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Thursday, March 08, 2012


Over 93.5 sounds reasonable, but if you're taking the Phils to win the WS at 5-1, you clearly don't understand how the playoffs work. Not a value proposition, to say the least.

Was about to post on this MG comment in the last thread. As much as I disagree with MG on little things he is absolutely on point with the big picture outlook here. If the big 3 stay healthy, the Phils are a playoff lock; one of them misses a significant amount of time and their hold on the division gets really tenuous. It's pretty simple. It was true last year and even more true this year.

What I found stunning was the Halladay tidbit that J left out of this post- they were 24-8 in his starts last year and have a .768 win pct in his two years here. I know it shouldn't come as a surprise but damn.

I remember there were a few people that were skeptical of Halladay being able to live up to his Christ-like billing when he was traded here. As far as I'm concerned, it has already been confirmed: he is, in fact, Jesus Christ.

I just got 3:2 odds on Dom and Vic banging heads and making a hollow coconut-like sound audible at 60 feet while playing a routine fly ball in the 2nd round of the playoffs at home.

WP, you are right about those WS odds. After what we witnessed the last two years in the playoffs I am never laying money on a team to make the Series.

No surprise that we'll win or lose almost solely based on the "Big 3," especially this year, where the drop-off to 4 and 5 is a bit more suspect (Blanton '12 is probably less "bookable" than Oswalt '11, and Worley '12 will have to repeat Worley '11, which will be extremely tough given the Phils previous sophomore performances). Injury could single handedly railroad this whole season, but these three are pretty reliable from that standpoint (knocking on wood).

To further the reliance on the "Big 3," RAJ hasn't made upgrading the offense as high a priority as we'd all like. I'd guess that the bench, as a whole, might be a tick better than last season, but even that's arguable. A full season of Pence helps a bit, and Utley may be better, but the Howard loss to start the season hurts a lot.

I suspect that we're in for another season full of discussion about games where the Phils need to score just 3 runs (and whether or not they're capable of doing so). Could be another bunch of 2-1 ballgames.

The Dom Vic odds look low to me. That collision is a lock.

Forget who said it, but someone a few threads ago made a good point about there being no reasonable replacement for Howard and Utley, regardless of the scenario. Especially for a team with this kind of payroll, it wouldn't make sense to blow money/roster space on high-priced contingency plans.

You can't quite plan for no Howard or no Utley (I'd have kept Valdez too, but would it really make THAT much of a difference) and you certainly can't plan for an injury to Hamels, Halladay or Lee.

Devastating injuries like that have crippled teams better than this. You just gotta hope they don't happen.

Days of the Phils being 'not respected' nationally a bit after the '08 WS are long gone. They were clear favorites in the few sports book I dropped by when I was in Vegas two weeks ago for a work conference.

I agree with the baseball handicapper too. The Phils are a overvalued at this point which makes for a bad bet especially to win the WS.

Like the odds much better for them to win a 6th consecutive NL East title even though the payouts were typically poor to terrible.

I was wrong big-time on the over-under last year (think it was 95-96 and I took the 'under' because I didn't think the Phils' pitching staff could be that dominant).

This year I need to wait a bit longer to see how healthy the Phils will be coming out of the gate, how several guys coming off injuries look in spring training, and when Howard might return.

93.5 sounds about right with tweaking by 1-2 games depending upon what their health status look like in early April. Tough number though right now to bet either way.

[The Phillies] were 24-8 in his starts last year and have a .768 win pct in his two years here.

I'll admit that (a) I was one of those skeptics, & (b) Halladay has been every bit as Christ-like as advertised. But there's also this: In 5 career Postseason starts w/ the Phillies, Doc has a 2.37 ERA, a 0.737 WHIP & a K/BB ratio of 5-1 while pitching 38 of 45 possible innings ... & yet the Phillies have only managed a 3-2 record in those 5 starts. Clearly, Jesus is doing all He can, & it STILL hasn't been enough. Point being, those notions which accompanied Halladay's acquisition -- namely that of a 2-4 Aces rotation equaling a guaranteed trip to the World Series -- have proven false.

Given the way the too is configured right now and the current depth chart, losing Utley/Howard isn't the biggest issue.

Difference offensively between Utley (think he is going to be a ~.800 OPS guy going ahead forward) and Wigginton as long as he isn't completely done isn't that dramatic. It's a notable hit but not as bad as when had to use Valdez/Orr/Mini Mart last season Phils had the 2nd worst production in MLB at 2nd until Utley returned.

Losing JRoll would be a back breaker because it means that Mini Mart in all of his useless glory because your everyday SS and arguably the worst everyday player in MLB. It would be a clear downgrade defensively & even a bigger hit offensively than downgrading potentially from Utley/Wigginton. Go from a guy who when healthy is maybe a .720 OPS guy or slightly better to a sub .600 OPS.

Losing Chooch for a while would also be really tough because the guy replacing him is on his last legs/maybe even finished as a MLB-caliber player too (Schneider).

Could also argue Vic too because whoever would replace him would be below average in CF defensively and a notable drop-off.

Dave - Valid point except that Oswalt was no 4th ace last year. He had a very pedestrian outing with imminently hittable stuff in Game 4.

Which is precisely why anyone putting $ on the Phils to win the WS at just 5-1 odds is not right in the head.

If the offense again craps the bed in a short series, the rotation could have Jesus, Mary and Moses, and they're still going to find themselves on the golf course in short order.

Worley '12 will have to repeat Worley '11, which will be extremely tough given the Phils previous sophomore performances)

Any difficulty Worley '12 has will not be dependent on other former Phillies' sophomore woes. That's just a silly argument.

Let's hope Jimmy's prediction skills are as sharp as ever.

“He’ll be here,” Rollins told “He’s not going anywhere. He was drafted by this organization, raised by this organization and became a superstar in this organization. If you know anything about this organization, that means he’s not going anywhere.

“It’s fun to talk about for talk radio and stuff like that. But he’s not going anywhere. That's my opinion.”

I know some people don't like to hear it, but there was probably a pretty big boost for the Phillies offense this year when Ibanez signed with the Yankees. As much as his 20 HRs were pretty to look at, his 575 PAs at a .289 OBP was a real drain on this offense, especially in the middle of the order, and late in games when he was completely neutralized by LOOGYs. And his defense in left field wasn't even replacement level. As much as I loved the guy, Nix/Mayberry/Brown should provide more value out of left field than Ibanez did last year, both at the plate and in the field.

Fatalotti, agreed on both the Ibanez love and the highly likely improvement in 2012.

I understand that the Phillies are an aging team, that many key players are not as good as they used to be, that Howard's status is a huge unknown, and that their off-season moves weren't terribly earth-shattering. I also understand that, even if a lot goes right, it's not realistic to expect another 100+ win season because it's just very, very difficult to win that many games. Still and all, this is a team than won 102 games last year, that has 3 of the best starting pitchers in baseball, and whose offense remains slightly above average at worst. 93.5 strikes me as awfully low on the over-under. I'd probably put it at around 97.

BAP: Was that optimism I read from you? ;)

re: Raul. Talked with a Yankee fan the other day (He grew up in NYC, so he's allowed), and he feels Raul will do well in NY. Said he can be played as just a LH DH.

What did everyone think of Papelbon saying Phils fans are smarter than Bosox fans? Mitch & Al Leiter said he's no dummy, knew what to say to get on his new fan base's good side.

"I suspect that we're in for another season full of discussion about games where the Phils need to score just 3 runs (and whether or not they're capable of doing so). Could be another bunch of 2-1 ballgames."
WP, once Utley replaced some of the worst hitters in baseball (Valdez/Orr/Martinez had a combined .538 OPS before he returned), the Phillies had the 4th fewest games with 2 runs or less. The range was from 25% (Mil) to 39% (SD) -- not counting SF's 47% --, and the Phillies were at 28%.

Similar numbers for 3 runs or less.

Jon: So Marty, what do you have?
Marty the Agent (reading off of clipboard): between baseball and my faith and family, baseball is number three?
Jon: No, too Oswalt.
Marty: through fire in a kerosene or gasoline suit?
Jon:bad connotations
Marty: This is baseball heaven?
Jon: too Rolen
Marty: For who, for what?
Jon: no, maybe at the end of the contract.
Marty:Practice, not a game, not a game, we talking about practice.
Jon: no
Marty: phillies fans are smarter
Jon: will they believe that sh8t?
Marty: accompany it with a local cheesesteak and wear an Eagles hoodie, you should be good with that one.

GBrett: I was just trying to look at it the way a bookmaker would. My own personal prediction is that the Phillies will lose at least 100 games.

With the 2nd WC this year, it would be interesting to recalculate what the average win total would have been since the current divisional format began in '95.

I bet it is an average of 87 wins. I do have mixed opinions on a team that is only 6-7 games above .500 make the playoffs. I do like that both WCs though are penalized by having to play a 1-game playoff game. You should be rewarded for winning your division.

One of the best things about the divisional format from '69-'94 was that you either won the division or went home. Lots of very good/some arguably great teams got left at the alter instead of the NLCS/ALCS series.

Ah, BAP, now I can sleep easy, knowing the world is still turning.

There's something rather Orwellian about the fact that, in order to put a greater premium on winning the division, MLB went and added 2 more non-division winners to the playoffs.

MG were you at HIMSS two weeks ago?

AL - Yup.

Cool - I did the same thing while I was there. I like the over 93.5 wins bet better than the WS. Thought about putting money on a Flyers Stanley Cup but couldn't due it with how Bryz has been playing.

MG - That does belong on the Onion.
I saw Lance Parrish play at Fenway the year he left Philly for California. I was bitching about him the whole game. He came up later in the game and hit the longest home run I've ever seen in my life off Roger Clemens. It was still climbing when it cleared the Green Monster. I swear it landed on I-90.

I think the handicapper is right teh Phils are over valued.
MG: between 6th and 8th runs scored? Last year tehy were 7th. You think the offense repeats?
I think they will be hard pressed to win the NL east and I would not put my money onit.
And I am coming around to thinking that the problem will be mainly due CM's inability to experiment given all the injuries and aged players. He will go with age over reason.

Late response i said pushing because whats his face will be 35 in 10 days...


RK, they were #1 once Utley returned (final 116 games).

Granted, they will be missing Howard to start, but they will also have...
- full year of Pence
- no more Ibanez and his .707 OPS
- better offense off the bench

Utley's playing time will be a major factor. He started all but 16 of the last 116 (8 of those due to a concussion). Hard to say until he gets on the field, but it would be good to see 130-140 starts from him.

RK - Yeah I do and not mainly because of the offense either. It should be average/slightly above average.

Phils should be a bit better positioned if Utley goes down this year too offensively than they were last year. Only killer is if Mini-Mart is in the lineup every day if JRoll/Polanco goes out especially before Howard is back. He'd be brutal everyday in the lineup.

The thing is I don't think the rest of the NL East is quite as good as people think either. Don't see any other team capable of winning 90+ games this year.

The whole X factor year more than any other year is health. This team has a bunch of guys coming off major injuries, other guys who are big injury risks, and a bunch of geezers on this roster.

Even if they are hit with some injuries, really hard to not see this team winning 87-88 games and not making the playoffs.

All I know is several guys named Howard and Utley are not playing right now and we are not quite sure when they will be playing and to what level.
Many are woried about Rollins and Polanco. I do agree a full year of Pence is promising. But predictions of glory strike me as a lot of fan talk. I just don't see much reason for optimism here.

I don't think it's out of the realm of possibility that the team really stinks it up the first half of the season, leading to a radical makeover at the trade deadline (e.g. trading of key players that aren't seen as trade targets right now). Let's face it--at some point in the next few years, we're pretty likely to reach a situation where the lineup is too poor to realistically compete for the division, and Rube will need to ship off some position players or even a starting pitcher for prospects and set up for a rebuild. It's unlikely that this season sees the beginning of that process, but given enough bad injury luck it could happen. So much depends on Mayberry.

Hey, just so you guys know, there's no betting on baseball.

Last season, the four aces gave the Phils a nice cushion to start the season. They didn't miss a beat when Oswalt went down because Worley stepped up.

This season, there are only three aces. If the three stay healthy and Blanton/Worley give the Phils as much in 2012 as Oswalt/Worley did in 2011, the Phils should win the division again comfortably.

If Blanton/Worley don't pitch well this season, the Phils' advantage shrinks. If, in addition, the Big Three miss a number of starts, the team would be in trouble, and a mid-season move for another starter like Oswalt could be necessary.

Some of you may have noticed that FanGraphs did a series on Positional Power Rankings over the last week or so, where they estimated how much value each team is expected to get from each position in 2012, given known injuries, bench options, etc.

I just added up the NL results (and will post them at another site later today), and while these are to be taken with a large grain of salt and you can debate the assumptions all day long, this is the summary:

The Phillies' position players were 5th in fWAR in 2011, and are projected to remain 5th in 2012.

The Phillies' position players will improve by 2.6 fWAR, from 24.4 in 2011 to 27.0 in 2012 (the average NL team improves by 0.8 fWAR).

Some key assumptions the various authors used:
- Utley gets 550 PAs
- Howard gets 300 PAs
- LF is split among Nix (250), JMJ (225), Brown (150), and Pierre (75)
- rate stats are based on ZiPs projections

1st base assumption: Howard 300, Wigginton 200, Thome 150, JMJ 50, Martinez 20

3rd: Polanco 500, Wigginton 175, Martinez 25

I like the over for 93.5 wins, but even I think BAP's bizarrely optimistic number of 97 is too high.

I think the offense will be right around the same as last year's given the additions and subtractions. But the 4/5 starters would be hard-pressed to repeat the contributions they gave last year. And I don't think the big 3 could possibly improve upon what they did last season. Couple that with a tougher division and I think a number around 95 is probably about right.

I don't think people realize how much trouble the rest of the NL is in, especially with regards to starting pitching. The only rotation which may scare anyone is the Nationals, and that's only if their top starters are healthy, and even they are and can pitch 200+ innings each, they still aren't in the Phillies league when it comes to pitching.

Over 162 games, starting pitching is the most important thing to win. Given that we're playing a lot of teams with mediocre to outright bad starting pitching, I think another season touching 100 wins is quite realistic.

i believe they'll win 103 games! last year they ran into a one rain storm after another and it screwwed up the momentum they were building on the awesome west coast trip. I believe that if that didn't happen they were on a role and charlie started to play the scrubby bench guys, which amounted to a triple a team. remember rollins was out for about what a week and a half, utley got that concussion and they continued to win! then came that sept. 8-10 game turd they laid.... if not for all that crap going on in sept. they might have won over 110 games! so in my mind it's not unrealistic to think they could win another 100 plus games! don't write our phils off guys i'm looking forward to another fun season of phillie baseball. just hope for their health to stay intact.

Know what's better than 95 wins? 95 billion wins.

I think 95 wins is too high of an estimate. But 93.5 is definitely too low. 94 is just right.

I like 98 wins.

a resurgence of Scotty Pods would be awesome. 120 wins here we come.

I agree with Dan. The roations in the NL pale in comparison, which is why the gap between the Phillies and everyone else is so deep. One of my favorite stats of last year was PHI's winning % when they scored 3 or less runs. It wasn't great, but when you compared it league average/recent history, it was unheard of.

I tend to think that, if healthy, Podsednik is a better baseball player right now than Pierre.

I tend to agree with Jack. Despite his noodle arm, inability to draw walks, and complete lack of power, Pierre was a solid player when he was hitting .300 and stealing 50 bases. Not so much when he's hitting .275 and getting thrown out in more than 30% of his steal attempts.

At this point in their careers, who would be considered the better fielder?

I think its Pierre, but not sure what the margin is, if any.

"Losing JRoll would be a back breaker because it means that Mini Mart in all of his useless glory because your everyday SS and arguably the worst everyday player in MLB."

MG, you are wrong about that.

mini-mart would be the worst everyday player in MLB AND AAA!

I'll wait for Prediction Day before I comment on the win totals, though if the O/U is 93.5, I'll take the over if the team stays reasonably healthy.

Much can happen in ST, and we don't know what the final composition of the roster and bullpen will look like.

For instance, it has been widely assumed in many quarters that Willis will make the team in the bullpen.

At this point I'm not so sure of that.

"mini-mart would be the worst everyday player in MLB AND AAA!

Posted by: awh "

You forgot AA, A+, A, short-season and my church dart baseball league.

Pierre will make the roster even if Pods outshines him in ST; Pierre has more recent major league service time, which will outshine actual performance for Charlie.

I dunno about that. Though he didn't exactly shine, Pods was brought in (AAA) last year, so MGMT have had their eyes on him for a little while.

What was the exact date last year that the news broke about Utley's injury? Some time around now, right?

I am having an eerie sense of deja vu.

If the loss of Howard "means alot", does that mean his WAR value is complete and utter garbage?

awh: Some of us have noted the entire time that Willis was a strong possibility to pitch his way off the roster, because he has no control and can't face righties at all.

The Phillies have gone a long time with only 1 lefty reliever in the bullpen. I think if Willis continues to struggle, they will be perfectly content doing so again.

If Willis doesn't make it, do you add another reliever or take on a guy like Fransden or Podsednick for extra bench.

I agree with RK, we should tank this season because we are only 5 to 1 to win the world series so there is no chance. We will get a high draft pick who is guaranteed to be a star. Then we should trade Utley for someone who will be better than Utley, trade Rollins for oneone who will be as good as Rollins, trade Mayberry for someone who will be better than Babe Ruth. In 5 to 10 years, we might be good enough to be a 5 to 1 chance to win it all. Then we blow it up again.

The Phillies can certainly get by with one LOOGY in the pen. But the thing is, Bastardo's not a LOOGY. He's their 2nd best reliever and is almost as good against right-handers as he is against left-handers. Unless you want to see him wasted against 1 or 2 left-handed batters in the 6th inning, they need someone to fill the LOOGY role. That someone may not be Willis, but there are other in-house candidates, as well as the waiver wire.

Eric Patterson, he of 10 career HR, goes deep of Doc twice.

They'll be lucky to win 65

Watched today's game...Jimmy pop out on the first pitch doesn't look much like a change in hitting approach.

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