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Wednesday, March 27, 2013


If you ask me, there hasn't been nearly enough ink spilled on this Quintero-Lerud battle.

Months and months of talking about Betancourt, Cook, Mini, etc, and none of them are even on the team now. These two guys could potentially start like, 5-10 games.

Let's get serious about Quintero v Lerud!

Iceman, assuming they are equal defensively (someone else can weigh in on that point), based on their track records - MilB as well as MLB - it's an easy call.

Also, this will make MG happy - from a subsection of the Salisbuury writeup on yesterday's game:

"When it’s announced, the bullpen is likely to shape up this way: Jonathan Papelbon, Mike Adams, Antonio Bastardo, Chad Durbin, Jeremy Horst, Raul Valdes and Phillippe Aumont.

However, Dubee cautions: “No decisions have been made yet.”"

...and from the same article, on the Halladay Watch:

"Roy Halladay will pitch the Florida finale Thursday in Clearwater. He will look to throw 85-90 pitches, according to pitching coach Rich Dubee."

awh: I guess Dubee got over his irrational dislike of Aumont.


While I usually find Hardball Talk (linked on the right) a bit overbearing, the article about MLB going after Braun, ARoid and other suspected PED users - with the intent to suspend them - is interesting and worth a read.

Now that Aumont has apparently made the roster, the next battle will be when Charlie uses Durbin in key spots ahead of Aumont.

Some of us will complain, and TTI will defend the Phils' decision vociferously. Actually, it doesn't matter what they do--TTI will defend it vociferously regardless.

for dennyb from mlbtr: "The Rangers also hope to work out a trade to keep Rule 5 pick Coty Woods".

I thought only stupid FOs like the Phillies use their Rule 5 picks.

Phils still could use another bat for the 25th slot on the roster.
Preferably, RH'd, with some pop, and could put together good at-bats. I wonder who, easily obtained, could fit.
Sounds like a ruf one.

And regardless of what the Phillies do this season Jack will sing the praises of his Braves and look for any reason to say "I told you guys..."

Also- there are scenarios where you would probably use Durbin over Aumont. But there are many you wouldn't, and I have plenty of times questioned decisions. I know it may not look that way because I don't believe in blind Internet yelling.

Backup-backup catcher wars: since the Phils seem to love catchers who hit lefty (see: Bako, Schneider), does Lerud have a leg up on Quintero?

Hey Bonehead...I'm Dare'n you to come up with a name who will fit that criteria.

It's Quintero. Chollie will take him north because he has more MLB experience.

Also: it's good to see Galvis at short instead of Rollins - it puts more speed in the line-up.

Dubee cautions still has to be a decision to be made? Between who? Some kind the Phils are going to pick up off the waiver wire.

Chooch is out for 25 games. I predict the backup catcher starts these games:

Sun 4/7 vs. KC (day game after a night game)
Sun 4/14 vs. Fla (day game after a night game)
Fri 4/19 vs. St.L (or maybe the Sat game)
Thu 4/25 vs. Pit (day game after a night game)

And that may be it. The idea that Lerud or Quintero may get 10 starts in the first 25 games is a little wacky.

MG: The decision is the final two spots. Horst, Aumont and Stutes for two spots (if you assume Valdes has done enough to earn a job).

KAS: The other day it was said that Horst is locked up.

KAS - That's no contest if you are looking at last year & this spring. Stutes has been the worst reliever in camp left competing for a spot.

Valdes has easy done enough in camp this year too and pitched fairly well last year.

Valdes has actually been more impressive than Horst and arguably even Aumont in camp.

His cutter has been sharp I thought when I saw him and I was really impressed by his 1 BB/22 Ks total in 17 1/3.

Not sure exactly why his K/9 has notably jumped along with his swing & miss rate. 60-65 IP of solid middle relief by Valdes would go a long way to help a weak spot in the pen this year.

MG: It's also possible the decision has been made but the Phils don't want to announce it yet. Maybe they think Stutes will feel better if they think it's a close call.

I also think with Bastardo and Valdes, Horst may not be as locked up as it seems. Yes, he pitched very well last year, but he's had a long ball problem in the spring. Stutes was a surprise in 2011 and if he's healthy, is he as good a choice as Horst?

KAS - Horst's stuff has been as good this spring and it hasn't got talked about. His fastball was 90-91 from the reports I saw & his slider wasn't as sharp as last Sept.

KAS: Re: Catchers, I'm glad I'm not the only one who was confused about all the hand-wringing over backup catcher (admittedly, a fair bit of it is in jest) to Kratz, and the weird numbers of starts getting thrown around.

MG: If Valdes can carry that kind of control and that kind of K rate into the season it will hopefully make it easier to jettison Durbin if/when he has problems!

Andy, Quintero also has a better track record with a bat throughout the minors - for what it's worth.

I think the reason it hasn't been discussed much here is that Kratz will undoubtedly get the vast majority of the playing time early on. Charlie won't worry about wearing him down because as soon as Chooch comes back Kratz will only play once or twice a week - at best.

Looking at the schedule, Chooch is suspended through April 27th. The Phillies have 2 off days during the first 10 games with only one day-after-night game during that period. After that, they play 16 straight games until the 27th, with 2 more day-after-night games, on the April 14th and Saturday, the 27th. Other than the 3 day-after-night games, the "early season backup catcher" might start one or two games during that span.

Also, the Phils have an off day on April 29th after Chocch comes back and 3 more off days in May, which will give Chooch plenty of rest.

I would not be surprised to see Kratz start at least 20, and maybe even 22 of the first 25 games, because of off days and because he's going to get a lot of rest after the 27th.

I think that's one of the reasons it's not being discussed too much.

Valdes didn't pitch "fairly well" last year.

He had a 31% K% and 4.4% BB%, to go with a 2.9 ERA and 3.03 xFIP.

Not to say he'll repeat those numbers this year (could have just been a big fluke), but he was dominant last year.

I see KAS made a similar post earlier - Quintero?/Lerud? just won't play that much, not just because of the schedule up until Chooch returns, but also because of the 4 off days the first 31 games Chooch returns.

With all the rest Kratz will get in May (I predict he only gets 3 starts) Charlie won't be too worried about wearing him out in April.

Fat - He was and I didn't mean to downplay that. His BABIP was also freakishly low (.214) and well below his career average of .296.

Even the '11 version was really solid though. Valdes is one of those guys that if the Phils do end up making the playoffs will quietly have had a very good year of say an ERA of ~3.50 and 60-65 IP.

Yeah, I have no illusions that Valdes will repeat last year, or that he's a back-end option.

But the guy came in and dominated for us last year. It was one of the few surprises of the 2012 Phillies that went largely unnoticed.

Catcher wars? Who cares?
What I want to talk about:
James Rollins is SLOW

Fatti, not only did Valdes pitch well in relief last season, his overall results are partially skewed by the start he made against PIT where he gave up 3 runs in 2 IP (6/27).

I know ERA isn't the best measure for a relief pitcher, but if you just look at his relief appearances, he only gave up 7 ER (7 R) in 29 IP, a 2.17 ERA.

Using your numbers, his K% in relief appearances was 33.7%, and his BB% was 2.9%. (I don't know where to get his xFIP in relief appearances.)

I agree: "Valdes didn't pitch "fairly well" last year."?

I would think the Phillies would need a LH pinch hitter type for the 'final' roster spot. Nix should start most games in LF, leaving a bench of Mayberry, Frandsen, Galvis, and Quintero. I really hope Galvis is not the primiary lefty pinch hitter. At least Frandsen is not a terrible hitter against lefties.

I could see Lerud winning the job since he hits lefty but Quintero would make more sense due to his experience. I am more worried that Kratz will be terrible for his month of starts.

Horst vs Stutes should be the final bullpen battle. Horst should have the lead but no reason to demote the other until necessary in case one of the relievers gets a blister and both make Opening Day.

Wasn't Valdes also the guy who was brought up for a single inning a few seasons back, and struck out the side on 9 pitches?

I mean, with Valdes, we're dealing with a grand total of 43 IP over the last 2 seasons. He could be great this year or a complete dud. Really hard to know one way or the other.

Fatti, he could flame out, but if you look at his MiL numbers the last few seasons, Valdes results seem to have improved dramatically as he has transitioned to a relief role.

Maybe he's finally figured it out.

Sure could use 50 - 60 IP with a xFIP of ~3.50.

We have 'semantic police' on here now?

We have 'semantic police' on here now?

Posted by: MG | Wednesday, March 27, 2013 at 11:24 AM

I'm the deputy sheriff.

Jeez. I was kidding about the Quintero/Lerud thing. Guess I need to work on my Internet sarcasm.

Freddy Galvis' power is wasted in the 8 hole.

Fatalotti: Ahhhh, that's right.

Looking at his MiLB numbers and ST this year, I'm kind of surprised they let him walk. He was pretty bad in Lehigh for 2011, but had respectable numbers in a number of other AAA affiliates.

Although I suppose he was a little old for a minor-leaguer to hang onto.

Isn't the bigger problem with Erik Kratz starting 22 of 25 games that Erik Kratz is starting 22 games?

Thanks for the memory, Fatal. That was a great game.

Yeah Jack, the Phillies should've acquired someone like Joe Mauer or Yadier Molina for those first 25 games. Then that problem would've been solved.

That's my cue.

You have $100K. It's all the money you have in the world. You must wager it on one of the following predictions:

1. Ryan Howard's 2013 triple-slash
2. Roy Halladay's 2013 ERA
3. Dominic Brown's 2013 triple-slash.

For each point you are off, your bankroll is diminished or increased by $1,000 (if you predict RH's batting average at .250 and its .245, that cost $5K). Which do you pick, and why? And what is the prediction, and why?

For me, I would choose Halladay's ERA, because Jimmy Rollins, practically speaking, is slower than the nerdthink on this site believes him to be. But that's just me.

bittel, you still are hung up on that slow thing? Give it up man!

Jack-- Depends, he could have a 22 game stretch like this...

(May 22-Aug 20, 2012)
.310/.391/.776/1.167, 7 HR


(Aug 25-Oct 2, 2012)
.188/.233/.304/.537, 2 HR

My guess is probably somewhere in between the two.

RedBurb: Easy big guy. I wasn't saying that.

I was saying that the handwringing about the backup catcher seems to overlook the bigger problem, which is that we have a bad *starting* catcher for the first 25 games.

The Phils are in the hole for 25 games. Not saying there's anything they can do about it, just saying that's a problem.

Or do you think Erik Kratz is a quality starting C for a playoff contender?

bittel: I'd choose Roy Halladay's ERA because, if I'm losing $1,000 for each point that I'm off, I'd rather have only one stat that I can miss by 50 points than 3 of them.

bittel, you still are hung up on that slow thing? Give it up man!

Posted by: RedBurb

Was just a joke given the post a few up from mine that mentioned Rollins first. I figure the hazing period will end sometime soon here.

But I'm curious about the 100K question if anyone wants to give it a shot.

I'm confused.

What, again, does Rollins' speed have to do with the BA, OBP, or SLG of anybody not named Jimmy Rollins?

It was a joke.

Howard's triple slash line is probably the easiest to predict.

He is likely to be somewhere around: .260/.340/.480.

So what should they have done? Gone out and overpaid for David Ross? Bring up Tommy Joseph and waste an option year?

I don't think there is a solution when your All Star catcher gets popped for banned substances during the offseason. Kinda puts the team in a bind that they aren't planning for.

Jack: I'm curious. What is your evidence that Erik Kratz is so awful? Because, no matter what evidence I look at -- minor league numbers, 2012 major league numbers, spring training performance -- it all seems to say that he's pretty good. I tend to think that all of that information overrides what some scouts said about him 5 years ago.

Jack, the problem is not that the Phillies don't have a decent BACKUP catcher, the problem is that their STARTING catcher, Chooch, got suspended, and there wasn't another MLB starting catcher who would come to Philly for just 25 games. :)

Seriously, though, let me ask you this:

Which MLB teams would NOT have the same problem if their starting catcher was suspended for 25 games?

I haven't looked, but I'll wager the answer is "few and far between".

"I figure the hazing period will end sometime soon here."

If you are under 30, the Beerleaguer actuarial tables say there is a 51.3% chance the hazing will end sometime in your lifetime.

Maybe we could have convinced the Twins to include Mauer in the Revere trade if we'd packaged Valle into the deal?

Actually, last I heard the Twins were looking to shop Mauer on a "maybe we're interested" basis, since he's injured so often and probably should get moved to 1B soon.

Jack, regaarding Howard's slash line, you're probably pretty close on the BA and OBP, but I'll wager you're off a bit on the SLG.

Based on the power he's displayed in ST, I'd take the "Over" if the O/U was set at .499-1/2.

He's had two seasons, the last two, where his SLG was under .500, and both were affected by bad legs. (AAMOF, it would probably be wise to just toss 2012 out - he should never have been on the field in the first place.)

Recognizing that there was no decent solution to a problem is no reason to not mention that it IS, in fact, a problem.

Quintero/Lerud is probably as good as any 2nd backup C in baseball (since backup catchers are generally awful, backups to backups will be that much more awful).

That being said, it's a problem that could materially affect the Phils this year, because Ruiz got caught with his hand in the Adderall jar.

That Rollins guy, what a slug! How'd he steal those bases last year anyway? Were all the opposing catchers drunk?!?!

"Jack: I'm curious. What is your evidence that Erik Kratz is so awful?"

bap, maybe he's looking at Kratz's 38 ST PA?

Oh wait...


BAP: we're living in the Actuarial Age, though I don't believe anyone has coined it that yet.

I'm pretty sure they didn't realize he was stealing.

He's got that great "walking steal," where he engages the 2B in conversation while on first, then pretends he can't hear the guy from so far away.

More ludicrous:

1. Height at 3B
2. Rollins being slow
3. Victorino actively hurting the team

As the deputy sheriff of the Semantics Police, I should inform you, NEPP, that asking which is MORE ludicrous, when followed by THREE choices, is, in and of itself, ludicrous.

Most ludicrous is option 1, though.

Just want to share:


You can now count the days until #OpeningDay on your hand.

That is all. #5Days

I see Bud Selig guessed the password for the MLB twitter feed again.

Jack, if Kratz can put up his slash line from last season -


- for the period Chooch is suspended, the Phillies should be fine.

That would have ranked as the 8th highest OPS among catchers in MLB last season (Min 400 PA).

Among catchers with a minimum of 150 PA (Kratz had 157) it ranked 11th in all of MLB.

Not bad for a backup. Let's hope he can repeat.

NEPP, good one!

Valdes pitched very well last season. The real question is: Was that what we can expect from him going forward? Or is his entire previous big league career and his entire minor league career a better indicator of his talents?

Anywhere else, that question wouldn't be up for debate. On BL, however, it would set off a huge, furious debate.

***As the deputy sheriff of the Semantics Police, I should inform you, NEPP, that asking which is MORE ludicrous, when followed by THREE choices, is, in and of itself, ludicrous.***

I was originally just going to use the height and speed ones but I tossed that Vic one on the end and didn't go back to correct it.

I was all set to posit that I didn't think Kratz was in any way, shape, or form likely to repeat his numbers from 2012 in 2013... But then I noticed that he's posted an OPS of at least .800 in every (AAA) season the last 4 years.

Admittedly, I still don't think it's likely - the difference in pitchers alone indicates we should revise his numbers down - but I could see something in the .750 range, which I'd be more than happy to take from my backup catcher.

Although that won't stop me from wishing he could catch/call games better for pitchers other than Kendrick.

"Recognizing that there was no decent solution to a problem is no reason to not mention that it IS, in fact, a problem."

Basically. All I was saying is that this discussion about whether the backup C is a problem is overlooking the real problem--which is that our starting catcher is gone for 25 games and we're talking positively about Erik Kratz starting 22 out of 25 games in that stretch.

I never purported to be criticizing the Phillies for not doing more. I was merely pointing out that for a team on the fringes of contention that is going to need every win, the more pressing problem isn't the second backup C, but the fact that for the first month of the season we have a backup *starting* catcher.

clout, excellent comment about Valdes.

I have a question for you:

Separately, are the 58 IP in 2010 enough of a sample size to draw any conclusions about what we should expect from Valdes going forward?

Are the 43 IP in 2011 and 2012?

And, if we look at his MiL numbers, which frankly, were not very good, what conclusions can we draw from them given the following fact?:

It appears that when Valdes was limited exclusively to relief work in the minors at the various stops he made (a grand total of 64 IP) his result were actually pretty good.

IMHO, I think what we know about him exclusively as a relief pitcher (who's year-to-year performances can be volatile) is limited at best, with barely enough sample sizes to draw any conlcusions.

Looks like we'l find out more this season.

What's your opinion?

Over the coffee pot at work, I told a co-worker that I saw on ESPN this morning an ad that told me that they were going to broadcast today's Phillies-Detroit game. I told him that I set the timer on the recorder and will watch it tonight. He told me that I must be pretty desperate for baseball to be recording a pre-season game. Living down south, I am in continual desperation to see ANY Phillies game, especially since the turncoat L'Astros have gone to the dark side and joined the AL.

While I agree with clout about what to expect from Valdes (or at least what he was implying), relying on him to continue his out-of-nowhere success from last year is unfortunately a better option than basically anyone else they currently have in-house.

Despite what you hear from some people about the stable of young studs the team has in waiting to dominate the late innings, that stable does not exist. So Valdes it is.

awh: I think clout's opinion was fairly implicit in his original post.

Jack: To be fair... is someone talking positively about having Kratz starting while Chooch is out?

I mean, I get people are saying we should be okay if he comes close to last year's performance, but it's not like people are *excited* because Kratz is forced to be our starting catcher for a month.

If Kratz had that triple slash line (.800 OPS) would be outstanding, for a backup especially. Without a few homeruns I could see him with a .200/.250/.350 line.

I was hoping Valle could be a backup with a power bat and poor plate discipline. His defense seems to have improved enough to play at the major league level. It was a stretch for me to expect Valle to be given that job over a veteran even if he played great in ST but it would have been more interesting at least.

Lake Fred, I certainly am not one to criticize you for DVR'ing preseason baseball. Hell, I've been watching the majority of these games from my office, on my laptop, during work hours. I'm starving for this season to start.

However, I do have to express some slight disappointment that anyone is giving ESPN even a DVR'd Neilson rating point. I loathe that network as if it was the spawn of TMac and Mini Mart. I guess you only have so many options in your neck of the woods, though...

As an out-of-towner myself, I do highly recommend the package. I've not been disappointed in the 6+ yrs I've been a subscriber and it's actually a really good value. Hell, I'd pay double just for that nifty feature that dubs the audio feed over the video!

For all the people who do actually care about ST stats, you'd have to be pretty scared of Bryce Harper's monster spring:


Spring statistics are meaningless. There's no way he's going to post a line that low.

KAS: No, no one appears to be. I just thought it worth pointing out that the issue for this team has nothing to do with Quintero and Lerud. The difference there is miniscule, and the amount of time they'll play is miniscule.

Compare that to the difference between Kratz/Ruiz and the amount Kratz will play (somewhere between 20-25 games). That's enough to potentially move the needle if Kratz reverts back to who everyone thought he was before last season (though I admit his recent minor league numbers are better than I expected), and those margins are going to matter for this team.

Uh Jack thinking about cheating on his girlfriend the Braves with that upstart temptress the Nationals???

That Harper's line isn't .750/.750/2.000 just leads me to believe that he's been tinkering with his swing this spring.

He'll get it straightened out by April.

Fat, I'd be worried about a walk rate that low. As it is, his walk rate in Jack's line is very poor.

I also agree with clout's prediction about Valdes (which was precisely why I predicted that he would ultimately lose his job to Stutes).

However, in typical clout fashion, he implies that his prediction is some sort of scientific truth, with which no one but an idiot could disagree. In fact, as Fatalotti has pointed out, Valdes did strike out 10.2 batters per 9 innings, while walking only 1.5 per 9 innings, last year. Those are not the numbers of someone who got lucky. They ARE probably a statistical anomaly but, on the other hand, Valdes's 2012 AAA numbers were 12.3 Ks per 9 and 0.6 walks per 9. And his minor league strikeout numbers have been steadily on the rise, and his walk numbers steadily in decline, ever since 2010 when he came back from a 2-year stint in the Dominican & Venezuelan leagues. So it's possible that he is just a different, and much better, pitcher now than he was when he ran up that long track record of minor league mediocrity. Considering his age, it does seem improbable that he can sustain last year's success. But it's hardly an open and shut case.

Just funny seeing Nix batting cleanup.

Iceman: "While I agree with clout about what to expect from Valdes (or at least what he was implying), relying on him to continue his out-of-nowhere success from last year is unfortunately a better option than basically anyone else they currently have in-house."

Good post. Clout has shown an astounding ability to point out bits and peices that are relevant, but hardly ever makes a coherent argument for one thing or the other as it pertains to the actual issue at hand.

This lineup should have no trouble at all with a stiff like Justin Verlander.

Speed kills. Is there a study that supports that fast runners force more errors? Seems intuitive, right?

Revere gets to first on a misplayed grounder and then gets to second on a misplayed pick off throw.

That's a good point, KAS. I've never seen Rollins do that so it shows just how slow he really is.

KAS: I think we discussed before, when Mayberry seemed to be Reaching On Error at a huge rate, and there didnt seem to be any correlation.

Jack- your Braves have a similar issue with their catching situation. Are you posting about it on Talking Chop too?

Good at bat by Frandsen. Got behind in the count but slapped it to the right side to get Revere to 3rd with 1 out.

Young fly ball to right field... again, on a 2-strike count. Revere scores easily.

Phils get a run on 0 hits.

ESPN: Michael Young, "professional hitter"

A nice, manufactured run. Lead-off guy gets on. 2-hole hitter has a nice AB and hits a ground ball to the right side. 3-hole hitter hits a sac fly. Can't complain about that. Especially of of Verlander. Errors set it up, but nice to get the job done. One run on no hits is nice.

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