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Monday, March 29, 2010


I would do it just to keep Francisco sharp as he's a decent enough OF...and it might keep Ibanez fresh as well as he's 56 years old now.

"Love them or hate them, algorithmic forecasters like PECOTA were custom-built for projecting 37-year-old plodders like Raul Ibanez."

clout, do you love them, or hate them? I'm not entirely clear...

Any chance Wilson Valdez makes the team over Castro? He's definitely had a better spring.

Good from today's outing by Happ: 8 groundouts. Must have had good off-speed stuff (slider and change) today.

Bad from today's outing by Happ: 5 BB's.

Still, a very good spring from FML Happ.

Valdez was signed on a minor league deal? I think he was, so don't count on it.

Francisco is what they'd call "a good option in NL-only fantasy leagues."

Not to revisit the "handedness on the bench" discussion, but if Francisco is a semi-consistant starter, then our only RH option on the bench on those days is Castro. Ooof.

JW, I usually agree with most of what you post, but I'm not as sold on Ibanez's decline as you seem to be.

And, frankly, I expected a little better analysis from you.

You've fallen into the same trap that some other folks on this board have fallen into, by mentioning his second half delcine last year as if a half a season marked by an injury bad enough to require surgery is somehow a valid indicator. I understand you didn't take ownership of the idea, posting "Ibanez, whose own second-half decline has been interpreted the same way", but the way you present it sure seems to weigh in that direction.

Now, I'm not taking a position one way or another on Raul because I haven't seen enough ST games to acvtually watch him play, but to buy into halving his power production from last season seems to me to be a little on the pessimistic side.

I did an analysis a couple of threads back on his HR/PA, particularly before and after his injury in 2009.

What you are buying into by 'respecting these projections' is his HR/PA regressing to the level at which he performed WHEN HE WAS INJURED last season.

That's alone is why I question projections like that. I sure don't expect him to perform the way he did before he was DL'd last season, but no report I've seen anywhere talks about lost bat speed or anything of that sort.

Charlie has said his timing is off and that he expects him to "hit".

The level at which he performs remains to be seen, but at this point I'll trust Charlie's instincts more than a PECOTA projection.

Spity, I'm willing to bite the bullet on a righty off the bench for a game or two each week, if needed. The alternative would be a struggling Ibanez starting (ie even more AB's).

I can give up a right handed bench bat if we get him into the everyday lineup and he's an upgrade over what's currently available - which would be the only real situation he'd be in the platoon to begin with.

denny, regarding Happ, maybe he had one of those "in-between" days Halladay described.

Very interesting. I quickly scanned the comments from the 3/19 thread about whether the 2008 or 2009 version of the team would be better, and it was pretty overwhelming that most BL's opted for the 2009 version (as did I).

Several people mentioned health as being a key issue. However, only a couple of folks mentioned a potential regression by Ibanez (due to health, age, whatever) as a possible factor in the team's fortunes.

I did not feel we would get a full year from Raul at anywhere near his first half of 2008 pace, but I was certainly not thinking about a decline along the lines of Jenkins. I had thought we might see a more level, consistent performance over the entire season, with some rest time/potential DL time as part of that mix.

My question is this. It seems to me that a full season at the average "pace" or whatever the correct word is of the Francisco/Ibanez projections would be fine. However, let's say Ibanez struggles and Cholly has to fly by the seat of his pants, doing a balancing act between letting Ibanez try to get in a groove and sticking with him to the point of diminishing returns. Wouldn't this probably be more disruptive and represent a significantly less valuable situation than one where either Ibanez or Francisco was the man all year with the attendant slumps and high points?

I understand there may not be that choice. But I would rather (from my admittedly intuitive point of view) have Ibanez or Francisco hit say, 25-30 home runs spread out over the season than an off again/on again situation where Ibanez would start strong, then slump dreadfully, then bounce back for a while, then get hurt, then Francisco tries to come in and adjust to an everyday role, then you give Ibanez another shot, on and on...even if it ended up with the same 25-30 home runs between the two players for the same at bats.

Glad we have Francisco there, but not looking forward to coping with a possible Geoff Jenkins decline.

Sorry, in my previous post please substitute 2009 for 2008, and 2010 for 2009. Trying to compare the current team to last year's team and mixed up the dates. Ooops.

Maybe I am wrong but a player like Ibanez is one of the trickier guys to project given his age & power output. 17 HRs would be a huge failoff and nobody else has that dramatic of a dip

Bill James: 649 PA, 26 HR, .467 SLG
CHONE: 572 PA, 27 HR, .488 SLG
Marcel: 553 PA, 22 HR, .479 SLG
Zips: 514 PA, 25 HR, .531 SLG

If Ibanez only puts up his PECOTA numbers, it will be a disappointing year for Ibanez because those will be slightly below average power and SLG numbers in LF. You aren't paying him for his speed or defense either.

I can't imagine Ibanez going jenkin'esque on us. I actually think Ibanez is one of the few players who you can set your watch to so to speak. His work ethic is well known and even without the injury, it is almost unspeakable to think that Ibanez was going to keep up his April-June numbers. He got hot for three months and then cooled off for next three - something that happens to hundreds of players year in and year out.

Nationals claim catcher Chris Coste on waivers from Mets.

Jenkin'esque? I like that.

Out of curiosity, any idea what the 2009 projections on Ibanez looked like?

Scott - They generally had him pretty much at the 2008 level with a modest uptick in his power & SLG numbers. No one had him hitting over 30+ HRs. Only person who predicted that on here last preseason was tommymvp.

Comparing Ibanez's numbers to his first half last year is futile. He was absolutely on fire through 3 months. A career half-year. If he performs to these other projections posted @MG, he'll be giving the Phillies what they bought and needed when they signed him last year. I don't see a point in worrying until there's a point in worrying, i.e., he goes 2 for April with 1 solo homer.

"He got hot for three months and then cooled off for next three - something that happens to hundreds of players year in and year out."

Yeahm phaithful, he cooled off.

I guess the injury that sent him to the DL for 21 games had nothng to do with it.

Hugh - My personnel bet is that Ibanez gets out to a slow start this April and stays pretty mediocre (.240-.250 with 4-5 HRs) until sometime in late May/early June when he goes on one of his hot streaks that lifts his overall numbers.

MG: PECOTA is crap IMHO. I bet James is much closer to being right on Ibanez.

awh: Do you find it interesting that all of Lidge's troubles are directly related to injury, even his troubles with Houston. And yet no one mentions injury when they comment on Ibanez's troubles.

I know this is Beerleaguer heresy, but what if Lidge's troubles have nothing to do with injury? What if he's just an inconsistent pitcher, prone to long bouts of lousiness (as exhibited in 3 of the past 4 seasons)? And what if Ibanez's second half was at least in part (not even awh thinks he was going to continue on his first half pace, I'm sure) due to injury?

Like JA Happ, Ibanez is a strong candidate to decline psychologically--that is, we shouldn't be too surprised to see him descend this year into wussiness, pussiness, wimpiness, greediness, lasciviousness, or even, if his average dips below .250, sheer evilness. And if he does, I expect astute readers to diagnose him accordingly.

clout, yes, I do find it interesting.(BTW, I am on record posting here that I don't think Raul would have sustained his first half for the whole season.)

As I have said, no one knows what Ibanez will do in 2010, maybe he craps the bed, but I find it nearly unbelievable that so many on this site comment about Ibanez's 2nd half of 2009 as absulute evidence of age related decline without any mention whatsoever that he played with an injury that required offseason surgery.

Only in the alternative universe of some people's minds.....

As to Lidge, who knows if he'll even recover enogh to be an effective MLB pitcher?

Could it be that he's just inconsistent? Sure, but he does have some history of being injured, so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.

Lidge, predictably inconsistent? 38 y/o Ibanez 2nd half partly due to injury? clout, stop making sense.

Oh, and I think Benny frank may get his 450 PA in 2010, but I'll also bet Ibanez, if healthy, will get closer to 600 than 500. Ben's will probably come in PH opportunities and PA's that he gets from the other OF.

klaus: It will be because he lacks fire, is bad chemistry, weak-willed and not good in the clubhouse. And, here's the ultimate, how many World Series rings has Ibanez won?

That last statement trumps all other arguments.

Klaus, Happ and Raul are psychos? Just like Madson?

awh, you endlessly bring up the fact that Ibanez was injured, and therefore comparisons to similar players should be thrown out the window. What you should be aware of is that similar players ALSO get injured and so that's factored into the comparison already.

He's being compared statistically to lots of other older players -- many of whom we might guess also played through nagging injuries that come with being that age and attempted to come back from them.

I respect your optimism regarding Ibanez, but I just want to make the point that saying he was injured then but he isn't injured now in no way bolsters your argument.

@MG - I'm of the same expectation re Ibanez. Slow out of the gate, catches his stride mid-season, and floats on the hot air of July-August until September, when things get tight. Seems a logical trajectory but, hell, that's why they play the games. Can't wait until Obama bounces the first pitch. Rollins will probably offer . . .

Mick O: Exactly. The risk of injury, as much as actual skill decline, is the reason older players are usually projected to put up worse numbers. Obviously, and I hope this doesn't need to be argued over, an older player is more susceptible to injuries and to nagging problems which either remove them from the lineup or affect their performance.

In other words, awh, even if we take your assertion that Ibanez's 2nd half numbers last year have nothing to do with his actual skill and solely reflect his injury-influenced performance, my guess is that projection systems are saying: so what? If he had injury-related decline at age 37, it's probably likely to happen at age 38 as well. It's rare that guys get MORE healthy as they get older (especially in this post-steroid age).

PECOTA has been relatively off on hitters (CHONE is better), but one of the better forecasters of pitchers.

ZiPS predicts the Braves will win around 95 games with the Phillies coming in a distant second in the NL East with around 85 games (I forget the exact numbers).

As for bench options if Francisco is in LF, don't forget that most impact relievers throw from the right side and if he isn't injured, Ibanez isn't a bad guy to have at the plate against either a lefty or righty (relative to other pinch hitters).

Jack - It isn't unusual now that players aren't taking "enhancements" that their performances main so strong either in their mid-to-late 30s.

This is going to be the "make or break year" on Ibanez's deal because even the most ardent critics of the signing didn't think he would struggle in '09. Basically a .270/20 HR guy who Ibanez easy surpassed that. It was in '10 and '11.

If he gives them a line of .270/.340/.470 with 22-23 HRs, that should be sufficient again.

MG: That's right, and I think even the most ardent supporters of the deal don't really expect a whole lot out of Ibanez at age 39, right? I mean, we all think that they paid a premium on the 3rd year they were willing to eat in order to get him for 2009 and 2010. He did his part in 2009; if he can give something like 80% of his value from last year this year, the deal overall will have been worth it for sure.

If, however, the projections are right and either injuries or skill decline erode his performance significantly this year, the deal could end up looking pretty bad for Amaro (especially as we traded away a guy, Michael Taylor, who would have been able to step in later this year or at least next year for Ibanez).

Jack - Phils also forfeited their 1st round pick in the '09 draft to sign Ibanez too (2nd time in last 5 yrs).

I like speculating as much as the next guy, but for the love of god... I can't wait for the season to actually start so we can debate benching him after he at least goes 2 for his first 12 meaningful at bats. IMHO after the first half he had before being injured, as long as he is healthy he gets every opportunity to hold on to the job. I'm also inclined to trust Charlie and the other higher projections over PECOTA.

Happy phinal phour in the phield.

Anybody see Blanton's line today against the Phil minor league all stars?


Get that one out of your system, big guy.

" many of whom we might guess also played through nagging injuries that come with being that age and attempted to come back from them"

Mick-O, that is one of the most stupid posts I've read on this site.

Are you really describing an injury that DL'd him for nearly a month and required offseason surgery "nagging"? Interesting.

Jack, do you subscribe to the premise that his injury was "nagging"?

And do you guys even read what people post? Are you taking the position that his delcine in the second half of 2009 had nothing to do with his injury? All I've ever posted is that IMHO the injury had something to do with it. Read the posts for goodness sake.

What part of "so many on this site comment about Ibanez's 2nd half of 2009 as absulute evidence of age related decline without any mention whatsoever that he played with an injury that required offseason surgery" was so hard to understand?

Why is it so difficult for people to simply acknowledge that some part of his 2009 dropoff could have been injury related?

I never posted that players his age never suffer age-related drops in production, because they do.

As far as his future performance is concerned what part of "no one knows what Ibanez will do in 2010, maybe he craps the bed" wasn't clear?

Let me list what we DO know:

Ibanez had a tremendous 1st half 2009 and then got injured.

It was an injury serious enough that surgery was recommended at the time which would/could have ended his season.

He opted for rehab instead and returned after missing nearly a month.

His production the 2nd half of the season dropped dramatically, way below what it had been when he played the prior 5 years in Safeco.

Now, let me list what we DON'T know:

How much the injury affected him physically and mentally.

How much of his 2009 decline was injury related, age related, or simply related to a normal regression to the mean.

To what extent the surgery is still affecting his performance - if at all.

To what extent he'll decline this season, and whether it's realted to the surgery or realted to age.

Because every player is different, everything else is speculation or opinion.

awh: So what you're saying is "anything can happen and we have no idea"? Well, yeah. Of course.

My point was only that even if much of his dropoff was injury-related, that is still significant because injuries are more likely to affect guys who are 38 than 28. You seem to draw a distinction between injury-related dropoff and age-related dropoff. Part of what I'm saying is that those are really the same thing, for all intents and purposes.

And yes, that is just speculation and opinion.

awh - you might also want to mention the relation between age and injury-risk. perhaps the injury was age-related (but not vice-versa because age is an independent variable as far as i can tell).

i'm curious to know what people think our line up should be, i go back and forth

should it be vic 6th and raul 7th or raul 6th and vic 7th?

pb - on balance, i say stick with raul at 6th. but could you lay out what you think are the pros and cons of each option?

I like Vic in the 7 hole with Raul in LF.

I like Vic in the 6 hole, with Benny in LF.

I like Vic in the 2 hole, with Dobbs in the 7 hole (when Dobbs plays 3B and Polanco sits).

When Vic sits and Francisco plays CF, then he slides into the 7 hole easily.

I think Shane is the one guy in the lineup, you can be versatile with and move around. The rest (Utley 3rd, Howard 4th, Rollins 1st, Ruiz/Schnedier 8th, Polanco 2nd) are basically set in stone.

Coste to Nats. He might actually play for them in the bigs now and then (unlike NYM) which would be awesome for him but suck if it was against us. :(

Does anyone have a link to the Pecota projections from prior years? Did Pecota pick the Braves to win the NL East last year? I recall someone saying that but could not find the link...Just imagine how much the computer models would have liked the Braves had they not traded Vasquez for what is turning out to be a 4th OF.

I have not drank the Braves kool-aid that the SABR community is pushing. I'd be more than happy to let the Braves keep winning the annual pre-season computer projections, and then come in third in the NL East in the games that count.

I don't think anyone here would argue that the Braves are worse than last year. They are clearly better (assuming health, as always). But the Phils are better as well. And the Braves have to make up 7 games.

The more interesting question to me is "Are the Marlins better?" That was the team in second place.

I'm inclined to say yes. They get Maybin for a full season and he's an upgrade over Hermida, Gaby Sanchez is an upgrade over Bonifacio and all the other starters are the same.

As for pitching, that's also virtually unchanged. The bullpen is unimpressive, but Anibal Sanchez will be in his second year since surgery and could provide a boost in the rotation.

Can they catch the Phillies? No, but I wouldn't focus all my attention on the Braves as the main threat.

The Braves are better...maybe much better if guys like Heyward & Hanson break out. Vasquez is a big loss for them...something being ignored by the pundits. Does Chipper stay healthy, is Prado for real? These are all legit questions.

Chris, what will/would suck for the Phils is if Coste has a couple of big hits that cost them a game or two.

NEPP, the pundits think Hudson will replace Vasquez, though I have a hard time believeing he'll duplicate the season Vasquez had in 2009.

They'll have Hanson for the whole season.

Heyward looks like the real deal - he's 20 yrs. old FCOL.

IMO, the bullpen, with Wagner and Saito at the back end, is not quite as good as last season, but they could surprise.

The big question in their rotation is, IMHO, Jurrjens. Is he due for a regression? What do his MiL stats suggest?

I could easily see the Phils dropping the season series to the Marlins. However I cant imagine the Phils finishing any less than 6-8 games ahead of them in the standings.

One of the things I think the pundits are downplaying is the prospect of having Halladay for the whole season, not just the 2 months of Cliff Lee. Also, as great as Lee was when he first arrived, and as great as he was during the postseason, he had a really bad six game spell. Has Halladay ever had that happen?

Also, Cole Hamels, who looks rededicated and focused, is starting the season as the #2.

Blanton is Blanton (a compliment, BTW), and Happ is the #4, though if he winds up with a better than league average ERA ( < 4.19 [2009]) we should all be happy.

For the record, these are the average ERAs of starters, compiled by Jeff Sackman in his Hardball Times article:

Lg #1 #2 #3 #4 #5
MLB 3.60 4.14 4.58 5.10 6.24
AL 3.70 4.24 4.58 5.09 6.22
NL 3.51 4.04 4.57 5.11 6.26

So, should we be satisfied if our SPs have better ERAs than those posted on the bottom line?

All this "he's getting old" talk predicting a decline for Ibanez goes triple for Chris Coste. He was not very good with Houston last year hitting a blistering .204. I like Coste, but he's way past his minimal glory year with the Phils. I'm glad he never really suited up with the Mets in a regular season game. I don't like the gNats, but I don't hate them like I hate the Mets. I don't see Coste getting any hits that hurt the Phillies. It'll be tough to get a hit while riding the pines.

I'll try again:


****The big question in their rotation is, IMHO, Jurrjens. Is he due for a regression? What do his MiL stats suggest?****

Jurrjens is suppsoedly for real. He's a really good pitcher.

I dont buy the Hudson=Vasquez argument.

Heyward could be the next Ken Griffey Jr (sick, right?) but he might struggle too.

Hanson might regress. They have a chance to be pretty freaking good...or it could all fall in on them.

2009 Pecota Predictions

NL East: Mets, Braves, Phils

Got both LA teams correct as division winners, along with Yanks. Missed on predictions of Cubs and Indians as division winners.

NEPP, I agree.

Still, can anyone answer the question as to how Jurrjens MiL stats translate to MLB? Just curious.

AWH, I really enjoyed your ERA by rotation position stats. I would've never thought that the dropoff was so bad as you go down the rotation.

Halladay on cover of Sports Illustrated's baseball preview issue.

Which is worse a SI jinx or a BL jinx?

well bubba CC was on this same cover last year and (sadly) it turned out ok for them

One thing about the improvement of the Braves and Marlins (and players coming off the DL for the Mets) - they'll have to play each other as well, not just the Phillies.

AWH, "So, should we be satisfied if our SPs have better ERAs than those posted on the bottom line?"
I'll be satisfied if the Phillies match the next higher slot (Halladay ~3, Hamels 3.51, Blanton 4.04, etc.), and I think that's within reach.

Ibanez is a far superior hitter to Jenkins. Jenkins even in his prime was a platoon player.

If Ibanez stays healthy enough to play 130 games, he'll get 25 homers and 90 RBI easily.


I took a look at Jurrjens MiL stats and they seem to indicate a good deal of success at the MLB level. Based on those stats here us what I predict for his first two full MLB seasons:

Rookie year: GS-31 W-13 L-10 ERA-3.68 WHIP-1.37

Sophmore year: GS-34 W-14 L-10 ERA-2.60 WHIP-1.21

The future looks pretty bright for young Jair.

****Still, can anyone answer the question as to how Jurrjens MiL stats translate to MLB? Just curious.****

Pretty well. He's not outperforming his MiLB numbers by any means. Particularly as he was young for every level of the minors by a solid 2 years. He reached AA by Age 20 and never played in AAA jumping right to the Majors from AA in his Age 21 season. Pretty top prospect type of movement actually.

Surprised no one mentioned this in respect to Raul:

Read the middle part - he gets hot for 50-55 games every year since 2002 and then comes back to Earth. He's extremely streaky. PECOTA is overemphasizing the end of last year for his projection due to his age. As long as he is healthy I bet his final line will be similar to his final line last year, albeit a little lower due to SOME age related decline. I don't see him falling off of a cliff.

Yeah, it sucks by the Braves have a few top young players there in Hanson, Jurrjens, and Heyward. Prado is very Polanco esque at 2B...and that's a high complement. Sucks that they're so good at developing players over the years.

1. Beerleaguer -715
3. Crashburn Alley – 296

I know its been mentioned that BL got to the final four but JW really destroyed Crashburn Alley (a very solid site) in during so.


Interesting you should say that. I was thinking about that yesterday and I heard a voice in my. It was clout. When the Phils were looking to sign Raul, many posters were saying, among other things, that he was more consistent than Burrell. Clout was all over it -- pointing out exactly what is in the SI article.

Raul is extremely streaky. Always has been. There is no better example than last year. In April and May, he was hitting everything even remotely close to plate. And hitting it hard. Whether due to injury or not is debatable, but he cooled off prior to the All-Star break. The injury probably prolonged his "slump," but he has generally been a streaky player.

Oh yeah...only a few more days 'til meaningful baseball! Like all of you, I can't wait!

I thought one of the selling points on Raul was that he wouldn't fall into prolonged slumps like Burrell would?

Rodeo, I would tend to concur in principal with you Raul prediction, though, as much as I loath making predicitons (I'm rarely 100% accurate and I hate being wrong), I'll offer up my own predictions at the proper time.

Yo, new thread.

I just checked out Mitchell Karasik pre season report on the Phillies, he discuses 5 Key Points the Philadelphia Phillies need to address. Over all i thought it was good. just wanted to share.

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