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Sunday, August 31, 2008

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Nice wrap to today's series. Coulda, shoulda won all four but with a tired 'pen, I'm happy with the split. I think it's time to drop Burrell down to 6th in the order and move Werth or Victorino up. Give Pat a rest against a tougher righty and let either Dobbs or the 40-year old start a couple games.

Any official word on the rotation for the Mets series?

With the day off Thursday, hopefully KK gets pushed back and Hamels goes on Sunday Night Baseball (prob versus Santana).

Assuming the Mets will give Pedro and Santana the extra day off following this coming Thursday's off day in order to keep Pelfrey on normal rest

This team has holes, for sure, but heart ain't one of them. They could easily have gone in the tank after game 2 of this series, but didn't.

Ole' Charlie showed a little Tony Larussa style in the 8th today. While I hate watching Larussa, I'm happy to see him being more engaged at that stage of the game.

"Any official word on the rotation for the Mets series?"

This week's rotation:

Washington-

Monday- Kendrick
Tuesday- Hamels
Wednesday- Blanton

New York-

Friday- Myers
Saturday- Moyer
Sunday- Hamels (skip Kendrick)


You HAVE to get Hamels into the Mets series. Have to. He has missed them too many times this year already, and these are the final games of the year against them. If you split those first 2 games, do you want your best pitcher or Kyle Kendrick, trying to win the final game of the year against the Mets?

This move HAS to happen.

Pelf vs. Myers
Pedro vs. Moyer
Johan vs. Kendrick

MG: Excellent post about the lack of depth in the Phillies bullpen. They better hope that Madson, Durbin & Romero aren't cooked by the time we get to Sept. 20. This too shows the price for not having any quality at the upper levels of your farm system.

denny b.: If moving Hamels and changing the rotation causes you to beat the Mets but lose 3 other games because the rotation changed, what do you gain? Managers don't like to mess with their rotations late in the season.

Now HERE'S an interesting statistical comparison:

Howard 517 ABs, 177 Ks
Werth 578 ABs, 162 Ks since joining Phillies.

Looks like the whiff master has a protege.

Clout:

Putting Hamels into that Sunday Night game (against Santana) is the only move that can be made. It would be asinine to not make that move.

He would be on regular rest, and has missed the Mets way too often this year. This isn't May anymore. Its September and its time to go after the Mets, with your best. And, your best on Sunday, is not KK.

KK will just move one spot back and start the next game after the Mets series. Then, its Blanton, Myers, Moyer (who can always use an extra day off at this time of the year), and Hamels again.

Nothing would be shaken up by this. Its not like you are asking Hamels to pitch on 3 days rest. The Phils seem to have gotten Santana in every series they have played this year. Its time to get our ace, on the mound, against the Mets.

I agree with denny b. It works out too well not to do it. clout, I also agree that it's risky to mess with a rotation this late in the year, but when you can switch your "worst" with your best with a minimal amount of risk, you should probably give it a shot.

Of course, if Charlie does it and it doesn't work, we'll all be at his throat within minutes on Beerleaguer.

king myno: "Of course, if Charlie does it and it doesn't work, we'll all be at his throat within minutes on Beerleaguer."

Never was a truer statement made.

Like I say, messing with your rotation, giving 4 of the 5 pitchers an extra day off, can sometimes have unintended consequences. Also, denny, you may have forgotten but KK faced Santana the last time we played the Mets. The Phillies were winning that game 3-2 until the 9th inning when Seanez and Lidge had a meltdown. In his last 2 starts against the Mets, KK has allowed 3 runs in 11 IP. Be careful what you wish for.

Zambranno scared of the Phils line up? i think so... Never was a believer in this Cubs team...

Werth before joining the Phillies: 721 AB, 232 K

K rate before joining the Phillies: 32.2%
K rate since joining the Phillies: 28.0%

So Howard has taught Werth better plate discipline?

I should add that his BB% is up: 87 BB in those 721 AB before, 92 BB in 578 AB since. Comes out to 12.1% vs. 15.9%.

I'm just glad they called Marson up. And I hope they have a good reason for not calling Donald up. AND I agree that Eaton was only called up as per an agreement he made with management before going to the minors. With Hamels, Myers, Kendrick, Blanton, Happ and Carrasco all up for rotation spots next year (not to mention a possible Moyer return), I don't think Eaton will be released outright, but I see absolutely no chance he survives ST. Management is cheap, but even they can sense an absolute waste of a pitcher like Eaton. He'll force their hand with his awfulness.

Werth's .377 OBP this year makes those Ks totally irrelevant. He should bat lead off.

I never understood the obsession with Howard Ks. The reason why he has been offensively a dud this year is which BB rate which has plunged.

As long as Howard would walk over 100 times a year, he would be fine. This year he will be lucky to finish with 75 or 80. A drop of 30 doesn't sound like a big deal but here is an example:

600 ABs, 180 Hits = .300 AVG
600 ABs, 150 Hits = .250 AVG

So 30 or more walks is a big deal. That is the part of the problem with Howard's season.

Split against the best team in the NL with the best home record. Nice. Should have been at least 3 wins out of four if it weren't for Blue forgetting his contacts.

For 5 games straight, the Phils have hit well against the SP (and good ones at that); questionable managing decisions, tired bullpen arms cost us a few games...but overall, the Phils looked more complete this week than they have in a long time. I just hope they can keep it going. Nats are hot right now and they can't go into this series feeling overly confident. It definitely has trap written all over it.

Howard has been a dud. He just hasn't been from an overall offensive production standpoint one of the best 10 1B in the league.

Marson could be a very valuable september asset to give coste a rest. I figure at this point Manuel is so fed up with the lack of productivity from Ruiz that this move was a given.

Then again, Howard had his first back-to-back multi-hit games today for the first time since July 10/11. I would love to see him have him one of those "Howard" months where he puts 9 or 10 HRs into the seats, racks up at least 25 RBIs, and walks enough to get his OBP to around .400.

There is a ray of hope with Howard. He really hasn't been a dude all season. In fact so far he has been alternating strong months with total duds.

April, DUD- .646 OPS
May, AWESOME!- .934 OPS
June, DUD- .726 OPS
July, Super cool awesome!- .974
August, DUD- .764 OPS
September-????

So, its quite possible the May/July Howard shows up. These alternating hopes are my main source of hope for believing that he isn't just aging early.

dan: I agree bringing a catcher on board was a given. But knowing the Phils, I expected it to be Jamarillo but am pleasantly surprised they went with Marson.

MG- Actually offensively he is #10 in OPS amongst NL 1b, out of 13 starters.

Well, on the bright side, if you're going to have a dud at 1st, nice to have one that's leading the league in HR and RBI.

dan - I highly doubt that Marson gets more than spot duty in Sept. Chooch has struggled mightly this year offensively but he actually has been "ok" since the break (.270 AVG, .713 OPS). In fact, it has been about what the Phils have gotten from Coste since the All-Star break (.284 AVG, .729 OPS).

If the Phils give a rookie catcher more than 1 or 2 starts during the heart of a pennant race, I would have to really question that decision. The time to break in Marson would have been a bit earlier this season.

Now, the moves allow the Phils to use Coste as a PH and still has a backup catcher. That is really the value that adding Marson brings.

They're likely not done with moves for the Sept callups. We'll probably still see Donald and maybe a couple of others.

Marson of JJ is a good sign that they're serious about the playoffs though.

GoPhilsGo - Yeah but it is a really hollow number because Howard's other numbers (AVG, OBP) are so down.

Yeah imagine if Ryno was actually having a good year...Hack Wilson's RBI record could be in play if that were the case.

Why do we care that he leads the league in RBI's? If you wanted to know what PTB/Utley/Rollins OBP is, just look at that directly.

;)

MG, just throwing this out there, but wouldn't the numbers be just as hollow, if not more, if his avg or OBP was up but his run production was down?

I do have to say this - I really like the option of using Coste as the primary right-handed PH option off the bench down the stretch (if he isn't starting).

Also, the callup of Golson means that Taguchi's playing time takes a limited hit because he won't be utilized as a defensive replacement for Burrell/pinch-runner. This is a very good thing.

Obviously, Howard hasn't had a great season overall, but I'll still take his run production.

No. The biggest problem with the Phils offense this year is that they their AVG/OBP has been poor. This team has more than adequate enough power to compensate if Howard only had 20-25 HRs to this point.

I would much rather have Howard hitting .270 with 20 HRs and a ton of walks. Guaranteed that Burrell would easily have close to 100 RBIs if that was the case instead of only 76 RBIs with 30 HRs.

Great to see Marson up, I was worried the Phillies would be cheap and not bring him up. I definitely feel though that Golson could be big down the stretch. We need a pinch runner, and his defense could really help win some tight games.

MG: So long as Golson doesn't look anything like Roberson did last year in the field. That Braves game was awful. I still have flashbacks.

Very interesting that the Phillies give Marson the call from AA as the third catcher for September -- rather than Jaramillo from AAA. Obviously, the team considers Marson the real prospect of the two -- with Jaramillo -- despite his having been a 2004 second round Phillies' draft choice, and having been on minor league All-Star teams in each one of his first four pro seasons -- being left out. However, from what I have seen and heard about Jaramillo, negative "intangibles" could be more of the reason for today's Phillies' roster choice of Marson over Jaramillo -- than the factors of Marson's marked growth this season at Reading, and his excellent showing in the Olympics.

I would much rather have Howard hitting .270 with 20 HRs and a ton of walks. Guaranteed that Burrell would easily have close to 100 RBIs if that was the case instead of only 76 RBIs with 30 HRs.

Posted by: MG

Howard's OBP doesn't adequately explain Burrell's lack of run production. He has been lagging all year in RBI and I believe it the primary difference b/w his RBI total and Howard's is BA w/ men on. I don't have the stats at hand, but I'd be surprised if Burrell didnt' have an atrocious avg W/ risp since about May 1.

You would think that Ryan Howard played for an opposing team if you just went by the negative comments on this board.

'Ryan Howard's RBI totals are hollow'.

Hows that? When he LEADS THE TEAM in Batting with runners in scoring position.

The guy that most want to replace Ryan Howard at 1st base, Pat Burrell, is batting .194 for the year. And Saint Utley isnt much better.

RBI is arguably the most hollow offensive stat because it is so largely dependent on the hitters in front of you getting on base.

Howard has been incredible with RISP but if you look at his overall numbers in comparison to other 1B he just has been one of the better offensive 1B this year. That is just a simple fact.

Mikes77phillies - that's what I thought. I bet if you take his April out, Burrell looks even worse. I've been starign at his RBI total for a month wondering what teh hell his problem is. It's not just a lack of men on base. It's not like Howard is pickign up every runner.

B-Mac: How about when Golson's up at bat? Or do you think he can come in on defense and never get an at bat?

How are you measuring his "run production"? If you are looking at RBIs, thats pretty meaningless. You could plug any average hitter into that spot in the lineup, and they will have similar RBIS. The tired "BA/RISP" boosts his RBI's versus a .250BA hitter by like 6 RBI (small sample size).

If you look at his RC (runs created, 82) you see that he has been as mediocre as his OPS, BA and OBP would indicate.

hh = Golson is not remotely the butcher in the field that Roberson was. Actually, "late season call-up" may be the career Golson was intended for.

Marson will help, too. And Eaton, well, they had to do that. Happ gives them an extra lefty. They'll probably add another pitcher or two, I'd guess.

Anyone look at the Phils' record with Utley-Burrell-Howard in the line-up?

MG: "if you look at his overall numbers in comparison to other 1B he just has been one of the better offensive 1B this year."

I'm not sure what you mean by that. OPS+ is the best single measure of overall offense and he's not close to being one of the best by that measure. If you're referring solely to his HR and RBI numbers, then you're right.

Interesting fact: Thanks to his recent hot streak, Jayson Werth's OBP against right-handers this year (.381) is now higher than his OBP against left-handers (.370). His average against left-handers is still .41 points higher than against right-handers, but he has drawn way more walks against right-handers.

Of course, his power numbers against left-handers are still far, far better than they are against right-handers. But, whatever the loss in power, it's pretty hard to argue with a .381 OBP. Also, his OPS against right-handers is now .804, which certainly isn't great but is at least respectable. If he can keep this up for the rest of the year, he will have made a very convincing case for being the full-time right-fielder in 2009. Of course, that's a big if.

Here is the list of 1B who offense performance is superior to Howard this year:

NL
- Pujols
- Berkman
- Fielder
- Gonzalez
- Texiera

AL
- Youkilis
- Morneau
- Cabrera

Also could also make the case that a guy like Delgado or Pena are having seasons as least as good Howard.

If Howard wants to get paid in the $20M annually range, he needs to be one of the premier offensive 1B in MLB because his defense and speed won't get him there.

The simple fact is that he hasn't been this year and needs to make some serious adjustments this offseason.

clout- I imagine that the Phillies brought up Golson to be used like Bourn was- Pinch running, providing defense, and getting an occasional at bat when he is put in a double switch. But I doubt he will pinch hit much, mostly because Manuel wants to save him for running a defense. Having him hit once and be out of the game really doesn't make much sense, and I think Manuel is fully aware of this.

Clout - That is what I meant. Howard just hasn't been one of the top 10 offensive 1B this year. If you bring defense and speed in the equation, then he fares even worse because he is below average in each category.

"Guaranteed that Burrell would easily have close to 100 RBIs if that was the case instead of only 76 RBIs with 30 HRs."

Pat Burrell is hitting .194 w/RISP.
Ryan Howard is hitting .304 w/RISP.

So now bacause your wrong on that point you want to go on to OPS.


Ryan Howard 'Mans up' when runners are on. Pat Burrell shrinks or tries to get a walk.

I am not saying that Howard is terrible nor as I advocating the Phils should just trade for 70 cents on the dollar. That is crazy.

Still the Phils are almost certain to go to arbitration next year again with Howard and unless Howard has been incredible month in Sept, my money is that Howard will lose if the Phils come back with a reasonable offer of $11M or $11.5M in arbitration.

B-Mac: I hope he's not used like Bourn. Bourn had 132 plate appearances for the Phillies in 2007 (and hit .277).

While we're on the subject of Bourn and Golson, here's some interesting stats from their minor league careers:

Bourn OB: .377
Golson OB: .309

Bourn successful SB%: 85%
Golson successful SB% 78%

Bourn BB/K ratio: 2/3
Golson BB/K ratio: 1/6

I'm hoping to nip this "Golson is equal to Bourn" thing in the bud.

Mike - Actually Burrell is hitting .257 AVG/.890 OPS and 47 RBIs with RISP in 105 ABs this year. Your stat is only RISP/2 outs.

Last year, Burrell was .258/.888 OPS with 61 RBIs with RISP in 121 ABs.

Amazing thing about Burrell is the consistency year end considering that he is somewhat streaky during the season.

MG: Thanks for clarifying. You wrote "has" in your original post rather than "hasn't" and that's what confused me.

clout: Given all his other posts, I think what MG meant to say was that Howard has NOT been one of the best first baseman:

PhillR: I agree with you that RBIs is a fairly hollow stat. However, I don't agree that any average hitter in the cleanup spot would have similar RBI totals to Howard's. 37 of Howard's RBIs have come just from driving himself home on his homeruns. That's a good 20 or so more RBIs than the average hitter would get in the same spot - and that doesn't even include all the extra runners that he drives home as result of hitting a homerun instead of a single.

It's not like Howard is hitting behind a bunch of on-base machines. Rollins has a below average OBP for a lead-off hitter and Vic's OBP is pretty ordinary for a No. 2 hitter. There are other cleanup hitters around who have far better OBP hitters batting in front of them than Howard does (i.e., Ludwick, Delgado). Yet they still don't have the same RBI totals that he does. So, while I agree that RBIs are largely driven by external factors, I don't think they're entirely meaningless.

MG: You can win a lot of bar bets with guys when Pat is on one of his streaks by betting where he'll end up. It gets them every time.

Also, I wouldn't put a ton of stock in "being clutch" because numerous study after study has shown that it really doesn't exist.

It is likely there is also going to be considerable variation in a player's RISP/2 outs during the course of his career due to the very limited sample sizes.

For example:

65 ABs, 20 Hits = .307 AVG (this player is clutch)
65 ABs, 15 Hits = .230 AVG (this player isn't clutch)

Sample sizes are just too small to really make valid conclusions.

BAP: Your RBI point about Howard is exactly right and Delgado is a good comparison, but not so Ludwick. The Cards batted him 2nd early in the season and he's only hit cleanup in 52 games.

Yeah clout, but Bourn barely played down the stretch, when the team was healthy and Burrell wasn't a black hole. Also, I didn't know if this has been posted, but Ken Rosenthal was talking today about how the odds of Pat being back next year are better than 50-50. I agree with him, Pat seems comfortable here, and doesn't seem like a guy who will chase every last dollar. Even though he is struggling now, I really hope we resign him.

Mikes77phillies-

(1) Your stats are wrong. PTB has a .255BA with RISP and Howard's BA w/ RISP is .297

(2) The BA with RISP is really misleading and obviously doesn't correlate well to RBIs at all: In order for PTB's BA w/RISP to match howards, he would have needed 4 (FOUR!) more hits. Small sample size strikes again.

Are you suggesting that Howard's 37 extra RBI would be matched by PTB if he had 4 more hits with RISP?

Don't you think a far more reasonable explanation for Howard's superior RBI #s is the number of base runners they have batted behind?

Ryan Howard: 388 base runners
PTB: 278 base runners

Can we please put to rest now that BA w/ RISP and RBIs are at all significant?


B-Mac - I bet just like Rowand, Burrell will sign where he gets the most years (and thus the most money). I don't think a team will offer Burrell 5 years like Rowand but my bet is that any team that offers him 4 years will be the winner.

Pat Burrells avg w/risp by month

Apr .429
May .143
June .176
July .313
Aug .188

And I would be fine with those stats if some guys wouldnt try to pit Burrell against Howard, (as if there is any comparison). Burrell has'nt done a thing since April, but guys want him re-signed to multi-year deals for 10-15 million dollars per, but don't want Ryan Howard to get 10-15 million in arbitration. Why?

MG- I agree with you, but I think that if we offer the same years as another team, he might give us a bit of a discount. And frankly, going forward, you could have two dyanmic switch hitters in Vic and Rollins, two great righties with Werth and Burrell, and two exceptional lefties with Utley and Howard. That's a core, with Burrell locked up, that makes for a dynamic offense. I just don't see the righty bat out there or in our system to replace pat, so I really hope they don't lowball him and make a good offer to him. If some team throws the bank at him, so be it, but the Phillies should make a fair, active attempt to re-sign him.

Iguchi was released by San Diego, any chance of bringing Tad back before midnight, or even after? Seems like he wouldnt be a bad guy to have on the bench for the stretch run. I realize he's only hitting .231 but just throwing it out there.

mike77- I personally feel that ba/RISP is overrated. Pat draws a ton of walks, and his OBP/OPS is always solid. I personally think that his RISP totals are more of an aberration than a fact. Pat has had a lot of clutch hits this year, and until his recent struggles, was our most consistent hitter. I think a day off tomorrow, and he'll come back blazing.

"Iguchi was released by San Diego, any chance of bringing Tad back before midnight, or even after?"

If that is possible, I would do that this minute.
Bruntlett could be used in the Taguchi role as Righthanded veteran 5th outfielder. Iguchi is a better utility IF than Bruntlett. And Iguchi's SLG/OPS would be much higher moving from SD to Philly.

mikes77phillies: Why do you continue to use that utterly meaningless stat. You are talking sample sizes so small that they are essentially random chance.

April OPS: 1.137
May OPS: .851
June OPS: .956
July OPS: .973
August OPS: .628

Hasn't done a thing since April? Are you on crack? He has been killing it every month but August. Offensively the most reliable piece we have this season.

I would rather have Tadahito Iguchi than the return of Mike Cervanek or Andy Tracy or TJ Bohn.

"He has been killing it every month but August. Offensively the most reliable piece we have this season."

He's batting .257 for the season and has to be pinch run for in the 7th inning of every game.

I guess Victorino, Werth, Howard and Utley have just been standing around killing grass.

Your right. Burrell's Great.


Iguchi isn't really a utility infierlder, he's basically just a 2B.

That being said, I'd rather see him PH than So or the IronPig triad of TJ Bohn/Andy Tracy/Mike Czech Republic.

mike77phillies, you love BA don't you? OBP, SLG, they suck, too much relevant information for Mike. He likes his stats nice and simple and meaningless.

Burrell has out slugged and gotten on base more then any of those guys. If he batted where Howard does and wasn't pulled in the 7th by our moron manager, he would have more of your beloved RBIs then your beloved Howard.

He is pinched hit for because Charlie manual is an idiot. Not only that, but consider that all those RBI's that you just LOVE are done despite being pulled in the 7th or 8th every game.

Holy crap you are a moron. Goodnight.

To be honest...this series was actually pretty good. The Phils took leads into the 8th inning in all of the games in Chicago against the best team in the NL against their best pitchers (sans Zambrano). We held our grand against the SteM and I think this is a nice catapault into the Nat's series with the Brew Crew playing New York.

Pat the bat reverts to the mean.

Two consequences:

i) clout reaches a state of tantric ecstacy.

ii) PhillR's head explodes.

PhillR

Name calling. That is a great way to win an argument. If your not 15 years old then you should really be ashamed of yourself. Go to bed.

I think, by far, the biggest problem Phillies fans have with Howard is his contract. Not that he should settle, but if he took something like a 8 year, 100 mil contract, we'd all respect his strengths and ignore his weaknesses a lot more. I think now, more than ever, Phils fans have a clear-cut idea of contracts and how they affect everything else. Although we support management opening the checkbook, we despise someone asking for superstar money when he's probably just a power-hitting second banana.

If Howard wants absurd A-Rod money, he should hit .325 instead of .225. He'd be hard pressed to find a single fan rooting against him or his contract after that.

Ok, if Ludwick was batting 2nd earlier in the year, then he's a bad example. But my point was simply that Howard's high RBI total is not purely a product of external factors. It's also a product of all his homeruns. If you replaced him with an average first baseman -- or, to really focus in on my point, let's say an average first baseman who's hitting .297 with RISP -- you would immediately lose about 15 to 20 RBIs, since your average first baseman would only have driven himself in on homeruns about 15 to 20 times instead of 37 times. Plus you'd lose all the runners who have scored on Howard's homeruns, and who would not have scored on mere singles or doubles. That's probably a total of 30 to 40 lost RBIs.

The flip side is that this average first baseman would also be creating runs that Howard isn't creating, by getting on base more than Howard is doing. A single or double with the bases empty can lead to runs too -- and often does. Your average first baseman would be getting a lot more of those bases empty hits than Howard is getting, & those would result in a not-insubstantial number of additional runs that we aren't scoring with Howard in the lineup. Of course, those bases empty hits would result in even more runs if we had some decent hitters at the bottom of our order -- which we don't.

mike: Single season stats with RISP are flukey stats to begin with, because they're necessarily going to be based on small sample sizes. The sample sizes become even smaller -- and the stats even more flukey --when you start to break them down month by month, as you are doing.

Burrell's 2008 numbers with RISP are very closely in line with his 2008 numbers in general. For his career, Burrell's numbers with RISP are actually slightly better than his career numbers in general. So this notion that he's not a clutch hitter is bunk.

OPS/OPS+ represent an overall measures of a hitter's ability to get on base and hit for power. Burrell's OPS this year is practically .100 points higher than Howard's, which is an enormous difference. All those walks that Burrell draws may not be very exciting, but they lead to a lot of runs -- or so they would if the guys hitting behind Burrell weren't so terrible.

BAP is right on all accounts; again, this is why Burrell should have been batting ahead of Howard months ago.

Good Morning.

That was a nice one to see on TV. I have noticed that when I watch Madson he goes bad, so I turned the TV off for a few minutes when he came in. It seemed to work.

I thought someone was being funny when they said Eaton was called up. I laughed and thought "Those silly Beerleaguers". Uff da.

Ryan Howard: Dude or Dud? That seems to be the question. Pat Burrell is just painful to watch. He is actively hurting... me.

Have a good Labor Day, and Go Phils!

Well, Eaton gets to fill Condrey's old role now that everyone's moved up one in the bullpen order with Gordon finished for the year or forever.

BAP
"mike: Single season stats with RISP are flukey stats to begin with, because they're necessarily going to be based on small sample sizes. The sample sizes become even smaller -- and the stats even more flukey --when you start to break them down month by month, as you are doing."

Here is a larger sample size: Pat Burrell is hitting .226 (53 for 235) with 12 homers, 29 RBIs and 64 strikeouts since June 16.

Jayson Werth had a good week- .500 batting average (12-24) with 3 doubles, 4 homeruns, 8 runs scored, 9 rbi, 7 walks, 1 stolen base, and a spiffy 1.738 OPS.

If you look at Bourn's last year at Reading in 06 and Golson this year, clearly with the exception of strikeouts Golson had an equal or better year:

Bourn/Golson: G 80/106; AB 318/426; H 87/120; 2B 5/18; 3B 6/4; HR 4/13; RBI 26/60; SB 30/23; CS 4/5; BB 36/34; SO 67/130 Avg. .274/.282 OBP .350/.333; Slg .365/.434; OPS .715/.767

mikes77: This suggests you don't follow baseball closely: "Iguchi is a better utility IF than Bruntlett."

Number of positions Iguchi has played other than 2B in his 4 year major league career: Zero.

What the hell does Jeremy SLayden need to do to get a call up? I guess he's not that highly thought of and old for AA ball but we've needed some bench help all year and we finally get Stairs 1-2 months too late at this point.

Slayden's hot right now hitting over .350 in his last 10 games. They can't say that the guy can't hit Lefties...he's hitting them at a .340 clip for the season. If you take out his May #'s then he would probably have the best overall #'s in the entire farm system for a position player.

Dull: That's the most dishonest post I've seen in awhile. For one thing, Bourn was only with Reading half a season that year because he was promoted to Scranton where his numbers IMPROVED. That didn't happen to Golson because he showed nothing to suggest he should be promoted to AAA.

But that begs the question: Do you think Golson will be a successful everyday player in the big leagues? Do you think he's ready to face big league pitching now? Do you think he's a better prospect than Bourn? Please cite facts to support your answers.

THe Dude: Before you even look at minor league numbers you must look at a player's age. Age is everything when evaluating minor league stats. Slayden is 26 years old. That is ridiculously old for a Double A player. It is the equivalent of a HS senior playing against freshmen.

That said, Slayden has been a superior hitter at every level. In fact, I'm a bit shocked the Phillies didn't bump him up to LV midseason. At his age, that's where he should've been.

He's a lefty with decent pop and good strike zone judgment. Downside: His arm is weak and his outfield defense below average.

If I were an AL GM I would be very interested in seeing if I could get this guy without giving up much. I think he's got a 50-50 chance of being a good DH/fill-in OF/PH-type off an AL bench.

whom do you feel more comfortable with in the 5/6th innings of a game we're down 5-1. Condrey and his $420,000 salary or Eaton and his $8,000,000 salary.

i dont care what the situation or their paychecks, i trust condrey a hell of alot more than eaton, who i have zero trust in.

i trust eaton to get a pinch hit more so than pitch.

How many days do you suppose we can go on here without debating whether Ryan Howard is having a god year or not?

I'm putting the over/under at 4 hours.

While that is happening let's focus on something more pressing.

We just got done playing the best team in the National League, arguably in baseball, in their house. We split a 4 game series getting 3 of their 4 big pitchers. On top of that, the team had games 1 and 2 won until the bullpen left the Cubs off the hook.

They took control early in 3 of the 4 games. Saturday they did a good job of punching extra runs across when they needed them. The bullpen was back to their normal selves the last 2 games.

If the Phillies get into the playoffs I have confidence they can hang with the Cubs or whomever they face.

Truth: I would say that Ryan Howard is having an OK year for your average firstbaseman, but a bad year for Ryan Howard.

On the decison to call up Eaton, it's really pretty simple. They're not going to waive him, for obvious reasons. And, with expanded rosters, he's not taking a spot from anyone else. So why not have him on the roster? He's a pretty good base runner who could be used as a pinch runner without burning a bat off the bench. And, in an emergency, Eaton would be a better pinch hitting option than any pitcher on their team except Hamels. Besides, if they have a game in which they fall behind 9-0 in the 3rd inning, you'll be glad Eaton is on the team because it will mean that we can finish up the game without burning through our entire bullpen.

I despise Eaton, and never want him anywhere near the Phillies' 25-man roster again. But, with an expanded roster, there was really no reason not to give him a call-up. I can't imagine that Cholly would ever use him in a situation that actually matters.

i hope cholly gives burrell the day off today and it helps him to start mashing again. they might be able to do it without him, but with him hitting well i'll feel alot more confident about their chances to make the playoffs, and do something once they are there.

the thing that excites me the most is how well the phillies have played the cubs this year. If not for a controversial call at home and a tired bullpen...they would have swept. I'm fairly confident in a 5 or 7 game series that the phillies can handle the cubs. Iffffffff they even make it that far.

new thread

I'm reading all of the comments, most of which are supported by interesting stats.
Here's a comment without any numbers:

Put away your calculators, guys. Our starters AND our bullpen have been better than we expected pretty much all season. If the "position player" stars of this team - Utley, Howard, Rollins and Burrell - hit in September like they are capable of hitting, we'll win this thing. If they don't show up, we'll be watching the Mutts jumping up and down some time during the last week.

More on Ryan Howard. I've been pretty harsh on Howard this year, but think about what would happen if you replaced him with a higher-OBP, lower-power first baseman like, say Derek Lee or Mark Teixeira. While both those guys are having better years than Howard, you would definitely lose a large number of RBIs if you put them in the Phillies' lineup instead of Howard (for reasons discussed in my posts of last night). On the other hand, you would get a big boost in OBP. The problem is, after Burrell, there's no one in the lineup to drive those runs in. For most of the year, Jenkins was in the 6th spot and, after that, comes the black hole.

It just might be that, for this year, Howard has been a better fit for the Phillies' dysfunctional lineup than a lot of other first baseman who are actually having much better all-around seasons. But, going forward, my concern about Howard is that the 2009 version will be much like the 2008 version -- only without the flukishly high numbers with RISP. If that's the case, then his RBI totals will go down considerably and he will become a huge drain on the lineup.

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