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Friday, March 13, 2009

Comments

Amazing picture, Jason.

clout: Projecting Ibanez as batting sixth vs lefties, I believe that you can consider that more than capable, yes.

And if you look closer at the OPS, you'll see that his SLG is the big reason for such a drop. A .268 career average is a sign that Ibanez can still hit lefties. Ideally you would want a higher SLG, but if he can still hit for average at that rate vs lefties, than our lineup isn't a doomed as believed.

Google image search, Andy.

I imagine it will be hard to play in front of a half empty stadium and laid back fans for Burrell after the size and intensity of the crowds at CBP the last few years

thephaithful: How many division winning teams had a guy with a .733 OPS batting 6th?

Bubba: I don't know, PtB is pretty much the definition of laid back, I think he might feel right at home. Nothing against Pat.

Burrell was only around before of the no-trade clause. Otherwise Gillick would have made one of the infamous Phils trades where they dump a pretty productive veteran player and get $.40 on the dollar in return in the form of a few spare players and/or fringe prospects in return.

Bubba: Haha, I'm predicting Burrell will stand at the plate after strike 3 and not move until the ump make him a good dozen times next year

Burrell: Whoa whoa whoa blue, hold on a second - there are no profanities or threats on my life being screamed aloud, so theres no way that was Strike 3 already.

The funniest thing in spring training so far has to be the fact that Bruntlett was in CF. He was brutal as a LF last year. Arguably the most foolish roster move Cholly has made during his tenure.

Everybody harps on the fact that the Phils didn't get a steady right-handed bat (and no Mayberry does not meet the criteria) but this team is screwed if Vic goes down for an extended period.

Almost inevitable that Vic will go down with a calf/hamstring injury this year that requires a trip to the 15-day DL. He was the past 2 years and likely no different this year.

Werth might be okay there in the interim (even though his ability to play CF is vastly overrated by most people on here) but there is no one on the roster or in the minors right now who could fill in for Vic if he goes down for a month or two.

People argue about who is the most irreplaceable player on this team. Hamels usually gets the first nod and rightly so but this team would sorely miss Vic because there really is no contingency plan available if he goes down for 6-8 weeks. It would almost inevitably force the Phils to make a minor trade to acquire a CF.

clout: I give up, please tell me how many teams won a division where they only faced LHP the entire season with a sixth batter who had a OPS of .733 vs them.

I'm leaning towards... 0 since there is no such thing as a team facing only LHP for an entire season which makes the question completely pointless.

53 would be second guess.

ZT- I'm probably projecting my own feelings onto Burrell.

thephaithful - funny- I thought he always stood at home plate after a called third strike for a good long time anyway.

Either way he's a Ray now- not a Phillie anymore.

"Google image search"

Great tool. But nice selection from, I guess, very many.

In re: Kendrick
I am not basing my questions about KK upon the time period stated in the previous threads. My questions are based on much larger sample sizes or relevant statistics. For instance:

In 2007, Kendrick's FIP was 4.90. His GB% was 47.1. That is not, exactly, knock-your-socks-off extreme. His LD% was (a pretty bad, actually,) 21%.

In 2008, in a larger sample size (155+ innings), his FIP was 5.58. His GB% regressed to 44.3% with his LD% rising to 27%. That GB%, for our supposed "ground ball pithcer" was eighth (8th!!) on the team among Phils' pitchers with more than 40 IP. It places him behind, in 2008, Jason Marquis, Ubaldo Jiminez and Brett Myers. If being a GB pitcher is what he does well, one has to wonder the extent to which he has been successful at it.

Over the two year span, his k/9 has not cracked 4 per game (which you all knew already). That number places him way at the bottom of major league pitchers.

I wonder, as well, about this "regain his command" argument, since his bb/9 in 2007 was 2. That's pretty good, but not extraordinary. Moreover, during his minor league career he averaged about 2.76 bb/9, which is closer to his 2008 3.1 than his 2007 2.0.

Given his 2007 peripheral numbers, I do not believe he will repeat his 2007 results. Given the combination of his 2007 and 2008 numbers, my doubt grows.

My initial question stands. If someone other than KK posted these numbers, at any level of the organization, would he receive the kind of defense he has?

thephaithful: I'm glad the light is beginning to dawn for you. My point was simply that you had no basis in reality to have confidence that Ibanez would hit lefties well this season, especially well enough to be in the middle of the lineup. I'm with you on Utley, but you're just wishing on Ibanez.

Need scans of said ads.

MG: I'm not too worried about a CF backup. Werth is fine there as a backup. Jenkins would play RF vs. RHP and Mayberry or someone not acquired yet would play vs. LHP. What you don't want is Bruntlett playing any OF position on a semi-regular basis.

In case you missed it:

Defense is worth roughly half as much as offense.

The Link That's Surely Going To Stir Up More Pete Happy Debate

RT: Here's one from 700 level
Pat Burrell Open Letter to Fans

Andy: Problem with your 2008 stats is that they looked very much like the 2007 stats until the last 6 starts. Yet your implication is that KK's numbers had deteriorated all season. Also, command is not measured exclusively by BB/9. Of far more value are those pitch charts that show the location of the pitches he threw during various time periods. One poster posted a link to thyem at one point as I recall. A chart will show striking difference between his pitch placement in August and September as opposed to June and July.

"In case you missed it:

Defense is worth roughly half as much as offense."

Apples are round. Oranges are round.

Apples are sweet and delicious inside. Oranges are sweet and delicious inside.

Apples are covered in an edible skin. Oranges are covered in a bitter tough skin that must be peeled off.

Therefore oranges are worth roughly half as much as apples.

If I can edit a bit:
In the ideal case, "What you don't want is Bruntlett playing any".

clout: i guess our main quarrel is how much we feel is "capable".

I first said 'more than capable', so I will admit that may be giving Ibanez too much credit, but I stand by that he is a good enough hitter vs LHP that he's not an 'automatic out' so to speak.

Which is why I think our lefty heavy lineup can still compete even without Werth for a stretch of time(the shorter the better).

By the way...

NO ONE is suggesting that spring training performances don't matter. That's a strawman, and not helpful to the debate.

1) Spring training performance is not the ONLY factor used in decision making.

2) Spring training isn't over yet!

Bay Area- re Franklin/Romero, thanks. Rules changed in spring 2006, bad luck for J.C. I felt a little injustice for him, but on second thought there was a clear precedent available so he should have taken caution.

MG does raise a good point about Vic though. I am not as well versed as others on here about our farmhands. While we seem to be deeper than usual, I haven't heard of any center field prospects. Center field is vital. You can't just plug in a corner outfielder and expect him to do the job. John Mayberry Jr.? Give me a break. That's not a solution no matter how much they like his athleticism. And I agree with MG, Vic is an injury risk with his hair on fire style. Werth is his only stand in and he is already cause for concern. Vic is someone we can illaford to lose for an extended period.

clout - The implication that his minor league career BB/9 is closer to 2008 than 2007 is that he pitched better than he is during 2007. The implication in his 2007 FIP of 4.90 is that he got really lucky, for a while.

All his stats seem to indicate that he is closer to the guy shown by his total 2008 numbers than something hand-picked out from an arbitrary time period before that.

Saying "the last six weeks" as a mantra comes dangerously close to that strange argument offered by Mets trolls last year that they should be awarded the division because their team was better in the first six innings of a game. At what point did Kyle Kendrick's performance cease to count?

JW- Still impressive that you resisted to use the "Manchine" image. A weaker man would have used in a heart beat.

I thought Werth played a pretty good CF when given the chance. I understand that he's not a full season solution, but then again, I dont see Vic going out all year. A 15-Day DL stint for Vic that many are worrying about shouldn't be a problem for Werth to cover.

Without the fielding bible and other such defensive metrics at my disposal, I think Werth grades as a fine short term CF solution.

clout[Jason], the link to the site where pitch locations and pitchers' release point can be viewed is HERE.

It's called the "PitchFX".

If I recall, any game can be llooked up.

CF "prospects" in our current system:

1. Quintin Berry (should start in AA at Age 24 I believe)

2. Anthony Gose (probably start in extended spring training followed by either another stint in the GCL or Williamsport).

We also have guys like Ellison in the system...but there aren't many true CFs hanging out.

Andy: On the flip side... I don't think it's fair to judge KK on his last 7 regular season starts while ignoring his first 43.

Through Aug. 6th of last year, he was 10-5 with a 4.37 ERA in 23 starts. That comes on the heels of a 2007 season in which he was 10-4 with a 3.87 ERA in 20 starts.

After Aug. 6th, Kendrick was 1-4 in 7 starts with a 10.61 ERA.

Many on here suggest KK was finally "figured out" after 43 starts. It's a ludicrous suggestion, but a popular one nonetheless.

For KK to become successful again, he'll have to figure out what went wrong. A lot of evidence suggests pitch location was far and away the biggest problem.

If the Phillies need an emergency CF, they can always see if Jim Edmonds, Kenny Lofton or Bernie Williams are available.....oh, wait...

Its kind of amazing that Pat has gone from one of the most reviled Philly athletes to one of the most beloved in the span of a few seasons. With this belated love letter to the fans, he may have established himself as one of the quintessential Philly sports figures. I mean, how wonderfully tragic that everyone involved--Pat, the fans, and maybe the front office if Ibanez underperforms--only knew how good they had it once it was over. In that way, Pat Burrell gets to maintain the kind of hard-luck patina that surrounds most Philly sports heros, even though he actually won the big one and left town a champion.

Thanks NEPP. It really is hard to find an honest to goodness center fielder isn't it? At any rate those guys are a ways away. And I agree with thephaitful, Werth does a good job when we need him there. But I am worried about his durability at this point. He finally gets his shot at a full time position. If he cant answer the bell that's bad. If he can't answer the bell because he's out of shape, he's an idiot. And that's really bad.

Burrell is going to be a tough player to let go of emtionally. I will closely follow the rest of his career.

The thing I'll always remember about Burrell is how much the fans wanted him to succeed. After he had his breakout year and signed the big contract, when he went bad it took a longer time than usual for the fans to turn on him I think. It was like we were trying to will him to snap out of it. For a long time he received mostly encouragement from the fans. Eventually it dragged on too long and then it got really ugly. But I think he got about as long a pass as I can remember anyone getting. I guess that's how it goes for sluggers that look like movie stars. But I'll always appreciate that he handled it with class. He never complained or dogged it when he was getting crucified. Oh yeah, and he got that big hit that lead to the series winning run too. That never hurts.

Andy: I guess I'm confused about what we're debating here so let me take a crack at your point. You are saying that KK's 2007 stats were a fluke and that his 2008 overall stats are reflective of what KK, at age 24, will do going forward, am I correct?

In re: Kendrick's 2008
His ERA at the end of the first 4 months of 2008
April 5.13; May 4.84; June 4.59; July 4.59.

Those numbers are nowhere near his 2007. To lump them in together is mistaken; he had already been demonstrating that 2007 was a fluke as well. In his FIRST 13 games of 2008 he gave up more BBs than in the 20 games of 2007. In 2007, he never gave up more than 3 BBs in a game. In 2007, it happened 4 times - three of those were before the All-Star break.

I will forgo any evidence based on the mythic last "6 weeks" if you want (although those games count, too), and will acknowledge that he would not post a 10.61 ERA if he pitches this year; but I feel confident to claim, based on the other several games of 2008, that his numbers in 2007 do not portray his actual ability.

MG: I think Werth is more than capable of playing center field should Vic go down for any amount of time. We do have a dearth of corner outfielders where we could easily slide someone into right.

I think you just hate Eric Bruntlett and like any chance you get to dig at the guy. It's not like he is the starter in left or anything, and I don't remember him looking that bad out there in the few chances he had all year. I think your overstating this quite a bit.

"but I feel confident to claim, based on the other several games of 2008, that his numbers in 2007 do not portray his actual ability."

Ok, Andy, I'll bite.

What do his numbers un 2007 portray?

Actually, even before KK's last 6 starts, his 2008 numbers (including his peripheral) were considerably worse than his 2007 numbers. Besides, it's not like his numbers through July were stellar. For most of the season, his ERA hovered around 5.00, and in only one month was it lower than 4.58.


Whatever his ERA, Kendrick got hit hard all year long. Like almost every player, he has his ups and downs over the course of the season and, when his control is really on, he can be serviceable. But, you can't just write off that down period because, unless he can considerably improve his control, he is always going to be susceptible to stretches like the one he had last August.

Burrell is the essence of the pre-Gillick Phillie teams - above average but not great, competitive but flawed. Take away the 2 playoff appearances, and none of this "love" would exist.

Less than 4 k/9. About 3 bb/9. A FIP of about 5. GB% of about 45%. A LD% over 20%.

They portray a pitcher with far less upside than J.A.Happ now; far less than a good half dozen in the system beyond that.

He's still better than Mazzone, Maloney, Ennis, J.D. Durbin, and Adam Eaton. But unless something unexpectedly dramatic occurs, he is not gonna be a long term solution to our pitching needs.

Do you think he's returning to his 2007 ERA? With a 4.90 FIP?

The issue with the Phils this year will be power from the right-hand side. Even with Werth, there isn't going to be a huge amount of power potential from the right-side.

The issue really won't be AVG. Still don't understand why people obsess so much about AVG when it is one of the most pedestrian offensive stats.

For example, people love to sight that Ibanez hits career .268 vs LHP. This is sufficient but quite misleading.

Here are % BB and K career numbers vs. LHP and RHP (based upon ABs)

Ibanez
vs. RHP - 10.0% BBs 15.0% Ks
vs. LHP - 7.4% BBs 20.5% Ks

Besides his power numbers hit take a notable hit when facing LHP, Ibanez has only a .322 OBP career vs LHP. Quite easy to see that from the numbers that his plate discipline erodes quite a bit vs. LHP.

Burrell
vs. RHP - 15.4% BBs 28.7% Ks
vs. LHP - 23.1% BBs 26.1% Ks

Pretty obvious that the Phils are going to miss Burrell's power against LHP but the big issue too is his OBP. Due in part to hitting .287 career vs LHP but he also walks at a ridiculous rate too.

Everyone gets caught up in Ibanez's AVG but completely overlooks the fact that his career OBP numbers are that special.

The issue with the Phils this year will be power from the right-hand side. Even with Werth, there isn't going to be a huge amount of power potential from the right-side.

The issue really won't be AVG. Still don't understand why people obsess so much about AVG when it is one of the most pedestrian offensive stats.

For example, people love to sight that Ibanez hits career .268 vs LHP. This is sufficient but quite misleading.

Here are % BB and K career numbers vs. LHP and RHP (based upon ABs)

Ibanez
vs. RHP - 10.0% BBs 15.0% Ks
vs. LHP - 7.4% BBs 20.5% Ks

Besides his power numbers hit take a notable hit when facing LHP, Ibanez has only a .322 OBP career vs LHP. Quite easy to see that from the numbers that his plate discipline erodes quite a bit vs. LHP.

Burrell
vs. RHP - 15.4% BBs 28.7% Ks
vs. LHP - 23.1% BBs 26.1% Ks

Pretty obvious that the Phils are going to miss Burrell's power against LHP but the big issue too is his OBP. Due in part to hitting .287 career vs LHP but he also walks at a ridiculous rate too.

Everyone gets caught up in Ibanez's AVG but completely overlooks the fact that his career OBP numbers aren't that special.

As for this additional debate about whether KK can EVER be a viable major league starting pitcher . . . I find that debate pointless. He isn't a viable major league pitcher right now. If he can learn another pitch or improve his sinker or fine-tune his control, then he could probably be a back-of-the rotation starter. Will that ever happen? I have no idea and neither does anyone else. I do know that the number of borderline prospects who never improve enough to become viable major leaguers exceeds the number of borderline prospects who DO improve enough to become viable major leaguers.


The fact that KK enjoyed some brief major league success does not give cause to believe that he can have any sort of sustained success. Phillies history is loaded with rookie flash-in-the-pan pitchers. If KK doesn't improve considerably, he'll go down in Phillies lore along with the likes of Ben Rivera, Pat Combs, Bruce Ruffin, and Robinson Tejeda.

Sarge seems to think Ibanez has magical powers with RISP.

BAP: "Whatever his ERA, Kendrick got hit hard all year long."

And that is based on what? He gave up more hits than IP, yes, but he did that in 2007 as well. he will always give up more hits than IP, which doesn't make him the lone ranger as a back-end starter.

I, as most people know by now, agree with Andy on Kendrick's numbers. They all point to a guy who was lucky in 2007 to be 10-4 with a 3.87 ERA, and who was due for a serious correction. Well, that happened. I would be willing to bet that as a starter, Kyle Kendrick will never again have a season with a 3.87 ERA or below. Anyone care to take me up on it?

When I look at Kendrick I'm reminded of Zach Duke. Duke came up in '05, at the age of 22, and had a monster season with a 1.81 ERA. I actually remember one game around July 4th where he murdered the Phillies, luckily, there was a barbeque outside so I had something else to take my mind off of. Anyway, the next year he got hit pretty hard, and in his 3rd year he was pretty worthless. Anyway, Kendrick came up at 22 and was pretty darn good his rookie year, although not as good as Duke was. Then, he got a lot worse his second year, a good bit worse than Duke was his 2nd year. It's not a surprise when all of Kendrick's peripherals are worse than Duke's were at the same age, although not by a huge amount.

AWH: Thanks for the link! That's a great tool. Just for fun I chose 2 games to compare. One was a typical KK game from his first season and a half: 6 IP, 7 H, 3 R vs. Atlanta on July 1. The other was an 8/11 game against the Dodgers, which was the first of the 7 games in which he was ripped. He gave up 7 H and 9 R in 3.1 IP.

The first thing that jumped off the page was the location of his pitches. Against the Braves, called balls were close to the zone (with a few in the zone). Against the Dodgers they were way out of the zone, mostly low and/or inside, but several way up and outside too.

Then there was his release point: In the good game the points were tightly bunched, forming a flattened sqaure. In the bad game they were up and down, in and out with a few points way way out.

Bad release point=bad location=loss.

P.S. regarding the silly notion that KK's problem were because teams got to see him more, the Braves had faced him twice before (and he would beat them again on 7/25). The Dodgers were facing him for the first time.

Jack,

When he is pitching for the Kalamazoo Kings in 2012 he may crack 3.87. SO be careful.

Howard hitting another bomb today... save some for April big fella.

Donald with a triple...not too shabby.

Clout: So what's your endgame for Kendrick? I mean, you've consistently defended him and made your case for him as a future Paul Byrd and successful back-end starter (granted, of course, he gets back that magical control/command he had in 2007). So what future do you see for him? Do you think he should win the 5th starter job? Do you think he should pitch in Triple A and be first called up for spot starts? Do you think he should be first in line to replace Myers in the rotation if he leaves next year? Do you think he's ahead of Carrasco for an open rotation spot?

I guess I'd put it this way: I don't think Kendrick will likely ever be a useful starting pitcher, anything more than a spot start guy. Maybe he could be more as a bullpen guy, but realistically, I see him as a career AAAA guy, used as a spot starter for good teams and a back-end guy for bad teams. So if someone wants to take him off our hands, I'd trade him, and if not, he's a useful guy to keep at Lehigh Valley. What do you see for his future? What would you do with him?

clout: Well, he got hit hard in 2007 too. Hence, the high OBA and LD%. He managed to get away with it for 2 reasons. Reason 1 is dumb luck -- which does happen from time to time. Reason 2 is that his walk/9-inning ratio was 1.86 which -- contrary to what Andy wrote -- IS extraordinary. But there was nothing in KK's minor league track record to suggest that he was ever capable of sustaining that kind of impeccable control.

BAP: I'm struggling to see what Combs, Ruffin, Rivera and Tejeda have in common except they are all ex-Phillies.

Combs and Rivera were promising youngsters who injured their arms and never recovered. Ruffin was a successful major league pitcher who retired after a league-average 12-year career. Tejeda was a prospect with great stuff and terrible control who has bounced up and down between the big leagues and AAA for the past 4 years, still unable to throw strikes consistently.

Your point about those 4 eludes me.

Jack: You've already said the guy isn't gfoing to have a major league career and all you're offering to bet is on a 3.87 ERA? Wimp.

Werth was scratched again today FWIW.

BAP: "But there was nothing in KK's minor league track record to suggest that he was ever capable of sustaining that kind of impeccable control."

Before he was recalled KK had allowed 18 walks in 81.1 IP at Reading.

MG: I doubt anyone will argue that losing Burrell and gaining Ibanez is helping the team vs LHP.

As much as you detract from AVG, you somehow glorify K%. The percentage of times a player records a hit per at bat is more less important than the times a strikeout is recorded?

The reason I brought up Ibanez's average vs LHP is to show that he is not worthless vs LHP. He is less of a player than he is vs RHP, but he still hits thme well enough to justify his spot in the lineup against them.

I agree that OBP is very valuable, but the higher percentage of hits including in your OBP the better, especially a player that is counted on to drive in runs.

A player with a .400avg and a .425OBP is a lot better than someone with a .300avg and a .425 OBP.

obivous typo above: losing burrell "isnt" helping vs LHP.


JW: I see Werth as 1-3 in the boxscore on MLB.com

Jack: Let me correct your latest mistake. I have never made claims about what KK is going to do or exaggerated his talent. I've said repeatedly that he is a back-end rotation guy who will give up more hits than IP and desperately needs an out pitch vs. LHP. I've also said if he doesn't regain his command he won't have a career.

What I argue against are idiotic comments by you and others that he cannot possibly succeed at the mlb level because of his K/9 rate or his success was all dumb luck or the teams figured him out after seeing him a second time blah blah blah.

That's the sort opf idiotic stuff I've been arguing against.

Not a bad effort out of Mad Dog: 1 IP, 1 Hit, 0 ER, 3 Ks.

****What I argue against are idiotic comments by you and others that he cannot possibly succeed at the mlb level because of his K/9 rate ****

Idiotic? It only takes in about 100 years of statistics. It doesn't say he can't succeed, it just says its bloody unlikely.

The bottom line is that full-season numbers are the best indicator of a player's performance. If you want to cherry-pick only the so-called "good" parts of a player's season, you can make just about any player look good. As of July 2 last year, Adam Eaton's ERA stood at 4.79, which is actually .08 lower than where Kyle Kendrick's stood on July 25, when his defenders claim he was pitching well. Eaton lost his job less than a month later, after pitching terribly in 4 of 5 starts. I didn't hear anyone clamoring for him to stay on as the 5th starter because he had been good in all but his last few games.


If KK were as good as his defenders claim during those first 4 months of 2008, then he would have been able to sustain a 6-game slump without having full-season numbers which were as ugly as his ended up looking. See Brett Myers' 2008 season as a perfect example.

So you have no predictions? Ok, fair enough.

As I've said many times, it certainly is POSSIBLE he can succeed given his extremely low K/9 rate. It is simply very, very unlikely, especially considering he doesn't have any other exceptional skill (GB ability, pinpoint control).

I'm sorry if you find that idiotic, but you've been able to find exactly one pitcher in recent history who's had a successful career with numbers like Kendrick's (Paul Byrd). And I'm the idiot for betting against it?

Can we please stop the Paul Byrd comparison.

Career K/9

Byrd - 4.94
Kendrick - 3.81

Its not even close.

Even more important as its being completely overlooked is their respective K/BB ratios

Career

Byrd - 2.34
Kendrick - 1.43

2008

Byrd - 2.41
Kendrick - 1.19

Byrd is unique in that he has a very low (but still higher than KK) strike out rate but he also never walks batters...KK can't say that.

bap: I don't think that's fair. Eaton was perty terrible for extended periods of time. KK was a pretty good 5th starter for 43 career starts before hitting a skid. It just so happened that his skid hit right in the middle of a pennant race and the Phils certainly couldn't wait for him to pitch out of it. They had to try something different.

phaitful: My bad. I'm looking at some old information. 1-for-3 indeed.

I'm not sure why we need to find a pitcher to compare KK to. He'll either succeed or he won't.

People seem to think that being a KK defender means wanting him to be in the rotation right now. That's just not the case.

This is a 24-year old pitcher who went 20-9 in his first 43 starts. It's insane to suggest that that was simply dumb luck or that after 43 starts the rest of the league caught up with him.

As clout and I have stated numerous times, KK's margin of error is slim so his control is paramount. There is still time for KK to develop better control and also time to, perhaps, develop a better changeup. Both of which will help return KK to a servicable 5th starter. Why is that so hard to understand?

I think it's safe to say Blaine Neal is not getting coffee tonight. Coffee is for CLOSERS, Mr. Blown Save.

That's an impressive 23.63 ERA out of Neal.

Andy, I can appreciate your focusing on H/9 IP where KK is concerned, but I think a more telling stat is WHIP.
.
.

The Mets are very high on Mike Pelfrey. Yet, when I compare some of his career stats to KKs I don't see all that much difference, and in some areas, KK has been superior.


Pelfrey IP 295, WHIP, 1.473, K/9 5.1, BB/9 3.51, SLG .403, K/BB 1.46
Kendrick IP 277, WHIP, 1.464, K/9 3.8, BB/9 2.67, SLG .469, K/BB 1.43

Now, on the whole, Pelfrey has been better, but unless his improvement last year was permanent (and he seemed to benefit a lot from Shea, as well as a big drop in SLG), Pelfrey may have been the beneficiary of some good luck, and is due for a regression - unless he is "that" good and continues to improve.

My point is that there is a fine line between success and failure, and it's not going to take that much of an improvement from KK to get back to where he was.

The biggest obstacle may be between his ears.

Remember Rick Ankiel?

doubleh, Dubee is saying this to Neal about now: You can't close the leads you're given, you can't close @#$%, *you are* @#$%, hit the bricks pal, and beat it, 'cause you are going *out*.

What's interesting, though, is that Kendrick's K/9 actually IMPROVED in 2008 vs 2007.

Who'da thunk?

Ashame he also walked a bunch more batters.

The other point tbat is getting left out, with KK's k/9 and bb/9, is that his GB% is not extraordinary. It's better than pedestrian, BUT even in that magical 2007, when his FIELD INDEPENDENT PITCHING was 4.90 (which we also seem to be ignoring) his GB% was only 47%. In both 2007 and 2008 he was outpitched, groundball wise, by Jason Marquis. (We might ask how many teams were jumping off the shelves during the off-season to acquire Mr. Marquis at a heavy discount from the Cubbies, but we'll let that rest.)

Kendrick might be able to get by with a sub-4 k/9, but not with a sub-50% GB%. It cannot be done in the modern game. (Prove me wrong.) He's not a strikeout pitcher AND, actually, he's not much of a groundball pitcher either.

In the end, however, my question is not what will happen with him. I'm just wondering why people who understand the importance of such peripherals in determining the success of prospects are ignoring them with regard to his performance.

What have you seen, clout, that makes you think he will even ever post an ERA under, say, 4.50? Do you not believe that an ERA of 3.87 with a FIP of 4.90 is, inherently, a product of luck more than a predictor of long term success?

Boy, some of you are being way harsh on Mr. Neal.

Be serious, looking at his career stats, did you really expect anything else?

Besides, it's a ST game.

Cause bashing on Mr. Neal was a nice change of pace from the KK debate...

Doubtful Neal even makes the BP, but I'd like to see the Phillies win a few ST games.

All phillies pitcher outperformed their FIP didnt they? Phils had the best D in the majors according to a lot of defensive metrics.

Freddy Garcia's fastball topped out at 84 mph today against the Tigers.

Andy, space limitations compelled me to leave out some things:

Pelfrey....AVG .284, GO/AO 1.61, OBA .360
Kendrick...AVG .294, GO/AO 1.34, OBA .352

Pelfrey obviously has excelled at inducing ground balls, but if you look at his career stats he has also benefitted from pitching at Shea.

However, I was surprised by how much better KK's home vs. road stats were. For instance, he walked 11 more batters on the road than at home - in only 3 more IP. As the Zen is considered to be a hitter's park, I can only conclude that KK's vaunted "mound composure" was a myth, and that he really needs the support of the home crowd to succeed.

The site clout and I referenced earlier seems to give a clear indication that KK's problems are somewhat mechanical, not just the lack of an "out" pitch. There is no other way to interpret the data on that site.

It also tells me that unless he corrects the mechanical problems with his release point, developing a changeup may not make that much difference.

Still.....there is reason for hope.

He's not a lost cause.

step back...that's some serious heat!

phaithful, take a look at the link I posted above.

The authors flat out says that the Phillies defense saved 78 runs last year.

As every ten runs translates into one win, he says without the superior defense, the Phillies "wouldn't have sniffed the playoffs".


I can think of 2 games right off the top of my head:

Atlanta - Vic's throw/Coste's tag
Wash/division clincher - JRoll's stab and start of the DP.

Bill James Primer (1988 Abstract):

"#10. A great deal of what is perceived as being pitching is in fact defense."

AWH: While a much better prospect than KK, Pelfrey is an interesting comparison. KK had quite a bit of success in his rookie year when his walk per 9 inning rate was a terrific 1.86. Pelfrey has generally struggled with his control at the major league level, but for 2 months in the second half of last season, he finally put it all together and posted extremely low walk totals (3 in July, 9 in August). Lo and behold, he was terrific during those 2 months. The next month, his walk totals were back in line with career norms and he wasn't so effective. What does this all mean? It means that a guy who is good enough to make the major leagues is probably good enough to have prolonged periods of terrific control. It is the ability to sustain that over a longer period of time that often separates the legitimate major leaguers from the fringe players.


If Pelfrey has finally figured out how to throw strikes, then we should expect another good year from him in 2009. But I look at his September walk totals and it makes me think that is prevous 2 months were just a temporary hot streak, as opposed to a lasting change. I think he is a strong candidate for significant regression in 2009.

"Remember Rick Ankiel?"

So, we can expect KK to abandon pitching, (allegedly) pop some PED's and begin hitting homeruns? Hey, maybe there's the solution to CF if/when Vic is injured!

Andy: "What have you seen, clout, that makes you think he will even ever post an ERA under, say, 4.50?"

I've made no predictions at all about KK's future or what his ERA will be. Given his talent I'd say 4.50 and higher in this park sounds about right.

Again the larger issue is that you, NEPP, BAP, Jack etc. etc. have all declared the guy finished at age 24 due to bad peripherals and you have 9 different excuses about why he was successful in all but his last 7 starts.

As I said, I think that's just idiotic.

Eaton got the loss in his O's spring debut. 3 ip, 4 h, 2 r.

bap, I agree. I was thinking the same thing about Pelfrey myself. He also had a BABIP at home in 2008 that seems to be an outlier.

Also, it remains to be seen exactly how Bailout Park is going to play:

Will it be a hitter's or pitcher's park?

I don't think the architectural or enginnering assessment means much of anything.

Remember, the Zen was supposed to be neutral? Well, it was so neutral they moved the LF wall back.

If Bailout Park winds up the same way, say "bye bye" to the comfort of pitching at home for Mets pitchers.

Pelfrey has greatly benefitted from pitching at Shea. What factors played into that (crowd support or the park's dimensions, etc.) remains to be seen.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) - Adam Eaton let the first three batters he faced reach base in his debut with the Baltimore
Orioles.
How he handled the last seven is what impressed his new team.
Signed March 1 after his release from the Philadelphia Phillies, Eaton allowed two runs in three innings of the Orioles' 6-5 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday.
Eaton retired seven in a row before heading to the bullpen to do more throwing.
Eager to become part of the Orioles' starting rotation, Eaton made a poor first impression. He fell behind 1-0 after throwing only five pitches: Skip Schumaker and Joe Thurston singled, and Albert Pujols ripped a double into the left field corner.

clout: He wasn't successful in all but his last 7 starts. He was pretty crappy for most of last year, as reflected by the "peripherals" which Andy sited (which aren't all that periperhal, since they actually tell you a lot more about how he's pitching than his ERA or W-L record).


Moreover, I did not declare him finished. What I said was that he would have to substantially improve his command, develop a new pitch, or become better at inducing GBs in order to have a career as a major league starter. Do I think this will happen? I really have no idea, although the odds are decidedly against it -- as they are against any fringe major leaguer.


KK has time on his side but, given his current level of effectiveness (or lack thereof), and his lack of significant discernible upside, I don't really think he's a guy that we should be counting on for any kind of future contribution to the team. To say this is not to declare him finished. It's just to say that the odds are against him and it would be folly for the Phillies to proceed on any other assumption.

bap: Again, that's just not fair. Peripherals do NOT tell you how a pitcher pitches better than W-L record and ERA. Production is production. That's just a fact of baseball. A 4.37 ERA in 23 starts is not a fluke. That's what he posted in his first 23 starts last year in which he went 10-5.

You guys can pretend all you want that the ERA he produced over his first 43 starts is a fluke... but it's not.

Good news for those who don't like the way Davey Johnson is managing the U.S. team. Barry Larkin will run the team Sat. while Davey goes to a wedding. I expect him to know who should be playing SS the entire game.

BAP: "He wasn't successful in all but his last 7 starts. He was pretty crappy for most of last year as reflected by the "peripherals."

Heading into his last 7 starts, KK was 10-5, 4.37. That may be "pretty crappy" to you, but it is pretty good for a 5th starter which is what KK was. Remind me to ask you about how this year's 5th starter is doing after 23 starts and if his numbers are as good as those.

Actually, two of those last seven starts were pretty good. All of his FIRST four starts were abysmal. Picking those last seven, however, allows us to ignore that his ERA was over 5 after his first fourteen starts. BUT...

I have to say after hearing the arguments and looking at the data, I am in complete agreement with clout: if Kendrick has impeccable control, superb fielding, unusually bountiful offensive support and a little bit of old-fashioned luck, he could once more be an effective fifth starter on a major league team.

Incidentally, those of you comparing SOME of Kendrick's stats with Pelfrey's, what were Pelfrey's k/9 and bb/k ratio? Just curious.

Andy: You're right. My mistake. 43 starts of success were predicated only on "impeccable control, superb fielding, unusually bountiful offensive support and a little bit of old-fashioned luck." My eyes have been opened by your dizzying display of peripherals.

I sure hope Moyer and Hamels trade a few wins for better peripherals and Lidge trades a few saves for better peripherals. After all... each of their FIPs were a half-run higher than their actual ERA.

I want better peripherals!!!! Results be damned!!!!

CJ - Both of their FIPs, as well, were pretty fine. I would predict, based on them, that Hamels and Lidge will have pretty good years.

Based on the huge difference between Kendrick's 2007 ERA and 2007 FIP, I would predict that he'd better learn that change-up, better control and a more effective sinker pronto.

Incidentally, Kendrick's only had 26 "quality starts," a dubious statistic to be sure, but one which I know how to measure. How do you measure "starts of success?"

Andy: I try to measure success by production. 20-9 in his first 43 starts with an ERA around 4.20 or so is pretty darn good for a 5th starter. I'd like my fifth starter to keep the number of runs down as much as possible and give the team a chance to win.

What are you looking for? Great peripherals?

Greetings from beautiful Clearwater. Returning home tomorrow with memories of yet another great week in the sun.

On the mound today, Blanton and Mosebach did what they had to do. Madson and Nestor picthed at a higher level and had especially nice outings. Neal got shelled.

Ruiz appeared strong defensively and had a long double. Coste also appeared strong, throwing out a runner at third and flying out deep to left.

Howard continues to be playing in a very rare zone and whacked another 2 run homer today. Donald went 2 for 5 and tripled off a hit that missed the bullpen by 2 inches. He made a lot of nice stops deep in the hole at SS today but was unable to get enough on his throws to make the outs. Feliz made an impressive comeback defensivley, bringing down a line shot over his head and turning a would-be double into an out. His throws were all on the money and his back did not appear to be an issue. He hit the ball hard.

Of the reservists, Cairo had another nice hit, Giles and Ozuna were hitless and Bruntlett continued to tread water. The spring performance of the reservists thus far can be ranked in that order.

In the outfield, Mayberry and Werth had nice games with hits. Stairs lined out hard and tried to make a diving catch in right. Ibanez, who DHed, was 1 for 5 with an RBI but he continues to hit the ball hard.

The Phils are so deep this year that I would not be surprised to see a number of current non-core players being traded in the near future. I think the Phils would really like to have Mayberry and Donald on their major league roster and may try to bundle players in a trade or trades that would allow them to justify keeping both rookies on their roster. Mayberry and/or Donald may or may not be on the team's opening day roster, but there is little question that their performance this spring has earned them a place in the Phils' future plans.

Stay well.

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