel like it's always the case with sports that one league is perceived as having a lack of talent, but may really just have more equal competition. This year's Superbowl is one example.

I prefer the tight competition of the NL to the "Great" or "Awful" teams of the AL. How much fun can ti really be to beat up on the Orioles and Devil Rays 50 times a season?

Hate to say I told you so, but I doubted this Mets squad all winter. I just didn't understand why everyone expected the aging Mets players to stay healthy when they haven't for years.

Preacher:

Not that good? Where were you in 2006 and 2007? His 2006 was phenominal, and even his 2007 wasn't bad. Same OBP, just a drop in slugging.

Mets fans didn't give him lofty expectations. He's a great player in a funk. Saying he's just not that good is being ignorant.

Long season but JW looks increasingly right about the NL East. Given some of the injury questions and the way the teams have played in the NL East, I don't see anyone playing that well through mid-May and that is a big change from the past two years.

Besides the health issue, one of the more interesting things is going to where teams get some unexpected lifts from the next month or so. Mets already have gotten some nice play from Pagan (they have just gotten luckily the last few years with great contributions from reserve OFs it seems) and Sanchez and Alou should help the Mets over the next few weeks.

The thing with the Phils is where do they get a lift from. Unless it comes internally from players who were already on the Opening Day roster, I don't see anyone coming up from the minors to help them out.

I still didn't think the East would be great though. Thought the Mets would be slightly improved with Santana and win 91 wins. Still not changing my mind on that one or the Phils finishing with 87 wins either.

One thing that the pundits have piped down on though is the love the Braves were getting before the season. I was really surprised at how many people picked them to win the East (and some to even go to the World Series). Even if almost everything broke their way, I didn't see the Braves winning more than 90 games and that was assuming that got full productive years from Chipper, Smoltz, and caught a few breaks.

It would be stupid to walk David Wright all the time, unless he's hitting like Barry in his late 30s.

Guys, it's 2 weeks into the season.
Does anyone really expect Florida to be leading the division in a month from now?

The Phillies get a lift from Rollins coming back and Ryan Howard finding his groove. Howard may become known as a slow starter over his career just like Jim Thome, but when he gets it going this is a completely different lineup. I also believe the fielding will be much better soon. Hopefully the pitching continues to be solid, and Benson adds to the mix.

Dave:

I was just exaggerating. My point was that he's the only one from the Mets core offense pulling his weight.

Jon:

I'm sure the Marlins will fall back to earth eventually. However, I don't think they'll be as much of a beatup team as the Giants.

If they can stay at .500, once the weather gets warmer, the Phils will start to hit better and come out of their fielding funk. I think they will go on their traditional tear come May. The question is: will the Mets or Braves step it up as well?

The Marlins have never been a beat up team for the Phillies, if memory serves, regardless of what Scott Olsen thinks.

This is a great article for statheads like myself on the effect that Pitch f/x data (arguably the most important thing to come along in baseball in the past 20-25 years) will have:

http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/how-will-ball-tracking-analysis-change-the-game/

I would LOVE for one of the Phils' beat writers to actually get some answers on how the Phils are actually tracking (or not tracing) Pitch f/x data and utilizing it.

Marlins did own the Phils for a while a few years ago under Bowa but their starting pitching is horrendous. Might be the worst in the NL (them or the Nats). Strong offensive and a decent bullpen won't be able to cover for that all season. Fish will be lucky to win 75 games this year.

The only thing the Phils have be concerned about is to make sure they win at least 10 or 11 out of the 18? games they play against the Fish this year. Clean up against one of the bottom feeder teams in the NL.

MG: I'd be shocked if the Phillies were anything but behind the curve when it comes to serious analysis. Maybe I'm wrong, but this management team does not strike me as anything except for reactionary. Progressive insights into baseball analysis seem to be anathema to Gillick and co.

WillardPreacher/Rico: Even counting 2007 Jose Reyes was an elite player offensively. Despite his slump at the end of the year he finished with a VORP of 46.2. For comparison Ryan Howard had a VORP of 52.

Offensively he was definitely among the elite. I think Mets fans expect him to perform like he did pre all star break 07 all the time, which is just unreasonable.

The Nats starting pitching might be horrendous, but then explain to me how Tim Redding 1-hit our Phillies?
That is the absolutely excuciating thing about the Phils: they can be 1-hit by the likes of Redding but beat Zambrano soundly.

Rico: From afar, I wonder about Reyes' relationship with Mets management. To this Phillies fan, his mistakes, even his funks, seem attributable to his youth, but I get the impression -- I can't really trace it to anything specific -- that they get frustrated with the perceived immaturity that surfaces from time to time. To old-timers, shortstops are supposed to be team leaders -- there's no room for a learning curve.

For the sake of Reyes and Mets fans, I hope that's just some wrong notion I"ve picked up, because I witnessed up close how Philadelphia's management couldn't be satisfied with Scott Rolen as he was -- they insisted he be a team leader, something that's just not in his makeup. As a result, I no longer get to watch the only fielder I was willing to buy a ticket to see.

Having seen what

Phils vs. Division Opponents since 2003

2007
Braves (9-9)
Marlins (9-9)
Mets (12-6)
Nationals (12-6)
Total (42-30)

2006
Braves (11-7)
Marlins (13-6)
Mets (8-11)
Nationals (9-10)
Total (41-34)

2005
Braves (10-9)
Marlins (10-9)
Mets (7-11)
Nationals (11-8)
Total (38-37)

2004
Braves (9-10)
Expos (12-7)
Marlins (7-12)
Mets (11-8)
Total (39-37)

2003
Braves (10-9)
Expos (11-8)
Marlins (6-13)
Mets (12-7)
Total (39-37)

Just looking in the division and while it is hard to boil it down truly this way, you can say that playing poorly against weak teams in the division (2006 - Nationals; 2005 - Mets) cost the Phillies the wild card both times. Obviously the same happened in 2003 with the Marlins. Oddly enough the Phils really were hurt by series losses to all three of those teams each year in the second to last series of the season (swept in 03 by Florida; losing 2 of 3 to the Mets at home in 05 and losing 2 of 3 to the Nationals on the road in 06).

DoubleH writes, "Explain to me how Tim Redding 1-hit our Phillies...they can be 1-hit by the likes of Redding but beat Zambrano soundly."

The Phillies have a couple of long-standing biases -- they love tall, fastball-throwing pitchers (they never seem to develop any after drafting them, but that's another story) and fastball-loving hitters. As a result, they are seldom stifled by pitchers who simply throw hard. Unfortunately, being a bunch of fastball hitters, they're also susceptible to junk-ballers and obscure rookies who "pitch backwards," that is, throw breaking balls and change-ups on fastball counts.

The Marlins are CLEARLY playing over their heads right now. Looking at the standings the two teams that I think have records which accurately reflect performance to date are the Nationals and the Phillies.

At this point in the season I think RS-RA is a good indicator of what a team is. We have been through each rotation at least twice and seen some good variation in the quality of opposing teams.


The Braves and the Mets both have positive RS-RA by a significant amount. Overall they are playing like teams with 7-5 and 7-4 records respectively 6-7 and 5-6.

The Phillies, Marlins and Nationals all have negative run differentials and have expected W/L of 6-7, 5-7 and 5-8 respectively.

So if nothing significant changes in these teams lineups one has to think that the division will pan out:

-Mets & Braves too close to call around .560 wp.
-Phillies somewhere at or below .500
-Nationals/Marlins in the dumpster.

One thing that should be concerning for Phillies fans is that the Mets have suffered there worst losses to injuries to the pitching and yet still dominate the NL East (even the NL really) in terms of pitching.

Of course the Phillies should get a boost from the return of Rollins and eventually a productive Howard, but is there anyone here that will argue this rotation isn't playing above their heads right now?

Of course the Braves can say the same thing; once Teixeira and Johnson start getting it going they probably have the best lineup in the division.


Stats might say that the negative run differentials are a major problem unless you are the 2007 Diamondbacks. As big as I am into stats, I think run differential is terribly misleading because blowouts skew those numbers terribly. Like for the 3 game set that the Braves played in Arizona last year when AZ won the first two games with one-run walk-off wins and the Braves won the last game 14-0. Braves outscore them by 12 runs and lose 2 of 3.

BENTZ- As to the 2007 diamondbacks as a whole, they got really really lucky. Gratz to them. Play that season over again 1000 times with the same RS-RA and they will loose the vast majority of times.

As to the Braves, thats just the glory of a small sample size.

BENTZ - Generally, RD has been very accurate, but of course it has its pitfalls (I think the 2007 DBacks are a major exception.) I imagine those would be even more pronounced/possible when we are looking at just 8% of a complete season. I bet the Phils RD had them way out of the race after 13 games last year as well.

Also check out the expected W/L based on RS/RA versus actual for 2007.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/standings?type=exp&br=3&year=2007&column=gamesBehind&order=false&st=2

The expected W/L is within 3 games for 17 teams and within 4 games for 23. I would say that makes it pretty reliable.

PhillR - I don't think anyone really doubts the accuracy or importance of RS/RA. I just think it's a little early to be making predictions for August and September based on a few sloppy games played in cold weather in April. 8% of the season has been played so far.

PhillR: Wow, the Phils at .500 or below by season's end. You might be the most negative guy on the site.

I think a lot of players on the Phils could step it up; they aren't close to 100%.

I remember a lot of people here were against bringing up any of the young pitchers a few months ago, but no one anticipated that Outman, Carrasco and Savery would've pitched so well. If those guys maintain their level of performance, I'd be suprised not to see at least one of them in Philadelphia by late July. Obviously, Savery is farthest away, but he's 23 years old and could enter the picture in 2009. Baseball America just said that Savery could surpass Carrasco as a prospect this year.

Outman will get the first call, but Carrasco can't be far behind. If Victorino spends a lot of time on the DL and Taguchi keeps getting thrown out, Greg Golson could join the team in a Bourn-like capacity. I'm not sure one can necessarily say the Phillies won't recieve any contributions from rookies in 2008.

I've always maintained that the MLB season is too long to maintain one consistent narrative. Way too much happens in 162 games not to change ones mind. A few months ago, our minor league system looked a lot worse than it does today. Then again, our system appeared terrible for the past decade, while consistently producing talented players every year. Maybe the only constant is our devaluation of Phillies prospects.

Sophist- Actually the Phillies expected win-loss as of April 14th 2007 was 80-82. Not exactly out of it by any means.

i would say 9 games out of the playoffs is pretty out of it

Clout- Well I am not a Phillies, Mets or Braves fan so I am reasonably objective. Thats said, reflecting on that assessment I think I may have been a shade too negative.

If I were to wager I bet on something between 82 and 86 wins. I think Rollins and Howard are going to regress slightly off of 2007. I think Feliz and Victorino are offensive downgrades. That ultimatly this very good offense will be overshadowed by some of the worst pitching in the NL.

Kendrik will not repeat. That should be clear to everyone now.

Adam Eaton will be as bad over the course of the season as everyone fears.

Moyer will continue to be Moyer.

The rookies in the bullpen may actually surprise everyone, but Gordon won't and Lidge will be mediocre.

district- I would say in spring to project to be a .500 team in April means you have a chance if everything goes your way. Thats not out of it.

phillr - you are right to tout the predictive abilities of a certain system if the margin of error is is 3 or 4 games . . . but when in april you predict a team to win 80 games, and then they win 89, thats a margin of + or - 9 games, and therefore totally useless.

13 games is just too small a sample size

13 games is too small of a sample size... which is why its silly to think that Utley and Feliz will continue to have lead gloves and Vic and Howard won't hit all season.

District- Hardly. The .500 prediction made in April of 2007 was valid for the majority of the season. As of July 8th, the rough end of the first half of the season, the Phillies were precisely a .500 team at 44-44.

nobody cares what they were on july 8th.

provide me with sufficient evidence that a team's first 13 games of RS-RA can, within a reasonable margin of error, predict win totals at season's end, and I will most humbly stand corrected.

don't know why anyone bothers engaging with PhillR. a troll who knows math is still a troll.

in April 2007, the Mets scored 132 runs and allowed 84. that's a Pythagorean WP of .711. this may come as a shock to some of us, but the Mets did not quite win 115 games last year.

also, wtf:
One thing that should be concerning for Phillies fans is that the Mets have suffered there worst losses to injuries to the pitching and yet still dominate the NL East (even the NL really) in terms of pitching.

apparently, we're defining "dominating" as posting the 7th best ERA in the National League. although he's right, there aren't a lot of NL East teams with better ERAs than the Mets' 3.84 mark.

except for, um, the Phillies (3.71).

Run differentials mean little to nothing this early in the season. A few lopsided games knock it out of wack and you seem too much variance. More meaningful after Memorial Day when you have 50 games (a bigger sample size that is more likely to reduce the variation a bit more).

district- I think its a relevant point, that RS-RA in April were accurate most of the way through the season demonstrates real value. Of course in a few months the lineups will have be shaken up by injuries and such, so the April predictions start to loose value.

Would you say that accurately forecasting the first half of the season lacks value? Given the Phillies have a loosing record isn't it reassuring to know that the numbers support a significant improvement?


ae- Thats pretty unfair, search my comments and its hard to argue that I am a troll. Most people here are arguing some point or another, I just do mine with math. Suddenly I am a troll for that? How many times have I risen to the defense of various Phillies players to ACTUAL trolls?

I have no idea how many times you've done that.

based on your comments in this thread, you're either making intentionally controversial comments that you know have no factual basis, or you just don't understand the underlying statistics. (I find it extremely difficult to believe that someone could honestly think that a dozen games of RS/RA data are enough to extrapolate a 162-game season. and that's not even touching your factual errors.)

but hey, your call.

If a site's popularity is proportional to the arrival of trolls, then Beerleaguer is taking off!

AE- What factual errors? Also I don't extrapolate the whole seasons record, I simply state that I think it is enough to indicate the likely standings.

Look at the first post. I simply said that this confirms a lot of predictions. Mets/Braves too close to call. Phillies in 3rd. Nationals and Marlins off the charts bad.

What is controversial about ANY of that? Its in keeping with most analysts predictions. I just think that the RS-RA right now are enough to give us a general idea of how things will shake out.

You just label any opinion you don't like a troll. I have been reading this site for two years and posting since this off season. You allude to bad facts, well what are they? Point them out instead of resorting to the ad hominem.


What prompted this was actually the discussion about the Marlins being in 1st. I think RS-RA supports that they won't be their for long.

"Also I don't extrapolate the whole seasons record, I simply state that I think it is enough to indicate the likely standings."

Interesting. If you apply that logic to the AL East, I think you'd have Toronto & Tampa fighting for 1st place, with Boston & Baltimore trying to stay around .500, and the Yankees in last place.

stjoehawk, yeah the AL East really is the downfall of my argument.

Of course I wouldn't be suprised to see the Yankees turn out to be vastly overrated this year. Their pitching is weak and that lineup is old. I love TB, I really hope they can get uber lucky like the Rockies or AZ of last year.

Maybe the new flow of air at Shea (see hulking new stadium over left/center field wall) has cut down even more on HRs there and makes their pitching #s even more betterer?

Talk to me about run differential after April, at least. As a person who believes strongly in its predictive power, im also a person who recognizes the first rule of using statistics: know your sample size. We'll talk in May about run differential, ok buddy?

PhillR-

Do you think the Tigers, who have been outscored 87-44 this year, will still have the league's worst record by year's end? You're arguement just has too many holes in it.

regarding "likely" standings: as I pointed out above, the Mets were a 115-win team based on last April's RS/RA data. that was not even close to the final result. similarly, LA was a 95-win team and Colorado was a 65-win team.

your factual error is claiming that the Mets' pitching is "dominating" both the NL East and the NL. neither of those claims is remotely true.

Phill, the downfall of your argument isn't only the AL East right now. It's the AL East last year, where the April 15th, 2007 Pythagorean had Boston, Toronto, and Baltimore winning a combined 66 more games than they eventually did.

There's also the case of Seattle and the Angels where the RS/RA formula given their April 15, 2007 numbers ended up being off by 36 and 15 wins, respectively; Florida who, if April 15, 2007 were the base, the Pythagorean predicted would win 85 games (they won 71); the Phils who the metric had off by 12 wins; the Reds (10); Houston (8); Pittsburgh (9); San Diego and Colorado (7). Even 4 or 5 wins off is a lot (Rays, Tribe, Tigers, Twins, Sox, Mets, Cards, Cubs, DBacks, and Dodgers.)

It's too early for X W/L

I calculated the Pythagorean wins of all NL teams based on April's RS/RA. here are the teams, ranked by many wins the predictions were off by:

WSN 31
NYM 27
COL 25
STL 21
LAD 13
SFG 13
CHC 13
FLA 11
CIN 9
ATL 8
PHI 7
HOU 4
PIT 4
ARI 3
SDP 1
MIL 0

to be fair, I guess this "system" did nail Milwaukee.

(FWIW my #s are different from Sophist's because I was using all of April 2007...)

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