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Monday, April 18, 2011

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Agree with this premise. The Phils' are generally a sure-handed defensive team (Ibanez yesterday notwithstanding), but they no longer have the great athletic range that they had in their younger years.

Replacing Werth with Francisco is a major downgrade, and Ibanez has gotten noticeably worse. Rollins, to my eye, looks about a half-step off his peak range. He's still one of the top defensive SS in the league, I would think, though.

"the Phillies could be characterized as a sure-handed, but plodding bunch."

So true. Other than Vic, our fielders look like they're wearing concrete sneakers.

I like guile. Great Sabian word.

What a monumentally stupid column.

Are the Phillies better without Chase?

Of course not. Stupid. I'm not sure why I'm going to waste my time...

1) A 47-game sample hardly proves anything.
2) A team that relies on 8 regular hitters, 5 starters and a handful of bullpen pitchers on a regular basis rarely turns significantly on the health of a single player (I'd argue losing a top pitcher is worst than losing a top hitter because of the domino effect).
3) The Phils obviously made changes to help themselves, including a deal for Roy Oswalt over the last couple weeks that Utley was out.
4) Luck. During the stretch Utley was out, you may remember that 4-game series with the Reds that included 3 extra inning wins followed by a 1-0 victory. Our next winning streak started with another extra inning win over St. Louis followed by sweeps over a couple of road-weary NL West teams travelling to Philly (including an awful Diamondbacks team).

Good morning!

Here is a cute Twins ad featuring likeable former Phillie Jim Thome.

bap -- the article clearly needed a baseball-savvy editor. However, the winning percentages stated stand on their own merits. Again, good pitching beats good hitting -- as a Phillies fan, I'm used to the occasional dominant #1.

Carlton, Schilling, Hamels’ amazing '08 season and Doc last year come to mind; Cliff Lee never got a chance to shine all season before this year. However, to wake up after the Lee trade with visions of the ’71 Orioles still amazes.

Also implied here is our weaning off of the long ball, and reliance on solid fundamental baseball. Life is good.

At least Vic appears to be in top shape...as he needs to be considering the amount of distance he's covering in CF to save Ibanez and BenFran's arses. Vic will definitely be earning his GG this year.

Also, the Phillies are 24th out of 30 teams in Defensive Efficiency so far (which is the amount of balls in play that are turned into outs--the opposite of BABIP).

Much of that is small sample size and luck, but over time, that stat will tend to show what teams are best at turning balls in play into outs. We'll see where the Phils end up there.

I think Tulo is a better defender than Rollins at this point for the NL. Other than that, I think Rollins is still pretty elite at SS. He's not where he was in 2008-2009 but he's still pretty good.

cut_fastball: Ah, so you're one of the posters who celebrates "less reliance on the long ball." That figures.

You like the team scoring less runs?

NEPP: Yeah, Tulo is there.

There's also guys like Brendan Ryan, who is a fantastically good defensive SS, but no one thinks about him because he can't hit. Most people (including obviously the GG voters) tend to let players' offensive ability influence their opinions of them defensively. Jack Wilson was similar (though he now plays 2B).

Brendan Ryan is pretty good too...probably at least Jimmy's equal and possibly better than him.

Jack -- Any alternatives? Mayberry looks like he's doomed to collecting splinters; and what chance might Singleton have in the short term/long term?

Short of a miracle, we have to replace Utley's power, as inoperable knee deterioration don't look good. I’m stumped.

cut fastball: No real alternatives, unless you wanna make a deal for Aramis Ramirez.

Just pointing out that the lack of power means the Phillies' offense will be worse, not better, this year.

re: power

Im probably a sucker for it, but I still feel like Rollins has a good 15-18HR coming this year.

For the most part he's been making good contact and hitting the ball hard. I think a few more weeks of that should be enough to get him back to feeling confortable at the plate and start to hit for more power. Remember, Rollins missed a lot of a games last year and played banged up for a ton of 2009 as well. I think he'll find his power stroke starting in another few weeks.

If you wanted to get some power potential into the lineup, your best chance would be Brown to come back strong and establish himself in the starting lineup (over either Francisco or Ibanez).

But it seems like the consensus is that Brown shouldn't play this year for the Phils. I happen to disagree. Given the relatively weak performances of both Ibanez and Francisco so far this year, I think Brown should definitely get a shot to play himself into a starting role.

cut: See CJ's excellent 11:52 post as to explanations for the Phillies' good record in Utley's absence.

It should also be noted that Wilson Valdez is hitting .342 in the 11 games where he started at 2nd base this year, while Pete Orr is hitting .500 in the 2 games that he started. As a unit, the trio of Valdez, Orr, & Martinez are hitting .340 in games they started at 2nd base this year. The odds of that continuing are approximately equal to the odds of my winning Beerleaguer's Optimist of the Year Award, & clout winning Beerleaguer's Most Courteous Poster Award, all in the same year.

According to Will Carroll of si.com, he expects Utley to be back on or before May 15th.

Very encouraging news if accurate, and Carroll is usually pretty good information.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/will_carroll/04/18/monday.undertheknife/index.html?eref=twitter_feed

Jack - Management desperately wants to see Brown play well enough to move into the lineup. Ben Fran has always been a place holder, and Raul's a 39 year old outfielder.

yes that is very good news on chase....

Free Mayberry!

Yes Ibanez is 5-16 in his career vs. Wolf with a 1 HR. Still with Narveson starting on Wed. night that makes it back-to-back lefties.

Unless Cholly wants to go nearly a month without giving Mayberry a start, there is no reasons he doesn't start a game vs. Brewers this week.

Not to put too simple a point on it, but about 95% of the time, hitting and pitching determine who wins and loses in baseball. Most of the defensive metrics out there are chasing the difference in the final 5%, which is not a good use of anyone's time, except maybe for Bill James, who has a rep to maintain.

I couldn't find out who said this (maybe Casey Stengel?) but one quote which stuck with me was this: You can shake a tree and 20 guys who can play defense will fall out. Go find me someone who can hit!

"Not to put too simple a point on it, but about 95% of the time, hitting and pitching determine who wins and loses in baseball. Most of the defensive metrics out there are chasing the difference in the final 5%."

I think you're conflating two different phenomena. It might be true that, on around 90 to 95% of balls put in play, it doesn't matter whether you've got Jimmy Rollins or Ian Desmond playing defense; the ball is either going to be fielded by virtually every major league shortstop or be missed by every major league shortstop. But that's not the same as saying that defense decides only 5% of the games. I would guess that those 5 to 10% of balls which Philly defenders get to and field cleanly, and which a lesser defensive team would not have gotten to or fielded cleanly, probably account for a surprisingly high percentage of game outcomes.

It's pretty common to see a bad hitting team make the playoffs. It's less common, but not unheard of, for a team with mediocre pitching, but great hitting, to make the playoffs (See, i.e., 2010 Reds). But how often do you see a really bad defensive team make the playoffs?

Just go back and watch any Florida Marlins team for the last few years for how important defense is to winning. How many games have they gifted us over the years due to terrible defense on their part?

That's great news on Chase... I predicted the end of May. It's especially great news since I got him for just $11 in my auction league!

If I could choose two, I'd pick hitting and pitching way before defense. However, I might suggest that reliable defense (as opposed to range) may be, at the major league level a product of effort and preparation...thus something one would expect to observe in teams that win.

Thanks, Fatalotti; that's good news on Utley. I really hope that whatever condition he is suffering from can be arrested/ rendered stable.

bap -- I believe that the premise of the article in the prior post was that the subtraction of Utley is having the same effect on the team as adios, Abreu. That doesn't seem possible on so many levels:

* Chase Utley is a quiet, hyper-intense leader; Abreu was/is a glider.
* Chase Utley was (my still be?) a super smart base runner
* Chase has a QB's sense of the game; he seemed to make things happen because he has awareness of the entire field.

Regardless, awesome starting pitching aside, we still look like a fine ballclub without Utley, no? Crappy OPS notwithstanding, Valdez is a real keeper.

"my" = "may" Speaking of editors...

For the record...

Getting rid of Abreu was the best move this team ever made. We never would have won without trading him away, regardless of the return. He was a cancer and afraid of the wall.

(Can someone time until clout's response?)

Sounds good re: Utley and Oswalt.

bap, RE: bad defensive teams getting to the playoffs: I would argue that any team with a reasonable payroll will have at least an average defense. Defense is one of those things which is extremely easy to improve to average, and very unusual to have extremely bad or extremely good, the bell curve is very narrow there (at least at the ML level). This is the main reason you can pretty much discount it when considering how good or bad a team is: it almost certainly doesn't really matter for serious consideration.

Here's the real difference between losing Chase & losing Abreu: Abreu was replaced by Jayson Werth; Chase was replaced by Wilson Valdez, Pete Orr, & Michael Martinez.

Utley article was a complete turd. It isn't even worth discussing it. Just literally flush it out of mind.

Wasn't Abreu replaced by Victorino?

bap: Actually, Abreu was replaced by Victorino. Victorino then replaced Rowand in CF in 2008, and Werth/Jenkins (later just Werth) replaced Victorino in RF. Werth didn't become the full-time starter in RF until the 2nd half of 2008, a full two seasons after Abreu was traded.

Michael Bourn was also in there in 2007 instead of Werth when Rowand got hurt. Werth only started games in August 2007 when both Bourn and Victorino went on the DL in the same game against the Cubs.

If defense doesn't matter, why did the Red Sox pay Carl Crawford, of the career .776 OPS, six figures for?

(Before someone says anything else, .776 is decent...but for sake of comparison, Victorino's is .772)

Either way, BAP's point still stands.

Victorino >>>>>>> Valdez/Orr.

***If defense doesn't matter, why did the Red Sox pay Carl Crawford, of the career .776 OPS, six figures for?****

Because he's overrated due to his SB totals and defense in LF (an offense first position)?

NEPP: While I do think Crawford was overpaid, his defense in LF is still pretty fantastic, no?

I am so tired about hearing about how Abreu somehow ruined the Phillies through his secret mind control psychology.

Abreu was/is a good player. Not quite HOF worthy (in my mind) but at least one of the first entrants into the Hall of the Very Good.

Hell, even as much as he's deteriorated, he'd probably still be an upgrade to our present RF situation....even taking into account his offense + defense.

Now, the dude may not have been a leader. I don't know, I wasn't in the clubhouse. But it's not like he actively kept people down or that the Phillies would have somehow played better without his poisonous mind control powers. That's preposterous.

I doubt any poster on here is moronic enough to take seriously UZR after 14 games.

Jack, he's a fantastic defensive LF.

The problem is that fantastic defense in LF is up there with fantastic defense at 1B for value. If he were a fantastic defensive CF, it'd be a more legitimate contract.

Considering they play Ellsbury (mediocre defensively in CF) and an aging Cameron in CF, the BoSox should try him in CF if he's such a fantastic defender.

LF is an offensive position where you hide weaker gloves to take advantage of their bat.

"***If defense doesn't matter, why did the Red Sox pay Carl Crawford, of the career .776 OPS, six figures for?****

Because he's overrated due to his SB totals and defense in LF (an offense first position)?"

While I personally think Crawford is overrated, a bunch of teams seemed ready to pony up significant money for him and his offense is definitely not the answer.

So a significant number of teams obviously consider his defense so stellar that they would pay a large premium for it.

That tells me that perhaps teams don't consider defense to be a negligable part of the game as some have asserted.

"* Chase Utley is a quiet, hyper-intense leader; Abreu was/is a glider.
* Chase Utley was (my still be?) a super smart base runner
* Chase has a QB's sense of the game; he seemed to make things happen because he has awareness of the entire field."

Hey, did you guys also know that Chase Utley is white while Bobby Abreu is Hispanic? Be sure to factor that in.

Mirage:

Bill Baer keeps banging it home & he's largely right. Here is where this offense stands:

% BB - 6.9% (14th in NL)
ISO - .126 (11th in NL)
SB - 9 (11th in NL)

Phils are getting by right now because they are 2nd in the NL in hitting with RISP (.319 vs. .296 overall), they are hitting their share of LDs (20.6% 4th in the NL), and having been lucky that alot of their groundballs (46.0% or 8th in the NL) are finding their share of gaps/holes.

The notable advantage with RISP and the finding holes/gaps on groundballs isn't going to last. This isn't a bad offense but isn't a top-5 NL offense in runs scored either over the more intermediate term. Right now there at 4.43 R/G. I would bet that falls steady more to the 4.1-4.2 range as the season progresses.

Getting Utley back by the end of next month sometime might alter that equation but you have to see first if he can stay on the field & what he produces.

MG: The team finally started drawing some walks this past weekend. Hopefully that carries over. I think it will. While the Phillies are no longer the great patient-hitting team they were in their 2006 heyday, there's no reason that they should be last in the league in walks.

Even if the offense is below average, I would assume the Phils would be able to add a few pieces by the trade deadline if offense remained a problem.

***Hey, did you guys also know that Chase Utley is white while Bobby Abreu is Hispanic? Be sure to factor that in. ***

Was his Latino background the reason why he was so afraid of walls?

If not, I nominate your post for the dumbest post of the year so far.

Potential great news on Utley and Oswalt. Being the glass half full guy I am on many things, I had very reluctantly put myself in the mindset that Utley was probably out for the season. I tended to go with what one regular BL predicted (awh?)- that there would be a false start or two, that they would not work out, and that he would ultimately be lost for the season.

That spectre is still there, of course, but it's nice to hear a surprising and optimistic outlook.

RF in Fenway Park is by far the hardest RF in play in the majors. You have the most ground to cover, have to be aware of fans right along much of the foul-line, and have to communicate with you CF because of the crazy caroms/bounces that result from the odd-shape to right-center.

Jack: I was thinking in the longer term but, yeah, Vic actually replaced Abreu in the short-term.

Heather: Yes, the idea that Bobby Abreu was the reason we suffered so many near-misses in the mid-2000s is fairly zany. I only wish our current right fielder were as good as Bobby Abreu.

I agree MG...but what does RF in Fenway have to do with this conversation?

NEPP: I think Jack was being ironic, not literal.

Jack: "Actually, Abreu was replaced by Victorino."

I know accuracy isn't a core value of posters here, but Rowand was already hurt when Abreu was traded. Vic had been playing every day since the injury on 8/21/06.

Werth wasn't even on the team.

When Abreu was traded, he was replaced by David Dellucci (and to a lesser extent, Jeff Conine.) Dellucci hit .234 and Conine .274 after the trade. Abreu hit .330 with an OPS of .926 after the trade. The Phils missed the playoffs by 3 games.

The Moronocracy caucus on Beerleaguer was near unanimous in saying what a great trade it was, but JW, to his everlasting credit, realized it was so bad that he actually dropped the "F" bomb in a headline, the only time in Beerleaguer history that's happened.

MG: Good things we're not the Braves' "scary" offense.

BB%: 7.7% (11th)
SB: 4 (15th)
SB%: 44% (16th)
LD%: 15.1% (16th, lowest % in league)
GB%: 49.5% (16th, highest % in league)
Pinch hitting: 0 for 23 (16th)
Runs/G: 3.3 (15th)

They also continue to be dead last in the league against the fastball.

And, yeah, their BABIP is last in the league, but that kinda happens when you don't hit line drives.

Clout: How could Victorino have been playing everyday after an injury that took place on 8/21/06 when Abreu was traded at the end of July? I assume you simply wrote the wrong date there.

But yeah, I meant in general. When Rowand was healthy, he was in CF and Victorino replaced Abreu as the everyday RF. This was the lineup in 07.

@Heather: Defense doesn't matter post:

Ugggh, I assume you are attacking my post, where I didn't say "defense doesn't matter." I simply said it doesn't matter very much, and it really doesn't. If you have a good defensive team, that's not going to make a huge difference in having a great defensive team, and it's really easy to get a good defensive team. If you have an average defensive team, that's good enough, spend the rest of your money on offense and pitching.

For all practical purposes, defense doesn't matter enough to worry about.

I saw Francisco hit the wall to make a catch already this year. It's pretty clear...

Benny Frank >>>>>> Bobby Abreu

I'm no stat-head and am never sure what the stat du'jour is, but Bobby Abreu does have the 3rd highest OPS in Phillies history among players with 1500 or more plate appearances for the club. So, I think it's safe to say he generated quite a few more runs than he cost with adventures around the wall.

Hexy's: Yeah, but he's Hispanic, so you need to factor that in when you calculate how many runs he cost the team in his lack of leadership.

Utley is the all-time franchise leader in leadership points, due to an incredibly high VORM (value over replacement minority).

Lineup posted and it's standard:

Vic, Polly, J-Roll, Howard, Benny Frank, Raul, Chooch, Exxon, Blanton

Jack - if you want to dissect two players over their scrappy leadership quotient and control for race, the more interesting case is Scott Rolen vs. Chase Utley. Both white with similar stats at scarcer defensive positions. Some bold minded poster might suggest that Utley showed up at a much more opportune time that Rolen...other more cynical posters might suggest that Utley's personal political views gave him a leg up with the media off the bat versus Rolen and that helped shape public opinion.

NEPP - Crawford in RF at Fenway. There's a real learning curve there. Watched enough of Trot Nixon while I lived in Boston to appreciate how tough it was to play RF even if you had a ton of range/great arm.

Clout - You forgot the capper on that narrative. Phils' spent the savings on Eaton signing and Garcia trade (2 of the worst moves of the past 25 years).

CJ - The 'scary' Braves lineup will score more runs than this lineup.

clout: But the Phils have won the NL East every season after dealing Bobby Abreu away.

I'm not sure how you argue against that!

Dan: Sounds like you view the difference between good pitching/hitting and bad pitching/hitting as a much bigger variance than good defense and bad defense.

And without a better way to judge defense, that perception is hard to change or argue against.

Jack: I was talking about 2006, when Abreu was traded. You are correct that for the 15 or so games before Rowand was hurt, Vic was the prime RF (altho not every game), but after the injury on 8/21 he shifted fulltime to CF.

Breakdown of RF starts in 2006:

Abreu 95
Dellucci 26
Conine 21
Vic 17

Salisbury tweets Chase is running in the OF, doing drills.

Clout: True.

If I recall, Conine mostly replaced Burrell in LF in September, correct?

Ahh...2006, the year when Jamie Moyer was our big pitching acquisition.

Memories.

Based on 3-year UZR and what your eyes tell you, the Phils have above average range at every position except RF, LF and 1B. I would describe LF and 1B as below average and RF as just average.

Taken altogether you have a team that, overall, is above average defensively.

I would imagine that most, if not all of the starters, expect precisely that from their defense. They know that fielding percentage is the responsibility of the position players yet they probably understand that their range issues are their own responsibility.

Chase doing drills again today is a great step. When he does this regularly, that means there have been no issues thus far.

MG, I'd put Crawford in CF in Fenway and keep with the Cameron/Drew mix they have in RF with Ellsbury in LF if it were me instead of Tito.

Asking Crawford to play RF would be a mistake and a misuse of his speed...not to mention his arm isn't that great (a reason he's in LF to begin with).

This is my perception - not really sure how to prove it tho:

There are much more slick fielding poor hitters that make the MLB than good hitting poor fielders. Defense is such a staple that even the poorest fielders in the MLB are still usually much better than the replacement level players below them in the organzation.

This makes the floor of defensive ability seem pretty high while the floor of hitting and pitching is viewed as much lower - therefore the perception that its so much more important to have high quality pitching/hitting instead of defense -since in the end defense is basically not much of a difference from player a to b.

lorecore: I'd say that probably applies to players up the middle... C, 2B, SS, CF. I think you more often see bad field/good hit players in the corner where a good bat can get you to the majors even if you can't field.

I'd say that VORM tends to overrate Utley, considering the RM in question was the 2010 team's MVP.

CJ: hmm good point. And i guess the position of "utility" technically exists, so theres a whole other position in the mlb where defensive players are valued for their veratility - which would skew the total numbers of players if you had to classify as I was trying.

lorecore, your post is the same as the quote I cited earlier: by the time any ML-er gets to the ML, everyone who can't field has been weeded out. Unless you can literally hit like Adam Dunn, you do not play in the ML without being able to field at least at an acceptable level.

This is the reason defense can be neglected for most analytical purposes: pretty much everyone is at least decent at it, and the differece between the truly great and the decent isn't generally enough to worry about.

IMHO, the Red Sox gave Crawford all that money because they are convinced in their intelligence - didn't the guys at Baseball Prospectus write a book about how smart they are? Didn't they hire Bill James to prove how smart they are? Sure, they haven't really had anything like a steal in FA signing, and the guys they overpaid for havne't lived up to their potential hype, but no matter, they're the smartest team in baseball, just ask them if you don't believe it. Anyone who doubts just doesn't get it.

Dave S: Valdez was not the 2010 MVP.

Dan: That logic works if there is a never ending supply of MLB capable players in existence.

That is not true. Just because all current MLB players are pretty much average defenders at the least, that does not mean their replacements will be as well.

Dan, they WERE smart enough to match up David Ortiz with Manny's trainer to get him the "special" vitamins he needed for them to win it all. So they did that much at least.

and im not arguing with you against the Bosox, just saying i think you underrate defense overall.

NEPP - HA!
Lorecore, if you replaced 50% of the ML-ers with minorleaguers, the offense would fall off a cliff, despite the poorer defense. The thing that makes the ML-ers isn't great defense and average offense, it's great offense and average defense.

Put it this way, you can take a great hitter and make him into an average fielder way easier than taking a great fielder and turning him into an average hitter.

The Crawford/Vic comparison is a little disingenuous. At the time Boston signed him, Crawford was a 28 year old who just finished a 134 OPS+ season. It was, at that age, his 6th season with an OPS+ over 100. Vic, if he continues to hit this year, will manage his 5th 100 OPS+ season this year at age 30. Crawford is, additionally, pretty fast (411 career SBs, 105 career triples) and is a pretty good fielder too. I believe that the Sox expect his performance to come closer to the 134 he posted last year than the 81 OPS he posted in Tampa Bay at age 21.

BOS may have over-paid for Carl, but I'd say the book is still out on that one until at least the end of this year.

Dan - "way easier?"

Only evidence I offer: Matt Rizzotti.

Andy, Rizz is a less good Adam Dunn. If he ever manages to hit like Adam Dunn, he'll find a place on the ML roster. If he elevates his defense a little, he'll find a place. I'm betting if he makes it, it will be because of the latter, not the former.

any word on Oswalt's bullpen session?

yes, he threw 40 pitches, felt good and will start on thursday

Rizzotti looked a bit slimmer in a recent picture. Does Parent have running 8-milers after the games?

steals should add on to SLG and CS should take away from OBP.

Crawford is career .335/.441 - .776 OPS
If you used is SB/CS, he'd be .318/.484 - .802 OPS

I think a .25 jump in OPS is a pretty good value when factoring in his career +320 bases he's earned on the basepaths.

Nice update on Aumont:

A man named Jack Curtis also helped Aumont with his mental approach. Curtis was hired by the Phillies as a mental skills coach after previously working with Seattle, the team that drafted Aumont. Curtis also has ties to the late Harvey Dorfman, the man who mentored Phillies ace Roy Halladay on his mental approach.

"He helped me a lot," Aumont said. "We talked a lot about being positive and having a positive mind-set. I feel like that carried into spring training, and that helped me a lot."

Aumont's new approach has also carried into the season at Reading, the same place he started a year ago before being demoted to Clearwater. Through four games, the 22-year-old pitcher had not allowed a hit, walked one, and struck out eight in 52/3 innings. He also had a save.

"I had some success in 2009 with the Mariners coming out of the bullpen, and I was comfortable with the transition there," Aumont said. "Don't get me wrong. Last year when they told me I was going to be a starter again, I had some excitement. I thought it was going to be a little easier than expected. But going back to the 'pen is going to be much better."

Read more: http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/phillies/119991944.html?cmpid=15585797#ixzz1JuIuOW6I

2006 was still a fun season to watch because of the late season run in August and watching Howard become a force of nature in August.

Heather~
Abreau: Very good offensive talent (can still hit), not a very good defensive Of'der though. He did have a very good arm, but his winning the gold glove was a joke.

The consensus is that he was a cancer in the clubhouse. That's probably the reason they traded him when NY decided to pay his salary. It could be they would have traded him sooner if they could have. But I wasn't in the clubhouse either.

All-round though, I don't think I would have taken him over Werth. And now I don't think I would take him over Ben Fran as Benny is RH. That being said, Bobby has posted very good numbers for his career. I agree with you on that point.

wow, DPat with a pretty good discussion point.

2011: Abreu or Francisco ?

Give me booby.

FWIW, I was always an Abreu fan, and I never understood why everyone seemed to have such a grudge against him. The only reason I ever was told was that it looked like he wasn't hustling, which made no sense to me then or now.

As far as running into the wall goes, I love a goot defensive play as much as anyone, and cheered when Rowand broke his nose on that play. That being said, Rowand really hurt the team for just one out, he would have helped the Phillies much more by allowing the ball to fall and keeping his bat in the lineup. Trash me if you will, but thems just the facts.

This is off topic, and I forget which poster always did it, but I miss the "Underserving Win" rationale that got posted after every win last year. I thought it was hilarious and was a nice way of poking fun at a lot of the BL negativity on the board. I believe we ended up 0-162 last year which is in line with many of our posting peripherals such as Whining Percentage and Negative Zone Rating.

Dan, I absolutely agree. You need your guys in the lineup, not on the DL. I respected Rowand's hustle, but I would be fine if he took it down a notch to avoid injury. Of course, that is better than getting injured by celebrating a home run or kicking a chair.

Jim Salisbury (via Twitter): "Oswalt had a good bullpen. Expected to pitch Thursday."

Abreu or Francisco? No brainer. Abreu. Francisco at his best gives you a line of say .280/.350/.450. More likely .270/.335/.435.

Abreu had the worst year of his career last year and his line - .255/.352/.435 with 20 HRs in 573 ABs.

So basically Abreu's worst offensive year of his career is probably what Francisco gives the Phils this year.

Abreu (pot belly and all) is off to a .292/.435/.400 start vs. .275/.351/.431

Its possible that Francisco marginally has a better SLG/ISO than Abreu but Abrue will finish a higher average and significantly higher OBP.

I would love Abreu and his ability to hit say .280-.290 hit 18-20 HRs and walk a ton out of the 5-hole.

People are largely delusional in this town about Abreu.

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