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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Comments

lorecore: I thank BAP for my defense. Im sure that's what I was thinking of. He does seem to get some kind of nagging injury every year that reduces his effectieness for a few weeks. I remember a few years ago he got hit by a line drive and another time he had some soreness that he said was no big deal but both times I seem to recall him pitching poorly for a stretch. This year Cole seems more beastly. I likey.
Also, I had to crack up. Last night I woke up in the middle of the night realizing that in my post about the best fielding short stops of the last 40 years, I completely omitted Jimmy Rollins. Bizarre oversight on my part. He's top 5 in my book. Maybe even higher than that.

"Fangraphs wonders if he'll get more money than Matt Cain. To me, there's no question"

With all of the money that is floating around for the time-being to the cable TV deals, there is no doubt.

Lack of really good, young FA talent available overall + lots of cash sloshing around = $25M AAV Hamels I bet

This is going to continue last until cable companies realize it actually a really stupid business deal to pay the current premiums for sports content given the price it adds to their overall cable package, the relative lack of their subscriber base that watches sports, and the inability of sports to general attract 'casual fans' & goose TV ratings.

Only sports event that really attracts 'casual fans' on a huge scale who aren't interested is the Super Bowl.

Also, I had to crack up. Last night I woke up in the middle of the night realizing that in my post about the best fielding short stops of the last 40 years, I completely omitted Jimmy Rollins. Bizarre oversight on my part. He's top 5 in my book. Maybe even higher than that.

Posted by: donc

No doubt Jimmy is a top 5 guy in that respect. I know Galvis made that catch last night over the shoulder but Jimmy damn near makes that with his eyes closed and much smoother. For all of his offensive shortcomings the dude can still pick it out there.

This is going to continue last until cable companies realize it actually a really stupid business deal to pay the current premiums for sports content given the price it adds to their overall cable package, the relative lack of their subscriber base that watches sports, and the inability of sports to general attract 'casual fans' & goose TV ratings.

Only sports event that really attracts 'casual fans' on a huge scale who aren't interested is the Super Bowl.

Posted by: MG

Shhhhh, don't go saying that. I have faith though that Comcast and the likes really aren't smart enough to figure this out though.

MG: I don't know. I probably wouldn't bother with cable at all if the NFL would open up all their games to streaming like MLB does (and the NFL does internationally). If I could pay $100 a year for MLB.tv and $100 a year for NFL.tv and then just stream netflix and hulu, I'd probably get rid of my cable all together.Kids could probably do with less tv anyway

MG: that said, current contract renewals for teams like the Angels are stunning to me. I don't know that it's worth that much money to the Cable companies.

I have a feeling Galvis will turn out to be an even better fielder than Jimmy. I don't agree, Joe about Jimmy making that play easily. A young Jimmy may have made it, today's Jimmy I'm not so sure. That was an increible play. I am encouraged by Galvis' offensive abilities but I don't see him ever approaching Jimmy at the plate. But you never know. He is already better than I expected.

While I had to Google to see his agent's name (and thankfully it didn't return "Scott Boras"), it appears as if John Boggs would have a great opportunity to place well timed phone calls to RAJ's cell phone every inning or so of a Cole Hamels start. If I were him, after every 1-2-3 inning, I'd joking dial up Ruben, tell him the price has climbed and ask if he's ready to get serious.

If Hamels makes a run at the Cy Young, I wonder how much more it will cost that had they re-signed him in Spring Training, or early in the season.

I have a feeling Galvis will turn out to be an even better fielder than Jimmy. I don't agree, Joe about Jimmy making that play easily. A young Jimmy may have made it, today's Jimmy I'm not so sure. That was an increible play. I am encouraged by Galvis' offensive abilities but I don't see him ever approaching Jimmy at the plate. But you never know. He is already better than I expected.

Posted by: donc

Agree on that the play will likely be harder for the Jimmy of today than the Jimmy of yesteryear. He doesn't appear to have anywhere near Jimmy's pop but he has given a few balls rides. I just can't get enough of his instincts with the glove. He is just so smooth.

@Willard....while the Phillies had the opportunity to sign Cole before the season started it might have been Cole and his agent that wanted to see how the year rode out. As we see, he is only increasing his stock to this point.

I forgot Thome was on the team. Forgot about Mini Mart too.

On the other hand, I keenly feel the absence of Ryan Howard and Chase Utley every day - although I sincerely wonder whether they will be able to make their presence felt in a positive way when they do come back.

If you think about it, regarding cable deals, live sporting event rights are probably the most valuable commodity on TV right now, simply due to how the viewing habits of consumers has changed. With Hulu, VOD, DVR, etc., no one watches TV "live" anymore, and they subsequently fast forward through commercials (thereby making advertisers less likely to invest in these programs - see "Community"). Live sporting events, however, draw eyes at the time they're being aired, and hence the advertising is at a premium. Sports are a huge money maker due simply to the advertising component. Though, you can't help but wonder how high is too high.

Cole Hamels is increasing his stock while observing the erosion around him.

GBrett, another day with no news on Howard/Utley simply means another day with bad news. I don't know if the FO has gotten gun shy on exposing themselves or what, but for the life of me, I don't understand what the hell is taking so long. I'm waiting for the TMZ pic to surface that shows Howard and Utley both amputated at the knee.

If it was a gamble by Cole and his agent, it's one that's paying off (so far and barring injury...). Still, his price was already relatively well known, and RAJ even said so. And I can't imagine that the $20-25M/yr projection can stand to jump THAT significantly. It would seem that the potential downside is greater than the upside, but what the hell do I know?

JoeD - I thought that Rosenthal piece you linked was pretty good.

With regard to Cole, I think the biggest deterrent to him signing with us is the fact that we don't look to be a winning team in future. I know he already has a ring, but as a competitor, why wouldn't he rather go play for a rising team that can offer exciting baseball and the chance for another ring?

I would expect that his fond feelings for the Phillies - as the organization where he's always been, the team where he made a name for himself and where he won a WS ring and MVP, the place he's called home - will factor into his decision making, too.

But even apart from money & years, I'm not sure he'll be swayed by sentiment over desire to win. After all, that's why Roy Halladay left the Blue Jays to come to the Phillies. Poor man still doesn't have a ring, even so.

My bet is that JRoll doesn't make either one of those plays last night Galvis made.

JRoll hasn't been the same caliber of GG SS the past few years especially since his injury-plagued 2010 season. Still very good at making the plays he gets to but he has lost a step.

Wouldn't say he is a Top 5 SS of the last 40 years. Ozzie Smith, Omar Vizquel, and Mark Belanger were much better defenders at this point in their careers and at their primes. Ditto Ripken.

There are also a bunch of SS other over the past 30-40 years who were as good if not better than JRoll defensively. Rey Sanchez, Bordick, Tulo, and a handful of others come to mind.

You would probably even get an argument that Bowa was just as good as JRoll defensively.

Stark said on the radio yesterday that the Phils have seen the lowest ratio in the league of strikes to balls ...which is a pretty interesting corollary to the stat that they strike out the least... and really interesting when you see that they hit pretty well for average.

As a team, they're swinging more often at slop but getting a fair amount of hits. Should they swing at less slop in order to get some more walks - trading hits for walks? Not sure that makes sense.

Would they hit for more power if they were more selective? Could be.

So basically, what we are saying is that the cost to continue showing the games on cable is higher than what the cable companies would lose in subscribers if they didn't have those games?

I think there is far more to the equation than just a basic Profit and Loss calculation. The total cable infrastructure is beginning to come under attack, just as the old television infrastructure was eventually destroyed by cable. The cable companies know that while the payments for sports programming may always be a net loss (and and escalating net loss at that), by keeping this programming they stand to stay perpetually relevant. It allows them to continue having a solid base of subscribership and allows them to try and combat the changing dynamics of the industry.

(btw, there is a great article on Deadspin about this from a while back explaining how this relationship is probably not sustainable), but wouldn't the gradual erosion of subscribers from cable

Williard Preacher - But the TV ratings bump don't show that and sports content is the prime driver beyond cable TV content hikes the past several years.

It has resulted in stagnating and in some cases declining TV cable subscriber bases because most customers don't want to pay $7 extra dollars a month for sports-related content & no cable company in its right mind will go to an ala-carte menu in the near future because their revenues would take a huge hit.

WP: Which is why eventually your not going to be able to watch streaming video with as little advertisements as they are. The direction the cable tv providers are going to go is :you can watch whatever you want, whenever you want, but you will see at least 4-5 minutes of advertising in a 30 min program. Since it will all be digitally integrated, they'll be able to gain specific marketing demo's about each subscriber, and what they'll say to advertisers is " we'll make sure your ad is seen by your target demo, when that demo is watching programming they tune into, regardless of when they'll do", so for the same program, two different people could see two totally different sets of ads. This is what i suspect will happen. I mean, you'll still have time based ads for say, superbowl and what not, but the majority of ads will be done in this way. If this isn't the direction cable companies are going, then there management needs to be fired.

If it was a gamble by Cole and his agent, it's one that's paying off (so far and barring injury...). Still, his price was already relatively well known, and RAJ even said so. And I can't imagine that the $20-25M/yr projection can stand to jump THAT significantly. It would seem that the potential downside is greater than the upside, but what the hell do I know?

Posted by: Willard Preacher

Oh no I agree with you on how the downside would be terrible for his future. I'm also a scaredy b***h half the time. While Cole Hamels is a changeup dropping monster.

BTW -

"and have been hurt by a 6.7 walk rate, which is second to last in the NL and is most likely the product of opposing pitchers going right after the hitters, recognizing the lack of a big threat."

That seems to be directly contradicted by Starks' stat - he was saying that it's the opposite, and the pitchers are willing to continue not giving them good pitches to hit because they're swinging at slop.

My bet is that JRoll doesn't make either one of those plays last night Galvis made.

JRoll hasn't been the same caliber of GG SS the past few years especially since his injury-plagued 2010 season. Still very good at making the plays he gets to but he has lost a step.

Wouldn't say he is a Top 5 SS of the last 40 years. Ozzie Smith, Omar Vizquel, and Mark Belanger were much better defenders at this point in their careers and at their primes. Ditto Ripken.

There are also a bunch of SS other over the past 30-40 years who were as good if not better than JRoll defensively. Rey Sanchez, Bordick, Tulo, and a handful of others come to mind.

You would probably even get an argument that Bowa was just as good as JRoll defensively.

Posted by: MG

I think Jimmy would have gotten to the pop up. I agree that he has lost a step. His arm is still very strong though which is a positive sign. Top 5 of the last 40 years is a stretch I guess. You mean Ordonez though right?

As much as I want them to sign Cole, I am now drifting back to my previous thoughts on Vic (after cutting him slack this year). They cannot tie up Vic for market value, he is not productive enough.

"Would they hit for more power if they were more selective? Could be."

Absolutely not. The Phils are hitting GB at at 48.2% clip this season (14th in NL; 29th in MLB)

The likes of Pierre, Polanco, JRoll, and Galvis are suddenly going to become power threats if they become much more selective at the plate. Nope. Even Chooch isn't a HR-threat.

Only sources of power in the lineup are Vic and Pence. Maybe Wigginton but he strikes me as guy whose days as a power hitter are gone too.

Hamels>>>Greinke

Here's why: Hamels doesnt have mental issues about playing in big markets.

GBrett, another day with no news on Howard/Utley simply means another day with bad news. I don't know if the FO has gotten gun shy on exposing themselves or what, but for the life of me, I don't understand what the hell is taking so long. I'm waiting for the TMZ pic to surface that shows Howard and Utley both amputated at the knee.

Posted by: Willard Preacher | Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 12:10 PM


Not so fast WP. This was on CrossingBroad this morning. Albeit, the news is just a smidge late. And this is not good news.

"Ryan Howard had muscle removed from his heel area

Seemingly influenced by the Inquirer’s all-out assault on the Phillies’ media relations, Ruben Amaro is coming clean about Ryan Howard’s second surgery. He had some muscle removed:

“When he had that infection, that had to debride quite a bit of it out of that area. And when they did that, they had to take actual meat, and muscle out of that area, which obviously made this rehab much, much longer than it should be. Unfortunately we can’t control the fact that he did get an infection, but you know, it happened. It was a result of his body kind of rejecting the stitches out of his body. But these are things that happen, they are complications that happen, and unfortunately it’s hurting our club.”

Can't see why he wouldn't want to hide this. I'm not a doctor, but I'm thinking that removing muscle near a rebuilt tendon is not a good thing.

They absolutely can't sign Victorino long-term. No way, no how. I won't stand for it. And seeing him go deep last night made me cringe. Any time he goes deep hitting lefty I throw up a little in my mouth. It's nothing but bad for his swing from that side.

Also, you would have though he hit it to the moon with the way he reacted, yet it was 2 rows deep.

MG: My list last night had Ozzie by a whisker over Vizquel. I think those two are head and shoulders above all the rest. My next group is headed by Belanger and I included Apparicio too. I barely remember him and it was the end of his career so I could be wrong about him. And he is a little bit out of the 40 year range. Ripken was terrific but his range wasn't on a par with the other greats. I also included Rey Ordonez, Larry Bowa and Barry Larkin. Somehow I completely forgot Jimmy. I would rank him behind Belanger and maybe Ordonez though Ordonez wasn't around too long. He also loses points for being a Met. A couple of years ago it became apparent to me that Jimmy had surpassed Bowa as a fielder. I never thought I would get to watch a better SS than Bowa on a regular basis, but I did. I have a feeling that Fredi will turn out to be even better. That could be the better part of 50 years of stellar shortstop play. Kevin Stocker be damned.

MG - I didn't suggest that they'd ?"suddenly become power threats" - but posed the hypothetical that any particular hitter might hit for more power if they swung only at more hittable pitches. That's pretty much a basic tenet of hitting: that you can generally hit strikes harder than balls. So someone who's going to hit X doubles might hit X plus Y doubles.

@MG -- Rollins absolutely makes the spin play. in fact... he's arm is still stronger than Galvis and probably doesn't need to do the awkward spin. Rollins pretty much invented the spin move and does it smoothly.

Not sure about the other play.

Galvis's first play really wasn't particularly difficult. The ball was moving slowly & took a nice, long hop. 2 or 3 years ago, Rollins would have made tha play look easy. Even today, I wouldn't be surprised if he made it. His diminishing range is more a product of diminishing reaction time. But on a slow-moving ball like that one, he can still cover a lot of ground -- probably more than Galvis, since he's much faster.

On the pop-up, Rollins would have had no prayer. Then again, I don't think Galvis would make that play 95% of the time either. It was a phenomenal catch, but I think there was a bit of luck involved. He had no idea where the ball was; he just stuck his mitt out &, lo and behold, the ball fell in.

Phlipper - (Grain of salt since the Pitch f/x classification algorithm on Fan Graphs leaves something to be deserved)

Phils have faced some variation of a fastball 57.6% of the time (3rd in the NL).

Notable jump from even last year when the Phils faced some variation of a fastball just 56.2% of the time (13rd in the NL).

Teams are going right after this lineup more so than any point in the recent past and as they should. As JW said, they have at least 4-5 'banjo hitters' who have no/limited power in the lineup every night who really can't hurt you by hitting the ball out of the park even on fastballs.

Maybe I'm missing something, but I would take the defense (in his prime of course) of J Roll over Rey Ordonez or Tulo anyday of the week and twice on Saturday.

Seriously, am I wrong? Ordonez made spectacular plays, but could also boot the most routine plays ever. Did Rollins make as many sensational plays? Probably not, but I'd take that debate and the routine grounders in a heartbeat.

Hamm and BAP - Good points. Your probably right.

"Teams are going right after this lineup more so than any point in the recent past and as they should."

Stark says that they are getting a lower ratio of stikes to balls than any other team in the league.

Not sure how that translates to pitchers "going right after" this lineup.

On the topic of defensive shortstops, I always think about how great A-Rod was there pre-roids. For his height the guy was disgustingly smooth.

Maybe I'm missing something, but I would take the defense (in his prime of course) of J Roll over Rey Ordonez or Tulo anyday of the week and twice on Saturday.

Seriously, am I wrong? Ordonez made spectacular plays, but could also boot the most routine plays ever. Did Rollins make as many sensational plays? Probably not, but I'd take that debate and the routine grounders in a heartbeat.

Posted by: Five-4-One

I'm with you on this. Ordonez was prone to booting some routine balls whereas Jimmy makes all routine plays routinely and can make the play to his left behind the bag blindfolded.

Jimmy has lost more than a step defensively.

For consistency-sake, JRoll is a better SS than Ordonez. Ordonez had a terrible habit of making botching his share of really routine plays.

Two other names I would throw out there - Gagne and T. Fernandez. Both played on fast turf surfaces but had their share of range.

There is no way in the world that Ripken was a better defensive SS than Rollins. Ditto, Tulo.

Ripken was a consistent fielder, but with limited range. He won a bunch of Gold Gloves because he was a good hitter. Tulowitzki is considerably better than Ripken, but similar in style. He, too, doesn't have nearly the range that Rollins had in his prime.

"On the pop-up, Rollins would have had no prayer. "

If JRoll is "much faster," as you say, then he could have gotten to the pop-up more easily and wouldn't have needed to make a circus catch.

I think it's funny when people think they can judge something like that with complete certainty.

Tony Fernandez was great. Damn I love good D up the middle.

Phlipper - Ideally you only throw fastballs when you have have to especially a 4-seam fastball.

I would need to see what Starks meant and what is included in the strikes/balls including swinging strikes/fouls/etc.

bap - Ripken only won two GG in '91 and '92. He wasn't a good SS defensively the last several years of his career but hell he played until he was 40.

Let's see what JRoll looks like defensively even in another 2 years at 35 let alone if he is still playing MLB at 37-38.

MG -

"Ideally you only throw fastballs when you have have to especially a 4-seam fastball. "

That wouldn't apply to high fastballs out of the strike zone that you know a hitter will swing at but can't catch up to. Fastballs elsewhere out of the zone. If you're going to pick one metric to judge whether pitchers are "going right at hitters," I'd say that strikes to balls ratio is a better metric than number of fastballs relative to other pitches. Obviously, the truth would lie in some combination of the two, and the reality of the situation with the Phils is probably not as clear cut as we might think.

Regardless, I think the more interesting question is whether or not the team would be better off by being more selective. It's a basic assumption that teams generally benefit from being more selective and getting more walks - the question for me is whether or not that's true when you have a team that is hitting for a relatively high average and not striking out despite swinging at a lot of bad pitches. The decisive factor there might be if they'd hit for more power if they were being selective: theoretically not simply trading off singles for walks, but singles for walks and more power.

Jimmy to 3rd, Galvis starting shortstop next year? That's provided Mr. Rollins starts hitting again, of course, which I believe he will.

I won't lie, I completely forgot about Thome and I completely forgot about Nix.

I wouldn't mind seeing Thome come up during interleague, hitting one more bomb and then taking a bow, kind of like Kerry Wood did and ride off into the sunset.

Jim and Hollins are quite similar. Jim was brought in by the manager to provide some off the feild morale and coaching. Hollins was brought in by the manager for off the field reasons too. Hollins' job was to bad mouth Scott Rolen on his way out the door and serve as the Bowa's clubhouse snitch.

Despite the attempt to generate some banter about it in the header, I feel safe in assuming that everyone is resigned that Thome is a "I'll take whatever the hell I can get, and I expect nothing" kind of guy (probably even more so than Howard/Utley).

Not a bad gig, if you can get it.

I do agree, though, that when he was injured, I was under the impression that it wasn't much more than just a small back sprain that would only need a few days rest. At any rate, it's probably safe to assume that we can kill those "toss him out there a couple of days a week" notions.

Re: Ripken
He stopped playing SS at age 36. He played 3rd exclusively (save for 5 innings at SS) for the last 5 years of his career.

Bowa was a solid shortstop and made every play he got to but is not even in Jimmy's ballpark in the range and arm department.

I am lost trying to figure out how Stark's data about the Phils getting the least amount of strikes compared to balls in the league.

I would have swore its the other way around...the Phils constantly get strikes because they power to scare a pitcher off.

People bust on pierre and polanco for their crappy walk rates, but its not because they have poor patience, its because pitchers see no reason to nibble around them. Whats the worst that can happen if you groove a pitch to Juan Pierre - he loops it into the gap? Big deal, he's got as much chance of chopping a good pitch down the line for XBH than he does hitting a meatball out of the INF.

Scotch: "I completely forgot about Nix"

Don't think about how much you miss Nix - think about how pathetic Wigginton is vs RHP.

Wigginton let another guy rot on 3rd last night. So frustrating.

The phils need to get back on track! if they go down then the whole nl east goes down because its a pathetic division i wrote all about the phils next matchup with the cards right here http://baseballpitboss.com/2012/05/st-louis-cardinals-remain-class-of-nl-central/

Luis Apparacio was another SS to be included in your discussion of great fielders.
I didn't see much of his play because he was in the AL, and in that era you just didn't see much of the "other league".

As I said last night Ozzie Smith was the best, in my opinion.
donc made the point about the improved athletecism of more recent players.
I wonder if 50 year ago fielding gems would look as spectacular compared to todays play, or if nostalgia and HoF status clouds the comparisons. But, all time comparisons are fun because the are not able to be reduced to a mathmatecal equation.

An overlooked good fielding SS from Phillies past is Bobby Wine.

I'd agree MG is shortchanging J-Roll's glove.

Bubba: I almost mentioned Bobby Wine. I don't think he'd be on anyone's short list of the best in the last 4o or so years, but he was damn good. I just can't get the memory of him stepping in the bucket on every pitch out of my head. His batting stroke was almost the baseball equivalent of Charles Barkley's golf swing. Just disturbing to watch.

"I would have swore its the other way around...the Phils constantly get strikes because they power to scare a pitcher off.

Starks's reasoning was that a pitcher wouldn't give the Phillies a strike to swing at if they'll offer at a lousy pitch.

This is the second time I've seen Bobby Wine's name in my life. The first was on a query when I was trying to find the worst statistical hitters in MLB history.

Ah yes, the days of Wine and Rojas.

Phlipper: Yes, of course the Phillies should be more selective. Unless your team was made up of all Vlad Guerreros or Josh Hamiltons, there is no way they are better off swinging at pitches outside the zone. And needless to say, the Phillies lineup is not full of Guerreros or Hamiltons.

I'm not sure how to find precise hitting stats for how the Phils' are hitting on balls in the zone versus outside the zone, but I cannot imagine any team in history has been good enough at hitting balls outside of the strike zone to make it worth their while to swing at balls. It simply defies common sense and baseball history.

Phillies swing at balls all the time? Jamie Moyer is going to own us.

List of Top 5 is pretty steep competition though of the last 30-40 years. Don't think JRoll makes that list because of the dip in his defense the last few years.

Yeah Bubba. I barely remember Apparicio but what I do remember he was tremendous. It's interesting not long ago I was watching the MLB network and they had higlights of the Orioles/Reds world series. 1970 if I'm not mistaken. I saw the highlight of the famous play by Brooks Robinson on Lee May. I actually remember seeing it live. It was an incredible play albeit against one of the slowest players in major league history. It was simply astounding. Today, you see 20 better plays by thirdbasemen a year against much faster runners. The one thing that guys do now that was never done even 30 years ago is make those diving plays where they pop back up in the blink of an eye and gun down the hitter like a dog. That just never happened in the old days. Today's athletes are just ten notches above.

Not signing in spring training wasn't a calculated gamble or negotiating tactic by Cole and his agent- Amaro never made them an offer.
They'll let him go and overpay someone else like they did when they traded Rolen and over paid Lieberthal and Abreu to show Rolen they weren't cheap like they said.
Wonder who will be the recepient of the Amaro lagress-- Blanton or Polanco?

"I'm not sure how to find precise hitting stats for how the Phils' are hitting on balls in the zone versus outside the zone, but I cannot imagine any team in history has been good enough at hitting balls outside of the strike zone to make it worth their while to swing at balls."

The Phillies put a lot of balls in play. They don't strike out much. They have hit for a relatively high average.

Looking at more pitches would also mean looking at more strikes - mitigating the benefit of having fewer swinging strikes. Looking at more pitches would mean putting fewer balls in play.

Generally, you want a team to be more selective so that they will: (1) strike out less, (2) hit for a higher average because they're not swinging and missing and because they're making contact that is more likely to produce hits. This team isn't striking out and is hitting for a relatively high average already.

I know that you bow down to the god of OBP, Jack, but sometimes, like when you have Jason Werth and Pat Burrell coming to the plate looking to walk rather than looking to get a hit, the benefits of being selective are lessened.

A generic approach to hitting doesn't always match a particular situation or profile. The question is if a team puts the ball in play a lot and hits for pretty good average, and that team lacks power, whether, and if so how much, would they benefit from a more selective approach? For this team, how many more walks would you get relative to how many fewer hits would you get?

Screw the Angels. Weaver and Hamels are statistical clones of each other moreso than any pitchers you could ever find. Every single legitimate category you base a pitcher on they are within a unit of each other.

service time, age, win-loss, starts, IP, ERA, WHIP, K/BB.

Angels get Weaver for $85M and the Phils probably need to spend ~$140M on Hamels.

Tom, one thing you can count on is our fans to boo Hamels on queue once the Phils propaganda machine kicks in if he leaves.

Also note, that one reason often cited for being more selective is that then you'll get better pitches to hit.

According to JW, MG, and lorecore, pitchers are already going right at the Phillies hitters because they are completely unafraid of them. That would seem to lessen the supposed advantage they'd gain from being more selective.

maybe the boneheadedness of vic/pence/wigginton/mayberry outweigh the wimpiness of rollins/polanco/pierre more than I thought

"Bowa was a solid shortstop and made every play he got to..."


IIRC, Bowa has the highest lifetime fielding percentage for shortstops. He was nearly flawless if he got to the ball.

Phlipper - But they aren't a selective team. That's the entire point. You have a bunch of guys who are hack a lot up there including Polanco.

Assuming that a veteran who has been in MLB for several years will suddenly become a much more selective hitter borders on the ridiculous yet is one that Cholly/Gross get chastised for this limitation in the lineup.

Like giving a chef dog food and asking him to make a gourmet meal.

Also, one more point. If they put more balls in play, then it's the exact opposite of them being "slaves to BABIP" as JW states.

If you're operating on the assumption that X % of balls in play will be hits pretty much no matter what, then the objective would quite simply be to put more ball in play.

Rube is going to eat his words when Cole gets over cliff lee money this year. If he wins cy young. He should send a mini version of award to hi
And a little note." thanks for believing in me" hope team does well and cliff gets ya a ring. C ya Cole 2008 WS MVP 2012 cy young

I HATE when it gets brought up that a guy is a 'professional hitter' like Polanco doesn't because he doesn't swing that much & miss. Big deal.

One of the dumber points that broadcasters make. For every ground ball Polanco hits to advance a runner, I bet he nearly negates that value in Expected Runs produced because of the amount of GDP and Fielder's Choices he hits into.

I hope I'm not turning into one of those fans who criticize the 3rd base coach and hitting coach every year-- placing undo importance with each role and undeserved blame, but it does seem to me that both of ours are at best mediocre- and the sad part is you know they will be back next year if Charlie is back, unless they ask for a raise. You can make a case that Jimmy Williams and Davey Lopes were excellent in their roles and Monty showed them the door when they asked for a raise!

"If you're operating on the assumption that X % of balls in play will be hits pretty much no matter what, then the objective would quite simply be to put more ball in play."

Are you taking talking points from Sarge? Of course it matters. Teams that hit tons of ground balls are going to make tons of outs.

I don't understand some of the points you try to make at times Phlipper.

"Phlipper - But they aren't a selective team. That's the entire point."

I agree. That is the point.

Whining about how this team should be more selective is pointless, because they won't become more selective, but it's also interesting to examine whether, and if so how much, they'd be better off being more selective - given that they strike out infrequently, put a lot of balls in play, and hit for a relatively high average.

Small ball works if you have selective hitters. So RAJ's expectation that they'll change their style is unrealistic. These guys have made the big leagues by being successful as the kinds of hitters they are.

For all of the praise for Lopes, the Dodgers have been horrendous on the basepaths this year on % SB and on pickoffs. Lead in NL in pickoffs and are 15th in % SB.

Even over the course of Lopes' career as a 1B coach, every other team besides the Phils they are often at or below league average in % SB.

IIRC, Bowa has the highest lifetime fielding percentage for shortstops. He was nearly flawless if he got to the ball.

Posted by: awh | Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 01:27 PM

You RC indeed. He had an average to below average arm. I may be too harsh re his range but Jimmy's range was and is much better. I seem to recall Bowa saying as much although I can't imagine him saying otherwise as his manager.

Phlipper - Actually I do think they have tried to be more selective. Looked the other day and they are either 2nd or 3rd in the amount of first pitches they take and notably up from last year.

Shows me that they are trying to be more patient on that first pitch but after that their natural tendencies/experience as hitters take over.

I think Bowa is getting a little overlooked here. As awh says he was nearly flawless. I don't think people here remember just how strong of an arm or how much range Bowa had. The guy was great. I definitely put him in the top 10 that Ive ever seen. I just think that Rollins happens to be a bit better. He had even more range than Bowa. I think there arms were similar. I think Bowa's was even stronger than Jimmy's but it degraded noticeably fairly early in his career. It was a howitzer when he was young though. Best ss arms I ever saw belong to Shawon Dunston and a young Jose Oquendo. I need to see more of him but Starlin Castro may end up in that group too. Honorable mention to Tulo. Absolute cannon.

MG, perhaps that's because the Phillies really do have good base stealers? :)

Doc will finally announce he's been battling an incurable debilitating injury the day after Cole Hamels signs with another team.

phlipper: you're way off on this one. If the normal BABIP was over .500, then yes the more balls in play will give you more hits - but its really around .300, so all you're doing is piling up more outs to get yourself an extra hit.

For all of the griping about baseball coaches, they have by far the least impact on the sport. It is basically a sport of 1-on-1 matchups or isolated events. It is also why it is so easy to analyze though stats.

Watch a basketball and especially a hockey game and you realize how much more impact a coach has on game itself.

Along with Bowa, Trillo and Maddox gave the Phillies pretty darn good up-the-middle defense for a few seasons.

I'm sure that there are teams that had a superior combination to those three - but probably not very many.

How did Rollins power disappear so completely and suddenly?

awh: I always thought Trillo was vastly under-rated as a fielder. He was slick as snot on a door knob and had the best arm I've ever seen for a secondbaseman. I know it will be controversial, but I always thought Maddox was a bit over-rated. He played so shallow he prevented a ton of singles but my blood use to boil watching flyballs land on the warning track because of it. He was certainly very good, but I thought it was just a bit over done.

Also awh, don't forget Bob Boone when talking about defense up the middle. I thought he was quite under-rated as well. Excellent receiver.

donc, agree on Trillo. Re: Maddox: Methinks you may have a pet peeve about him playing shallow, as did a lot of the great CF (Blair, Mays, Jones). Vic plays fairly shallow as well. I don't have the memories you do about multiple FB hitting the track, but thus is the difference in people's memories.

And yes, I agree about Boone. Actually, all you have to do is look at his lifetime numbers at the plate, and except for a treak in his late 20's and one other year, he was a below average hitter, even for his position IIRC, so it's pretty easy to surmise he was on the field for his defensive value.

donc -- Garry Maddox played just as deep as he needed to -- time dims many things, but I don't recall any rap on him for playing shallow. His routes to any ball hit within shouting distance were pure grace and elegance. From Wiki:

His sparkling defensive play led Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas to remark, "Two-thirds of the Earth is covered by water, the other one-third is covered by Garry Maddox."

Those were the days...

"If you're operating on the assumption that X % of balls in play will be hits pretty much no matter what, then the objective would quite simply be to put more ball in play."

That may be the dumbest thing I've ever read on here. If BABIP is .290, then the more balls you put in play, the more likely you are to make an out (71% likely, actually). Meanwhile, of the three things that don't count as balls in play (walks, home runs, and strikeouts), two are good and one is bad.

Simply put, Phlipper is dead wrong on this issue. The idea that the Phillies are better off by being less selective is so absurd that no one else has come to Phlipper's defense. It's an insane argument.

Galvis and JRoll are both incredible defensively. Both have quickness, great hands, and spot-on positioning and play instincts. Now, nobody is born with great instincts on how to play middle-infield defense. You've got to put the 10,000 hours or so in and it's clear that both JRoll and Galvis have put their time in either in the field and/or visualizing plays because they're very decisive and almost always make the right play.

Galvis continues to astound in terms of his defensive awareness. On almost every play with runners on base, he processes the information very quickly and acts decisively on balls hit to him. Last night's play out in shallow left-centerfield was a perfect example. He catches the ball in a way that enables him to be in a position to get the ball back into the infield as quickly as possible to prevent the runner at third from tagging up and scoring.

As this offense continues to be uninspired overall, the only reason to watch this team every day for sheer entertainment is Galvis.

The Phillies baserunning has consistently been an overlooked but integral part of their success.

Rollins, Victorino, Utley and to a lesser extent Werth are among the best baserunners of the last 5-6 seasons.

Boone did win a couple gold gloves in the NL between Bench and Carter's eras, which means he was respected for his defense, since he didn't hit enough to be the front runner in the odd tradition of rewarding the better hitters as GG winners. Then he won more in the AL as his reputation grew.

"Teams are going right after this lineup more so than any point in the recent past and as they should."

That's because there's nobody in the lineup that as you pitcher, you wouldn't want to go after. I don't care what they're hitting. This lineup strikes fear into no opposing pitcher. K'ing less is good, but that is not translating into much at this point. We all know who put this lineup together and it starts with him. And even though Cholly's no managerial genius, sometimes he doesn't have a lot to work with.

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