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Monday, April 30, 2012


"But before chiding people relentlessly that April record means nothing, show WHY it means nothing. "

Fata - maybe you should take that up with someone who said that?

What I said is that it isn't predictive of much. Good teams tend to win. You don't need a study to realize that.

On the other hand, we have you reading a study (apparently without applying common sense) and concluding, "But a poor 23 game sample in May, which would qualify as the beginning of the season, if not early in the season, has shown to have real predictive power."

The direct significance of the Phils' record is that they're three games off the pace. That isn't terribly predictive of anything after 23 games with @140 games left.

After back-pedaling, you get back to the obvious point: The real question is whether their record after 23 games is predictive of how they will perform over the rest of the season. I'd say you can't answer that question with stats because there are too many uncontrolled variables. Is Worley's early success a fluke? Is Rollins really shot? When will Utley and/or Howard come back and how will they perform? Trying to make a prediction based on decontextualized data is basically meaningless here. Just because you can find a correlation doesn't make it predictive of anything in the real world. That's the problem when stats' geeks get pumped up with themselves because they read a study.

joe d: well i'm reaching as is with that comment, just trying to find some ryhme or reason to think they'll play better soon.

But in general, while they are professionals, its not a perfect world. There are countless examples of teams/individuals playing down to their competition. Theres no concrete stat to express it, so im sure there will be some who argue that it doesn't exists - but they are kidding themselves that human beings are somehow transformed into mindless robots with predetermined outcome ratios once they take the field.

Antonio paid homage to JC last night.

I'm sure somebody covered this, but one of the many reasons I can't stand T-Mac: at least be realistic and accurate when describing the action. On the replay of Polanco's double, he mentions how he hit to the wall.

Other than the fact that if the left fielder was playing Polly like they do 90% of the other hitters, it would have been an easy, line drive out and the ball rolled a ways to the fence, sure, that was 100% accurate. I hear you on the whole getting up for bigger series theory. I think there is something to it but good/great teams shouldn't fall into that trap. That's all I'm saying.

I realize that there is a lot to gripe about with regard to the team's performance in April, and that there will likely be plenty more to legitimately complain about going forward.

But for me, it was really enjoyable seeing the Phils get down a run and come back immediately to score 2 with two outs and take the game in late innings, to see Jimmy and Polly be a key part of it, to see Polly have two hits and a couple of great defensive plays, watching Papelbon get his 8th save out of 8 tries, and watching Polly after the game note that the entire team is really fighting hard to get out of the mire.

Sorry, but count me as one of the unwashed who was really happy last night after the game.

Oh...has Papelbon finally closed out the 9th? I figured its only been 11 hours so he might still be pitching. very justified to feel that way about last night. While I think the long-term outcome of Jimmy back to 1 will bring some of the same results as years past but at least for now it has gotten his panties unbunched. Polly has been big lately and has hit over .300 for the past 2 weeks. That's big. I still need to see some pop from the middle of the order but if they can weather the storm until it comes they should be ok.

It's interesting how different last night's game might have looked six or seven years ago. Maybe after a similar game at a similar point in the season, GTown, Fata, and BAP would have written a post something like the following:

"A win when one of the big three didn't start. Polly and Rollins looking better after struggling. The continued solid performance of Chooch and Pap. Two key injuries and the Phils are hanging in the race despite not playing as well as we might expect. I'm cautiously optimistic about this team!"

Honestly, at this point, I'm prepared to start lumping Worley in with the Big Three when it comes to pitching. He's 14-5 with a 2.70 ERA in 28 career starts (35 appearances).

Keep it up, Vanimal!!!

Yeah with each passing start I'm starting to think Worley is the real deal and not some Kyle Kendrick-JA Happ mirage.

It's interesting how hard it is to believe that Worley's success isn't some kind of a fluke. I don't know if MLB scouts ever projected this level of success, but judging from what I read at BLer, I can't recall anyone predicting much success for him at all, and I don't gather that his performance at the minor league level was particularly notable.

Is it possible that the Phils' coaching staff might deserve some credit?

I think Dubee deserves some credit for helping to get Vance to develop his secondary pitches. That's always what separates the "throwers" from "pitchers". Vance came into the organization with some good stuff and the size to be something. But with his secondary pitches developing as quickly as they have he has taken root faster. I know he toyed with the change in the spring and ditched it but if he picks that back up then wow the league better watch out.

Has anoyone on BL ever predicted any success for anyone? Even after success occurs people will claim it isn't success.

"Has anoyone on BL ever predicted any success for anyone? "

Jack's been predicting huge success for the Braves for a couple of years running.

As bad as our hittings been at times and as mediocre as the team record is right now, at least we aren't the Angels.

The prediction when he was drafted was "RH setup man".

He's just slightly outshined that so far.

"Has anoyone on BL ever predicted any success for anyone? "

I believe I predicted success for Dom Brown after his first AB. Whadda dope I was, huh?

The one thing that holds me back on Worley is that I still find it hard to believe he can sustain his "caught lookings". Even if those revert to more common levels, he will still be a solid starter.

Todd Zolecki making the point many here have also made: that it's the (lack of) production from the regurlars that's hurting the Phils more than the absence of Howard & Utley.

From his blog:

Here is the difference in OPS by position from April 2011, when the Phillies ranked fifth in the league averaging 4.62 runs per game and finished 18-8, and April 2012:

Catcher: +208
First base: -46
Second base: +54
Third base: -375
Shortstop: -184
Left field: +95
Center field: -155
Right field: -63
You can see here the Phillies got more production this month at catcher, second base and left field than they got last April. You can see the combination of mostly Ty Wigginton and Laynce Nix have almost matched Howard’s production at first base. You also can see the big drop offs at third base, shortstop and center field. Pence isn’t too far removed from the production in right field last season, but that is nothing to be proud of. The Phillies were so unhappy with their right field production last season they sent four prospects to the Houston Astros to acquire Pence.

And it’s not like the Phillies need Polanco, Rollins, Victorino and Pence to overachieve. They just need them to play to their career OPS. Here is how far behind they are from their career averages:

Polanco (.750 career OPS): -179
Rollins (.759): -228
Victorino (.779): -123
Pence (.824): -115

Edmundo: But don't those "caught lookings" have a lot to do with his ability to locate pitches? And don't a lot of successful pitchers have this ability? It also has to do with getting an umpire who will call his zone, but that's an unpredictable variable.

Phils are going to lose this game and 3 out of 4 to arguably the worst team in the NL right now.

Posted by: MG | Monday, April 30, 2012 at 09:23 PM

You forgot to mention they are on pace to go 70-92 on the season.

"As bad as our hittings been at times and as mediocre as the team record is right now, at least we aren't the Angels. "

Albert Pujols = Albatross

Trevor May pitched another gem last night. It will be interesting to see if he survives the trade deadline. If the Phils can turn him into a competent long term solution at 3rd, I wouldn't be too upset about seeing him go. Don't know who that would be at this point though.

Jesse Biddle's number's aren't good, but it could be a small sample size issue with only 4 starts under his belt.

Brody Colvin may be working his way back to prospect status after last years horrible stats. He's been up and down in 5 starts but has a sub-4 era. not great, but better.

Jiwan James has fallen off a little after a hot start and is hitting .250 now. He's a lottery ticket type player who I could see as a 3rd piece in a deal (hopefully for a 3b).

Tyson Gillies has started hitting again after a brief lull in production. Hitting .325 over his last 10 games with a solid .836 ops over that span. I still see him as an enigma who may or may not pan out. Who knows what'll happen there. If he can stay healthy, he might just make it.

Most of the team's other hitting "prospects" are scuffling.

Dom Brown continues to struggle in the field and not hit at the plate. I still believe, but he might just need a change of scenery a la Gavin Floyd. Dom Brown for Travis Snider. Who hangs up the phone 1st?

Is anyone other than me excited about the possibility of a Jake Diekman call-up to replace our fallen soldier Herndon? Is there anyone else to be excited about potentially coming up to fill the 'pen at this point?

But don't those "caught lookings" have a lot to do with his ability to locate pitches? And don't a lot of successful pitchers have this ability?

Yes, on both counts. 3 concerns for me:
1. Worley is simply pitching above his true talent level (sort of like Happ). He's starting to build enough of a sample that this concern is lightening up for me.
2. The batters will adjust. This will happen. I imagine it will take all forms -- aggressively going after earlier pitchs, looking for the comebacker, etc. If hitters start getting more success, will Worley be able to adjust? Or his stuff so nastily late moving that it won't matter?
3. Will the umps adjust? My very fallable eyes perceive that he's getting something of a Maddoxian strike zone.

I'm very happy so far this year as he seems to have picked up where he left off. And I love his disposition, his attackiness (if I may), everything about him.

As added info to my Brown-Snider proposed swap. Snider is putting up great stats, but it's a Las Vegas, a known launching pad.

Expecting anything more than a
~.650 OPS out of Polanco this year is going to be asking a lot. Just has no power at all anymore.

At best, he continues to play stellar defense at 3B, win another GG, and hit .270 or so.

JRoll/Vic are both notoriously slow starters. It is likely that JRoll is now primarily a singles' hitter but he is a better hitter than what he has shown. Vic too.

Pence is the guy I wonder about because he is going to get any time off & I wonder just how healthy his shoulder is right now.

We'd have to play hardball in such a proposed swap: Demand AA also throw in Travis d'Arnaud.

Although I guess it first happened a couple of days ago, I just noticed for the first time that the stat "% chance of making playoffs" has the Phils' has the Phillies behind a division rival (Braves 50.7%, Phils 49.0%). I guess that's based on run differential plus current record?

Anyone know what factors go into that stat? Given their respective records and run differentials, why would the Phils be so close to the Braves and actually ahead of Washington - strength of opponents?

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Finally got to see Orr actually put that speed to use.

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