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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

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May looks absolutely brutal; the starting pitching has got to keep it together.

11 walks and hits over six. Better, at least, than the 14 he gave up in his last six-inning start. But it's probably the case that Myers should be doing even worse than he is, given all the baserunners.

I'm willing to throw Myers on the April "working out the kinks" pile. The only thing stopping me is the fact that Myers is just an inconsistent pitcher, and a couple of six-inning, three-run games is standard issue for him. He is what he is. Tonight, it looked like he was trying to throw the curve, but couldn't get strikes.

OT: Ibanez was the story of April. What was yours?

Thought I saw Tavarez yell in the direction of Victorino after striking him out to end the game. They had a minor incident last September when Tavarez was with the Braves and started to charge third base when Victorino was dancing off the bag.

The last laugh, however, is that Tavarez has to spend the summer with a team uglier than he is.

JW - lots to choose from. Besides Ibanez, either Utley's return or Hamels' bizarre start to the year.

From the team perspective, the 7th inning or later and the HR allowed.

I'll pick the word "distractions" as the story of April.

I'd go with homers allowed. All the crazy comebacks are exciting but they don't seem too sustainable. Raul has a 7-9 homer, 1.100+ OPS month every year and I don't find it too notable that this year he's having one in April.

I hate to be the one to keep bringing this up, but if the topic is what sticks out about this past April, I'm bringing up Harry the K.

I have always loved the Phils and always will, but after 32 years of either hearing Harry call it live or later going back to find out how he dressed up a great moment, there is definitely a huge piece missing for me right now. In fact, no matter how well the Phillies do, it just doesn't seem complete. This became especially evident to me in the 13-11 game the other night.

I have not posted since I asked where we might direct letters about getting Franzkie and LA to TV. I read a few comments saying LA was too much of a downer, especially on TV. I don't disagree. When I thought about it some more, I realized my energy was more about Franzkie. I think he really gets it. He doesn't have the voice Harry had, but he has the same intensity. When McCarthy announes, he talks generically about the situation on the field. When Franzkie announces, he takes you through it. That's what Harry did.

I'll try to make this my last Harry post, but no guarentees.

I think there are 3 distinct stories of April for the ORGANIZATION:

1. The Comebacks. When all of your first 8 wins of the season, are of the "comeback" variety", that is more then a coincidence. The "2 Grand Slam game", will be one, we will still be talking about in late September, I think.

2. The Defense. 12 straight games (and counting) of error-less ball. Howard's rapid improvement at 1B, has been startling. Ibanez is a hell of a lot better defensive player, then originally thought. Everybody else, were already known commodities, just playing like they usually do. Now, we just need some of our pitchers to throw the ball over the plate more often, and trust that defense behind them.

3. Minor League Pitching. I would have a hard time believing, there has been a better start to the season, for the top 4 minor league clubs and the various pitching prospects at each level, in the past 25 years. Guys like Drabek, Carrasco, Carpenter, Knapp, Worley, Stutes, Savery, Flande, Bastardo, Escalona, Overholt etc... have been impressive and give the organization hope, depth and possibly trading chips, into the future. And, it might help the organization now target more position players in the upcoming draft (which it desperately needs to do).

"When all of your first 8 wins of the season, are of the "comeback" variety", that is more then a coincidence."

Well yeah, the non-coincidence part of it is that every single game, our starting pitching puts us in a hole. Even when we win, we're behind. Losing the first six innings of every game is not a long-term route to success.

A wacky April.
It feels good to have a winning record for the month, because looking back at the injuries, lack of starting pitching, and continuing hangover from last October (positive) and the loss of a legend (negative), it is a minor miracle that we are where we are right now.
When we stop scoring bunches of runs a game, I hope the pitching is ready to shine.
May should be interesting.
I can't wait for the series with the M(upp)ets.

11-9 is hard to complain about considering the usually poor first week this team had and their usual mixed performances in April under Cholly. Also had a number of distractions and a couple of rainouts that made getting in a groove tough the first 2 weeks of the season. Phils clearly did play a bit better at the end of this month including their recent winning streak.

Still, this team has played one of the weakest schedules in all of baseball so far and has had to rally late (7th inning or later) to win most of their games this year.

With a tougher schedule in May including some teams that have better bullpens, this team might be hard-pressed to post another month better than .500 unless they simply get better starting pitching.

Hamels clearly could give them a big lift if he avoids some bad luck of late but unless Blanton corrects the ship too I don't necessarily see right now where a big improvement in the starting rotation will come.

Another April issue that seems to be forgotten but may bode well for the future: Howard's offense seems to be in a decent point after years of awful starts.

Second winning April since 2003?

Thru 20 gms:

2009: 11-9
2008: 10-10
2007: 9-11
1980: 10-10
1977: 9-11

Good Morning!

I actually feel fine about this April- it seems like typical early-season stuff, and to come out of it over .500 is almost overacheiving for the Phils.

Regarding the advertisement to the right, it seems a bit premature to be busting out the Ibanez T-shirts.

Costey was just inches from nicking the foul pole for a salami that woulda won it. sigh.

Hey, phargo, don't worry, we can always turn on Ibanez when he slows down.

April Stories:
1. Phillies rotation and bullpen. Sure they are largely the same group of pitchers that won the WFC, but they are clearly not performing at the same level, nor should we apparently expect them to. The result of poor performances by the rotation has put a disproportionately heavy burden on the bullpen, which does not bode well for the rest of the season.

2. Ibanez. The guy has been extremely productive at the plate, in the field, and on the basepaths. We'll see about the value of the contract two years from now, but Ibanez has definitely been an awesome addition.

3. Utley and Feliz. Thank god they are not only back, but playing very well. While Dobbs could have filled in adequately in for Feliz, I shudder to think what this team's record would've been like in April without Utley.

4. HK + WS ceremony + 5-7 home record

It certainly was a jammed packed April. From tragedies (HK), to injuries (Chooch, Lidge, Hamels), to comebacks (8 total), to Ibanez, to Utley, to stellar defense, to horrendous pitching. Should be a fun season.

Tavarez is from Crete? I thought he was Dominican.

EFF - Suggested editing of your statement:
"...don't worry, we [will] always turn on Ibanez when he slows down..."

Much more accurate for BL.

Things we learned in April:

- Ibanez was the right move.
- the Phillies have no No. 2 starter.
- Utley is back to being Utley.
- Howard is finally making adjustments.
- the Mets are not an improved team.
- the Phillies can assemble a winning month without much in the way of contributions from three key players (Hamels, Lidge, Rollins).

EFF: Why do you always leave 1993 out of your summary? I think its because they jumped out to a great start right?

I realize this is sacrilege to mention on Beerleaguer, where the posts are long and the attention span is short, but the season is 162 games. Be careful what you think you learned in April. Or, to put it another way, mvptommy is likely to be quite suprised when Ibanez doesn't hit .345 with 40 HRs and 125 RBI for the season.

"... we can always turn on Ibanez when he slows down."
Posted by: EastFallowfield


Indeed! Something to look forward to.

I wonder if J Roll has had a slow start just to get it over with and avoid the later-in-the-season "J Stroll"-type comments...he is a pretty crafty guy.

"Indeed! Something to look forward to."

There's nothing like rooting for your own team to fail, is there?

clout: You're probably right. Ibanez probably won't hit .345 with 40 HR and 145 RBI. However, if he did hit over .290 with 25 + HR with 100 RBI, would you admit that you were wrong, or would it not count because, historically speaking, he shouldn't have been able to perform to that level? Is there a scenario that could take place re: Ibanez that would cause you to admit your are wrong, or have you decided already that you are going to be correct no matter what actually takes place in 2009?

"Things we learned in April:
- the Mets are not an improved team."

That's a pretty bold statement to make on April 30th. Don't get me wrong; I hope you're correct, but I cannot see how adding Putz and K-Rod didn't improve the team. They're no juggernaut, but they're quite a bit more formidable than 2008.

clout: I know Ibanez isn't quite as good as we've seen in the first month. But he's good. What's more, I think he's proven that he's not going to hurt this team in the field or on the bases the way his predecessor did. He's shown that he fits better than most, including myself, were inclined to suspect. I thought that he was an upgrade, but perhaps not enough of one to justify the extra money they spent on his contract over Burrell's. But it's hard to get past the fact that Burrell, despite being younger, plays like an older player; his skill set is such that he is basically an American League player at this point. And Ibanez has shown, rather definitively no matter how few games have been played, that he is well suited to either league.

Bullit: Yeah, about 60".

Yeah, I leave 1993 out because if we matched them win for win we wouldn't need any glass half full posts. We'd just be even more ridiculous in our negadelphia-ness.

We had better starts in 93, 78, and 76 and won the division.

It all comes from being old enough to remember the 1980 season and wondering how insane BL would have been up until about Friday night in Montreal. Man, the vitriol would have been flowing.

Incidentally, if your Putz doesn't work right, does that make you impoMet?

MacT - I'm not going to take sides on the Ibanez argument. I saw Burrell's Pecota for 2009 and it wasn't pretty; it looks like it was pretty accurate. But I will say that the Ibanez discussion was not about his ability to perform overall during 2009. It was about a) the length of his contract given his age; b) the cost of his contract in a recession year; and c) the long-term effect of a left-tilting line-up. Since he keeps himself in good shape and the economy may recover.
Last night, though, we may have seen the best evidence of what a good left-handed pitcher can do to our line-up. Howard managed a couple singles but he has been on fire. (With no shift, I bet Howard would be well over .350, maybe even .400.)
There are not as many LH pitchers out there, and even fewer good ones. But occasionally the tilt will hurt.
Right now, however, it's hard to say that the line-up tilt has hurt the Phils so far. Ibanez has performed to peak ability. (Hooray!) He's been, like Feliz and Howard, on one of his hot streaks. (Yippee!) It's good since the SPs have struggled.

Mac: it's not as simple as just saying they added two premier relievers to the team as it was. How is it possible that people continue to gauge the Mets merely as they on paper? Really - do they look more 'formidable' to you? They don't function well as a team. They don't have the depth of components to win a division. They don't respond well to playing in the intensity of New York. It's incredible how this is not completely apparent to everyone either in New York or outside of it (though if they didn't know it in March, they know it now in NY). Same goes for the Yankees, too. Both teams remind me of the Phillies circa 2003-04. Built like rotisserie teams, not baseball teams.

Maybe the M's knew what they had in Putz and that's why they traded him?

Putz looks hurt

EFF - I'm 50. Sometimes my P...

Naaahhh...I'm not goin' there.

I wanted to check something that turned out to be far more interesting than I thought. (The caveat is that one month is a small sample size.) Top seven in our line-up versus LHP (BA, OBP, SLG)

Rollins .056, .056, .056
Victorino .333, .421, .333
Utley .600, .727, 1.000
Howard .190, .292, .286
Werth .333, .467, .500
Ibanez .231, .267, .308
Feliz .455, .500, 1.000

Given the SLG, if I'm an opposing manager with a choice of whether to start a LHP or a RHP? It's an easy choice.

There are too many stories this April to say that there's only one. The top story is probably the passing of Harry Kalas. His loss is monumental and will be felt for more than just one month. The other stuff will fade as the season goes on (unless Hamels gets, like, attacked by a rabid vulture in the fifth inning the next time he starts), but Harry's death will be with us and the team for a long time. They do not even need the patches to remind us.

Random thought - does it seem like there have been more walks with the bases loaded around baseball this season? There was the Yankees last week, then the Cubs yesterday. The Phils have definitely crossed the plate on walks more than I remember them doing last year.

In our case, I guess you could point to better avg, OBP, and clutch hitting out of the likes of Feliz, Howard, Ibanez etc. as well as facing wild bullpens (Braves).

I dont know, seems anecdotedly to be more of a trend than I ever noticed before.

mw217 - I was thinking there were more Slams, too. Maybe the culprit is more loaded bases.

Andy - Yeah but you have to take the numbers vs. LHP with a degree of salt right now. After the Phils hammered Lannan on Tues. night, their OPS vs. LHP jumped from 10th in the NL to 5th.

As with the pitching, Phils' will have a pretty good idea on just how they really stand against LHP and how credible their starting pitching by about Memorial Day.
Starters will have seen their more of their share of ABs against LHP and starters will have about 9-10 starts under their belts.

Normally late May/early June was when Gillick started to make tweaks and roster moves to things that obviously weren't working. I am curious to see if Amaro does the same.

There aren't enough left-handed starting pitchers in the NL for that to be significant.

As clout said it's hard to say what we learned in April considering ~ 1/8th of the season is all that has been played. Things will change as we go into May when the Phillies usually pick up steam. So the big stories here seem to be.

1.) The passing of Harry Kalas- It's not an on-field issue but the Phillies lost their voice and a true ambassador to the game in the city. It has cast a pall over the season so far and will so for the rest of the year.

2.) Utley and Feliz's health- Both guys were expected to miss time at the beginning of the year but both are healthy and playing well. Feliz has been fine so far even with signs of his normal bad tendencies starting to pop up. Utley looks like he is a leading contender for the MVP a month in.

3.) Our pitching- The staff as a whole was not very good this past month and yet we still found a way to win 11 games and finish 1 1/2 games off the division lead so far.

4.) Offense- The tendency this team started to show last year of being able to win late has continued this year. It's a very important trait for a playoff team to have. The ability to win any game regardless of what the score is going into the 7th inning.

On Beerleaguer we learned:

1.) 3 weeks of a season is enough to proclaim the season lost. 5 1/2 games back with 150 to play is almost insurmountable.

2.) Ibanez will shatter hsi career numbers and go for 40 home runs and 120 RBI's. This despite the fact his numbers in those categories are currently 7,17 while last year they were 5,16. And shock of all shocks he didn't hit either of those numbers.

3.) Someone argued with me and said Hamels was battling an arm injury which was affecting his velocity. I said it was just lack of work. Turns out no arm injury and his velocity is pretty much back to his nromal standards a few starts in.

Has anyone predicted 40+ hrs for Ibanez? I haven't seen it. However, Ibanez was the #3 hitter in a large ballpark, so he never saw this many pitches before. It wouldn't be shocking if he hit .300 30hr 100rbi.

My top April stories listing:

1. Harry Kalas dies in the booth.

2. Team finishes April with a winning record.

3. Ibanez is the real deal.

4. Starting pitching looks ordinary at best.

5. Utley is back.

6. Lidge's save streak ends.

7. Howard is thinner, strikes out less and fields better.

8. J-Roll used up too many bullets playing for Team USA.

9. Eight come from behind wins show a team that believes in themselves and never gives up.

"Built like rotisserie teams, not baseball teams."

Stuff like this makes me laugh. What's the basis for that line?

Truth - Didn't say an Hamels had an arm injury necessarily but that he didn't look right at all in his last start and it was a major reason for potential concern.

Turns out he didn't have an arm injury but that he clearly wasn't ready to start the season & readily admitted he didn't have the proper offseason regimen. Wound up getting smoked his first two starts as a result when he clearly should have been on extended spring training in Florida for at least the first 2 weeks of the season to build up some arm strength.

You were right about the velocity. Hamels is showing the notable jump in velocity he did last year over his few starts. Now just a matter of getting and staying out on the field.

MG: I was just bustin' balls. Trying to lighten the mood.

My biggest issue during that debate was with the lack of work it seemed truly like that was the issue. I think the Phillies were hoping Hamels was good enough to hit spots and work through the lowered velocity and hit spots. He wasn't able to in Colorado and did for a short time agains the Padres before falling apart.

Hamels strikes me as a guy who is very regimented in his workouts, and almost overly attuned to his body. That's not necessarily a bad thing. Some pitchers probably would've tried to amp throws without their normal work but Hamels didn't want to risk injuring himself so he left it dialed down and tried to rely more on finesse.

The basis for the line is that some GMs salivate over big-name players and forget to address the needs of the rest of the team. It's unbelievable that NY fans could think the back end of the bullpen was the only issue on the Mets. Fans have a way of believing that teams are of a championship caliber just because they have some marquee names, and overlook the overall quality of the roster, how the players complement one another, etc.

I'm not sure when we're asking what the story of April was we're saying we learned anything about what the story will be going forward. I was just asking myself what I'll remind most about April in 5 months. The same way I remember April last year for Howard's poor play or Rollins injury or Burrell and Utley's hot start (or even Eaton's okay start). What those players did that month didn't say a whole lot about what they'd do for the rest of the year, but it's what I remember.

Another example of the story of April 08 would be the errors. No one would say we learned from April that the Phils were a sloppy defensive team, but it was something significant about that month.

"Beerleaguer, where the posts are long and the attention span is short"

I think I may need to get out the silk screen and make a T-shirt.

Better yet the T-shirt should say as follows:

"Beerleaguer, where if it isn't in a stat book it doesn't matter"

Still think the Mets' fans are greatly overreacting.

Mets have only been outscored by a single run and caught a couple of tough breaks in a few games. Easy could be 12-9 as 9-12. Plus, it looks again like the NL East is going to be a good division but with no great teams. Just really hard to see a team running away and hiding with the division with 95+ wins. Likely the NL winner will be right at 90 or 91 wins again.

Guess Mets' fans are worried because their team has been relatively healthy this spring vs. last spring but the level of paranoid there has reached ridiculous levels.

Question is does Minaya listen to the yahoo fans or play a steady hand to see what he really has into early June.

One last point - the Phils have now played the weakest strength of schedule through last year in all of MLB. Mets have played the 12th most difficult schedule. Just saying.

April really told us nothing about the NL East except everyone has a couple of notable holes and the Nats will stink yet again this year. Not very informative.

mvptommyd: So you think stats don't matter?

Interesting.

Meant SOS through last night.

MG - where did you see the strength of schedule information? I'd like to read up on that as well, thanks!

T-shirt:

"Beerleaguer: So you are reading this shirt?

Interesting."

Something interesting about the Mets from April is that David Wright had a poor month slugging (.282/.371/.397). Just 1 HR. I was going to say that this may be due to Citi Field but I notice that his SLG is actually lower on the road. Just one month of baseball of course, but it wouldn't surprise me if Wright's HR totals take a hit this year, and his doubles increase significantly.

T-Shirt:

Where the Elites Meet to Eat and Greet and Swap Stats and Barbs to the Non-Elites

MG: Good point but this whole strength of schedule CAN be overrated. Lets look at their schedule in May, which some have said is "tough".

15 Home
14 Away

3 vs. Mets, 2-1
2 @ St. Louis, 1-1
2 @ Mets, 1-1
3 vs ATL, 3-0 REVENGE
3 vs LA, 2-1
4 @ Nats, 3-1
3 @ Cin, 2-1
3 @ Yanks, 1-2
3 vs. Marlins, 2-1
3 vs. Nats, 2-1


I don't see it as THAT Bad besides the road trip in the middle. But I see them losing 2 of 3 to the Yanks regardless where it fell.

I see a 19-10 Month

khaiokien: I think they matter, but not to the extent that people on here think. I am not getting into another Stat war between the myself and a few others vs. the statmen of this blog.

In my experience playing for 14 years and watching the game, along with being involved with fantasy baseball. So I have seen it from both sides. Stats are useful as a snapshot of a player but can not be used even close to entirely to evaluate a player.

Since you like proof and facts on this sight, look no further than scouts. If stats were so important, teams would not employ scouts to travel 300 days a year to see players in person. They would just sit on their laptops and research them.

My opinion is well known here and I stand by it. Stats are useful to a point. But can not be taken to the degree that they are on this blog, because with stats you can validate ANY argument for both the positive and negative.

*site

The Half-full Glass: Utley and Feliz playing well after off-season concerns, Ibanez, team defense, the come-from behind wins, finishing April 11-9.

The Half-empty Glass: Rollins' poor start, injuries to Hamels Lidge and Ruiz, lackluster SP, Bullpen weak, finishing April 11-9 against a weak schedule.

The Half-full Glass turns empty: Ibanez falters and RAAAULLLL turns to BOOOOOO

The Half-empty Glass turns full: Rollins turns it around, Hamels and SP get it torgether, bullpen strengthens with a healthy Lidge and the return of JC.

All observations were made without statistcal analysis.

"Beerleaguer, where the posts are long and the attention span is short"

Sophist, so true. If you can't make your point in a few sentences, then you should not even bother.

In the internet age, the youngsters of the texting era want short and sweet. The old geezers with short term memory problems, won't remember the beginning of the argument when they get to the end.

The best of short and sweet: WFC!

Hokoben - It is at ESPN under the standings. All of the NL East teams have generally played weak schedules because they generally have played the Nats so much including the Phils. Mets have only played one series against the Nats.

mvp - If the Phils can go 19-10 that would be fantastic but they are going to need the team ERA to drop a run or a run half to do that.

Too early to tell but 2009 looks like one of those years where the Phils (like most teams) scrap by to find enough pitching and have a few guys they were really counting on struggle for prolonged periods.

MG: Yea, so true. But I think as the warmer weather moves in on a more regular basis, that their arms will loosen and it will be much improved.

Most impressive guy in April to me was Howard hands down. Didn't quite have the power numbers but his defense was stellar (as many have noted) and he posted some impressive stats too.

What I was impressed by was that Howard really kept the number of swings and ABs where he looked clueless to a minimum this month. Only really 1 game where he kind of looked a bit lost at the plate. He went for stretches of time last April & May.

Also, Howard looks just a bit quicker on the basepaths. He isn't going to ever win a 40-year dash but losing the weight has made him look a bit more nimble. Curious to see what the baserunning statistics end up on him being for the year because he generally has been among the worst baserunners on the Phils the past two seasons.

- the Phillies can assemble a winning month without much in the way of contributions from three key players (Hamels, Lidge, Rollins).

Posted by: RSB

RSB, that is because of the talent level across the board on this team. I am starting to believe that this is a more talented team than I gave them credit for (I'll let you know on June 15th). They are so good at some positions that they can afford slumps in others.

Of course, that pretty much describes every championship team.

April reflection
1. Thanks for the memories Harry!
2. RAUUUUL!
3. Franzkie and L.A. Superior to McCarthy and Wheels.
4. Moyer keeps rolling.
5. 11-9

MG - Thank you

MVP: Scouts and stats serve totally different functions. Stats are only useful when we know something about the overall talent pool in which those stats were achieved. With major league players, and even minor league players, everyone plays in the same talent pool so -- contrary to what you think -- stats are extremely useful for measuring one player's performance against another.

Scouts are used to evaluate AMATEUR talent. If you're going to evaluate a high school player's major league potential, you need to know, primarily, about his mechanics and his physical tools. Looking at his stats gives you almost no information at all, since different amateurs play against hugely different talent pools. Furthermore, even the best high school league is so far removed from professional baseball as to render statistics almost entirely meangingless as a predictor of future major league success. Statistics can obviously tell you which high school players CAN'T play in the majors, but they are virtually useless in predicting which players CAN.

BAP: High school??? No kidding that stats are meaningless in High school. What about Scouts that go to watch guys play at University of Miami, where they play against some of the best kids in the country against schools like Georgia, LSU, Florida, Tennessee. Or in the summer they scout the Cape Cod league, where only the best of the best go and play summer ball. Don't tell me that they play is all over the board there. The truth is stats only go so far, and things like mechanics, physical tools and work ethic are very important.

My t-shirt:

"Beerleaguer:

Not wrong remotely as often as you."

OK, on to April stories:

#1 - Harry's passing. By far.
#2 - SP being REALLY bad thus far.
#3 - bullpen being mediocre (though we expected SOME regression)
#4 - the #3 through #6 hitters in the lineup. If they finish the season like this (number I think are reasonable),

Utley..., .330, 35 HR, 110 RBI
Howard.., .275, 48 HR, 135 RBI
Werth..., .280, 30 HR, 85 RBI
Ibanez.., .295, 30 HR, 90 RBI

then other teams pitchers are in for a long summer.

Statistical analysis ... nobody told me there would be any math involved today. I never do math in public.

"The truth is stats only go so far, and things like mechanics, physical tools and work ethic are very important."

tommy, last I checked, Greg Golson had all of the above.

At a certain point stats mean everything - they tell whether or not a player with "mechanics, physical tools and work ethic" can actually get it done.

See: Reggie Taylor........................................................................................................................................and the very long list before and after him.

khaiokien: I got a really big kick out of your t-shirt idea. Well done.

MVP: Scouts are for evaluating whether a young player possesses the skill-set to play baseball at the highest level. Stats are for measuring how well a player is doing in putting that skill-set to use.

At the major league level, scouts/talent evaluators are still useful in telling us about things that stats don't do a great job measuring, like defense. But you don't need a scout to tell you that Albert Pujols is a great hitter. You can simply look at his stat sheet.

AWH- I think the #7 hitter has also been a good April story. The "black hole" at the bottom of our line up has not been an issue as it was in '08.

Most unnoticed story of April:

Phillies pitchers are hitting .200, only .015 lower than the catchers, and .009 better than their shortstops.

baxter - This is far from an official; but to this point, I count 22 lefthanded pitchers have started games for NL teams (excluding the Phils). Dodgers and Giants have each started three lefties. I guess I'm not going to really worry about those two until the play-offs, but they may be in our distant future.

I would say that bad left-right splits might be important in a short series with LAD.

April 2009

Off Field (Negative): Harry.
Off Field (Positive): Classy ceremonies for the WFC & HK. (Yeah, I know those technically happened on the field, but you get my point)

On Field (Negative): Starting Pitching -- Ugh. (Subject to be changed to "Lidge Injured" if he ends up on the DL)
On Field (Positive): Howard both hits well & fields like a Gold Glover -- WTF?

T-Shirt: "Beerleaguer: I Know More About Baseball Than Babe Ruth, Bill James & God Put Together"

Hamels Buzzard's Luck Prediction: Flying saucer appears & sucks him right off of the mound during his next start.

AWH: I noticed.

Strength of schedule, Phils vs Mets...

We played in Colorado and at home vs Atlanta instead of at St Louis and at Cincy.

We had two series vs Wash instead of 2 vs Fla. (One of ours rained out)

Of course, by the time the Mets play Atlanta there might be no Chipper, no McCann, who knows? I'm guessing "SOS" doesn't consider such factors.

Last year we played Manny Ramirez teams 11 times in the regular season, for example, and the Mets zero.

Mac: "You're probably right. Ibanez probably won't hit .345 with 40 HR and 145 RBI. However, if he did hit over .290 with 25 + HR with 100 RBI, would you admit that you were wrong?"

No. because I've never made predictions about .290 or 25 HR, which actually seem quite reasonable. I DID say he wouldn't get to 100 RBI (unless Uts & Howard have a power outage or are injured for extended time.) Do you think he'll get 100 RBI?

AWH: Exactly right. Scouting (in the projection sense not the strength/weakness sense) is all-important pre-draft. It then becomes less and less important the older the prospect gets and the higher the minor league level.

MLB history is crowded with 4 and 5 tool players who failed. Reggie Taylor is a great example. Corey Patterson also jumps to mind.

Bubba, true, but I couldn't reasonably say Pete Happy might hit anywhere near his current BA. Nor do I think he'll put up more than 15-17 HR.

He may surprise. Who knows?

Also, in taking a look at the numbers again, it might be a stretch for Werth to hit .280. He could get to 30 HR if he can get to 550-600 AB, though that might be stretching things a little as well.

AWH- Agreed on Feliz- I wasn't trying to predict anything, just glad he contributed in April.

clout: If Ibanez hits .290 with 20 to 25 homeruns, it's pretty far-fetched to imagine that he won't get 100 RBIs. Burrell drove in 95 and 97 runs batting directly behind Utley & Howard in 2006 & 2007. Ibanez will probably hit about 7 to 10 fewer homeruns than Burrell, but he'll also have a good 10 to 15 extra doubles and triples, and 50 to 60 more hits. I would imagine those 60 extra hits would more than offset the difference in power.

Perhaps more importantly, whereas Burrell hit right behind Howard, Ibanez is hitting 6th, with a high OBP player directly ahead of him. Assuming he performs to career norms in batting average, I would expect Ibanez to exceed the 100-RBI mark, and fairly easily.

Burrell hit 5th a ton of times in the lineup. If Ibanez stays in the 6th hole for the entire season, he won't get 100 RBIs. Might get close especially if he hits 25-30 HRs but 6-hole hitters in the NL just don't have 100 RBI seasons.

Well, it seems the Beerleaguer Over/Under on Ibanez's RBI this season is 99-1/2.

There's no real reason to think Ibanez couldn't get 100 RBI. Consider, for one thing, how often he puts the ball in play. And he has three relatively high on-base guys preceding him in the order, including Werth right in front of him. I'd be surprised if he played a full season and didn't hit the century mark.

My April thoughts...

*The World Series hangover.
*The shocking death of Harry Kalas.
*Hamels misses his first start, lacks velocity early, then comes out of two starts early due to injury.
*Lidge looks ineffective and then misses time because of his knee.
*Rollins looks lost at the plate.
*Ruiz goes on the DL.
*Homer-itis spreads through our starters like the swine flu.

And yet, finish April with an 11-9 record, bucking the trend of horrible, horrible April starts.

It could certainly be worse.

Stats are obviously very useful, but only if the factors affecting the measurements are static. For instance, based on the historical information and stats at the time, making a prediction in 1992 that Barry Bonds would have over 700 career home runs would seem ludicrous. But several things changed that made comparison of past performance a poor predictor of future results; he gained a lot of muscle mass, he changed teams, his head grew 5 sizes, expansion further watered down the pitching, etc.

Also, other things can happen at various points in a players career that can greatly change their performace in comparison to what stats would predict. Swing changes, increased velocity, improved fitness, smarter pitching/hitting approach, team changes, lineup changes, etc.

Did the statistics of the first ten years of Jamie Moyer's career accurately predict his next ten?

Homeruns, and runs in general, are way up this first month across all of baseball. How do we know that some new factor (i.e. the baseball itself) is not at play this year? Something like that would make past statistics not directly relevant to what may in fact happen. Ibanez could in fact obliterate the more conservative predictions I've seen on here.

Just for fun:

Pat Burrell April 2008
.326/.452/.674, 8 HRs, 25 RBIs

Raul Ibanez April 2009
.355/419/.724, 7 HRs, 17 RBIs

So I assume everyone predicting a huge year from Ibanez based on April was doing the same last year with Burrell, right?

SJ, you bring up a good point about the baseball.

Let's face it: If MLB (owners) decide they want to go back to a dead-ball era, it's within their power to do so.

If they've decided to juice up the ball a little more this season to generate more interest/excitement in a bad economy - well, I wouldn't put it past them.

Does that mean Ryan Howard has a chance to get to 60?

How many extra games last year did Pat have to get those HRs & RBIs?

Well, Jack... you've just exposed yourself as a member of the Beerleaguer Elite!

I don't get the extremes on here that seem to either indicate that statistics are largely useless or not prone to interpretation/questioning.

Case in point - Ibanez and 100 RBIs. Maybe he has 100 RBIs but I would be willing to bat there has a very limited number of 100 RBI seasons by those who batted primarily in the 6 hole for an NL team.

Way I would go about that is looking at NL teams the past 10 teams to see if any players even met the criteria but frankly I just don't care/have that kind of time.

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