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Thursday, November 13, 2008


Are the Phils targeting Taylor for 2010? Do a half-season in AA and half in AAA this coming year? It will be his age 23 season so I hope they fast track him.
I like those K/BB ratios.

"Brown, ... has been compared at least once to Darryl Strawberry"
By someone other than his mother? :)

I'd welcome some big nasty players on the Phils. Get this gentle giant attitude out of here, give me some Pete Inky flashbacks of demolishing catchers again!

I am excited about these guys. It seems like for years all of our outfield prospects were fast CFs with questionable bats. I would love it if Golson turned in to something, but I have more faith in Taylor and Brown.

I was in Honolulu recently and caught a Sharks/BeachBoyz game. Dom Brown played RF and went 1/3 with 2 BB and an RBI. He looked very, very promising from the left side of the plate. He still is a bit lanky at his young age; if he can fill out his frame, he'll be quite an imposing player.

Michael Durant is another similar guy but has not yet put up the numbers. He is just a huge beast when you look at him playing 1B and the bat looks like a toothpick in his hands.

I know it's just winter league and it's only a handful of games, but those numbers from Taylor are pretty disappointing. how he hits at AA will be very informative.

I imagine the projections for these two players will influence the decisions on LF for this year and resigning Werth. I wonder what kind of demands Werth would have if they negotiated with him now on a two or three year deal. Does he want the security or the chance at big FA money?

ae: One possibility on the drop of Taylor's numbers in Winter League is he's probably well past the total amount of games/at-bats that he's ever experienced in his career at this point. He started off slow in HWB, but he's been improving lately. He might just be a little tired.

I'm a huge Michael Taylor fan, and I can't wait to see him roaming right or leftfield for the Phils. I think he has 20-20 written all over him, with decent average and on base skills.

that is true, Hydrant.

I think generally I'm a little pessimistic when it comes to college players who post good numbers in the low minors, but Taylor certainly looks like the real thing.

Taylor could be slow to adjust to new environments, too. Slow start in Clearwater as well. I'm not worried about the Hawaii numbers. Probably a pretty unique experience to even be there.

Isn't it nice to have prospects to dream about who are real prospects? Guys who might be a year away and might be pretty good?

It's been a lean couple of years prospect-wise around here.

J. Weitzel: Yes, and the time change has to mess with you for at least a week or so.

Kyle Drabek is now also out with the Sharks as well. He had an excellent outing a few days ago.

Plate discipline is important. It only gets harder as prospects move up the levels, which is why Golson is so disappointing.

Delmon Young is rumored to be on the trading block. 22 with all the talent. I'm sure the Twins would want a pretty sizable return tho.

Just another corner outfield possiblitity. Much different than others considered.

I'm with ae on still being a little skeptical of Taylor as an elite prospect. College player, old for the levels. Of course, you could have said that about Howard as well, so we'll see what happens.

Drabek's performance is a very good sign. He, to me, if he can start to put this together at Clearwater this year, can be considered a very legit prospect. #2 starter type prospect. His GB numbers are great. Anyone like Derek Lowe as a comp? I don't know if he has a sinker like Lowe, but a hard-throwing good athelete who gets both ground balls and strikeouts sounds good to me.

Best logic to keep Burrell!
Cut and paste from Ken Mandell's MLB posts:

Pat the Bat was streaky, but what Phillie wasn't? If the Phillies can resign him for three years at $30 to $36 M, what leftfielder with his numbers could they get for that price? Besides, he does help sell tickets. I know there where years or partial years when he was boo'd by the fans, but again waht Phillie wasn't? The young ladies love sitting in LF and watching Pat, and we old guys love sitting in LF and watching the young ladies watching Pat.

Dont tell Alby though, when they don't trade for him, we'll know why.

Taylor has some similarities to Jason Donald, but with far more upside. Both Taylor & Donald played at Pac 10 schools, where neither really lit up the stat sheets. Both had some physical tools but were considered under-achievers. Both were drafted in the early to middle rounds -- Donald in the third, Taylor in the fifth. Both struggled in their first half season of pro ball. And both suddenly blossomed in their second year, at Single A.

Lesson to the Phillies: toolsy COLLEGE players are a lot more likely to develop than toolsy high school players.

Taylor played at Stanford. They're notorious for adjusting hitters' swing. Apparently, he's gone back to his High School swing, and it's been working out for him.

One word of caution on the Phillies prospects.

Taylor had a 2008 BABIP of about .395. Marson was at .389.

the greater concern about Marson is that he had a high BABIP and a high GB%, nearly 60%. that's one of the reasons why John Sickels (among others) aren't so high on him. Taylor's GB% was 47.5%. and of course Marson has minimal power, unlike Taylor; another reason why his BABIP is a bigger worry...

If the Phillies can resign him for three years at $30 to $36 M

Ummmm....anyone think those numbers are remotely realistic?

Still think Winter League is one of the most antiquated notions in modern baseball today with the nearly year round preparation of athletes. Plus, I would take any numbers with a grain of salt. Interesting at first glance but generally pretty meaningless.

Still, I would love to see the Phils develop a OF with some pop. They haven't developed one since the man (Burrell) who is likely to depart this offseason.

A week before Thanksgiving and he's been playing since April... baseball is probably the last thing on his mind now. Started in NJ, went to FL, and now in HI. Let this kid go home for a while and recharge the batteries.

ae: That high ground ball percentage concerns me too.

I was a pretty big supporter of Marson last year & even wanted him called up to the majors. But there are some real alarm bells there. The high ground ball percentage. The low line drive percentage. The high passed ball totals. The fact that the Phillies' own Director of Scouting opined that he would hit no better than the .219-hitting Ruiz if called up to the majors last summer.

Frankly, with all these alarm bells, plus Ruiz's improved second half play, and the presence of Travis D'Arnaud at Single A, I am really starting to think that the Phillies should sell high on Marson.

Andy: It's possible... we, frankly, have no idea what the market for Pat Burrell is. And if the comparable offer from someone else is 3 years, $40M, will he stay with us for a couple million less. Remember... re-signing with the Phils guarantees him 10&5 status which is a FNTC. That's got to be worth a couple million a year.

Please don't quote Ken Mandel and expect to be taken seriously. The guy is aiming for hack.

I don't really get all this focus on a hitter's BABIP. BABIP is a stat for pitchers. If a pitcher has an unusually low BABIP, it's usually a pretty good indicator that his statistics are misleadingly good. The contrapositive is NOT true of hitters. A high BABIP could mean a lot of things. It could mean that a hitter is getting a lot of lucky bounces, but it more likely means that he is hitting the ball hard. Ryan Howard posts ungodly BABIP numbers every year. That's not luck. It's a product of how hard he hits the ball when he puts it in play.

I would worry more about Marson's BABIP than Taylor's. What we know about Marson is that he has a high ground ball percentage and low line-drive percentage. It's a little difficult to see how that combination can lead to .314 average, without some considerable good fortune along the way. On the other hand, we also know from his walk totals that he's a very disciplined hitter. It's entirely possible that he's very skilled at hitting the ball up the middle & identifying the pitches on which he can do that. I will definitely be interested to see if he can repeat his success this year.

bap, that's the great thing about having d'Arnaud...he's much further away from the majors and still hasn't played above single A, but scouts really seem to love his defense and his bat looks pretty solid for a 19 y.o.

I still like Marson and hope to see him doing well on the ML team this year, but if he could be the centerpiece in a trade for a quality SP or an impact bat I would have a hard time saying no.

oops, I meant next year (i.e. 2010) in that agree that Marson probably needs at least most of a season in AAA before he's really ML-ready.

Marson would've had no business starting in the majors most of last season. September callup to get some ABs/experience is one thing, and to be given "a shot" for a job with the big club this coming season is realistic, but expecting him to continue hitting .330 in the majors is/was unrealistic for last year.

Therefore, that quote about hitting .219 isn't that scary. He was (and still) just a kid. I'm high on him, but expectations that he could've been called up and been a star when he didn't even turn 22 until June, is overbaord.

BB: Well, there is ample room for middle ground between hitting .219 and hitting .330. If a guy hits .313 at AA, I would expect him to hit a lot better than .219 in the majors -- even as a rookie.

Marson is a catcher too - so the fact that he isnt projected to bat .330 doesnt bother me too much. Its pretty safe to say he's no Mike Piazza (although wasnt Piazza drafted in like the 30th round?)

Its a fair point to say that hitters have more control over their BABIP than pitchers do. It tends to be fairly highly correlated with line drives, so if Taylor is scorching the ball then it wouldn't be surprising.

I think the odds are pretty good that Marson can be an average offensive catcher, just because the bar for an average offensive catcher is really, really low. the overall NL batting line for catchers this year was .255/.328/.387.

but if Marson's perceived value around the league is Joe Mauer, then take advantage of that...

I think it's more Russel Martin

actually I stand corrected, Marson hit .500 in the majors.

Piazza was drafted in the 62nd round, the last round for the Dodgers as a bone to family friend Tommy Lasorda.

BedBeard, do you think the league perceives Marson as a future Russell Martin or did I misread what you were saying?

I'd guess the talent evaluators are more in line with Sickel's evaluation. I think we all need to see what Marson does in a chunk of time at AAA. His AA numbers smell fluky, although that doesn't mean they are fluky.

Does anyone else remember when Marlon Byrd hit 30 HRs at Reading? I remember envisioning an all All-Star OF of Burrell, Byrd and Abreu hitting 100 HRs. Heh, I laugh at my past self, heh.

The best (I was about to say only, but I'd have to think before I did that, and I hate thinking on a day off) use for BABIP for hitters is the career number. Career BABIP, with, like, four or more years' sample size, pretty much eliminates the luck factor and you get a pretty good idea of the quality of someone's hitting ability. Howard's career BABIP is good - he's a good hitter. Feliz' BABIP is, um, "less good."

I would hesitate to trade Marson because he's a catcher - an injury prone profession if there ever was one. Having Marson and D'Arnaud may allow the Phils to trade Jaramillo or Coste (or even Jesus Sanchez!) but I'd keep the two for now.

Taylor gave an interview last week where he explained that he is basically using the HWL to work on some things with his swing. He's wanted to increase his contact instead of just trying to hit the ball out. I.E. dont be concerned about his HR rate as he's experimenting in what he and the Phillies basically consider an instructional league.

Andy, I don't think Jaramillo or Coste have any real value aside from as a throw-in.

ae - I do not disagree with that statement. (You forgot Sanchez - although some believe he was the piece that made the Monasterios deal so tempting.) (No, they don't.) I was just saying that the Phils should hang onto both Marson and D'Arnaud. It's hard finding good catchers. Having two in the organization is a really good thing.

It would be awesome to have a trade value "rating". Like a grade given to players that takes in account their age, service time, salary, position rank, marketability, expected performance etc.

such as Hamels at a 95, dobbs at a 50 and Eaton at a 1 (generous i know). Would be interesting to see how players compared in ratings and try to mix and match to make equal trades.

Bubba, I enjoyed your logic!

I have a Boston Red Sox fan friend that emailed me telling me that I needed to have my picture taken with the World Series trophy, then he emails me two photos of himself with the 2004 and 2007 trophies that Boston won. What a bastard! He lives in Worcester, Mass. and can go to where the trophies are. I'm stuck inside of Houston with the New Orleans blues, again!

Is the Phillies World Series Trophy going to be available to the public to view? Will it be going on tour in the Delaware Valley for all to see? Where's the 1980 Trophy? Can I get my picture taken with both? When will the image of the trophy become a permanent fixture in the BL header design?

Lake Fred: I'm already on this. I sent an e-mail to the team asking the same question about the trophy's. I will post the answer when (or if) I get one. On a side note, my brother works for Penske Racing in Charlotte and he sent me a photo of him standing beside the Indy 500 and Daytona 500 Trophy's. On seeing this, I had the same thought you did when your Sox friend sent his photo.

Lake Fred - My prediction is that it'll be available for pictures at photo day & the ALS Fundraiser, but they'll charge for the opportunity (with money going to charity, of course).

Andy: I think 3 years 30-35 mil is very realistic for Burrell. Yesterday I postulated 2 years 25 mil might be a good signing for both sides.

If I remember correctly, Jesus Sanchez is still looking up at a .500 OPS and recently was converted into a pitcher, a la Wellison Baez.

Lake Fred-

If you can't dazzle 'em with brilliance, baffle 'em with BS.

interesting article about BABIP:

There is nothing wrong with a high BABIP. Most of the players with the highest career BABIP are HOFers.

BABIP typically signifies a lot of line drives, so Marson's high ground ball rate confuses sabermetricians. Marson's success cannot be dismissed for not following the pattern associated with that metric.

In 2008, Marson's line-drive percentage(LD%) declined, while his ground-ball percentage(GB%) rose. This should've corresponded with a decline in BABIP and BA, but Marson's BABIP rose 40 points and his BA rose 26 points.

Its not Marson's fault if sabermetricians cannot make sense of his statistics. Criticizing Marson for invalidating a conventional hypothesis is intellectually dishonest.

Edmundo: I think the league may have a higher opinion of Marson than you think. Just about every deadline trade last year for big pieces included discussions about Marson.

"Criticizing Marson for invalidating a conventional hypothesis is intellectually dishonest."

If a sentence like this ever appeared on Metsblog, it would probably shut down the server.

Cubs get Kevin Gregg. Marlins get minor league pitcher Jose Ceda.

Oh... and new thread.

Brian G: I'm puzzled. You and a number of others on this blog seem to think there won't be much demand for Burrell's services. Given the relatively weak class of free agent outfielders after Manny & Pat, why would you think that?

"Its not Marson's fault if sabermetricians cannot make sense of his statistics. Criticizing Marson for invalidating a conventional hypothesis is intellectually dishonest. "

Who is being intellectually dishonest? That's quite a charge. :)

It sounds like you think Marson's new level of BABIP in 2008 is repeatable for the next n years. Hence he'll keep a nice high average as he progresses up to the majors.

I say "Maybe". Maybe Marson's 2008 is indicative of some change in his approach or increased maturity. But maybe it ain't and 2008 will ultimately be seen as a fluke. Flukes do happen. They even happen in Reading.

Call me skeptical. Most jumps like this are followed by regressions. And by skeptical, I'm not invalidating what he did in 2008, he did it. That was a nice 2008. I'm skeptical that this is some new true level of baseline on which he will build the rest of his career.

As a Phillies fan, I hope my skepticism is misplaced and Marson becomes one of the catching stars of the NL. 2009 will go a long way to understanding just how good Marson is likely to be.

I'm calling Sickels intellectually dishonest, not you.

sickels has naughty brain cells? maybe we should just start callin' him "lucky lou"?

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