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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

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NEPP: Rollins didn't completely collapse as a hitter this offseason. He collapsed as a hitter after 2008. Did you watch 2009 and 2010? It's now 2+ years of below-average hitting.

I'd love to see him bounce back too. But you realize it's not exactly a small sample size we're dealing with here. In the time since Jimmy was a good hitter, Jayson Werth went from part-time player to $126 million-dollar player. It's been a long time, in baseball terms, since Jimmy Rollins was a "good" hitter. Nothing is certain, obviously, but there's more than a small chance that ship has simply sailed.

The Phillies were fortunate to have 2, maybe 3, decent options for replacing a DLed Romero. Instead they went w/ Zagurski.

Also, kudos to JW for finding a pic of the fat kid from 'The Sandlot' in a Phillies hat.

I really like Bastardo. Ultimately, Bastardo is going to walk to many hitters to be an elite lefty, but the strike out rate is nice.

Injuries are always a concern too, but all in all I expect good results going forward.

according to Murphy, he supposes its possible Zagurski is here for the Fielder role for the rest of the series and Stutes could be the guy later...

Hamm: That would make sense. The Padres apparently are almost entirely right-handed, so I could see using Zagurski the next two nights and then Stutes for the west coast trip.

****NEPP: He didn't completely collapse as a hitter this offseason. He collapsed as a hitter after 2008. Did you watch 2009 and 2010? It's now 2+ years of below-average hitting.****

And yet he still hit remarkably well with RISP and men on base despite this collapse.

I have no problem with the Moronocracy bashing KK for his work last night. He was awful and deserves to be bashed, even if it has been 10 days since his last appearance.

But this double-digit IQ crowd loses me when they make stuff up. KK was one of the better 5th starters in baseball last season, not one of the worst as a couple of the chief morons stated.

I do realize that some folks like Jack, Andy etc. etc. have a lot invested in his failure, having predicted 3 years ago that he couldn't possibly have a career in MLB, but facts are facts.

The guy is your classic weak stuff, rotation back-ender who can keep you in the game most nights and eats innings.

If you can upgrade, you do and the Phils did this past offseason, dispatching KK to the pen. As for how that works out, it's too early to say. He's thrown 6 innings so far and even the bottom end of the Moronocracy knows that's not enough to draw conclusions.

I think Bastardo was the 3rd most important reliever on this team when it started. A distant 3rd, but 3rd.

Saying KK was one of the best 5th starters last year is damning with faint praise. A lot of the so-called 5th starters from other teams were guys who were called up from AAA as an injury fill-in, guys who failed miserably and were optioned back to the minors, etc.

It's like the tallest guy in a roomful of midgets.

Sloth loved Chunk. Will Cholly love Zagurski?

Jack may be as premature on J-Roll as he was on Howard when he declared after the 2008 season that 3 years of OPS+ decline showed that he would be an early washup and that we couldn't expect his OPS+ to climb again.

J-Roll had 5 very good years and then, in 2009, a very bad one. Last year, he was hurt and missed nearly half a season. To me, that's a toss-out. Let's see how he does in his next full, healthy season before we also declared him finished.

Heather: At least midgets are amusing. I glean no such pleasure from watching Kendrick pitch.

Heather: "It's like the tallest guy in a roomful of midgets."

Indeed, but he's still the tallest guy.

Matt Gelb (via Twitter): "John Mayberry gets the start in RF, batting sixth."

Zags' problem, like Bastardo's, is inconsistent command and control. Bastardo, so far, seems to have turned a corner.

Let's see if Zags can.

Is there really any doubt that KK will be running a small chain of car washes in western Washington 3 years from now?

Gtown: So Mayberry is starting for Francisco, not Ibanez?

Interesting.

Praise God, Mayberry gets a chance to face a LHP.

curt: I'll take the over. Especially with you betting.

I guess that news means I can discharge the RFD prayer circle.

Midget League Baseball? Now thats an MLB that everyone would watch...

The sitdown could harm the Beerleaguer consensus that BenFran will hit 20+ HRs and drive in 80 this season.

Heather, you mean to say, "the tallest midget in the room"...something like that.

Cipper: Only if Randy Johnson were throwing them.

I'd guess RFD will get another shot at a lefty tomorrow. It would make sense for Charlie to rest Raul tomorrow, wouldn't it? Please? Anyone?

clout - What? You're betting on a large chain? Even in Walla Walla, $2.5 million doesn't go that far.

John Mayberry gets the start in RF, batting sixth.

Starting Mayberry for Francisco makes sense. Cholly is just going with Ibanez's career numbers vs Wolf (5-16).

I am positive Ibanez will start tomorrow however which will make little sense especially if Ibanez has another 0fer tonight or a dink single.

Jack: Yeah, isn't it wonderful that we're gonna get to see more of Raul Ibañez at the plate AND in the field? I know I'm pumped!

MG: You're killing me man. He's gotta sit Raul tomorrow. He's just gotta.

So Manuel sits Francisco but not Ibanez against a LHP. Okay.

Ibanez was coming off the hernia thing last year, okay, maybe we give him a pass for that, maybe he's not as ancient as he looks out there.

What's his excuse this year? And how long 'til Manuel recognizes he needs some time out of the lineup? He isn't even taking him out for defense late in ballgames.

... how long 'til Manuel recognizes he needs some time out of the lineup? He isn't even taking him out for defense late in ballgames.

Indeed. Lost amidst all of the wailing & gnashing RE: Kyle Kendrick, the Great Untold Story of last night's game is Charlie's failure to make any one of several moves which might have proved the small difference between winning & losing.

Ibanez is an IRONMAN!!!

Remainder of tonight's lineup as per the usual: Victorino CF, Polanco 3B, Rollins SS, Howard 1B, Ibañez LF, Mayberry RF, Ruiz C, Valdez 2B, Halladay P

Real question is who has the larger head, Polonco or Zagurski

NEPP:

Rollins better numbers against RISP are probably because those are worse pitchers. He never bats in the first inning with RISP. When he has RISP, it is because the bottom of the order has just succeeded, meaning the pitcher is likely substandard. Plus, those differences are likely not statistically significant even without the adjustments you need to make for pitching quality.

Also, the numbers are reversed so far in 2011. So, it isn't working.

***Plus, those differences are likely not statistically significant even without the adjustments you need to make for pitching quality. ***

A full career split over nearly 7000 plate appearances isn't statistically significant? Or the split over the last two full seasons of 1,119 PAs? Really?

Its been 2 weeks so far...why dont we give it a shot a bit longer to see if its working.

I guess I'll be everyone's moron but I absolutely did not foresee Kyle Kendrick's terrible inning last night. I thought Charlie was smart at that point bringing in a guy who could eat innings and still keeping one reliever (Baez) in hand if needed in a later inning. I didn't know when the Phillies might score again and I thought we had to transition out of the one pitcher/one inning cycle. I think Kendrick's throwing error was the catalyst for the total unraveling of that game.
I also always feel less bummed out from a loss like last evening than one where we blow a lead in the ninth inning or in extra innings.

I just looked at the thumbnail for this post and I am beside myself wondering how the Puking Kid from CBP get a spot on the Phillies?

Nothing is right with the world.

Cholly's rationale:

Ibanez is 5-16 vs. Wolf with a HR. Francisco is 1-3 with single.

Francisco is ice cold:

7 days: 3-21 (.143) with 3 singles

Ibanez is only semi-frozen:

7 days: 5-25 (.200) with 5 singles.

MG: Not entirely ignorant. But what's the rationale for batting Ibañez 5th?

I don't really see why people are exercised over the choice of Zagurski over Stutes. It's not like Stutes has the more accomplished minor league record of the 2; in fact, it's actually the other way around.

Stutes may be more of a novelty, since we've never seen him in the majors before. But he's no more likely to succeed than Zags is. In fact, he's probably less likely since Zagurski has more major league experience & will be pitching almost exclusively to lefties.

***But what's the rationale for batting Ibañez 5th?***

He plays LF...duh!

Ibanez' throw late in the game from shallow Left field to SS was one of the most pathetic displays of arm strength I have ever seen.

I do like seeing what Mayberry can do. Plus it gives Ben Fran a chance to sit and get his head together. Seemed like he was hot til we played Washington. Maybe the site of Caveman shook his psyche.

"I don't really see why people are exercised over the choice of Zagurski over Stutes. It's not like Stutes has the more accomplished minor league record of the 2; in fact, it's actually the other way around.

Stutes may be more of a novelty, since we've never seen him in the majors before. But he's no more likely to succeed than Zags is. In fact, he's probably less likely since Zagurski has more major league experience & will be pitching almost exclusively to lefties."

Eh.

We already know that Zagurski sucks...Stutes hasn't had the chance to shatter our dreams yet.

The difference is .048 points of wOBA in 1379 PAs with RISP (3937 with Bases Empty). In the last few seasons its about 280 and 850 respectively. The error on the RISP wOBA over the last three seasons is .028. Over the carrer, its 0.013 (the Bases Empty also has an error of 0.008). So, it's borderline significant over the career. That's with no adjustments for pitcher quality and number of times seeing the pitcher in the game. I doubt the significance would survive those adjustments.

The 2011 comment was a cheap shot. So, I'll withdraw it. But, if that holds true at the end of the season (and I take it you are predicting RISP > Bases Empty at the end of 2011, otherwise why make the point) then you would concede the point?

On the idea that Zagurski is only up for a few days before Stutes comes up to face a right-handed dominated Padres team, I could be wrong but I think Zagurski's minor league splits show him as far more effective against right-handed batters than lefties.

The Padres are hitting .213 as a team, though, so anyone who can't get them out should get sent down.

2011 Padres have a chance to be historically bad this year on offense. They have scored only 54 runs through their first 16 games (3.38 R/G) with a line of .213/.299/.318.

Worst run total by any MLB the past 10 years was the '03 Dodgers with 574. My bet is the Padres finish below 550.

If Stutes were to be recalled, as posters here are clamoring for, how long would it take for those same posters to turn on him?

One game? My guess: One batter.

clout: That would be one batter longer than it has taken them to turn on Zagurski.

First warmup pitch that doesn't look like a strike, Stutes is "outta here".

b_a_p: I understand your reasoning, but I'd rather have a chance to view the probable failure I've not yet seen as opposed to the probable failure I've already experienced.

sorry, missed the new thread with this:

Awful lot of hand-wringing over the lack of offensive options here, but the organization made a choice to spend its free agent money on Lee rather than Werth. It was and remains a really tough call and we'll see if they made the right decision.

I am, however all for platoons, or any other creative solution, to maximize what limited offensive options are available. The more fundamental issue is the franchise's ability to develop hitters. It seems most of the more advanced hitting prospects are all-bat, no-field guys. Domonic Brown HAS to succeed. I don't think we can emphasize enough how crucial he is to this franchise's ability to stay relevant over the coming years. Unless Leandro Castro, Jiwan James and Joe Savery (if he can move to OF) rocket through the system and provide legitimate options. The one thing I'm 100% positive of is that almost all of our position players are over 30 and not getting younger and without steroids or HGH, that's a recipe for declining production, healthy or not.

The words "creative solution" are not in Uncle Cholly's vocabulary, I'm afraid. A creative solution would be platooning Orr and Valdez, Ibanez and Mayberry, and Gload and Francisco on a regular basis, and putting Rollins way down in the lineup. Hell, I think it wouldn't hurt to sit Rollins some days and play Orr at 2nd and Valdez at short--do either of them really hit worse than J-Roll? I think juggling the lineup on a day-to-day basis would make Cholly's head explode, though--he's more comfortable with penciling in the same old line-up of has-beens (Rollins, Ibanez), never-weres (Francisco, Valdez), and streaky stars (Howard) out there and hope things somehow work differently than they did last game (or last year)--which comes pretty close to the clinical description of insanity.

I don't mean to sound like I'm drinking the Mike Zagurski kool aid, because I've never really been a big fan of him & I do think it's more probable than not that this will turn out like his previous call-ups.

Nonetheless, it does bear mention that it's pretty common for a reliever to require 2 or 3 major league call-ups before he finds his sea legs. Look at Bastardo, who mostly struggled with his command in both 2009 & 2010, but now seems to be settling in as a solid reliever. Or look at Chad Durbin, who was shuttled back and forth between the majors and minors for like 5 or 6 years, before finally having a decent season in 2007. Or former Phillie AAAA reliever, Brian Sanches, who was flat-out terrible in major league cameos with the team in 2006 & 2007, but is now a more-than-respectable reliever for the Marlins.

I'm not saying Zagurski is going to repeat their success. In fact, if I were betting, I'd bet against it. But he has more than earned the right to get another shot & it's even possible he might pleasantly surprise us.

LarryinLA: "When he has RISP, it is because the bottom of the order has just succeeded, meaning the pitcher is likely substandard."

This is one of those statements that sounds right, but probably isn't.

I'll like to see someone like Klaus or the long lost sophist weigh in on this, but I'll throw out a couple of questions:

1. Does the bottom of the order only succeed against substandard pitchers?

2. After the first inning, the ability to come up with RISP becomes random. So wouldn't the assumptions you're making about Rollins apply to everyone in the lineup at that point?

AT: "I think it wouldn't hurt to sit Rollins some days and play Orr at 2nd and Valdez at short--do either of them really hit worse than J-Roll?"

Yes. Yes, they do.

And I suppose Werth's struggles with RISP last year was due to facing Top of the Rotations only in RISP moments.

clout, regarding KK, he has proven, despite the naysayers, that he can be a reliable 5th starter. Heather's criticism of your point rings hollow, because it only serves to bolster your point: compared to the dreck that gets run out on the mound by other teams, he compares very favorably - regardless of whether that dreck consists of (as Heather posted) "...guys who were called up from AAA as an injury fill-in, guys who failed miserably and were optioned back to the minors, etc."

Seriously, isn't that the point?

Still, that said, as I posted last night, KK may be better suited to a starter's role than in the bullpen. When pitchers are in the pen, their results tend to get amplified. To wit, Blanton gave up 2 runs in the 3rd inning last night. Had he been in KK's role and given up those 2 runs in the 12th, the reslut of the game would have been the same.

clout, you bring up an important point. where is sophist?

clout: Exxon has 377 AB in a Phillies uniform. Here are his totals as compared to those of J-Roll's most recent 377 AB:

Rollins - 377 AB, 90 H, 7 HR, 38 RBI, 38 BB, 19 SB, 25 XBH, 131 TB, .239 BA

Valdez - 377 AB, 100 H, 4 HR, 40 RBI, 24 BB, 8 SB, 26 XBH, 137 TB, .265 BA

Clearly J-Roll has the edge in Walks & Stolen Bases, but overall Valdez has been equal or better than Rollins offensively.

"The best scenario" would be that at least one of the kids develops into something special and JC never has to throw another pitch for the phillies again

clout:

Responding to: "When he has RISP, it is because the bottom of the order has just succeeded, meaning the pitcher is likely substandard."

You said, "Does the bottom of the order only succeed against substandard pitchers?"

I overstated, I should have said "more likely to be" rather than "likely," but that's a far cry from "only." It doesn't require that RISP situations only occur against bad pitchers, just that the pitching faced in these situations is worse on average. Also, yes, this would apply to everyone, I will predict that most hitters have better RISP numbers than Bases Empty numbers due to the pitching quality effect. Bad pitchers really do have more batters faced with RISP than good ones. Giving up base runners and allowing them to advance is among the things that make them bad!

I am not sure where to verify this, though. Also nte, this is not the same thing as looking at overall MLB numbers in RISP v. Bases Empty, since the population of hitters might be different for RISP v. Empty. That said, I do not have proof of this. I still think it's more likely than Rollins actually being better with RISP, though. Especially so much better that you would move him around in the lineup as a result.

I agree with you, BAP. I'm not that worried about Zagurski right now. In addition - has Romero really seemed that effective? Seems to me that when he gets brought in, the ship comes close to sinking pretty consistently. Maybe the numbers don't show it, but that guy looks like complete toast. Might as well take advantage of this early DL stint to see how Zags has improved.

Things could be worse - Madson hasn't kicked anything yet and Victorino has yet to strain his calf.

LarryinLA's statement about Rollins only hitting with runners on against poor pitching wins the post of the year. By this logic any at bat with men on is against inferior pitching because that pitcher let men get on. Also, any hit by anyone is against inferior pitching because the pitcher gave up the hit. I think we have reached "how tall is your thirdbaseman?" level brilliance here. Please go on.

On pace for 110 win season...and i hate everything larry in la has to say!

Good news:

Jim Salisbury (via Twitter) - "Roy Oswalt bounced back well from Monday's bullpen session. He flashed a thumbs-up when asked if he was a go for Thursday."

Well, we're at about a tenth of the season now and so far, I'd rather see Orr up against a righty or Valdez up against a lefty or a righty than JRoll.

When he was hitting over .300, it was about the most hollow .300 a three hole hitter has ever had. And now that his swing is beyond awful, he's becoming a joke at the plate.

I fully expect that Rollins will be better than this with a healthy entire season. But right now, it wouldn't hurt to play Valdez at short and Orr at second on occaions, especially against a though righty because Rollins' swing seems a bit better from the right side. Though even that hasn't been great.

Bad News:

Jim Salesbry (via Twatter) - "Roy Oswalt will miss his next start on Thursday after straining a thumb in an age-related over exertion of his thumb incident while trying to express his readiness to go on Thursday"

Wes Chamberlain - Good one. Even better than NEPP's earlier about offering Mini-Mart back to Washington and signing the Gnome to play LF.

gobaystars!:

clout strikes again by completely distorting the original statement. I never said only (check my post), I said likely. That is the pitcher with RISP is, on average, worse than the pitcher with the bases empty. It is possible this is wrong, but I can't see how it could be. The reason bad pitchers are bad is they give up more baserunners, and therefore, more baserunners in scoring position, who then go on to score. They also give up more HRs. Thus, more runs. Thus, the average at bat with RISP is against a worse pitcher than the average at-bat against with no one on.

Wes - Bad one. I'm heading for the game in SD that Oswalt is supposed to pitch. The only saving grace is that I know it will not be Blanton in any case.

I'd rather see a minor league callup than watch Big Joe pitch. And now that the Blanton is off my back, I may stay to watch Friday's game as well. Oswalt and Hamels if everything breaks right. Nice. Thank you rainout.

LarryinLA, welcome to the club. You've been clouted!!!

From the rich archives of my 8ss I pull the useful tidbit that as a lead-off man Rollins averaged 3.n plate appearances against the starting pitcher. During the same period Victorino averaged 3.[slightly less than n]. Additionally, the two players averaged some number between 1 and 3 plate appearances against a random assortment of relievers, whose quality varied.

Conclusion: batters up and down the lineup can expect to face roughly equal levels of pitching quality over the course of a season.

Oh come on asksmith, you are a man of science. Surely you don't beleive in the beerleauger jinx.

Roy will be fine regardless of what I or anyone else says about him on here.

Larry. No. Thats not what u said. Reread ur own post. U said JRo only had success w/risp against inferior pitching. And u explained their inferiority as allowing the bottom of the lineup to reach base...and i hated every word of it!

There is probably a kernel of truth to what Larry says, though it is true of any player's RISP numbers, not just Rollins'. Most players are in scoring position because they got on base via a hit or walk. If you compare the entire data pool of pitchers who just yielded a hit or walk to the entire data pool of pitchers in general, it makes intuitive sense that the odds of finding an ineffective pitcher would be significantly higher among the former data pool.

So, it is probably true that there is a slightly greater chance of facing a struggling pitcher when you're hitting with RISP. That is just one of the reasons why almost all players hit better with RISP than with the bases empty. Other reasons are defensive positioning & pitching out of the stretch & probably a few others I'm forgetting. The phenomenon is hardly unique to Jimmy Rollins.

Mayberry will likely start in RF tonight and in LF tomorrow (giving Ibanez the day off).

Probably the only reason Raul is in there tonight is his career numbers against Wolf Pack.

Yo, new thread

Good to see Mayberry in the lineup.

I'm completely unrealistically hoping that Zagurski's call-up turns out to be unexpectedly successful. This team needs a little Luzinski on it.

I was happy when I saw that Mayberry would get a chance against a left hander. Then I saw that it was in RF replacing Francisco. Then my head exploded. Im sure Cholly is going on the 14 at bats that Ibanez has against Wolf, where he has had some success. I think we all know that is not a valid sample size to draw from, and you are better going with a righty/lefty match up considering that Ibanez has struggled against left handers.

Small sample size of course, but Zags has gotten K's on 7 of his 10 outs so far in AAA. Last year in AAA he had a bunch of K's. I think it is a good callup.

Let Stutes prove a little more consistency. At least Zags might pitch in a higher leverage spot (against a lefty) instead of Baez or Herndon. Stutes would get slotted behind both of them.

I saw an argument that Rollins' numbers againt RISP should be used to determine his lineup position. It was a bad argument, because even with a career of PAs, the numbers weren't really all that different in a statistical sense. I added that there are other reasons why RISP numbers are not directly comparable to Bases Empty numbers. The bottom of the order was a red herring, but it's what made me think of the pitching quality issue. It, as has been pointed out, makes no difference. The point, as bap states well, is that there is a difference in the pitching quality with RISP. It is in general easier to get a hit with RISP for any hitter for that and a number of other reasons. So Rollins' RISP numbers are a poor reason to decide where to place him in the order.

That said, 3rd is probably an ok place for Rollins to hit. He's probably the 4th or 5th best hitter on the team, and those should go in the 3 and 5 spots, according to the "The Book."

You know what, I'm okay with Mayberry replacing Francisco instead of Ibanez. Ibanez has good career numbers against Wolf, Francisco is also going through a slump and at the very least, for one game, we'll have two OF who are competent defensively.

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