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Tuesday, July 01, 2008


Release So Taguchi and call-up Andy Tracy. Let Tracy start some at 1st base and 3rd and be a pinch-hitter...can't be that bad can it?

Not sure how much longer Donald will be with the team. He seems to be a likely piece to be dealt at the deadline with no real hope of playing SS in the near future and Cardenas behind him

A couple of amusing posts from WillyfromPhilly at end of last thread:

Inside/Outside - Those players you mentioned were not all acquird by LaMarr. He had the top pick nearly every year and still they were a terrible team. It wasn't until they hired GERRY HUNSICKER and the moves he advised on turned their fortunes around. So what does Dave Montgomery/Mike Arbuckle do? They hires LaMarr after passing over Hunsicker for Gillick. Vintage Phillies move!
Hunsicker would have cleaned house, from Arbuckle all the way on down. But you have to remember, a job in this organization is for life and an employee only gets canned when the fans are up in arms.

Posted by: WillyFromPhilly | Tuesday, July 01, 2008 at 09:34 AM

Once again, Chuck LaMarr is an idiot. He's just like Arbuckle, drafting bodies instead of skills and talent. Back in 2000 the Phillies were zeroing in on drafting Rocco Baldelli at #15. All of a sudden Arbuckle and Noworyta became worried when they saw a contingent of Tampa Bay scouts lead by GM Chuck LaMarr at Baldelli's games late in the high school season. The Phils lost out and Tampa Bay selected Baldelli at #6. Bummer! The Phils were forced to select some college kid named Utley at #15.

Posted by: WillyFromPhilly | Tuesday, July 01, 2008 at 09:43 AM

OT Atlantic League stuff: On Saturday, I paid my first visit to Sovereign Bank Stadium, home of the independent York Revolution. The Revs hosted recently signed ex-Oriole Jay Gibbons and the Long Island Ducks. The Ducks, the most prominent of all the Atlantic League teams, is home to several ex-Major Leaguers, including Carl Everett and Nook Logan. Yorked pulled out a 8-7 comeback against a couple ex-Pharmhands: Vic Darensbourg and Joe Valentine, who was recently released from Reading. Everett, who can’t run anymore, homered in the game. Gibbons, who was involved in the steroid scandal, is built like Chase Utley now. He looked pretty good. I'd be happy to have him in our farm system instead of T.J. Bohn.

I went to the York stadium last year and it is beautiful. Most of the parks in that league are (I've heard great things about Clipper Magazine Stadium in Lancaster). Was at Reading two Fridays ago and while I still love the stadium, it has fallen behind on the times compared to York and Lancaster and certainly Coca-Cola Park in Allentown (but at least it is FAR better than the joke of a park on City Island in Harrisburg). Jason - is there concern in Reading about the Phils only re-upping for two years and saying they wanted to see some plan for stadium upgrades? I couldn't imagine them ever leaving Reading - but are there plans for upgrades?

I don't sense any concern, but the facilities are very poor indeed - clubhouse, cages and that sort of thing. I heard they plan on upgrading - maybe that's officially announced. Not sure. Reading will do everything they can I'm positive, and the Phils have a perfect situation with their high minors being so close. The problem is there's only so much they can do at that old park.

If the Phillies don't make at least one roster move today I will be perplexed. Myers to the bullpen. Gordon to the D.L. Taguchi DFA. Happ called up. Is anyone in the front office paying attention??

Lancaster is nice. They're similar. I can't remember whether Lancaster has a Clearwater-style berm in left field. York does. It's nice to see a decent brand of ball in those cities. I actually get a kick out of seeing the washed-up ex stars. Carl Everett really lumbers around. Long Island also has Pete Rose Jr. He's ready for the slow-pitch softball leagues. York is a poor team though. Their cleanup hitter is ex R-Phil filler Matt Padgett.

Swindle last night at LV:

1 IP, 0 hits, 0 ER, 0 BB's, 3 K's.

Threw 18 pitches, 13 for strikes.

Keep gettin' it done, RJ. Maybe one day, the big club will notice.

That's too good to ignore.

If only there were room for some of these promising minor leaguers up at the big club. Unfortunately, everyone on the Phillies' roster is performing so well right now, there's just no possible chance.

Swindle will get his chance at some a Brave, Met, Marlin or Nat with the primary responsibility of getting Utley and Howard out.

That would be a waste of talent. You could get Utley and Howard out with Vic Darensbourg.

No commentary on Conlin's column regarding the 'international signing allowance' and the coinciding lack of Latin American prospects. Will there be any today on Hagen's even more damning article?

I take issue with one fragment of Hagen's piece: "Knee-jerk reaction alert: This is not a screed portraying the Phillies as being cheap. The reality is more nuanced than that."

Really, Paul, it isn't. There can be no other explanation.What he's basically saying is, they do have a scouting presence, they do have an academy - they just won't pay what it takes to sign higher-end names. So what exactly is otherwise operating here, nobility of principle? Racism? You tell us what the 'reality' is, Paul. I mean, nice article, but why the need to temper it with apologetics?

RSB pulled out an intersting quote from Hewitt's agent: "A player of Anthony's caliber is exactly what this organization has a track record of developing," said Jack Toffey, Hewitt's Boston-based agent.

Hewitt is a classic athletic 5-tool position player whose baseball skills are rudimentary. I'm trying to rememeber the last one of those mthis team developed. I can think of several that failed to develop (Reggie Taylor, Jeff Jackson etc.) But not one of the current homegrown starters fits that bill: Utley & Howard were polished college players, Rollins was the opposite of the unskilled 5-tool athlete: A runty little High School hacker with excellent baseball skills. Can anyone here think of a raw, toolsy high school position player who was developed by the Phillies into an everyday player?

true, Andy, true

looks like Alou might be activated for the weekend. Over/under on Alou Hrs - 2

Why does everyone here sound as if they just finished reading Moneyball?

Speaking of Swindle, I saw that Matt Smith (of Abreu trade fame) started his rehab last night by pitching an inning in a GCL game. (The post about Swindle reminded me of Smith, in part because both are LOOGYs and in part because we got Swindled in the Abreu trade).

It wouldn't astonish me if Smith wound up back with the team this year. Before his injury, he was pitching effectively in the LOOGY role, both for the Yankees & Phillies. Given what the Rockies are asking for Fuentes, I wouldn't be opposed to giving Smith a shot if he can have 5 or 6 good rehab outings in the minors.

Kyle Lohse is now 10-2. I would believe that is good enough to merit an All Star selection. Our talent evaluators knew better and went in a different direction.

I don't want Matt Smith anywhere near the Phillies.

Our talent evaluators also offered him a 3 year $21mil deal.

I can't imagine, even his biggest supporters on Beerleaguer, expected this from Lohse. Guess he knows this is his one chance to get a BIG contract.

clout: How many raw, toolsy high school position players has ANY team developed? I ask this rhetorically, and I do so, not to defend the Phillies' talents at developing players, but to criticize their FO for continuing to waste high draft picks on these guys.

Off the top of my head, I can think of but one excellent example of a raw, toolsy high school position player who developed into a good major leaguer: Shane Victorino. Victorino was a high school track star who had played almost no baseball. Unlike the Phillies, who draft these guys in the first round, the Dodgers took him in the 6th round. He was a very mediocre minor league player for about 4 years, but started to show signs of prgress in Year 5, with the Dodgers' AA team. The next year, he ended up with the Philllies, where he had his break-out year and won the International League MVP.

The Phillies were Vic's third organization, and he had already started to break out during his final year with the Dodgers. So I'm not sure who gets credit for developing him. But it brings up another point which weighs against drafting these kind of guys in the early rounds. If it's a 5 or 6 year window before someone like this is going to develop, chances are very, very strong that, if he eventually does develop, it will be for another team.

baxter: Speaking of Moneyball, I see Billy Beane has made an offer to that hotshot Dominican pitcher that exceeds the entire budget of the Phillies DR operation. Beane has less money to work with than Gillick, but they use it differently.

BAP: I agree with your post 100%. Toolsy guys ought to go lower than they usually do.

"The post about Swindle reminded me of Smith, in part because both are LOOGYs and in part because we got Swindled in the Abreu trade"

Very nice.

"Kyle Lohse is now 10-2. I would believe that is good enough to merit an All Star selection. Our talent evaluators knew better and went in a different direction."

IIRC, our talent evaluators made him an offer, which he rejected. When he came back later (willing to take a lower number), they decided against it. I can't imagine that their evaluation changed during that time frame. So in that case, I'd guess that it's more of a case where they made their stand based on principle. Hooray for principle.

Swindle's WHIP has been pretty high for the past month but I think he deserves a shot at this point. If we move Myers to the pen, who do we demote? Condrey? If we bring up Swindle, would we have room? I guess we would need to DL Flash.

jason: Smith was pitching with a bum arm last year. When he was healthy, he was an effective LOOGY for both the Yankees & Phillies in 2006. But, I admit, it's doubtful he can come back from TJ surgery & be effective right away. He'd have to have 5 or 6 solid minor league appearances for me to consider it.

RSB: Yeah, I read Hagen's article & felt similarly nauseated. And I had the same reaction to his comment that it wasn't about the Phillies being cheap. Give me a break. They play in the largest monopoly market in major league baseball and the signing bonuses they pay to Caribbean/Latin American players are in the bottom 5 in baseball. Latin American operations are a great place to cut costs, because 99.99% of the fan base will never notice it.

The Hagen article was informative, but he definitely came off as an apologist for the Phillies' ownership. It amused me, for example, that he cites guys like Carrasco, Bastardo, Edgar Garcia, and Freddy Galvis as "success stories," which prove that the Phillies are doing a good job at Latin American operations. Last I checked, none of these guys had ever made it to the majors. Two of them were getting mediocre results at AA; another was getting mediocre results at Single A; and the fourth one was hitting .220 at Single A. Have the Phillies found even a single major league player through their Latin American operations, in the last decade? Even one?

BAP/RSB: I recently read "Almost a Dynasty" by William Kashatus. It's about the '80 Phils, but details pretty heavily the before and after of the team, with a lot of emphasis on drafting efforts/player development under Ruly Carpenter. I found it pretty damning to the Giles/Montgomery regime. It rips them for dismantling all the operations that were so successful in allowing the Phillies to be dominant in the late 70's and early 80's.

Ruiz is a success story, even if he's having a bad season. Converted second baseman from Panama. Starting catcher for two seasons.

j: I forgot about Ruiz. I can't imagine why that would have been. But I agree, he quaifies as a success story. That's quite a feather in the Phillies' caps.

Nats reliever Chad Cordero officially out for the year with torn labrum.

I still believe Myers did something on that pitch last year that shelved him which never fully was diagnosed.

Quote from NATS pitching coach Randy St. Clair responding to Cordero pitching all year with the injury:

"I think he probably was, because he said it didn't hurt, but we didn't see the velocity," St. Clarie said, according to the report. "He wasn't a mile or two off. He was 10 miles per hour off. He said there was no pain, so we thought it was maybe just weak."

I say trade him to the White Sox to even the score from the GARCIA trade.

With Chad out, the Nats need a closer - I say we ship them Myers (and Feliz) for Zimmerman (and some dudes).

Just a thought. (Because we could always use some dudes.)

Carlos Silva is another that comes to mind. Aren't the Phils the frontrunner to sign the 2nd best Venezuelan prospect for closer to $2mil?

Cordero finally burned out. Thought that would have happened two years ago. Frank Robinson pitched that pen into the ground.

even thought he blew it last night, Rauch has been pretty good in the closer's role.

I read that the Marlins are looking for a catcher. How about Ruiz for someone like Matt Lindstrom and Amezega. Hell, we're paying for Helms, right?

The inactivity by the team to make any change is driving me crazy. At the very least, Taguchi should have been cut the minute after he misplayed the ball in the Angels game.

I guarantee that if in some magical world, the Phils traded Ruiz to the contending Marlins, he'd turn his offense around and hit .350 with 20HRs post All-Star break.

Myers scheduled to pitch Thursday, according to the official game notes. Have to see if that's confirmed information.

The reason Taguchi is still on the roster is Snelling's on-going, continuing, never-changing health concerns. IMO, they don't think Bohn is a good long term replacement and they don't trust that Snelling, if called upon, would remain healthy. I kinda get the feeling that they might be willing to dump So, but not without a better plan.

Jason - That's great news! I thought Brett would just be serving up gophers balls on Thursday; but to hear that, for a change, he's actually gonna pitch, well, that's the best thing I've heard in a while.

I meant that to say "gopher balls," but "gopher's balls" has a certain ring to it....

JW: That's disappointing, if true. I don't advocate change for change's sake in the Phillies current situation, but there are obvious moves that should be made. To keep trotting Myers out there and pretending that the 5mph missing from his fastball has to do with mental focus is willful ignorance. Or to hope that a guy of Myer's mentality is going to adjust on the fly to being a 89mph fastball pitcher is foolish stubborness.
With Happ a 25 year old finished prospect currently on a hot streak and Myers in obvious need of a break, it's perfect timing to make a move. I'm yet to hear a suitable explanation on why the Phillies FO won't do it.

Clout: I found a nice little detail for you. I was reading a BP article on Jacoby Ellsbury, and the author, Joe Sheehan, was looking at his recent struggles. He used his strikeouts per plate appearance as an indicator of his increasing tendency towards striking out and away from walking. Thought you might find that interesting, since you claimed no one in the sabermetric community used PA's as a denominator for strikeout rate.

Think they're afraid to put him in the pen only to see him blow up there too and lose all trade value?

Brian G: Brett Myers is a fastball pitcher?

Jack, I have no opinion in the matter, but when trying to look at how someone is walking less and SO more, K/PA makes a lot more sense than K/BA.

I also think it's probably short-sighted to think Lohse would be pitching this well in Philadelphia. Granted, I was for the signing at the time and think he is an upgrade over a few members of our current staff. But I don't think he'd be 10-2 with that ERA for this team. Todd Wellemeyer wouldn't be a success story either.

Jack: Actually there are a couple. There are more that use K/AB.

Sophist: I agree. Like, looking at Ryan Howard, perhaps, who is striking out more and walking less.

sophist: Except he's not striking out more. He's grounding out more.

Brian G -
I don't know if this is suitable or not. Presumably they would try to send someone down to AAA to make room for Happ. Most probably Condrey. If Condrey was claimed off waivers (since he, like everyone on the staff - except Kendrick - is out of options) they would lose him. If Happ would not work out, they'd have to fill the hole in the bullpen left by Condrey's departure.

I'm not advocating that stream of pretzel logic, just putting it out there.

Clout: One final simple question on this matter- why would you want to use a stat that favors walking less, when walking is a productive outcome?

Clout, he is a straight fat flat watermellon sized (not-so) fastball pitcher. He succeeded in the pen last year because he was junkballer, albeit pretty nasty junk.

Anyone else wish Kendrick pranked Myers in Spring Training about a trade to Japan?

Reed: Myers has never been a fastball pitcher. His out pitch (and his best pitch) is the curve. He also throws a sinker/slider, which is his weakest pitch. His problem this season has been an inability to throw the pitches where he wants to. His strike/ball ration wsa about even in his last start and has been poor in most of his starts.

Quick question on the actual topic of this post- who thinks that Hewitt will ever be a starting major-league player for the Phillies?

Clout: I should have phrased it "a pitcher with a 89mph fastball", or "a power pitcher that has no power." Either way, we've had this discussion before. Myers can't throw it as hard as he used to, which usually means a guy is injured. If that's the case, he's not going to be as effective as he was as a starter in the past. DL him.

Jack: The issue began with the declaration by someone and the agreement by you and others that Howard was walking less and that what used to be walks were now strikeouts. My argument was that those walks have NOT been converted to strikeouts, they've been replaced by groundouts.

Leaving out sac flies and HBP for the moment, when you don't walk you wind up with an AB. The issue is what is happening in those additional ABs that Howard is getting. Is he striking out in those additonal ABs? In fact, his K rate is slightly lower than last season.

So what is happening in those additional ABs? He's grounding out. His groundballs per AB have JUMPED from 20% to 28%. In other words, he's less selective at the plate and making contact with pitches that end up being groundouts, mostly to the right side. This stat confirms what some of us have been seeing all year.

Fact: June was the Phils' first losing month since 4/07

Brian G: I agree.

"Quick question on the actual topic of this post- who thinks that Hewitt will ever be a starting major-league player for the Phillies?"

Who knows and who cares. Let the kid play and let's see what he can do. That said, I'm sure someone will label him a "bust" after his first 0-3 game.

Clout: That doesn't make sense. If he was having additional at bats that were groundouts(enough to boost that rate 8%), then that would by definition decrease his strikeout rate(more than the 1% it has).

BB: Yes. On a related note, their second pick Collier went 1 for 1 in his debut. I think they need to stop being so conservative and fast track the kid so he can contribute more quickly to the big club.

"Quick question on the actual topic of this post- who thinks that Hewitt will ever be a starting major-league player for the Phillies?"

Arbuckle? Wolever? Amaro? Hewitt? I missing anyone?

Nope. That's about it.

Good point, clout, except it's not true. This year he's striking out 31.8% of the time he walks up to the plate versus 30.7 last year.

Ha, nice one Brian G.

flipper -
Not to take sides here, but using PAs instead of ABs, how much more often is he grounding out?

Yes, a greater percentage of the balls Howard puts in play are being hit on the ground. But it's also true that each time he steps up to the plate is an event, in which something good, bad or in-between can happen. Regardless of whether he puts the ball in play or even ends up with an official AB -- a greater percentage of these events are ending up as strikeouts.

All of this stuff is inter-related. He is groundinig out more because he is swinging at more crappy pitches -- which also explains why his walks are down, and his strikeouts, as a product of PAs, are up.

And I'm sorry to say, you can all blame me for starting this stupid topic about a week ago.

Fair enough, Andy - I don't have the numbers and can assume that clout's are correct, of the times he does something other than walk, get hit by a pitch, or hit a sacrifice fly, he is putting the ball in play at a higher rate. That's a lot of caveats. And the point is that folks are using strikeout rate as a measure of the quality of Howard's performance this year versus last year. As such, using PAs is more instructive.

flipper: And my point is that using his strikeout rate as a measure of what is going on with Howard is idiotic. The most significant stat is that he is walking far less and grounding out WAY more. Even using your bogus K/PA ratio his strikeouts aren't up nearly as much as his groundouts. But go ahead and look at only Howard's Ks as a measure of what's going on. Whatever floats your boat.

I think for analyzing a player, listing either K/AB or K/PA alone isn't sufficient. You need to list K/PA in conjunction with his other % per PA to get a full picture. Sounds like Howard is striking out more and grounding out a whole heck of a lot more. Bottom line, he's making more outs. Is this bc he's being less selective than he used to, or bc he's getting pitched too differently (maybe more breaking ball in the strike zone? more strikes earlier in the count?) and hasn't adjusted?

BAP: And my point then, as now, is that the striekouts aren't the story. The groundouts are. Yet I've never once seen you mention the big increase in his groundouts.

Brian G: The point of using ABs is that the basis of this discussion is his decline in walks. If you want to see what is happening when he doesn't walk, by definition, you are looking at ABs, not PAs.

Guess I'll jump in here...

Not trying to put words in clout's mouth, but it's not like he's trying to excuse Howard's K's or suggest they're irrelevant.

The larger point is that when Howard is putting the ball into play (which he is doing at a greater rate because he's walking less), he's not being nearly as productive.

Both the strikeouts and the ground balls are likely a product of Howard's inability to adjust to how he is being pitched. He's flailing at the outside pitches (many of which are balls) and he's trying to turn on inside pitches which are dropping out of the zone.

Please point out where I said I was looking only at how often he strikes out to measure his performance. Do you always make up other people's arguments for them, or am I just special?

The funny thing is that you basically are advocating for removing the times he walks (hits SFs, etc.) from the equation, which is the reason why K/BA is less instructive than K/PA.

In fact, I think the most significant stat for a #4 hitter is how often he knocks in the runners that are on base - as I've stated numerous times - because that's his role on the team. It, also, is not the only significant measure - but in my mind it is the most significant measure, which is why in my mind stats like OPS have value but can also portray a somewhat misleading picture that misses some more common sense elements. It seems to me that a number like OPS, or straight on base percentage, are more useful stats for hitters 1-3. But that's another issue.

Jack: who can possibly tell from here? They're making Hewitt a third baseman, so he would figure to get moved through the system pretty quickly if he shows them anything at all.

It's been fun, clout, but I gotta run now. I'll check back later to see how many more times you've insulted me and called my opinions "idiotic." The over/under is four.

The last toolsy player the Phillies developed was probably Ryne Sanberg or Juan Samuel. That's even before the Giles junta. Thoughts on Hewitt: If you like Greg Golson, you'll love Anthony Hewitt. I can't wait to see the AB/K-rate.
Jacoby Ellsbury: Always goes into a slump every year. Did it High A, Double A and Triple A. I guess it's time for one in the majors. Won't walk as much because pitchers know he'll be on second base shortly if they walk him. He's seeing more strikes, but just not hitting right now.

flipper: Are you that dense? The starting point of the discussion what that he is walking less. At issue is what is happening when he is NOT walking.


we knew this, but:
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's David O'Brien expects Chipper Jones to land on the DL before Tuesday's game.

It would be nice if the team capitalized on this.

Tough to read the Hagen article today and not get really frustrated if you are a Phils' fan. Still I wonder if Hagen did basically just cover himself from any scrutiny from the Phils' management yet basically took them to task for the entire rest of the article after saying they weren't cheap.

Clout: That's not what started this discussion(it was started many threads back by you stating that Howard wasn't striking out anymore often this year), but my point was that starting from scratch, PAs %'s always gives you a more comprehensive view if you look at it across the board. If you've already established that he's walking much less, then yes, it possibly doesn't make a difference whether you use AB or PA at that point, but it is a less efficient way of analyzing the problem.

I was a Howard defender last year from the posters who were solely obsessed with his Ks (comparing him to Kingman which was just ridiculous) and defense limitations (saying he is the worst defensive 1B in the NL when he isn't).

This season though is different though. Yeah the HR and RBIs are there but that is ignoring just out everything else. Hard to argue that Howard hasn't been a big disappointment this season offensively.

Do I still think might rebound a bit to finish the year at .240-.250 with a higher BB rate - sure but more and more it looks like Howard is going to finish with the season with decent power numbers (say 40-45 HRs and 120 RBIs) but hit .220 with a very anemic OBP (when you are around Feliz's OBP you are doing a pure job of getting on base).

If I had to make a prediction, I would bet that Howard finishes something like this:

AVG .235 HR 41 RBI 121 OBP .337 SLG .490

RBI aside (bogus comparison stat), Howard's production would be around an average NL 1B with elevated power numbers. That would have to be considered to be a very disappointing year given that Howard has been healthy and these are even a pretty big fall off from his '07 numbers.

clout: The reason I don't focus on the ground outs is because plate management -- reflected by strikeout-walk ratio -- is the infrastructural component of hitting. That is the very reason why scouts focus on strikeout-walk ratio when they're evaluating young hitters.

Howard is not managing the strike zone nearly as well as he has done in the past. The increase in strikeouts per PA, and the drop in walks, show that he is swinging at more bad pitches. And if that's the case, it isn't surprising that he's also grounding out more. If you swing at a rotten pitch and make contact, the strong likelihood is that you'll hit a ground ball.

Back, brifely, for one comment (long enough to see that clout has already reached 1 on the over/under tally).

Let's use a hypothetical. Ryan Howard has 100 plate appearances. He strikes out 25 times, walks 40 times, gets 20 hits, grounds out 12 times, and flies out 3 times.

His BA is .333. Pretty good, right? We can assume that he scored a lot of runs and knocked in a lot of runs.

And when we look at K/PA, it's 25%. Bad, but not too bad, and reflective of an effective #4 hitter.

But if we look at K/BA, whoah!!! 25 Ks in 60 ABs!!! A 41% strikeout rate. Horrendous. Must be a terrible hitter, which is odd given that he's hit .333, and knocked in and scored a lot of runs.

Obviously, exaggerated stats. I have no idea how a different skewing of stats might prove the opposite point (why do I have a suspicion I may find out).

Clout is right in saying that the K's are not the key indicator of Howard this season. The real issue is the fact that his OBP is .310, which is simply unacceptable from your cleanup-hitting 1st baseman. His slugging is also down considerably, despite his HR and RBI numbers. He has, quite simply, been at best a league-average offensive player, and below league-average for his position.

Brian G: Incorrect. The first post stated that Howard was walking less and striking out more. My post was in response. Since we are discussing what he's doing when he's NOT walking, using PAs makes no sense.

flipper: Your problem is you keep ignoring what the discussion is actually about.

Jack says: "The real issue is the fact that his OBP is .310."

Correct. If he were striking out 50% of the time while posting a .395 OBP, no one would be complaining.

But these arguments all confuse cause and effect. The reason his OBP is down, and GB percentage is up, is because he is swinging at more bad pitches than he swung at in past years. No stat captures this fact better than a rising strikeout total, accompanied by fewer walks. The strikeouts, per se, are not the problem, as Howard has always had enormous strikeout totals. But when those numbers rise, and walks decline, you've got the snapshot of a player whose plate management has gone to pot.

(and clout will say: "Except his strikeouts haven't risen" . . .)

BAP: I agree. I also agree that K/BB is the best shorthand ratio to determine strike zone judgment. But the issue here isn't, and never was, whether Howard's SZ judgment is off. We all agree that it is. The issue is what is he doing now with pitches he used to take (and get walks on). You said he was striking out on them. But the stats say he's grounding out.

I dread Amaro as GM. He was responsible for pulling the offer to Lohse off the table. He thought he could low ball him when he saw there wasn't much interest.

"The issue is what is he doing now with pitches he used to take (and get walks on). You said he was striking out on them. But the stats say he's grounding out."

Wrong. He's doing both. He has less walks and therefore more ABs, and his K/AB rate has been the same; therefore his K/PA are up, which means a lot of walks are being replaced by strikeouts.

Jack: I'm with you. I can't wait until Pat Gillick writes his obligatory memoir of a life in baseball and read what he has to say about the Phils' organization.

That last comment about Amaro wasn't from me (the real Jack, the one that fights with Clout). Whoever that was, please stop using my name.

Brian G: His groundout rate has jumped from 20% to 28%. What has his strikeout rate risen by? You focus on the flea and pretend the elephant isn't there.

Clout: I was just pointing out that your statement, which I quoted, wasn't factually correct. I'm not like you, who can just let other posters' off the cuff statements go unchallenged (heavy, dripping sarcasm)

But yes, I agree that he's probably swinging at a lot more bad pitches, and as a result, as I said earlier he's "striking out more and grounding out a whole heck of a lot more."

Brian G: Based on ABs, my statement is correct. :-)


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