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Friday, July 16, 2010

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The other thing that isn't working in Werth's favor is that he was so overhyped this offseason, and the fact that Bay signed for big bucks and Werth, a pending FA, is better. Werth hit .268/.373/.506 last season with 36 homers. Very good numbers, but not superstar numbers. Werth isn't having the best defensive season either, and he has just five stolen bases.

A question for those who think that some of the Phillies runs don't really count.

Comparing them to other teams with similar or better runs per game averages, do you seriously think those teams don't also score runs when they're significantly ahead or significantly behind late in games?

One would assume that a similar percentage of all teams' runs come when the games are more or less decided. Is it really your contention that the Phillies are unique in that respect?

Or is it simply that you're consumed with negativity, and so in your mind, the Phillies only score runs when they "don't count?"

I think it's exactly starts like this that Amaro has in mind when he's sending out scouts to OAK, CLE, BAL, etc.. You can never have enough starting pitching depth. I will say, though, that Moyer's had quite a few starts like last night's this year. I mean, in the midst of this miraculous season he has the worst start of his career at Fenway (although he should never be starting games in that park. If given the chance, he'd be the worst regular Red Sox pitcher in history). This is, however, the first time he's had bad back-to-back starts since the beginning of the year.

BAP - Glad you brought a little reason to the table re Werth early this AM. Amazing how people turn on a guy who's overall been one of the team's better performers in a down year for the team offensively and will problem end up around or above his numbers last year. How many regulars will be able to say that at year's end?

I get that he hasn't his with RISP, but that shouldn't continue. I mean, no one is coming to Raul's rescue because he's been one of the team's best hitters with RISP (in fact, I think that's the first time it's been mentioned). And the response to such a statement would be - from many around here - that his success is a sample size hallucination. As it would be if I told you he was batting .316/.366/.474 and has reaching base safely in 8 of his last 9 starts. We would all have a good laugh if I mentioned that.

Howard's SLG now at its highest point since April 22nd. He's hitting .308/.371/.548 since May 2nd (65 games, 15 HR, 7.5 BB%, 26.8 K%).

I don't think you can discount runs just because the Cubs didn't use their best reliever. You could always play a game like that. I will say, though, that this lineup as it is performing now is going to have trouble finding big innings. Going by 14 day splits, here's the batting order

.225/.304
.267/.283
.314/.368
.325/.364
.235/.308
.318/.375 // .100/.250
.300/.364
.194/.242

Lots of outs in that lineup. Thankfully, this team's essential reality isn't the last 14 days (and somehow they are above .500 in that time). But isn't it time to move Ruiz up in the order? Especially against LHP? This team needs Polanco among a host of other things.

The past two starts from Moyer have been different from the rest and one has to wonder if the heat and the season are starting to take it's toll. I do wonder if it's the worst idea to slow him down to the 6th starter where he was able to fire some great innings last season. He's starting to look worn out really early the past two starts.

Werth had 12 steals in 14 attempts this time last year. He has 5 in 6 right now. His OBP is virtually identical so you have to wonder why his steals have been cut in half.

How many times has he been on first base? Earlier I thought it was because his large XBH% meant his high OBP masked a limited number of times on first. That doesn't appear to be entirely the case anymore.

2009: 373 PA, 312 AB, 55 I/BB, 4 HBP, 45 singles (104 times on first more or less)

2010: 351 PA, 298 AB, 46 I/BB, 4 HBP, 42 singles (92 times on first)

But if for 2-3 months of the year he had a limited number of singles / opportunity to steal, his SB attempts may not raise in direct proportion with the lowering of his XBH%.

Just kind of disappointed because I expected Werth to step up with the main offensive players down. He hasn't really, at least thus far.

Maybe my expectations that he and Howard would carry this team's offense on their back was unrealistic but thus far I don't think he's done that. In fact, it looks like the pressure is getting to him and making him perform worse.

I also think I'm a little disappointed with Werth because a lot of times he's looked terrible at the plate...if he made hard contact and a fielder made a great play, it would still result in an out, but somehow that would leave more of a positive impression in my mind than him looking at a called strike 3 or hacking away and missing.

Usually I try to temper my opinions with stats but right now just writing what I feel. That loss last night left a bad taste.

At what point does the rest of the season become a sprint?

As for now, I'll just say there is plenty of time left.

RE: B_A_P quote above

And the stat guys would lead you to believe RBI's don't matter...

Werth's numbers are pretty empty this year. The awful RISP numbers are killing his production.

Victorino has drastically got away from the mold of a top of the lineup guy. Polanco taking over the 2 spot will be a huge help just to get Vic down in the lineup where we won't get burned as much by a .318 OBP and hopefully his knack for getting big hits will pay off more in the 6 hole.

I am 100% behind iceman's comment in the thread above. The stupidity of Vic and Werth are finally catching up to them. For position players, probably the two worst baseball IQs i've seen on this team for awhile.

The Phils' refusal to bring up Domonic Brown immediately also makes me question whether they are 100% committed to winning this season.

We are in the kind of race right now where one win might make all the difference.

Are yet we continue to start a LF with a .246/.327/.397 line who is a terrible defender and thus far has earned -.3 WAR for the team.

Awesome.

Up and in, low and away. Jayson sits back down.

Has Werth ever been a guy who looks good at the plate or on the field? Werth looks good if you like grime, fouling off tons of pitches, or making that caveman swing that pull-crushes HR. The only guy on this team who I can think of who always looks smooth - even when he's stinking it up - is Rollins.

sophist: Never. During the hottest of streaks for Werth, he'll fall to one knee chasing an offspeed pitch, and then two pitches later stay in and take a similar pitch about 450ft to opposite field in the same AB.

My friends and I would constantly laugh and joke that Werth has the most drastic sway of looking awful to looking awesome in one single AB out of any player we've seen in a long time.

Werth has the second most RBI on the team, folks.

Heather, do you believe that the line drives that Ibanez hits are easier to turn into outs than those that everyone else in the NL hits? No one has responded to this argument. It's pretty clear that Ibanez power as measured by HR/FB is down (7.4% from 12.8% career), but what explains this?

Raul LD

career: 19.8% -- .756 BAbip on LD -- .304 BAbip
2007: 17.6% -- .723 BAbip on LD -- .316 BAbip
2010: 17.4% -- .592 BAbip on LD -- .275 BAbip

Complaining about Ibanez is how people around here let out there frustration, but - age or shortened offseason aside - no one has tried to say why he's having the year he's having. Normalizing for BAbip, he'd be a .270/.350+ hitter. I know I don't write for fangraphs - so I'm not the smartest dude around - but what explains these results?

Werth, Ibanez and Blanton to the Royals for Soria, DeJesus and a prospect

Sophist: I'm usually with you on advanced metrics and using ball-in-play data to explain what's happening--I was at the top of the list of people defending Hamels after last year for just being unlucky.

But with a guy like Ibanez, he's hitting more ground balls and less line drives, and his swing looks slower and he looks old (he is--he's 38). It's entirely possible that the balls being classified as "line drives" aren't the same type of line drives that usually fall for hits. It's entirely possible qualitatively, he's just not hitting the ball as well.

Why would the Royals want any of that?

"The Phils' refusal to bring up Domonic Brown immediately also makes me question whether they are 100% committed to winning this season"

Hilarious.

Just read the article that Amaro isn't optimistic that he'll land a starter. Probably should have figured that out when I heard they went to watch Mark Prior throw the other day. For as good as Amaro was last season, he's been that bad this season. He ruined a great rotation and instead of fixing it, he's standing pat. Truly pathetic.

Would the Phillies revisit the half-season starter with Moyer? Maybe, though his performance thusfar so far exceeds last year that they'll probably give him at least two more starts to turn it around, which pushes them past the non-waiver trading deadline. My guess is that the answer would be Happ in, Moyer to long man, since Pedro appears to be out of the picture. That still leaves the current situation of needing someone to push Blanton if he's injured or can't pull it together.

Even if the Phils come out of the break losing 5 of 7, they're still in the WC race and have a hungry fan base calling for an aggressive buyer's approach. Calling for the trade of expensive vets having bad years to teams like KC and Oakland ain't gonna cut it. What's the solution? I don't see them moving 3-4 solid prospects as they've done in year's past. I think they either go with what they have (essentially a white flag or prayer that the vets will turn it around). But if they do make a move to get more starting pitching, I don't see how they get it done without moving Happ or Kendrick. And I like both of them, but don't expect Happ to contribute much this year to anyone.

"werth is second on the team in RBIs"

that speaks to the injuries and offensive lulls of the team more than it does for Werth.

If he has 49 RBIs with his RISP numbers, just imagine how many LOBs he's racked up over that course.

why was rollins pinch hit for in the 9th last night?

'"The Phils' refusal to bring up Domonic Brown immediately also makes me question whether they are 100% committed to winning this season"

Hilarious.'

I think it would actually be pretty hilarious if the #1 prospect in baseball couldn't outperform a 246/.327/.397 slash line and play better defense to boot.

Ibanez has been laying off fastballs and looking for a breaking ball to hit for weeks. When he does swing at a fastball, it's at his eyes.

Werth has always looked awful at times but, he still gets his share of hits. He looks like he's struggling to control hte strike zone lately. It's different than his normal 'looking bad.' Not fun to watch. I don't typically wonder whether contract status is impacting performance but, with him, I'm starting to wonder.

Lots of heat directed at Vic and Werth but JRoll hasn't a lick since coming back off the DL and isn't scoring many runs at all since he is almost never on base.

Even though a player comes back from injury, it doesn't necessary mean they will be effective. JRoll clearly isn't going to run much the rest of the year nor beat outvnany INF hits. Kind of wonder if the same thing won't happen to Utley or Polanco.

There are multiple holes on this team right now. Amaro is going to have the next 2 weeks to figure out what area he wants to fill the most and potentially fill 1-2 of them. Amaro is going to make a move to bring in at least one semi well-known name. It just won't be a back up middle utility infielder type.

But with a guy like Ibanez, he's hitting more ground balls and less line drives, and his swing looks slower and he looks old (he is--he's 38).

GB rate

career: 42.4
2010: 44.5

A whopping 2% more GB. Ibanez has had seasons in the past with a 43-44% GB rate (2004 and 2005).

His LD are certainly down from his career numbers (although up from last year). Not disputing that. Would never argue his BAbip should be over .310 or .315 (as it was when his LD rate was closer to 20%). But it is down *for his LD rate*. No matter what your LD rate is, your LD BAbip should be around .700 (or more in Ibanez' case), whether you hit 15% LD or 22%. That's what's in dispute.

It's entirely possible that the balls being classified as "line drives" aren't the same type of line drives that usually fall for hits. It's entirely possible qualitatively, he's just not hitting the ball as well.

But why should that be believed in the absence of evidence? They get everyone's LD rate about right but Ibanez'?

Tony- Not sure either. Maybe Cholly just giving his guy a breather in a route. More likely is that JRoll is hurting a bit that is why Cholly pulled him.

A combo of Valdez/Castro at 2b the next month plus potentially is brutal. Worst 2b in Mlb until Utley comes back.

Sophist: You could be entirely correct that Ibanez is just getting unlucky, but when we have a 38 year old that advanced scouts says has declining bat speed that hasn't hit well in a year, and my choices are a) he's been unlucky and b) he's in a decline, I'm going to take choice B every time.

That's probably really unfair and anti-stat of me. I really hope I'm wrong and Ibanez just turns it all around. Somehow I'm just not holding my breath.

Sophist - Perhaps Ibanez's LDs have been weaker than what he used to hit due to his slower bat. I used to hear the phrase "humpback liner" all the time in baseball to describe a lazy line drive, and perhaps his line drives are more of that variety.

Who knows? All I do know is that the stats show that Raul hasn't just been "unlucky" and my eyes tell me he's pretty much cooked at this point.

huhg is dead on about ibanez - he's looking for offspeed a lot. Thats fine if you can adjust and at least foul off a fastball, but he's been looking or getting blown instead.

I am still holding on to my ibanez support, but he is making it pretty tough - this coming from a guy who backed up Kyle Kendrick since 2007.

Sophist- Ibanez bat speed has declined. He probably is a liitle unlucky on the LD this year but this a full year now of where he has been a .240-.250 avg/.750 ops guy.

It's over Johnny. At least as a everyday player. Even though Francisco should start tonight vs. Lilly I am almost certain Ibanez will be out in Lf tonight. 2 singles will out weigh the 3 Ks last night and the season numbers.

Ibanez '10 season is Jenkins '08 season in redux with even a worse contract to deal with the following year.

Heather - Ibanez probably is in decline. His HR/FB is the evidence for that, which is why even when we "correct" for BAbip his BA is still 20 points below recent norms. But he has hit the ball better than his BA indicates.

Chris - there's really no way of knowing if that's true of not. pure speculation really, but definitely a possibility.

How long is it going to take people to realize that it wasn't Amaro who decided to ship off Lee, but ownership?

My guess is that Dobbs' latest "hot streak" is pretty similar to how Ibanez has hit during the same period - yet Dobbs should get more playing time because he's on fire and Ibanez should be released outright because he's one step from the old-age home.

I could be wrong (there's always a first for everything), but my guess is all the hand-wringing about Ibanez is pretty much a reflection of confirmation bias. He's been in an extended slump and he's 38, therefore he's washed up.

Heather - what info do you have where someone has measured a decline in his bat speed? And out of curiosity - has Derek Lee's bat speed also declined? Tex's? Which other players have had a poor first half due to bat speed, and which have bad a poor first half due to an extended slump?

Thing that mystifies me a bit is that Ibanez hasn't been booed at all while Jenkins heard it a ton during the summer of '08 until he essentially lost his job full-time to Werth. After that he hardly played the rest of the year. Wonder if at some point the sane thing doesn't happen with Ibanez.

Is Joe Blanton considered a member of the 'bottom of the rotation'?

"Heather - what info do you have where someone has measured a decline in his bat speed? "

I've read articles where it states things like "scouts state Ibanez has lost bat speed". Don't have time this second but a little later if you can't find them, I'll google.

RedBurb - good call, though one would think going after Halladay (and the consequences) was Amaro's choice.

Phlipper, here's one real quick but you have to be an ESPN insider: http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb/blog?name=olney_buster&id=5062917&action=login&appRedirect=http%3a%2f%2finsider.espn.go.com%2fmlb%2fblog%3fname%3dolney_buster%26id%3d5062917

Here's the excerpt: There is a lot of buzz among scouts about what is perceived to be the diminished bat speed of Raul Ibanez, the Phillies' left fielder. "The good thing is that they can hide him in that lineup," one scout said. "He's a smart hitter, so he'll guess right enough to do some damage. But he's vulnerable now to hard stuff inside -- you should pound him with fastballs.

Phlipper- yeah ther are scouts who have said that Lee's bat speed had slowed. One of the big questions was if his rebound last year a bit was a last hurrah or whether he was entering the 'lion in winter' phase of his career. For a guy who is supposedly healthy, it looks like the later.

Age bias? 38 going on 39 this year is important. If he was 29 or 30 yeah i would be more patient. There is simply no reason Ibanez should be in the lineup at this point everyday.

Sophist: Ibanez has a career .304 BABIP with 20% LD rates and 42% GBs. Now, he's hitting 17% LDs and 44% GBs, and his flyballs are no longer clearing the fence (meaning balls that weren't counting towards his BABIP are now being counted as flyball outs).

A BABIP of .275 for Ibanez this season is low, but not ridiculously so when you consider the change in the balls he's hitting. Would you really expect anything more than a .285 BABIP given his LD rates? I recall reading that an expected BABIP is .110 + LD rate. So a LD rate of .174 would expect to result in a BABIP of .284. Not far off from where he is now.

I just think it's funny because this is NOT your typical case of Philly fans eating their own, where we make a big deal of something that really isn't. Raul has actually gotten far more support locally than nationally.

Most national analysts I've read seem to be wondering why we haven't called up Brown and viewed Ibanez as a sunk cost.

Hmmm. It seems that Ibanez has a weird habit of getting older and then, miraculously, getting younger again.


"In the 36 games ending July 28, 2007, while Ibanez was playing for the Mariners, he hit .178/.228/.296 for a .524 OPS. And yet, by the end of that year, he was on fire once again — hitting .366/.432/.655 for a 1.087 OPS with 11 home runs and 30 RBI — for the 36 games ending September 9.

He did this in Kansas City as well. For the 36 games ending May 15, 2002, Ibanez was atrocious — .193/.224/.330 for a .554 OPS. He hit 1 home run and had only 14 RBI. This cold streak was sandwiched by two of Ibanez’s hottest streaks in his career, which I discussed earlier this year — his 36 games ending August 11, 2001 (.358/.475/.663 for a 1.138 OPS) and his 36 games ending July 19, 2002 (.364/.422/.803(!!) for a 1.225 OPS)."

My sense - particularly from when I've been at games - is that Ibanez has been jumping at fastballs all year. His timing definitely seems to be off. Could be that he's compensating for lost bat speed. Then again, it could be because his timing's off. It happens. My guess is that the only way to measure bat speed is to measure bat speed. Other analysis is speculation. I would tend to trust experienced scouts - who can probably get a sense of bat speed without an actual measure - but they, also, can very well be subject to confirmation bias.

But either way, if he doesn't start picking it up, I hope the Phils put doing something on the "to-do" list, right behind propping up the back end of the rotation and getting a LH relief pitcher. What I don't get is that absolute certainty that folks have about the cause of Ibanez's slump.

It's funny that for all the talk about sample size from stat folks, many don't really seem to appreciate what that means.

It's like when after 5 seasons of unmatched HR production, Howard "only" hits 18 HRs in the first half of this year, and he's the "new Howard" with a dramatically "different approach."

MG, Ibanez, yes, is an older player but one who had a career year at 37.

Jenkins, sadly, is a better good comparison. But Jenkins 2008 wasn't parallel with Ibanez' in the way I outlined above. Jenkins 2008 BAbip on LD was pretty much in sync with his 2003-2007 norms (after some pretty absurd 2000-2002 numbers).

http://www.baseball-reference.com/play-index/split_stats.cgi?full=1&params=traj|Line%20Drives|jenkige01|bat|AB|

Otherwise, there are similarities (lowering HR/FB, decreased BAbip relative to still pretty good LD rate).

Here's something interesting I found while looking for stuff about Ibanez that I think describes the Ibanez situation:

"But it’s extremely difficult to be a productive player hitting .250 for any length of time. If a hitter can’t put a strike into play for a hit, they’ll be challenged continuously, and things get really ugly really fast. It’s the cliff (the Cliff, sometimes) that’s cause for anxiety, and that’s why you get all the hand-wringing from me about what he’s hitting, what he’s laying off, and so on. They can fight it, but even the most talented players end up like Rickey Henderson in his last seasons, where he could not turn strikes even into singles, so he’d foul balls off until he drew a fourth ball. Less talented players – and every hitter is less talented than Rickey – don’t fare nearly as well.

What I’m worried about (and I think Dave would agree here) is whether or not a couple of things have happened, in descending order of the heartburn they induce:
- his bat speed’s deteriorated enough that he can’t be an effective hitter at all
- his bat speed’s down enough that his approach is falling apart, in consistency or
- his bat speed’s lost enough that he has regular, exploitable flaws"

With full credit to Dave Cameron in this article, he could be talking about Ibanez. (http://www.ussmariner.com/2008/04/21/sexson-and-old-player-skills/)

I think that excerpt actually describes Ibanez to a T right now except I'm not sure exactly where he is on the spectrum of decline.

Yes joe, but it wasn't his call to ship out Lee once the team acquired Doc. So blame him for giving horrible contracts to Ibanez, Baez and Castro, but the team's ownership for not maximizing the assets they had when they had Lee and Doc at the same time.

What I consider to be a relatively even-handed discussion of Ibanez's year and the question of causation. Of course, it's from May - and events since then my undermine the conclusions:

Ibanez owns a career K-rate of 17.0 percent, and for each year from 2000-08, he was able to keep that number under 18.5 percent. Last year, that mark skyrocketed to 23.8 percent, a sure concern that a decline in bat speed might be at hand. That rate was even higher in the second half last year at 27.8 percent. What about this season? His K-rate is still slightly elevated at 20.0 percent, but that's certainly a more manageable pace than what he offered in the second half last year. Toss in a career-best walk rate and his current 0.88 BB/K mark would be a career-best mark and his first time over 0.58 in five years.

What's the deal with his batting average decline? Again, he's under .240 in his last 109 games, but there is reason for some optimism here. Ibanez currently has a 1.07 GB/FB rate, and that's spot on his career level (1.11). Secondly, his current LD-rate of 22 percent completely belies his .274 BABIP, which also happens to be more than .030 points below his career mark (.305). Therefore, it seems reasonable to expect an increase in batting average, potentially to the level that we witnessed last season.

Where has the power gone? As I just mentioned, his GB/FB rate is virtually unchanged, but that masks the fact that his fly ball rate is down a bit at 37.6 percent (it has been over 40 percent the past three years). The slight decline in fly balls wouldn't be much of a concern if it wasn't accompanied by a drop in his HR/F rate. Ibanez had posted a HR/FB mark between 10.9 and 16.5 percent from 2004-08. His first year in Philly, last season, that number jumped to 21.1 percent, a completely unsustainable total. Still, his 7.3 percent mark this season is well below what we have seen from Raul throughout his career. So the question becomes, is it a mere artifact of a small sample size or is this the start of the end for the aging hitter?

http://www.rototimes.com/article/2010/5/Impact-Report-Raul-Ibanez

Jack, your first paragraph restates what I wrote but rounds off the decimal points.

As for your second, that formula is a quick and dirty way to estimate expected BAbip, but I don't think it's all that exact. There's definitely a range of possible BAbip given his LD rate. I think this may be a more exact way of deciding what Ibanez' is since it's better to compare his expected BAbip with his career numbers.

LD BAbip

04: .765
05: .750
06: .739
07: .723
08: .782
09: .746
10: .592

So let's say a reasonable range for Ibanez' LD BAbip is .700-.800. He has 48 LD in play this year and 29 hits.

.700: 5 more hits
.730: 6 more hits
.750: 7 more hits
.770: 8 more hits
.790: 9 more hits

He's 73-297 overall (.246), so I think I'd put his output in the .262/.340-.276/.360 range. Still a down year so far, but this analysis coupled with the player history flipper outline above has me thinking it's not time to panic.

RedBurb is right. There's a literal bottom-line that must be achieved in order for owners to continue to draw a certain amount of money from the franchise and for executive staff to conintue to earn certain types of bonues. It's all about maximizing assets and resources.

"RedBurb is right. There's a literal bottom-line that must be achieved in order for owners to continue to draw a certain amount of money from the franchise and for executive staff to conintue to earn certain types of bonues. It's all about maximizing assets and resources. "

If what you are saying is correct, though, and if ownership said, "We want payroll to be X" then it is disingenuous to say that it was ownership's call to dump Lee when Amaro exceeded the payroll. If Amaro knew the payroll he had to work with and chose to exceed it, and ownership didn't approve, then it is still his fault.

The only way it isn't is if ownership never gave him a figure and then one day a phone call came in that said, "Dump $9 mil of payroll by tomorrow."

Amaro isn't optimistic about landing a starter because Amaro spent his money faster than a seven year old child with an allowance at a toy store.

He's made foolish, expensive, long term investments in declining talent, and the team is financially handcuffed as a result.

Don't expect an impact player to come to Philadelphia this winter either. They can't fit it in their budget and they don't have enough tradable prospects. They simply can't afford to compete.

If we win, in 2010 or 2011, we'll win with what we have now.

"He's 73-297 overall (.246), so I think I'd put his output in the .262/.340-.276/.360 range. Still a down year so far, but this analysis coupled with the player history flipper outline above has me thinking it's not time to panic. "

To the extent I'm "panicking", it's because I'm just questioning whether we have time to let Ibanez come out of a slump to achieve below average numbers anyway. How many games are we out of WC and pennant races?

It's not like we don't have a clearly better choice waiting in the wings.

Interesting spray charts on Ibanez.

Particularly the one from May to July of 2010 - which shows a lot of FB outs to left and GB outs to the right side of the infield. Clearly, that could be because he's either late on swings or jumping at pitches and overswinging - causing groundouts.

Bat speed - right?

But look at the chart from the early part of last year. Looks like pretty much the same pattern to me.

http://crashburnalley.com/2010/05/04/ibanezs-bat-is-slowing-down/

Heather - the whole point is that Ibanez isn't making contact like a .250 hitter. The only time element is, assuming he continues to make good contact, watching luck even itself out. If Ibanez were hitting .280/.370 with a 17.5% LD rate and a .360 BAbip, I'd be saying the opposite (as I was when Werth was doing something like that in May). According to these numbers, Ibanez is hitting the ball *right now* like a .260-.275/.340-.360 hitter. I mean, he is hitting well over the last 9-10 games anyway.

I'd love to bring up Brown and play him as clout suggested a few threads ago. I also think Ibanez should be rested against many LH starting pitchers. But I wouldn't say it will take time for him to make good contact while Ibanez works his way out, if this analysis is correct.

"I'd love to bring up Brown and play him as clout suggested a few threads ago."

The thing is, it seems to be pretty much a given that they won't bring Brown up if he isn't going to get a lot of ABs. Like it or not, that seems to pretty much be the team's policy, from Charles to all levels of the FO and minor league player personnel.

It isn't like this isn't a rational policy. If it were, then it might make sense to speculate if it might all of a sudden change. But it has been stated policy and there is a rationale behind it. So, it seems to me like hoping upon hope that they'll bring Brown up prior to September is needless b!tching as another way to vent frustration. No matter how much folks want to blame the FO, personnel decisions, or individual players - the Phillies struggles are really pretty simple: multiple players simply have not performed.

Sophist: I actually wrote the same theory as Jack about a week ago. A line drive is anything that isn't a grounder or lofted fly ball, but that doesn't mean all line drives are necessarily hit hard. It's not that the stat-counters count Raul's line drives differently; it's that they may well have an overly broad definition of "line drive" for ALL players. And if a guy's bat speed has slowed down, he's probably going to hit a lot more slow line drives than he used to.

Besides, we're only talking about 5 or 6 additional hits, and 0 additional homeruns (Raul only has a handful of career homeruns on LDs). So, even if your theory is entirely correct, then Raul should be hitting an empty .265 or .270, instead of an empty .246.

Not sure if Brown is actually ready to start in the big leagues. Even Jackie Robinson had bad start and Willie Mays had attrocious start. Could ruin Brown if he does have bad start. So taking out Ibanez and putting in Brown will be the better move?????? I myself would wait for September call up to see.

Phlipper: I'm not bitching the Phils are not bringing Brown up so he can sit on the bench. I'm bitching they're not bringing him up and switching him with Ibanez.

If the #1 prospect in baseball can't produce better than Ibanez has this year, this organization has problems. I happen to believe that Brown can produce better.

philiper - 2007? 2002? Ibanez's 'hot streak' is never going to come this year.

I just don't know why Cholly continues to be so pig-headed about starting him everyday. Platoon him. It hurts/embarrasses him a bit - too bad.

There is a line between being too much of a 'player's manager' and not. Cholly crossed that line last with Lidge. Luckily, it didn't really cost them because they ran away with the division after they got Lee/signed Pedro. This year they can't afford that luxury.

Look, don't get me wrong. It's not guaranteed that Brown would out-produce Ibanez right now. There's a chance, and not a tiny one, that Brown would struggle significantly at the major league level.

It's simply a question of weighing that probability against the probability that Brown DOES out-perform Ibanez. If the Phils think there's a good chance that he would, they need to bring him up and play him. It's time to make moves for this season. As Yogi Berra said, "It's getting late early."

philipper - No its not. If you have an asset (Brown) who is clearly performing very well and you have a number of OFs who continue to scuffle so badly offensively then it does make sense to bring him up and find a way to get his bat into the lineup a few times a week.

What doesn't make any sense is the 'release Ibanez' posts (that you generally almost haven't seen here). It doesn't mean though that Ibanez shouldn't be a part-time role player at this point.

It's amazing how just a few games can get people looking in another direction to find "The Big Problem" since it's not Howard anymore.

Ibanez actually hasn't been that bad this month offensively either. The only reason that people are so focused on him is because on the year his numbers are down, he hasn't done squat vs. LHP, and the Phils do have a few very tangible alternatives that much lead to an improvement in the production level out of LF.

CJ: Even people critical of Howard recognize that he's been a very positive player for the Phils this year.

You can't say the same about Ibanez.

At the least, Ibanez should be platooned against lefties.

Ibanez could stand some more bench time. He could probably be a useful pinch hitter, especially if he's matched against a pitcher who has a limited repertoire and is more predictable. I'm of the mind that it's too early to straight bench him, though. I'd like to see Francisco get some more regular PT for the time being. My opinion - Brown will come up only if Werth moves, or in the unlikely event that Victorino does.

Jack: Well, being a remarkably positive player the the Phils EVERY year hasn't helped Howard avoid some pretty scathing criticisms. But that's Beerleaguer for you!

There's no reason RIGHT NOW for Francisco to start vs. most lefties in place of Ibanez. No reason at all. That's a start. We can go from there regarding Brown depending on the results.

CJ: No reason for Francisco to start?

I assume you meant no reason NOT to start, right?

Jack: Correct. Thanks.

There's no reason RIGHT NOW not to start Francisco vs. most lefties in place of Ibanez. No reason at all. That's a start. We can go from there regarding Brown depending on the results.

Frankly, I find Victorino to be a more exasperating case than Ibanez this year. Ibanez has stunk, but at least he goes up to the plate with a plan. Vic's approach at the plate has just been hideous this year. And there's really no explanation for it. Vic is 29 and, until this year, had been a model of season-to-season consistency, with 4 straight years of a BA over .280 & an OBP right around .350.

" Ibanez's 'hot streak' is never going to come this year. "

But MG, he has the "hot streak" of his career last year - which lasted up until the point of his injury. I know that the line is that batters "loose it quickly," and certainly that can happen - but if it were true that he was on an inexorable decline, you'd think that there would be a steady trend of decline. In fact, he has leveled-off at a lower level or production.

And yes - the point would be to bring Brown up and play him enough to continue with his development - but seriously, what are the chances that will happen? If you give it virtually a 0% chance of happening - as I think most of do - then what is the point in wishing that it were so and constantly b!itching that it hasn't happened?

It seems pretty clear that the entire organization is committed to giving Ibanez more time to work things out. You could say that is just a CYA attitude - and I agree with Heather that CYA is often the MO of many organizations.

On the other hand, any organization that has as much invested in an entity as the Phils do in Ibanez would be instituting a terrible policy if they bailed before firmly establishing that something is a "sunk cost." I think it's reasonable to say that the jury is still out.

If Brown were a sure thing, then maybe it would be worth it to risk the investment in Ibanez - but Brown's ability to perform at the major league level is far from certain, and there is a potential downside that bringing him up too soon could retard his progress.

Honestly, I'd love to see them bring him up because it would be exciting to watch and this team this year has been painfully dull. But I can certainly understand the HR management rationale behind not making a move as of yet.

"Even Jackie Robinson had bad start and Willie Mays had attrocious start. Could ruin Brown if he does have bad start."

And you've cited great examples to back up your point. Those "atrocious starts" absolutely ruined Willie Mays and Jackie Robinson's career.

Please. A bad start does NOT ruin anyone's career, & it would not ruin Domonic Brown's.

"Even people critical of Howard recognize that he's been a very positive player for the Phils this year."

Do you mean Ryan Howard? "The Problem," who is "overpaid" and a potential "albatross?"

That Howard?

BAP - An empty .270/.360? Sure his HR/FB is down, but if Ibanez had a little more luck with balls in play he'd be hitting about .265/.355/.440. Look at the Phils lineup right now and tell me we'd be asking the Phils to take a .355 on base out of it. We'd be talking about Ibanez decreased HR/FB, sure, but nowhere near to the degree that his decline gets talked about now.

I guess a LF should have a higher SLG than that, but I'm not sure you can really have an empty .270/.360 in 350 PA.

Oh... almost forgot.

Jamie Moyer is Washed Up™

BAP - I don't think flipper was talking about their careers but speaking to Heather's rationale: winning now.

"There's no reason RIGHT NOW for Francisco to start vs. most lefties in place of Ibanez."

What are their career numbers against LHP?

If Francisco's are better, then I'd have to agree - except that then you're left with even lousier RH pinch-hit options late in the game.

Even if their numbers are relatively the same, I'd agree.


If Ibanez's are better, then the only way that there "is no reason" to not platoon them is if you are absolutely convinced that Ibanez's performance is due to age, and that it isn't an extended slump that he won't pull out of.

I don't think that we're at that point yet - and I think it's about 90% certain that the team isn't there yet.

Sorry for all the typos and syntax/grammar errors - but I think that anyone here that's interested can figure out what I was trying to say.

'Do you mean Ryan Howard? "The Problem," who is "overpaid" and a potential "albatross?" '

Ryan Howard: good baseball player! Asset to the team!

Ryan Howard contract: potential albatross! Paying too much guaranteed money into the mid to late 30s!

No, forget it, that's not a distinction I can grasp either.

sophist: I was actually responding to fljerry.

I get phlipper's argument that Ibanez is a better bet, going forward, than Brown. I don't get fljerry's argument that you can't call up Brown because, if he has a bad start, it might ruin him. Under that line of reasoning, you could never call up any prospect at any time.

"Please. A bad start does NOT ruin anyone's career,...."

Maybe - but I think that you could find examples where bringing up a player before he's fully prepared has retarded his development. Again, I don't necessarily buy it - but it is conventional wisdom among many baseball professionals, and it has been for a very long time.

The question is whether or not the energy behind bringing up Brown is a reflection of sheer boredom amongst fans or a level-headed analysis.

If the Queen had balls, she'd be the King.

Heather: Nice to know that you think Ryan Howard is a "good" baseball player. I think they'll likely quote you his Hall of Fame plaque (while also including something on his plaque related to the awful contract).

"Maybe - but I think that you could find examples where bringing up a player before he's fully prepared has retarded his development."

Phlipper: Serious question here,what do you think Brown still has to prove with his hitting? Defense wise, from what I've heard, he might not run the best routes to get to the ball, but isn't that a pretty minor thing? We wouldn't really be bringing him up for the defense anyway.

You're right, Jack. Because no team or fanbase have ever been wrong about a player lacking or having luck on balls in play.

OK. time for another discussion. JC Ramirez (the least talking about of the Lee trio) in Reading yesterday: 8 IP, 0 BB, 9 K. Last 3 AA starts: 22 IP, 20 K / 4 BB.

I've not read the comments, but I will say that hitting .169 with RISP is not what I expect from someone like Werth, who's supposed to be a run-producer.

phlipper: Francisco's OPS vs. LHP is 100 points higher than Ibanez's this year. It's clear he's struggling more against lefties at the moment... and since we face more RH starters than lefties, I'm still talking about giving the bulk of starts to Ibanez.

Let's get Raul hot against the starters he's more comfortable against and then see if we can work him back into a full-time role.

i think vic could go the way of aaron rowand. rowand now has the distinction of being ranked as the most over-paid cf in baseball.

"Heather: Nice to know that you think Ryan Howard is a "good" baseball player."

You're really busting me for my adjective selection? Seriously?

"OK. time for another discussion. JC Ramirez (the least talking about of the Lee trio) in Reading yesterday: 8 IP, 0 BB, 9 K. Last 3 AA starts: 22 IP, 20 K / 4 BB."

Does he profile as a future starter? What's his stuff like?

"Phlipper: Serious question here,what do you think Brown still has to prove with his hitting?"

I have no idea, Heather. I don't follow minor league baseball. But my assumption is that the baseball professionals that watch him day in and day out aren't convinced that he's ready to perform at a level that is higher than Ibanez, say, performing at a level commensurate with his statistical metrics.

The Phillies have arguably held people in the minors too long in the past, so it could be argued that it's their "corporate culture" to do so. But from what I've seen over the past few years - with the current FO personnel, I don't get the impression that they're overly conservative about bringing up prospects.

Domonic Brown could literally run his route to fly balls via cartwheel, & he'd still get there quicker than Ibanez does. Ok, maybe scratch the word "literally." But I think you get my drift.

Sophist: I was a big fan of JC Ramirez when the trade went down and, in fact, I said I thought he'd end up being the biggest part of the deal. If I recall correctly, Keith Law also liked him the best and had Ramirez just outside the top 100 prospects going into the season.

Guess I put my foot in my mouth when I said Robinson and Mays had bad starts. Yes it did not ruin them but I am sure others have been ruined by bad starts. Some who were sure can't miss. Brown had just been moved to AAA and he should stay till Sept.

"Let's get Raul hot against the starters he's more comfortable against and then see if we can work him back into a full-time role."

Certainly within reason. At least against certain lefties.

My guess is that if Ibanez doesn't maintain the level of performance he's had most recently, that will happen. If he continues to produce like he has most recently, I think it's unlikely.

Sophist: It's totally possible Ibanez is simply having bad luck, and will improve.

I just take it with a huge grain of salt given that he's 38 and scouts say his bat has slowed. To me, a giant flashing warning sign is when a guy loses power but increases his walk rate. That, to me, is an indicator that guy is near the end, and realizes that his best attribute is actually not swinging the bat at all.

But we'll see.

Juan Carlos is matching Lee mano a mano.

What is the ramification of Kendrick throwing an inning last nite? Will is start be pushed back? Don't we have 17 games straight without an off day?

jw: i'm changing my handle to this from 'thephaithful' going forward to sign up with typepad. dont ban me, hah.

Also, we should stop acting like Ibanez just had a bad first month and that since then he's been adequate. On May 9, Raul had recovered from his slow start and was hitting .253/.350/.414.

Since then, he's hit .244/.314/.393.

KK dropped his ERA a little closer to a #3 in a Phillies rotation.

Didn't Law-or someone else-have JC has the Phils #2 prospect heading into the season?

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