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Monday, March 04, 2013

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Every time I see the lineup written with Betancourt's name penciled in...

This is the Phils' 'Defensively Challenged' lineup.

Yeah, I get super excited too...Betancourt is definitely a dark horse candidate for team MVP this year.

Great under the radar signing by Rube.

finger: without any context to other teams, why post all of the phillies HR/XBH totals? I have 0 idea if those numbers are below/above average and to what degree.

Quintero could absolutely steal some playing time in April if he looks good behind the plate. Kratz sucks at catching, and in all likelyhood will probably be much worse at the plate then he was last year - closing the gap between him and Quintero even moreso.

***finger: without any context to other teams, why post all of the phillies HR/XBH totals? I have 0 idea if those numbers are below/above average and to what degree.***

Considering the amount of crap the non-JW writers get here on BL, I'd imagine its become a "Lost the coin flip" type of scenario at Comcast on who gets to post the day's articles.

Couldn't find team totals anywhere, so I decided to just check a few individual team totals. Started alphabetically...Astros have 15. I stopped looking.

MLB.com has the team totals. Phils have 38, which leads the Grapefruit League and is 7th in MLB. Mariners have the overall lead with 49.

Phils also tied for the Grapefruit League-lead in homers with 14. Overall, Astros have 15 and Mariners have 22.

Corey just going over the team totals doesn't help. Please have all the numbers for LH hitters vs. LH pitchers with windy conditions and then without windy conditions. Also please separate these by whether or not it was sunny or not. Otherwise I just don't think you are putting these stats into proper context and being misleading!

Its almost as if the Florida-based ST teams play in a bunch of pitcher-friendly parks or something...almost.

is the catcus league usually that much more offense friendly? Never knew.

Phillies have been scoring runs...good.

Phillies have been collectively the worst pitching/defensive team so far this spring...bad.

The story of Cook playing the role of long-relief is interesting. Besides Aumont (who last year posted a ridiculous 75% GB rate), the Phillies don't really have a reliever that can induce a lot of ground balls (>55%). If there are guys on base with less than 2 outs, he might not be the worst option to come in and try to stop the bleeding while increasing the chance for a double play. Diekman is another possibility, but his walk rate is a lot higher than Cook's at this point.

Diekman is a strikeout machine!

Unfortunately, he's also a walk machine.

Wow, I thought I was fastidious about stats. Lorecore will accept no stat on this site unless it is properly bounded contextually.

In fact, all stats, and conclusions drawn from them, must pass a rigorous and grueling peer review process before they are allowed to grace the thread header here at the revered and studious University of Beerleaguer.

If Diekman is a strikeout machine (which is true as he strikes out more than 11 per 9 innings), he's also a walk machine. He led Philly relievers last year (SSS warning) with more than 6.5 walks per nine innings.

Newsflash: LOOGY-types (which is what Diekman is) tend to be high-strikeout, high-walk pitchers.

Check out the numbers of J.C. Romero, Pedro Feliciano, and any other classic LOOGY you can think of.

Now, you have to be better than 6.5 walks per nine innings, of course. But most of these guys regularly have seasons where they average over 4 walks per nine innings. That's just the nature of that type of pitcher. If they had pinpoint control, they'd probably be more than a LOOGY.

I realize the LOOGYs are what they are with the high strikeouts and walks thing, but it still used to anger me severely when Romero was brought in for a LOOGY spot and then proceeded to walk the guy on four not-even-close pitches.

Jack - so if a southpaw reliever walks about 4 and strikes out about 11 every 9 innings, they should be more than a LOOGY? What if their rates are that good because they only face lefties? For instance, should Bastardo, who is essentially Diekman+ with lower walks, be anything other than a LOOGY?

From last thread- the PECOTA projections were on MLB Network and screen capped on Facebook by the guy who runs the NL East discussion group, so I didn't pay for them. But thank you Fatalotti for getting on your high horse about it and scolding me.

I especially don't like Betancourt at short when it means that Galvis loses playing time because of it.

Has there been a thread posted at BL in the last 6 months without a pedantic comment from lorecore to the author in the first 5 comments?

TTI, wasn't scalding you in the least. I went searching for the projections, and I realized that I'd need to get through a paywall to see them. I personally don't want to pay for them.

If you want to pay for them, that's your decision, and a wholly defensible one. I consider projections on baseball to be frivolous, because I've never found them to tell me anything I didn't already know intuitively.

I assure you, that remark wasn't in any way intended to rebuke you.

I noted this before about PECOTA projections. People always say "oh my God, they're so terrible, they only project 88 wins to win the division, how stupid are they???"

PECOTA (like many projection systems) strips out good/bad luck and projects the most common outcome it projects for each time based on its various inputs. It projects their 50th percent outcome, on a bell curve of possible outcomes. Obviously, a team that has a great season likely performs at the far end of their bell curve. Chances are, one of the teams in the NL East will out-perform its own expectations, and will likely win 95 games. But that doesn't make it the most "expected" outcome for that team. You would have to be the 1998 Yankees, basically, to have an "expected" outcome of winning 95+ games.

Because of this, teams end up in a relatively narrow band of projected wins/losses. Most teams are probably projected to win between 70 and 90 games. This makes sense--while in the real season we will of course see outliers above 90 wins and below 70 wins, for most teams to be that good or that bad, you need some luck and things to go your way (or not go your way). Therefore, you are outperforming or underperforming your expected outcome.

All these predictions will be great when they start playing games on paper.

The only things I have been concerned about so far are that everything has been breaking the Phils' way so far except Papelbon's velocity.

Even with Papelbon, he almost always struggles in spring training. The only thing I am interested in watching is to see what is fastball velocity is the next 2-3 outings.

Horst got shelled yesterday again in the O's game. Anyone see any reports on what he looks like early?

Fatalities: my apologies then. It looked like you were and I reacted as such.

Re: PECOTA

With a CI and the +/- around it, the individual win totals mean almost nothing to me. Even then, they are often so wide as to provide little analytical value.

Say if it was a 95% CI but the +/- meant the Phils could win anywhere between 73 and 87 games.

Was it really that apalling that I aksed jrfinger to give context to the Phillies' HR production? Who here had any idea beore this thread that 14 HR in 10 ST games and 38 XBH was amongst the leaders in the league? I sure didn't...which is exactly why i commented that I have 0 idea.

DH Phils: Better question, can you name one single time?

I can't remember posting one 'nonJW writers suck' comment. I've disagreed with an opinion in the header before, but I openly disagreed with JW more than a few times as well - I don't see the difference.

Under/Over

If the O/U was at 86 or 86.5, the odds for the over would have to be near even to attract the kind of money the Vegas bookies would want.

The odds I have seen so far are 83.5-84.5 with the 'Over' at -130 to -125.

This article appeared about RFD this morning:

http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/phillies/20130304_John_Mayberry_Jr__works_on_improving_average_against_righthanders.html


I knew he mashes lefties, but I didn't know he was quite this good:

"In the last two seasons, few players have hit lefthanders better than Mayberry. His .868 OPS against lefties ranks 22d in the majors for righthanded batters with at least 300 plate appearances from 2011-12."

"Much of that comes from his strong power stroke; his .534 slugging percentage ranks 11th among those hitters."


Too bad he can't hit righties. He'd be an All Star.


Two guys i'm very interested in seeing the rest of ST are Michael Young and Mayberry who have both been swinging it better last few days.

They are the key to our overall offense in my opinion. If Utley Brown and Howard are producing its very important for Young and Mayberry to have decent OBPs.

Anyone else wishing we kept Schierholtz over Nix? I think he'd make a much better platoon partner with Mayberry.

Nik: Actually, yes. I have never really understood the non-tendering of Schierholtz. I get that he's a little bit duplicative of Nix, but Delmon Young is duplicative of Mayberry and a worse player than Schierholtz and they went ahead and signed him (for a grand total of like $700,000 less than Schierholtz would've cost).

If that $700,000 makes a difference, then maybe MG is right about money problems.

Phillies were able to nontender Schierholtz for free while letting go of Nix would still require the Phils to pay his $1.35M regardless.

I'm pretty sure that was 100% of the decision, since I'm pretty sure it's a given that Schierholtz is the superoir all around player. Maybe Nix gets the slight edge in vs RHP which might matter more in a platoon role, but I bet if you took park adjustments into play, Scheirholtz OPS vs RHP is likely even.

Nik: if there situations were exactly the same then yes I do think it would've been better to keep schierholtz over nix. However, Nix had a two year deal he signed so he was locked up already. That made another lefty kinda redundant to them.

The single dumbest thing about the Young signing is that Amaro said one of the key reasons was his power.

Mayberry is a better-version of Young is a much better corner defender & baserunner &, can actually play CF too (even if he is subpar there defensively).

Schierholtz wasn't resigned I bet not because of cost but because Amaro want a 'RH power bat' instead as he said repeatedly this offseason.

TTI: Do you think giving Laynce Nix a guaranteed two-year deal was a good move?

I'm sure the Phils could have dumped Nix on a team like the Marlins by eating say $600k of his $1.35 mil salary.. Schierholtz would probably get close to $2.0 mil in arbitration, costing us $2.6 mil vs Nix's $1.35 mil. The upside is that Schierholtz is a better player and would still be cost-controlled next season and thus provide more trade value going forward if he had a decent year.

Nate Schierholtz career ISO: .139
Delmon Young career ISO: .141

Good thing they at least upgraded that power, right?

You're all asking the wrong question. The question should be "Why did Rube trade for Schierholtz in the first place as he had zero intention of keeping him past 2012?"

Jack, don't be confusing the Schierholtz/Nix conundrum by throwing in DY. That is not a path to clarity.

DY is 2013's version of MiniMart, I fear; the kind of move that makes the saintliest of baseball fans enunciate all the words of the acronym WTF.

Jack: I think Nix has ample chance in 2013 to validate whether his contract was a good idea or not. Nothing he did in 2012 was that terrible to make his 2nd year incapable of overcoming.

Mayberry:

He's like a straight-edged screwdriver. If used properly, he is incredibly useful. You can use him as an all-purpose tool but it isn't a role he will succeed at.

Few things jump out at me as I have looked over his numbers the last few years:

- He has pretty good overall numbers at CBP:

.271/.333/.451 (.784 OPS) with 15 HRs in 427 PA over 148 G

Not surprising especially since Mayberry is a pretty strong pull-hitter and the friendliest power-alley in CBP is still RF

- He struggles against power pitchers which isn't surprising because even though he is a fastball hitter he is a guy that likes the ball down in the zone or at his belt-level and toward the inner part of the plate.

- Much better numbers in the 2nd half of the season. Hard to take away much from this split difference given the SSS.

I would be curious to see if the same holds up over his minor league career.

- Struggles the first time he sees a SP/RP in a game:

vs SP, 1st: .226/.274/.390 with 7 HRs in 190 PAs

vs RP, 1st: .219/.295/.324 with 8 HRs in 342 PAs

Yet he has 'ok' PH numbers:

.271/.329/.429 with 3 HRs in 76 PAs

What I bet the numbers would show if you dug deeper is that against LHP reliever especially those who don't throw hard Mayberry eats their lunch.

Against RHP relievers though especially guys who throw hard or have a good changeup (one pitch he can't hit), they eat Mayberry's lunch.

NEPP - The answer is simply he didn't. Schierholtz didn't have a spot on the SF roster after the Pence trade and was a throw-in/salary dump by the Giants.

Amaro just took him on to see what he could do over 2+ months and because it cost very little to do so. Unfortunately for Schierholtz, he got hurt & didn't perform well.

NEPP: to add another degree of nonsense, Schierholtz only made about ~10 starts last year anyway. He was just a defensive caddy for a month.

And its not like RAJ doens't appreciate what a 'throw in' is. A year before getting Schierholtz, we kicked in Domingo Santana as a 'throw-in'.

in RAJ world, 70 PA and a nontender is in the same category as a 19yr old putting up a .920 OPS in low A.

Meanwhile, I think I saw Greg Golson bagging groceries at the local supermarket...

John Mayberry Jr is an adequate half-empty-paintcan-opener.

I don't see why Young and Schierholtz can't be compared. I would've kept Schierholtz and Nix and not signed Young (yes, I know they're both LH). So you have a Schierholtz/Mayberry platoon in LF, Revere in CF, Dom in RF, and Nix as a bench bat. If you're concerned that on days Mayberry starts you have two LH bench bats, then you could also keep Ruf as a backup 1B/OF/RH hitter.

Seems to me like a better roster than one with Delmon Young on it, but, whatever.

Mayberry: 2.8 WAR (fWAR); 2.2 WAR (b ref WAR)

Golson: 0.0 WAR (fWAR); -0.4 WAR (b ref WAR)

Amaro's first move as the GM of the Phils I think and it has turned out pretty well. Even if Amaro gives the Phils only 1 WAR or so this year, the Phils will have gotten a guy who has provided them some value would conservatively would be worth about $15M or a useless asset.

Not the kind of deal that will ultimately make a huge impact on the franchise one away or another but one that is vital for a team has been in contention that needs to add useful secondary pieces.

I would love to do a more detailed analysis of Amaro's 'secondary FA signings/trades and minor league deals' vs other GM since '08 to see where he stacks up.

Mayberry lost more than 100 pts. of slugging in 2012 from 2011 vs. LHP. Nothing too ridiculous with BABIP, either.

Worth mentioning, considering he didn't have a ton of exposure at the MLB level before last season. He took a step back last year vs. LHP.

Id like to see Mayberry and Ruf swapped in the order.

Context: The Phillies have a team OPS of .790. That sounds pretty impressive, but there are 17 teams ahead of them. Could it be: (1) that the Phillies, like every other team, are facing a lot of crappy pitchers early in spring training; and (2) that even the good pitchers aren't using their full repertoire of pitches in early games?

Jack: Quite honestly, that 2-year deal to Nix doesn't look terribly egregious at this point. If you look at what comparable players (i.e., Schierholtz, Loney, Ibanez, Hinske, Overbay) got in this year's FA market, Nix's price is pretty reasonable. And Schierholtz actually made $1.3M in 2012 so, even if the Phillies had kept him & gone to arbitration, he would have ended up making more than Nix -- even though Nix is a better hitter against RHP.

I loathed the Nix signing at the time but, in hindsight, it really doesn't look so bad. When historians evaluate RAJ's time as Phillies GM, they won't point to the Laynce Nix contract as one of his blunders. If he has a good 2013 season, they might even point to it as one of his better moves.

Is Brown hitting 6th because Charlie doesn't want to have too many lefties in a row?

Are we going to be treated to a lot of Young, Young, Ruf, and Mayberry in the 5 hole this year with Brown on deck?

I foresee this being a source of frustration for me.

@ramsey...I definitely think it's an attempt to break up lefties by Charlie. I'm still in the camp for Utley hitting 2nd and Young 3rd though as that would break up your lefties right there.

Anyone watching this on MLB.tv? Would like a report on what Adams looks like when he pitches if anyone gets to see it.

Would also appreciate knowing how many layers of atmosphere were penetrated by DOM's upcoming HR.

Iceman: Unfortunately, like so many games the Phillies play away from Bright House, this game is not available on MLB.TV.

Don't really think the stat needed much more context. Anyone who watched the Phillies the last two years saw a problem getting XBHs.

2012: 17th in SLG, 18th in ISO
2011: 17th in SLG, 17th in ISO
2007-2010: 3rd in SLG, 1st in ISO

It's not that the Phillies have gradually declined as the team has aged or players have changed. The Phillies fell off the cliff going into 2011.

Utley and Howard need to be healthy and young players like Brown need to provide power.

I'm listening to the radio broadcast, I'll do my best to communicate how Larry Anderson believes Mike Adams is pitching.

Since I only saw Dom's infield single on Gameday, I'll assume that it was a hot smash down the 3rd base line, that the 3rd baseman made an incredible play to prevent it from being a double, and that he proceeded to fire a frozen rope to 1st base which would have nailed 95% of all major league hitters, but which Dom somehow managed to beat out with his blazing speed.

Whoops. Thought that it was on MLBTV. Nevermind.

Boo... Sandberg prevents a Betancourt RBI by holding Ruf at third.

Or wait a second... maybe Ryne should be cheered for not allowing Betancourt to pad his stats thereby ensuring he doesn't make the roster!!!

That Ryne Sandberg guy is crafty.

Yuni! Now hitting .400; say hello to your backup shortstop of 2013, Philly fans. (the above is sarcasm, but I can honestly see Cholly falling in love with Yuni the way Sarge already has, based on this unpredictive ST performance).

bay_area_phan: Actually a slow grounder that the SS charged and bare-handed, but Dom beat it down the line.

Matt Gelb tweet:

Ryne Sandberg stops Darin Ruf at third base after a single to center. A fan yells, "Charlie, manager for life!" You guys are great.

KAS: So I was at least right about the blazing speed part.

Amaro must be incredibly confused as to whether Quintero's RBI on a walk counts as production or not.

bay_area_phans: Announcers made it sound like Dom showed solid hustle/speed to beat it out. He's no Ben Revere, but it feels like over the last two years, Brown would have been out by a mile.

Really nice to see Michael Young heating up. He's a hitter, plain and simple. He's not on this club for his glove, obviously. If he's not swinging a bat, he serves no purpose.

But KAS, is Young a professional hitter?

Joe D: Well, he's a crafty veteran hitter, so he's probably a "professional hitter." We'll know as soon as he hits the ball behind a runner on 2nd.

After years of hearing "Placido Polanco, professional hitter," you can understand the skepticism as to how that label correlates with actually being a productive hitter.

Long at bat by Utley leads to another bases-loaded walk.

Let's see if Howard can unload the bases...

Jack: "Professional hitter" should not equal "productive hitter." Changing your approach to move a runner along is the equivalent of sac bunting. It's almost never a good idea. I hate the idea of a "professional hitter." I love the idea of a "good hitter."


Long at bat by Utley leads to another bases-loaded walk.

Let's see if Howard can unload the bases...

Posted by: Kendrick Appreciation Society | Monday, March 04, 2013 at 01:58 PM

No, he couldn't.

Howard does not unload the bases, he decided to leave that opportunity to Ruf.

(Howard Ks swinging.)

KAS: We're on the same page.

And Ruf pop fouls behind home plate.

4 runs and bases left loaded on just 3 base hits.

Well, Charlie got the matchup he wanted there. Ruf with the bases loaded and 2 outs against a lefty with Brown on deck.

***Actually a slow grounder that the SS charged and bare-handed, but Dom beat it down the line.***

Sounds like budding superstar Dom Brown smartly took a bunch off that ball and hit a swinging bunt for the infield single.

Well done, Dom!!!

***And Ruf pop fouls behind home plate.***

Andy Tracy and Mike Cervenak are quietly laughing...though likely from behind the cash registers of whichever convenience stores they both work at now.

Betancourt just made what must have been an outstanding play to start out a double play. It got more than one "Wow" out of Larry Anderson.

Betancourt made a play over the weekend where tmac and wheels made twice as many comments about how great of a play it was than the amount of steps he had to range to field the ball.

So... Betancourt is batting .438 and has made a few really nice plays.

Good thing spring training stats don't matter!

quintero has been swinging and missing balls right over the plate.

Jack: it was probably a ba deal because Nix gets injured a lot and doesn't really warrant a 2 year deal. It is not a bad deal because it kept Nate Schierholtz off the roster.

I vividly remember spring training 2011, when Cholly was absolutely raving about a couple of great plays that Mini-Mart had made during some February drills. The plays apparently left such an impression upon Cholly & Rube as to out-weigh the vast sums of all-around wretchedness that followed. I could easily see something similar happening with Betancourt -- especially when combined with the fact that he once knocked in 78 runs in a season.

Is it wrong for me to actively root against Betancourt and the possibility he gets an injury which certainly keeps him off the Opening Day roster?

Lannan has pitched 3 innings and given up a hit and two walks. There have been two double plays. 7 of the 9 outs have been on ground balls (5 ground balls, one IF pop, one fly out, no Ks).

FYI: No ground balls to third base yet.

KAS: So you're saying that Lannan - the quintessential professional - has tailored his approach to make sure all grounders go up the middle or to the right side?

Sounds like a guy we may want to sign to a one-year contract.

bay_area_phan: I know it's crazy, but if he can play solid defense at multiple positions and swing an okay bat, he's not the worst choice for a utility IF.

The problem with that is he'd be one injury away from extended playing time.

Like I said, it's a good thing early spring training stats don't matter, because .438 looks gaudy and he's flashed some leather. If this were a young prospect, he'd be in the Beerleaguer Hall of Fame already.

bap - Yeah and they overlooked his 3 errors at SS and a few misplays that could have been scored errors in the OF.

Still the oddest case of a guy making the Opening Day roster in a long time after he hit .233 in spring, watched his average drop like a rock towards the tail end, and played poorly in the field & on the basepaths (2 SB, 2 CS)

Moments ago, Larry Andersen on Michael Young:

"This guy is just a professional hitter. He'll definitely take the first pitch with Revere on first. He can use the whole field."

Blah, blah, blah... (Young, incidentally did take the first pitch, it was a ball. Two pitches later Revere stole second and moved to third on an overthrow.)

"Is it wrong for me to actively root against Betancourt and the possibility he gets an injury which certainly keeps him off the Opening Day roster?"

Not at all. It's a rich Beerleaguer tradition to root against the veteran stiff, whom the Phillies bring into spring training as the presumptive favorite to win a backup job (i.e., Luis Castillo, Juan Castro, Juan Pierre, Marcus Giles).

Phillibuster: Well I wouldn't say that. Most ground balls go up the middle. Ground balls to first and third are rare by comparison.

a revere crafted run.

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