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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

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The Mets, Devils, and Rangers lost today as well. I feel that should be included in the post game wrap.

Former Phillie great Russell Branyon went 5-for-5 today and is now hitting .358 for Seattle.

Gudel says x rays negative Cole won't miss a start,

The guys on the MLB Network just have a ball and it's fun to watch. I love this channel.

Best thing Bud Selig's ever done.

How about Ibanez! Pat who????? Just for all those on here who called me a homer all offseason here are some stats since you all love them to give you some reflection of Jr.'s move.

Ibanez 5 2b, 7 HR's, 17 RBI's, .419 OBP, .724 SLU, .355 AVG

Burrel 2 2b, 1 HR, 8 RBI, .364 OBP, .317 SLU, .238 AVG

Just so we are clear I predicted Ibanez to hit 25-30 HR's this year, and all of you beerleaguer "geniuses" called me insane. Well boys and girls, about 140 games left and all i need is 18 more.

I was at the game and don't know if anyone pointed out the coincidence - but John "The Walrus" Lannon is again involved in a play resulting in significant injury to a Phillies player.

Number 9...Number 9...

Ibanez is going to hit 45 HR's and the Phillies are going to score over 1,000 runs. This offense is just insane.

LA Jeff: I don't know about 45 HR's but I think 30 is in his wheelhouse. Also, he WILL get 100 RBI's, again that 99% of bloggers here said he couldn't and wouldn't do.

I mean this is crazy. Let our starting pitchers get settled in and we get romero back in 30 games.

This team through about 20 games already scored 118 runs (3rd best in the MLB) and has hit 28 HR's( tied w/ yankees for 3rd best also) and it isn't even hot yet! I mean my goodness, what is going to happen when july and august come around???

mvptommyd: Of course, the elite will invalidate your prediction by saying that "no one could have predicted it."

That's how it works on BL. The standard backpedal for any time an elite member is wrong is that it doesn't matter because "no one could have predicted it". In other words, they couldn't find enough statistical data to copy/paste that would lead to such a prediction (god forbid anyone simply watch the game and form an opinion on what they see). In the meantime, anything that occurs in a game that validates their opinion is further proof, and anything that happens that goes against their opinion should be ignored, for it is but a "small sample size".

No worries though. I was told that I was an idiot if I expected Ibanez to come close to 100 RBI in this lineup, and that he was one step above a blind rat in the outfield. I've yet to see any actual evidence of what they're talking about. At this point, he could pull off an unassisted triple play from LF, and clout would respond with an algebraic equation based on errors committed in the American League 8 years ago in an effort to justify his opinion that the team would fall apart with the defensive downgrade from Pat The Bat.

It really is sad that people can't just watch the damn game anymore and talk to one another without running to their computers in a desperate search for mathematical backing for an argument. The internet has harmed this game.

The one good thing about this Hamels April craziness is it is keeping some mileage off of his arm and not hurting the Phils too much in the standings.

Couple of thoughts:

1. Hamels' April has one word that comes to mind - 'Snakebit.'

2. Hard to complain about a Phils' team that is 11-8 in April but really some red flags longer term including a bullpen that is getting utilized ridiculously hard (Condrey and Durbin are going to get blown out my mid-summer at this rate) and a strength of schedule that is a paltry t-28th in MLB coming into tonight.

Basically the Phils' offense with their late rallies have saved this team in April but they also have faced a some weak teams with some of the worst bullpens in all of MLB so far including the Nats, Braves, Rockies, Brewers, and the Fish.

I have a bad feeling that when this team faces some capable bullpens (especially with a lefty option or two) that these late rallies we are seeing are going to get much harder to come by including against the Mets next week.

3. Another night, another error-free game. Now only 3 errors in 19 games. That's impressive.

With Howard's dramatic improvement and some generally good glovework by Ibanez, the Phils have quietly been the best defensive baseball team in MLB so far this year.

4. Phils did do a little running tonight with largely due to JRoll's struggles and an offense that is once again among the league leaders in XBH, they have only had 10 SBs with is really off from the pace of last year when they finished with 136 SBs.

5. On XHB, going into tonight the Phils had 66 XHB was was 9th in MLB and 3rd in the NL. Once again the offense is slugging away. However, the Phils' pitching staff had given up 78 XHB which was 29th in MLB and dead last in the NL. Only team that had given up more XHB was the putrid O's pitching staff. Even the Yanks who have been rocked have given up less XHB than the Phils.

This is almost exclusively due though to the HRs because the Phils have only given up 33 doubles which puts them in the top 1/3 of the league.

If this rotation can get a handle on the HRs, they will be at least adequate and the offense most nights will do the rest.

Interestingly, the Phillies have actually won the games Hamel has had to leave due to injury. His "healthy" starts ... not so much. I'm not suggesting this is any kind of recipe for success, merely that it hasn't worked out too awfully for the Phils so far.

MAC Tonight: Yes, you are 100% correct. My favorite beerleaguer elite saying yet, " Thats not a big enough sample size". I guess when Ibanez has 38 HR's and 110 RBI's then it will be enough. Then again they will most likely be saying that Pat could have done that as well.

Watch out next they are going to back to calling us "Sir Alden Trio" because a player that they were wrong about. AHHH, i love this blog.

Of course everyone remembers Burrell's March/April last year when he hit 8 HRs and drove in 25 RBIs with a 1.126 OPS and a .326 average.

He, of course, did not end up with 100 RBIs or 40 HRs, but dare to dream I guess.

Edit: Bad memory. Hamels last start was the almost no-no. Still, 1-1 & a glimmer of hope that this latest injury will not lead to the DL is cause for hope.

Mac Tonight - "The Internet has harmed the game" is one of the most ridiculous statements I can remember in a long team. Let's see it:

1. Allowed MLB to make money hand over fist with MLB.com. Say what you want about Selig in other areas, but MLB.com was generally ahead of the other four sports in regards to what the Internet could mean for revenues, ratings, and general fan interest.

2. Much greater access to stats and interesting baseball content that appeal to diehard baseball that make up a notable contingent on his board.

3. Increased daily attention for baseball for a sizable portion of fans due to fantasy baseball

I could go name at least another several reasons but the Internet has helped increased revenues, interest, and attention to MLB so I don't understand at all what you are talking about.

Wow, tommyd. Yes, I think you're right, now that you mention it: you were the *only one* who said Ibanez could hit 25-30 homers this year. No one else would dared have made this completely bold, seemingly preposterous claim - not on this site, not in the entire city. Words cannot convey my awe-inspired humility at the power of your foresight.

Wait - did you also predict Howard would hit over 30? Or that Victorino would reach double digits in stolen bases? I mean, don't tell me. I don't think I could handle any more genius than you've already proven tonight.

Noah: Correct, BUT he also, struck out 17 times in that span from the beginning of the season to his 8th HR. Ibanez has struck out only 9. Which since we love to do math on this site, is almost half the strikeouts. Hence the major upgrade of Ibanez over Burrell, which I along with few others have tried to say. Ibanez will cause run production. From the beginning I never expected Raul to be a Power Hitter, but coming from safeco which is a bigger field, my eyes told me that he would hit more HR's here.

LA Jeff and others - You guys are nuts. The Phils aren't going to score 1,000 runs or even get close. Even during the greatest offensive era that baseball has ever seen, the only NL team to get close to that mark was the 2000 Rockies with 968 runs.

Even the historically great '07 Phils only scored 892 runs. If this team even hits that mark, they will be one of the historically great offensive teams in Phils' history and this team will almost certainly make the playoffs again regardless of how woeful the starting pitching is this season.

As for Ibanez, he isn't going to hit 45 HRs or get 100 RBIs hitting out of the 6 spot. He just won't get enough opportunities over the course of the season.

Doesn't mean he couldn't have a season where he puts up 25-30 HRs and 80-90 RBIs which would still be damn fine for a guy hitting out of the 6th hole even in the AL on a stacked offense.

RSB: I never said "only one", I said one of the few. Second, look in the archieves, I believe you may have been one of the people to call me crazy.

More importantly, RSB, are you ready to admit that Ibanez may just be a better choice in LF than Burrell for 3 major reasons.

1. He doesn't strike out as much
2. He can actually play a complete game in LF and doesn't need to be taken out to protect a lead. Which in effect wastes a bench player.
3. Generates more run production.

mvp - You and mike77 blow things out of contention. I don't think any reasonable person on here would say the 3 reasons you just gave don't have a great degree of validity.

The issue with Ibanez was the length of the deal & size of the deal and the lack of legit power/hitting from the right-side of the plate.

So far, Werth has delivered in the 5 hole but it has hurt the Phils a couple of times late in games where they don't have a real legit right-handed bat off the bench to counter unless Feliz didn't start.

MG: You are most likely right. BUT they are on pace for 960 now. So, I based my assesment on the summer not even here yet. And not too many 3-1 games this year.

Phils did catch a huge break that Hamels didn't break an ankle tonight. That would have been at least 6-8 weeks on the DL and they can sorely afford to lose him for that long.

tommyd: I never argued against Ibanez. I had questions about the balance of the lineup, but I never doubted Ibanez was a better all-around player than Burrell. And why anyone would counter a prediction that Ibanez could hit 25-30 HRs in this ballpark after hitting 20-25 in Seattle, I really am not sure.

He does seem to be proving that collecting his fair share of RBI won't be a problem, but that was never my argument, either.

mvp - If this team scores even 900 runs, it will be a juggernaut offensively and this team will make the playoffs again either as the NL East winner or a WC team.

Case in point about Ibanez and LHP:

- Phils have mashed RHP the past few seasons and been quietly effective against LHP too.

- This season going into tonight the Phils were 3rd in the NL in OPS vs. right-handed pitching at .827 however they are just 10th in the NL in OPS vs. left-handed pitching at .741.

Recipe for likely shutting down this offense this year will be to have a LHP starter on the mound and have at least 2 lefty options in the pen.

Luckily for the Phils there just aren't that many decent LHP in the NL East (or the NL in general) and most teams don't have 2 solid lefties in the pen.

RSB: Well I said all along I understood why you had concerns about the balance of the lineup but from day 1 I also have said that Ibanez is:

1.good hitting lefties
2. Not too many dominant lefties in the league so it wouldn't be a big deal.
3. He could hit in the 6 hole ( which he is doing and raking the ball)

Ah yes, "the balance in the lineup" argument. How often has that come into play in the 19 games they've played so far this year? Fact is, more often than a lack of RH batter late in games being an issue, there have been times when a lack of quality lefty relievers has meant that Ibanez being LH has been an ADVANTAGE late in games.

Oh, and just to bust a few nuts:

Feliz: .333 .397 .492 .889 (2 hr, 14 RBI)
Burrell: 238 .364 .317 .681 (1 HR, 8 RBI)

Now come the "sample size" claims. Interesting that the same people, no doubt, forgot about "sample size" every time Ibanez didn't get a hit early in the season, and every time that Feliz has had a bad AB. On those occasions, sample size was irrelevant.

As a wannabe member of the Beerleaguer elite, I have to say that I strongly doubt that Ibanez will hit 38 home runs and have 119 RBI's at season's end. I would note that Ibanez has a month this hot virtually every year; it doesn't mean that the rest of his seasons look anything like those hot months. I'm extremely confident that at points in this season Ibanez will experience long, ice-cold droughts and that he'll end up putting up numbers not much better than his perfectly good, but not All-World, stats in Seattle. I also don't see why it matters much that Ibanez strikes out less than Burrell. For the millionth time, yes, you'd obviously rather ground out or hit deep fly outs with men on base than strike out, but it really isn't that big a deal, and Burrell's obscenely high walk rate more than made up for the strikeouts. Anyway, we're all very happy, I'm sure, that Ibanez has gotten off to a great start and is playing a quite considerable role in preventing the team from falling into an early ditch.

And just to be clear - I'm not saying that Burrell didn't have his strengths, or that Feliz is a good hitter.

But the point is that self-stylized BL "geniuses" use stats selectively to "prove" that their opinions are "facts," whereas those who have different opinions are "idiots."

As proven when anyone says that Ibanez being LH is a "weakness" as compared to Burrell, without accounting for the fact that most starters are RH, and many teams lack quality LH relievers.

"He just won't get enough opportunities over the course of the season."

Seems like he's getting plenty...despite the number of times that Utley and Howard have cleared the bases so far.

He may come close to (or surpass 100) or he may not. One thing is for sure...if he gets to 99, there will still be BLers saying that it's impossible.

MG: "one of the most ridiculous statements, blah, blah, blah". Man, if I had a nickel for every time this tired line is used on BL... I didn't mean that the net has hurt the game financially. I mean that it (and fantasy baseball) has sterilized the game. Baseball is not a mathematical puzzle where you can determine how many wins a player is worth vs his teammate or his replacement. World Series are not won with a calculator and a sheet of paper. What the internet has done is to reduce the game to a mathematical argument that all too often ignores the humanity of the game. The resulting discussions are of simulated baseball; plug in the numbers and get your results.

In reality, most of the nonsense that is copy/pasted on here as "expert" information isn't worth a plug nickel. If you can mathematically determine the number of wins a player is worth, skip the message board, drive to Vegas, put up a years salary and put your money where your mouth is. Otherwise, admit that it's no more valuable (and usually less valuable) than the eyes of an old man at the ballpark. The stats that I have seen used in arguments on this board are a record of what has happened, not a guarantee of what will happen.

You're not experts, or else you would be making money off of your expertize under the employ of a ballclub. You're fans with opinions...nothing more. The attitude that you are "intelligent" or "educated" fans is laughable. You're just fans with an ego that is stroked by Googling stats and insulting other fans of differing opinions. It's really quite sad. That is what I meant when I said that the internet has harmed the game.

And yes, Phlipper, sample size is key when talking about baseball. You do have a point about people getting on Feliz or whomever when he grounds into a rally-killing double play but discarding his current good hitting as an unsustainable hot stretch - the double play's just one at-bat too, and all that - but do you really expect people to be silent when a hitter who they think we never should've signed has an awful at-bat? That just goes against human nature, and the rally-killing double play does say something about him as a player. I'm sure you realize, at any rate, that there's about a 3% chance that Feliz has as good an offensive year as Burrell. (And I'm a big Feliz fan.) After all, one could surely find some stretch last year when Feliz was hitting much better than Burrell, but you wouldn't make grand conclusions, or any conclusions, from their relative performance in June. This current stretch just happens to be in April, so it seems as if it's more meaningful because it's the only data we have.

" but it really isn't that big a deal, and Burrell's obscenely high walk rate more than made up for the strikeouts."

To some extent. But Burrell's high walk rate was also an artifact that he lacked aggressiveness at the plate, at times, when runners were on base. Some BLers justified arguments about Burrell vs. Ibanez by comparing OPS, without accounting for the fact that Burrell's OPS reflected more walks and Ibanez's OPS reflected more hits. Which is better with runners or base and the bottom of the order to follow, walks or hits?

People: the "I told you so's" are graceless and pathetic, coming from *anyone*, and particularly three weeks into a season. Don't you suppose this sort of whiny, righteous, chest-puffing rhetoric makes you sound like "elitists" yourselves? You sound like the same people you're reviling, just trying to piss into the wind about how "right" you are.

"but do you really expect people to be silent when a hitter who they think we never should've signed has an awful at-bat? "

Of course not, Tray. It's part of being a fan. I think that Mac makes the point pretty well above. The problem is that people don't use stats in an even-handed fashion. Everytime Feliz hits into a DP, some folks say "typical Feliz" but when you really look at the stats in-depth, considering the relatively small margin in actual number of hits between hitting 250 and hitting 280, when he has a bad AB it's only marginally more typical when he has a good AB.

Take a look at the comments from the beginning of the year when Ibanez had a bad AB, and some people used it to justify why signing Ibanez was a mistake. Sample-size is a real and relevant consideration - but it is over-used to support arguments in a selective fashion. I'm not as much of a stat-basher as Mac; but if you're going to use stats, use them thoroughly. For example, just saying one hitter is better than another based on OPS fails to account for the factors that build the OPS and factors such as position in the batting order.

RSB: The "I told you so's" are born out of being called an idiot for having an opinion for months on end, only to see that the results on the field justify the opinion.

For the elitists who cite "small sample size" to invalidate actual performance, I offer you this:

You say that Ibanez 7 HR at this point in the season shouldn't matter because we're only in the month of April, and you cling to calling us morons that he can't possibly hit 25 HR or collect 100 RBI. Well, as you said, it's only April, and he's over 25% of the way to 25 HR. It works both ways.

No need to be a hypocrite, my elite friends. You know damn well that if Pat had 7 HR and 17 RBI, every last one of you would rush to your little keyboards to call Amaro an idiot for overpaying for Ibanez and letting Pat walk. Hell, most of you did it all off season long, with zero sample size. Your only retort is a reference to a poster from days gone by who may, or may not, have been a FO apologist. I am, truly, in the presence of such intelligent baseball minds, after all...

Is being a member of the beerleaguer elite like a being captain of the chess team in high school?

if you don't like the opinions of the people on this board, you can just talk the people you used to talk to about baseball before the internet. The internet hasn't harmed baseball, its just made more opinions available to be heard, or ignored.

Mac Tonight - I do agree with you on the point that internet has in many way lessened the tone of discourse, and not just when it come to baseball. I've made this point before a year or two back on this blog.

Just because we can't see each other's faces doesn't mean we should throw civility out the window. For how intelligent many of the "elite" on this blog are, they can sound like a bunch of six year olds when they hear something that rubs them the wrong way.

Mac Tonight: I have to tell you that I actually sympathize with many of your tenets. I have had a bit of a hard time here on occasion by taking the stance that there is more to perceiving the game than can be wrought purely from statistical data. Nevertheless, I never would go so far as to say that statistics are useless in the face of what some 'old man's eyes at the ballpark' can tell me. Both means of evaluation have validity. You have to be aware that it isn't just fans who are consulting these numbers on Google - it is an increasing number of the game's administrators, and some have registered a substantial upturn of success for their franchises by paying closer attention to predictive data. There is no point in being an extremist here, and you are being willfully ignorant if you claim there is no merit in any statistical analysis. That is no different or better than the ones who say it has to be the other way or nothing.

Another example. Saying that sample-size is a full explanation for why Ibanez is hitting above career norms neglects to account for the fact that he's surrounded by better hitters on this team, and is hitting more often in a park that is arguably more suited to his hitting abilities. Those factors skew sample size comparisons. You're comparing samples that aren't precisely congruent.

"Baseball is not a mathematical puzzle where you can determine how many wins a player is worth vs his teammate or his replacement. World Series are not won with a calculator and a sheet of paper."

I don't know about that. I totally appreciate the romance and mythology of building teams on the basis of, I don't know, the steely look in your left-fielder's eyes, or whether your players are "grinders," or whatever, and can see that stats may take some of the fun out of the game. And of course it's true that you can't win a World Series with a calculator, because the playoffs are a crapshoot; all you can do with the calculator, really, is make your team a contender for a playoff spot. But it would seem to me that, if you're trying to build a baseball team, you ought to build your roster with the goal of maximizing your team's run differential (as opposed to, say, just picking the "guttiest" players who you think can win close games), that you do that by trying to, among other things, build the best offense you can, given cost constraints, the need to trot out a sound defense, and your investment in your pitching staff, that you do that by evaluating a lot of offensive statistics and creating models to see what stats translate into run-scoring, signing players who put up good numbers in those stats, and so on. Besides, aren't your own opinions rooted in statistics? Doesn't your view that we'd be better off with an additional ace than Rollins come down to a complex evaluation of the relative value of Rollins's defense, production at short vis-a-vis whoever his replacement would be, and what this ace would bring to the table relative to Park/Happ? Maybe you haven't actually made such an evaluation, but with numbers we can and thereby find out, with some margin for error, if your idea is a good one. This seems like a good thing to me; it saves us the trouble of mindlessly guessing about what's worth more, a great defensive shortstop who's pretty good offensively for the position, or an ace.

Phlipper: I'm not a "stat basher", per say. My problem, like you said, is in the selective way that stats are used to defend a position. Like you said, a Feliz DP results in "typical Feliz", but praise his April OBP and you're told that it's early and that it doesn't matter. In other words, they formulate their opinion before the game even takes place. Anything that occurs to justify that opinion is highlighted, and anything that occurs contrary to their pre-game prejudice is downplayed for some reason or other.

There are stats that I truly despise. I think the attempt to mathematically calculate how many wins a player is "worth" is deplorable, but aside from that, it is the underhanded way that statistical data is used in conversation that rubs me the wrong way.

Mac - but don't you see that a stat compiled in the first three weeks of a season doesn't exactly negate the hard evidence of what a player has shown a clear tendency to do throughout every season of an extended career? Is that really 'prejudice' at work or is there perhaps more reasonable thinking involved? There is no reason to give a player like Feliz, who has consistently registered poor OBP, the benefit of the doubt until he has reversed this trend over a far more substantial period of time than three weeks.

Stats are useful. They approximate a way to qualitatively assess a player. The problem is when people, who apparently don't fully understand the stats they quote, attempt to use stats to "prove" what is really just an opinion - often based on personal biases as a fan.

That said: I used to be a Burrell-basher because I was frustrated with how often I saw him come up small at important stages of games. From looking more closely at stats, I came to see that he does have strengths that I didn't fully appreciate earlier because of how I reacted as a "fan."

Tray: I get what you're saying. Again, I'm not saying that statistical data has no place in baseball or a discussion of baseball. I'm only saying that the way that it's used is off putting. I enjoy conversations with my dad and grandfather, and with an older fan at the bar talking about Robin Roberts. I do not enjoy being called an idiot for thinking that Ibanez will do well in Philadelphia, complete with an algebraic equation of how stupid I am.

Incidentally, my Rollins trade idea had more to do with a concern of the 2010 free agent market for pitchers, the lack of #1 or #2 pitchers that may be available in a trade, the desire to not trade the farm for our annual veteran in the rotation deal, the concern for Moyer's age, Cole's injury potential, Myers free agency, etc, etc. I freely admitted that it, in part, had to do with my personal distaste for Jimmy, but in the end, I felt he was the only expendable piece of the roster that we could get something of value for in the rotation (an ace signed through 2010). It was also contingent upon Donald being major league ready. It was then blown WAY out of proportion as a deal I would make today as a result of Rollins current slump. All of the pre-conditions (that probably will not happen this season) that I mentioned for this idea were ignored, and selective pieces were singled out to ridicule. I wanted a hypothetical discussion about baseball and I ended up with a group of surly lawyers calling me a moron, a racist, not a Phillies fan, etc... What can I say, man...it's hard to be a regular Joe in this place and not get picked apart. This place is anything but a beer league. It's more like the bastard child of Marsha Clark and Comic Book Guy on coke.

Mac Tonight - Your rant sounds like something I would expect to hear from Joe Morgan or from one of the ancient and out-of-touch physicians I deal with.

What exactly does "sterilized the game" mean? Strikes me as largely empty rhetoric unless you mean the increasingly specialization of baseball roles over the years but that isn't solely due to statistics. There are other significant forces at work there including financial and resource allocation ones.

Reality is that we are moving (and have been for some time) to a quantitative-driven world for several reasons. Maybe that trend abates a bit but I would find it highly unlikely.

Baseball is something that lends readily leads itself to quantitative analysis because you have a large number of independent data points/observations that are easily observable and recordable. Additionally, you have large enough sample sizes to really slice and dice the data up for various statistical techniques.

Of course there is always going to be a limit on what quants can tell you because the conclusions they are drawing are only as good as the data they have in front of them, the statistical techniques they are employing, data model assumptions they are making, and the explanatory power of the models. Any decent quant guy knows and understands this.

Basically what you get in baseball has been a real revolution in stats and the ability for fans to have ready access to this in a form where they can digest and understand it.

Best example for this is the guides that come out every spring now that are backed with stats that a knowledgeable baseball fan can understand and interpret. Even basic baseball reporting now includes a bevy of stats that you wouldn't have seen 10-15 years ago and much more statistical information in general.

Frankly the only valid point you do bring up is the "old man at the ballpark." Practical experience does count and the general rule of thumb is that it takes about 10,000 hours (with some significant variations) to become experienced enough to become readily competent at an activity or exercise. There has been a great deal of work on simulation exp to validate this exact point.

Basically we are at a point right now in baseball where stats have and increasingly will change the perceptions of fans and their knowledge base. It doesn't mean that there is an important point for practical experience and observation though. Basically the trick is to meld the two.

Case in point - one of my uncle's friend who is a season ticket holder is a long-time scout for several organizations.

I have watched a ton of baseball (and played a bit too) but he still always sees subtle things in a game that I would miss especially in regards to pitching motion and delivery during the course of a game. Stunned at times when he knows when a guy is likely tipping a certain pitch.

Still even my uncle's friend say the game has completely changed and readily acknowledges that for several reasons the average fan today knows much more about baseball than they did years ago because of the ready access and resources available to them. To insist otherwise is pretty foolish.

People frown on the discourse of the Internet and unfortunately a bunch of early research does indicate that people are less civil and cordial to one other ideas/opinions for a couple of important reasons.

Doesn't mean the Internet doesn't capture some important thoughts & trends especially on a macro level. Seem some very cool software and startups that are finding interesting way to harness this information for multiple purposes including revolutionizing marketing and bus development efforts.

"Practical experience does count and the general rule of thumb is that it takes about 10,000 hours (with some significant variations) to become experienced enough to become readily competent at an activity or exercise."

You've just statistically defined experience. I think that pretty much sums up everything I've been trying to say.

Look, I'm not saying stats are useless. While I find some to be absurd and asinine (the example I used is the number of wins a player is "worth"), I do not deny that the way the game is measured and managed has changed over the years. I'm just saying that it is a

    guide
to predict what may happen, not the gospel of how they will perform in the future. The attitude that numbers don't lie, even when they do, takes away from what makes this game great, and it all but eliminates any enjoyable conversation. Our starting WFC outfield was comprised of 2/3 castoffs from other clubs, while the 17 game winner we traded for blew up in our face. This game is not played with pencil and paper...it is measured with pencil and paper. It is predicted by nothing but opinion. Opinions based entirely statistical data may be safe opinions, but that doesn't make everyone else wrong, and it doesn't invalidate a counter-opinion if it turns out to have been correct.

I don't know what else to say, man. It seems that, for some (not necessarily you), the game is the numbers, and if something happens that goes against what the numbers have said in previous years, it doesn't count. This isn't a video game, a computer program, a controlled experiment or a simulation. It's baseball.

Gotta say, I was very worried (and still am somewhat) about our three best sluggers hitting from the left side of the plate.

But I really like 5-8 going RLRR, with that L being someone that can rake. Like it much better than the parade of right handers that we had last year between Burrell, Werth, Feliz, Ruiz.

Mac - I get you what you are generally saying. Of course it is not numbers. Any quant-oriented person who is reasonable knows and readily acknowledges that.

Just think you are really downplaying the role that stats do play and the ability of baseball fans to understand and interpret them.

As for defining experience, you can begin to readily attempt to quantify this too. Just depends on how readily available data is and the different research technique (e.g., lab simulation, observational data, etc) you use.

Best example that I deal with is surgery. Not only would I never get a major non-emergency surgical operation done without doing a ton of my own research and getting at least one-second opinion, I would also never let a surgeon who hasn't done the procedure a fair amount of times operate on me. Depends on the surgical technique, but there is a ton of research that shows that experience with a procedure matters greatly. Patients just don't press a surgeon hard enough most times to get this answer but surgeons will readily acknowledge in private there is a real learning curve with a new technology or technique. Someone has to be the guinea pig though.

Its been kind of quiet but Vic has really been hitting the last 10 days or so. Nice to see JRoll and Vic keep it up because Utley and Ibanez can't keep hitting like they have been.

Minor League Prospect Update...

Savery gets first AA win. Now 1-1 on season with 3.68 ERA. Threw 6 IP on Tuesday, with 1 ER. Went 0-3 at plate though, to drop his average to .200

Zagurski gets first save of year at AA, as he comes back from Tommy John.

Michael Taylor now hitting .286 for season, after very slow start.

John Mayberry Jr. now hitting .279 for season, after even slower start. Hit 5th HR of year, and now has driven in 13 on season. Has been moved into cleanup spot at LV.

Dom Brown hitting .277 at Clearwater, with 12 RBI's.

Freddy Galvis hitting .297 at Clearwater.

And, P Drew Naylor continues to really struggle, as his season ERA is now at 11.05

And, the 3 veteran righthanders (Majewski, Koplove and Walker) the Phils have at LV, are all pitching great. Majewski in particular, has been really good since Spring Training. Nice to have that kind of veteran depth, if needed, in reserve. When Majewski is healthy and "right", he is pretty nasty.

MG - Utley took bases on balls at a much higher clip during the first month compared to career norms. And he's done this without changing his K rate. This has resulted in a really solid .457 OBP. If he keeps this plate discipline up and maintains his power (which, when isolated is right at career norms), he could be in for a monster year. However, there are signs that this OBP is unsustainably high given that he's gotten on base vs. LHP almost 70%!!! of the time. Yes, he's only had about 20 PA vs. lefties, but that's a distortive factor. His .387 OBP vs. RHP, is exactly the same as his split OBP from last year. So essentially, he's laying off stuff and taking a lot more walks against lefties. Last year, after his torrid start, he came down to earth a bit. We'll see what happens this year.

As for Raul, new face in a new place. The guy has been amazing this past month putting together a portfolio of monster clutch hits (as well as some misses, but who remembers those?), surprisingly athletic plays in LF (despite a couple adventurous plays), and great baserunning. Bottom line is that he's been extremely productive and we'll see how long he can keep this up and whether he can produce in the fall.

"The attitude that numbers don't lie, even when they do, takes away from what makes this game great, and it all but eliminates any enjoyable conversation. Our starting WFC outfield was comprised of 2/3 castoffs from other clubs, while the 17 game winner we traded for blew up in our face."

Well two things. One, Shane and Werth had pretty good numbers in the minors and, in Werth's case, on the major league level. Whereas Garcia, the 17-game winner, had some troubling numbers in that 2006 season; it really wasn't such a good year statistically if you could see past the 17 wins. So perhaps those aren't the greatest examples. But let's say you really couldn't have seen Garcia or Werth coming. Then your point seems to be, "baseball is unpredictable, so let's shut down attempts to use methods that are right 80% of the time, because there are these exceptions. So instead, how about we just argue over our gut-level feelings about various players without recourse to data." Of course, numbers aren't always right, so I agree that clout-esque statements like "Ibanez will not have 100 RBI's this season, period, you're an idiot if you think he will" are silly and conversation-killers, but I don't see what's wrong with saying something like, "using our best numbers, it's probably the case that Burrell will outperform Ibanez this year and even more probably the case that he'll outperform Ibanez the next." And of course, some things aren't such close calls; it's practically a mathematical certainty that Miguel Cairo will not help this team.

Mac Tonight - the problem I have with your argument is not so much the argument itself, but your tone. The way you're presenting your argument sounds like the cool kid on the playground insulting the nerds.

Your point about not necessarily being able to predict the future with statistics is pretty valid, in my opinion. So is your point about the matter-of-fact tone some people on this board and elsewhere present statistics. However, I find your assertion that the sabermetric revolution in baseball has harmed the game to be rather silly.

The great thing about newer, more comprehensive statistics is that they are completely optional. If you want, you can look at a pitcher's win total to evaluate a pitcher. I think that is absurd for many reasons, but there is nothing stopping you from doing that.

As the writers of FJM (one of my alltime favorite websites) often pointed out, having an interest in complicated baseball statistics does not make one enjoy a hot dog less, or not appreciate a beautiful night at the park, or not able to talk to a father or grandfather about games from the past. It simply provides another method of evaluating the game.

I mostly agree, however, about the sarcastic, know-it-all tone employed by some posters here, but that is something specific to neither baseball nor Beerleaguer.

My main point: just because you don't like baseball statistics does not mean that others should not like them too.

I hesitate calling the some of fellows on this blog elite. Thats too much of a compliment. It feeds their sense of superiority. There are two divisions in this group of elitists. The clout division, who base everything they know on career OPS+, career Era+ and fantasy baseball (defense, intangibles, etc. mean nothing). Then there is the BAP division of miserable souls who complain about everything (prejudgement and misery permeate everything they post). If your not part of one of these groups, your an idiot.
The idiots had it right. It was time for Burrell to go, ops be damed. Ibanez, with the same Ops, is clearly the better player. And its not even close.

Elias reports that no team, before the Marlins, ever won seven in a row and also lost seven in a row in April.

"baseball is unpredictable, so let's shut down attempts to use methods that are right 80% of the time, because there are these exceptions. So instead, how about we just argue over our gut-level feelings about various players without recourse to data."

Why is it that every statement made on BL is interpreted to its extreme? I said repeatedly that I don't have a problem with most statistics, but in the way they are used to insult others and in the insistence that stats are predictive gospel. At no time did I ever say that I think stats and all sabermetrics have hurt the game and should be excluded from conversation, yet most of the arguments against what I have said have imagined that this is what I said.

It's another Beer Leaguer exclusive: Post an opinion, and then someone else twists that opinion into an absurd extreme and argues against that. If my own words do not lend themselves to attack, words are put into my mouth for which a ready-made attack has already been decided upon.


It goes something like this:

    Mac: I think that stats are selectively used and too heavily relied upon.

    Retort: You want to eliminate all reference to stats and only chat about gut instinct. That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever read on BL.

    Mac: I said no such thing. I only said that the way in which stats are used to attack people for their opinion is unfair. When actual play on the field validates an opinion and goes against previous statistical data, it is downplayed as a "small sample size" or discredited because "no one could have predicted it", but when the play on the field validates what has been statistically predicted, you pat yourselves on the back and talk about how intelligent the BL community is and how, as educated fans, you know so much more than the average joe or (god forbid) the "Sir Alden" trio who have the audacity to believe that Ibanez is a better fit than Burrell.

    Retort: You want to eliminate all reference to stats and only chat about gut instinct. That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever read on BL. You're the type of person who would trade Ryan Howard for Ty Wiggington. I think the Sir Alden Trio should really be called the Sir Alden Group. You're not a real fan (and/or) you think that we're not real fans because we're not Amaro apologists. Blah, blah, blah...

You get the idea. If the elite could not find stats to predict something, and it happens anyway, the person who thought it would happen all along is still an idiot. It's a fail safe system that allows a number of BeerLeaguers to maintain their reputation as intelligent, educated, elitist fans whether their predictions are right or wrong. Their responses to people such as myself, Mike77, TommyD, etc... are so repetitive and condescending that I wonder if they're not joking or creating a parody of an internet baseball fan. It's difficult to believe that many of the elite come here for any other reason than to insult others to make themselves feel better about whatever is wrong in their lives.

Is there anything worse than being a Nationals fan?

Being an Expos fan?

hah, "The internet has harmed this game." Posted to a blog, no less. hah.

Good stat, EFF.

hah, "The internet has harmed this game." Posted to a blog, no less. hah.

Posted by: loctastic

Good one.

I, for one, like having the Natxpos in our division. I'm not sure if they have any fans but, perhaps if htey moved to Schenectady, they'd draw some interest.

I'll be the first to admit that some of the personalities on here are annoyingly coarse and condescending. The recent spate of b!tching and moaning about it is far more annoying.

loctastic: Glad you appreciate the irony, but the full context of the quote was:

"It really is sad that people can't just watch the damn game anymore and talk to one another without running to their computers in a desperate search for mathematical backing for an argument. The internet has harmed this game."

I don't know if stats got twisted, but based on the preseason discussion here, I was expecting Ibanez's fielding to be a combo of Pete Incaviglia and Greg Luzinski. The reality has been very different -- a serviceable left field with some good plays.

AFish: Defense is an area where stats just don't provide much help in evaluation. Prior to coming over here, the only fielding plays I saw that Ibanez had made were on that blooper reel that someone linked shortly after he signed. Even with that dearth of info, I had serious doubts that he could be worse than Burrell. Best thing I can say about Burrell's defense was that he played within himself (ala Luzinski). His arm, in particular, was overrated based on assists. The best outfield arms don't get challenged like Burrell did.

All that aside, LF defense is hardly a big concern. The most pleasant surprise with Ibanez is his baserunning. He keeps appearing in the SB column - Burrell might have had 3SB his entire career.

I don't enjoy having the Nats in the division so much.

No win scenario....you beat them, you're supposed to, you lose to them, you're a failure.

I miss the old days of playing the division rivals 12 times. 18 is too many.

Can someone let me know when this discussion is over? This happens about once every 6 months, where the comments end up being a long-winded, and often well-reasoned and well-written, defense or criticism of statistical analysis. It just doesn't do much for me. I did, however, appreciate the irony of someone saying "the internet has ruined baseball" while on a website about baseball. How can something that allows this many people, around the country, to talk about something as fun and interesting as Phillies' baseball be bad? Seriously? How does knowing more about something and widening your experience with it ruin it? I feel bad for people who think that way.

If I insult Chris Coste, will that get Davthom on here and change the subject?

I miss the old days of having that other NL team from Pennsylvania in our division.

Good job by Durbin and Condrey (especially Durbin) to save the rest of the bullpen last night. With the day off tomorrow they should be able to lean on Madson, Eyre, and Happ if Myers can't go more than 6 tonight. I would much rather have Majewski in the bullpen in place of Taschner though. He and Koplove are both pitching well in AAA.

EFF - I also think division rivals play each other too much. It kind of takes away the "specialness" of the games against division rivals. Playing the Mets twice at home and twice in NY during the season would make those series even more heated. Plus I'm tired of every other nationally televised game (I'm talking to you, ESPN) being the Red Sox vs the Yankees.

clout - In re: THe PItch.
You are and were exactly right. It looked to me like a curve, but I was taken in by McCarthy's change-up call. So I said change. The mistake was the speed thing. Hamels' curve and change are both about the same speed but differ greatly in their movement. There are pitchers for whom this is not true (like Myers, whose curveball is definitely much slower than his change-up.) I wasn't thinking and your question was correct and appropriate. (I wish I could have MLBTV, Beerleaguer AND Gameday all up at the same time; but alas, I fear for my RAM.) Thank you for discussing my error with civility and patience.

Really don't understand why they don't send Lidge to the DL. Sounds like both he and the team are in some denial, and the bullpen is going to be a man short for the Mets series. It won't kill them to have Madson close for two weeks.

Baseball is not strictly stats and it's not strictly what you see with your own two eyes. It's a wonderful combination of both.

Mac and mvp: You are both missing the contexts of people's arguments about your opinions. No one argued Ibanez was a bad signing based solely on his stats. They a in th it was bad on the length and money involved in the deal. If Ibanez is still hitting like this is year 3 than you have a beef.

Also on Feliz- Mac you said how baseball is what you see. Well you should know then the game has a way of balancing itself out. That's why people say Feliz is a small sample size right now. Chances are in the end he will end up right around his same career numbers unless he hits the outlier of his career.

What will kill them is having no set-up pitcher if Madson closes. The only logical reason that they haven't DLed Lidge would be because the injury's not that serious.

Hugh, I too miss the Buccos in the division. When they realigned and went to 3 divisions, the Braves should have been stuck in the Central. There was no historical rivalry there, as they had been in the West.

I remember the late '70s, when both the Phils and Bucs were good. The rivalry between the two teams was pretty heated.

It was much more heated than any rivalry with the Mets today, except for the yapping that goes on.

IMHO, they should consider realignment. I wonder if moving the Fish or Bravos to the Central and the Bucs back East would help the Bucs attendance, because of Pittsburgh's closer proximity to 3 NL East teams in Wash, Phil and NY?

In any event, I miss the rivalry.

Skipped over all the vitriol spewing about...

Good news on the prospect end dennyb.

I was hoping the minor bats would come alive just like the minor arms have been so far this year.

This team literally is not out of any game they play right now, regardless of the lack of quality starting...they can hit anybody anywhere. One more pound job on the Gnats and onto the big series this weekend with the Mutts.

Go Phils!

All the talk on announcers has raised some questions from me. I think at one time some guys were actually employees of the TV station, and not the Phillies. When Prizm appeared, this caused problems. The guys who did the games on Prizm were not the same ones who did the games on the regular TV station.
1. Am I correct on this, or were there other reasons?
2. What years was Prizm involved?
3. What was the regular TV station?
4. Who were the guys involved?
THANKS in advance to anyone whose memory or resourse retrieval is better than mine.

"The only logical reason..."

Depends on whether the Phils tendency to keep a guy off the DL for too long (see Rollins, James; 2008 season) is logical or not.

RSB, I agree. If Mad Dog deals at 97MPH the way he did on Monday, He's fine as the closer.

AAMOF, IMO when their current 3 year deals expire, assuming no life altering changes, that the Phillies will retain Madson and elevate him to closer as opposed to re-signing Lidge.

But phlipper is right, it's the bridge to Madson that is the concern right now.

However, if Lidge is DL'd and Majewski called up, Durbin can handle the 8th as long as he continues to pitch like he did last night.

It would only be for about 12 days, because I believe Lidge could be DL's retroactive to Sunday.

Once again, here's the problem as I see it: Some people use stats so they can pretend that their opinions are "facts," not based on personal biases, and thus superior to others' "opinions."

Once again, here's a case in point: We heard over and over about Burrell's and Ibanez's OPS's vs. LH pitching - and how that stat could be used to "factually" explain to the unwashed masses how they were idiots because they liked the Ibanez signing.

But isolating that stat ignores (1) the predominance of RH starters, (2) a lack of quality LH relievers, (3) the fact that Cholly would continue, forever, to lift Burrell in the late innings of many games, thereby reducing bench strength, (4) the obvious fact that having a LH batter at 6 would break up the RH string of Burrell, Werth, Feliz, and Ruiz. To almost the same degree that having another LH hitter in the middle of the order is a disadvantage because of Utley and Howard being LH, it is an advantage for mitigating the RH dominance lower in the order.

People jumped all over the trade because they had fan loyalty to Burrell, and then skewed a statistical reference to support their preconceptions - laughably confusing their opinions with "facts."

Andy and phlipper, the other reason is that it may be the kind of injury that is not serious but can flare up at any time.

Going on the DL and resting it may not help it over the course of the season. It may be one of those things they just have to manage.

Goody:
I remember watching the games on Channel 17, growing up. We had this little box on top of our tv that turned the antenna up on the roof so that we could pick up the signal from Allentown on UHF. (That was even before Service Electric cable came through.) I'm not sure if Whitey and Harry were employees of Channel 17 or not, though.

MG, are you in instruments or devices?

Gooy - I don't really think the dissolution of PRISM had much to with the over-abundance of broadcast personnel. First of all, I believe that channel was partly the brainchild of Bill Giles, so it had no more separateness from the club than its UHF broadcast partner. That outlet hasn't existed for over ten years, and Wheeler was already on the primary network TV crew by then; McCarthy was still a balding Met fan taking classes in circular breathing.

The best thing about the demise of PRISM is that no one's heard from Larry Rosen for several blissfully peaceful years now.

"Depends on whether the Phils tendency to keep a guy off the DL for too long (see Rollins, James; 2008 season) is logical or not."

Leaving aside it's hard to quantify how much the decision to be DL'd lies in the hands of the player or management, I tend to think they wouldn't mess with Lidge's injury. If he's compromised, as closer it is immediately and almost always disaster. With Rollins, the negatives are somewhat more subtle. I also tend to think that Lidge himself wouldn't risk making the injury more serious in the same way that Rollins tried to play through his injury.

Hey Jack,
How about we discuss the merits of Jesus Sanchez as a pitcher? It means we could generate bizarre discussions about:
1) Players who switch from position player to pitcher;
2) Whether a 21 year old at A- can be considered a prospect;
3) Whether this means we got something in the Abreu trade;
(and conversely
3B) Whether the Abreu trade was a good idea at all.)

It could last all day.

My preseason prediction of Hamels winning 20 games and the Cy Young doesn't look good right now.

"Andy and phlipper, the other reason is that it may be the kind of injury that is not serious but can flare up at any time. "

Makes sense. And is pretty much a worst-case scenario. It would mean that his performance will be compromised for the whole season and that you can't just make it go away with a short DL stint.

Personally, I think having a shut-down closer is probably the most important element of a championship team - think Rivera and the Yanks. It isn't sufficient to bring a championship, but it's awfully hard to win a championship without one.

I used to think that Madson was an extremely mediocre pitcher, with nothing but mediocre stuff, but since the middle of last year, he's undergone a dramatic improvement. At this point, I think he'd be a great closer, but until Romero gets back, the Madson bridge will be a huge problem.

Meaningless Stat of the Day:

Madson, Condrey and Happ are the only 3 pitchers on the roster with ERAs under 4.91.

Fret not Carson, as some posters here might say, "Hamels still has a shot at 30 wins and 1.00 era"!

phlipper, good point. I think we all knew the Phils would miss Romero.

Unfortunately, with most of the staff having pitched like crap up until now, and even Lidge being extremely mediocre, Romero's absence is really magnified.

Whitey was my favorite guy,but he was not on the Prizm games, if I remember correctly. That was the main point of my questions. I think certain guys were not allowed because of other affiliations

AWH - Neither but lots of experience with research on both.

RSB - I was kind of wondering the same thing about Lidge too. If he only was day-to-day and required 2-3 days to get back, the DL makes no sense.

It seems like the Phils are trying to see if a week of rest of anti-inflammatory helps him out so that he will be available for the Mets series starting on Friday night.

If Lidge isn't going to be available for the Mets series though, the Phils should put him retroactively on the 15-day DL. They could use the fresh arm from Allentown.

I remember the dream team of Andy Musser and Wheels being the headliners on PRISM...or was a really just dreaming?

It is not so much losing Lidge (especially if he is ineffective due to injury) but the fact that the Phils only had one really dominant arm in the pen right now with Madson.

Prior to last year, the issue with the Phils' pen the last couple of years was that they generally had a very good/good closer but not a whole lot depth in the pen.

Middle relievers have been "ok" so far but they also have really struggled at times and getting used way too frequently this early in the summer. Those innings on Condrey and Durbin will show up later this summer if they keep pitching at they rate they have been.

I'm waiting for the inevitable, "we need to sit Pedro Feliz in order to get Dobbs some ABs" argument. Dobbs bat hasn't been great yet, but unfortunately for him, Feliz has been playing both sides of the ball well.

I sat in section 147 (left center) last night. Coste is struggling. He didn't seem to have a hard hit ball all night.

We may have been overly concerned about cahd Durbin.

Except for his one bad outing in Colorado on April 10th (3 R in 1 IP), he's put up a 3.08 ERA for the season.

His line line outside of Coors: 11-2/3 IP, 4 R, no inherited runners (6 total) have scored.

He's dropped his ERA from 18 to 4.91 since then.

Oh, and MG is probably right.

Condrey and Durbin lead all NL pitchers in appearances right now with 12.

"Thank you for discussing my error with civility and patience."

It's pretty sad when communicating like a decent human being over the internet is so rare that civility deserves a special thank you. I'm not trying to pick on Clout here, but this is one of the things that I meant with the baseball/internet comment. It's easy to throw tact and civility to the side and bloviate under the anonymity of a username.

-----

"People jumped all over the trade because they had fan loyalty to Burrell, and then skewed a statistical reference to support their preconceptions - laughably confusing their opinions with "facts."

Phlipper nailed it. This has been my problem with the elite throughout my stay in BL. The elite disguise their opinion as fact and use statistics to attempt to prove their opinion is fact. The copy/paste of stats certainly show how you came to formulate your opinion, but it doesn't make it fact. When performance on the field is contrary to this opinion, it is laughably immature to attack others who thought differently in order to protect a bruised ego and a self-proclaimed reputation as an "expert."

I also completely agree with your assessment of the loyalty to Pat causing some to go after Ibanez like a claims adjuster looking for reasons to downplay his abilities and value to the team as compared to Pat.

I'm amazed at the double standard that it is ok to be critical of management, coaching, the front office and the announcing team, but it is sacrilege to be critical of tenured players (Rollins, Burrell, Howard, Myers). In fact, those who aren't critical enough of management and ownership are nominated to a club, while those who criticize fan favorites too heavily (despite their unwarranted criticism of the fans) are questioned as to whether or not they're a "real fan."

Andy: Please don't get started on the Abreu trade. :)

Phils were on 17, went to 29, then back to 17 when I lived in the area.

They used to list the broadcasters for each year in the media guide. Maybe they still do. I can check one of my old ones if I remember to do so when I get home.

As I recall, Prism was Wheels, Musser and guys like Maddox, Tekulve, Barniak.

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