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Thursday, February 05, 2009

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JW, squeezing it out is good, but in the case of Utley there is the risk of aggravation or re-injury.

Also, suppose he wore doen got injured and it was career threatening like Bo Jackson's hip?

Then, the Phils are on the hook for the rest of Uts's contract with no AS secondbaseman to show for it.

Unmentioned reason off days never happen: Gnome's OPS+.

NEPP: A third pitch would certainly help against lefties, but that wasn't KK's problem last year. Command was. As a righty finesse pitcher his command must be excellent for him to succeed. Loss of command is usually a mechanical issue, which in turn can be caused by bad habits, poor conditioning or injury. If it's the one of the first two, there's no reason to think he can't straighten it out by working with Dubee.

Not to suck up too much but here goes: Other than the interesting discussion on the threads, the major reason I come to BL is due to the fact that you are already doing that (publishing original articles on topics not previously covered). And they tend to be pretty insightful as well.

UC pretty much seems to manage in "crisis mode" all seaosn long while at the same time keeping a loose atmosphere. How he makes it work is a mystery to me but it works pretty well. Ryno definitely shoould have gotten at least a few OFF DAYS where he didn't even pinchit but it never happened. Same with Uts and Jroll.

The reason he had command problems was due to a lack of a 3rd pitch though. He started aiming his pitches because he was afraid to get hammered. He might have been able to keep leftys more off balance had he been able to throw an effective change and then been able to pound the strikezone.

Andy: Exactly right. If more days off for Rollins & Uts means 200+ PAs for Bruntlett, then the cost isn't worth the benefit.

Huh? KK lost his command because he didn't have a third pitch, even though his command was fine before when he also didn't have a third pitch?

"If more days off for Rollins & Uts means 200+ PAs for Bruntlett, then the cost isn't worth the benefit."

But clout, as I mentioned above, if Utley gets permanently injured, how do you quatify THAT cost?

KK got by for a season and a half because there was no scouting book on him (teams dont tend to build books on longshot AA guys in other orgs). Once there was a book on him, hitters just sat and waited for him to hang a pitch and then proceeded to crush it. Since he couldn't throw up their timing (lack of a 3rd pitch) he became afraid to throw strikes. This led to him nibbling around the plate and walking more batters (walk rate shot up from 07 to 08). Once that happened, his confidence was shot and he totally lost it.

Which is why he needs a 3rd pitch to keep hitters honest.

The reason that Ben Sheets is still available?
He's injured.

Are we surprised?

Hmm...then perhaps MORON should have accepted arbitration and made $10 million to rehab in Milwaukee.

And no, I'm not surprised one bit.

I have to agree with NEPP on this one. KK's command and stuff are not so good that he can survive being an effective starting pitcher for very long. When he misses outside the zone, he walks too many. When he misses inside the zone he gets absolutely hammered. He has never missed bats and his GB% is not, say, that of Wang or Lowe. Lefties especially, have had an historically easy time pounding him.

Kyle Kendrick = Bob Walk. The best value he holds for the team is to get traded before he becomes arb eligible.

NEPP -

He probably reinjured himself hitting his forehead and saying, "D'oh!"

AWH(i think): from last thread you mentioned "aren't ABs with no one on still an RBI Opp?"

Yes you are correct. In 2008, the MLB Average for a HR per AB(not PA) was about 3%. So if you had 100 ABs with the bases empty in 2008, your expected RBI is 3.

And even by this rough RBI Opp stat, you say Howard had roughly 20% more RBI Opps. Well lets look at actual RBI.

Howard 06-08: 431
Dunn 06-08: 298

Thats close to 45% more.

I feel each regular should get 2-3 days off per month. That means sitting Vic, Werth, Howard, Utley, Ibanez, and Rollins once every 2 weeks or so. Catchers rotate and Dobbs/Feliz already share 3rd base duties. This doesn't mean that they're unavailable though. If the situation late in a game becomes necessary than pinch hitting or defensive replacement must be done.

Any omission of Bruntlett's OPS+ is purely unintentional. His futility is always assumed.

NEPP: That's ridiculous. Every team has a report on every player from low A on up. There was no mystery about what KK was throwing. He was getting hits because he couldn't throw strikes.

Look, I'll make it simple. His lack of a 3rd pitch is why he has trouble with lefties. Everyone knows that, Manual and Dubee have said that. But he can still get by because righties can't touch his sinker.

But his problem last year was he couldn't throw his sinker for strikes. Look at the numbers:
In '07 his OPS splits were .923/.632
In '08 his OPS splits were .945/.758

In other words, his yield against lefty hitters went up 2%. His yield against righties went up a whopping 20%. That's not lack of a third pitch. That's failure to throw strikes with his sinker.

thephaithful: Excellent post. The earlier post looked a little misleading to me and now you show just how false and misleading it was.

You're right clout...teams keep a general profile on guys...they (the players) dont review/memorize a AA pitcher and it doesnt matter till they've faced him a couple times so they know his stuff.

Kinda like everytime we said "oh crap, teh Phillies have never seen this pitcher before adn they suck against guys they havent seen".

I seem to remember it getting mentioned once or twice last year. Now every NL hitter knows the complete book on Kendrick and has adjusted. He needs to adjust back...which means learning a 3rd pitch. Everyone including Kendrick understands this, why don't you?

a side project I've been working on that aims to really create a true use of RBI:

After using retrosheet to compile all of the mlb averages and each indv. players 'expected RBI', Ryan Howard actually led the majors in actual/expected rbi ratio. him and pujols were .01 apart.

Justin Morneau and David Wright led the majors in 2008 with 99.6 and 99.1 eRBI.

He stopped throwing strikes with his sinker because when he did so, the ball had a frightening tendency to leave the park at high velocity the other way.

I remember reading a training article a while back about off days. It had some quote from the US Olympic Swimming coach from the 1970s and how the person who used to miss the most workouts was none other than Mark Spitz. With thoughtfully placed off days you could probably get an increase in performance from some vets, although it really would depend. If an off-day is an excuse to get obliterated at a club, it probably wouldn't do too much good. It would also be hard to see your far and away biggest asset sitting on the bench needlessly.

NEPP: Well, you can believe whatever you like. There is absolutely no evidence to back up your theory that the league suddenly "got a book" on KK and that caused him to stop throwing strikes. You have a lot of fantasies and I don't want to stop you.

It will be amusing to read your excuses if KK regains command of his sinker and slider, still without a third pitch, and starts getting righties out again this season.

NEPP: Oh, they lost the book they had on him!

LOL

Yes, there's nothing to prove that there's such a thing as "adjustments" in baseball...okay. Ever hear of the phrase "sophomore slump"?

Carson: That's a tad high. That would mean starting a scrub every other game, right?

re KK:

Hard to argue with either of you. He lost his command in 2008, and at the same time also suffers from not being able to keep hitters off his sinker with an offspeed pitch.

Batters would just wait for his sinker and tee off. A well placed sinker is still hard to hit, so in essence he could get outs while people knew what was coming if his command was stellar, but an offspeed pitch would loosen up his margin for error a great deal.

thephaitrful: That's exactly right and in 2007 he had command of both the sinker and the slider. Last year, he didn't. If you want to see what kind of career this kind of pitcher has, look at Paul Byrd. Lots of up and down swings and bouncing from team to team. Finesse guys are very frustrating.

NEPP: Sounds like we finally agree. KK needs to adjust his mechanics and resume throwing the ball to the spots he needs to hit.

Whether Kendrick needs to work on his command, his mechanics or on adding a third quality pitch or all of the above- it's surely better to do it in Clearwater than in the heat of a WFC stretch run.

clout, the only difference in our opinions on Kendrick is that I am far more pessimistic on him bouncing back. Truth is that most finesse guys don't make it in MLB. If he does regain his control and/or add another pitch, that'll be gravy. I'm not gonna hold my breath on it happening though.

I think he could make it in MLB but his main value would be as an innings eater on a bad team, not as part of a playoff team's rotation.

He'll eat about 5.1 innings per game.

So if you give him 40 starts, you'll have a 200 IP guy for your rotation.

Giving KK 40 starts is sure to be a winning solution for your club.

After 50 starts, KK still averages a runsupport over 8.5 - talk about intangibles! haha.

Oddly, KK and Jorge de la Rosa are the only pitchers who logged over 120IP in 2007 and 2008 that both were in the top 10 in Run Support.

And i must be getting old because i do not remember KK getting 30 starts last year. Moyer had 33 starts in 2008 and Kendrick was only 3 behind him? I feel like I havent seen kk pitch since june.

John Heyman says we're interested in Andruw Jones

I find it hard to believe that in this age of instant information (and plenty of it), that it would take anyone a year and a half to get a book on anyone.

"I feel like I havent seen kk pitch since june."

phaith, that's because he was rarely in games very long, or because he may have been on the mound but yo really weren't watching anyone "pitch".

interested how? Do they have some opening on the groundskeeping staff or something?

****And i must be getting old because i do not remember KK getting 30 starts last year. Moyer had 33 starts in 2008 and Kendrick was only 3 behind him? I feel like I havent seen kk pitch since june.****

Do you have a habit of tuning into the game after the 3rd inning? That could explain it.

Jason- you're right, that is too high. I was thinking about it on the ride home and that would mean anywhere from 12-18 games not started by the regulars...that's crazy talk! Make that 1 game off per month possibly 2 if needed.

looking at the run support stats on espn.com, it is UNCANNY that literalyl all of the best pitchers in the game are at the bottom of the list while Vicente Padilla and pals rank at the top of the list.

2008 lowest run support:

1-2: Roy Halladay and CC Sabathia

followed by King felix, Lincecum, Hamels, Webb, Duscherer, Sheets, Peavy, Cliff Lee, and Santana(Ervin and Johan).

The entire top 10 in run support have WHIP over 1.46

Giving up runs leads to more runs in support, it looks like a direct corealation. Weird. Fausto Carmona(bad in 08) and KK sit in the top 10 while teammates CLee and Hamels are at the bottom, makes no sense.

If I have to watch Andruw Jones take up roster space on the defending WFC Phillies, if home I am going to go to the restroom during his ABs, or if at the Zen, take the opportunity to hit the concession stands.

In either case I'm not going to miss much.

If this guy had ANYTHING left either the Dodgers wouldn't have been willing to eat his entire contract. or the Braves would have been willing to give him a major league contract.

In some non news, Barry Bonds has pleaded "not guilty".

Hmmmmmm, maybe JW can run a book and let us all wager on the outcome (j/k).

phaitful, who were the pitchers that Hamels, KK, et.al. were matched up against.

If Hamels was matched up against the other team's #1, that would explain some of it.

Also, I bet that all of the pitchers Hamels was matched up against didn't get very good run support either - especially in the postseason.

I'd consider throwing $500K at Andruw and hope for the best.

Non-Phillies news: Elton Brand-out for the season. I said it at the time-dumb signing.

Can we all agree to not post Druw's Career OPS+ to argue that he's better than other options? I can tolerate people saying he's worth a shot, better than gnome, etc. but lets not waste the time of digging up his career splits vs LHP and such, they hold zero relevance at this point in his career.

The whole rest thing is kind of overrated a bit. The Phils core off players isn't that old yet that they need to be handed with kid gloves. Utley might be the one exception as he has shown that he tends to get a bit worn physically as the season progresses.

Most times though the schedule permits a player to get a breather because of natural off days in the normal schedule every 10 days or so at least.

I am more interested how the Phils' bench does this year including PH. The last two years, the Phils PH have actually been above average/good. A large part of this is Dobbs who leads the league in PH in the NL the past 2 years. In fact, Dobbs had 62 ABs last year as a PH which was among the league leaders (4th behind league leader Mark Sweeney on the Dodgers with 78 ABs and with abysmal production).

Surprisingly though, both Jenkins and Feliz weren't bad PH options either. This actually doesn't surprise me because I am willing to bet that most of Feliz's PH appearances were against LHP and Jenkins against RHP. If used in a favorable matchup, both of these guys will give you decent production.

Bruntlett was about what you would expect - a .250 average with no power (1 XHB in 20 ABs). Coste and Werth both struggled but the sample sizes are so small it is hard to take away much.

The worst option by far was Taguchi and it wasn't even close. His numbers (3 for 33, 1 XHB with a line of .091/.143/.121 were brutal).

Oddly enough, Taguchi's numbers were actually better than No-Hit Nunez PH numbers in '07 (OPS of .163 in 23 ABs in '07 and a robust .350 in 39 Abs in '06).

Even though the '07 team was a juggernaut offensively their PH options weren't that great because Nunez and Helms had a ton of PH appearances where they did nothing.

And the '07 PH options were better than the '06 options when the Phils only really got decent production out of Dellucci while handling out plenty of ABs to largely useless players including some Beerleaguers favorites: Roberson (poor man's Bourn), Sandoval, Nunez, and Alex Gonzalez (so bad he retired in May), the wiener-basher himself Randall Simon.

Funny aside

I still vividly remember a game in '06 I was watching with my great uncle while I was back on the East Coast for vacation.

Sandoval came into the game and Wheels was saying he was a defensive upgrade. My great uncle said deadpan and right after that comment "if we playing 2B in a Braille league." Needless to say it is still one of the funnier comments I can remember recently I heard while watching a Phils' game.

awh - good point, for a decent portion of the year #1's match up with each other.

Is there a website out there that tracks what a pitcher's average opponent pitcher's ERA is? That'd be some pretty impressive data collecting if there is.

The run support stats have a lot of feedback effect in them. The guys with lower ERAs (who are viewed as aces) tend to pitch in bigger parks, although not all of them do. This will suppress their own ERAs in addition to their offense's ability to generate runs for them. Of course there probably still is some correlation, it isn't as strong as it might seem at first.

HBO Sports looking at Joe Buck? Please take him so I don't have to listen to him call another World Series or Saturday afternoon game.
http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/2009/02/04/2009-02-04_with_bob_costas_gone_to_mlb_network_hbo_.html

Saw that the A's traded Murton to the Rockies for a Wimberly (supposedly a poor man's Chone Figgins).

Murton would have looked really nice in red pinstripes as the right-handed OF bat the Phils needed off the bench.

JW: do you make money when we click on the links to other websites or Phillies Headlines, or only if we click certain ads? I know its considered a breach to tell users to click on certain ads, but maybe just a tip of which ones you 'like' more than others.

MG: Depends on which Murton it was. If it was Matt Murton you are getting. If he wasn't hurt last year than his 19 OPS+ between the Cubs and A's is a bit of a concern coming off OPS+'s of 132, 104, and 100 in 2005, 06, and 07.

Depends on which Matt Murton you are getting.... ugh. Is anyone else having problems with page loads and posting?

You were talking about KK and being a finess pitcher. Can't we also say this about Moyer. I would definitely put him in that class.

jerry, the difference is that if Moyer were a knife thrower he could castrate a flea from 30 paces nine out of ten times.

Well AWH - when Moyer doesn't get those outside pitched called strikes - hes in big trouble. Seems like he can't get passed the 6 innings of every game he pitches. Wonder if gets tired or the other team gets to see his pitches enough to go to opposite field

Yes, both Moyer and Kendrick are finesse pitchers. Pedro Martinez and Daniel Cabrera are both power pitchers. I think that about sums it up.

Thanks for the hat tip, Jason.

"castrate a flea"

And yet do it so slowly that the flea would experience similar agony to all those established major league batters who swing through a Moyer change.

I think the reason Manuel manages to keep the guys so loose is because he understands them as players. He has experinced just about every side of baseball there is, from being lucky enough to ride the bench on a major league team, to being a quasi-allstar(allbeit in Japan, but none the less, the feeling is probably the same).

He understands Utley, Hamels, Rollins and Howard as well as he does Bruntlett because he's been through it all. It's actually a pretty rare combination for a manager and is why he's so effective at communicating with his players because he understands they varying mentalities that exist in the clubhouse.

Since he also had to work very hard to achieve what he did as a player, he expects that same work ethic out of his players, and expects them put out 100% effort, even if there body isn't. I think he's a good enough judge to know when a guy absolutely needs a day off, but i think in a lot of ways, these guys respect him so much, they don't want to take one, even if he's telling them too. Look at some other teams around the league: torre is a great manager but hasn't been in LA long enough to really make the team his own, Pinella is a so-so manager who happens to have some very talented players, but considering he's half in the bag all the time(seriously watch any post game interview with pinella and tell me he's not half drunk), its pretty hard to respect a guy like that. Cox i think has reached a point where it's just hard for him to relate to anyone under the age of 40, and i could go on. Manuel, despite his shortcomings as a tactician, is probably one of the best managers in baseball, period.

The players(especially the homegrown core) i think feel a lot of loyality to this organization. Guys like Hamels, Utley, Rollins, Myers, etc... were not locks to become all-stars. But this organization spent a lot of time and energy to develop them into all-star professionals. Sure, most of them could leave now and make alot of money on the open market, but hell, the scouts and player development, and i'm sure some of the owners probably are on a first name basis with these guys families, considering how long they've been Phillies. I think at the end of the day, it's a job like any other, and you have two options: Either go for broke and make as much money as possible and ignore the intagibles, or settle for maybe a little less money, but security and peace of mind, and a feeling of contentedness that comes from knowing what the next day will bring and that your employer isn't going to stab you in the back.

Let's enjoy it guys, as this is probably the best core of an organization(players, coaches, owners who can smell a winner and are willing to actually open their wallets for it) we will ever see in our lifetimes.

I think the reason Manuel manages to keep the guys so loose is because he understands them as players. He has experinced just about every side of baseball there is, from being lucky enough to ride the bench on a major league team, to being a quasi-allstar(allbeit in Japan, but none the less, the feeling is probably the same).

He understands Utley, Hamels, Rollins and Howard as well as he does Bruntlett because he's been through it all. It's actually a pretty rare combination for a manager and is why he's so effective at communicating with his players because he understands they varying mentalities that exist in the clubhouse.

Since he also had to work very hard to achieve what he did as a player, he expects that same work ethic out of his players, and expects them put out 100% effort, even if there body isn't. I think he's a good enough judge to know when a guy absolutely needs a day off, but i think in a lot of ways, these guys respect him so much, they don't want to take one, even if he's telling them too. Look at some other teams around the league: torre is a great manager but hasn't been in LA long enough to really make the team his own, Pinella is a so-so manager who happens to have some very talented players, but considering he's half in the bag all the time(seriously watch any post game interview with pinella and tell me he's not half drunk), its pretty hard to respect a guy like that. Cox i think has reached a point where it's just hard for him to relate to anyone under the age of 40, and i could go on. Manuel, despite his shortcomings as a tactician, is probably one of the best managers in baseball, period.

The players(especially the homegrown core) i think feel a lot of loyality to this organization. Guys like Hamels, Utley, Rollins, Myers, etc... were not locks to become all-stars. But this organization spent a lot of time and energy to develop them into all-star professionals. Sure, most of them could leave now and make alot of money on the open market, but hell, the scouts and player development, and i'm sure some of the owners probably are on a first name basis with these guys families, considering how long they've been Phillies. I think at the end of the day, it's a job like any other, and you have two options: Either go for broke and make as much money as possible and ignore the intagibles, or settle for maybe a little less money, but security and peace of mind, and a feeling of contentedness that comes from knowing what the next day will bring and that your employer isn't going to stab you in the back.

Let's enjoy it guys, as this is probably the best core of an organization(players, coaches, owners who can smell a winner and are willing to actually open their wallets for it) we will ever see in our lifetimes.

sorry for the double post

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