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Wednesday, September 15, 2010


"Werth has been a hugely important part of this team and one of their best players"

I agree with that. But none of that changes the simply fact that time after time he has come up small with RISP. When a player absolutely sucks in that situation over an entire season, it should affect the evaluation of what kind of season he's had. It is, plain and simply, a relevant stat in evaluating Werth's season.

You know, I'm going to repost this... don't want it getting lost at the bottom of that last thread.

I just want to provide a quick probability analysis on Jayson Werth's troubles with RISP. There have been quite a few posts on here that have argued that this is simply random, and that due to a small sample size we can expect his average to balance out soon enough.

First of all, 125 (his ABs with RISP) is NOT a small sample size when it comes to independent observations.

Secondly, we can apply a simple binomial distribution to the situation: let's assume here that Werth's "true" probability of getting a hit on a given AB is .288 -- his batting average on the year. What is the probability, then, that in a randomly selected 125 ABs, he would have only 20 or fewer hits?

Using the binomial distribution, this probability is only 0.0064% (!!!). By contrast, even at just 25 hits this probability would rise to 1.7%

What this says to me is that, at 20 hits in 125 ABs with RISP, there is definitely more at play here than luck or randomness -- in fact, the odds that it is mere randomness are just 0.0064%.

It's possible that his early troubles were random, but they've become a self-fulfilling prophecy. He's obviously been doing something different with RISP than not, and the numbers prove it.

VERY excited to see the Phils play here in Seattle next June!

4-0 Nats.

GO NATS! Halladay vs. TBA tonight. How are TBA's numbers historically against the Phils?

****How are TBA's numbers historically against the Phils?****

Depends, are they no-name AAA relievers we've never seen? If so, we could be in trouble.

Jorge Sosa starts first tonight for the Marlins. It's a by committee effort tonight for them.

Charlie Wholestaff has generally mixed results against the Phils over his career.

"First of all, 125 (his ABs with RISP) is NOT a small sample size when it comes to independent observations."

I disagree.

Jorge Sosa will probably pitch one great game in his MLB career and it will probably be tonight's game. Roy will give up 2 runs and lose 2-1.

Is it fork time in Atlanta? (As in "stick a fork...,etc.)

From the last thread: I don't know much about WAR. But my question is: If someone on the Pirates were on the Rays instead, and had the same exact stats, would their WAR be way less? And if so, what is the use of the stat when comparing players?

Imagine what Werth's season would look like this year if his aveage with RISP matched his season BA. He'd probably be in the running for the MVP.

Even Werth himself noted that he's been trying to do too much in big spots, and that he needs to go to the opposite field, but when he tries to pull stuff, he gets himself out.

And he's right.

Hopefully, for the sake of the team, he figures it out this season, and starts driving in runs at the same clip he was last year.

He does that, and this team is truly unstoppable.

The ESPN Accuscore prediction (which is generally meaningless but still fun to look at) has the Phillies a slight favorite to win today - 53% to 47%. With Halladay pitching against Wholestaff, that's very surprising. Although Accuscore probably knows how the Phils have historically fared against career minor league junkballers.

Funny thing, after seeing Lidge last night, I'm starting to believe a closer ain't the most important problem on this team.

I like bap's view of our impotent offense. I'm thrilled with the wins, but God willing, when we get to the WS -- and meet the Rays or the Yanks -- damn, those guys rake! We better have lots of crooked numbers on the board to ensure our lack of LOOGYs don't come back and bite us.

Where the hell is Scott Eyre at this point? The Grand Canyon? If he starts running today, could he get ready for a couple of 1-batter/1-inning stints in the playoffs?

Phils better get out the gate next year.

Eyre would be ineligible for the postseason roster even if he could pitch.

From the last thread, and totally an aside:
It's spelled J.A. Happ (not sure if you uses the "." between initials or not, although they should be there). But it's pronounced "Jay" as per young Mr. Happ's wishes.

Re: 2011 schedule - I'm happy to see a few new teams from the AL - Rangers, Mariners, and A's. Although I'm not a fan of having so many interleague games in a season. I'm not really pro- or anti-interleague play, but would prefer it be in smaller doses. Not just because the Phillies tend to stink then, but because it seems more important to play the NLWest than the ALWest.

It will be tough to have all those final games on the road. The Phils are a good road team, thankfully. But it's still going to be tough.

cut, offense is obviously important in the postseason, but last year, the reason we lost to the Yankees is because we couldn't shut down their lineup in games 3, late in game 4 and in game 6.

They scored 8 runs in game 3, 3 runs in the 9th inning of game 4 and something 8 runs in game 6.

With our staff and back end of the bullpen, that shouldn't be a problem.

This team, as currently constructed, is in better shape to win the WS than the 2008 or 2009 versions.

Pitching and defense, pitching and defense...

Wouldn't mind seeing the Phils and the A's both trot out their 1951 uniforms in a sixty year turn back the clock series.

Old school red & white vs old school blue & white.

Atlanta is playing this afternoon before a crowd of about six.

I wish there were less interleague games and more intraleague games. I work in Houston and wish the Phils came into town more than once a year. The Phils way into the WS is by winning the NL pennant, not the interleague pennant.

Halladay is the #3 starter at the moment. Nice problem to have.

Braves won't fade, rallying now. The Phillies have to keep winning.

Drabek gets his first start tonight. Now we'll have Myers, Happ, Gonzales, Carrasco, Floyd, Monasterios and Drabek to monitor

Slocs, one run does not equal a rally.

1951 Phils & A's uniforms

1951 Philsvs A's would look something like this.

Lake Fred, agreed. However, while I think interleague play is a mistake, I don't find it to be an abomination on the level of the DH.

And if they are going to play interleague games, I'd like to see what the old pre-season City Series games looked like that I used to hear my grandfather talk about so fondly.

The '51 City Series now goes bi-coastal.

Phillies fan then & a much older Phillies fan now.

Hope we're defending WFC at the time.

I don't think it's a question of the Braves fading. The Braves are 31-27 since the AS Break, and this could easily turn into 31-28, should they lose today. They just aren't a fantastic team. A good team yes, but a WS contender, I don't think so.

While the Phils may be playing a little over their heads, as far as being 37-15 over their last 52, the Phils are simply better than the Braves, and should win the division.

For comparison's sake:

RBI differential between #4 and #5 hitters:

Yanks: -9
Red Sox: -5
Padres: -29
Cards: -32
Braves: -6
Rangers: -35
Phillies: -31

That puts Werth at the level of Nelson Cruz (with many fewer ABs than Guerrero), Rasmus, and Ludwick in RBI production relative to the #4 hitter. And Howard missed a long stretch of the season. Assuming he would have produced RBI at a similar rate during the games he missed, add @ another 10 RBI, which puts the difference between him and Werth at 41. Highest in MLB?

His AVG with RISP is a relevant measure of the quality of his season.

WAR.....what is it good for?......absolutely nothing.

4-2 Nats, end of the fourth.

Fatalloti, give you take on the Braves, are still certain that the season will go down to the last day for the Phillies, as you were suggesting yesterday?

Well at least Tim from Williamsport provided an answer. I guess that's all I'll get. Maybe when Heather comes back, she can answer. Surely someone out there can explain the use of WAR. From what I can tell, it seems it would only be useful when comparing players on the same team.

slocs: Bruce Chen's still hanging on in Kansas City. Got a nice little Kyle Kendrick'esque line: 9-7, 4.64ERA.

Altho the real story out of the KC is in their bullpen - Robinson Tejeda has been very effective setting up Soria this year.

Excuse me, it's now top of the 6th.

****Surely someone out there can explain the use of WAR. From what I can tell, it seems it would only be useful when comparing players on the same team.****

"replacement player" is a baseline. It is simply the MLB average across the board regardless of team. Thus, Player X has a WAR of 3.0, it means he's worth 3 more wins to a team than the average replacement player. If Player Y (on a different team) has a WAR of 3.5 it simply means that if he were to replace a replacement level player on a roster, he'd be worth 3.5 wins more than that "replacement player". Team affiliation doesnt matter. "Replacement Player" is simply the baseline of replacement level performance for that season of baseball (as determined by their funky algorithym). Player X is worth 3 wins regardless of what team he's on.

Spitz, my point was in reference to the rotation, and I think that last series will have significance to the who wins the division, ie, I doubt the Phils going into that series with a 4 game lead, but when I wrote that, I also expected the Braves to beat the Nats at least 2 of 3 times, and I didn't think the Phils would sweep the Marlins (both appear to be incorrect now).

Also, even if we have the division olocked up going into that last series, the #1 seed in the league will likely still be up for grabs. I do think that last series will have significance, and in at least 1 or 2 of those games, the Phillies will have to put out their best guys to win it.

Also, I was counteracting the thought that the Braves need to fade and "choke" for us to run away with the division. The Braves are still a tough team, and will give us fits the 6 times they play us. I look forward to those series.

quincy: WAR is not dependent on the team you play for, though you will find different values on BP and Fangraphs. If Roy Halladay has been worth 6.5 WAR this season, the same would hold true if he played for the Pirates.

quincy: WAR is based off of a players' individual performance relative to a replacement level player.

It doesnt factor in if he bats with basesloaded all the time or if he has a strong/weak backup that could replace him.

Whatever his performance is over a given period of time, you compare to what a replacement player would have done and determine the amount of "runs" the player created. Every extra 10 runs is considered 1 point of WAR.

It doesnt factor in run support or line up protection, just individual peformance.

Tim, best post of the day.

Ooooh, WAR, huh!
Good God, y'all!
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing!

It's an endless source of amusement to see what I actually write, and what my words turn out to be after going through the clout translating machine. The latest example:

What I actually wrote: "There's no such thing as a 134 OPS+ player who isn't a huge asset to his team. But, in the year 2010, anyone who has as much faith in Werth with RISP as he would with any other 134 OPS+ player, etc."

What I wrote, after it had gone through the clout translating machine: "RISP is the single most important offensive stat. It trumps OPS+."

Thanks for the response. I guess there's just something in the algorithm I'd disagree with then. Clearly I don't know enough about it. I just don't see how CL can be worth more wins to a team than Halladay based on their other stats. Same goes for Paul Maholm vs. Matt Garza.

I'm tired of interleague play, but I don't want more games against the Astros!

****What I wrote, after it had gone through the clout translating machine: "RISP is the single most important offensive stat. It trumps OPS+."****

If I had some free time (as you can tell by my posting here, I'm swamped), I'd develop a clout-translater so I could pre-translate all of our posts into how clout will misconstrue them to support his arguments.

"Wow, Hamel's pitch count is a bit high for the 4th inning"


"Hamels is the worst pitcher in the history of the franchise, they should non-tender him in the off-season!!!"

etc etc

Doesn't matter how many times someone makes the WAR - what is it good for? joke, I still chuckle every time.

Edwin Starr freaking rules.

awh: Mendez is a AAA journeyman who lasted only 4.1 innings, threw more balls than strikes, and walked 5 hitters. If you think his performance last night qualified as good pitching, then there would literally never be a game in which the Phillies' offense gets shut down & you attribute it to bad hitting, as opposed to good pitching.

"the clout translating machine"

BAP, BL Phrase of the Day! Good going!

NEPP: You also need to add a reference to being an "emotional poster"

Unfortunately, the Nats' offense has ground to a halt & the Braves are threatening literally every inning. I doubt this 2-run lead will hold.

Bed Beard, I understand your apprehension about more games with the Astros, but, to paraphrase, clout; our poor performance against the Astros is due to too small a sample size. If we played them more, our record would revert to more of our norms. Since we're behind right now, that means we'd put a whooping on Wade's ex-Phillies.

is there a metric that takes into account the value of a pitcher who is able to consistently pitch deep into games?

for instance, let's say you were comparing halladay's numbers with those of another starting pitcher in 2010. let's assume that for both pitchers, their peripherals are about the same, but the other pitcher "only" pitched about 200 innings and averaged somewhere between 6 and 7 seven innings a start. by most metrics, such a pitcher would appear to have similar value to halladay, yet halladay's ability to consistently pitch very deep into games and finish them is an absolutely crucial and rare ability that separates him from other elite pitchers.

again, just wondering is there is a stat that takes that ability into account.

BAP - except its David Ross up to bat most of the time when the Braves are threatening, and he stinks.

If we played the Astros an extra 6 times a year, as opposed to our normal interleague schedule, the 5 extra losses we'd get from the Astros would just be replacing the obligatory 5 extra losses we get from playing the Red Sox every year.

me and my cadre of philadelphia transplants can not wait for the phils to come to seattle next season! :)

safeco is a beautiful ballpark, no match for CBP, but nice nevertheless -- it's too bad this town has no passion for sports (unless a team is way out in first place)

Spitz: Thankfully, that's true. Ross & Alex Gonzalez, who also stinks. Dumb, dumb trade that the Braves made.

BAP- hopefully that prediction will turn out like pretty much every other prediction you make.

I've ragged on Cole Hamels long enough. It is time I issue him a formal apology.

Sophist -- tongue was firmly in cheek with Scott Eyre soliloquy. I just wish he'd have given the Phils 1 more shot in 2010.

Surely an offer was made for his services in 2010. His November elbow surgery went well. As late as March, he wondered aloud about returning to the bigs.

Did the Phil's insult him that badly? Was he offered a minor league assignment? He had a 1.50 ERA in 42 games in 2009. Boy oh boy – if healthy -- would he look good today.

Ex-Phillies pitcher "Jay" Happ is crapping in his pants in Houston in the first inning.

The Braves are hitting with RISP like the Phillies did last night.

Woot, Braves had a gift double by major league a-hole Nyjer Morgan (lost a pop up in the sun) and no outs and didn't score.

This Eyre thing has already been rehearsed. Eyre himself said in a report that he probably wasn't coming back. Offering him a minor league deal only made the decision easier for him.

Eyre threw all of 44 IP for the Phils in his time here and was coming off surgery. And was up there in years.

Good read linked below. If I understand it correctly, it basically strikes a middle ground between "Werth's RISP numbers are meaningless" and "Werth's RISP numbers are meaningful"

Warning: Article doesn't mention Werth at all and is a Sabermetric Blog. Reading it or even clicking on the link may result in being called a "nerd".

The Fightins have a nice screen cap of the attendance in Atlanta today. If the Braves make the playoffs, I don't even think they'll sell out those games.

"Braves won't fade, rallying now. The Phillies have to keep winning."

Braves have been fading for awhile, and they will continue to fade.

Ryan Zimmerman hits 6th in the Nats lineup? Am I missing something?

The Nats radio announcers are pretty good.

Zim up w/ bases loaded n 2 out against lefty Ventners...

Spitz: You are missing something. He's hitting 4th. The pitcher is now batting in the 7-spot.

Take a pitch will ya..geeze

Zimmerman chokes big time there.

Thanks JR. Got confused with how it was reshuffled on gamecast

If you're going to swing at the first pitch, you'd better come up big.

Freddie Freeman is the Braves pinch runner. Don't know anything about the guy, but thats a great name for a base stealer.

We don't need the Braves to choke or lay-down.

If the Braves lose today, they will be 31-28 since the AS Break, which is a .525 winning percentage, or rougly, an 85 win team over the course of a 162 season.

In other words, they've been playing at about the same pace that they were last year, when we took the division from them by a good margin.

The Phillies just need the Braves to keep playing like they have been over the course of the last ~60 games.

Shouldn't be too much to ask for.

Braves down to 7-8-9 in order to rally or they lose . ...

Greg S.--

Nice link. The thing with Werth is that the difference between the RISP numbers and what we're assuming as the Bayesian "prior" probability (.288 hitter) is so large that there is only a .06% chance that ALL of that difference is due to randomness.

Then when we apply some common sense here, we, as baseball fans (and many as former players), can understand that RISP situations can be more stressful than other situations, and it is possible that a batter could change his approach in such situations. RISP is not completely unrelated, as "days when the Dow ends in an even number" is.

We don't know how much the difference between the .288 and the .160 is due to luck, but the difference is VERY significant statistically, and it lends a lot of support to those who say that Werth is basically a different hitter when he's hitting with RISP.

OP: is that a Road Warrior reference?

Lincoln: I'd prefer the 1915 NL Champion Phils versus the 1913 or 14 Philadelphia Athletic Club jerseys. But that's just my opinion.

Tell me how to imbed a pic in the forum, and I'll show you the unies.

Fatalotti, in other words, as clout would say, the Braves are reverting to their norm.

bap, what sarcastically I wrote was:

"Last I checked he only gave up 2 ER. I guess he wasn't making his pitches when it counted"

What you wrote above does not contradict that. It is both possible for a pitcher to toss a lousy game yet "make a good pitch" when he must.

Now, if you want to accuse the Phillies hitters of not trying to the best of their ability - go ahead. My take is that an extremely mediocre pitcher did not pitch well against them, yet actually made decent pitches in timely situations.

He did actually throw 42 strikes. Why is it, in your mind, impossible for him to have thrown a good pitch in a key situation? Or, is it all the Phillies' fault?

BTW--I agree with Lincoln. The Phils have played the A's a lot, given that they are a left coast team. The entire series begs for a throwback jersey day, maybe a throwback jersey series.

Sifl, nice post. Not only could a batter change his approach with RISP, the pitcher is more likely to "bear down" in these situations, so the quality of pitching could change. Either way, as you say, the different between 288 and 160 can not be explained by randomness.

bap, here's a different way to look at it:

The Phils were 0 - 10 with RISP.

A "normal" expectation for them to, at best, get a hit in that situation is what, 3 times? 3 for 10?

So, in order to stifle the Phillies, Mendez had to make exactly 3 pitches out of 85 that resulted in an out shich "should" not have otherwise?

Improbable given the way he was pitching overall? Sure. Impossible? No.

1 out to go, and then the Braves are down 2.5 in the division.

It's happening faster than I thought.

Maybe this is just imaginary on my part, and I don't claim to be a hitting instructor. Whenever I look at Werth, he looks like he's standing too far from the plate - it appears different than in the past. Then he often seems to take a couple of strikes on the outside of the plate before K'ing. Could this be a part of his problem w/ RISP? He hit a lot of his HR's last year to right center.

Wow, Braves lose.


Actually, research shows that RISP gives batters an advantage -- that their BA and OPS are higher in those situations.

Something's up with Werth. Nobody is saying they expect the .160 number to continue, but it's also more than just a backwards-looking "he hasn't been good in RISP situations". He is essentially a much worse hitter in RISP situations, and 125 at-bats can provide a very significant support of this hypothesis.

2.5 Games up!

All the Braves need to do is exactly what they are doing now. Fading.

Phils 2 1/2 up on the sinking Braves!

****Actually, research shows that RISP gives batters an advantage -- that their BA and OPS are higher in those situations.****

That's why I always toss RISP numbers into people's faces when they try to tell me that Dunn is just as good as Howard.

sifl: So you would predict continued failure by Werth with RISP? If that's not what you're predicting, then your post is meaningless. Everyone already knows he's been bad with RISP this season.

Braves lose!

Phils up 2-1/2.

Hopefully the Phils and Halladay can apply more pressure tonight.



now go back to being yourself for this coming wkd..

c13: he's pulling off big time with 2 strikes, head is turned, legs are twisted, he looks fundamentally lost. Much more agressive with no one on base.

Braves are sh!tting the bed in September ...

Just win, baby. WIN! tonight Roy Boy with a solid performance could put us +3 w/15 to go

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