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Monday, November 16, 2009


I think the voters view this award as "who had a good first year, but projects to have a better overall career" kind of award. I still think that the general consensus is that Happ overperformed expectations and will more than likely fall well behind Hanson and Coghlan as the years go by. I guess we'll see....

Local boy Andrew Bailey(Paul VI HS-Haddon Twp.) wins AL ROY.

Coghlan led the majors in the "second half" with 113 hits.

The Phillies never seemed high on him and I never got that. There's nothing dazzling about him but he gets outs. He threw some great games this year but September did cost him the award I think. I think Happ is a good pitcher. I followed him in the minors and I enjoy following him now.

You gotta love what Happ did for this team as a rookie, I hope his 2010 year is even better.
I think a rotation spot for the full year will show us what we have in our ROY runner-up.

Happ had a great first year by any measure.

Scratch that. According to the resident BLOP, his first year can't be evaluated for at least 5 years.

Very nice showing by Happ in a very wide open year for this award. Unless I'm reading it wrong, Happ was the only candidate to appear on all 32 ballots cast.

With the loss of Romero for the post-season, Happ got stuck in the 'pen, for which he's not suited. During the season, he threw strikes and got outs. He clearly outperformed King Cole. An award is just an award; Happ's record speaks for itself. I don't understand why the experts didn't like him.

Happ had a fine first year, but the voters got this one right. Coghlan was tremendous this year. He and Maybin look like they will be huge thorns in the Phillies' side for the next 2 years, at which point Florida will trade them both away for prospects.

WP: My take is that it's the value of an everyday player vs. a pitcher who goes every 5th day. Although if Happ had won 20 games I think it would've been a different story.

Actually, I view Happ as a back-end starter.

He pitched like a #1 for a spell in 2009, especially until he got hurt, but he's really a 4 or 5, IMHO.

Still, there is a great deal of value in a guy who can take the ball every 5th day and give his team a chance to win out of the 4 or 5 spot.

If Happ can continue to pitch well enough to post an ERA under the league average, he stands a good chance of sticking around for a while.

The fears of some Phillies fans that Happ is destined to be the next Kyle Kendrick are misplaced.

Jason's absolutely right when he says, "At worst, he's a Major League starting pitcher." The 2.94 ERA from this year is a mirage, but there's no reason whatsoever that Happ can't be a solid 4th starter, posting ERAs in the 4.00 to 4.50 range for the next several years. For the major league minimum, that's great.

Wake me when a Phillies pitcher is in the running for Cy Young.

***He and Maybin look like they will be huge thorns in the Phillies' side for the next 2 years, at which point Florida will trade them both away for prospects.***

And we'll only have to face them in the WFS against the 2012 Yankees.

Ozark-- Brad lidge was 4th last yr..:)

ozark, let's see what Cliff Lee does in 2010 - his walk year.

And, no, it's not a prediction.

Rolo, go right on using the moniker.

I just htought is was funny.

Happ, Victorino, Kendrick and QBerry for Halladay....move Michael Taylor to RF, Werth to CF....oh you've heard me say this b4?

Hugh Mulcahy - Here's the voting- Unfortunatly, Happ wasn't the only one on all ballots:

2009 nl roy voting
Player 1st 2nd 3rd Points
Chris Coghlan 17 6 2 105
J.A. Happ 10 11 11 94
Tommy Hanson 2 6 9 37
Andrew McCutchen 2 5 x 25
Casey McGehee 1 3 4 18
Randy Wells x 1 x 3
Garrett Jones x x 2 2
Everth Cabrera x x 1 1
Dexter Fowler x x 1 1
Gerardo Parra x x 1 1
Colby Rasmus x x 1 1

cant complain with 2nd place. Without Happ's solid performance in the summer of 09, it's certainly possible, albeit unlikely, that we may not have been in the playoffs at all.

Y'all are smokin something to say that the Phils are skeptics of Happ and his ability/upside. All they needed to do to get Halladay was gie up Happ and a bag of ballls. AND the Phils said No go. Maybe they wanted the experience in the playoffs. To assume the Phils are not high on him is ridiculous media and fan conjecture.

To that Dude, if you were a GM and did this, you would be fired. Toronto would take this in a New York second.

Tommy Hanson's emergence likely cost Happ the award. I have a feeling many of his votes would have gone to Happ. Of course, the McCutchen votes may have gone to Coghlan.

Bill James' predictions for 2010 are out:
Lidge: 4-3 / 60 IP/ 51 H / 28 BB / 78 K / 3.87 ERA / 28 SV

If this was the offseason of 2009, who would've thunk it?

Whoops, offseason of 2008 I mean.


I don't necessarily doubt you but, that's the same set of numbers I looked at. Did they have votes beyond 1st-2d-3d because I count 32 in each column and Happ is hte only guy I see who got 32 votes. Looks to me like I'm right if the value is 5-3-1. What am I missing?

Hugh, I didn't do the counting, but I read the same as what you figured; here's the quote from Scott Lauber's blog:

"(Happ was) the only rookie to appear on all 32 ballots. Coghlan, despite receiving more first-place votes than Happ, was named on only 25 ballots."

On a completely different note (these may have been posted before), here are the CHONE projections for the Phils in 1020:

CHONE - Phillies

If Ben Francisco puts up those type of numbers next season, the Phils should be very happy.

I think Happ pitched far better than his stats say this year. He lost a few winnable games, giving up only 2 or 3 runs, during the offensive slump this year. And how many of his No-Decisions were due to Lidge & the pen?

I am looking forward to seeing him in the rotation for a full year next season.

"The 2.94 ERA from this year is a mirage" Obviously, that is just conjecture, but what about the 2.94 ERA points to a 4.50?

awh: 1020? Good choice, I think that 990 years should be more than enough time to judge those statistics.

awh-- i saw the CHONE page.. How the heck do you navigate it to see the pitching projections?


Check out the three year totals. Howard's RBI numbers clearly overstate his total offensive production (I'm not saying he's not good) while Utley is at the very bottom, suggesting his RBI totals completely understate his offensive value.

Pete Happy, good catch and "damn fingers".


I was looking at the list of FA catchers on MLBTR.

Here it is:

Eliezer Alfonzo (31)
Brad Ausmus (41)
Paul Bako (38)
Rod Barajas (34) - Type B
Josh Bard (32)
Michael Barrett (33)
Henry Blanco (38)
Ramon Castro (34)
Chris Coste (37)
Sal Fasano (38)
Toby Hall (34)
Jason Kendall (36) - Type B
Jason LaRue (36)
Chad Moeller (35)
Bengie Molina (35) - Type A
Jose Molina (35)
Miguel Olivo (31) - Type B
Mike Redmond (39)
Ivan Rodriguez (38) - Type B
Brian Schneider (33)
Yorvit Torrealba (31) - Type B
Matt Treanor (34)
Javier Valentin (34)
Vance Wilson (37)
Gregg Zaun (39) - Type B

The numbers next to their names are their ages.

The average age looks to be mid-30's.

Is there anyone on this list that might fit the Phils?

Matt Treanor is a smart catcher who's always hurt.. Like DeRosa, you DO get another hot wife in the deal.

@awh - Sal Fasano!

"The 2.94 ERA from this year is a mirage" What?? I thought stats were the be all and end all for arguments on this sight. We can't make statements based on "feelings". We can't make statements like "I feel that Happ will come back to earth and suck with a 4.50 ERA." For a statistician, the greatest predictor of future performance is you last performance.

Removing my spelling errors:

"The 2.94 ERA from this year is a mirage" What?? I thought stats were the be all and end all for arguments on this site. We can't make statements based on "feelings". We can't make statements like "I feel that Happ will come back to earth and suck with a 4.50 ERA." For a statistician, the greatest predictor of future performance is your last performance.

Had the Phillies not sat him down for long stretches during September, Happ could very well have put his chances for winning the ROY over the top, much less been adequately prepared to contribute in a starting role in October (then again, was Pedro Martinez 'adequately prepared'? and did it matter?). He was the biggest surprise on the team by far, and the Phillies did nothing but shaft him every step of the way. Please, someone explain to me how they can even still be talking about a guy who proved he can consistently pitch deep into games, with a sub 3.00 ERA, as a situational lefty - a role he's never performed in his career. Insanity. If they think so little of his ability, then why were they so hot to protect him from Toronto? They guy's a starting pitcher. You want to throw a left-handed arm in the bullpen, give the job to head-case Hamels, who then can have more time concentrating on how to better fulfill his obligations as a celebrity. Works out for everyone.

Wow, Cole Hamels as a LOOGY. Makes sense on Beerleaguer.

What do you guys think of trading for Cinci's Brandon Phillips and moving him to 3rd base? Would be a GREAT fit in the lineup and with his defensive skills I think he would adapt well to the position.

"Obviously, that is just conjecture, but what about the 2.94 ERA points to a 4.50?"

Sadly, it's not conjecture. Happ's peripheral stats simply don't show him to be a pitcher who can keep his ERA south of 3 consistently.

Basically, Happ had a very lucky year. He's not going to implode a la Kyle Kendrick, but regression to the mean is going to bite him eventually. Happ will probably have an ERA somewhere in the mid-4 range next year. In the end, there is nothing at all wrong with having a cost controlled #4 starter who can keep you in the game every time out.

Happ's BABIP: .251

Hamels' BABIP: .321

Do not expect those numbers to be repeated. And that is why Happ won't be as good as he was this year and Hamels won't be as bad.

Argive beat me to it.

It's Happ's peripherals that indicate he's fundamentally a 4.00 to 4.50 ERA pitcher. A couple of advanced statistical measures reinforce that fact: his xFIP this year was 4.58, while his tRA was 4.33.

Kendall could be a decent one year guy. I don't care for him for no rational reason but, he can get on base and he seems to do a good job handling a pitching staff. Coach on the bench/ field type who lives for baseball. He should find a job somewhere as a backup.

I tend to agree that Happ is not a sub 3 ERA pitcher, and that we'd be happy if he could bring the 2010 ERA in around 4. That said, there are a couple of things to think about when projecting Happ. First, his k/9 rate this year was 6.45, while his k/9 in his last two triple A years was 9 and 10. I'm tempted to say that he might be able to bring his K rate up next year (and thus lower his xFIP, FIP, and tRA), but I'm not fully convinced. As major league hitters adjust to his high fastball, he'll need to adjust by relying on another pitch for his punch outs, at least some of the time. This I think will be the key to avoiding a disappointing 2010 campaign - adjusting once hitters start to lay off that high fastball.

Bill James for one, thinks he'll put up similar peripherals next year, with a slight uptick in his k/9 and bb/9. I'm optimistic too, and look forward to seeing what Happ can do with his full arsenal of pitches as a dedicated starter.

Prediction for '10: Happ's ERA rises more than a point. BL declares him a head-case, insinuates effeminacy.

RSB- Happ didn't seem tired/cooked to by September? Perhaps my eyes deceived me, but he didn't seem to be the same "no fear" type guy he was earlier in the season. MAYBE it was b/c he felt the team didn't have faith in him and he began to press, but I think I saw a tired pitcher.

As the year progressed it had seemed the Phillies DID handle him the right way last year, by keeping him in AAA longer, using him in the pen at the end of the year. I think they know what they're doing with him.

I was being facetious about Hamels, as if that wasn't actually clear enough.

BB: The Phillies declared that Happ was hurt, not cooked. Since Happ denied it repeatedly, it's still open for question whether it was necessary to throw him off his rhythm completely. Before he was 'hurt', it didn't seem to me as if he'd lost much of anything. It still baffles me that they showed absolutely no confidence in Happ as a starter throughout the post-season. He had the best numbers of anyone besides Lee, and far better poise than certain senior members of the staff. What were they protecting him from, exactly? Hadn't he proved through the course of the season that he was at the very least a more effective starting pitcher than Joe Blanton?

what was his "injury"? I'm not doubting, I just don't remember.

Voters got this one right. Coghlan did narrowly deserve the NL ROY because of his historic performance in the 2nd half. You could argue that Happ would have won the ROY if he had stayed in the rotation all season but he easily could have struggled a bit too.

Jeez, stop with the "the Phillies actually hate Happ" garbage. He wasn't trusted in the playoffs because when he WAS trusted and given the Game 3 start in Colorado he gave an abysmal performance which lent credence to the argument, along with his trending downward in September, that he was hurt, cooked or whatever you want to call it. He was trusted and didn't come through. Cholly turned to Pedro in LA, he performed WAY above expectations and there was no more room for Happ. Some people actually need an explanation as to why Cholly trusted a future Hall-of-Famer who pitched 7 innings of shutout ball over a rookie who looked to be on fumes for well over a month?

Since J.A is probably the only reason the Phils don't currently have Roy Halladay, I highly doubt the Phils' brass aren't confident in his potential. He simply didn't give them the best chance to win (as a starter) in the playoffs this year.

Coglan definitely deserved it as he had an amazing 2nd half. I don't think he's as good as some think as his BABIP is unsustainable at .366 but he will be their starting 2B next year.

I would guess he'll fall back to around .280 next year but he'll still be a good cheap option for them.

On Happ: I fully expect Happ to be a solid 4th starter next year with an ERA around 4-4.5. His peripherals support that. He's no mirage like KK was or (to go further back) Duckworth was.

Actually Drabek was the guy we wouldn't give up for Halladay...we offered Happ, Carrasco, Donald and Marson right before the the Lee deal and Ricciardi said no.

Two numbers jump out to be with Happ:

1. .158 BAA with RISP in 133 ABs
- 70% of pitches he threw were 4-seem fastballs

It wouldn't surprise me if that .158 number rose by at least 80 pts next year. Likely probably a bit more.

Kendrick held batters with RISP to .207 in 116 ABs in 2007. That jumped to .281 in 2008.

2. 70% of pitches he threw were 4-seem fastballs

Happ did use progressively his slider and changeup a bit more over the course of the year in his starts but it is hard to believe that Happ will be able to succeed at such a high-level again throwing that many 4-seem fastballs.

I would be curious to see the amount of swing and misses on it but I don't Happ misses that many bats with his 4-seem fastball. You just aren't going to get it by that many hitters at 88 or 89 MPH. Plus, Happ's control on his 4-seem fastball with it can be erratic from start to start. He isn't Cliff Lee out there locating his fastball exactly in the spot he wants to.

It seemed like when Happ was really on his year he not only was able to generally able to locate his 4-seemer but he also had the changeup really working.

You have to figure that hitters are going to adjust a bit next year to Happ especially on their ability to better pick up his pitches especially that 4-seemer.

It will be interesting to see what adjustments Happ makes next season but if he wants to get close to duplicating his success again he needs to stop using that 4-seem fastball so much especially against right-handed hitters.

If I were Happ, I would spend as much time this offseason as I could trying to get the two lefties on this staff who through alot of cutters (Lee and Moyer) to try to teach me as much as I could handle and start to mix it in a bit more especially against right-handed bats.

Learning that cutter and using it a bit more against right-handed hitters will likely be key for Happ to remain a quality starter in MLB.

To MG: I think that 70% number for his 4 seamer is a bit deceiving as Happ was pretty good at changing speeds and location with it and he seemed to throw variations on it that pitchfx doesn't pick up on. I agree that needs to work on his secondary stuff (slider, curve, change, and cutter) to continue to improve as he will regress next year even if he pitches just as well as he did in 09.

FWIW, Happ's velocity was pretty good for a LHP considering his lanky delivery and the fact that he hid the ball so well as a result of his arm movement. He routinely reached the 92/93 in his starts when he needed it.

He will not have a sub 3 ERA in 2010 though...especially if he doesn't work to improve his craft.

Early, early offseason prediction:

- Happ is penciled in the rotation and you see him flashing a notable amount of cutters in spring training as he works on his feel for it. Next season, the amount of cutters that Happ's throws jump to around 6-7% overall from 3% this year and his rate of 4-seem fastballs dips accordingly.

NEPP: I agree with you on Happ's 4-seamer and how he uses it. He throws to all 4 corners of the zone and has a deceptive delivery. I disagree that "he routinely reached 92/93."

According to fangraphs he reached 92/93 only a few times. His average velocity on his fastball was 89.7.

Klaus: That prediction is a slam dunk.

Predictions are easy to make. I don't know if anyone cited the following from the NY times about the disparity between the AL and NL and how it is affecting the trade winds:

You have seen the data before:
13 straight all star gamnes, 8 of the last 12 WS and by far the most devastating and most ominous statistic is the interleague games "a .566 winning percentage, equivalent to a 92-70 full-season record, since 2005."
The article was not a gloat about the Yankees it was a sobering piece about the inequality of the two leagues and how it affects trading.
The bottom line is unless the NL wins the Allstar game (our job again I believe) to give teh NL a 4 game home series advantage we are SOL trying to beat the AL in the WS. And that is just for starters. Although I would have given the WS MVP to Damon it is true that the DH won it for the AL. It will not be until the DH situatation is altered (and that means the NL has to conform to the AL because the players union likes the AL life extension the DH provides for older players) will this discrepancy be rectified.

I thought that one of the most interesting aspects of that article was the discussion of the "designated bidders" (the Yankees & the Red Sox) and how designated bidding has resulted in a talent shift between the leagues.

Although, I would argue that the ripple effect of the designated bidding has not only resulted in two teams amassing an inordinate amount of talent, but it has also lead to five NL teams spending over 100 million dollars in annual payroll. Similarly, only two teams in the AL (other than the Yankees/Red Sox axis of evil) spent over 100 million in team payroll for 2009.

I question whether the axis of evil has polarized the differences between the two leagues as much as it has polarized the differences between most (all?) teams, in both leagues, who are unwilling/unable to spend similar amounts of money acquiring talent.

It's not about the Yankees and Red Sox who certainly spend a lot of money and do get a great return for it as both teams' investmenet valuation have skyrocketed.

It is the interleague record that is the more telling number at .566 and rising over the last 5 years that isn't just the product of two teams.

Look there has been a lot of metric analysis done but the obvious intuitive explanation to the AL advantage is the fact that there is an extar "real" as opposed "pinch" hitter. That is a regular day to day player who can hit (although not field) and regardless whrther he comes up 4 times in a agme (in an AL) park or once as PH (in an NL Park) he has the advantage of beign an everyday player--he has had more chances to hit and be sharp.
People have to understnad I am not arguing for it I jsut don't believe that it will be rolled back and tehrfore I see no reason why teh NL: should become a second tier league as a result.

I'm confused by the author's thesis - is he saying that AL teams with similar payroll figures somehow garner better talent than NL teams out of necessity of competition?
I don't know if the presence of DHs on AL rosters is an 'intuitive explanation' to the competitive gap. It is certainly an identifiable difference but, there seems to be more afoot than merely the DH.

Hugh Mulcahy - You are correct about the ROY votes for Happ - My post yesterday was incorrect.

RK: Excellent point. It was obvious to anyone paying attention that the biggest gap between the Yanks and Phillies wasn't pitching. It was the DH (or 9th batter if you prefer). The gap between Matsui and Francisco/Stairs was laughable. And it gave a clear advantage to the Yankees.

But I'm not convinced that the DH is why the AL is the dominant league. The DH has been around since 1969 and there have been periods of NL dominance during that time.

I think the author is on firmer ground when he argues that the huge payroll advantage of the Yanks and Red Sox force other AL teams to be smarter about acquiring talent so they can compete.

And the giant gap in payroll between those two and the rest of the league IS something fairly new. Those cash-generating team-owned cable networks did not exist in the 70s and 80s.

****According to fangraphs he reached 92/93 only a few times. His average velocity on his fastball was 89.7.****

That's the data I was going off of. On his velocity charts, he was able to hit 92/93 in every game essentially. Granted he usually worked in the 89-91 range but that's fine for a lanky LHP...its more about location than velocity anyway.

Payrolls gotta have something to do with it. 7 of the 10 lowest payrolls are in the NL, including the 4 lowest.

Yo, new thread

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