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Thursday, February 09, 2012

Comments

It's not like we don't have 4 or 5 other options if it DOESN'T work out. Love the low risk aspect.

If he does well enough, Cholly may use him for entire late innings regardless of the lefty/right match-up (Cholly isn't exactly a match-up guy like LaRussa). I could see him spelling Bastardo after back-to-backs, and maybe even supplanting him if Bastardo shows signs of his late 2011 self.

ALL ABOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRD!

Not me. Dontrelle was born to be a starter. He'll be trade to Baltimore for prospects.

I'm all in with the D train. You are either all in or out. No fence crap. Low risk high reward possibly. Pat G like signing. I think the excitement of being on the team will give him that extra he needs. I like where the team is. Aces stay healthy and chase is the most important piece. And still don't forget about cliff lee giving up that lead. That's going to drive him a little more. Each starter will have 17 plus wins. ( 1 to 3 that is). Heavy B is the wildcard with health and salary relief.

For what it's worth, I liked the D-Train experiment from day one. Little to lose, a lot to gain.

If he needs time to adjust to the role of lefty specialist, how much time does he get? Wonder what the best comps are for this type of transition, both in terms of success and in terms of developing arm or other physical challenges from the change in routine and usage. Contreras made the move effectively but seems to have broken down now--could be his a natural thing for him, Willis is much younger. I'm cautiously optimistic and curious about what happens if he struggles for April and May--does he stick around?

I'm with lorecore. I like the low risk, but I expect nothing.

That said, I hope I'm wrong.

I'm in on Dontrelle. Not necessarily because I think it will work out but, because I think it will be entertaining however it goes.

I'm also cautiously optimistic. And I agree with H-Mulc, it'll be entertaining.

D-train runs out of steam by end of spring training.

I'm in on Mr. Willis but just can't see him in short relief as a straight loogy. If he has problems in that roll he goes to middle relief. If he is successful there he gets traded to Baltimore for prospects.

I agree the numbers vs. lefties are encouraging, but so were J.C. Romero's, and Willis actually has worse control than Romero.

All that is to say, if he gets it anywhere near the plate in ST, he makes the team because he can get lefties out. But it's just as likely that he walks every other hitter he faces and is sent packing.

...the numbers vs. lefties are encouraging, but so were J.C. Romero's, and Willis actually has worse control than Romero.

Oooooffffff... thanks, Jack. Count me out. As Whitey used to say with about as much scorn as he could muster: Oh those bases on balls...

The numbers don't lie people. His control (K/B ratio) doesn't lie either. And you can't compare D-Train to J.C. Romero because Romero's numbers told you he walked batters by the truck load. We knew that before we got him and he proved the same when he was here. The Phillies got the bullpen steal of this years free agency for nothing. Add in one of the most dominant closers in the game in Papelbon and you have lights out at the end of games that aren't finished by Halladay, Lee & Hamels.

I can't remember when I posted it but I believe I put him in the group of people not getting to April on the squad.

"Willis actually has worse control than Romero."

Willis posted a 4.4 BB/9 last year. Romero hasn't had a better walk rate than that since 2002.

Also, that was all as a starting pitcher last year. I think we can expect that to decrease as a reliever (could be totally wrong on that).

Amazing people forget how bad Romero could be.

I think the Willis experiment will be a failure, particularly since Charlie will have him facing more righties than lefties.

Meh'

"I think the Willis experiment will be a failure, particularly since Charlie will have him facing more righties than lefties."

I think this signing will work out nicely if Bastardo stays healthy and Willis pitches primarily against lefties in middle relief. It's not hard to imagine a scenario, though, where Bastardo is hurt and Willis is pitching to righties in the 8th inning.

I don't know about the Hurt Bastardo scenario but what about the Shaken and Lost Confidence Bastardo we saw last year. Only so many teams will let him work his "Out of control pitch sorta through the strike zone" routine.

In with Dtrain. He can always take Roy's turn in Lf. Never hurts to have another PH available.

If Willis only faces lefties he will be a flat out stud in our bullpen. Unfortunately Cholly will no doubt thrown him in against righies only to get knocked around and walk people. It's maddening watching Cholly manage a bullpen.

Agree with mtuske, and his fears. LOOGY or bust.

Have no clue how it will work out, but I'm kind of excited to watch it unfold.

I thought they got Dontrelle for his bat.

Huh.

The thing that really concerns me is his ability to warm up, come into the game, and throw strikes from pitch one.

It's worth a shot. No harm, no foul. His contract is non-guaranteed.

D-Train is here because he is J-Roll's best friend. He will not be cut. End of story.

The harm will be when another FA loogy outperforms dtrain and the phils are stuck with a failed experiment.

Also, for the whole 'charlie doesnt know how to use a bullpen' posters - wake up. Go watch other mlb games and see how much you complain that they dont follow the exact splits/pitch count abuse stats that you think should be gospel.

As long as he does better than immediately throwing 4 straight balls WAYYY out of the strike zone to a left handed hitter he was brought in to face, then shaking his head "yes" as if to say "I got this," then I'll be a fan of Willis.

I'm using 2010 numbers because the Cardinals didn't have any one full-season LOOGY last year and I don't know how to find Rzepcysnki's Cardinals-only lefty-righty splits from 2011.

2010 splits for Dennys Reyes, the Cardinals' LOOGY: RHB: 75 PAs; LHB: 88 PAs.

2010 splits for J.C. Romero, the Phillies' LOOGY: RHB 74; LHB: 97.

The Cardinals' 2010 manager was the guy known on Beerleaguer for making endless pitching changes due to lefty-righty matchups. The Phillies' 2010 manager was the guy known on Beerleaguer for never using his LOOGY as strictly a LOOGY. So how is it that, in 2010, Larussa allowed his LOOGY to face RHP 46% of the time? And how is it that Cholly managed to do a better job than the great Larussa at getting the right matchup for his LOOGY?

The answer, as lorecore implies, is that there is no such thing as a strict LOOGY or a "lefty one out guy." ALL lefty specialists often have to face right-handers because a bullpen can only carry 7 guys and very often the game situation, or the unavailability of other relievers, makes it simply impossible to not let your LOOGY face RH hitters. So Willis had better be at least passably good against them or he's going to be a bust. If that happens, it won't be because Cholly "failed to use him as a LOOGY." It will be because Willis failed to perform to the minimally competent levels against RHB to which all pitchers, including LOOGYs, must perform.

bap: I doubt there's a way to do it, but wouldn't you have to qualify ABs against righties by situation?

If it's the 6th inning of a game we're down 10-2 and we just need the bullpen to soak innings, I sure hope Charlie lets Willis face righties. If it's a close game in the 7th inning, I sure as hell hope he only faces a lefty.

bap: Also, the Cardinals had Trevor Miller in 2010, another lefty. Miller faced righties for 64 PAs and lefties for 87 PAs.

Jack: On your 12:10 post . . . fair point. I didn't notice Miller's stats, or that he was even on the team. My only riposte is that even Miller still had to face righties more than 42% of the time

On your 12:07 post . . . yeah, I doubt there's a way to break it down like that. But that was sort of my point. One of the very reasons why both those guys face a lot of righties is because of the very situation you described.

The thing is, it's rarely as clear-cut as a 10-2 deficit in the 6th inning. A more common scenario would be, say, a 5-2 deficit in the 6th inning. In my opinion, it's perfectly fine to use your LOOGY for a full inning in that situation, because you sure as hell don't want to waste guys like Bastardo or Contreras (if healthy) in a game where your odds of winning are slim. But there is a school of thought on Beerleaguer which holds that, since it's always possible to come back from any deficit, Cholly should manage his bullpen the same way with with a 3-run deficit as he would with a 1-run lead.

BAP - Great post. LOOGYs doesn't exist in reality because they are going to see at a minimum at least 30-35% RHP batters given several factors (large number of RH hitters, unaffordable luxury most times of using a reliever only for one batter, and managers especially in the NL countering with a right-handed bat off the bench).

I am not down on Willis and it was a good signing given the dollar amount & lack of a guarantee. I would have rather had Sherill but I prefer Willis over one of the retreads LHP relievers who got signed to a minor league deal like Miller.

Bullpen is largely going to sink or swim on how Bastardo/Contreras perform. Phils really could have used another veteran arm but Amaro was successful in acquiring one. Going to come back to bite him because I think the Phils get little to nothing out of Contreras this year. If both of these guys pitch fairly well (Bastardo doesn't even need to duplicate his dominance from last year), they will have a really solid pen.

Bastardo though is one guy I really want to watch in spring training. Want to see if he is 100% (health is always a question mark with him) and how his control is.

One thing I am curious to see about Willis in spring training besides the obvious (command) is the velocity on his 4-seam fastball.

It was really pedestrian in the 2nd half of the year last year topping at 87 MPH. It is also pretty straight too. Willis leaves that over the sweet spot especially over the strike zone & low against LH batters and that pitch is a gigantic fat meatball.

Willis is kind of odd for a left-handed specialist in that his out pitch is his changeup. Seems to have been evolving gradually to a guy who relies more on deception with a cutter and changeup as his go-to pitches.

Looking at this splits the last few years, if he falls behind on the first pitch and has to go to that straight fastball in a count where a hitter knows it is likely coming he gets walloped.

D-Train and Paps is going to be a fun as hell bullpen.

Personally, I'm not counting on much from Contreras. I don't really see how you can expect a (supposedly) 40-year old reliever who missed almost all of last season to be the key to our bullpen. If Contreras is the key, we really might be in trouble.

Actually, I agree with Jack on this. I'm not counting on Contreras to make it out of Florida without a DL trip.

I wonder how many of the RHBs faced by those LH RPs were brought in to PH for a LH PH after the pitcher warmed up.

Jack,
As the assigned closer last season, Contreras WAS the presumed key to the bullpen. He didn't finish the season, yet the Phillies won 102 games.

This year Contreras is one of multiple options for setup. If he can't hold down role, Bastardo will get shot again, if Bastardo can't, they'll see if Qualls can overperform. If Qualls can't and Aumont and DeFratus can't make a significant leap, they'll acquire someone else to do the job.

Or Amaro will just stare into space and be in trouble.

"D-Train is here because he is J-Roll's best friend. He will not be cut. End of story."

Clout does that mean that
DTrain = Danys Dos?

I don't feel like looking up every game in which Romero was used last year or the year before. But if someone did want to look it up, I'm pretty sure he or she would find that, when Romero came in to pitch late in a close game, he was far more likely to face only LH hitters. When he pitched earlier in the game, or in games where the Phillies were ahead or behind by 4+ runs, he was far more likely to face RH hitters. That is pretty much what you'd expect from any LOOGY since all LOOGYs also do double duty in the David Herndon/Danys Baez mop-up type role.

BAP - You're pointing out a sticking point to a lot of people's complaints about the manager: the lack of a baseline for comparison. If we don't have anything to compare the manager's BP use to, we either can't see how much worse/better he is at his use than anyone else. This may just mean everyone is equally bad at this or, as the LaRussa comparison at least suggests, it may mean that *no* manager can prevent his primary LOOGY from seeing a certain percentage of right-handed batters within reason (assuming that LaRussa is as good and anal about match ups as we his reputation suggests).

That said, given that there's a floor to the number of RHB every LOOGY will face, you have to wonder at the value of guys like Romero and Willis.

Bubba: Exactamente!

If the truck can't get those wheels turning I am not concerned. It will give a chance for one of the yutes to throw the hat they wear in race. I really like Justin d and aumont to break camp if truck is done. Pap/bastardo, and one of those three with quails will suite me fine for back end key situations

you are the first one to live deep in my heart )-(

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