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Tuesday, April 23, 2013


No Vance Worley?

Odd omission of Vance Worley on that list.

Despite having almost no chance in matching JA Happ and Vance Worley's early career success - I bet Pettibone has the best mlb career of the 3.

KK has developed pretty nicely of late, so its hard to say who will end up with better numbers in the end, I'd probably lean toward KK since he at least as done it already.

repost: Aumont currently has two losses with 0 ER allowed.

The last time a player ever lost less than twice the amounts of ER they allowed was Lee Smith in 1983.

Smith only allowed 19 ER in 103.1 IP for the Cubs, but still was credited with a loss in 10 games.

i see finger's reason: Worley debut was a 1 IP relief appearance in a mop up role (8run win).

His next appearance was his first start, and fits in with most of the others:

5IP 6H 2ER 1BB 5K, Loss.

I was at the Duckworth debut. My brother and I had tickets because it was the year Gwynn was retiring so it was the last chance to see him in Philly.

Also, remember the Phillies played long ball that night off the Padres pitcher. Burrell, Abreu, and Rolen all went deep on that night.

Carlton Loewer...what a blast from the past.

I vividly remember Myers' debut. Afternoon game at Wrigley. He was our top pitching prospect at the time, and was dominant. It definitely felt like the start of something.

Myers and Hamels are the debuts where it felt like you were watching a guy who was going to be a part of the rotation for years to come. They were pretty heralded prospects. Wolf, too, maybe. The rest were guys who just got called up and were basically competing to be backend starters for the rest of their time here. They weren't guys you could envision being top of the rotation starters for years to come. Myers and Hamels were.


Papelbon may have a sparkly ERA, but these peripherals are frightening:

6.75 K/9, 1.13 BB/9, 18.2% GB-rate, 4.34 xFIP

Let's hope it's just a small sample size illusion, but he won't be very good with those strikeout and groundball numbers going forward.

I recall being excited to see Hamels as a rookie pitch an afternoon game at Wrigley in July or August. Was like his 15th career start. I got to the game late due to having to track down a credit card at one of several bars I'd visited the night before. By the time I got there, Phils were down 9-10 runs, Hamels was in the showers, and I got to see like 6 innings of Brian Sanches, Rick White and Fabio Castro. That trio could sell a lot of Old Style.

Floyd was up there with Hamels/Myers.

Did Madson debut as a starter or in the pen? I thought he came up and started a couple games, then went to the pen, then was tried as a starter again, then finally settled in the pen. Do I have that wrong?

Pretty sure Madson started as a reliever then they tried him in the rotation the next year. He had that great scoreless streak his rookie year as a reliever

Madson was a reliever and they tried moving him to start in an interleague game one timem and he didn't even make it out of the 1st. He went directly back to pen, and i dont think he started for like another 3 seasons.

Ryan Madson still hasn't pitched since his time with the Phillies. I don't know what the full story with him is, but I hope his career's not over. He was a blast to watch when he was on. Had one of the better fastball/changeup combinations you're ever going to see, with a 12 mph differential at points, and great downward movement on the changeup.

Madson's debut as a starter after about ~20 relief appearances:

6ER and 3HR in 0.2 IP.

Papelbon has faced 29 batters. He's basically 2-3 Ks short of his normal K%. After 29 batters.

In the past year or two discussing old games with posters on beerleaguer and hunting down the box score, Jim Thome hits a HR in about 95% of them.

Yeah, you're right Sophist. Way too small a sample.

I agree that Papelbon's stuff/ability to K batters is something to watch, though. I was just being nit-picky about the K9 and xFIP. So far batters are making more contact on his pitches than previously (explains lack of walks and Ks). And his FB velocity is down. We'll see I guess.

Bastardo has been downright filthy. This was the guy I was clamoring for to be the closer after what I saw him do in 2011.

I don't think anyone will be surprised if a 32-year old closer in his 8th year of closing is starting to show signs of decline.

Most people expected that he wouldn't be the same pitcher by the end of his contract, right? I mean, how many big deals for closers have worked out?

I think it's just a question of whether he can get through this season with his usual dominance. If he can, that's probably all the Phils were looking for. Not sure a closer is going to matter too much for the 2014 and 2015 Phils anyway...

most big FA contracts, if you get a player's usual/expected performance for the majority of the deal, its still probably a worthwhile move.

But in terms of a reliever whose only giving up ~70IP a kind of need the player to finish out the contract strongly.

lorecore: Well, then, the Phils are likely in trouble.

I still find it odd that the Phils thought it was a good idea to give a huge contract to a closer. I mean, they were in a perfect position to know the downsides, having lived through it with Lidge, and also having seen the Mets live through it with K-Rod. I mean, if you remember, K-Rod was at the time of his free agency probably a better bet than Papelbon (given that he was four years younger). And yet the Mets ended up dealing him for pennies on the dollar they invested in him.

I also find it humorous how many people were willing to rip the Mets (justifiably) for the K-Rod deal, but supported the Papelbon deal.

Still, getting ahead of ourselves. Papelbon has been very good. No complaints with his performance so far (now his manager's usage of him is another story...).

No one on BL uses the word "people" as a subject to sentences as often as Jack.

Sophist, that's because "people" are the ones who "people" Jack's world.

I remember seeing Hamels pitch against the Devil Rays in his rookie year. Julio freaking Lugo took him deep twice and they lost big. Chris Coste did have his first hit/RBI/run scored though.

Hey, could be worse, they could have been paying Madson...

Jack, the "people" who ripped the Mets most likely did it because of a personal dislike of K'ORod and his douchasaurus antics. MLB teams seem to have tired of his act as well. He ain't playin' anywhere right now and is still unsigned. Translation: He's viewed as more trouble than he's worth, and that's exactly what happened with the Mets.

That, and the fact that his peripherals had been declining a bit (BB rate was up, etc.) for a couple of seasons.

Also, let me add that, while Papelbon does come off as a bit of a 'd8ck' at times, he generally seems to be a good teammate and doesn't cause problems for the team or in the locker room.

In short, while he may be overpaid, he's not a risk to have the type of personal meltdown that K'ORod heaped upon the Mets.

"Jack, the "people" who ripped the Mets most likely did it because of a personal dislike of K'ORod and his douchasaurus antics."

You realize that actually enhances the similarity between Papelbon, right?

BB, excellent point...and this is coming from a guy who has acknowledged he would have preferred Madson to Papelbon. (I'm on record as saying I thought he'd be the better and more productive pitcher. Wrong!)

I'd be interested to see evidence of a particular person who knocked the K-Rod deal and then went on to support the Papelbon deal. It's just lazy to say "some people didn't support X, some people did support Y, therefore some people are hypocritical."

However, it's absolutely true that RAJ was beyond foolish in signing Papelbon. Even in a vacuum it was a bad deal, and given the context of that offseason it was just nuts. The fact that he should have had plenty of warning from the Lidge and K-Rod fiascoes is icing on the cake.

updated fangraphs projection of Howard's 2013:

.254/.329/.460 -- 125 games -- 23 HR

OBP sounds generous. That means he doubles his current BB%

lore, 'similarity' is a very flexible word. I don't recall Pap being anything like K'ORod after a save. K'ORod fit right in with the 'showboatiness' of the Mets during the Reyes era, histrionics and all.

fumphis, good post.

16 strikeouts for Biddle. It's Biddle then everyone else in the farm system.

did you watch his stupid quadruple fist pump/howl at the moon celebration last night?

awh: That may be true, but I don't think that was an issue at the time he signed. I don't think anyone had character concerns on him then. You're right that there were a couple troubling signs with the peripherals.

fumphis: i bet there are a few crossover - since i can't imagine anyone NOT criticizing the KRod move, specifically on a phillies blog.

So basically, whoever liked the Papelbon signing at the time are almost a lock to fit the criteria.

And yes - I also wanted Madson, so Ruben could call me a moron and I can't argue.

And I'm pretty sure MLB teams didn't decide K-Rod was "more trouble than he's worth" based on his celebrations after a save.

It was more his missing stuff and his domestic violence arrests. Just a guess, though.

I could kinda sorta get behind the idea of paying $13M per year for an elite reliever, with no history of injury, if we had a manager who would make sure that the reliever's ~70 IP per year occurred in 70 of the most important innings of the season. Alas . . .

Honestly, wanting Madson was probably the correct call at the time, assuming the absence of insider medical warning signs about his arm.

And yes - I also wanted Madson, so Ruben could call me a moron and I can't argue.

Posted by: lorecore | Tuesday, April 23, 2013 at 10:51 AM

Why would he be able to do that? Madson succumbed to an injury. No one could have foreseen that.

bap: what mlb managers would that be?

Seeing D.Young last night I say release him immediately and put Dom in RF.I'm sure that will happen.
Highlight of the game: First inning diving catch by Cameron Perkins with the bases loaded. Every bit as good as the one by Revere.Both he and Altherr should be at Reading later this summer.
Not much on the pitching side. Luis Garcia hit 97 on the gun.Seemed about right since Valverde hit 95.
Now Franco. since he DHed didn't see much but was disappointed.May have to get on the Asche bandwagon.Also by BLer standards, not sure he is tall enough to play 3B.
Can't beat dollar night at the ballpark and all the balls that get thrown to the fans.

Would be amazing if Delmon Young never plays a single day in RF for the Phils.

To be fair, DYoung probably shouldn't play a single day in RF for anyone.

No one on BL uses the word "people" as a subject to sentences as often as Jack.

Posted by: Sophist | Tuesday, April 23, 2013 at 10:26 AM

Sophist, that's because "people" are the ones who "people" Jack's world.

Posted by: awh | Tuesday, April 23, 2013 at 10:30 AM

His favorite song must be Barbra Streisand's "People".

People, people who need people
Are the luckiest people in the world...

It's hard to see Pettibone being any kind of star but he sure looked like he belonged last night. Not that the Pirates are any powerhouse, but there are a number of ML hitters in the lineup and he pitched fine. I could see him following in the lines of Kendrick and Worley.

jr thanks for review. Is that play by Perkins a reflection of his ability or just lucked into one?

And don't jump off Franco just because of an 0fer, he's been hitting over .300 for the last week or so, you just caught a fluke.

How did Bastardo get through 6 innings while only walking 1 batter? Where is that control now?

lore: Few. Maddon would be one. Maybe one or two others. But the fact that "everyone's doing it" doesn't make it any less stupid. Besides, I'm quite confident that Cholly is one of the worst offenders. Every now & then, you'll see other managers depart from the script. You almost never see Cholly do so. Of course, RAJ knew all this when he signed Papelbon to a $13M per year contract so in no way am I trying to deflect the blame away from RAJ.

The Pirates may not be a lineup of bashers, but they did take apart a Braves pitching staff that includes the best ERA'd bullpen in the NL, no?

Only 22, but he kinda looks like a backend starter at best. Pretty straight ~90 mph FB he threw almost 70% of the time. They hit that thing hard early and he got some luck and defense. Didn't really throw his slider much. Only 8 of them. Not sure why. Decent changeup.

Some here have gotten on the "Manuel's so stupid, even bad managers know to not do what he's doing" express, while others have gotten on the "Manuel's so stupid, just because everyone else is doing it just means that he's even stupider than they are" line.

I wonder how many got transfers to switch trains at the station.

Any word if Pettibone would make the next scheduled start for Lannan? If my math is correct, that would be Saturday at the Mets right?

I was doing an Internet search to see if I could find anything about managers using their closers in tied games on the road. I haven't really found anything, but I did come across these 2 little snippets that highlight the problem:

1. (From a May 11, 2012 article by Verducci) "Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel has lost five games this year while staying true to another one of the Closer Commandments: Thou shalt not use your closer in a tie game on the road." (May 11!)

2. From another article: "Reds manager Dusty Baker opted to use 4 relievers in a tie game instead of his closer, Francisco Cordero. Then the Reds scored 6 runs in the top of the 11th… and Baker still used Cordero to close it out."

"Why would he be able to do that? Madson succumbed to an injury. No one could have foreseen that."


It would probably be those that think Amaro should've seen Howard and Utley and Halladay's injuries coming from a mile away.

On Papelbon- yes he is a doofus of a human being but as long as he is saving games for the Phillies I do not care about his antics. He did a quadruple fist bump? Big deal. No worse than shooting an arrow into the sky after a save

TTI: Or firing a golf-club rifle after sinking a putt.

really never know;
it's the Small Sample Size (but
carlton loewer; nice

bap: correct, "everyone's doing it" doesn't make it less stupid - but it does mean that you should be less critical of a manager for it if he isn't much different from his peers.

Also in 2012, the Rays closer Fernando Rodney pitched before the ninth inning 5 times totaling 3.2 IP.

Jonathan Papelbon pitched before the ninth innings 7 times totaling 4.1 IP.

So, Tarpey, yeah. Bastardo was really nasty that day. We all were expecting him to be a finesse lefty with a big hook and little else and he cam out, like, blazing fast - 95, 96 mph heaters, some high in the zone getting people to swing at stuff they couldn't catch up to. It was wild. It was the next few starts where his control issues began to show up.

The finger review of Pettibone on CSN:

Jonathan Pettibone relied mostly on his fastball and changeup. Of his 83 pitches in 5 1/3 innings, Pettibone threw just eight sliders. Everything else was heat or a changeup, which was the plan. Eventually, Pettibone will have to throw more breaking pitches, but for now it was important to throw strikes and get ahead of hitters.

The Pettibone Sr. review of Charlie Manuel as manager:

“He was a good guy that the players all liked,” Jay Pettibone remembered. “He just let you go do your thing. As a pitcher, he would let you go out there and go deep into games. The players that were hitters really liked him because right fresh out of baseball and he was very helpful to them.”

BAP: I'm curious, did all of those losses come in the 9th inning? Because I could easily see at least a couple of those turning into extra-innings losses, where we were so abysmal for much of the year in 2012.

You have to wonder who will be the first to bring a "Moneyball" approach to closers, in the sense of explicitly trying to work against the dumb and inefficient bugaboos that seem to surround that role. I guess the Rays have made some noise about doing this, but Rodney still got like 50 saves last year. It'd be cool to see a team push back hard against:

-Using the best reliever to start an inning instead of bringing him in with men on base
-The "tie game on the road" canard
-Letting the (meaningless) save criteria dictate usage
-Overvaluing pitchers with a lot of saves and handing out brutal FA contracts to them

Maybe some teams are quietly doing this, but it sure seems like the closer mythos is accepted canon in MLB and in the media, and it seems like an area of inefficiency that a smart GM/manager could really pounce on.

Similarly, whichever team(s) are early adopters of FieldFX data are going to reap big, big rewards. You have to imagine there'll be a lot of resistance to new fielding metrics among traditionalist FOs, and it's another incredibly ripe area for a smart team to exploit.

"it does mean that you should be less critical of a manager for it if he isn't much different from his peers."

Not really. I'm critical of the entire groupthink. In any case, the point of my original post was not to criticize Cholly per se. It was to criticize RAJ for signing a closer to a $13M per year contract, knowing full well how that closer would be used.

Going back and checking it myself:

4/7/12: 1-0 loss to Pirates. Run scored in 10th.

4/8/12: 5-4 loss to Pirates. Run scored in 9th.

4/18/12: 1-0 loss to Giants. Run scored in 11th (Cliff looks for Curt Schilling's towel).

5/2/12: 15-13 loss to Braves. Runs scored in 11th.

5/4/12: 4-3 loss to Nats. Run scored in 11th.

Of those 5, then, I don't think you can attribute more than 2 to not using the closer in a tied 9th (or 11th, in case of 4/18). All of the others had at least 2 scoreless innings pitched by the bullpen before giving up game-losing hits in extras.

Some of the hooks on the closer approach is labor related. These guys get compensated differently for saving games. Mike Adams has been an excellent reliever for years, and his lifetime earnings are 1 year of Papelbon's salary.

The team that goes against current BP use will probably do so with a largely homegrown pen. One they can mix and match.

bap: agreed on both points, i just think the charlie bashing of his closer usage is a bit unfair when its so commonplace.

I'm going to run a query for the 'entering 9th in a tie game as the away team' and see what the results look like, maybe try to find the highest % of appearances for players with +10 saves or something like that.

Really, though, recognizing the incompetence of others and working to avoid it in your own efforts is difficult, and worthy of praise. Emulating the incompetence of others is understandable, but still worthy of criticism. It's totally legit to ding Charlie for misusing Papelbon if that's what he's doing. And he is.

Madson was beginning to have arm issues before he left the Phillies, & Charlie used him like a rented mule. It shouldn't have surprised anyone that he broke down.

"Mike Adams has been an excellent reliever for years, and his lifetime earnings are 1 year of Papelbon's salary."

Yep. Which is utterly absurd, since Adams has been one of the top 10 relievers in all of baseball over the last six years or so.

It's harder to exploit a myth that crops up in only one inning of not even half your games.

Besides which, there are people who still don't think on base percentage is all that important (say, compared to RBIs).

BAP - Part of it is that Adams is a late-bloomer. Is this his first FA contract?

But I'm just saying there's an MLBPA incentive to the current system. Your more flexible reliever (used in higher leverage situations, but not apparently as high leverage seeming as that 9th inning always seems to be) is going to have a harder time making the argument for $$ that closers do now.

gtown: "Charlie uses Madson like a rented mule, of course he'll break down"

bap: "Charlie doesn't even use Papelbon enough to warrant the contract"

Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Dusty Baker: "RBI are more important than on-base percentage"

Thats like saying eggs are more important than chickens.

Lorecore: Or is it like saying that chickens are more important than eggs?

I think it will be a while before anyone tries to build a closer-free bullpen. Red Sox tried in 2003 with Theo as GM and Bill James as an advisor (amusingly, their closer in 2002 was Urbina). Didn't really work out, not because the Sox needed a closer but because their relief pitchers performed poorly. Still, by May everyone was screaming that the Sox needed a closer. They brought in gopher ball specialist Byung-Hyun Kim in July and that was that.

Amusingly, Kim was left off the Sox ALCS roster due to ineffectiveness but no one remembers that.

Your best reliever should be called upon to get the biggest outs at any given time. I hate the closer role. Absolutely hate it.

Andy, the Adams/Papelbon salary differential is a perfect example of why this matters. Think about how much more effective it is to put together a package of elite relievers who are cheap in years and dollars due to a lack of gaudy save totals, and then to deploy them based on leverage, instead of dedicating a ton of resources to a pitcher just then because he's good for 40 saves a season and robotically running him out to start the 9th inning with a lead of <4 runs.

Lorecore - Dusty and RAJ would get along well:

"It's called hitting, and it ain't called walking. Do you ever see the top 10 walking? You see top 10 batting average. A lot of those top 10 do walk. But the name of the game is to hit."
--Dusty Baker

"I think walks are overrated unless you can run... If you get a walk and put the pitcher in a stretch, that helps. But the guy who walks and can't run, most of the time they're clogging up the bases for somebody who can run."
--Dusty Baker

'Save' is arguably the dumbest statistic in MLB.

Last night, Papelbon earned his money in a one-run game. Getting 3 outs to me if you team is up 3 runs means almost nothing to me.

Huge problem is the descrptive criterion for the measure itself. They suck. Even if you just limited it to 1-2 run leads, it would have a bit more value. I would just even limit it to 1-run leads.

If a 'closer' comes in and gets 3 out in a 1-run game, he did his job.

Those comments from Baker shouldn't fly in any era of baseball let alone today.

Dusty Baker and Cholly share a striking number of similiarites as managers. Probably the best proxy for Cholly.

I thought the name of the game was baseball. As in, the idea is to be on the bases.

I was wondering who the catcher was for Biddle's 16Ks. Mainly wondering if it was Valle, which would have been doubly good for the organization.

Nope, the C for that game was Cameron Rupp.


Rupp isn't a nobody, so its still 'doubly good'.

lorecore : Both Perkins and Altherr looked very comfortable in the outfield and at the plate.

I understand the league is investigating RAJ for possible tampering violations. Apparently, he offered Dusty Baker $15M per year to become our manager after Cholly leaves.

I don't care about Papelbon's antics on the mound that much after a game. He gets a little carried but it isn't that bizarre/outlandish by a reliever's standards.

I just think he is a basically an idiotic. He isn't a scumbag like Myers who I really had a hard time rooting for when he pitched for the Phils.

M. Young leads the Phillies w/ 6 GIDP, which isn't very surprising. What annoys me is that second most is a tie, at 3 GIDP apiece ... between Eric Kratz & Ben Revere. What the hell?

Maybe RAJ can work a trade for Votto. He's slow and walks all the time, thereby uselessly clogging the bases for the Reds

I actually think the "closer" criticism is a tad overblown (and I say that as someone who's railed on Charlie for this in the past). Most of the time, the 9th inning *is* the highest-leverage situation. Last night, for instance.

The issues I find are three-fold. One, as MG has pointed out, the "save" statistic is really stupid, in that it lumps a 3-run lead in with a 1-run lead. In reality, a tie game is a much more important situation than having a 3-run lead.

Second, those small percentage of times when the highest leverage situation is outside the 9th inning do occur. These often are fairly obvious, even at the time--bases loaded against the middle of the lineup in the 8th inning, for instance (to Charlie's credit, I recall him putting Madson in this situation when he was the closer back in 2011, against the Nationals I believe).

Third, if a "closer" is going to make $13 million and is actually your best pitcher, he should be able to throw more than 65 IP. I would be prepared to use my closer starting in the 8th inning of a close game, and would use him in tie games and extra innings. I get that managers do this in the playoffs, but don't want to do it in the regular season since it's a long season. But my theory is this--I can get the guy rest later on down the line. For all I know, we're about to play 6 straight blowouts. But I *know* I have a close, winnable game right now. I would not lessen my chances to win now because of the possibility of a later situation that may never arise. That's the same theory behind using a closer in a tie game, by the way (which I would also obviously do).

The argument for the traditional closer role is mostly psychological. I agree that it's a punch in the gut to lose a game in the 9th inning and I'm sure some guys perform better under pressure than others, but the whole spiel about relievers wanting structure and roles, I'm not so sure about.

Charlie is a much better manager than Dusty. Dusty is the most retrograde non-thinker who has managed on the last 20 years, and despite having a bunch of talent has done nothing in the watered-down NL Central

Jeltz: I agree on Baker.

But didn't they win the division 2 out of the last 3 years?

Charlie is reasonably good at calling on his closer to get extra outs in important games. The most maddening bit of closer orthodoxy, and one to which Charlie fervently subscribes, is not using the closer in a tie game on the road. He is far from alone among MLB managers, but it is still maddening to see a guy like Horst pitching to the 3-4-5 hitters in the bottom of the 9th while Pap sits there, unused.

True. I forgot they won in 2010, and instead thought they were the WC when the Phils embarrassed them in the NLDS.

Dusty is still a caveman-level baseball mind.

The wildcard remains the human element of "closing". As much as we may say numbers don't support it - if the actual players/coaches subscribe to it - then who are we to say they're wrong?

"Thats like saying eggs are more important than chickens.

Posted by: lorecore"

"Or is it like saying that chickens are more important than eggs?

Posted by: Phillibuster"

It's like saying bacon is more important than pigs.

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