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Monday, March 26, 2012


As a backup to Galvis? Sure.

As a replacement? Stupid idea.

You call this guy a Mini-Mart clone, but then you also call him a "26-year-old all-glove, no-bat switch hitter specializing in shortstop, third and second."

Seeing as Mini-Mart is a no-glove, no-bat switch hitter, who specializes no where, I fail to see the similarities between the two.

Pena posted a .334 OPS last year in the Majors...good for a -12 OPS+

He's dirt cheap & he sucks. Perfect for the Phils roster (insert more sarcasm here.)

After reading Matt Gelb's column this morning (Is anybody out there), one would think there'll be somebody much better available soon. He also states why Pierre has the edge over Pods. (BAP: Please read).

This team doesn't need another all-glove, no-hit player. We have too many of those already. We need offense, along with some who can play SS.

NEPP, I like that he posted an 80 OPS+ his first year, then dropped to a 36 OPS+, and STILL was able to find a way to further decline.

That's dedication to your craft.

DPatrone: "We need offense, along with some who can play SS."

Right, because those players often become available one week before the season starts. Maybe we should just call Colorado and ask if they'd let us borrow Troy Tulowitzki for the season?

***That's dedication to your craft.***

You have to want it.


Member of the 2009 WFC Yankees. That is all.

Fatti, LOL!!!

Here's the comparison:

mini-mart: .196/.258/.282, 234 PA, 18/35 BB/K ratio, 48 OPS+

Ram -Pena: .233/.266/.288, 334 PA, 13/58 BB/K ratio, 46 OPS+

What is more telling, are their career L/R splits:

minimart vs.
RHP: .203/.278/.310, 180 PA
LHP: .176/.189/.196, _54 PA

Pena vs.
RHP: .264/.296/.335, 257 PA
LHP: .129/.162/.129, _77 PA

In short, while there are sample size issues with the splits I posted, I think, that neither one of these players should remotely sniff an PA against a LHP.

I have one question: Can Pena play defense?

At this point, why not just pull fans out of the stands and let them give it a go?

"We need offense, along with some who can play SS."

Dom, WHO might that be?

(We've been trying to get names out of you and GTown for close to 2 weeks. Still, all we get is whining and obfuscation.)

It's the cardinals version of "some dude" of course it ended up being their 2nd best prospect but still hillarious

This is probably the year they underperform, get the wildcard spot in the playoffs and win the WS

I'd rather put the Phillie Phanatic on the 25-main roster.

That mythical cost controlled, cheap player, whom will serve as a backup ss, and still hit for power, at a position where power is at a significant premium. I'm sure there's gm's all over the league dying to trade us that player for some minor league filler right?

Rube: "Hey Ryne, were brining you up to the show".

RS: "Thanks reuben, i'll be a heck of a good coach for you?"

Rube", bring your mitt. Your our backup infielder"

Ryne:"umm...are you sure that's a good idea i mean, i don't move as good as I used to"

Rube" Better than utley apparently...hell we got thome shagging grounders at 1st, why not?"

Of course, if you remove the requirement that the player be an infielder, there is a player the Phillies could put on the roster who would provide some offense.

However, that player would be Dom Brown, and the Phillies have made it abundantly clear that they do not want him to contribute in any way to this team.

Tells me they are looking for a utility infielder they feel comfortable can play SS and has some experience there.

Also tells me they are almost zero cash to spend too & are looking at getting a player as close to the league minimum as absolutely possible.

Jack - Brown could but where does he play especially if they are going to carry 6 OFs to start the season instead including Pierre/Podsednik?

in dpats defense, he has given a name plenty of time.

not in dpats defense, the name is theriot.

If Galvis cannot hit, we may see Utley back with leg-braces by Mid-May

I read Murphy's column this morning. He's a beat writer, and is usually pretty good, but it pains me when he writes sentences like this, which are somewhat uninformed because they are only partially true:

"The fact is, Utley has played competitive baseball for just 5 of the last 17 months. His batting average and slugging percentage have dropped in each of the last four seasons. He missed the first 2 months of 2011 and returned to post numbers that were well below his career averages."

The first two sentences are entirely true, which is OK, but the last sentence, while true, totally misses the point of what happened with Utley last season.

Here are Utley's monthly splits in 2011. The June #s include the last three games in May when Utley finally started to hit:

June: .300/.403/.470, .318 BAbip
July: .293/.369/.545, .293 BAbip
Aug.: .245/.315/.347, .267 BAbip
Sep.: .208/.295/.337, .211 BAbip

What we saw in June and July was the Chase Utley we all know and love. Murphy either missed that, or chose to omit that detail.

It seems that, despite the "he was unlucky" BAbip argument, that Utley wore down as the season progressed - more dramatically than usual, and in September was barely replacement level, if that.

Of course, Utley's history of wearing down in August and September causes one to question how much of last season's decline was simply him wearing down as normal, or was related to his knees?

Other thoughts:

How long has this problem affected Utley? Is this something that he has kept under wraps his entire career and it's only now getting bad enough to knock him out of action? Have his knees been the cause of his late-season declines in the past, and we've just been erroneously chalking it up to general wear-and-tear because of his all-out style of play?

"the Phillies have made it abundantly clear that they do not want him to contribute in any way to this team. "

What an absurd statement. The Phillies don't want him to contribute to the team? Really?

If Brown proves to be a consistent offensive producer over an extended period in the high-level minors, he'll get playing time in the majors. If he doesn't, he won't. It really is that simple - mancrushes or no mancrushes.

AWH~ Callespo would be a better choice for one, albeit more expense. He'd play 3b Polly to 2nd. Galvis could back-up Polly & Jimmy. I know they've had some interest in Jose Lopez in the past. At least he has some pop in his bat.

Jack~ Tulo would be nice. (LOL).

Waht I'm saying here, is that yes, while Pena may be able to catch the ball, he's just another guy who is better off coming to the plate without a bat. He can't use it anyway. I don't know if Theriot is much better, but I believe he had 47 RBI last year.

My hope is that DOM's service time is spent as a regular closer to his prime than it is as a back and forth rookie.

In all fairness, if we aren't able to acquire Hunter Pence, DOM would have remained our starting RF. I can't complain they stunted his development when it was in exchange for one the of better hitters in all of baseball last season.

Phlipper, what Jack needs to explain is how much more Brown will give the Phillies over a Mayberry/Nix platoon in LF.

With this pitching staff defense matters, and Brown is a HUGE downgrade from either Nix, who's an average to above average defender, and Mayberry, who if given the reps in LF might be a GG candidate, IMHO.

Offensively, an RFD/Nix platoon probably outperforms Brown as well.

Mayberry has done this to LHP in his career:

.299/.341/.604, 164 PA

While the sample size is small, it's consistent with what he's done against LHP throughout the minors.

Nix can't hit lefties a lick. But he has been good against RHP.

So, would the downgrade from Nix to Brown defensively hurt more than any potential offensive benefits of playing Brown against RHP?

Also, that said, long term is BROWN better off getting everyday reps at LV - especially in LF?

I see this guy a Brian Bocock type -- someone you put at AAA, in case Rollins or Galvis get injured.

To repeat a point I've made before: Galvis can play SS; Wigginton can play 3rd and probably even 2nd in a pinch; Polanco can play 2nd. We're covered at every position in the event of injury. If RAJ wants one more utility infielder for depth, it would make no sense to pick anyone except Luna, since he can play 2nd and 3rd and can actually hit a little bit. You do not need 3 shortstops on your 25-man roster. If they do acquire this guy, it would be outright lunacy to carry him on the roster.

It's really hard to believe that salary dumping one of the lowest paid veterans on the team would cause this much turmoil. I am still trying to figure out what Rube thought he was doing by sending his only competent backup infielder to the Reds for a guy who will likely never see the major leagues as a Philly. Anyone else understand this?

smitty, who knows what Rube was thinking.

To credit his honesty (in this instance), he admitted he made a mistake.

MG: Explain why Pierre or Podsednik is a better contributor than Dom.

Both can catch a routine fly ball?

Jack: If you're a DOM believer than why do you want him wasting service time as a backup?

BAP: I dont agree that Polly is much of a 2B anymore.

Jack - Doesn't matter if Brown might and probably is a better offensive contributor at this point. He isn't making the team at this point.

Given the 5th OF is going to almost primarily be used going in game late, Brown's defensive shortcomings and questionable baserunning become liabilities at this point.

If Brown was going to play frequently, he might get consideration. Nix is slated for that role though & that won't change at this in the early going.

With this pitching staff defense matters

This seems counter-intuitvie to me. The more Ks, the less impact a good defense has.

BAP~ That's right getting him is just lunacy. But that's the kind of guy they're looking at. Though he's not what they need. According to Gelb, someone will shake loose from a team who is better. It's just a question of what we'll have to pay salary-wise. This is why I sometimes critcize Amaro. You have to do what's best for the team. The payroll is what it is.

And for everyone, FWIW, if Brown could play defense, he'd be on the Major-League roster. There's enough said there. I might even venture a guess that he'll be traded at point. He certainly won't play RF here. And Mayberry has shown superior defense skills in CF and LF, plus he seems to be a darned good 1b-man as well.

Finally, someone who understands.

I think everyone can see that Dom will be an offensive force. But his defense is almost metaphysically bad. It's hard to believe that such a great athlete isn't at least a competent outfielder.

I would love to see the Phillies try staring him in left and Mayberry at first until RyHow returns. But they would have to give Dom some simple rules.

1. No diving. He won't catch the balls he dives for anyway, and he seems to injure himself when he dives.
2. Play deep. He can't seem to go back on balls.
3. Always hit the cutoff man. He doesn't seem to have any discretion when throwing the ball, whether to hit the cutoff guy or try to make a heroic no-hop throw.
4. Let Vic take any ball more than a few steps to his left.

If Dom can do these simple things, his bat would be great to have in the lineup instead of Nix, Wiggy or just about anyone else.

Of course, the Phillies are not going to bring Dom North, so it's a moot point.

lore: We really don't know, because he hasn't played any 2nd in ST. My guess is that, while he might no longer have much range, he would be perfectly adequate. If not, then you put Luna on the roster. How many automatic outs can a team afford to have on their bench?

"This seems counter-intuitvie to me. The more Ks, the less impact a good defense has.

Interesting point.

In the end, wanting a better offense and a better defense are independent of the strength of your pitching staff. They're both good regardless, and don't really work in any kind of inverse proportion.

It's not like if you have a good offense, you'd necessarily get more utility out of improving your defense or pitching over further improving your offense.

***Always hit the cutoff man. He doesn't seem to have any discretion when throwing the ball, whether to hit the cutoff guy or try to make a heroic no-hop throw. ***

screw that, Sexy Rexy's got the big arm. He's gotta unleash the dragon!

Oops, wrong thread.

Apologies if this mid-summer panic scenario has already been imagined and dismissed.

Brown, to my recollection, has looked "merely bad" in right field and awful in left. If Mayberry, stellar defense aside, continues to struggle during the regular season and the Phillies are scuttling along a couple games over .500 with one of the worst offenses in the league come June 1, do they consider moving Pence to left and putting Brown in right? I know this completely shoots the whole plan to let Brown learn a new position and get more seasoning, but can Pence play left? This scenario could turn Victorino into a basket case, but it would be one desperation move to get more offense, while turning the corner outfield positions into keystone cop-like adventure zones.

Or maybe if Mayberry continues to look lost, they go with Podsednik, Pierre, or a Montanez/Nix platoon. Maybe I should give Mayberry more time to straighten it out and not assume he's going slump, but he doesn't look anything like the locked in batter he was last summer.

"I think everyone can see that Dom will be an offensive force."

I certainly don't know that he won't be, but I don't get this level of confidence that he will be. He has yet to establish himself as an offensive force in his opportunities in the majors, and he hasn't had an opportunity to prove himself to be an offensive force at Triple-A.

Apparently, the professional talent evaluators that are paid to watch him closely have their questions.

Maybe it just simply makes sense to let him prove himself at Triple-A?

***but can Pence play left? ***

Most competent corner OFs have no issue with switching from RF to LF. Pence is a competent OF so it would probably be a minimal adjustment.

If this dude is in the cross hairs, perhaps it's just to have someone to play in Lehigh? With all of the hand-wringing on the current state of our backup IF (and even backup backups), it's probably safe to assume that the cupboard is somewhat bare in the minors. They do play a minor league season, and assembling a team is somewhat of a precursor to participation...

This guy feels like another Galvis (with some 3B capability).

He's a 26 year old version of Galvis...who now knows 3B and 2B a bit from having to learn them as a utility guy.

Not an upgrade by any means.

Who is starting in the field today? Any minor league guys we should worry might make the roster

Montenez is starting in RF again...which IMHO means that Rube is looking to move Pence for prospects and rebuild the farm system.

Utley is suffering from chrondomalacia. I have determined that I am suffering from chrondo malaise.

NEPP: You laugh but as we speak MG is preparing a dissertation about how this proves Montanez will make the roster.

Let's not go crazy with the Montanez speculation guys. Let's see what he does in his first AB, and then we can begin to figure out where to fit him in.

Blanton gives up an absolute bomb to Pedroia. No doubter.

That ball might land by the AS break.

We are set up to REALLY miss Wilson Valdez this season. Can't say that's anything but a very bad omen.

Cody Ross hears a very loud chorus of boos. Phillies fans are the best.

On a somewhat tangential note, I would have loved to be a fly on the wall during those meetings, a couple years ago, in which TTI & MG co-authored that baseball article. I think Andy or Lake Fred needs to provide us some fake dialogue from those meetings.

Harry K would have been 76 today.

this blog needs less fake dialogue.

JRoll doing his best to show that # of pitches in a AB means absolutely nothing.

Though it sure beats the hell out of a first pitch pop out.

BAP: To answer your question- I found MG to be a very cordial person that I enjoyed talking to. We all have our own little foibles and I enjoy needling people about them.

I am a button pusher. I would readily admit that about myself. But overall- I like MG. Just think he gets a little too preoccupied with points sometimes to the point that it drowns out legitimate analysis.

Mini Mart could have done that.

Typical Mayberry a hittable fastball, swing wildly at a breaking ball.

"This seems counter-intuitvie to me. The more Ks, the less impact a good defense has."

Edmundo, are you saying that defense doesn't matter, especially when 2 of your top 3 pitchers are prolific at inducing GBs?

awh, while Halladay and Hamels were terrific at inducing ground balls last year, they were by no means "prolific". Prolific is when you're inducing grounds balls north of 60%, like Tim Hudson and Derek Lowe in their primes. Doc and Hamels were inducing grouns balls at a little over 50% last year, which is awesome for pitchers who are striking out nearly a batter an inning (which is something that Hudson or Lowe never did).

That said, defense is always important, but the more your staff strikes people out, the less important defense becomes, by virtue of the fact that strike outs requires no defense.

Also, since the spark for that exchange began with referring to Dom Brown's defense, and since we have 3 SP who strike out a lot of batters, and two of which induce a lot of ground balls, it would seem that OF defense is that much less important.

Edmundo, also, I'll add in this quote from Bill James 1988 Baseball Abstract, which I've posted on this blog before:

Primer 10. "A great deal of what is perceived as being pitching is in fact defense."

Mayberry continues to have an awful spring. I don't care about the overall numbers as much as the fact that he just isn't hitting any hard.

Maybe denny b would disagree but he's been chasing too many offspeed pitches out of the zone away and pulling off the ball hitting too many weak grounders to the left-side of the infield.

Montanez with the Phils first hit in his first AB. Better start prepping his locker in South Philly.

Funny but Blanton has almost been in the strike zone too much today.

Overall his command (ability to throw strikes) has been pretty impressive this spring. His control (spot the ball) hasn't been bad either.

Montanez breaks up the no-hitter. In other news, Pence has been traded for cash considerations.

Galvis with a standing double.

And then he's promptly thrown out at the plate...

Another questionable decision to spend Montanez there by Samuel. He hasn't impressed me much since he was installed as the 3rd base coach last year.

Fatii, fine. If you want to get in a semantical argument over the use of the word "prolific" which means "producing in large quantities or with great frequency; highly productive", then waste your own time.

But under the definition of "prolific" in the dictionary I didn't see where they specified it had to be "north of 60%.

Given that runs are likely to be tough to come by, I do wonder how aggressive Samuel is going to be at sending runners and trying to gamble for extra runs. He was pretty aggressive last year.

' would seem that OF defense is that much less important."

So, Fatti, are you suggesting that the Phillies actually play Brown in LF?

BAP - TTI is was great to work with on the article.

I know its spring training but Galvis has really impressed me with his ability to turn on a fastball so far.

Fat: For reasons you state, I think it misstates the issue to say that, with the Phillies' strong pitching, a strong defense becomes more important. A more accurate statement would be: since we won't be scoring many runs without Utley & Howard in the lineup, a strong defense becomes more important.

Of course, one could also make the argument that, since we won't be scoring many runs without Utley & Howard in the lineup, we need to find as much offense as we can -- even if it's at the expense of defense. In the abstract, neither argument is necessarily better than the other. It all just depends on the particulars of the players in question.

Fatii, fine. If you want to get in a semantical argument over the use of the word "prolific" which means "producing in large quantities or with great frequency; highly productive", then waste your own time.

Posted by: awh | Monday, March 26, 2012 at 01:51 PM

Alas, every keystroke I enter on this site is a waste of time, isn't it?

A run is a run is a run. Whether you save a run on defense or score a run on offense, it counts the same.

Actually, this isn't technically true. The marginal value of a run saved is actually a tiny bit greater than the marginal value of a run scored, but I don't think it's enough to be germane to this discussion.

At least Mayberry is consistent:

Pitch 1: Take a strike
Pitch 2: Swing at a ball in the dirt

Every AB.

GB% is ground balls per ball in play, right? In that case, it's not really a relevant statistic for this argument. You would want ground balls as a percentage of total at-bats. For a high-K pitcher, this number would not be very prolific.

Oh a cheap plug for Sarge's new book on the greatest Phils' players at each position.

Talk about something that is almost guaranteed to be a terrible read.

If Sarge did a book on great ribs places in American cities, I might be more inclined to buy it.

Actually, I'm not convinced GB% is relevant at all. Is the effect of a good defense more likely to show itself on ground balls than fly balls? A fly ball turned from a double into an out has more of an impact than a ground ball turned from a single into an out.

Edmundo, are you saying that defense doesn't matter, especially when 2 of your top 3 pitchers are prolific at inducing GBs?

I've been convinced for a long time that awh is clout. Change someone's words around much, clo awh?

You wrote, "With this pitching staff defense matters", which by implication means more so than other pitching staffs. If that is not what you meant, what did you mean?

DH Phils: I agree about GB% as it relates to defense generally. However, if the question was whether the Phillies should allocate resources to either infield defense or outfield defense, relatively speaking, it would matter.

The RedSox were one of the teams that were supposedly scouting Blanton a few weeks ago. Today's performance might give them a few other ideas.

RAJ said last week or so that in hindsight, it was foolish to move Valdez.

Jack - your thought on the difference in the marginal value of run saved as opposed to run scored is interesting. Can you walk us through it, including how runs saved/scored are measured? The first thought that came to mind were the benefits that came with runs saved -- less wear/tear and ability to go deeper with your better pitching assets (pitch counts). Intuitively, this should make quite a difference over the course of a year.

Classic Blanton HR meatball pitch - a fastball that is supposed to be inside but catches too much of the plate to a RH hitter and is belt-high.

Ton of those pitches put in the seats since he became a Phils' starter.

Primer 10. "A great deal of what is perceived as being pitching is in fact defense."

What's your point other than to deflect the conversation away from your original flawed comment? In 1988, ERA was pretty much an advanced metric. Now we have better tools to separate the effects of team interplay. Surely we have a really good idea of just how good Halladay is, how good Blanton is.

***The RedSox were one of the teams that were supposedly scouting Blanton a few weeks ago. Today's performance might give them a few other ideas.***

That depends on whether they were scouting him for their rotation or as someone to toss batting practice.

DH, it really does depend on the pitchers. Take Halladay for example:

He induced 330 ground balls last year, 198 fly balls, and 31 infield fly balls. Infield fly balls should be 99% outs no matter who your defenders are.

Now, the question becomes, are the majority of fly balls easy enough to defend that pretty much all outfielders will get to them, so that maybe only 15-20 fly balls will be gotten (or played better) by better defenders. If that's the case, but we're dealing wtih 330 ground balls, I'd say that you have a lot more chance for errors and misplays, that you'd want to load on IF defense, as poor OF defense might misplay 198 fly balls into maybe 20 extra bases, whereas an impcompetent IF might misplay 330 ground balls into 40-50 extra bases (screwing up double plays, letting bleeders get through, misthrows, etc).

The calculus would obviously change depending on your picthing staff. Those are my thoughts at least.

TNA: It has to do with the fact that each run is slightly more valuable the lower-scoring the game is. Thus, a run saved is more valuable because it lowers the score of the game, and each run is therefore marginally more valuable.

I can't walk you through the math shorthand here, but I believe you can get it pretty quickly if you google it.

That depends on whether they were scouting him for their rotation or as someone to toss batting practice.

In spite of being one who occasionally mildly defends Blanton, I had to snort at that one.

NEPP- Your increased focus on minutiae and Phillies stuff leads me to believe that you're a lawyer who's recently been prescribed adderall. Am I off the mark?

Opposing pitchers have to be salivating at the prospect of facing this lineup early in the year especially on a Sunday when they play Schneider and possibly some of the other bench guys.

Nope, not a lawyer.


Mayberry did look bad on his first 2 AB's today. He wasn't swinging at balls that bad, very often last year.

He looks off-balance to me. His swing and approach is entirely based on timing. And it looks a bit off. He looks smooth in LF though.

Wigginton's bat looks slow right now too. He is having trouble catching up to the fastball.

The Phils have only hit about 3 balls remotely hard today. Galvis has 2 of those.

"In spite of being one who occasionally mildly defends Blanton. . ."

I ocasionally mildly defend him too. Occasional, mild defense is about all I can muster, though.

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