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Saturday, April 13, 2013


"This is why the Phillies have the chance to be a different late-inning team in 2013. A year ago at this time we'd have seen Chad Qualls, Jose Contreras and David Herndon."


Losing all those games in late and/or extra innings last season was a complete downer.

Much more encouraging so far this year.

Without Stanton this is like playing a AAA excuse for losing with Hamels on the mound, and if Doc can't get it together against this bunch it really might be panic time for him.

Bastardo's performance was eye-opening. He seems to be throwing at 2011 velocity (around 93). He's also mixing in the changeup with good results.

Adams would have been roughed up by a capable lineup. He struggled.

"This is why the Phillies have the chance to be a different late-inning team in 2013. A year ago at this time we'd have seen Chad Qualls, Jose Contreras and David Herndon."

Of course, it also helped that they scored just in the nick of time. They were a Chase Utley triple away from Durbin, Qualls, and Horst.

I sincerely hope that's an error and I didn't miss complaining about Qualls' resigning...

Quick Stanton's hurt lets make a deal. Surprised we haven't heard some knucklehead post that yet.

Adams was all over the place but got the ground ball he needed to. Bastardo looked great.

But Aumont to me has been the most impressive so far. His stuff is so overpowering that when he commands, hitters are hopeless. Especially punchless lineups like Miami.

It's almost like he can afford to walk a guy every outing and it usually won't matter because lineups won't string together hits against him.

Interesting ...

Corey Seidman: "Cole Hamels has used his cutter 35% of the time with 2 strikes this season, compared to 17%, 18% & 19% the last 3 years."

The really impressive thing about Aumont last night was that he was getting badly squeezed by the home plate ump. He put a couple unhittable pitches on the black and didn't get the call. In the past, that would have led to a meltdown. This time he walked the guy, but didn't seem to really let it bother him.

And on the umpiring topic - We are not getting the bad base calls this season, but the ball/strike umpiring has been as erratic as I've ever seen it. I thought it was bad last season, but the umps seem to be pulling ball and strike calls out of their rumps this season on a consistent basis. Maybe it's time to turn the balls and strikes over to questec in real time and just have the umps make the rest of the calls.

And on another subject, is it just me or are the letter-number combinations to verify a post the worst anywhere? I routinely get them wrong, and that doesn't happen anywhere else I post. Half the time they are unreadable, even with my strongest glasses on.

Just noticed this Amaro quote in Gelb's D. Young story from yesterday:

"Delmon isn't going to come here unless he can play right field," Amaro said. "If he can't play right field, he ain't coming.

"The bat doesn't concern me nearly as much as how he's moving around and how well he's playing in the outfield. He's going to hit. I'm not that worried about that part of it. I'm more concerned about if he's going to be adequate in the outfield."

that's encouraging.

Interesting ...

Corey Seidman: "Cole Hamels has used his cutter 35% of the time with 2 strikes this season, compared to 17%, 18% & 19% the last 3 years."
Posted by: GTown_Dave | Saturday, April 13, 2013 at 12:52 PM

We're only 2 starts in...I'd have to see about 10 starts before I called this a trend and not just a SSS aberration.

And the different catcher calling pitches could definitely have something to do with it as well.

It's been said, but we should really be drinking deep of every moment we get to see Utley play. Thinking back to the springs of '11 and '12, there was every reason to believe he might never see the field again, let alone continue to be a great 2B. Plenty of voices in the media and on this board, including myself, were shaking their heads sadly and just kind of assuming he'd either retire in defeat or return for a short while as an impotent husk. To see him overcome that debilitating physical breakdown and return to play at a level that, SSS granted, still looks elite, is really special. And when you think about how personally devoted he is to the game, his comeback becomes a genuinely moving story.

We'll (hopefully) start taking his solid production for granted again, but if you'd come up to me in April 2012 and read me off his stat line for this year (.316/.372/.632 and 0.5 WAR in 43 PA), I'd be absolutely stunned--and even going into ST this year it seemed just as likely as not that his body wouldn't let him be even a league-average player again. Meanwhile, as we all know, watching him play is a special and rare baseball experience, as his talent is HOF level even if he won't get the counting stats to make it in and his demeanor and mindset are pretty much unmatched in MLB. Every at-bat is a treat we should be thankful for, as fans, and we should take a moment now and then to remember how bleak things were looking for him a year ago.

"Yes, Aumont is prone to wildness, but his entering with a clean inning also gave the Phils the best chance to extend the game."

Well, no. Papelbon entering the game there gives us the best chance to extend it. Which is why I always rail against managers who refuse to use their closer in the bottom of the ninth inning on the road. Against the pitiful Marlin lineup, it really doesn't matter, but against better teams, you want to use your best pitcher there to give yourself the best chance to extend the game.

Aumont, while promising, isn't our best pitcher. But, alas, the same stuff.

fumphis, nicely written.

Well said, fumphis. Like many others, I really thought Utley was finished there for awhile. Great to have him performing at this level again, for however long it lasts.

Dave - That might be a good thing if Hamels had a decent cutter. He doesn't though and is still essentially a 3-pitch - 4-seam fastball, changeup, and curve.

MG: Hamels should concentrate on locating his Fastball, & forget the Cutter.

"And on another subject, is it just me or are the letter-number combinations to verify a post the worst anywhere? I routinely get them wrong, and that doesn't happen anywhere else I post."

Here's the funny part. Sometimes they're clear and I know with 100% certainty that I get them right, and it rejects them anyhow. And other times I can feel myself make a typo, but it accepts my post nonetheless. So I'm not really sure what purpose it even serves. For that matter, I'm not even sure what purpose it purports to serve.

Much like Laynce Nix, I assume it's there simply to piss us off.

fumphis - Well said. That Philly Magazine article though on Utley this month though was really damning on the Phils' trainers/medical staff.

Details included:

- How Utley called his agent first after the '08 WS and asked him to find a surgeon to fix his hip. No mention at all of consulting with the team trainer/medical staff first.

- It was Utley and Wolfe (Utley's agent) who really pressured Amaro to let Utley go to Arizona to see Brett Fischer in AZ last spring. Amaro only relented after considerable pressure from Utley.

It was based upon research that they did Utley and Wolfe did on other non-surgical options given that the surgical success rate for treating his knees.

I really how how much more productive Utley would have been if he had done this back in early '11 instead and how things would have turned out for in '12 instead.

It's a good bet he would have been ready to start the season and been more productive too.

Besides the whole Howard injury fiasco last year (which gets underplayed too much and really I think has substantially changed how Amaro deals with the media & public in general after he got racked over the goals for being such a bold-faced liar), this really besides with you some interesting insights into how little Utley thinks of the Phils' trainers/medical staff and how he has had to turn to outside medical help in order to finally get a solution to help him.

If Utley hadn't gone to Arizona to see Fischer, I bet you there is a very good chance he would have had another injury-plagued and hobbled season. Da

"As the nosebleed section is higher than the diamond club, so are Captcha's ways higher than your ways, its thoughts than your thoughts"

Batushansky 55:9

Galvis is playing 3B today, batting 7th.

It has been popular to dump on the Phils for not employing an army of sabermetric analysts this spring which only shows you:

1. Those critics generally don't know squat about BI and enterprise analytics

2. A majority of the stuff that teams rely upon is provided by several commercial solution providers including STATS and a few others. Phils have said they are subscribers to STATS and a few other services.

Maybe you get a slight edge by employing your own team of analysts and methodology experts especially those teams that have installed Field f/x (Phils haven't to my knowledge installed it yet at CBP and haven't said when they plan to) and can examine it but having a punch of FTE analysts to run data and reports is overrated.

I imagine it is just better to have a larger budget for commercial COTS analytics solutions that are available (and don't let your peek into their black box) and hire outside consultants for particular projects or areas you would want to get a better handle on.

Where I would love to see more analysis and insight is on injury prevention and recovery. You still see very little at the SABR conference or other analytic-oriented conferences besides a few sports orthopedic conferences I have seen (usually just around a particular injury or surgical invention) or the annual sports trainers conference.

I would love to see what type of analysis MLB has looked into now that all 30 MLB teams have been on the same web-based EMR platform since the start of '10.

Also love to sit down with Stan Conte and get 15-20 minutes of his time to get some further insights into his thoughts especially around pitcher injury prevention. He has a pretty interesting resume:

Really hooked into a look of baseball and sports trainers.

For what it is worth Scott Sheridan (Phils' trainer) is connected to Stan Conte via linked in but it looks like Conte is connected to most teams athletic trainers.

One area I have almost never seen covered is how much baseball athletic trainers share and what tips/pointers they give each other.

MG, I don't think people really care, in general, who the Phils employ, so much as they care about the decisions that are made by those who are employed. The people can be called SABRists or analysts or STATSsists or whatever they want.

But look at the players that RAJ has brought aboard, and that ells you all you need to know.

He understands pitching it seems, since he's targeted guys like Halladay, Lee, Oswalt and even Blanton, to a degree. Guys who don't walk a lot of batters, have good to great strikeout rates and some who seem to put the ball on the ground at an adequate to great rate. Even locking up Hamels is a feather in his cap regarding his evaluation of ML pitching.

But it comes to hitting, he seems to love low-K players (Polanco, Pierre, Revere, M. Young), but I think he values the ability to avoid Ks too highly, because these players simply lack so much in power. He also doesn't seem to bridge the gap between recognizing that if pitchers who don't walk batters are successful, it stands to reason that finding hitters who DO walk would be successful hitters.

I'm quite certain the Phils employ advanced statisticians. I'm also quite certain that either their advanced statisticians aren't great at their jobs, or the FO eschews the advice of said statisticians, at least when it comes to finding good hitters and fielders.

Fat - They don't. They have the same guy who has been there since '84/'85. I am too lazy right now to look it up on the Phils' website.

Gelb finally wrote an article about it this spring and was the first beat writer to cover it in a long, long time. It was a nice article although it was something I wanted to see at least 2-3 years ago.

EDGE - It was and the last time I could find a Philly sports writer who wrote about Jay McLaughlin was an old 1990 article from Jayson Stark.

Looked on the Philly Daily News/Inquirer archives and found nothing else.

MG is right- according to Gelb, the guy that heads up their 'analytic department' is Jay McLaughlin who they hired in 1984. He "manages the front office's technology, serves as press box announcer during home games, and inputs PBP data into the team's internal system." He also organizes the team's scouting reports, including I assume the 7 year-old report used to "scout" Delmon Young.

They also hired a guy named Chris Cashman in 2011 to work with McLaughlin as a "baseball operations representative"- he has a degree in marketing and "his daily responsibilities include manning the radar gun at CBP."

Just read that article; I'm even more depressed than I was before. I just assumed that they had a team of advanced statisticians. The question was more about how much their advice was regarded.

Honestly, I'm not even against relying heavily on scouting. I actually assume that gaining a competitive advantage will shift back to a team's scouting ability, but that's because I assume that the acceptance of the advanced analytics will become a must for every team, and it will essentially become a wash across the game.

But it's one thing to rely on the guys looking for players. It's another thing when those guys aren't looking for the right player in the first place.

And, when it comes to offense, the Phillies clearly haven't been looking for the right players lately.

New thread.

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