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Monday, February 11, 2013


"Third base defense is crucial to a team like the Phillies,..."

How crucial, though?

2011: 2.83 chances per game
2012: 2.66 chances per game

Lovely, the "defensive caddy" management tactic. What a recipe for sure success...

rolo, with Lannan in the fold, who lives and dies by the ground ball, especially the GIDP, and Halladay, who induces a lot of ground balls, all of the infield defense is important.

Despite what I said in the last thread, let me make it clear that if D. Young actually does get more than 15-20 starts in the OF, assuming he doesn't break out and rake, then the organization is a straight-up joke.

The corner OF defense is what concerns e the most.

I wonder how much Revere's range i CF will amke up for the bad corners - that is, how many more balls does he turn into outs in CF vs. how many more outs turn into baserunners because of whos's in LF and RF?

At least they didn't sign Michael Vick.

Fatalotti: That's the same line we get during Jamie Moyer's time with the Phillies and how "important" 3B defense was with Moyer on the mound, but it wasn't any more true then.

Third base gets a handful of chances a game. That's it.

All defense is important to some degree, but 3B is one of the least important defensive positions.

roob just seemed to indicate, live on dnl, that dyoung is his left fielder and rf is the second option.

Also, Moyer, for as far back as we have the data, never once posted a GB% above 44%. John Lannan and Roy Halladay have consistently posted GB% over 50% in their careers, and this is literally Lannan's only skill that makes him an effective ML pitcher.

Yes, 3B is less important than the up-the-middle positions, but Lannan puts lots of guys on base, and it only takes one "surefire" double play ball botched by Michael Young to turn a 6 IP, 2 ER outing by Lannan into a 4 IP, 5 ER outing by Lannan.

chollie on dnl after the break. should be interesting.

I thought that with a lefty starter on the mound that RH hitters pull the ball down the line more often so it is imperative to have good defense on 3rd.
Am I wrong? Is this a common misconception?

They should see if they can swing a deal with the Cubs for Campana.

Reverend, for Lannan, the actual numbers are in the CrashburnAlley article I posted.

myoung told chollie: "i like playing baseball more than anyone. but i don't like to talk about it. i'll just show you." chollie really liked that.

I really like to play baseball, too.

That said, I'm paid to sit behind a deck and devote my efforts to organizational improvement opportunities and have only a passing participation on the office softball team.

Basically, you can love baseball all you want. Doesn't mean you can play a lick of big league defense.

chollie just called his cf, ben revera. lol

Rube clearly doesn't value defense. And he clearly doesn't value on base skills.

So, it's homers and pitching. But minus the homers in this lineup.

Fatalotti: That post you linked proves my point. His conclusion is, "So, we’re talking about four or five ground balls per night to the left side, towards Young and Rollins."

And that means all of those 4 or 5 balls could go to Rollins.

We're talking about a handful of ground balls to 3B even with Lannon on the mound.


Yeah, the defense is a problem.

How many balls are hit to any one position?

Here's the problem. Those few balls to third base seemed like ten per game when they were being booted into left field and foul territory by Wiggles and Fontenot.

I'd still like to see Chooch get some time at third to see if he can handle it. Bring in a third catcher who can actually play and get Chooch's bat into the games without killing him behind the plate.

Rube certainly has acted on other things he says. But the idea he had about trying Chooch at third seems completely forgotten. That's too bad. It may have been a way to extend his career and answer some questions going forward. There will be a time very soon when Chooch will not continue to take the pounding behind the plate.

Not too woried about Lannan.

When not facing the Phillies he managed to survive on a very bad Washington team for a few years - a team that was very bad defensively - and put up numbers that were slightly better than league average.

KAS, I don't know what you're trying to argue. So what if it's a handful of groundballs per game. Those handful of groundballs are now being fielded by a much lesser defensive 3B then the Phillies have fielder in nearly half a decade. It only takes one botched groundball to ruin an inning in which a pitcher could have escaped, or throw another 15 pitches, and shorten his night by 1 inning.

I mean, how many groundballs would have to be hit to Young for it to suddenly become important that his defense is extremely subpar? 10? 15? All of them?

Yeah, it's a handful of groundballs a game, but guess what? A handful of groundballs, if fielded improperly, is a pretty big friggin deal.

Rolo - Zimmerman was playing third, and aside from getting a case of the yips, he was a whole lot better than anything the Phillies have been or are running out to third base these days.

Look at the Phillies' defense realistically. Young is bad at third. Rollins is great at short. Utley used to be good at second, but depending on his health, he looked a step short there last season. Howard is atrocious.

Revere is great. And everyone else besides Mayberry and maybe Nix is bad in the outfield. Chooch and Kratz are find behind the plate.

That's a bad defensive team by any stretch. And it seems not to discriminate, both ground ball and fly ball pitchers will be staring at their fielders in frustration a lot this season.

If everyone's offense is a best case projection, then it's possible the defense will be overcome. But the odds look pretty bad on that one.

KAS, it's not even a "handfull".

Phillies 3B have averaged less than 3 chances per 9 innings the last 2 seasons.

Fatalotti: What's my point? My point is that only a handful of balls are hit to 3B in a game and it's one of the least important defensive positions on the field.

Would I like to have a great field/great hit 3B? Of course I would, but the Phils haven't had one of those since Scott Rolen and most teams in baseball don't have one of those.

If you have to choose a position to try and upgrade offense at the expense of defense, 3B is a great place to start.

If a ball goes past a statue at third like Wiggy or Young to their left, does it still count as a ball hit to third? Or is it in the hole and doesn't count. Because a whole lot of balls are going to go through the hole this season.

Also, the Phillies will have three lefty starters this season, rather than the two they had last year. Maybe the third baseman will need to actually carry a glove out there. Because I was beginning to think he wouldn't need one with third base being so unimportant and all.

Hey, if your third baseman sucks, might it not be prudent to drop a lot of bunts on the left side of the infield? Just wondering.

KAS: "If you have to choose a position to try and upgrade offense at the expense of defense, 3B is a great place to start."

Once again, runs are runs are runs, no matter where they come from. If a 3rd baseman gives up 10 runs a year with his glove, and adds 10 runs a year with his bat (relative to what you had before), you didn't improve just because he plays third base.

Sure, a third baseman will have fewer runs given up or saved compared to, say, SS (because of fewer chances), but they still count. By UZR, Young has given up somewhere around 5 runs below average at 3B each of the past four seasons. Those runs count. Given that Polanco was providing between 5-10 runs above average, you're looking at a dropoff of probably at least 10 runs over the course of the season--which is about one win.

Boy, talk about a team who is headed in completely the wrong direction on all fronts...No Defense, No Offense, No Farm...Don't even know if we'll have good pitching this year either.

I'm gonna say the window is officially closed for this team.

Wait 'till Juan Pierre comes up and sees Howard and Young on the corners. He'll probably get 2-3 bunt singles in their first series.

I just pictured Ben Rivera playing CF. Scary.

Defense really was one of the secrets to this team's success back in the 2007-2009 days. Phils were positive at every position except for LF and 1B (and even Howard was better then than he is now, contrary to the myth that he's gotten better defensely). This was also when Rollins and Utley were at their peak, and Werth and Victorino were both very good in the outfield. Those teams could really pick it.

I'm gonna say the window is officially closed for this team.

To paraphrase an old saying, "When life closes a window, God's attempt to open a door is repeatedly stymied by the colossal ignorance of Ruben Amaro, Jr."

This season is going to be fun. How long do you think until TTI, Phlipper and the other optimists just give up?

Iceman is already starting to turn--Delmon appears to have been the last straw for him. Rolo seems like he's starting to see the light too. On the other hand, TTI seems committed to holding out as long as possible, and Phlipper is likely a lost cause as well. Anyone else?

Hope springs eternal?

Now the Phils will have more offense at the hot corner – Phillies’ third basemen have hit .263/.323/.370 since ’07 -- but less defense.

For the record: Michael Young did NOT beat those numbers last year in Arlington.

KAS, it's not even a "handfull".

Phillies 3B have averaged less than 3 chances per 9 innings the last 2 seasons.

3 chances would be a handful for Modecai Brown.

Howard is the guy who I sadly think will be the biggest liability defensively on a team with several defensively-challenged players. Young will give him a run though if he gets his share of PT in RF though.

Basically the defense is going to suck again and the offense is going to be league average at best.

Go as far as their pitching & Scott Sheridan's ability to keep this aging roster on the field as much as possible take them.

Jack: Keep on trolling buddy.

Anyone who has been on here this off-season knows I had two routes I championed and neither of them involved Delmon Young.

My point last night was that a set-up man was a huge need for this team and Adams has been steady for years now in that role. He isn't fungible.

"Rolo - Zimmerman was playing third... "

Smitty, how many chances per did Zimmerman get - when he was on the field?

Answer: For his career Zimmerman averages 2.90 chances per game, slightly more than the 2.83 CPG averaged by Phillies' 3B in 2011.

I'll leave it to others to decide whether that's significant.

BTW, in 2012 National League third basemen averaged 2.57 chances 9 innings in 23,070 innings played.

"Rolo seems like he's starting to see the light too."

Thanks, Jack, but I believe I've always been rational as opposed to being a Neg-adelphian.

This 2013 team has it's question marks, and has had them every single year - even in 2010 and 2011 when they were the best team in baseball, despite not having a WFC to show for it.

This team will go as far as Halladay, hamels and Lee take it.

You don't need to go back more than a couple of months when I was debating DPat and stating that the pitching was most important. My position has not changed.

MG, I think you rightly identify the toss-up: DYoung or Howard for defensive LVP.

Howard was like a tree at 1B last year.

rolo: I, like you, try to be rational and reasonable in what I say.

Jack doesn't speak rational.

Bourn to the Indians 4yrs $48mil with a vesting option

According to, this is how the Phillies did defensively, position-by-position in 2012:

Position: +/- runs above or below average, NL rank

C: +8, 3rd
1B: -2, 13th
2B: +14, 2nd
3B: -6, 13th
SS: -7, 10th tied
LF: -4, 9th
CF: -9, 15th
RF: -15, 15th tied
P: -7, 14th

That is not a pretty picture.

So then, why was Delmon Young signed?

TTI, I don't think hack is irrational.

I do, however, think he focuses first on what could go wrong as opposed to what could go right.

TTI - Agreed about Adams. He's more important on this team than people realize given how Cholly manages his bullpen & the alternatives option who are really mix & match options with command issues.

The bullpen is the only area too where I could see this team getting a notable improvement in performance that propels them back into the postseason.

I just wish Amaro had done a better job of signing another reliever than Durbin. For what the money that Durbin got and the alternatives that were available, I would argue it was the single worst move Amaro made this offseason.

People will knock him for signing D. Young but what other OFs were available for $2M or less?

Defense silver linings:

- Hopefully have more of Utley at 2B this year

- Revere will be a clear upgrade in over Vic who I always argued was a bit overrated in CF and relied upon his sheer burst of speed to make up for poor routing running skills. Arm had also declined too.

- Hard to see the Phils getting much worse defense at 1B or RF

MG, the SS number above was a bit of a surprise. I would have thought JRoll was still slightly above average.

3B is obviously a reflection of too much Wiggy and Frandsen.

Bourn to the Indians... 4/48MM

'Defensive caddy'

The sad thing is that Frandsen will probably replace Young late in games and the truth is Frandsen kind of sucks at 3B too especially his arm.

rolo: I think you are giving him far too much credit.

Yes it was a while okay, but Young did play very well in right field when he was there. My guess is he began eating and his defense declined.

Frandsen had a nice year hitting in 2012, but he stunk at 3B in the field. He made 7 errors in only 442 innings.

Man, we're all doing a good job of beating the Delmon Young issue to death. The reality is as follows:

1. He's not at all guaranteed a starting spot in RF.

2. He has a shot (albeit a slim one) to be a late bloomer, to fulfill the potential that made him a first round pick.

3. With Brown/Ruf/Nix in the fold, he can (and I suspect will) be cut at the first sign of trouble, be it attitude or performance (something they haven't been shy about in the past with FAR more money going down the toilet).

4. Unless he performs, he'll be paid in peanuts, making this signing close to a zero risk proposition.

Best case scenario: He surprises us all. Worst case scenario: The Delmon Young issue is about as crucial to the team's success as Luis Castillo / Dontrelle Willis / Marcus Giles (or Pete Orr / Ben Francisco if he makes it out of Spring Training).

Same thing goes for Durbin. When you get to his role/peer group in a bullpen, pretty much everybody is a gamble. How many times have we clamored for a relief pitcher all winter only to watch him sign elsewhere and crash and burn. I've been a fan of Amaro's approach of signing multiple #5 candidates with the loser heading to the bullpen (Park, Contreras, possibly even Cook depending on his performance). This obviously isn't the case with Durbin, but with a number of young bullpen arms waiting in the wings, the Durbin signing is hardly a make or break move. He, too, will perform, or he will be cut.

And to those of you writing the obit on Michael Young, all I ask is that you look beyond 2012. He has every bit the likelihood to rebound and have a terrific season as Utley and Howard (and if injury history is any indication, he may have a greater chance).

Relax people. This isn't the 2010 or 2011 Phillies, but it also isn't the '96-'98 Phillies. We are solid contenders. The sky is not falling.

And my prior statement stands firm: keep an eye on the Indians in 2013. Adding Bourn to the top of the lineup makes this an extremely interesting team to watch, particularly in a season that will feature a crippled Yankees and Red Sox.

rolo: "2012: 2.66 chances per game"

Thanks for adding a rare dose of reality to the thread. Will make no difference to aksmith and others who make up their own reality, but it is refreshing nonetheless.

Fatalotti acknowledges that a SS and 2Bman get way more chances than a 3Bman, but oddly he argues as if he doesn't know that.

MG: "Defense silver linings:
- Hopefully have more of Utley at 2B this year."

I do too, but it will give the team a worse defense than they had last year. Galvis was the starter for most of the games Utley missed.

MG: Someone mentioned it earlier today but Charlie will probably be more apt to pull the big three after 7 with Adams and Pap at the back end of that bullpen now. He will trust Adams over a Batardo or Aumont or the other guys down there.

Lot to be said for that.

Since the Indians signed Bourn and Swisher, do they lose their 1st and 2nd round picks? Do they lose the money assigned to those picks also? That's taking a huge hit to investing in the draft if so.

If only there were a statistic that allowed you to compare defensive value across different positions....

If 3B doesn't see many plays, how did Wigginton manage to get 8 errors in 22 games at 3B? Even if he bungled every single one of the balls that came his way - which is arguably true - that still equals a bit more than 3 plays per game. And it was beyond maddening.

One of the most disappointing things to me is a drop in defensive abilities. If I felt like the team would be mashing the ball, it wouldn't be as disappointing - so I hope they do, but I'm not counting on that. Defense and baserunning are two of the great joys in watching baseball. Not too long ago this team could run AND field AND mash. I'm not feeling optimistic about any one of these areas heading into spring training.

GBrettFan: "how did Wigginton manage to get 8 errors in 22 games at 3B? Even if he bungled every single one of the balls that came his way - which is arguably true - that still equals a bit more than 3 plays per game."


Scratch that last sentence. Hope is supposed to spring eternal in spring.

Accentuating the positive - We have an improved BP, Utley & Doc are supposedly doing well, we should see more offense from 3B, and the players are motivated enough that 45 of them are in camp a few days early.

Clout - Oh, crap, I totally failed in math there. Crawling away to hide in embarrassment.

Still, those 8 errors were maddening.

Bl'ers often head for the hills at a drop of a dime.

The D.A. can relax, news of the Bourn signing for 4 years means the Phillies front office was NOT repeat NOT criminally stupid.

Stand down, SWAT. Stand down.

BTW, I agree with my dear friend Schweitzer that the Indians will be fun to watch this year. If they play to their potential, this lineup will do some serious damage:

Bourn CF
Brantley LF
Santana C
Swisher RF
Reynolds DH
LaPorta 1B
Chisenhall 3B
Cabrera SS
Kipnis 2B

The problem in Cleveland is pitching. Their rotation is Masterson, Jimenez, Myers, McAllister, Bauer. A mix of young, old, hurt and mediocre.

I still don't understand how Wigginton got a 2 yr/$5M deal this offseason.

He's an out-of-shape veteran who is an absolute disaster in the field. The caper is the Cards signed him to provide power off the bench and that isn't something Wigginton has shown since '08 outside of Coors Field.

It was a minor deal but it certainly would be on my 'Honorable Mention' for worst deals this season.

GBrett, Wigginton had 48 chances in those 22 games, 175.2 innings.

That's 2.18 chances per "game", or 2.46 chances per 9 innings.

Wigginton is a butcher in the field.

Mick-O, word!

I almost think Jack's 7:02PM post wasn't him. I was one of the only reasonable people on here that didn't care about the Young signing, unlike him and a bunch of others who started constructing bomb shelters over the deal. It isn't the last 'straw.' It's not even a straw.

The thing that infuriated me was Amaro's later comment on valuing 'production' over walks. Hopefully it was him just babbling. If he was serious, and wants to build the team in that image, his team is going to sink like a stone until he's fired.

As far as 'giving up,' what the hell does that even mean? Baseball is a great sport and this is my favorite team. Why would anyone who is actually a fan just 'give up'? Jack, BAP and others never gave up raining on the parade of the golden era of this franchise from 2007-2011 (with 2012 hopefully being a blip on the radar), so it's doubtful rolo/awh, TTI or anyone else will give up trying to be reasonable with the same people that have been saying the same stupid things for nearly seven years now.

Fatalotti acknowledges that a SS and 2Bman get way more chances than a 3Bman, but oddly he argues as if he doesn't know that.

Posted by: clout | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 09:04 PM

I don't know what you mean, or what your point is. Of course SS and 2B get more chances than 3B and 1B. Does that mean that the chances that the 3B and 1B get don't matter?

They absolutely matter. I never claimed that sacrificing defense for offense at 3B was a bad move, in and of itself. I'm not sure that Young is going to give you the offense to make up for poor defense, but either way.

But this thread is about defense, and with 2 pitchers who rely heavily on ground balls, it could very well hurt them having Young and Howard manning the corners. Whether it's 1 GB a game or 5, those are chances that need to be converted as often as possible, and Michael Young is not a guy who's going to convert them that well.

Oh, and in case anyone is wondering, Wiggy's 8 errors in 175.2 innings equates to 61 errors in 150 nine inning games (1350 innings). That's an historically bad rate of fielding.

I just checked, and only one person has committed that many errors in a season since 1922:

Al Brancato of the Philadelphia A's in 1941.

Fatti, no one else is saying defense at 3B "doesn't matter".

It matters, just not as much as defense up the middle.

I was actually thinking today, before the Bourn signing, that I kind of liked the Indians as a surprise playoff contender. Now I definitely do. It's a weak division, they have a good offense and defense, and some potential in the pitching staff. I would probably rank them second in that division behind the Tigers, with a legitimate shot at the playoffs.

I wonder if the Indians are going to try and trade Michael Brantley for something. Brantley is somewhat similar to Ben Revere (a bit more power, a bit less defense), but young and valuable to the extent he's cheap and can play CF.

He's also now completely redundant with Bourn and Drew Stubbs on the roster.

Jack: "How long do you think until the optimists just give up?"

What a douchebag comment. I'm a Phillies fan and am optimistic about a lot of their players. Why should I "give up" because their team doesn't look to be among the best teams in their league?

Wow I suck, I identified jack as a prick this AM and then still fell for it later on. That's some good trolling, I tip my hat to your exceptional weaselness.

Jack: "How long do you think until the optimists just give up?"

Dude, I just don't understand you.

Constructive criticism is one thing, but you seem intent on being the baseball fan equivalent of a cuckold.

"How long do you think until the optimists just give up?"

For a lot of fans its when the Phils are eliminated from the last wild card spot or lose their final playoff or WS game.

Disclaimer: As true Phila. fans we reserve the right to note any and all shortcomings of our players, manager, coaches , GM , owners , training staff , and most especially broadcasters.

Bubba, most especially the broadcasters...

This year's team has a better chance of winning a Nobel Prize in Literature than a Gold Glove. But, I'm still optimistic.

Since the Indians signed Bourn and Swisher, do they lose their 1st and 2nd round picks?

Their first round selection is protected. They lost their second round selection for signing Swisher. They lose their competitive-balance pick at the end of the second round (would have been 69th overall) for signing Bourn.

Wow, stupid is all over the place tonight. If the third baseman gets two point whatever chances a game and boots one every three games, that means he sucks. And it means the pitching staff is going to have problems.

And if he could have 2.5 chances per game but doesn't get to .3 of them because he's a statue, maybe that goes on the SS's record, defensive stats being what they are.

Hey, I hope everyone is happy when the third baseman is booting balls or not getting to them. Because that's what I hear Clout saying. Defense doesn't matter because there aren't that many balls hit to third. Got it.

"If the third baseman gets two point whatever chances a game and boots one every three games, that means he sucks. And it means the pitching staff is going to have problems."

Smitty, so are you saying the third baseman is going to make 54 errors? That's to what booting "one every three games" amounts. You realize that no one has made that many errors in MLB in years, no? Since 1941 to be exact. You know, the year the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor?

Or are you speaking in hyperbole? It's hard to tell with you sometimes.

On Wiggy's error rate, its also important to remember two other factors:

1. He had ZERO range at 3B so these are errors on balls hit right at him Roger Dorn style.

2. Official Scorers rarely call errors anymore so that 8 was probably more like 15. I'm sure we all recall several non-error errors that Wiggy committed in the field.

The problem in Cleveland is pitching. Their rotation is Masterson, Jimenez, Myers, McAllister, Bauer. A mix of young, old, hurt and mediocre.

Posted by: clout | Monday, February 11, 2013 at 09:46 PM

Definitely accurate. However, they likely recognize that the AL Central is wide open this year and they have as good as shot as any of the others at winning the division. Its nice to see a GM go all in like this on a fairly limited scale. Nothing he's done will likely hamstring them long-term...especially given they get to keep their top pick in a shallow draft anyway. The Swisher and Bourn deals likely wont be anchors other than maybe that final year and that's more likely on Swisher than Bourn. Seems like to me that their GM put on a clinic of how low-risk, high reward signings are supposed to work outside of those two deals.

Their pitching is pretty iffy though.

If the Phillies implode this year, and Halladay recovers to a reasonable proximity of his former self**, you would think CLE and TOR would be eager dance partners with the Phils.

** These are not mutually exclusive.

***Since 1941 to be exact. You know, the year the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor?***

This would have been so much funnier had you gone with Germans instead of really missed a huge opportunity there that likely wont come around any time soon.

I like how Jack's idea of a "fun season" is one in which even the most optimistic Phillies fans give up hope.

Thanks Dickie Thong. Signing free agents who have been offered the qualifying offer is much different now when you want to invest in the draft. I'm sure a bunch of teams shied away from top free agents for that very reason.

NEPP, yep, I see it now.

Missed opportunity. Damn.

I will never be accused of being a 'ray of sunshine' but how could even a pragmatist at this point be that down on the Phils' chances?

Maybe I could see this if this time next week if Halladay is struggling to hit 89 on the gun like and Utley is 'out indefinitely' while Amaro spreads the BS faster than a farmer in spring.

The main thing that keeps me relatively optimistic is looking at the rosters of the other teams in the NL. For the most part, they stink.

I don't understand why someone posting on a Phillies fan blog, and professing to be a fan, would seemingly want to take glee out of people giving up on the Phillies and becoming pessimistic. I mean, I hope they understand their whole position is "I can't wait until everyone else realizes the Philies are terrible and will fail." Is the need to say "I was right" to faceless Internet people that strong?


So does Boras get a win for getting Bourn a guaranteed 4/$48 or a loss for only getting $12 AAV? Victorino got $13mil AAV but for only 3 years.
What do you think?

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