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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Comments

If you're not already hip to it, when you see quotes in a header, it's a good bet I missed significant chunks of the game.

Also - I'm pacing myself. I can't burn out before September. Like sitting Utley for Bruntlett, mailing in a morning entry using the bench keeps the starter fresh. Not to compare our fine comments thread to Bruntlett.

LOL. Glad you added that caveat at the end. I'm sure clout, RSB & MG wouldn't be too happy to be compared to Eric Bruntlett.

You picked an excellent game to miss. By far, the season's most nausea-inducing performance.

Of course, if you really wanted to get under clout's skin, you would have compared him to Pedro Feliz.

Haven't been catching many of the games recently either, including last night. It's a long season.

However, I have had a lot of time to knit a Pedro Feliz themed area rug for my bathroom. Make of that what you will.

You guys definitely picked the right games to mail it in. These have been certifiable stinkers, offensively. Hitting with RISP has been as bad as the phenomonon that was giving us all migraines early last year. Further magnifies that concept that it's long ball or nothin' with this team right now.

I can't imagine that there is much worse in a baseball career than being demoted from a team that has a .261 win percentage 46 games into the season. Tough to believe that Durbin was a serious consideration for the 5th starter spot.

At least we have King Cole tonight to try to break the skid.

b-a-p:
clout is a fine defender.

If you're J.D. Durbin, wouldn't you start thinking about retiring?

Clout also has a point. He's contributing less to the offense than anyone, not just now, but the entire season as a whole. Dobbs started something like 50 games at third last season. He wasn't a major liability in any of them that I can recall, and the team was a winning team with Dobbs in the starting lineup. Cholly has juggled the bullpen well, but this business with CF, RF and 3B is baffling.

The Phils will burn you out, emotionally that is.

Charlie talks about putting Werth in the starting lineup because he wants to win, well what about Dobbs over Feliz and Coste of Ruiz for that batter. I think Werth is Manuel's favorite player and WANTS him to be an everyday outfielder, whether or not Jayson is really up that is debatable.

Throughout a 162 games season there will be games like last night. It happens to everyone. If you kill yourself over every loss you'll be a zombie by September. It'll be ok, they'll probably win 12-1 tonight.

The lineup against a right hander tonight should include Vic, Dobbs and Jenkins who seems to be coming around lately. Also, I hope the front office is considering some sort of move for pitching or everyday player to light a spark that just does not seem to be there right now.

I've noticed that Sarge keeps referring to Nationals' shortstop Christian Guzman has one of the best shortstops in the AL for numerous years. Only one season in the AL did he ever have an OPS clear .700 and that was 2001. He's playing well this year, I'll give him that much, but at no time was he ever one of the best in the league. Sarge is dumb!

Best 1st baseman in the Phillies organization behind Ryan Howard: Joe Savery.

Myers to the Nats for Redding.

1) We don't need to watch Myers slow descent into Eaton.

2) We don't need to watch our line-up struggle against the baffling stuff of Mr. Tim...

Say, isn't there a timr who posts here? You don suppose...

Ken Rosenthal thinks the Phils should shop Shane Victorino and noted an past interest by the Florida Marlins.

Tony D- how can you be so optimistic, considering how horribly they've played lately?

A lot of talk about Feliz but how long do they continue with the Adam Eaton experiment? The fact that they even gave this stiff a uniform after last year is a disgrace.

Lets shake things up a little.
It's not panic time. But things are trending the wrong way.
I think the record is 9-9 for May.


Rollins
Dobbs
Utley
Burrell
Howard
Jenkins
Coste
Victorino
Hamels

Carson, yes they are not playing well right now but it'll be ok once they start hitting again. The offense isn't this bad. If the pitching can sustain this pace they'll be in good shape.

The team is just too talented to continue playing this way. They will snap out of it.

Carson, i read Rosenthal's comment too on mlbtraderumors. i think it's a bad idea to get rid of Vic for several reasons... though i do think the trade prospect provides fodder for an interesting debate. here are my reasons against it-

1- the team needs pitching. and Vic is not going to bring a quality starter that would help now. plus, doing it now would qualify as a sell low move, so he'd bring even less in return.
2- his defense is too important. with all due respect to Werth who is a decent fielder, Vic's defense is substantially above average. and defense, disguised as pitching, wins championships.
3- without Vic, Rollins becomes the only speed threat on the team. no speed on the basepaths reduces them to a station-to-station offense and keeps them heavily reliant on the long ball.
and finally, the point i will undoubtably be most abused for...
4- Vic is a force in the clubhouse mojo. now admittedly, i'm not in the Phils' clubhouse, but it seems patently obvious to me how grueling the 162 game season is. teams need a sparkplug like Vic to keep the energy high and the good times rolling over the course of the long season. i think Vic is a big part of the Phils' ability to do (see last season's ability to bounce back after big losses) and to lose that presence would be devastating for clubhouse morale.

GM:

The optimist's case is that the offense is not this bad. The pessimist's case is that the starting pitching stinks. And clout's case is that Pedro Feliz stinks.

Here's hoping that Hamels can stop the bleeding and do it with relatively few pitches. He doesn't seem to be showing any ill effects thus far, but past arm troubles concern me that he's thrown 100 or more pitches in all but two outings and has topped 120 twice. In the two outings were he didn't break 100, he threw 97 and 99 respectively. Not sure this is an issue yet but it caused me to raise an eyebrow .

Cube, all good points. There does seem to be some weird issues between Vic and Cholly, however.

"a listless offense has shepherded the yang to April’s ying"

classic.

I say more ying boys, more YING!!!

Since Charlie declared Werth starter material he has stuck out 6 times in 10 plate appearance going 0 for 8 with 2 walks. Think they better hang on to Vic for a few more games until Golson is ready for the bigs by mid season. Wonder if Gorm Heimueller's pitch recognition program is actully working for Golson. Reading's hitting coach Frank Cacciatore was on with Steve Degler a few days ago trying to explain this progam which supposedly allows a hitter to recoginize the type of pitch once it leaves the picher's hand, he said up to a 1/10 of a second sooner than normal to the contact area. Sounds good to me if it works for Golson. He did go 5 for 6 on Sunday.

I tend to look at the bright side with a game as bad as yesterday's.It kind of drives home some of the ongoing concerns related to the team, and those concerns were given due voice by Manuel. Sometimes things can't get better before they bottom out. Feliz's inability to move the runner twice in a row, along with a general need for greater offense, might well be the impetus to get him plastered to the bench for a few days, and grant everyone their long-awaited wish to see what Dobbs can do.

Last year after 46 games we were 23-23. The year before we were 24-22. And, of course, this year we're 24-22. I guess April is overrated. Luckily this year no one in the division has jumped ahead of us.
Everyone has performed in the vicinity of expectations except for Howard slumping badly, Rollins being hurt, the bullpen being way better than expected.. and Myers being awful, which to me has been the most worrisome. RSB's post in the header sums up the feelings I've had for awhile. The guy simply has to be hurt. And losing that type of horse in the starting rotation is a major blow to this season's potential.

Dull - I was about to point out Golson's Sunday, but you got there first. Included in the 5-6 was a HR (5) and a SB (14). Even though the out was a K, he's struck out only 7 times in his last 10 games. He's either been getting better or hotter.

I don't know if it's in his best interest to rush him up the ladder, but at least there's something to wax optimistic about in the system.

I'd like folks to help me out here. Say Dobbs were to hit .280 and Feliz .230. That's a difference of what, 30 hits over the course of a season? Generously say (since it would be at the tail end of the order) 15 of those hits would knock in a run or result in a run scored. Say 1/2 of those hits would significantly affect the outcome of a game. About 8 times, replacing Feliz would Dobbs might create more offense that proves significant.

Compare that to having a better fielder in Feliz. Say he is conservatively involved in some 4 plays per game defensively, on average. Say he plays in 130 games. Ok 520 times he's involved in a play. Say that 1 out of 20 times he's involved in a play he does makes a play Dobbs wouldn't - a better relay throw, getting to a ball Dobbs wouldn't get to. Alright, that's 36 plays Dobbs wouldn't make. Say 1 out of 8 times he makes one of those plays, it significantly affects the outcome of the game. 8 plays defensively that significantly affect the outcome of a game. Same, same.

Yeah, Feliz doesn't make pitchers work harder, he doesn't move men on the basepaths. That might be somewhat offset by increased confidence from pitchers knowing the have a better defense, or the fact that starting Dobbs weakens the stable of pinch hitters - although admittedly not completely.

Despite what people have said - I never said Feliz is a better hitter than Burrell, or even that he's a good hitter. All I've said is that given the real impact of his weak hitting and his decent fielding - I don't get why his is singled-out as being the main problem the Phils have been having.

Ok. Commence to telling me how weak-minded, ill-informed my comment is. Oh yeah, and what an idiot I am.

Fans tend to forget that these are real people who succeed by working together. That being said, I think this rift between Victorino and Manuel is overstated. Cholly is a simple man; when he says he's "going with the hot hand", I tend to believe him.

This was supposed to be Shane Victorino's breakthrough season. Shane was penciled in as the starting CF for the defending NL East Champs. I'm sure he's frustrated that things haven't gone according to plan. Likewise, I'm sure Charlie is losing patience with Victorino's injuries and poor performance.

Werth has been a revelation. You can't blame Cholly for starting Werth, even against right handers. Werth won't improve his splits without at bats against right handed pitching. Why wouldn't you play him- he has all the potential in the world and finally seems to be realizing it. If Werth can solve right handed pitching, he'll probably replace Burrell next year.

The wildcard is Geoff Jenkins. He's the lefty FA acquisition, who plays Vic's strongest position and makes too much to sit for long. He "needs at bats", but hasn't earned them.

Werth doesn't steal at bats from Victorino, Jenkins does. Werth deserves to play, Jenkins doesn't. Werth has clearly played well enough to justify starting him.

Sorry, some bad math there. Should have been 26 plays on defense, not 36. Using the same numbers, it would mean about 4 plays that having Feliz in the field rather than Dobbs would prove significant - resulting in a differential of 4 games. 4 games would be important, but constant Feliz-bashing important?

Sorry again, 3 defensive plays - a differential of 5 (maybe all the math errors is why people call me an idiot?).

Or, at least, platooning Werth and Jenkins in RF.

baxter- i agree completely with your sentiment. Jenkins is the one creating the logjam.

but how to fix it? is there any chance if Jenkins continues to heat up to deal him at the deadline? he's hit .317 over the last month and has one year left on a 2yr. $13m contract... does he have any trade value?

Flipper, I think you do have a point. However, the offense has become such an issue that the Phillies almost have no choice to but to start playing Dobbs a little more. That bottom third of Feliz, Ruiz, and pitcher is the blackest of holes - really, if a pitcher gets past Burrell in the lineup, he can afford to relax. I wouldn't mind throwing Dobbs out there a bit more often at this point and see what kind of difference it makes, one way or the other.

Sure, throw him out there to see if it makes a difference. That makes sense. I'm just not clear why, when they lose games where the entire team (including some unnamed individuals) fails to produce with runners in scoring position, Feliz gets so much heat.

Flipper
I guess you must be new to this whole baseball thing, so I'll fill you in.

Traditionally in baseball the 7th hitter in your lineup is the most important batter. The entire flow of your offense centers on the 7th hitter getting on base often. So this is why Pedro gets all the heat, he is hitting in a very important spot.

Also, your attempt to use his defense to defend him being in the lineup on a daily basis is cute. However, as we all know that there are no reliable metrics to measure defense, therefore defense has no importance to whether or not your team wins.

This lineuup posted earlier by Joe, makes a lot of sense, as a temporary shakeup.

Rollins
Dobbs
Utley
Burrell
Howard
Jenkins
Coste
Victorino
Hamels

Although I am a Feliz supporter, I am not opposed to giving Dobbs a few stars in a row to shake things up. I also, like the idea of Vic hitting 8th. It might help him start hitting as he would feel less pressure and it would put some speed on the bases in front of Jimmy.

Flipper, people need someone to blame, and unless you want to look at the big picture, Feliz is an easy target

Wes-A most excellent post!

Jenkins is starting to hit a bit more and the 2 doubles last night were a nice start. I could care less if he only hits .250 or so as long as he starts to get on base a bit more with a couple more walks.

More importantly, the XHB including the power numbers need to come along. With Howard's poor performance so far and Burrell cooling off the past 2 weeks, the Phils need Jenkins to provide some pop from the 6th spot.

"Say, isn't there a timr who posts here? You don suppose..."

For the record, I am not Tim Redding. The difference between us is that he baffles Phillies hitters, while I am baffled BY Phillies hitters.

Wes: I think that's my point. Wouldn't pretty much anyone agree that the big picture problem is clear -- starting pitching. If Myers straightens his head out, and somehow Eaton doesn't completely implode - they have a shot. Barring those two possibilities, if they don't get more starting pitching, they could have Chipper Jones at third base and they wouldn't win the division let alone the pennant. They have (1) one, a four (Moyer) and three fives.

"However, as we all know that there are no reliable metrics to measure defense, therefore defense has no importance to whether or not your team wins."

Are you really trying to pass this off as a logical statement?

I was looking at the standings and found a silver lining to those two losses to the Blue Jays. The silver lining is that it helped the Jays keep the Yankees in last place! Really reaching for a reason to explain bad things that happen.

I am also enjoying seeing the Pads and the Rox lose at least 60% of their games. Misery loves company.

My Lake Nostradamus senses feel a deal in the near future to bring a new starter to the pitching rotation. It could just be indigestion lingering from last night's pukefest with the gNats.

One reason Feliz gets so much focus isn't that everything is his fault, but that he's an extreme case of incompetence both at the plate and from a managerial perspective. This is way the Ruiz situation gets some people frustrated as well as Cholly's insistence to bat Howard in the clean-up spot despite his 77 OPS+ (which would rank him among the top two worst clean-up hitters, per that category, since 1957.)

Feliz has a .660 OPS and is hitting .167 with RISP. His 3.1 P/PA is 3.1, the lowest on the team by .4. He's made 125 outs, third on the team, though the batters ahead of him have 40-50 more PA.

He's created 10 runs in 159 PA.

Dobbs meanwhile has 13 RC in 63 PA. Dobbs is batting .545 with RISP. He takes almost a full pitch more than Feliz in every PA, and has an .881 OPS so far this year.

That is a huge contrast in plate competence and ability. Cholly's failure to play Dobbs is an example of managerial incompetence, especially given this team's relative failures on offense and with RISP. This is one reason Feliz gets so much attention. He has almost 100 more PA than Dobbs and has created 3 less runs despite having probably has many opportunities as any other team member. THT has his clutch at -2.7 good for second to last on the team (to Jenkins.)

The Coste/Ruiz situation is similar, though not nearly as extreme.

Flipper

Exactly. Is Feliz hitting well, no. Is his offense the biggest problem on the team, certainly not.
Starting pitching is the bigest problem right now.
Feliz also is not the biggest offensive problem. Howard not hitting is a big problem. Victorino not hitting is a problem. Having your 2 and 4 hitters not hitting is obvioulsy a bigger problem than your 7 hitter not hitting. Also, I would say that Jenkins and Ruiz share an equal amount of blame for the poor performance of the bottom of the order.

However, Feliz takes the majority of the heat on here. I think a big part of that is because the majority of the people on here were against signing Feliz in the first place. So now that he isn't hitting, the posters on here feel like they were right in the first place about Pedro, so they take it out on him.

I admit Pedro hasn't done anything to prove the Feliz naysayers wrong. However, I still think that the defense he brings is important and that he will improve his offense at least up to his career norms. Now I know that Pedro's career norms aren't going to make most folks in here happy, but as long as he puts those numbers up out of the 7 hole and plays good defense, Feliz will have been a net gain over the Helms/Dobbs platoon. And I also think that the Feliz defense on a day to day basis is better than a Feliz/Dobbs platoon.

Wes: Except that Feliz has actually batted 6th in 13 of his 45 games, right behind the guy with the .422 OBP. And, in 7 other games, he has batted 2nd.

Besides, 7th IS a fairly important spot in your lineup when the 2 guys hitting in front of you (Burrell &, usually, Werth) have 2 of the highest OBPs on the team. 48.8% of Feliz's PAs this year have come with men on base, & 28.3% have come with RISP. Those numbers aren't much less less than our cleanup hitter. 49.2% of Howard's ABs have come with men on base, 32.5% with RISP. Neither guy is hitting for squat in these situations, but Howard's OBP is .333 with men on base, .375 with RISP. Feliz's OBP in these situations is .232 and .222.

So, yes, he has been a very key reason for the team's offensive struggles. Without question, he and Howard have been the 2 biggest problems on offense. But, bad as Howard has been, his overall numbers are still considerably better than Feliz's, and I think most would agree that, going forward, they're likely to get a lot better. In Feliz's case, he might have room for about .10 to .15 points of upside improvement in his batting average, but that's about it.

RSB
"However, as we all know that there are no reliable metrics to measure defense, therefore defense has no importance to whether or not your team wins."

Are you really trying to pass this off as a logical statement?

No, that was not a logical statement at all. I guess you missed the highly sarcastic tone of that post. I made that statement to point out the ridiculousness of how many people on here refuse to take into account the importance of defense.

flipper, I agree that SP is a problem on this team going forward. However, looking at the last 40 games, it actually as been good enough.

The SP ERA is 6th best in the NL this season, logging the 3rd most IP, and have the 5th most QS in the NL.

By the way, since April 11th, the Phils have the 4th best record in the NL (despite losing 3 straight for the first time.) Since April 21st, 2007, the Phils have the best record in the NL.

From the Press Pass:

The day after being shut-out last year, the Phils went 3-0 averaging 8 runs per game. So far this season the Phils have been held to one run or less 4 times and have averaged 8.3 runs per game the next day.

Sophist: Great post. Maybe the best analysis I've seen on a subject on which there has been no shortage of analysis.

sophist: Just to clarify, I was talking about the post about Feliz. But the more recent one is good too.

BAP - Thank you. I was about to say something similar about your post, especially the point on Howard.

It's true he's been bad, but he's been better in key spots and it's safer to expect a big hitting tear from him in the future.

BAP, I get that OPS is important on a team-wide basis. But my question is what does that stat really translate to in games won/lost when looking at the comparative OPS of one player (generally hitting low in the batting order) and another player; and how much is it offset by Feliz's better defense.

Your a stat man. Is there something ill-informed about my analysis above?

Yeah Sophist. It is amazing that they're SP ranks so well. It would seem to suggest that the SP really isn't that much of a problem. But it just is hard to believe that with only one pitcher that is consistently good they can continue to stay competitive if they don't get SP help.

BTW, where do you get team SP stats?

Phillies pitching being "good enough" doesn't make me feel any better about them, long term., especially with last night being considered a "quality start" by Myers.

BAP

I do realize that Pedro has hit 6th and 2nd, but he is the 7th hitter on this team, hitting 2 and 6 due to the Rollins/Vic simultaneous, injuries. If Pedro bats any higher than 7th the rest of the year, that would be a mistake. Unless he gets extremely hot or injuries force the move.

I see your point about Pedro having a lot of opportunities with runners in scoring position and that has hurt the team. However, the reality of major league baseball is that there a going to be some holes in your lineup. And those holes are usually found in the 7/8 hole. How many teams have a 7 hitter that is really tearing it up? Your 4 hitter is put there because he is expected to drive in runs. So if you 4 hitter is equally as inept at driving in runs, doesn't he deserve more blame?
Does Pedro have to get better, yes. Is Dobbs hitting better, of course. Can Dobbs continue hitting the way he is over the course of the season, I don't know, he doesn't have enough of a track record to compare to. I do know that Dobbs did cool off last August and September.
And the Anti Feliz arguments always manage to ignore his defense. I just think that his defense is a very good asset to the team.

sophist: If only some posters here were intelligent enough to understand what you wrote! LOL

Wes, I did miss the sarcasm, sorry. I agree with the point you're making.

Feliz is an inexcusably poor offensive player, albeit not a total cipher like Nunez. Dobbs is a poor defensive third baseman, but not a cipher like Helms.

Why can't the Phillies just get this right and find an all-around competent player for the position? The combos they've been running out there the past couple of seasons is making David Bell seem like a pillar of stability.

By the way, of all the 'options' mentioned as alternatives to Feliz, none of whom I think the Phillies could have or should have acquired with the possible exception of Crede, one who isn't mentioned is Scott Rolen. I have to wonder if the Phillies knew they had a shot at him and declined on the basis of the bitter ending, a la Schilling.

I meant to post this much earlier but my internet's been down since around 1130...in response to Hamels pitching deep into games:

If Hamels isn't careful he's gonna be well into that 30+ inning increase danger zone by the end of the season. Right now he's on pace for around 240-250 IPs. Granted that will fall to probably 220-230 as the season progresses but Cole only pitched around 180 last year so you're still looking at an increase of over 50 IPs. That's a dangerous increase to a young pitcher statistically...especially one with a history of injuries.

Wes: Defense is important. No argument. But you have no clue how many runs Feliz would save over Dobbs. None. So you just "guess" that he saves more runs with his glove than he costs with his bat (not to mention less work by opposing pitchers because he takes so few pitches.)

You're certainly entitled to your opinion, but it is an opinion, not a fact, and it's not based on much.

I doubt Rolen would EVER come back to Philly...just a personal opinion...besides I'm not sure what we would have traded for him...the Glaus/Rolen switch was kinda one-for-one. I doubt the Cards would have traded him without getting a competent 3B in return.

According to Baseball Prospectus, Feliz was worth 10 runs above replacement level in 2006 and 15 runs above replacement level in 2007. His numbers are about the same for this year so you could probably guesstimate how much that helps/hurts the Phillies in the long run.

Wes, the reality is that the 7th hole may not be a hole on this team. The back-up 7-hole hitter/third baseman may be a much better offensive player (he certainly he, actually. Whether he is a season-long .545 hitter with RISP is less likely.)

BB, sure QS may be over-rated. Let's take them as the bare-minimum of what a pitcher should do. In games where the Phils got a QS or better they are 19-9 this season, by the way. They won't win them all, but I'll take the minimum QS whenever I can get them with this staff, except when Hamels pitches.

And notice that I said "going forward" SP is a concern. "Going forward" as opposed to the season so far, of course.

flipper, the simplest and greatest determiner of wins and losses is runs scored and runs scored against. In that sense, runs created is an essential stat in investigating a players contribution to the wins and losses of a team (offensively anyway.) Dobbs has actually contributed more wins, in that sense, than Feliz this season, despite appearing ~60 times at the plate.

Dobbs was worth -6 runs last year at 3B and -3 in 2006....so there is a fairly large gap to be made up there.

NEPhan - Rolen has stated he would have accepted a trade to the Phillies had they made the attempt.

The Phils overall ERA is 6th in the league. The starters' ERA is 10th in the league.

Dave X, thanks for the correction.

flipper, the stats came from the links to the left: the Press Pass, The Hardball Times stat page, etc..

****NEPhan - Rolen has stated he would have accepted a trade to the Phillies had they made the attempt.****

I did not know that. Hmm...I wonder what we could have offered.

Except, Sophist, runs created doesn't tell you the specifics you need to be complete. As you know, there are times when some teams have a better won/lost than other teams despite having a lower relative runs scored differential. I'm just saying that it's tricky to go from stats to making hard and fast conclusions; it's far more viable on a a more general basis - say a team to team basis; the more you try to apply them to very idiosyncratic contexts the more you have to stretch.

But ok, let's go with it. Dobbs has 3 more RCs (you said wins, but you can't just automatically go from RCs to wins) despite 60 fewer PAs. What does that project out to in terms of wins over a season. And how do you evaluate how that might be offset by better defense?

Let me correct one other misstatement:

The Phils are 19-9 when their SP pitchers 6 innings or more so far this year. That's an even lower car than the QS.

Clout

I will agree that it is just an opinion that Feliz's defense trumps Dobbs's offense.

But one thing that often gets left out of the Feliz/Dobbs argument is that it doesn't have to be Feliz to the exclusion of Dobbs. Staring Feliz at third leaves Dobbs on the bench to pinch hit in key situations, which is important. I also don't understand why Dobbs has become only a third baseman. Last year Dobbs was a utility guy, playing 1st, 3rd and the corner outfield spots. He only ended up playing 3rd primarily because Helms was so terrible. I would like to see Feliz start at third and Dobbs spell Howard, Burrell and Jenkins at times.

So my point is that Feliz's glove and Dobbs on the bench is better than Dobbs's glove and Feliz on the bench. Again that is just my opinion, but I think it is based on some logic.

make that "car" a "bar."

flipper, the instances in which the Pythagorean is off are pretty rare. Besides, we are simply evaluating player performance til today. Til today, Dobbs has created more runs than Feliz. Additionally, his WPA is .56; Feliz' is -.79 (last on the team.) I think RC is just what we have to work with here.

And Dobbs doesn't have 60 fewer PA. He has 60 PAs. He has almost 100 fewer PA.

Well, that's the problem with getting something better than Feliz. Nothing to offer in a trade. I doubt they would have had enough to placate the Cardinals. But I more highly doubt they even inquired in the first place.

flipper: Actually, your analysis of a few days ago was "ill-informed," (your word, not mine) but it's coming around. Your last post asked the right question: does Feliz's superior defense prevent enough runs to offset the loss in offense between him and, say, Dobbs? Without any good stats to measure defense, I can only give you my opinion on this subject. And even my opinion is somewhat speculative because, frankly, we really don't know what Dobbs could do on a full-time basis and against left-handers -- though I believe it's worth it to start finding out.

My opinion is that MAYBE the trade-off of offense for defense would be justified on a pitching-oriented team, or with a ground ball pitcher on the mound. But, batting behind two high OBP guys in Burrell & Werth, Feliz is an absolute rally killer. He's not the only reason for the Phillies' offensive struggles, but he's a far more significant part of the reason than his backers would like to admit. The Phillies' two worst hitters of the early season are both hitting directly behind the team's highest OBP players. That is a recipe for stalled rallies & it's the reason they have to rely so heavily on the homerun ball.

Something else to consider: Eric Bruntlett can also play 3B but hasn't. He's not a markedly better offensive option than Feliz, and it's seriously unlikely to happen, but I'm sure many here wouldn't mind a bit.

And, flipper, to protect my pride I must point out that I never said Dobbs created 3 more wins than Feliz. I said he's created 3 more runs so far and, given the relationship between RS and wins, he's likely to contribute more over the course of a season to the Phils win record than Feliz will.

Of course, the sample size is small and may be skewed by the high leverage of some of Dobbs appearances. I haven't looked into that.

This is a long-winded way towards a simple point. Dobbs should not be appearing 1/3 of the time that Feliz does. The Phils' performance, and their performance, so far beg for Dobbs to get more time at 3rd. I don't think they should bench Feliz. I do think he should have been out of the lineup last night.

BAP, on the previous page I made a stab at comparing the relative wins/loses resulting from sitting Feliz and playing Dobbs. I was curious whether, as a someone who took me to task on my skepticism about stats, you found some holes in my comparison - which concluded that using very conservative estimates, and comparing offense gained to defense lost, replacing Feliz with Dobbs would swing maybe five games at most. That's big, but would be negated by any games that Dobbs might help win through a pinch hit. Which is why I don't get why Feliz gets so much of the focus.

Glad to hear that I've improved. It means all the world to me.

NEPhan: Not really. Do you understand how BP determines replacement value? That plate appearances factor in? Thus you can't compare a bench guy to an everyday player?

Extreme nitpicking on Flipper's first post in this thread: a 3B will almost never make a relay throw. Middle infielders are the cutoff men.
This is a good discussion, and its up to Charlie to strike a balance between two players who offer different skills. For now I would say Feliz gets all Moyer starts and opposing left-handers (and if the offense starts producing a little more he can get the Kendrick starts too).

NEPhan: Not really. Do you understand how BP determines replacement value? That plate appearances factor in? Thus you can't compare a bench guy to an everyday player?

Actually yes I do. Considering that Dobbs was that negative even playing just 1/3 of the time, his defensive numbers would look even more costly ovre a full season. I didn't feel the need to go into massive detail on a quick post while at work.

True Sophist, you didn't say that he created 3 more wins, but you did say that Dobbs has already "contributed more wins."

Good point on the relay throws. Basically, I was trying to say that a 3rd baseman's relative fielding ability can show up in a variety of ways.

Phils are exactly 13-13 today against teams with a record of .500 or worse today. Actually a little better than I thought. Here are the breakdown:

Nats 1-3
Cin 1-2
Col 2-0
Mil 1-1
Pit 2-1
SD 2-1
SF 3-3
Tor 1-2

Phils are 11-9 against teams with a record better than .500 (winning teams)

NYM 2-4
Chi 2-1
Ari 2-2
Atl 2-1
Hou 2-1

As everyone is down given the Phils lackluster play, we have to have remember that this team won the division with much worse pitching (particularly in the bullpen).

The bigger point though is that unless the Braves or Mets are able to make a big deadline deal (Braves and Mets have already blown their wads on big trades in the past year or so), these teams will be flawed all year too.

Basically means that the NL East winner will likely win 88-90 games again this year. Phils need their offense to pick up if they are going to have a shot but no reason to completely dismiss the season. That is ridiculous.

NEPhan: Are you saying that Dobbs is a WORSE offensive player than Feliz? What exactly are you saying?

Biggest surprise to met= so far is how the Mets have really struggled. Granted they had their share of injuries this year to start the year but they are largely a healthy team right now and still struggling to pay with any kind of consistency.

Funny thing is that move that Minaya got blasted for (trading Milledge for Church & Schneider) actually has turned out fine for the Mets so far.

****NEPhan: Are you saying that Dobbs is a WORSE offensive player than Feliz? What exactly are you saying?****

Oh God No...I was speaking on the defensive side only. Offensively, Dobbs was worth .029 runs above replacement last year per start where as Feliz cost a team .096 per start. Basically that means that if you started Dobbs over Feliz last year for all 162 games, you would have created 20.25 runs. Theoretically, Feliz would save you about 15 runs in the field with his glove whereas Dobbs cost the Phillies 6 runs in 47 games (game=9 innings played in this equation) last season so it would be a wash for runs cost versus runs created on Dobbs or Feliz. Honestly it comes down to do you need better than average defense out of 3B or better than average offense...

The part that I find amusing is that all the folks who adamantly defend Feliz spend an enormous amount of energy and posts doing it; then they complain that those who criticize Feliz keep bringing it up. (If they are so concerned about the energy being spent on Feliz, the best tack would be to just leave it alone. If clout or CJ or B-A-P or I let loose on him, ignore us - we'll move on to something else rather quickly.)

Meanwhile, if anyone gets upset with Howard, the defense is muted and passes quickly. I do not see anyone getting terribly upset about Howard, one way or the other, and posting long rants filled with stats. If I say "Howard is really sucky right now," for instance, no one comes on to tell me I'm loony and in the long run he's gonna win a lot of games.

Meanwhile, I eagerly await all the defenders of defense when Utley goes into a slump. Second base is an even more important defensive position. Shouldn't we get ourselves someone who can field it more consistently? (Of course that discussion will not happen, because the defenders of defense only defend one defender.)

He's a better fielder than Dobbs. Right now our problem isn't 3B defense, it's scoring runs.

Utley was an above average defender last season. He's really worked hard to improve his game defensively. he's been a little off so far this year but I'm willing to bet he turns out allright by the end of the season.

Honestly, I'm not really defending Feliz...I refer to him as Rally Killer on my blog. I don't think Dobbs is the second coming of Schmidt at the plate either though.

"Right now our problem isn't 3B defense, it's scoring runs."

Here's what I don't get about that logic. If you're not scoring runs - isn't it all that much more important to limit the runs scored by the other team? You need to look at both sides of the equation no matter whether at the time you're scoring a lot of runs or not.

NE, above, gives what seems to this "ill-informed," "idiot," a reasonable perspective: it's pretty much a wash. So, again, why are there so many folks who are so focused on Feliz being a problem?

We should make a run at Andy Laroche or Blake Dewitt from LA...They can't play both of them at 3B so one should theoretically be available for the right price in prospects.

I don't think they'll be targeting a 3b.

flipper, because many of us think his argument doesn't support the conclusion that it's a "wash."

Furthermore, the situation is more complicated than an either/or (either you play one or the other all season.) Platoons exist for a reason.

Dobbs is batting .345/.383/.509 against righties (about 60 PA.)

Feliz is batting .200/.240/.316 against RH (in over 100 PA.)

Feliz, OTOH, is batting ~.275 against lefties.

I'm guessing that if you gave the platoon a shot, it would be better than either starting Feliz all year or starting Dobbs all year -- better defensively and offensively.

NEPhan - or, they could try moving one of them to second base once the geriatric Jeff kent finally limps into the sunset.

Actually, I'd rather look to see what we could shake loose from San Diego. Think they'd want the speedy Vic for Kouzmanoff? Think we could sweeten with, like, Cardenas and get Headley?

No. I don't think so either. But it's fun to imagine a universe where such things happen.

****NEPhan - or, they could try moving one of them to second base once the geriatric Jeff kent finally limps into the sunset.****

That is true...it was just a thought. Like BB said, I highly doubt we'll be hunting for a 3B this summer...a starter would be nice...not that any are available.

****I'm guessing that if you gave the platoon a shot, it would be better than either starting Feliz all year or starting Dobbs all year -- better defensively and offensively. ****

Do you think UC is capable of handling another platoon?

If this team makes a trade it better be for pitching.

The 3B situation isn't ideal, but, managed correctly, it should be good enough. Feliz *should* get better (given his career numbers) and should be used less (Dobbs should get most starts against RH unless his production nose-dives.)

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