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Thursday, March 10, 2011

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Now that we're set at the manager position, we should look into trading Sandberg for prospects. He's blocked anyway.

From the previous thread:

"If top of the order guys are getting on base, Howard will still get fastballs."


Shawn, that is a point no one else has made yet, but it's only partly true in explaining 2010.

If you look at the stats from last season as compared to the 2 years before, there were differences, but not as dramatic as you think.

Because Rollins only played in 88 games, Vic spent the majority of his AB hitting leadoff, where in 2010 he had a .345 OBP. (It was in the other holes where, perhaps, he was focused of driving in runs, that he hacked more. Overall, his OBP fell to .327.)

Polly, who spent most of the season in the 2 holes, had an OBP of .347 in that spot.

So when Polly and Vic were 1 & 2 when Rollins was out, it looked like this:

Vic .345
Polly .347

Utley, who hit 2nd and 3rd for all but 13 PA in 2010, had an OBP of .350 in the 2 hole, and .395 in the 3 hole.

Rollins, OTOH, had his OBP GO UP from 2009 [.296] to .320, and it was .322 when he hit in the one spot.

However, when VIC hit in the 2 hole behind Jimmy, his OBP dropped to .281.

So when it was Jimmy and Vic at the top of the order it looked like this:

JRoll .322
Vic .281

(But that only happened for the 96 PA that VIc hit 2nd.)

So when Jimmy was not leading off the 1 - 3 guys looked like this:

Vic .345
Polly .347
Utley .395

When Jimmy was leading off and Polly hit 2nd, it looked like this:

Jimmy .322
Polly .345
Utley .395

Scenario #1 is certainly better, but #2 isn't awful.

So then what happened?

IMHO, take a look at Howard's (power outage), Werth's (RISP) and Ibanez (replacement level) performance early in the season, and I think that goes a LONG way to explain why the offense had prolonged slumps early in the year.

And, the biggest culprit with RISP was Jayson Werth.

RAJ, we are pleased you have come to terms with Charlie (except for maybe Heather). :)

Actually, Shawn, that analysis above is not completely accurate, because it has their BOP for the season in those spots inthe order, and not necessarily for the times during the season when the offense was slumping.


However, I stand by my conclusion that the larger reason for the offensive slump was Howard's power outage, Werth's abysmal performance with RISP, and Raul's awful 1st half.

"If top of the order guys are getting on base, Howard will still get fastballs."

According to the Stark article, Howard has seen less than 60% fastballs in every season following his historic MVP year. I'm not sure I believe the players on base would greatly improve that number.

NEPP, Sandberg took the job in LV knowing full well, or at least suspecting, that Charlie would be seeking an extension.

He'll bide his time.

CJ, agreed.

I've heard a lot of talk about the Maple Street Press's Top 10 Responsibe People for the Phillies Turnaround, but can't find it anywhere. Anyone know the order?

Gotta think Charlie is in the top 3 right?

I think I would go:

1. Dave Montgomery(payroll)
2. Jimmy Rollins
3. Charlie Manuel
4. Cole Hamels
5. Jim Thome
6. Chase Utley
7. Pat Gillick
8. Ryan Howard
9. Ed Wade/Marty Wolever(early 2000s drafting)
10. Brad Lidge

Maybe Burrel at #10, and then Halladay and Amaro as honorable mentions as definite top 10'ers if this list comes out in a few years.

awh: The Sandberg thing was a joke... harkening back to when we dealt him away the first time.

Of course, now that I think about it... Juan Samuel is on our coaching staff. Maybe Sandberg is blocked by him again!

According to mlbtr the Royals are entertaining offers for Alex Gordon.

Hmmm, should the Phils take a look?

@lorecore

Interesting idea. My top ten:
1. Pat Gillick (supposedly taught management how to spend money)
2. Ed/Mike Arbuckle/Marty (drafting)
3. Charlie
4. Montgomery/Ownership
5. Fans/CBP (packing it every night lets the team spend money to acquire top talent)
6. Bobby Abreu (not an attack on Abreu, but him leaving meant a changing of the guard. Let guys like:)
7. Jimmy Rollins (MVP and leader of this team; No one was getting him out in 2007)
8. Cole Hamels (the only person who could beat him in the 2008 playoffs was Bud Selig)
9/10. Chase Utley/Ryan Howard (homegrown stars that fans love, play the right way, with Jimmy are leaders in the clubhouse)

"Hmmm, should the Phils take a look?"

According to MLBTR, the Royals want a "prime prospect", their "asking price remains high", and they are especially looking for a good catching prospect.

So, I don't mind the Phils taking a look, but I'd like some of whatever the Royals are smoking to think Alex Gordon is worth that.

AWH~ Yes they should. It could hurt. Utley's injury is no joke. A friend of mine here at work who is from NJ and also a big phan has had a knee replacement and at one time had swelling under the kneecap. He described that pain as "hell". He's also and RN and sadi in his opinion Utley playing through that would be almost impossible. He said surgey is likely in the offing to correct the injury properly.

I meant "it couldn't hurt". Sorry.

Charlie is worth the extension as a reward, for sure, but also if he is able to bring about the hitting approaches of Rollins, Victorino and Howard. Period. He's Mr. Hitting, apparently, so let's see if he can counteract all of the success the League has been having with those three lately.

ck: Fans/CBP is a good idea. I don't know who is most responsible for CBP being built, but they are definitely top 10.

Hah, awesome that you had Bobby Abreu on your list of top 10 - but actually explained it as him leaving the Phils as his reason for being on your list. I foresee some objections.

Gordon's another lefty, but if the price is right, I'd be interested.

According to the minor league equivalency calculator, Gordon's 406 PA at AAA Omaha translate to .263/.366/.449 in Philadelphia. That's certainly an upgrade over Valdez if Polly moved to 2B.

Also, Gordon has played 3B (primary) RF, LF, 1B and one game at SS.

"so let's see if he can counteract all of the success the League has been having with those three lately."


Marv, the problem is that hitters fall into habits, and Charlie can talk and teach all he wants, but the students still have to be willing and able to make the adjustments.

Bed Beard, yes, gordon's a lefty, but he'd be replacing a lefty (Utley) in the lineup if Polly played 2B.

awh: did you know that Alex Gordon has 1641 PA in the major laegues? Why on Earth would you post his minor league numbers and try to convert into his MLB stats in Philly?!

"Marv, the problem is that hitters fall into habits, and Charlie can talk and teach all he wants, but the students still have to be willing and able to make the adjustments."

True. I would also submit that there is a middle ground. Sometimes when professional athletes have had the same coach for a long time, they need to listen to a different voice. That doesn't mean the original coach had no ability to help, it's just that familiarity bred complacency.

according to rosenthal - Royals wants catching prospect. Asking price would likely be Valle. I dont think i'd pull the trigger for a career 95 OPS+ under team control for two more years for Valle.

lorecore, as an intellectual exercise.

You have heard of those, no?

BTW, does your question mean you think that hitting in KC is the same as hitting at the 'Zen?

What the hell is a "presser"? Sounds like some made up word...

A 'prime prospect' for freaking Alex Gordon? A bum who can't hit anything but fastballs, is a defensive liability, and has below average speed.

Much rather see the Phils kick the tires on a Willie Aybar or Christian Guzman type instead of giving up a big prospect or two for a stiff like Alex Gordon.

Hell I would rather have the no-hit, above average defender player like Valdez in the lineup than a guy like Alex Gordon who is a clear defensive liability at 3B.

Two top ten lists and no Middleton? For shame. Neither of you guys gets a cigar.

krukker: a presser iser a presser conferencer forer peopler who putter extra "er"s on the ender ofer worders and namers. Gotter it?

With MG there.

If they really want to add another UT, go with Aybar.

And if they're going the trade route, they gotta use someone on the 40 to use up salary and clear space. Beyond Blanton and (and this is only in some strange bizzaro world where he has any actual value for anyone besides the Phils) Kendrick, I'm not sure who that would be.

Shawn is right that protection is a myth. But the takeaway there isn't that Howard will see fastballs because of it. It's that he will never see fastballs, unless he learns to lay off slop breaking balls.

Speaking of Sandberg, does he look like he might still be able to play second base?

krukker, a "presser" is short for a press conference.

awh: OPS+ is park adjusted - so yes if Gordon had his +1600 PA as a phillie I think he would still have an OPS+ very similar to 95. If you dont, please explain.

The intellectual exercise of trying to project a player's performance by converting 400 minor league plate appearences into a slashline in citizens bank park for a player already with 1600 PA of MLB experience is an intellectual exercise you should keep to yourself.

"Shawn is right that protection is a myth. But the takeaway there isn't that Howard will see fastballs because of it. It's that he will never see fastballs, unless he learns to lay off slop breaking balls."

Yep. Agree totally.

Is it just me, or does anyone else thing Howard's "plan" for an at-bat go something like: "Ok, I'll lay off the first pitch, regardless of location, step back, grimace, and spit on my hands. Then I'll swing at the second pitch, regardless of location, step back, grimace, and spit on my hands..."

lorecore, I guess you told me, huh?

Are you the new chief of BL police? When did JW appoint you?

In Alex Gordon's defense:

1. He absolutely raked in the minors & still raked in the minors last year;

2. He is still only 26;

3. He has had significant injuries in each of the past two seasons; and

4. In his 2 full major league seasons before he started getting injured, he put up credible numbers & clearly looked to be getting better.

He may well be a guy who can feast on minor league pitching, but can't hit major league pitching. Those guys do exist. But is he worth a flier? I'd say yes. Is he worth Sebastian Valle, a good, not great, catching prospect? I'd probably say yes.

I'm with MG... the price for Alex Gordon would be higher than he's worth... no matter what they're asking. The guy has struggled the past two seasons.

"Is he worth Sebastian Valle, a good, not great, catching prospect? I'd probably say yes."

Unfortunately, the Royals state they want a "prime prospect" for Gordon. Does Valle qualify as a prime prospect? I'd say no.

Heather: I'd say no also. But I'd also say that the Royals are dreaming if they think they're going to get a prime catching prospect for Gordon.

Heather: Yeah... that's right. That's all Ryan Howard does. Amazing he's been so historically successful despite such a jacka** approach. You've hit the nail on the head, as usual.

awh: "i guess you told me"

thanks for listening.

bap: If polanco was on his last year or if Gordon was under team control for at least 3-4 years, then I would consider. But in reality, you'd be trading a good catching prospect(3rd in 3 years) for a 95 OPS+ at 3rd base who plays poor defense as a stopgap for utley's injury - and will be a FA the same time as Polanco. I don't think I'd do it.

awh has been particularly ornery the past 2 days.

bap: You'd trade our top catching prospect for a guy who would only be a part-time player?

"Heather: I'd say no also. But I'd also say that the Royals are dreaming if they think they're going to get a prime catching prospect for Gordon."

Agreed. But I think the only way they move Gordon right now is if it's an overpay. The Royals aren't going to bring up one of their prime prospects to take over for Gordon until at least midway into the season due to service time issues.

Since Gordon's not blocking anyone right now, and getting rid of him now would be selling low....why would the Royals move him unless they're overpaid?

Of course, you are talking about Dayton Moore here, so I guess anything's possible.

krukker sounds like a made up name

"Heather: Yeah... that's right. That's all Ryan Howard does. Amazing he's been so historically successful despite such a jacka** approach. You've hit the nail on the head, as usual."

Did I really need to end that post with /sarcasm/? Evidently I did.

Can we compare the top baseball SLG guys and the %fastalls they see?

I'm willing to go out there and say Howard's FB against isn't that different then the other guys.

Just a guess though.

*than the other guys....

Finally, I will copy paste from Stark's article and let the Phillies explain:

"They know this team hit a lot of home runs," Howard said. "And that's where that decrease in fastballs comes from -- because they say, 'If they're going to beat us, they've got to beat us with small ball.'"

So if that's what those teams want to do, "I'll probably have to steal 30 [bases]," Howard joked. "Do a couple of hit-and-runs here and there. Might have to squeeze. If I have to lead off, I'll lead off. And Jimmy can bat fourth."

But that, obviously, isn't quite what the manager has in mind. And while Manuel thinks it's important that Howard be "more patient" and get "better pitches to hit," it isn't his power hitters he's concerned about. It's his "little guys" -- Rollins and Victorino.

"I think those guys saw a lot of breaking balls and changeups instead of fastballs," Manuel said. "And they're fastball hitters. And they chase those three-balls-and-one-strike changeups or two-strike breaking balls that are out of the strike zone. And I think that hurt."
------------------------
I couldn't have said it better myself.

CJ: Quite honestly, I'm not super high on Valle & I'd still bet on Gordon to have the better major league future. But I agree with you & lorecore that it wouldn't make much sense to trade our best catching prospect for a bench player who will be a free agent in 2 years. OTOH if Utley were going to miss an extended period of time, I would seriously consider making that trade.

bap: What's an extended period of time in your mind? Half the season? Would Gordon be that much better than Valdez for half a season that it'd be worth it to deal Valle?

Alex Gordon also bats left-handed and has health issues the past 2 seasons. Given you only have limited payroll and prospects to trade, there is no way I want them spent on a stiff like Gordon.

Odd the Royals said they want a catching prospect. Montero from the Yanks might be the only one out there that is rated higher than their own 'Wombley' Wil Myers. Guess they could move Myers to another position if need be.

Don't forget BAP's analysis of prospects: If they don't equal the best player in the major leagues at that position, they aren't good.

b00b analysis:

FA Aybar/Guman + prospects >>> Gordon

Gordon's whack btw.

I've heard 'protection is a myth' before, does anyone have a link to where it was proven a myth? If protection doesn't matter why doesn't Chooch get moved up with his lusty OBP?

I agree protection is overblown, but I just don't see it as a 'myth'.

"I'd like some of whatever the Royals are smoking to think Alex Gordon is worth that."

The Royals are a non-contender. They don't give a damn what he's "worth". They can price their talent as high as they want and say "take it or leave it."

lorecore, you keep pointing out Gordon's OPS+. bap has demonstrated that his performance, and thus his OPS+, was affected by injuries in '09 - '10.


Why on Earth do you keep referring to that number as though it's the Gospel truth of how well he'll perform going forward?

I think I'd rather have Chris Davis than Alex Gordon (yes I saw his declining OPS+) I saw somewhere that he was somewhat available. Probably come cheaper too. One of myriad of bullpen prospects? Either would be worth a flyer, but I wouldn't give up a top 10-ish prospect

lorecore: they already moved Wil Myers to rightfield.

cj: "would gordon be that much better than Valdez"

Dammit CJ, we were all getting along and you had to ruin it. As a middle inf Valdez has value, but if you want to move Polly to 2nd and play gordon at 3B, he is worlds ahead of Valdez! And as BAP notes, he has a huge ceiling as well. me you bap etc. all agreed that it woudnt make sense in the end, but "not being that much better than Valdez" is nowhere near my reasoning.

BB: Actually, my analysis of prospects is that I'm not too excited by a guy who posted a .298 OBP at low A.

CJ: Ok, you've convinced me. There are too many question marks & other available options who might be just as good, albeit without Gordon's upside.

jbird: ah, did not see that, would explain - thanks.

awh: your exact question: "BTW, does your question mean you think that hitting in KC is the same as hitting at the 'Zen?"

I explained I was using OPS+ which is park adjusted.

Mr. Zoomer, there are many who advocate doing exactly that - moving Chooch higher up the order.

lorecore: Last year Gordon posted an OPS+ of 84 and Valdez posted an OPS+ of 79. Valdez's glove is worlds ahead of Gordon.

Let's not pretend there's some big upgrade here. The cost to the Phils would far exceed any potential upgrade.

For Gordon, I'd give Naughton or Kennelly and maybe throw in a C prospect if necessary, but I wouldn't give up Valle or Rupp. Maybe they'd take clout's buddy Goosewurst?

I really don't think Gordon is the answer though. If Chase is confirmed to miss a chunk of time, we'll trade for someone better (Mark Ellis?). If he's going to try to play through it, we'll stick with internal options Valdez with Young/Barfield backing up.

bap: By the way... my feelings on Gordon might be affected by his position on my fantasy team a couple years ago. It was a huge disappointment.

If Gordon were under control for more than 2 years, I might see a potential benefit there.

I'd do Tuffy Goosewhatever for Gordon.

lorecore, you are very good at obfuscating and avoiding the question.

Are you a lawyer?

In any even, I would be more appropriate if you would answer the question directly.

Mister Zoomer: "Protection" is one of those things that new age stat guys have worked hard to punch holes in.

It's not as big a deal as it's been made to be in the past but it does have some validity. It's not completely useless as some would like it to be.

Should say:

In any event, it would be more appropriate...

Two things- Great news on Charlie's contract, expected, but good to see him be secure for the next three seasons.

The second thing is I wonder if they will put Polly at 2B while Utley is out? Or will they leave him at third and use Valdez and other backups at second?
Probably depends on how extended Chase's absence will be.
At least we have options, and a few weeks to explore them until the games count.
Going down to FL to see the boys next week- can't wait.


I wonder if Utley's contract is insured...whether it is or not would go a long way about knowing what the FO has to spend on a replacement if he's out long term.

Bubba: There's no reason to move Polly. Valdez is more competent at 2nd than at 3rd. And last year when Utley went down, this same discussion came up and Charlie made it clear Polly was his third baseman.

What CJ said. Polly is the better 3B than Valdez anyway and Valdez is a very good 2B.

The only way Polly moves is if Chase is out long-term and we only have a good 3B available via trade/free agency.

"there are many who advocate doing exactly that - moving Chooch higher up the order."

You mean, batting your .400-OBP catcher somewhere higher than 8th? That's just crazy talk.

What I haven't seen discussed too much around here is the impact of using Valdez regularly at 2B for Utley. If/when that occurs, what's the plan to spell Vic, or God forbid, if Vic were to also get injured?

Funny that we've seen so much "tinkering" early in ST (Valdez in OF, Vic practicing his bunts for basehits) when it appears that we'll be right back to business as usual when the season starts (Valdez at mid-infield, Rollins leading off).

I fear that the only reason to really want Gordon is if we miss Dobbs.

If KCR wants one of our catching prospects (i.e. Valle) then let them offer Aviles. It might take some dudes to complete, but that would be a deal to consider IMO.

CJ, I'm not advocating a trade for Gordon. AAMOF, I am one who's actually OK with Valdez being a temporary replacement for Utley, ass-u-ming Utley's not out for the season.

But, Gordon was once rated a top prospect, so scouts must have seen something. His performance has clearly been affected by injuries the last 2 years. He's entering his age 27 season, and he can play multiple positions.

Even if he's just a stopgap until Utley returns, does it hurt to kick the tires and see what the Royals would want?

If they did trade for him, for what the FO considered an acceptable price, who's to say he couldn't step in in a couple of years when Polly's deal is over? And, you'd have a couple of years to see if he could actually get somewhere near the potential of the past hype.

If not, you let him go.

But, if he's healthy and can perform anywhere near to what he did in '07-'08, THAT is a considerable offensive upgrade from Valdez. Defensively he's not Valdez, but he's not a middle infielder either - he's at 3B [here comes the old Helms/Dobbs-Feliz debate again] :).


Besides, if the Royals price is too high, you don't do it. If it's not, the worst that happens is he's stashed at AAA.

One of the huge issues with moving Chooch up, as I understand, is that UC is required to submit a waiver to the League Office if he desires to bat his catcher anywhere but the #8 spot. At least, that is my assumption based on the last couple seasons.

awh - Well, I for one, think protection matters somewhat, so I don't know if Chooch higher than 8th would do as well. I think he does well in knowing when to be patient hitting where it does and that fuels some of his success.

TTI - I know, I've read it other places besides here but all I've ever heard is 'it's been disproven'. I agree there is no Loch Ness Monster without proof but I don't think 'protection' is a myth of the same magnitude.

"You mean, batting your .400-OBP catcher somewhere higher than 8th? That's just crazy talk."

Doesn't the fact that Chooch's speed is somewhere between "Turtle" and "Slug" preclude him from batting leadoff? Or does the speed of your leadoff hitter not matter at all? Serious question.

"What I haven't seen discussed too much around here is the impact of using Valdez regularly at 2B for Utley."

Actually, WP, we discussed that a few threads ago.

I posted an analysis from baseball musings lineup optimizer, using 2011 projections, that ran the ass-u-med 2011 lineup with either Valdez or Utley.

The difference was approximately .27 RPG. That tranlates into about one less win every 33 games.

Still, it not the Gospel truth, just an intellectual exercise.

bap: There are laws against moving up your catcher unless you have a fill-in utility IF with an OPS+ under 70.

Gordon isn't a 3B anymore. They moved him off the position because he couldn't field it adequately. So that solves that.

Additionally, I should've qualified the "protection is a myth." Obviously there are some real effects in the 8-spot, where Chooch bats. If Howard hit 8th, he would draw a ton more walks, obviously.

awh: I'm not saying I'm completely against dealing for Gordon. But I'd only do it for Some Dudes or for Tuffy Goosewhatever.

Heather: I'd say that having a fast guy at the top of the lineup is optimal, but not absolutely essential. Pete Rose & Wade Boggs usually batted leadoff & neither was particularly fast.

I don't know if I'd bat Chooch leadoff. Vic, if he returns to career norms in OBP, would probably be the better choice. But I would definitely move Ruiz up in the order.

awh - Gordon stinks defensively at 3B and he hasn't shown any ability to hit offspeed stuff of any kind in almost 4 seasons at the MLB level.

Any team that trades more than middling 2nd-tier prospect for him is just really foolish.

If he was a good defensive player at 3B who had moderate HR power, then I agree he would be more attractive because this lineup needs sometime with double-digit power in the 7 or 8 hole.

Zoomer, Chooch has considerably better number in the 7 hole than in the 8 hole.

Career:

7th - .319/.385/.502, 331 PA (sample size alert)
8th - .243/.348/.368 1200+ PA

2010:

7th - .337/.407/.524, 209 PA
8th - .263/.398/.351, 211 PA

And Jack swoops in to save the day. Little reason to spend any time talking about Gordon if he can't pay 3rd. No way we need another 1B/LF bench player.

Moving on!

I'd bat Chooch in the 2-hole. Good average/very good OBP, doesnt strikeout. That's ideal for a #2 hitter.

Vic
Chooch
Polly
Howard
Rollins
Ibanez
BenFran
Valdez
(Pitcher)

Yeah, its unorthodox but I'd try it.

MG, calm down dude. Read my post again. I'm not advocating the trade.

Besides, one thing that hasn't been discussed is Gordon's platoon splits, which are pretty pronounced.

That alone gives me pause.

NEPP, maybe unorthodox, but a lot of teams have batted their catcher up higher in the order.

I'm not putting Chooch in their category:

Reds - Bench
Braves - McCann
Dodgers - Martin

When a guy can hit and get on base a little, why not get him as many PA as possible?

CC vs. Doc today. Should be fun.

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