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Monday, June 15, 2009

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And the exciting thing about the recent tally is that we still have plenty of home games left before the All-Star Game, could Shane break into the top 3??

Just to touch on something from the last thread. I do not think it would be that hard to pry a pitcher away from the D-backs, because I believe their owner is in bad places financially. So, there is that possibility.

I feel bad for Howard. He is going to be an MVP candidate year in and year out, and probably won't see an AS game again, while sharing the same position with one of the best players in baseball.

It's amazing to me what fans around the league think of one of our players--Chase Utley. It's one thing to lead at your position, it's quite another to be the leading vote-getter in the entire league. That's something to be really proud of.

Albert, your sentence should end thus:

"while sharing the same position with one of the best players in baseball HISTORY".

That's Howard's problem.

Many folks around the country respect the talent on our team.

Our fans rip them, and we get trolls saying they suck, so maybe our view of them is a tad skewed.

This has been an interesting, relatively consistent, start to the season, something we really aren't used to seeing. The third-best team in baseball (record-wise, at least) deserves at least 3-4 All Stars.

I think the All-Star results remind me of the most important lesson I learned last year. Watching these guys day in and day out, it is immensely easier to criticize them for their few nagging flaws. It is also easy to overlook how much better they can be than the competition...

Matt. Chase Utley is the top player at his position. He is also probably one of the top 10, if not top 5, players in all of baseball.

From the previous thread:

Clout suggested looking at Smoltz and Pedro. I would advocate both of those moves, although Smoltz probably wants no part of being traded.

Pedro is an interesting case. He became really homer prone over the past three years at Shea, but his K numbers were pretty solid, albeit declining. Last year, while battling several injuries, his SO:BB ratio was at a career low though. He could still get guys out for a month or two, but he's probably not a fix for late June-July. He's a guy I would want to take a flier on in August.

If you had to do it today you legitimately could say the Phillies' all stars should be...

Utley, Ruiz, Feliz, Ibanez, Madson and Howard. Ironically, I think Big Brown will have the toughest time making this list as 1B is just so deep, (pujols, fielder, adrian gonzalez, berkman and howard)

Every Phillies blog in the metro area wrote a post regarding todays All-Star vote totals. While the mainstream blogers like David Murphy and Scott Lauber focused on Utley and Ibanez, Beerleaguer takes a deep look at Feliz and Ruiz.

No offense to the beat writers, but that's why I love Beerleaguer.

utley has achieved the reputation as the most productive second baseman in baseball. voters can pretty much check his name off and (correctly) assume he's the offensive leader at his position. I think Mike Schmidt achieved the same notariety in his career.

I was too young to really know Schmidt and his reputation. I'm just not used to having one of these automatic "elites" on my home team. I love it.

If GMs were polled and had to pick 5 position players to start a team, I suspect they would make their picks in this order, though you can argue about 2-5. #1 would, IMO, be unanimous:

Pujols
ARod
Utley
Mauer
Hamilton

Matt, in the late 70's (I was in high school) we had the same kind of fun.

It's been a long time coming.

I agree with those that think Utley is just going to be the automatic guy at 2B for the NL for at least the next 5 years. I think it's just pretty well understood by fans everywhere that he's the best 2B period.

Howard could get squeezed because of the numbers game. I think the Phils end up with a minimum of 4 All Stars. Utley and Ibanez will be voted in. It also matters how the players vote; if Howard finishes 2nd in player voting (a possibility) then he's in.

Unfortunately, player voting may squeeze out guys like Feliz or Ruiz who don't have the reputations of other guys around the league.

Let's examine whether each guy who should make it will...

Howard: Pujols starts, but after that you have a 4 headed monster of Howard, Adrian G, Fielder and Berkman. by ranking of all the big stats (avg/hr/rbi/R/ops) Howard ranks 2nd of the big 4 minue Pujols. Does Manuel carry 3 1B???

Utley: no doubt

Feliz: Wright starts and then Zimmerman and Chipper. Can Charlie carry 4 3b's???

Ruiz: McCann makes it, Dont look now, but Jason Jaramillo might make a case to make it..if Ruiz's stats dont fall off badly he is a very good shot to make it.

Fifteen posts in and no Feliz debate? The times are a-changing on Beerleaguer.

" agree with those that think Utley is just going to be the automatic guy at 2B for the NL for at least the next 5 years"

Steve, as much as I wish it were true, I think you are dreaming if you think Chase will be the best 2b in the NL for the next 5 years. He is already 35...more than likely he will be playing 1b 4 years from now.

correction: Chase is already 30 years old.

Chase is Not 35...no way

Yes, Feliz and Ibanez do both have a shot at making the All Star team (how could Ibanez not be a lock?) - but you forgot to mention Dobbs and Burrell, JW.

According to the BL "elite," Dobbs and Burrell are better players than Feliz and Ibanez.

That Dude: You may be right about Utley switching positions but as long as he's at 2B people will vote for him. But I'm almost 100% positive he is not 35 (too lazy to look it up, but I'm going to say 30).

Also: I'm not sure everyone here is clear how the roster selection works nowadays. Cholly doesn't get to pick the backups at each position. That is done by player vote.

After that, Cholly (with input from MLB) picks pitchers and the remaining position players. After picking the obvious pitchers AND making sure each team is represented AND having one player chosen by the final vote thing, Cholly gets to pick the leftovers which really works out to probably 2-3 guys.

i listed my correction up front, Chase is 30, my point being 5 years from now he will be a 35 year old first baseman.

EF, you're right. This team is respected.

I was listening to Francesca on WFAN as I was traveling through NY last week, and taking two of three from the Yankees in Ny opened a lot of eyes.

He was calling the Phillies "underrated".

I almost called him to ask why IHO they were "underrated", because I compared the Phillies' current lineup to the Yankees', and, IMO, it was about even in the number of players from each team who would be starters if the teams were combined.

To wit:

C Posada
1B Toss-up, though Tex may outslug Ryan because of that bandbox
2B Not even close
3B ARod
SS Toss-up, only because JRoll is head and shoulders above Jeter defensively
LF Raul
CF Vic
RF Debatable, but I would take Werth because of defense

So, in hidsight I probably should have called him and asked him which Yankees he would start over their counterparts in on the Phillies.

In short, C and 3B are, IMO, the only positions where the Yankees have a player who is clearly superior to the Phillies. And C is only because Posada can still rake.

Dude, plenty of middle infielders have played beyond the age of 35.

Why do you think Chase won't?

Posada and Jeter aren't really any good on defense.

My prediction: Howard makes the AS team as someone tweaks something, and he's hanging around the area for the HR derby or visiting the folks.

And MLB runs some lame extra man vote that doesn't include whichever Phil is screwed the worst.

Re: Chase's age. I think we've reached a point in physical conditioning where 40 doesn't have the same negative connotation it used to. Barring serious injury, Chase should be a top player for the next 8 or 9 years before he starts his slow slide and even then he'll still be productive(hopefully the hip holds up). Look at Ibanez--dude's 37 and raking it.

Feliz is having a good year and, by his standards, a great one. But All Star? Let's be serious. Wright, Zimmerman, Sandoval, Reynolds, and Chipper are all unambiguously having better years than Feliz. Unless the NL plans to carry 6 third basemen, Feliz doesn't even belong in the discussion.

There's no way Utley is a worse defender when he's 35 than Jeff Kent was and Kent was playing 2B (albeit not very well) at 40.

AWH: Chase is fairly mechanical, although very good. More than likely the physical demans of playing 2b at 35 will hurt his bat, which will precipitate him moving to 1b.

Dude, that is, based on many factors, at best, highly speculative on your part.

bap, true on Feliz, though he may win a GG one of these years.

Haven't heard too many complaints about the infamous "2nd year" of Feliz's contract.

Just to clarify, utley's lead in overall votes does not mean he is more respected by fans around the country. He could very well be less respected than the 20th leading vote getter, but due to the fact that he plays second base, he is basically a lock on everyone's ballot. In contrast, pujols, while only a few votes behind utley, has to share votes with other fan favorites and worthy candidates (like howard, fielder, berkman, dunn, etc.) thus making his vote total much, much more impressive.

"Chase should be a top player for the next 8 or 9 years before he starts his slow slide.."

I hope you are right, but I think you are dreaming.

BAP is right, Feliz has 0 chance. He has played very well this year and has been honored by being voted 4th overall, i havent looked it up, but I'm sure thats as high as he ever has.

Ruiz has a very good case. His limited number of ABs will make it hard for him to get in, and his nubmers are very vulnerable to a slump with those low number of ABs so who knows what he'll look like by the midsummer's classic.

As it stands now, Yadier would start. McCann has a shot and is second in voting and I would suspect he would be the backup. If there is a third catcher, than I believe Ruiz makes it. Kendall is god awful and i can't think of any teams that will have their catcher be a "lone representative".

Bed Beard: It turns out that it was the 1st year that was infamous. Had he played this well last year, there wouldn't have been any talk in the first place. I'm also very curious to see if this keeps up! I sure hope it does!

So it's Utley's fault that he doesn't have any competition at second base?

Pujols has won several MVPs and is generally regarded as the best player in MLB. I don't see the comparison.

winning several MVPs is probably the least you can mention when you speak of Pujols' greatness

How long can the Chase Utley era last? We have no idea, but we can put it in some context:

The Ryne Sandberg era lasted for 11 years, but it started when he won the Rookie of the Year at 22. When Sandberg was 33, he gave way to the Craig Biggio era which lasted until Biggio was 33. Then the Jeff Kent era lasted until he was 37. At 38, Kent hit .292 with 14 homers and was eclipsed by 27-year-old Chase Utley who hit .309 with 32 homers.

Chase is currently 30. Given recent history of National League second basemen, we can probably expect his reign as the National League All Star to last until he is between 33 (2012) and 37 (2016).

Flipper: You forgot to flip your calendar page. In 2008, Dobbs and Burrell were better than Feliz and Ibanez. This is a new season. I haven't seen a single post this season that supports your claim. Not that your claims ever have much factual support.

JR, except for one thing: Utley's work ethic may keep him on top a little longer.

A bigger man would just admit he was wrong about Feliz/Dobbs and Ibanez/Burrell and move on.

But instead, you'll try to claim that you didn't constantly complain about Feliz, that you didn't say Ibanez wouldn't significantly outperform Burrell on offense or defense, and that you didn't say that the Phils' offense would suffer this year due to the lack of RH power hitter.

But once a weasel, always a weasel, eh clout?

While factors other than current performance have an impact, one good test of an All-Star is to see where he ranks statistically among the other players at his position.

By that measure Utley is a slam dunk. Head and shoulders superior to his peers. Ibanez is also a slam dunk. Ruiz ranks #2, although he missed a fair amount of time and might be penalized for that. Howard ranks 4th, so he's on the bubble. Feliz ranks 8th and should not make it. Rollins doesn't merit consideration.

Flipper: And someone who looked at the 2008 stats would realize I was right last year. Baseball is a seasonal sport, by the way. Seasons change and players have good and bad years. You could look it up. Along with those stats.

" In 2008, Dobbs and Burrell were better than Feliz and Ibanez."

Actually, phlipper, that part of clout's post is true.

Now, you can argue this year (there really isn't an argument, is there?), but players do perform differently from season to season - even game to game - so to have taken the position last season that Dobbs should have been playing more was not out of line.

Ibanez has been, arguably, one of the 5 (if not 3) best players in MLB this season.

Burrell isn't even on the radar.

But as I recall, much of the objection to Raul was about the length of contract.

But, if the Phils win another WFC this season, the length of contract is a non-issue. We'll take it, even if his performance falls off the table in year 3.

Phlipper: Wrong about Feliz/Dobbs? The general consensus on Beerleaguer was that Greg Dobbs should have gotten more starts against righthanders last year. The fact that Pedro Feliz is hitting .300 without a big left/right split this year does not mean that everyone was wrong.

In fact, since then we have learned that Pedro Feliz was bothered by a bad back last year, so maybe we were right.

In addition, the general consensus this year is that Dobbs needs to get more plate appearances but that Feliz should NOT be a platoon player. Feliz is still hitting consistently and Dobbs has failed to get into a groove.

I fail to see why anyone would admit they are wrong about Feliz or Dobbs. Also, please don't use "Beerleaguer elite" ... I don't think you realize how petty it makes you sound. Just state share your opinions and stop worrying about who agreed with you when.

clout, basebal is more than a "seasonal" sport.

Players' performances change from game to game.

I love Vic, but he's prone to slumps like any other player. Before yesterday(2-4), he was 7 for his previous 36 (.194 for 8 games). **It happens.

Here's a post from a Mets fan guaranteed to brighten a Phils fan's day.

JRKing, speaking of Dobbs getting PA, I ask all BLrs this question:

All who think Dobbs should PH against LHP instead of Eric Bruntlett please raise your hands?


(Disclosure: Gregs Dobbs is 13-52, .250 lifetime against LHP [which is,incidentally, better than Ryan Howard(.227; .194 in 2009), though he doesn't SLG nearly as well]. Eric Bruntlett is career .266 vs LHP, but in '08 he was .254 and in '09 he's .240.)

Ian Snell of the Pirates is reportedly on the block.

Any takers? can a change of scenery/dubbe improve the results?

He doesn't seem to fit the mold of "top-tier, impact" that Junior is looking for.

"JR, except for one thing: Utley's work ethic may keep him on top a little longer."

Actually, I think Chase's work ethic will work against him. This is a guy who goes all out, every play and every at bat. He will likely burn out sooner.

I was thinking about Snell for the last few days. I haven't gotten a chance to see him pitch this year but, his performance has been atrocious. I don't know if he needs a change of scenery. He's been blessed with abundant opportunity to excel and has gotten worse by the year. He has good stuff. He doesn't seem to be able to learn how to use it effectively. I can't see him being the kind of guy we want. Paul Maholm - sure, except he's a lefty. If we do a trade with Pittsburgh, though, we should pick up Jack Wilson as the right handed bench player, assuming Pgh would split the rest of his salary. Even though we don't need a backup SS, and he has never been used in a utility role, I would love to see them replace Bruntlett with him as teh RH off the bench. Bruntlett looks like he should use that big brain for something other than playing a kid's game.

"Baseball is a seasonal sport, by the way. Seasons change and players have good and bad years. You could look it up."

I thought it was a matter of scientific fact that the vast majority of players perform up to their career averages, plus or minus a bit, until they get old and retire.

Tray: "I thought it was a matter of scientific fact that the vast majority of players perform up to their career averages, plus or minus a bit."

True. Bill James and others have done studies that show this. Although I cannot recall the precise number, let's say it's 85%. That still leaves 15% of the player universe having career good -- or bad -- years.

AWH, Hugh: Ian Snell is a great stuff/bad command pitcher who seems to have regressed. Could Doobs spot a flaw in his mechanics, a la Blanton, that would transform his command? Intriguing possibility and the Pirates would probably do it for a Jaramillo-quality prospect.

Seems to me that the really contentious assertion is this: "Turns out, Feliz, an unsung hero in the postseason and hitting a very steady .318/.365/.446 this season, has been worth every penny."

That speaks to the important question--not whether Feliz had a poor year last year (obviously) but whether his WS and current production validate our having signed him. Difficult to answer.

And as Matt says, having grown up rooting for a runt team featuring such stars as Von Hayes and Gregg Jeffries, the opportunity to root for a truly *elite* player (or two or three) can sometimes feel unreal.

tray: haha nice post. so next time clout deates an issue, all we have to do is prove our point 15% of the time to right--because Bill James said so.

awh: you said clout was right that Ibanez was better than Burrell last year?

Incorrect. They were literally identical in OPS (125 Burrell, 124 Ibanez). They were also very similiar in defense stats, both among the bottom.

I can see why someone would prefer one player's 2008 over another, but no one can say either was measurably better.

Burrell 2008: .250/.367/.507, 33HR 86RBI
Ibanez 2008: .293/.358/.479, 23HR 110RBI

Burrell's SLG was notably better while Ibanez totaled 52 more hits (in 60 more PA). Overall very even, and have been for years, offensively and defensively, until 2009 where Ibanez is outperforming Burrell unbelievably in every aspect.

clout, I've been 'intrigued' by Snell's potential for about 5 years. I don't think the trade deadline is a time to take a flyer on him as a Rich Dubee experiment. He has had ample tutoring and dissection and opportunity to improve. Joe Kerrigan has failed even more miserably than his predecessors. I think he's retarded (no offense to retarded folks).

As to AWH's top 5 position players, mentioned earlier today, SI does this poll with GMs and scouts every year, see the 6/8 issue. Top 5: Pujols, Longoria, Greinke, Mauer, Hanley Rameriez.

Utley wasn't in the top 10.

Hugh: Yeah, because Joe Kerrigan was soooooo effective with our pitchers when he was here......

MPN - I'm no big fan of Kerrigan. He's finally turned Zach Duke around, though. Maholm has flourished under him. Their no name bullpen is holding together. Karstens and Ohlendorff are emerging as legitimate major leaguers. THis is a team that has probably had 5 pitching coaches in 6 years. Every year, a new guy emerges as the number one starter only to disappear to the back of the rotation or hte minors the next year. ONe constant over that period - Snell has shown the same exciting stuff and has posted worse results year after year. My point isn't htat Kerrigan is a great coach or that Snell will never pan out. It's that I would never put him in the rotation of a contender in July and think that was a recipe for success.

Adam: That's a slightly different question SI asks. They ask "Who would you start a franchise with (or something along those lines)?" so youthfulness comes into play.

Thus, a guy like Longoria who's going to be around longer has more value. There's no way there should be any top 5 player list that doesn't include A-Rod in terms of pure talent. Maybe I shouldn't use the term "pure" with A-Rod but you know what I'm saying...

Just to clarify - Snell will be available in December. I'd give him a look then.

Regardless of what the question is, anyone who would pick Zack Greinke over Chase Utley is an idiot.

Funny story: During game 2 of the Red Sox series--the one with all the errors--Howard makes that boneheaded play at first that leads to whatshisface taking 3rd. I scream, "Howard, you idiot!" My 3-year-old son, who loves him, says: "Hey! That's MY Ryan Howard!"

On this site, there are times we all embrace our inner 3-year-old...so it would seem.

Greinke has had a fantastic 2 months but, even among pitchers, he's a fairly dubious pick for the guy you'd start your franchise with. Lincecum, Billingsley, Hamels, and Felix Hernandez are all younger and have had better careers up to this point. Certainly Greinke belongs on the short list, along with these guys and maybe Yovani Gallardo. But I'd put Lincecum and Felix at the top of the list.

I'd go Felix, Lincecum, Hamels, Greinke, Gallardo but good list.

MPN - Kerrigan is boorish and never shuts his mouth but looks who is his biggest critics were in Philly: Millwood, Wolf, Myers, and Padilla.

Myers and Padilla both were know for being notoriously lax in their offseason training regiments and preparation during the season between starts. Both guys were also headcases who were stubborn/very difficult to coach.

Wolf has been a good professional in his career but has been known to not listen to pitching coach much. Same with Millwood who also got knocked from time to time in regards to his preparation work between starts.

Not exactly a bunch of guys who were know as being consummante professionals and doing generally what they should/could do off the diamond.

Question: Are the seagulls in Cleveland considered in play?

This place is insane. If it isn't midges, it's the seagulls.

"Regardless of what the question is, anyone who would pick Zack Greinke over Chase Utley is an idiot."

um would you start your franchise with a soon to be 31yr old 2b or a young lights out pitcher?

No Verlander in a list of the top young pitchers? He's almost in middle age for baseball years but is just now tapping into his immense potential.

You know the old adage that "you can't teach an old new tricks" Well that hasn't been true in Feliz's case.

It really has been remarkable watching Feliz's approach at the plate this year. It is very rare that you see a veteran like Feliz make this kind of change in approach at the plate.

Key points:
- In his career, Feliz puts the ball in play with the following splits:
1. Pulled (29.8%)
2. Up the middle (57.0%)
3. Opposite field (13.1%)

Last year and even more this year Feliz has stopped trying to pull every damn pitch:
1. Pulled (24.6%)
2. Up the Middle (58.4%)
3. Opposite field (16.9%)

- Swing breakdown according to Fan Graphs:
Career vs. 2009
1. Swings at pitches outside zone
(27.9% vs. 26.8%)
2. Swings at pitches inside zone
(71.3% vs. 62.6%)
3. % Swinging at all pitches
(50.9% vs. 44.8%)
4. % Contact when swung
(80.0% vs. 82.6%)
5. % Contact when swinging at pitches in strike zone
(87.7% vs. 89.7%)

So basically, Feliz is swinging at less pitches especially in the strike zone and making more contact when he does swing. Basically every number has improved here so far.

Diagnosis: Feliz has limited a bit some of his very worst habits as a hitter

1. His tendency to try to pull so much
2. His frequent swinging/missing at pitches.
3. His propensity to try to drive the ball
in the air when he pulled it

In doing, this Feliz is going the other way a bit more and is walking at a much higher rate.

He has sacrificed a bit of power (he really is a dead pull power hitter) to do so but I bet he did this at Cholly's earning that what the Phils really needed from Feliz was a guy who hit for a higher AVG and got on base more instead of a guy who hit 20 HRs at 3B.

It is also likely that the back surgery and a slowing bat speed have robbed Feliz of a bit of power though too.

Feliz isn't going to continue to hit RHP so well nor is he going to continue to hit LD at such a high percentage but it is pretty realistic to assume that he will finish with career highs in AVG and OBP right around .275-280 AVG/.330-.335 OBP.

They don't sound all that impressive but they are might both wind up being career highs for Pedro. Yeah he won't finish with 15+ HRs this year but frankly the Phils are much better off with a guy in the 7th hole hitting .280 with a .335-.340 OBP than a guy hitting .250 with .295 OBP who hits a few extra HRs. This lineup has enough power already.

Didn't think Pedro would continue his % BB this year but I did think his power potential would really diminish and that he wouldn't hit even 10 HRs this year (large due to the back surgery, diminished bat speed, and that he would miss some time with an injury).

Frankly that is one of the things I really enjoy about baseball. Watching a long-time veteran who has a pretty consistent approach tweak the results a bit to improve to what his team really needs.

I would love a reporter to ask Feliz if he has changed his approach at the plate since arriving in Philly and what role Cholly had in this/if any.

Unless Feliz's get hurt, it would be a pretty big shock if the Phils didn't pick up his $5M option this offseason given that they have don't really have a single 3B prospect in the entire season anywhere ready to play and the 3B FA market is going to be really thin with Crede and Blake as the best candidates available.

One of the things missed in all of the Utley hoopla:

- Is that Utley is demonstrating some remarkable patience at the plate including a greater than 1 K/BB ratio and swining at pitches outside the strike zone at a miniscule 17.9% compared to the MLB average of 24.8%

- Teams are throwing alot less strikes to Utley this year and going after Howard much more. Yet Utley has adjusted by not swinging at bad pitches out of the zone for the most part. It is why he has a ridiculous .438 OBP and why is K/BB ratio is over 1.

- Ibanez may have been a hotter hitter since Opening Day including the ridiculous power but Utley has been the best overall hitter on the Phils and it is very hard to debate otherwise.

Dude: grienke has done it for exactly 2 months. Call me a skeptic. So yes, I would rather take a guy who is going to be an all star for the next 2 years than a potential flash in the pan.

sorry, meant all star for the next 5 years.

Former Phillie alert!

This from mlbtr:

"The Astros removed Geoff Geary from the 40-man roster and outrighted him to Triple-A."

Gas Can to the minors? Wow. Has he been injured?


Also, former all-'roid closer Eric Gagne is now with a Canadian indepndent league team.

Also. in the mlb.com injury notes, Brett Myers is reportedly walking without crutches.

MG: Excellent post on Feliz, past and present.

MG: Also great stuff on Utley. It's amazing how good the guy is. Does everything you could possibly want from a baseball player. Anyone else love how he tried to get away with dropping the infield fly on Sunday? He knew he wasn't gonna get away with it, but tried anyway, and had some fun with it. I loved it.

Jack: The crowd got a good chuckle when Chase "dropped" the infield fly on Sunday. Well, the Phils fans in the stands loved it. The Sox fans moaned and complained, which made it even more fun.

It appears that Utley's occassional F-bomb slippage hasn't hurt his popularity. It probably garners him extra votes because those opposed to such language have bigger fish to fry and probably don't associate it with Chase, while those who like salty language have probably adopted Chase as their poster boy. Way to go Chase. WFC, baby!

On a different topic, some of you might have interest in this si.com discussion of pitch counts:

Bill James/Joe Posnanski discuss Nolan Ryan's challenge of conventional wisdom

Yo, new thread

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