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Monday, June 23, 2008

Comments

You know, I had really high hopes for Jenkins as he had been one of my favorite non-Phillies players. He has been disappointing to say the least.

On Taguchi, sad to say but he's done. Cut him and bring up Donald as another utility guy. He's batting .300 in AA and was supposed be be brought up instead of Harmon earlier if he wasn't injured at the time. At 24, its now or never so why the heck not?

Taguchi, Jenkins, Myers, and Ruiz. Take your pick. They all have been disappointing this year. I doubt Jenkins is going anywhere though with having a contract through next season.

A signing like Jenkins shows the illustrates the real problems in the way this front office operates. It was easy for the casual fan to go, "Hey, Geoff Jenkins! I remember he used to be pretty good for the Brewers! Good signing!" Yet every stat showed a guy entering the downswing of his career. He could still be a productive member of a platoon, but having him for two years and an option will end up being a real drain on a team that already claims it can't economically compete with the big boys.

Jason- A few weeks ago you ran a story on leadership on the Phils team . My reply then was that the team is going well- we will see who emerges as a leader during the next bad spell.
Well here we are and as far as I can see NO leader has come forward.

I honestly think Jenkins still has some good baseball left in him. He had an alright start to the season: .297 AVG, 4 HR, 14 RBI, .325 OBP as of Jun 1. Since then he's slumped with the rest of the team.

If Snelling and Golson were not currently hurt, and after reading Charlie's quotes in today's papers, I'd have to think that So's Roberson-like weekend performance might cost him...

The only plus I can see to this June swoon is that Gillick and the ownership might see that they need to up the ante and deal for a difference maker before the trade deadline. Of course the fact that Amaro is waiting in the wings and so close to the powers that be, I get nervous that he (Amaro) might have a disproportionate influence on giving up prospects in order to get said difference maker.

Anyone know if So boarded is the plane out west? He is done and should have been cut in May.

If Dobbs is going to be starting against righties on this trip, Phils need another LH bat on the bench and that should spell So's departure. Or, just give Werth Jenkins' at bats from here on out after interleague.

I'd like to see this tomorrow:

Vic - CF
JRoll - SS
Utley - 2b
Howard - 1B
Burrell - DH
Dobbs - 3B
Werth - RF
Jenkins - LF
Coste - C

Can't we add Howard to the list of disappointments? He's top three for me. Can we stop pretending for a second that his robust RBI totals are just a little shallow when you consider everything he hasn't done right this season?

Has anyone else noticed that Wheels has become very defensive in broadcasts this year? Yesterday, for instance, he made a big caveat about a statement he had made moments earlier about "holes in Vlad Guerrero's game." I've also noticed it a few other times this year. Perhaps he is looking over his shoulder at Tom McCarthy.

JW: Yes. That 13 pitch at bat strikeout with Rollins on 3rd with less than two outs was brutal.

Ryan Howard for Lance Berkman. Which team would need to add more to make it even.

I agree with a few of the posts. Always liked Jenkins a lot and liked the signing. He's been so-so and trending downward. He does have too many poor at bats which this team can ill-afford. Still I think he is way down the list of problems. What did the Phillies get 13 or 14 hits in a 3 game series. And Weaver was horrible yesterday and the Phils couldn't touch him. I found myself congratulating Ryan Howard for a decent first inning at bat fouling off 5 or 6 pitches. Then he swings right through a high change up. Reserve infielders in AA punish that pitch. At that point the sinking feeling returned with a vengance.

Yeah, Howard has been a major disappointment. I definitely won't argue that one.

I was thinking Howard would challenge for MVP this season. My expectations for Jenkins and Feliz were not high. I thought Ruiz would hit a little better. But largely, this season has rolled along without Howard. When the Phils were winning big, it was Utley, it was Burrell, it was Werth even. And the pen of course.

This series showed the Phils' biggest weakness of all - inability to manufacture runs when the long balls go cold. Howard is the poster boy for those troubles and the debate about how "productive" his outs are is a real one. 0-24 from Utley is much different than a slump from Ryno.

"Well here we are and as far as I can see NO leader has come forward."

Bubba, how far can you see? Do you spend a lot of time in the Phils' clubhouse?

Phils face Blanton tomorrow, who's 3-10 with an ERA near 5. The DBacks put up 8 on him in 3 IP in his last start. Good time to get out of this swoon. They can only last so long.

MPN: I hadn't noticed Wheels defensiveness because I usually have him muted. He's as irritating as burlap boxers. The thing I have noticed is that Tom McCarthy spends the entire 4th inning interviewing the Sarge. EVERY GAME! They pay only cursory attention to the action on the field. It's like listening to paint dry. Sarge seems like a nice guy and I liked him a lot as a player but he adds nothing. I think I use the mute button 75% of the time any more. Even Harry has lost a lot off his fastball. But I could still listen to him read the phone book. The Phils never get rid of a broadcaster so it is unlikely to change any time soon, but I think there roster in the booth is putrid.

MPN: What do you mean, in regards to the 13-pitch ab?

These Angels are for real...if the pitching and defense holds up they should run the table this fall.

JW: Just emblematic of his 2008 campaign. I mean, if you look at his HR and RBI numbers they just seem to have added up. Perhaps they have been more decisive than I remember, but, as you say, he never has seemed to have carried the team for any stretch of time this season.

Does anyone else remember when I was blasted on this board last year for suggesting Ryan Howard was a slightly better version of Adam Dunn? People thought I was absolutely crazy for suggesting the two were even close in terms of value. Here are there numbers from last year and so far this year:

2007
Howard: .268/.392/.584, 47 HRs, 144 OPS+
Dunn: .264/.386/.554, 40 HRs, 136 OPS+

2008
Howard: .220/.316/.474, 19 HRs, 101 OPS+
Dunn: .218/.384/.491, 18 HRs, 126 OPS+

They are the exact same age (born 10 days apart).

I think most people's problem with the comparision is that they inherently overrate Howard's value and very strongly underrate Dunn's value. There is nothing wrong with saying that Ryan Howard is a slightly better version of Adam Dunn; both are very good offensive baseball players. For whatever reason, both here and nationally, people celebrate Howard and dismiss Dunn, even though the numbers show them to be similar.

If anything, I think Howard can say goodbye to his long-term deal. He should have signed while he had the chance.

jack:I think the year that Howard had in 2006 was so incredible that it blinds people. I know it did me. Those were Babe Ruth numbers. I'll bet Adam Dunn never hit .313 in little league. He's not much more than a modern day Dave Kingman. Unfortunately, that is what Howard is starting to resemble. Every time he starts to get it going it seems he runs into a tough lefty and its right back to the toilet. Extremely frustrating. What's worse is his defense is regressing. He was never going to remind anybody of Keith Hernandez but he's downright terrible at this point. Who makes his glove, US Steel?

Sophist- Hope you're right about tomorrow being the day to shake off the team slump.

donc: Comparing either Howard or Dunn (or Burrell) to Dave Kingman is not correct, as has been pointed out many times by Clout and others. Kingman had a lifetime OBP of .302; Howard, Dunn, and Burrell all have OBP's over .370. That is a HUGE difference. A difference that cannot be overstated.

I have to say I was excited with off season additions of So and Jenkins but now disappointed. I've watched about every game this year and sometimes I forget So is on this team. He's dropped at least three simple fly balls in left, lost his slap hitting bat and is not fast enough to be a base stealing threat. He is now simply blocking the way of a minor league audition.

Jenkins looked like he was turning the corner last month with some big hits but then again, everyone was hitting. We needed that experienced bat this month against better ballclubs.

No panic necessary, IMO we can still dominate in our division but will come up short w/ this current team when we get to the playoffs. Luckly somehow after four series losses the Braves, Mets and Marlins are still trying to catch up.

It's time make adjustments, you got to think about moving So, Ruiz and even shopping Howard. I like Howard alot but I'm not buying his "a strikeout is just like any out" theory. How many times w/ a runner on third w/ one out does he fail to make contact? He has a stack of RBIs but w/ that group that gets on base before him, he should have alot more. Throw him that slider down and away everytime. None of the good teams fear him they know him.

I'm choosing to look at this stretch as a test of the mettle that this club is gonna need down the stretch.

Their first place seating is all but vanished and ALL of their key players are experiencing slumps while their pitching staff outside the BP is about average. Yet, they are still in the driver's seat. If HALF the usual suspects (Rollins, Utley, Burrell, Howard, Hamels, Myers, Victorino, Moyer etc.) get anything going consistently, I think the Phils get the East again in a very weak N.L.

You gotta know that Utley will be back and Howard couldn't get any worse really....

Why does Milt Thompson get the praise that he does? What exactly does he do for this franchise beside represent the last ballyhooed era of the Phillies?

jack: I agree with you. Kingman was truly awful. At the same time, Adam Dunn has never showed any ability to hit like Howard. It's all a moot point if Howard continues his death spiral though.

donc: Be warned. Nothing gets the Howard defenders riled up like a comparison to Dave Kingman.

In point of fact, it's not really an apt comparison. Like Howard 2008, Kingman was a horrible hitter with tons of power. But Howard is on pace to draw 84 walks, which is 22 more than Kingman drew in his best year.

Then again, Jack's also giving Howard way too much credit by comparing him to Adam Dunn. They both have power, they both strike out a lot. But Dunn's strikeouts pale in comparison to Howard's and, at least this year, he is drawing way more walks. Even while hitting .219, Dunn still has a .384 OBP -- the 15th best in the NL. Howard's OBP is a paltry .316.

Comparisons are ultimately pointless and impossible, because Ryan Howard has been 3 very different players in each of the last 3 seasons. To make comparisons, you have to start out by deciding which version of Ryan Howard you're using to make the comparison. Those who are fans of Howard will naturally start their comparisons with certain assumptions about Howard's numbers reverting toward career norms. Those who are sick of his act will start out with assumptions that what you see now is what you're going to get.

What's his career norm though? Its almost certainly not his MVP season...last year is more likely but not a definite.

BAP: Yeah I agree with you about the three phases. And I'm at a loss to figure where he goes from here. And I guess I fall somewhere between a Howard basher and a Howard appologist. I just can't help but remember him getting 182 hits with 58 home runs and nobody even pitching to him for the last month of the season. He'll probably never do that again but only a handful of guys have ever done that. I admit I am truly baffled by his ever growing propensity to give away at bats. It's hard to believe sometimes. And speaking of Kingman, whom I loathed, all he ever did was swing for the fences. His teams were usually quite bad and he had little protection in the lineup.

NEPP: That was precisely my point -- although, whatever his career "norms" are, I think everyone would agree they're better than what he's doing now.

A personal note about Dave Kingman. He was childhood friends with a guy who used to work with my dad. In 1974, he was playing for the Giants and bought us all tickets see the Phillies-Giants game at Candlestick. First baseball I ever attended. I remember that Mike Anderson homered & Dick Ruthven pitched.

All I know is when Howard comes up to bat lately I don't feel confident at all that he will get that runner home.

Rollins and Utley are the ones who really set the table here, and when they are in a funk, the whole team is down. As they go, so go the Phils. I'd like to see more of the 2007 Rollins hustle and attitude come out this year; is he still hurt or was last year just a career year he will never again approximate? I've always felt personally that Rollins had underachieved until last year.

This is tough stretch with almost everyone slumpping, difficult to battle through this when no one can produce. Someone brought it up though earlier...if they face tough pitching, they cannot manufacture runs, and will have difficulty winning close, low-scoring games. This is not a good thing, something that is going to hurt them at least 1-2 times per week, and kill them in the playoffs if they make it.

I think that Bill James is pretty much responsible for all the current derision directed at Kingman's career. He had some very good years mixed in there and somehow hung around for a good amount of time...somebody clearly thought he was doing a good enough job.

On Rollins...last year was a career year. He will NEVER repeat those numbers...guaranteed.

One thing to note about Howard is his declining contact rate. His ROY year was 68%, MVP was 66%, last year was 64%, and this year is 63%. He's also swinging at a career high 34% of 1st pitches, and a career high 80% of all pitches he sees. As a result, his walk rate is down and his strikeout rate is up. That contact rate is one of the lowest in the majors, significantly below other big, defensively challenged hitters like Adam Dunn, Travis Hafner, or Prince Fielder. Contact rate is also one of the major determinants of batting average (the others being luck and HR power). Via prodigious HR power Howard has been able to keep his AVG respectable in the past few years, but as his HR rate has declined so has his BA. BA is double counted in OPS and so that has fallen significantly as well...

Some of you guys are taking this way too far. Typical philly fans. We considered ourselves one of the best teams in baseball two weeks ago now because we lost a few series so we suck? This is the phillies fellas, not the eagles. Everyone knows baseball is a very long season and it is a sport in which you can hit .600 one week and .050 the next week(i.e. Utley). Don't over blow this because we are playing out worst ball of the year against two better teams. I still think were the second best team in the NL. We also need to layoff Howard. He is not Barry Bonds and he is never going to be Barry Bonds. If you came into this season thinking Howard was going to hit .300 and strike out less one hundred and fifty times then you just don't know what your talking about. He is going to be .275 at best but he gets paid ten million to hit 40 to 50 homers, and im ok with that.

Jack: On the Dunn/Howard comparison... Howard's career up to this year has been ROY, MVP where he was off the charts incredible, an injury in spring training leading an early struggle period/DL trip followed by him being a 1.000 OPS guy after his return. That's what we have to base our expectations of him on. Dunn, while possibly underrated, has still been a solid notch below Howard, especially in the last three years when they've both been in the league, and has never shown the ability to reach the elite level Howard did for any stretch.
Also, Dunn has been helped by his hitter's park, whereas Howard's OPS has been freakishly identical home vs. away.
Those are the reasons that people look at Howard differently and celebrate him more. It's justified.

That said, this year Howard's been possibly the biggest disappointment in all of baseball, and looked nothing like the guy he was for the last 3 years. The question is why and what should we expect going forward?

Jack: The comparison of Dunn and Howard is a little bit off for last year (Howard's OPS+ was 6% better than Dunn's) but it really breaks down when you look at career stats. Howard's career OPS+ is 143, Dunn's is 130. And that includes Howard's horrible start this season. They are not comparable and won't be once their respective careers are finished. Howard is clearly the better player.

Amen Jack Glacken! People need to realign their expectations a bit, but Howard is a good player w/ unreal HR power, the ability to drive in a ton of runs and should be and would be in the middle of every MLB lineup. 2006 was both the greatest achievement of Howard's career and possibly his worst in that it raised expectations to unreal levels. Will he ever hit .313 again, hell no! But he'll get on base around a .350 clip and drive in 120 every year and thats pretty damn good ($10 mil good?). So step back off the precipice of the Walt Whitman, the Phils will turn their slump around and maybe even get hot at the right time.

Interesting Trade Rumor: "Philadelphia has indicated it would include 22-year-old righty Fabio Castro in a deal (for Brian Fuentes), which makes the Phils the early front-runners. Oakland's presence indicates the A's, in what was projected to be a rebuilding year, now believe they can contend."

The above was from the NYPost...A Castro led deal for Fuentes...I'd do that as Castro hasn't shown any improvement this season in AA. Although I'm sure he'll win 15 games for the Rockies...

Taguchi's turned into Alex Gonzalez Jr. for Gillick and the Phillies. No one really could have seen that coming; he went from leading the league in pinch-hitting to no hits in nearly three months as a PH this year. Likewise, I don't know if the summarily lousy performance of Jenkins could have been anticipated. I wouldn't say I was 'excited' so much as relieved when the Phillies got Jenkins in the wake of Rowand's departure - simply because they needed someone to plug into a platoon with Werth. The numbers suggested that those two could easily combine for 30 HR and that the Phillies wouldn't lose that much offensively. That's the danger of just looking at numbers, I guess. Even knowing that Jenkins was obviously on the decline, he still seemed like a good fit and a serviceable player. I'd only watched him in a handful of games, and my impression of him was that he was a gamer who always seemed to hit the ball hard even though his long swing made him prone to slumps. What I had no idea about was just how terrible his approach to hitting is. It's pretty shocking that a guy can be in the majors for over ten years and not have an idea of how or when to work a pitcher. That's the way most players are able to compensate when their skills begin to erode; their experience makes them smarter players over time, so that they're able to make adjustments and hone their mental approach to the game. Not so with Geoff Jenkins. Here's a guy who has one thing in mind when he comes to the plate - mash the ball as hard as you can, preferably into the third deck. And he has six homeruns in almost half a season. Maybe he'll get hot and hit four in some week, but he'll be hard-pressed to reach 20, and he's been nearly as much of a non-entity in that lower-tier batting order as Feliz. The Phillies are athletic through the first third of their lineup and then beyond plodding through the rest - one-dimensional at best, and half-dimensional once you're past Burrell. Prime evidence that the Phillies need to get younger - but how? They've got Golson banged up at Reading, and who else? Sad situation. This team is going to turn into what the Giants used to look like if they're not careful. They're forced to turn to declining, immobile retreads because the farm director is somehow skating by on a hyper-inflated reputation and remains inexplicably secure in his job despite his proven inability to perform it effectively over the span of a decade and a half.

It's pretty tough to blame Gillick for these signings. Feliz and Jenkins, inadequate as they are, were still probably the best possible options to come in and fill the gaps on this team. It's well and good to break out the Jorge Cantu-Luis Gonzalez hindsight, but I don't think a very good argument could have been made at the time for taking those players over the ones they did. bay area fan said he endorsed 'Gonzo' at that time, so it perhaps doesn't qualify as merely hindsight, but I don't believe he is used as a RF, for one thing. Jenkins was a better defensive option, a younger player still demonstrating an ability to hit 20-plus homers, which the Phillies probably thought meant at least 25 in CBP (the same way they did with Feliz). As it turns out - yeah, they probably would have been better off with Luis Gonzalez, but I'm sure that move, if they'd made it, would have been totally decried in December. And wasn't Gonzalez a free agent until very late in the off-season? I don't think anyone was interested in him, which may well have been related to speculation about his name being in the Mitchell Report.

Anyhow, while it's pretty clear the Phillies need to improve on both of these players, I don't see them replacing or unloading Jenkins anytime soon.

Castro got lit up this weekend. Deal him at once!

Jack G., don't you know how it works? You're supposed to praise the team when they're winning, and. when they're losing, forget everything good you've ever said about the team and kick em when they're down! That's the mark of a real Phils fan.
Regarding Howard, no, here is nothing good about the Ks, but I'll take the 64 RBIs.

I am ery happy that the Phillies didn't come up[ with the extra bonus money to sign Joe Saunders. This way, they had enough of a reserve to sign major league talent like Taguchi, Jenkins and Eaton.

BB:Castro got lit up this weekend. Deal him at once!

That's not why I would trade him personally. His control issues dont seem to be going away and he's starting to get to the point where he doesn't look like a starter in the majors anymore.

clout: Maybe yes, maybe no. As I said in my post, Howard's supporters will use career numbers to support their arguments; his detractors will focus more on the overall trend of his season-to-season numbers. When it comes to predicting future performance, career numbers are generally more meaningful than single season numbers. But that ceases to be true when the season-to-season numbers are trending radically downward.

As Dave X points out in his excellent post, Howard's strikeouts started out high & are soaring into the stratosphere. Meanwhile the Howard shift has substantially reduced his BABIP. You will say, "The Howard shift was in effect last year, and his BABIP was .63 pts higher than it is right now." And that would be a good point, which suggests his average is going to go up from where it is now (which I think everyone pretty much agrees it will). However, his BABIP last year was still .27 pts lower than the year before, while his strikeouts were way up. This year, the strikeouts are up even more (significantly so), while the BABIP is still very likely to end up considerably lower than last year. Given these trends, I find it difficult to predict what Howard's numbers will look like in future years. As his strikeout totals soar, the margin for error that prevents him from having a terrible season becomes less and less.

rsb: You can definitely go back & look up the off-season posts. I was advocating Luis Gonzalez all winter long. I don't say this out of a desire to take credit -- because I also have made more than my share of totally idiotic predictions (i.e., C. Durbin would suck; Moyer had nothing left; Ruiz would have a breakout year). I bring it up just to point out that there were viable, and more cost-effective, alternatives to Geoff Jenkins, and those alternatives were perfectly knowable BEFORE Jenkins was signed. Even a brief glance at Gonzo's recent numbers tells you that they've been better than Jenkins' and they have remained relatively consistent.

If they had signed Gonzo, the move would probably have been to switch Burrell to RF when Gonzo starts. I realize that's a very weak defensive outfield, but it's not like Jenkins is Roberto Clemente in right field.

I wish uncle Cholly would just rub his magic gut and start hittin season a over again. Until he does, there is nothing wrong with a little tear in our beer.

Dave X: "his strikeout rate is up."

In 2007, Howard struck out in 37.6% of his ABs.

In 2008, Howard has struck out in 37.2% of his ABs.

In fact, his strikeout rate is DOWN.

Burrell in Right?...~shudders~

clout: Would it be more accurate to say its basically stayed exactly the same? Though he will likely shatter his own record by around 20-25 Ks this season...if he stays healthy and in the lineup.

But the thing is Snelling isn't injured right now, he's active and on the Iron Pigs roster. Send Taguchi down, bring Snelling up and then we have a possibility. As for Howard, we need to sit him, then make him figure his hitting out and he'll get his job back when he gets it together. Maybe a AAA stint would be good for him.

I was just at the NY Post site where they quote the Mets new Manager as calling his NY Mets fans "fertilizer". It looks like the Mets will be in turmoil all year. I think they selected the wrong guy to replace Willie Randolph.

As far as Jenkins goes, I always thought that signing was a good example of the Phils' hedging their bets and refusing to rely on young, up and coming players. After the year Werth had, I thought they should have given him the starting job, seen if he could mature into an everyday role. Its the same thing they did with Barajas the year before, and in that example it looks like it really stunted Ruiz's growth.

NEPhan: I'll buy close to the same as last year. So far. But that's a far cry from his strikeouts being UP, as DaveX declared and his strikeouts "soaring" as BAP said. The facts say otherwise. And, yes, if he has lots more ABs this year, he'll have more Ks.

@timr -- I looked at it, that Cholly asked for a Left Handed Power Hitter. And that's all Pat G was able to score.

"Interesting Trade Rumor: Philadelphia has indicated it would include 22-year-old righty Fabio Castro in a deal (for Brian Fuentes), which makes the Phils the early front-runners. Oakland's presence indicates the A's, in what was projected to be a rebuilding year, now believe they can contend."

Ummm...Isn't Castro left handed? They don't mean Carrasco, do they?

Yeah he is...God I hope not...that would be a major mistake. Carrasco is really coming together this year. He will almost certainly be in the rotation next year.

Here's a thought: Since Howard is doing so well against leftys this year (.178 avg, .613 OPS) maybe the FO should acquire someone who can play 1B and hit leftys...

On Fuentes, is it just me, or is anyone else weary of having three lefties (Romero, Fuentes, Lidge) as the most solid back-end pieces to the bullpen?

I agree completely...right up to the part where Lidge is a lefty...last I checked he threw righthanded.

Since when is Lidge left handed?

hah, you got me Bentz.... dumb mistake. My bad.

MPN-

I'm ok with it considering Lidge throws right-handed.

TTI: Yes, understood. Post-lunch food coma mistake.

If they are able to pull off a Castro-centered deal for Brian Fuentes, it would be another mini-coup for Gillick. We all know they'll start hitting eventually, and while their rotation is mediocre, there's not much a team with their farm system to do to improve it. But you can never have enough arms in the 'pen, and it'll be useful when the runs come back and the inevitable Gordon/Madson injury finally strikes.

Great pitching matchup tonight at Shea - Felix vs Santana. I wish that game was on ESPN instead of ANOTHER red sox game. It will probably be the M's best chance at taking one.

Ribbies - Don't you want another glimpse at the marvelous Drew/Crisp/Lugo-centric lineup that destroyed us mere days ago?

Uh no, and if I did I could see them this Wednesday when ESPN is going to show them AGAIN!

ESPN...NESN...there isn't much difference.

Since a walk is a productive PA, the way to gauge Howard's strikeout rate is as a ratio of his PAs, not his ABs. Last year, he struck out in 31.2% of his PAs; this year, 32.7%. In 2006, it was just 26.3%. Reasonable minds can differ about what exactly constitutes a "soaring" strikeout rate, but his stirkeouts have clearly been rising at a significant rate over the last 3 years.

I assume we can all agree that Howard has gone downhill for 3 straight years when he should be in his prime...That's a pretty fair statement, correct?

Considering that and his comparables does it make sense to lock him up long-term or to start exploring other options in the near future while he still has a bunch of trade value?

BAP: That's just bizarre. Measuring his Ks against his PAs makes no sense.

Has anyone come to the realization that the SOUL are our city's only hope to bring home a championship this decade?

dont get me wrong, i love the phillies... but this past week has me as excited for another AL match up as i would be to see Oprah in a bakini.

clout: Please explain why it makes no sense -- let alone why it's bizarre. It makes no sense to use anything BUT PAs.

Clout: Why doesn't that make sense?

I don't see the Phillies being any better in the next 5 years than they are this year. Which means I trade any minor leaguer for any major leaguer who can help right now. At some point, you have to try to win a World Series. Next year there could conceivably be no Burrell, Lidge, Moyer, Gordon. Plus Utley, Howard, Rollins will be 1 more year closer to the downside. They're not that young.

I'm hoping that clout was being tongue-in-cheek with that comment. So what's the over/undre on # of SOs for Rich Harden vs. the Phillies? 10? 15?

Because strikeouts are a function of ABs, not PAs. If you want to argue he's walking more or less, using PAs is fine. But his strikeout RATE has to be measured against ABs. Otherwise, why not measure hits against PAs for batting average? His strikeoute RATE is down. That's a fact.

Speaking of Gordon, he hasn't pitched in more than a week. He was also the losing pitcher the last 2 times he pitched, & he struggled in each of his 3 outings before that. One wonders if the inevitable injury has stricken.

clout: I gotta agree with BAP here. Plate appearances are the number of times Howard is at the plate. He's now striking out a higher percentage of those times. Using PAs shows that. Using % of ABs hides that many of his walks from last year are being replaced by strikeouts this year.

clout: I don't buy it. They don't measure BA by PAS because, by definition, BA is hits per AB and, by definition, a walk isn't an AB. The stat which adds walks into the equation is OBP -- which is, in fact, a better measure of offensive productivity than BA.

The rise in Howard's strikeouts per PA is directly related to the reduction in walks. He is swinging at more bad pitches; hence, more strikeouts & fewer walks.

Brian G: The problem with using PAs is the strikeout number is distorted by the walks (and sacrifice flies etc). Thus, his strikeout rate really could be soaring, but if his walk rate is way up too, using your method wouldn't show it. You don't strike out in a PA. You strike out in an AB.

Clout: In general, we should look at PA's more than ABs. We use AB's as a measuring stick mostly because there was an ingrained bias in baseball against the walk for most of the nineteenth and twentieth century, when these scorekeeping and statistical traditions were created.

Batting Average we should not look at PA's, because that would discriminate against walks (it would lower averages for guys who take a lot of walks, when walking is productive). However, because striking out is a negative event, it would in fact be more productive to look at plate appearances than at-bats when measuring K rate. What you want to know is the amount of times he strikes out when comes to the plate. Using PA's, and thus making walks count as part of the game, is a more indicative measure of value because it will inherently reward a guy who walks more, and thus has more productive appearances.

BAP: "hence, more strikeouts & fewer walks."

Except that there aren't more strikeouts.

clout: His strikeoute RATE is down. That's a fact.

Actually its about the same...not DOWN. 1/10th of a percentage is hardly a real change one way or the other.

K rate is usually measured in K/AB. Whether or not this is how it should be is different, but just looking at fangraphs they do K/AB. Either way, Clout is right that Howard's K/AB rate is down slightly from last year, but it is up significantly from his ROY and MVP years. The biggest difference between this year and last year is that he is hitting a lot less fly balls, which suggests that either he changed his swing or pitchers are all pitching him differently.

Jack: I agree if what you're measuring is OB or walk rate. But not strikeouts.

Dave X: Thanks for making my point. Instead of obsessing about his strikeout rate, which isn't up. The anti-Howard crowd should look at where the balls are going when he does make contact.

Can't we just agree that Howard is having a really crappy year? Are we really arguing about PAs v. ABs.

NEPhan: You either missed my earlier post to you or you want to make a Merry-Go-Round.

Clout: When you come up to the plate, you generally do one of 4 things(we'll ignore HBP, and not break down batted balls further). Hit a home run, hit it into the field of play, strikeout or walk. Rates should be measured against the options available, which is what using PAs does. Some sabr-minded folks are arguing for doing that with hits, so long as it is supplemented by % of walks, to better be able to evaluate players. If you measure the rate of strikeouts per at-bat, it does not differentiate between a guy who walks a ton(Howard last year) and one who doesn't(Howard this year). Basically, it gives you less information.

clout: We both agree that Howard has sucked this year, correct?

He DOES have more strikeouts, for reasons articulated by jack & brian g.

A walk & a sac fly are productive PAs, so why is it "distorting" that a person with lots of walks & sac flies would be rewarded with a lower strikeout per PA ratio?

OPS is the best way to measure a guy's offensive production...and Isolated Power is the best way to measure his power numbers. Why not judge Ryno by those?

NEPhan: "OPS is the best way to measure a guy's offensive production...and Isolated Power is the best way to measure his power numbers. Why not judge Ryno by those?"

I agree. And OPS+ is best of all. His OPS+ of 101 ranks him about average in the league but is by far the worst of his career.

clout: I agree completely on OPS+...

Clout: You still haven't explained why not though. I'm not biased one way or the other, it just seems to me to make more sense to look at total appearances. Don't we want to use a statistic that is the most overall indicative of a player's value? Even though what we are measuring his strikeouts, doesn't it make sense to use the measure that accounts for a productive apperance (walk) rather than one that doesn't? Isn't what we want to say not that Howard is striking out at the same rate per at bat, but that where he took walks last year, he is now striking out?

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EST. 2005

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