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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

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I respectfully disagree I believe Valdez will receive most of the playing time

Oh and Castro will be DFAed by no later than June

Cunningham: Why would I retract anything? The last-minute scratch was very odd based on a number of factors, and I'm entitled to express those feelings how I chose. If you want someone to give it to you straight, Zolecki, Murphy, Gelb, etc. are highly recommended. There' no harm in going off-course from time to time. In fact, many people prefer it.

pb: Maybe eventually, but not initially.

why do i get the feeling that we are about 10 minutes away from getting flooded by Mets Trolls?

I think it all depends on whether you put quotation marks around it. Valdez will get more playing time; but Castro will get a lot of "playing" time.

In any event, it might be wise to shift Chooch up to seventh and bat the pitcher eighth.

I find this news depressing. Now, if we'd been seeing last April's Jimmy, I would not be as disappointed.

Wow this is some cover up.

Why would the Phillies sign Castro to a guaranteed contract, knowing full well what they would be getting, only to turn around and DFA him within the first 2 months of the season when he gave them exactly what they expected? It's not gonna happen. This is the team that kept Taguchi and Bruntlett on the roster for an entire season even when both proved to be beyond useless.

Mets trolls may come, but amongst themselves they say things like "I feel like the Phillies are so far out of reach that this does little to benefit the Mets"

I'm all for going off course, but there was no reason to think that Jimmy was a scratch for being late. If it was in game speculation, I'd buy it but a day after the fact it comes off pretty weak. But please don't retract it. Let it stand. One of the great things about print journalism was that it was always there. The internet is too easy to delete.
More than anything it was surprising to see something like that here. Very little fact. Intentionally devicive. I'll say that it is a shame that Jimmy has built up so little cred over the years with some people that he has to deal with this. Not that he reads the blogs or cares, but I'm sure there were more people out there assuming it was an A.I. style cover up.

The Phillies have shown the ability to overcome injuries and keep the ship floating, and hopefully Jimmy doesn't miss more than a month or so. I'd rather Rollins come back at full strength on June 1st, than rush back on May 1st and hit .225.

The Phillies training staff is highly touted around the league, and I think they will make the right call. Think about last year when injuries hit the Mets, they downplayed and let the players dictate their own recovery. As a result their players made the injuries worse and missed tons of time.

Get well Jimmy, we need you.

I have no trouble buying the "conspiracy," and I also could see Charlie, knowing that there was all the pomp and circumstance for the home opener letting the lineup read normally so that Jimmy could get the fan worship, without rewarding him by actually letting him play. Charlie knows what the fans wanted yesterday, and he could give that to them, without straying from his values. If Charlie has proven one thing during his tenure, it is that he's a lot smarter than people originally thought...

I'd like to know if infallible CSN got this much heat for reporting on Rollins being late to the game.

A major part of the punishment of benching someone is letting it be known that is why said player isn't in the line-up. Also this isn't the sixers try to save face to sell a few thousnad tickets. This is the Phillies. This says more about the people who buy it than the phillies or jimmy.

Philly.com reminds us that the 2008 team went 16-10 when Rollins was out and the 2007 team went 15-13 when Utley was out.

Weitzel - definitely a lot of smoke on teh story. Just no fire. Pretty bizarre that this first class athlete got hurt badly in the pre-game stretch. WTF?

Sickening to imagine the team without him for a month or two. Bruntlett filled in admirably last time he got hurt. Can Castro do that this time? A beerleaguer dream scenario for kibbitzing and kvetching. My lobbying for them to pick up Jack Wilson last year as a bench player for just this eventuality is for naught, anyway, as he's on hte DL, too.

JW: Agreed that Castro will get most of the playing time. That's why they signed him, to be a backup SS.

Also, while I happen to not believe there's anything more going on than is being reported, I don't see why people are getting on JW about writing what he wants to. It's his blog, and he can cover a story from any angle he wants--and all he's doing is taking some pieces of reporting from others and asking some questions. Granted, the evidence isn't strong, but what are blogs for otherwise? BL (by this I mean the comments as well as posts) talks about plenty of ridiculous things, so I don't see why that post should come under any undue criticism.

@JW -- didn't mean to get you all riled up... but it seemed out of character of you to take an unwarranted snipe at JROLL.

Perhaps I shouldn't hold your opinions with such high regard.

I would have expected it from a poster or some other blog or WIP. But you not only stated that you thought the injury was "made up"... continued to tweet your theories about some sort of cover up regarind the puzzling remarks from Charlie Manuel... and dedicated almost an entire blog post to speculation which included Rollins remarks about the Cliff Lee deal and his promotional event with Redbull as some sort of support to your "argument" that the Phillies were punishing Rollins and that maybe all these things add up to something more sinister... If you have other "inside" information, you certainly haven't posted it.

At the end of the day, it's not something I expected from you, now I know better.


@Dan in Philly

Good post re: stats being hooey.

But here's my point. People are using Hamel's peripheral stats to do more than predict future performance - they are also using them to explain why Hamels had a relatively high ERA last year; essentially, they explain that the stats say it was simply a matter of luck.

And I was impressed by the BABIP arguments - they are convincing - but I don't think that they are foolproof. I'm still skeptical that BABIP can fully explain the possibility that more runs allowed aren't to any degree a product of hitters catching on to a pitchers style or some aspect of the pitcher's mental approach or batters simply being able to handle pitches more easily and thus get better contact resulting in harder hit balls, and/or have more ability to place hits effectively against the defense.

Yeah - the statistical arguments that Hamels was just unlucky were pretty convincing with respect to last year. But at some point, if Hamels continues to pitch like a #4 pitcher, he's just a #4 pitcher, no matter what his peripherals are. Ultimately, the measure of a pitcher's effectiveness is the measure of how many runs he allows - if you control for the variable of the defense behind him. Thus far this year, Hamels' ERA is too high. Hopefully over time it will go back down.

Ricky Romero w/ a no-no through 6 tonight in Toronto ...

Good lord this has gotten blown out of proportion. He reported on a rumor that was thought to be legit. What the fvck do you want him to do?


I dont think you did anything wrong at all, JW. My brother texted me the same rumor after the game as he had heard it from 3-4 people in the Philly area.

Bottom Line: Jimmy, like it or not, has a track record when it comes to ignoring one of Charlie's few non-negotiables. Because of his history, he opens himself up for this sort of speculation.

Through 7 now ...

mike cunningham says "At the end of the day, it's not something I expected from you, now I know better."

How much of a man crush did you have on JW to be let down that much? Give it up, dude. I am glad he expressed his gut feeling and I hope he will continue to do so. Often times he'll be right and sometimes he won't be.

Ok..... Here's my theory:
I don't think Rollins not Werth were actually suffering from any injuries. The day before this all happened both J-roll and Werth slammed Amaro jr in the media for trading Lee. Ballsy move that may have come at a price. Both of them may have gotten benched cause Ruben put pressure on Charlie. Thoughts guys

I think Rube actually kneecapped Jimmy before the game for those comments.

Freddy Galvis just stroked a single for the R-Phils second hit of the night in the ninth. Aumont vs Drabek tomorrow.

JW ... Jayson Werth ...

Coincidence? I think not.

Hit Batter, HR ... that anyone ever manages to throw a No Hitter, let alone a Perfect Game, is amazing.

JW, relax. Some people here can't make a distinction.

I didn't look at your post as taking "an unwarranted snipe at JRoll" as much as I read it as you speculating as to whether they were covering something up.

I don't really care if Jimmy got hurt fooling around getting off of the bus with the other players, got hurt doing pre-game warmups, or got hurt slipping on a wet floor in the clubhouse. It's irrelevant, really.

What's relevant is the fact that he is hurt and it looks as if he's going to be out for a while.

Now, this is just me speculating, but if they're waiting until tomorrow because they have to "meet" to discuss their alternatives, then the injury is worse than they expected. Otherwise, if it was just a 'routine' calf strain, they would have announced it this afternoon and said he'd be placed on the DL tomorrow after they decided what their option are.

Was Vic ever placed in a boot? I'm not sure but I don't think so. It could be worse than they initially thought.

Didn't Rube room with Jeff Gillooly at Stanford?

JW, I read this blog incessantly, although I'm a rather occasional commenter. I'm glad you went with your gut feeling as well. This blog IS alternative viewpoints on the Phillies, is it not? I enjoy it when skilled writers take what they know and observe and expound upon it; as you said before, if I want the 5 W's, I can go to a thousand different websites. Your commentary sets you apart. Good for you.

The obvious answer is that Amaro attacked Jimmy on the streets near his house before the game, thus making him both late to the stadium and injured. All of the questions are answered in this scenario.

It's also funny that, among the commenters at least, conspiracy theories were rampant on here back in 2006 and 2007. People wouldn't have blinked an eye at this a few years ago--in fact, this would have been pretty innocent stuff. They were ready to believe the worst about the organization at the drop of a hat.

Amazing what a couple years of success will do.

Cunningham is a good poster. In any case, it's time to move on to new business.

GALVIS TWO GAME HIT STREAK

Losing J-Roll hurts, but I'd rather lose him for a few weeks in April than a few weeks in September.

And I hope he takes all the time he needs to heal. The worst-case scenario is that this lingers all season.

The Phils can survive a little while without him and still come out ahead, especially since the rest of the division isn't exactly tearing it up right now.

Zolecki has a nice column on Phillies.com about HK:

One Year Later, Remembering Kalas

Already a full year gone ... hard to believe, Harry.

Galvis is on my short list of "fun" prospects to root for.


On the rest of it...We're through the looking glass here, people!

Here is a theory on Jimmy and his track record of breaking Charlie's rules. First, his infractions (not running out a ball and being late) were real but I think he was made an example because he is a prominent veteran and Charlie knew Jimmy would take the punishment properly. I've seen other players not hustle and not get punished, but Charlie knew that singling out Jimmy would show the younger players that Charlie means business. At the same time it would not create the shitstorm that benching some other guys might. Part of being a manager is getting on the right people when others are in earshot.

My dad attended a fundraised in Yardley tonight where Ruben was the speaker. RA took some questions after his speech. He apparently said he just received the call en route regarding the MRI verdict: 10 days to two weeks. Second-hand, but I thought I'd pass it along the camp fire.

Poster's embellishment: Ruben then whispered in a Machiavellian tone his concern that Jimmy may exacerbate his 'injury' and lengthen his DL stint in the high-risk act of sitting down for another interview.

Thats the insider info I'm talking about Marlowe!

hilarious postscript, marlowe. Cunningham is a good poster but, he better stay out of Crystal Cave if he knows what's good for him. The stalactites have ears.

"Ultimately, the measure of a pitcher's effectiveness is the measure of how many runs he allows."

Quite true. And I also think people tend to over-interpret BABIP. It is a useful index to look at, in that it often provides quick (if overly simplistic) insight into the extent to which luck could be affecting a pitcher's ERA. It is particularly useful when used in conjunction with other peripheral numbers, like line drive percentage, homerun ratio, strikeout to walk ratio, etc. However, it's also interesting to note that many Hall of Fame caliber starting pitchers have had BABIPs well below .300 (which is considered league average). Nolan Ryan's career BABIP was .269. Sandy Koufax's was .259. Tom Seaver's -- .262. Pedro, Maddux, Glavine, Carlton, and Gibson all had career BABIPS between .273 and .286. Unless you believe that luck was a substantial factor in all of these guys' Hall of Fame careers, the conclusion I draw is that there's clearly more than luck going on in this statistic.

When you look at the entire body of Hamels' 2008 & 2009 peripherals in combination, it's difficult to conclude that luck did not play a significant role in his 2009 struggles. But it's also quite possible that there are other variables at work here which we do not really understand or have the statistics to capture. Certainly, the longer a trend continues, the harder it becomes to explain away that trend as luck.

This much I know with certainty. In the post-season, and the first 2 games of this year, Hamels was not unlucky by any measure. He was just bad.

Of course, I just conflated mike C. with the Kutztown guy. Everybody's a dog on teh internet, or something like that.

What channel are the Phils on tonight . . .?
Am I really going to watch teh Pirates game?

Lats time J-Roll went on the DL was in 08. We won the series that year. hmmmm

I'm hoping the boot is an aggressive treatment - a way of immobilizing the calf so as to promote faster healing - as opposed to the boot being indicative of a more serious injury. But I have a feeling, either way, that Jimmy will be out around a month. Just really hoping it won't bother him like Dobbs' did, all season.

Whoops,Last time.

Wow...the Mets are getting raped (most applicable word sadly) in Colorado...8-0 through 4.

A soft boot is the standard therapy for all calf strains as it immobilizes the muscle. The length of time it stays on is dependent on severity.

Anyone else keeping up with the two NL East games. Marlins have four games decided by one run and are tied 8-8. And the John Maine is getting rocked in Col, 8 runs in 3 innings.

I dont see the Mets doing much this season.

The Marlins' lineup can certainly score runs. They were down 6-1 earlier & they came all the way back to tie it at 8. Now they're batting in the bottom of the 9th against Micah Owings who, for some reason, always makes me think of Joe Savery.

b_a_p: Good post. I am not terribly stat-literate but, I'm no baseball Luddite. I understand the concept of BABIP. I haven't yet been convinced that the stat measures luck, pure and simple. I think the theory is sound but, I don't necessarily trust the conclusions. Your list makes me want to be more skeptical.

A few other morsels from Ruben's speech, for those interested (caveat, again, it's second-hand):

His MVP: Carlos Ruiz. The best catcher in the game, and the most difficult Phillie to replace, says Ruben apparently.

Werth's injury: Very minor. He may actually play tomorrow. Werth took himself out of the game just to be safe.

Halladay: 'Chase Utley on the mound.' Great person, etc., the stuff we've all heard. He also said something about his GM philosophy is if you're going to pay guys exorbitant sums, make sure they are great people in addition to great athletes.

Hamels' current pitching: Not as good as it should be but nobody's worried. He'll come around.

Some of this is pretty obvious. Oh, someone asked him where his WFC ring was. He said he's in the market for another one.

@Marlowe

Your 'second-hand' source will be my 'third-hand' facts when I tell everyone.

These morsels are gold.

Its gonna go viral...I already emailed it and posted it on Facebook as a rumor.

WFC ring comment the best.

This Florida / Cincy game is ugly in terms of attendance - looks like Candlestick in hte 70s.

BAP, a neophyte question: I imagine the Hall of Famers you cite also have absurdly low batting averages by opposing hitters. Is the more appropriate way to analyze BABIP in relation to BA -- the spread or variance? Uninformed and merely curious, but not curious enough to look it up at the moment.

I agree with your overall point that bum luck alone doesn't explain Cole's 2009 schneid -- Verducci effect and the predictability of his two-pitch arsenal (as another poster cited earlier) strike me as equally significant factors. However, I'm pretty sanguine about Cole's situation. He hasn't yet reached his potential. I don't question his dedication, apart from what he's already conceded about post-WFC offseason.

He doesn't even strike me as a headcase as he does some other fans. But if he is, who cares -- Steve Carlton classified as batsh*t insane in many respects, and he was the best lefty pitcher I've ever seen.

Wow, I've never been virulent before. Thanks, all. I just hope my dad didn't drink too much and get his information wrong.

Marlowe - i tend to agree about Hamels. He's not nearly the delicate flower he's made out to be. He has a tough job. He's running into some resistance early in his career. His ability is pretty obvious. He does need a 3d pitch but, he can win without one when he is firing on all cylinders. Barring injury, he's on an upward trajectory for his career, current doldrums included.
Carlton, on the other hand, is definitely a head case. I've been waiting for the definitive biography on his particular pathologies, ball doctoring, etc. If one exists, I don't have it.

Hmmmmm. Galvis and Hewitt are hitting lights out, Juan Caastro ripped a clutch double, while Dom Brown isn't hitting a lick and the Phillies are red hot in April.

Bizarro World Phillies? What's next, a Jamie Moyer no hitter?

I wonder if Hewitt suddenly "clicked" this year? He was hot all spring and now has a nice start to the year (other than today where he was 0-3). Sometimes toolsheds suddenly figure it out.

Yes, I'm aware its a tiny sample size and he remains a very long long longshot.

Fun to dream though.

The funniest thing is are the 'JRoll got hurt in '08 and we won the Series.' I made & ate some pudding today and it rained. My guess is that the next time I eat pudding that it might not necessarily rain.

It does mean Castro for the the rest of the month in all likelihood. I say 2 more errors this month by Castro and so-so defense at SS. If he can hit .250 and play adequate defense, it won't kill them to miss JRoll for ~3 weeks. My bet is that Castro does neither.

My guess is somewhere in the .220-.230 range from Castro...with so-so defense. We can survive that but anything closer or below the Mendoza line will hurt, even out of the 8 hole.

Just a thought: Polanco has started 81 games at SS in his career. Move him over and start Dobbs and/or Ransom at 3B.

Marlowe - Those were some interesting comments but Amaro seriously thinks that Ruiz is the most irreplaceable player on the Phils? That's why every offseason since '07 the Phils have tried to acquire a backup catcher who would see significant time behind the plate? Call BS on Amaro's comment there based upon his actions.

The most irreplaceable guy on this team right now is Halladay. I would put Utley as 2a with Howard at 2b and Madson bring up the next spot.

Are you suggesting that RAPIM (Rain Average for Puddings I Make) is not a valid metric?

I've always felt that RAPIM+ and RAPIM/150 were more accurate measurements.


Reyes just made a pretty weak error that scored another run for the Rockies...ouch.


Ruiz is pretty important.

MG - I can't imagine he seriously believes that. If Chooch and Utley were in a car accident, I think he'd call Utley first. I think Ruben needs a legit backup catcher because that guy is pretty much guaranteed to get 40-plus starts, but point well taken. Ruiz may be a tad underappreciated by the casual fan, but no need to overappreciate him.

mmmm. . . . pudding.

I hate the DH but, when Matt Cain strikes out on a check swing, on a pitch that hits him in the leg, I start to waver.

Amaro answered that the only way possible. He can't name one of the stars without offending the other stars. So he names the catcher. No one is offended because it is an important position and therefore in the realm of possibility.

As for the JRoll 'conspiracy'

- It is pretty strange he would tweak his calf in warmups on what was an ideal day weather wise for physical activity. Could have been a lingering injury for a while that finally.

Tricky thing is that this is likely going to be something that JRoll can easily re aggravate again too this season. Calf muscles are notoriously finicky if you actually do tear them even slightly. JRoll isn't a young man either. If he was 17-18, he probably does pop back up from this in a week or so. At 31, it could be a while before he is up and at 90-95% percent.

Plus, everyone remembers Paul Bako.

Great catchers and shortstops are difficult to replace.

I'll concede Rollins is actually hurt. But I'm not giving up on a conspiracy. My latest theory:

While in Houston, JRoll visited with Brett Myers and slipped on a children's toy while exiting Brett's SUV.

bap/marlowe: Rare is the pitcher that has a lot of control over his BABIP. Maddux and Pedro were .289 and .291, respectively. Better than average, but not significantly. The first two guys I checked out, Randy Johnson and Roy Halladay, were .302 and .299 respectively. A couple of the best pitchers of their generations, very average BABIPs.
Hamels K, BB, and HR ratios from 2008 to 2009 were near identical. His LD and GB %'s, as well as HR/FB in 2009 were actually slightly BETTER. So he struck out and walked just as many people, as well as gave up just as many home runs. So what was the reason as to why he gave up more runs? Other than luck on balls that fell into play, I can't think of much else.

Grown men eating pudding.

Ruiz has turned out to be a nice catcher but he was a guy who was miserable offensively in '08 and has gone into deep offensive funks the past 2 seasons that last at least 5-6 weeks where he does next to nothing.

Ruiz is a valuable asset but he is pretty down on the list of irreplaceable players. Utley/JRoll/Howard/Werth are all more important to this team over the longer term. You could even argue Vic too.

The biggest issue is that the Phils' minor league system is nearly devoid of staring C talent thanks to trades and some general bungling by the front office. Jamarillo, Marson, or Paulino would be a nice backup option for Ruiz.

I know it is early but Schneider has looked pretty rough at the plate in the early going. Wonder if he is going to bounce back from last season offensively or if he is a .220-.230 light-hitting backstop at this point in his career.

Ollie - It was homemade pudding. Not that crap in a box that Jello sells. My dad's favorite player growing up was Willie Puddin' Head Jones. My last pudding-related post for the day.

MG- How does signing a backup catcher mean that Amaro values Chooch less? Does signing Castro mean he values Rollins and Utley less?

Before you give the obvious answer that the backup catcher plays more, a backup catcher should play more than a backup infielder.

Ollie, I like pudding and Bill Cosby. I like Downtown Ollie Brown more. You hit a 3 run homer in the 12th inning of the first major league game I ever attended to beat the Braves in 1977. I just looked it up - it was your last home run of your career. I still remember that game, although I was only 7 years old. Sarge Matthews played in left for Atlanta in the game and went 0 for 6 with 4 Ks - golden sombrero. I don't remember that.

When it rains the pavements get wet. Amaro needs a game or two in November from Senor Octubre.

Gsl - Phils signed Barajas in '07 because they weren't satisfied with handing the starting job to Ruiz. In '08, Ruiz was an awful offensive funk for nearly 2 1/2 months and split a lot of time with Coste. Even last year, the Phils acquired Paulino with the intention of giving him a fair amount of starting time.

Game started at catcher by Ruiz the last three years:

2007 - 100 games (14th in the NL; 24th in MLB)
2008 - 92 games (11th in the NL; 21st in MLB)
2009 - 100 games (7th in the NL; 15th in MLB)

Now granted he was injured a bit last year but Ruiz has never been among the league leaders at C in GS the past 3 years. In fact, he has never even been close. I call BS on Amaro for multiple reasons besides even getting into the offensive numbers and WAR.

First Post Of The Season:

My new job has taken a large chunk of my free time which has limited me posting-wise, but I have read all of your posts everyday or night and enjoy all the usual BL banter. Great stuff, from JW & his JRoll theories, M. Cunningham stirring up the troops, Andy with his great one liners, Clout, BAP, Alby & the rest of the gang. I'm just happy that it baseball season again and we can all share our love of the Phillies once again with each other. 7 games in...here's to sharing the next 155 with you all.

FWIW, it's just about impossible to measure Catcher defense (which has to be what Amaro was talking about--even he knows Ruiz doesn't come close to the best catchers offensively).

We all have our subjective opinions (I happen to think Ruiz is quite good defensively, though probably not at the Yadier Molina level, and nowhere close to a guy like Pudge at his peak), but in this case (unlike many other areas) we really have no objective measure to speak of. Sure, CS% exists, but it really comes nowhere close to accurately measuring catcher defense--first, because runners steal on pitchers as much as catchers, and second, because the running game is only one part of the picture.

The value of a catcher, in terms of defense and calling games, is really beyond the frontier of measuring baseball performance right now (though I'm sure teams have their own proprietary methods).

Hugh: I know you are in Pittsburg now, but you have mentioned George Field, and now Crystal Cave. Are you originally from Berks?

Yes, goody, I was born in Reading

Without trying to quantify Ruiz's value, I think you cannot overstate the value of a mainstay behind the plate. Whomever suggested that Ruben's answer was politically savvy is partially right but, he's also mouthing baseball dogma. Catcher is a position you want to solidify first, if possible, when you're establishing a team. I wouldn't pretend to quantify the value of a catcher to the performance of a team's pitching staff but, the good ones definitely set a tone for the entire defense, pitchers included.

MG- Fair enough. I buy the games played argument relative to the rest of MLB.

Hugh: A friend of my brother grew up in Stan Musial's hometown near Pittsburg. The 3 of us and 3 other guys went from Reading to Pittsburg in my brothers big 55 Chrysler for Stan's 20th ann. in the NL. My parents never owned a car, so that was my first road trip. Never forget it. Stan homered.

Either I'm gettng old, or it's getting late. I spelled Pittsburgh wrong 3 times. Time to sign off and go to bed.

goody, that's an awesome story. Not sure what year that would place that game but, I assume it was at Forbes Field which I never saw. I moved out here to attend Pitt and Forbes Field was long gone. I first visited your brother's friend's hometown (Musial's hometown) for Easter my freshman year. It's a town called Donora and it is also the birthplace of both Ken Griffey and Ken Griffey Jr. Don't ask me why I know that.

Brian G: I don't know where you're getting your information. Baseball Reference has Pedro's career BABIP as .282 and Maddux's as .286. Over long careers, those figures would certainly qualify as so much better than average as to defy any plausible possibility of chance.

I didn't say that ALL good pitchers have lower than average BABIPs. There are different kinds of pitchers. Ground ball pitchers like Halladay tend to have higher BABIPs, because grounders are more likely than fly balls to end up as hits. Pitchers like Lincecum and Randy Johnson get a ton of outs by not putting the ball in play at all, so they can get away with having average-ish BABIPS.

When you state that pitchers have no control over their BABIP, you're asserting a conclusion, which is based on the general principle that pitchers BABIPs generally tend to be around the same. And what I'm saying is: there are some very clear, statistically significant exceptions to this general principle. That alone tells us that, at least in some instances, there is more to a pitcher's BABIP than just luck. Which, in turn, means that there may well be reasons having nothing to do with luck for why Cole Hamels had a very high BABIP in 2009 and a very low one in 2008. Just because neither of us can think of any such reason does not mean it doesn't exist.

Hugh: His first game was Sept 17,1941 so I assume it was sept. of 1961. I know it was a big celabration for the "hometown boy" and Forbes Field was similar to Connie Mack with all those steel girders blocking the view if you didn't have good seats.

bap: I got my info from fangraphs. Also, "Just because neither of us can think of any such reason does not mean it doesn't exist." Fine. I'm not ruling it out. But I would say that the burden of proof rests on the group that says the obvious answer, that a guy who had all the same results (K/BB/HR/FB/LD/GB) from batters just got unlucky, is wrong.

goody - sounds like a great road trip. curious where you hail from in Berks.

Useless facts - 20 years ago, I lived in a Civil War era house that had been moved to accomodate the construction of Forbes Field. It was a few doors down from where Babe Ruth's 714th home run landed - He hit 3 homers in one game for the Boston Braves in Pittsburgh in 1935, the last of which (no. 714) cleared the right field stands, landing on a roof near teh corner of Bouquet and Joncaire.

Last point: As I said in my first post, BABIP is most useful when used with other peripherals. Take Hamels. If he really pitched worse in 2009 than in 2008, my logic tells me that this difference would probably show up in stats like more homeruns allowed, more walks, and more line drives allowed (which, in turn, could very definitely affect his BABIP). Yet, as we know, all of these stats were more or less the same in 2009 as in 2008. Based on this information, I would tend to share your belief that he was unusually lucky in 2008 & unusually unlucky in 2009. But, then again, I'm drawing this conclusion from relatively limited information based on just a few stats. There are probably hundreds of variables which go into a pitcher's performance. There could easily be some other factor or variable, which neither of us has thought of, and which might have helped explain the difference between his 2008 & 2009 ERAs.

Brian: Well, ultimately, we more or less agree. I agree that luck does seem like the most obvious factor to explain the difference between his 2008 & 2009 ERAs. And you seem to agree that there could possibly be other factors that neither of us has thought of.

But I don't know about this burden of proof business. I'm not trying to persuade a jury or win an argument. I'm just pointing out that, just because we can't pinpoint the explanation does not mean it's got to be luck. And, as phlipper noted (and even Jack agreed), the longer a particular trend goes on, the less likely it becomes that luck is the explanation. So if Hamels winds up with a 4-ish ERA again this year, I think anyone with an open mind would have to re-evaluate the idea that last year was just a product of bad luck.

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