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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

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I honestly read "...hope to continue..."

***Brown's second in the NL in lefty-vs.-lefty OPS, at .985. Only Carlos Gonzalez has been better.***

Hmm...that's impressive.

***He's second in the majors in lefty-on-lefty homers, with four. Only Chris Davis has more.***

Hmm...that's also impressive.

***And Brown has as many extra-base hits this month as Michael and Delmon Young combined.***

Hmm...not so much.

Shouldn't our best player be batting higher than 6th most nights?

He's clearly producing more than our cleanup hitter.

Cyclic: I believe Howard is contractually obligated to hit 4th.

Re-posting from end of last thread:

I was too busy with work to jump in on the Mini-Mart to the 25-man nonsense last week, but this thought occurred to me. Pretend you are Mini-Mart. You are hitting two and a quarter at AAA and being your usual, non-productive, but "versatile" self. And your phone rings or you get summoned into the manager's office. Seriously, what do you think is going through his head at that point? Promotion to the big club or "Oh f*$k, I might be getting released?" And which one, deep-down does he know should be happening?

Ladies and gentlemen, Ruben Amaro, Jr.

The radio guys addressed the possibility of moving Dom up in the order, but said Charlie wanted to "leave him alone" for now.

It's an all-purpose strategy. Player doin' great? Leave him alone. Player not doin' so great. Leave him alone.

Versatile, if you will.

Mick: That's how you know a manager is "player friendly".

When everyone else in the lineup is hitting ~.250 and not reaching base much more often then that, it hardly matters where Dom bats.

TTI - I agree that Pence deal was bad because it was an overpay. I was just addressing the idea that it represented a buy for 2011 and led to the current situation. You can argue that, but it's also the case that - independent of what was paid - Hunter Pence was a 28-year old .830 OPSing RH RF whose 4th arb year was 2013. He then hit .954 over 2011 with the Phils, and the plan was to have him man RF for this team thru at least this year (he has a 126 OPS+ with the Giants so far this year).

The Phils were so desperate for a RH OF that they signed Delmon Young and given him 19 starts in RF. In the sense that they gave up young players for a 28-year old, they sold some part of the future. But that future didn't have to include 2013. They acquired a young bat who's earliest chance at FA is 2014. That move didn't mortgage 2013.

Lineup construction is so much besides the point here.

The issue is not what order the lineup is in. The issue is that they currently have exactly one hitter who has an OPS+ above 100, and that hitter is Dom, who also has a .295 OBP.

You could put these guys in any order you like, and they would be an atrociously bad offense.

Although I will say the entire Pence cycle was a debacle (paid too much for him, got something eh in return). I didn't enjoy watching him play either. As production as he is, he's a low BB%, free-swinger (totally reliant on his ability to make solid contact).

I meant more for Dom's sake. Not that it would turn this into a good offense.

Well, if it's for Dom's sake, then if Charlie thinks leaving Dom in the 6-hole is best for him right now (hence, "leave him alone"), I'm inclined to trust him.

I highly doubt it makes much difference whether he's moved up or not. But if it does, Charlie is in a better position to know one way or the other than we are.

Oh, look, Zambrano getting the start with the Threshers tonight...

Can't wait to have him in our "bullpen."

Threshers Baseball ‏@Threshers

We have an @MLB veteran and 3x All Star in the house tonight. Carlos Zambrano will be the #Threshers starting pitcher! 7pm first pitch.

This team has seen some truly wretched outfield play in years past. Pence and Young led/lead the charge. Revere, for the most part has not been as advertised either but what is more puzzling is his positioning and to an extent that falls on the coaching staff.

Re: Pence

It's almost as if he's a good complimentary piece when he's on a team with others who can OPS+ above 125.

Pence was obviously miscast last year. He can't play a leading role and that's what he forced into.

Well then Mick O hit it right on the head at 229.

Whether or not Pence was a star or a "leading role" player is besides the point. What Sophist said in the previous thread is the key: we traded him for cents on the dollar and are trying to replace him with below-average players or platoons that aren't properly utilized yet the GM is trying to "compete" all the same. Pence is Pence. We overpaid for him because we overrated him and then we sold low because we were surprised he wasn't what we thought. That's just terrible.

And for those who think BL is full of retrospective clairvoyants, many people on this board called for other deals: Ryan Ludwick, Jason Willingham, Beltran. There were and have been corner OF available for less the cost of Pence and the same or about production.

I think Dom is going to walk more because almost every good, young power-hitter has a lower OBP in their first full year or two than they do in their prime years. Once pitchers become more selective, hitters need to adjust to what they're seeing. Those with great plate discipline do (Utley, Cabrera, Beltran, etc). Those without (Howard) don't. The value of plate discipline is not just that you draw walks. It's that you make the right decision on pitches. I think Dom has shown he has that, even in his short MLB career and despite his pitiful OBP today. That's what gives me confidence.

Anyway, Dom is the single positive from this season. Let's not ruin it yet.

From the previous thread:

I'm feeling very dense. If you are facing a good team and you aren't a good team, shouldn't that mean your pitcher *is* an underdog? Sorry, this is virtual Monday for me, so I'm feeling stupid...

Brown's got 10 HR in the first 51 games -- a 32 HR pace. His BB% is 4.7. How many 30+ HR, sub 5% BB seasons have their been in the last 5-10-20 years?

I'm going to guess that Beltre has done it, but that he probably hit ~.300 so his OBP was a little healthier. JJ Hardy has probably been close. It's the more HR than BB deal.

We all knew expanded Interleague Play would be horrible for the Phillies.

Jeff Franceour hit 29 HRs with a 3.4% walk rate in 2006.

That's impressive.

Sneed: I disagree re: Pence. RAJ got exactly the player we was hoping for. A free swinger who hit the ball hard, rarely walked and...Production

He was traded because he made too much money and they were under strict orders to get below the luxury tax threshold. He's the exact type of player RAJ wants on his team, just not cheap enough under the circumstances.

Evan Gattis might be onto one. But if Dom goes the rest of the year without drawing a walk, that would be even more rare.

I think we'll just have to wait and see. He is swinging at way more pitches this month (look at PitchFx data), inside and outside of the zone, yet pitchers still throw him the same amount of pitches inside of the zone as they did in previous seasons.

He's got a higher contact % than Joey Votto and almost 20% higher than Ryan Howard. He seems to have a good eye. We don't really know if the coaching staff told him to swing more or not, but if they did, it seems like it's working.

Looks like Vlad Guerrero went for 29 HR's and a 5.4% walk rate in 2010.

Any update on Ruf's hand?

I'm starting to believe he actually did hurt it by punching a wall when he heard Mini Mart got the call up.

How can a baseball player be 'miscast'? He is what he is. Last year Pence put up a .770 OPS after the first two weeks of the year until the time he was traded with subpar defense and base running. Every now and then he'd run into a meatball and it would go 15 rows deep.

He was 'miscast' in the minds of some, including Amaro, for sure, but there's no position he was put in last year that made him a worse player. He was just mediocre.

Clearwater OF( all 22yr old):

LF Perkins: .353/.394/.543 in 200 PA
CF Altherr: .317/.366/.515 in 187 PA
RF Dugan: .308/.368/.495 in 117 PA

Any update on Ruf's hand?

I'm starting to believe he actually did hurt it by punching a wall when he heard Mini Mart got the call up.

Posted by: Cyclic | Tuesday, May 28, 2013 at 03:22 PM

I hope he was punching at Amaro and just ended up rerouting at the very last second, leaving Amaro with only a graze on the cheek... and the last laugh.

Iceman - I think it's just a way for people to explain away a down year. From 2007-2011 he had a 120 OPS+. In 2012 it was 102. So far this year it's 126.

No I heard he punched mini mart on his face when he ran over to ruf and said guess where I'm goin b!tches!!!

Miscast in a sense we needed (because of injuries) the Pence of even more than 120 OPS+. They needed him to really set the world on fire until Howard and Utley came back. That didn't happen.

So what you're saying lorecore is that those guys are all useless? What purpose does an OBP north of .350 serve on a baseball team?

Charlie will sit Young soon as he starts hitting. Its just how he does things.

What does it even mean for a player to be "miscast" in a leading role? If you mean that having a career .812 OPS hitter as the team's best player is a formula for a crappy offense, then I would tend to agree. But the solution for that scenario isn't to get rid of the .812 OPS hitter who was the best hitter in your lineup. The solution is to keep the .812 OPS hitter and find some better hitters to go with him. Of course, the Phillies had to trade the .812 OPS hitter to get under the luxury tax threshold, which only became necessary because they're paying $25M per year for a .720 OPS hitter and $13M for a closer with 9 saves in 51 games.

Yeah, Iceman, I agree. Was Pence trying to hard to carry the team last year? Maybe. He as much as admitted it. But who knows what that really means.

But he never changed as a player, as Sophist points out. What changed is how the Phillies viewed him relative to their expectations. He was no longer worth paying $16 million and they felt better about hedging for the inevitable (right now) and bringing some prospects back. I don't disagree with that decision but I would have done so in conjunction with the rest of this roster (and kept Schierholtz, still one of the most perplexing decisions of the Amaro tenure).

If he planned to compete this year, he could not have found a single better fit in terms of player type/position/contract for this current team than Hunter Pence. Go figure.

Oh I agree bap.

Well, it's not $16M. It was $13-$14M. When they traded him, I assumed it was because they wanted to get under the lux tax in 2012 cos the season was a lost cause and they had no interest in paying *him* $13M. They were going to pay some OF $13M just not Pence. They didn't like what they had in him.

And then the 2012-2013 offseason happened, and I question my assumptions. I was playing wait and see with the OF (as they filled holes at CF and 3B and Upton, Hamilton, Swisher, Bourn were still on the table).

Then they did nothing. Then they signed Delmon Young. And the payroll is still south of $160M after being $170M+ in 2012. What gives? I guess they just didn't like any of the FA options. Not that I wish for Pence, but our OF situation is a disaster.

If Pence was a 120 OPS+ player over 5 seasons, what makes you think there is a version of him that's a better player?

The fact that there were injuries wasn't going to turn him into a different player.

If Papelbon really could be moved to Boston what type of deal would you guys be happy with? I assume the deal would have the Phillies eating some money.

It's been said that with the low OBP pieces we have, it wouldn't matter what the lineup was. to test, I used the Lineup Optimizer with player splits.

v. RHP:

The difference between "best" lineup and "worst" was a scant 0.429 runs per game. Usually the tool reports something like 1.25 runs difference.

The suggested lineup v. RHP with the players I chose, for 3.684 runs per game:

Freddy Galvis
Jimmy Rollins
John Mayberry
Ryan Howard
Laynce Nix
Erik Kratz
Domonic Brown
Pitcher
Michael Young

It's a bit shocking that run expectation is so low even when generously using splits. Slots 4 and 5 become a black hole in the 7th inning.

v. LHP is a little harder to construct because I had to use career averages for some of the players due to them looking like Babe Ruth because of small sample sizes.

The suggested lineup v. LHP with the players I chose, for 5.087 runs per game:

Ben Revere
John Mayberry
Jimmy Rollins
Domonic Brown
Kevin Frandsen
Freddy Galvis
Erik Kratz
Pitcher
Michael Young

Even the optimizer likes shoving the DP machines together. A few weeks ago Revere and Young were flipped.

I probably should have used Revere's career LHP averages or subbed him for NoD but I wanted to pretend we have a diamond in the rough.

I never thought he would be a better player. I took him for what he was worth. When he was dealt there were a lot of reports though that the front office was disappointed with Pence and they expected more. That's another indictment of the FO.

Steve - Well he was 28 and hit .324/.394/.560 in his first 50+ games with the Phils. Maybe there was a thought that, joining a new successful team and leaving a bad one, entering his "prime," he'd take a step up for 2011-2013. Not that I loved what we gave up, but that's just the age/trend you're looking for. 116, 112, 139 -- those are his 2009, 2010, and 2011 OPS+. Not hard to argue he could take a step up while under team control.

What does it even mean for a player to be "miscast" in a leading role? If you mean that having a career .812 OPS hitter as the team's best player is a formula for a crappy offense, then I would tend to agree. But the solution for that scenario isn't to get rid of the .812 OPS hitter who was the best hitter in your lineup. The solution is to keep the .812 OPS hitter and find some better hitters to go with him.


* * * *

You are so right, BAP!

Joe D - Yeah, I took those statements about "wanting more" or being disappointed to be scouting errors not OPS+ expectations. They didn't like the way he approached pitchers or his questionable defense.

Sophist nails it. Trimming Pence's $13M salary might have made sense if you're going to turn around & spend that money on someone better. But the Phillies didn't spend it at all; instead, they brought in Delmon Young for peanuts.

The fact is, in this year's FA market, I'm not even sure there WAS a better way to spend $13M than on Hunter Pence. The only guy who might have fit that bill was Swisher -- and he was a guy the Phillies didn't show the slightest interest in signing (too many unproductive walks, I guess). So, if there's no one better to sign for the same $13M, why make the trade in the first place? Regardless what you think of the first Pence trade, it didn't justify the second one.

Who knows what they were disappointed with? I certainly couldn't stand watching him in the field. I expected a plateau effect with his bat given his high BABIP in 2011. It was just bad timing because they were already so offensively deprived. And then you had Victorino have a terrible year in a contract year.

No DH tonight. Cliff Lee is batting.

Jim Salisbury ‏@JSalisburyCSN 8m
Phils at boston tuesday night pic.twitter.com/TSXJPdYD9d

We really don't have a better option for the lineup than a pitcher? He IS a decent hitter, but still. Dempster is a RHP. Should not Nix be DH? Is the lineup card a mistake? A joke? Has Charlie forgotten we can use a DH? Did Lee write himself in?

BAP, Sophist:

They also signed Mike Adams, brought in Mike Young, Revere and Delmon for that money. Funny thing is, they probably will end up with less value from those 4 combined than Pence this year.

By the way, that "subpar" base runner is 10th in the NL in stolen bases this year -- tied with Ben Revere, and with twice as many SBs as Rollins. And he hasn't been caught yet.

I actually think Lee hitting is a pretty awesome f you from Charlie to Ruben.

NEVER MIIND. I have got to be more careful before posting. As someone pointed out to me, I did not read the lineup card carefully.

Sorry! My bad.

And yeah, I feel like a complete idiot.

Ryan Lawrence ‏@ryanlawrence21 7m
Brown named NL Player of Week. He's hitting 6th tonight. The only players who have hit more HRs than Brown in May: Cabrera, Trout and CarGo.

I don't disagree with that decision but I would have done so in conjunction with the rest of this roster (and kept Schierholtz, still one of the most perplexing decisions of the Amaro tenure).

Letting Schierholtz go would have made perfect sense if Cholly would remember that Nix is on the roster. Alas, most nights he doesn't.

Clearwater OF( all 22yr old):

LF Perkins: .353/.394/.543 in 200 PA
CF Altherr: .317/.366/.515 in 187 PA
RF Dugan: .308/.368/.495 in 117 PA

Posted by: lorecore

Yeah but these numbers don't matter. What about their Production™?

Laynce Nix dead?

Guys, Nix is the LH pop off the bench..duhhhhh. He is only allowed 1 AB a night. Now granted he hasn't done anything with those 1 AB appearances and you'd think seeing some more time to could break him out but no! He is the LH pop.

BAP - I sorta agree at this point because the other added benefit of Pence is that wasn't a multi-year deal (5 years of Upton? 4 of Bourn? 4-5 of Swisher?)

But no front office can see the future. When they dealt Pence, they just knew they didn't want him for $13-14M, I guess, and the upcoming offseason had plenty of FA OF (and the Phils had two spots to fill). They didn't know the Braves/Angels would go crazy for Upton/Hamilton, and they were lukewarm on the rest.

As completely embarrassed as I am at the moment, I'm posting again anyway to say....I vote Nix to DH tonight rather than D. Young.

Nix is 0-6 lifetime against Dempster. So naturally he can't DH tonight. Got to the bottom of that one quick.

Really glad that D Young is getting a rest, again, rather than having to play RF as the Front Office assured us was the intention all along. You'd hate to use that DH spot to pull Howard off the field.


(I suppose this is the line of thinking that assured us Mini Mart, rather than Ruf, even though Mayberry can also play a quite passable 1B, as well).

They also signed Mike Adams, brought in Mike Young, Revere and Delmon for that money.

Revere costs $500K and they aren't paying Worley ~$500K on account of trading him for Revere. Also, they were paying Victorino $9.5M to play in 2012. So they didn't need a dime of Pence money to get Revere. They didn't even need Vic's money.

They were playing Polanco $6.25M to play 3B in 2012 (I barely remember that). About what Young costs. They didn't need Pence's money to bring in Young either.

Delmon Young is making baseball peanuts.

Adams I'll give you, but then you also have Vic's $9M+. Adams is signed for $6M. The bottom line is that payroll is down $10M+ from last year (you have guys making more than 2012, like Hamels). I don't think it's accurate to say that Pence's departure meant they could bring in Adams, Young, and Revere.

I mean, Freddy freaking Galvis has played 31 innings in the OF this year.

I'm reminded of Modern Family: "What's the plan, Phils?!?!"

What are D. Young's numbers v. Dempster? Or has he not faced him?

He hasn't faced him. The element of surprise!

I think the Phils would pay $3 per game for outfielders if they could get away with it.

I love that we use the DH to get extra RH bats into the lineup against a pitcher with a career platoon split of over .100 points against.

Sophist: I was being sarcastic. Obviously, if they wanted to they could also pay above the luxury tax for a year. It's completely arbitrary.

And yet moving Victorino and not signing Adams would have afforded them Pence regardless. Why sign BJ Upton for 5 years when you could keep Pence for 1, given the state of the core of the roster?

I realized I didn't note that the pitcher is right-handed.

Should probably go without saying.

People talk about how can Charlie be at fault for this season...well he is not 100% but just looking at the lineup you can see how he is not helping things.

I would venture a guess that the reason Young hasn't faced dempster is because:

1) Dempster is RH
2) Young is not good vs RH
3) Most managers know this

All that being said, Young will prolly take dempster deep tonite to insure his spot in the lineup til Labor Day.

Never forget:

"Ideally Young will be the everyday RF"

--Ruben Amaro, Jr.

When it's all said and done, the Yankees fans can tout their "27 Rings" all they'd like.

Personally, I plan on flying into Philly on my own dime for the day we hang the "Never Over The Luxury Tax" banner in CBP.

"They didn't know the Braves/Angels would go crazy for Upton/Hamilton, and they were lukewarm on the rest."

I don't know how they couldn't have foreseen that Hamilton would get a mega-contract. And Upton, who was clearly the guy they really wanted, is currently hitting -- get ready for it -- .148/.236/.252/.487. Doesn't speak too well for their judgment. But at least he's the Braves' problem.

Count me as someone who thought that the intent when we traded Vic and Pence was to save money at the time to be used to make the team better going forward.

Matt Gelb ‏@magelb 26m
Phillies are without Adams, Stutes, Horst and likely De Fratus tonight. Translation: Go deep, Cliff.

How can I find TV ratings for the games so far this year?

Translation: Chad Durbin in high-leverage situations. Translation: Have remote close by.

"Phillies are without Adams, Stutes, Horst and likely De Fratus tonight. Translation: Go deep, Cliff."

Thanks Tyler Cloyd!

Almost as if he's not a big league caliber pitcher or something...

Count me as someone who thought that the intent when we traded Vic and Pence was to save money at the time to be used to make the team better going forward.

Posted by: GBrettfan


HA! SUCKER!

Wait. They're without Adams? Is that becaue he pitched yesterday? If so, then I ask: (1) WTF are we doing paying $6M per year for a broken-down reliever who can't pitch on back-to-back days? (2) Knowing that Adams can't pitch in back-to-back games, WTF was Cholly thinking in bringing him into an 8-3 game?

BAP - might it have something to do with his return from injury rather than directly re-inserting him into a high leverage situation. Plenty of things to criticize Cholly for. This isn't the best.

More to the point, Adams threw 30 pitches last night. (I bet you can imagine the vein in my temple throbbing)

DeFratus threw two.

Well, high leverage situations for us are going to be few and far between so that's good for Adams recovery.

STS: Considering the way he pitched, you have a point. Still, I have a hard time accepting that the benefit of easing Adams back into action in a blowout loss justifies the cost of not having your second-best reliever available in a game where we might actually need him.

"... WTF was Cholly thinking ..."

There you go using that word again...

In the 25 games since Delmon Young arrived, Laynce Nix has started 3 times, all in RF. Nix hasn't started at 1B since a 3-game stretch in early May 2012, and Cholly pulled him for a defensive replacement in the late innings of all three of those games.

If Cholly has decided Nix can't play first except for emergencies, why not jettison him in favor of Jermaine Mitchell, who's willing to take a walk and runs well? That eliminates any "need" for Mini-Mart as a pinch-runner, allowing us to call up Ruf or Fields as a backup 1B option.

So neither Young nor Mayberry hits RHP, yet both start while Nix sits.

Interesting.

"I'll play whomever I want whenever I want. I'm Charlie Effing Manuel. He doesn't have the guts to fire me."

Yep.

Nix can't play 1B but Frandsen can. Makes you think huh

Miscast= Delmon Young.
I've seen Clearwaters OFers and although they probably aren't ready for prime time:I'd feel more comfortable with any of them in cf or rf. Chances are they could match Delmon,The Trot Young's #s and definately be a defensive improvement.
Time to get them to Reading.

http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/phillies_zone/Mike-Adams-shows-rust-in-30-pitch-appearance.html

You can sense, in this article and other, the beat writers going as far as they think they can to express how dysfunctional they think the team is being run on a day-to-day basis.

At least I can sense that. It may be confirmation bias, since of course I think the team is being run pretty dysfunctionally on a day-to-day basis.

Start working at home with Google! It's by-far the best job Ive had. Last Tuesday I bought a gorgeous Lancia Straton from earning $4331 this - 5 weeks past. I began this 7 months ago and right away started to earn at least $69, per-hr. I use this website,, http://goo.gl/4z9pn

^ LOL

BAP - it really wasn't obvious Hamilton would get a crazy deal until the Angels went crazy. And everyone thought Upton at 4/48 is a good deal. You can't fault the Phils just because he's been terrible. Everyone evaluated Jim the same. The Braves have some of the best scouts in the game and offered him 5/75.

Regardless, I agree keeping Pence makes more and more sense given what happened. Just don't know how inept (though clearly inept) the decision to move him was. Easy now to say the idea of Upton was dumb. Not so easy in July 2012,

Why would I work at home with Google when I can get paid more for doing nothing at the baseball stadium every day?

After 50 games, the Phillies finally played a major league baseball team, and got depantsed.

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