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Monday, August 26, 2013

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I'd love to hear Amaro explain the difference between his theories on Ruf and DOM in terms of switching between LF/RF.

I don't doubt that he'd BS his way around it, but I'm sure we'd get a couple quotable gems in the process.

Butt ugly lineup. I'd say it's like Charlie never left, but even Charlie always batted his biggest, slowest slugger at #4.

"Casper Wells hits DL with vision complications."

Nah, too easy.

Ted - If Charlie was still manager, he would use the exact same lineup that scored 9 runs on Sunday. "If it aint broke.." was his motto.

Casper's vision problem is that he sees himself as a professional baseball player.

Also, I LOATHE the Mets. You honestly cannot overestimate my hated for that franchise. That being clear, I feel bad for Harvey, & for us as fans. He's one helluva pitcher. I hope this injury doesn't derail what could be a remarkable career.

Man, that really sucks about Harvey. Mets pitcher or not, he was an undeniably good talent, and it just sucks as a baseball fan when a player like him succumbs to an injury or some other malady that keeps him from showcasing his talent.

Ugh.

This overheard in the Phillies locker room just a couple of hours ago:

Samuel: Hey Ryne, time to post the lineup for tonight's game.
Ryne: Wait, I have one more roll... there you go... YAHTZEE!

Thought Brown was back tonight.

Pete Orr who else...

isn't there a younger better alternative?

Geesh!

Sandberg's crazy like a fox. He knows that the only reasons to watch the Phils at this point are Asche and Ruf, so they're being batted at the bottom of the order in a ridiculously circuitous plot to prop up TV ratings! So that, when it's time to negotiate the next big TV deal, the Phils can ask for more swag from Comcast.

Lineup:

With Brown out, it doesn't matter how you rearrange the chairs but you going to have some crappier hitters in the 1-5 slots.

Somebody commented a few weeks ago that Asche has never hit well after first being promoted to a new level, but then figures it out and starts to hit. Seems to have held true yet again.

The same front office that hired Manuel is the same ownership group that promoted Sandberg.

That anyone would think that Sandberg would be a forward thinking tactician is just beyond me. He's probably going to be the exact same kind of manager as Charlie Manuel. And unlike Manuel, we don't know how he is as the less quantifiable aspect of managing the clubhouse.

And since he's not going to have the same talent to work with that Manuel had in his start here (most likely), it's a very high probability that the fans don't think much of Sandberg in his tenure here.

Harvey's situation reminds me of Strasburg's a couple years back...hopefully this doesn't derail a promising career. Love watching him pitch, even if it is for the Mets.

For those of us who have been watching the Iron Pigs for the past six years, there is no surprise in Ryno's somewhat curious lineups. In LV, he was constantly moving guys around in the batting order, and in different positions on the field. To an extent, I found it odd, but I also came to learn that he likes guys showing up at the ballpark on their toes, prepared for anything. And who among us can deny that a complacency has set in over the past few seasons among some Phils' regulars who play the same position every day, and bat in the same spot every day (like maybe the shortstop?). In addition, I think all the shuffling gives him an opportunity to see what guys can do in different roles. Hey... I like it!

Fata -- How was your pro-Trout rant justified by my observation? This is a dead issue, but big deal about Trout's quick start out of the gate. If Mays had not lost his 1953 season to military service, I'm pretty sure he'd have dazzled that year, too.

If you have a HOF career, it's a marathon, not a sprint. To mention Mike Trout in the same breath as Willie Mays is a sacrilege in this fan's eyes.

Also, the quantification of a ballplayers performance by "WAR" is a fool's errand. There are simply too many variables to quantify such a complex endeavor with a single number.

Sign of the decline of offense over the past 6 years:

In 2008, Cole Hamels had a 3.06 ERA, and a 141 ERA+.

This year, Stephen Strasburg has a 3.00 ERA, and a 127 ERA+.

I know they pitch in different ballparks, but when I saw that Strasburg had a 3.00 ERA, I thought, "Strasburg still appears to be dominant. Maybe he's coming around". When I saw the 127 ERA+ (which is very good), I was a little less overwhelmed. 127 is good, but it's not the superlative ace level that we all expected out of him. I wonder if he'll ever be that guy, or if he's just a "second tier" ace going forward.

Tough deal with Harvey. Great to see Doc on the mound yesterday.

I know that BL has long been the home office of small sample size declarations, but shouldn't we wait until Asche has more than 80 ABs?

If you have a HOF career, it's a marathon, not a sprint. To mention Mike Trout in the same breath as Willie Mays is a sacrilege in this fan's eyes.

I agree w/ every word of this. I consider Trout to be one of the most exciting young players in the game, but being able to put up great numbers year in & year out is what separates good players from great players from the absolute best (read: Hall of Fame) players.

Fatalotti: "The same front office that hired Manuel is the same ownership group that promoted Sandberg. That anyone would think that Sandberg would be a forward thinking tactician is just beyond me. He's probably going to be the exact same kind of manager as Charlie Manuel. And unlike Manuel, we don't know how he is as the less quantifiable aspect of managing the clubhouse."

Exactly right. The same issue will happen when they finally get around to firing Amaro.

The issue isn't that they made a mistake with the wrong GM or manager. The issue is that they don't even know what to look for in the guy that replaces him

Ed - I'd be more impressed with Ryne's lineup shuffling if it resulted, at least occasionally, in the low obp guys at the bottom of the order, rather than the top. That's just plain stoopid.

Clout, this is the most recent comment by NEPP on the subject of Asche's level-acclimation-period, to which limoguy's referring:
Cody Asche very quietly has a 7 game hitting streak going.

Good to see him warming up.

First 57 PA (before streak): .580 OPS
Last 28 PA (during streak): .854 OPS

It'd be really, really cool if he followed his previous pattern of absolutely sucking in his first 50 PA at a level and then starts mashing like he has everywhere else.

Will it happen? Who knows, we have zero data at this point and 87 PA is absolutely meaningless.

Posted by: NEPP | Monday, August 26, 2013 at 09:53 AM

I don't think anymore caveats could be thrown in there about small sample sizes and the utter lack of statistically significant data available.

cut, because baseball fandom isn't just about looking in the rearview mirror and realizing what was, but also about looking around and realizing what's happening at this very instant.

And at this very instant, we are witnessing a player do something that's never been done in baseball before. Trout's first two seasons have been arguably the best first two seasons by any player, ever, and that they came at the ages of 20/21 is all the more amazing and stupefying.

Also, I don't need to use WAR. How about the career 90% basestealing success rate (in 90 tries), or the fact that all metrics suggest that he's one of the best baserunners in the game at taking extra bases and avoiding outs on the bases (this is also supported by scouts and perceptions)?

How about the breathtaking, homerun saving catches he made almost routinely last year, and the perception and statistics that support that he is, at best, an elite defensive center fielder, at worst, an above average defensive outfielder at any position?

How about the fact that he's got a career .232 ISO, and has an elite walk rate, while striking out almost as many times as he walks (something you don't usually see in hitters with great power)? What about the fact that he posted a league leading 169 OPS+ in his rookie season, and is now posting a 182 OPS+ (a figure only once bested by Willie Mays)?

The kid hits for high average, he walks, he hits for power, he gets on base pretty much better than anyone in the league, he runs the bases as well as anyone in the game, he plays great defense at one of the hardest positions in the game.

Yeah, he doesn't have the longevity yet of a legend like Mays (thanks for pointing out that triviality, by the way), but hell man, we're fans. If Trout remains healthy, there's no reason to think that we aren't witnessing the beginning of a surefire Hall of Fame career.

If he keeps going and has a traditional career arc, he'll be in the conversation for best player ever.

But you're right; we shouldn't get excited about him until his career is finished and he's already met all your benchmarks.

Cody has done this his whole career. Those who followed him seen this trend. Not surprising to many people at all.

I'm also on a big Trout kick since I'm seeing him live next Monday. I couldn't be giddier.

I mean, the fact that Sandberg is batting Bernadina leadoff every night should tell you everything you need to know.

I understand the linup is filled with bad hitter. But batting one of the worst hitters leadoff just because he's fast and plays CF does not exactly bode well for new thinking.

Falotti
That anyone would think that Sandberg would be a forward thinking tactician is just beyond me. He's probably going to be the exact same kind of manager as Charlie Manuel. And unlike Manuel, we don't know how he is as the less quantifiable aspect of managing the clubhouse.

And since he's not going to have the same talent to work with that Manuel had in his start here (most likely), it's a very high probability that the fans don't think much of Sandberg in his tenure here.


Where do you think BL is not liking Ryno especially after he has a winning record after 10 games. His lineup sometimes makes no sense but hes done this in minors and worked. I myself am happy to see Manuerl gone and Sandberg in and I bet more in BL feels the same.

Also, the quantification of a ballplayers performance by "WAR" is a fool's errand. There are simply too many variables to quantify such a complex endeavor with a single number. - cut_fastball
-
Not taking sides in the Trout debate, but this statement is worth reposting.

There really aren't THAT many variables. Position players hit, run, and field. We can measure all of that (albeit not perfectly). Roll that up into one number, and you have a measure of a player's value.

Not to mention that, every time a GM offers a contract to a player, he is undertaking an exercise in quantification of value.

Back from vacation.

Guess I didn't really miss much.

Bernadina being consistently given the leadoff spot is Sandberg's subtle way of telling JRoll "eff you."

WAR is the conversation starter, not the finisher. And there's nothing foolish about using using it as a shorthand, so long as the petty quibbling doesn't come down to the tenth of a win.

Anyone not slavering at the thought of watching Trout over the next few years is either an infuriatingly pessimistic curmudgeon or just not nearly as interested in baseball as claimed.

Doe Pete Orr make any sense here? He's replacing an outfielder. Is this another exercise in versatility? Are they going to play him in the outfield just to prove that anyone can do it? Or course, anyone besides Ryan Howard and Delmon Young, that is.

Seriously, Orr has become the other Minimart. What is the fascination with constantly bringing him up? They still got Susdorf in the minors and Fields and . . . well, they have those two, who would have both been better choices position-wise.

About Casper's vision, from Matt Gelb:

"He's really battling something," Sandberg said. "It finally got to the point where he didn't feel right about that. He mentioned production and betterment of the team and himself to see if he can get that fixed.

"That is scary. He said oftentimes it was a blurred ball coming in. He didn't know if he was going to blink just right to make it clear."

Any logical reason Young, Rollins, and Bernadina are batting above Ruf and Asche?

Re the Trout/Mays comparison: Trout has yet to master the basket catch or to learn how to lose his helmet every time he steals a base. Once Trout masters these skills, then we can re-visit this debate.

He mentioned production?

Sucking up to the boss, much?

I think the Phillies have given up on a bench that can hit and has been going for a bench that can field and maybe run a little, instead. No more Matt Stairs types for us. (Which reminds me, didn't he have to put on a glove and play LF once or twice? I think even he found the notion laughable.)

Cyclic - Welcome back. You did miss the longest game in Phillies history

derek, I think the league can only handle so many players who lose their helmet running the bases. Is it any surprise that Manny Ramirez's career didn't coincide with Bryce Harper's at all?

"I think the league can only handle so many players who lose their helmet running the bases."

In the 1970s, I thought it was mandatory.

"I'd love to hear Amaro explain the difference between his theories on Ruf and DOM in terms of switching between LF/RF.

I don't doubt that he'd BS his way around it, but I'm sure we'd get a couple quotable gems in the process."


Ahhh, lorecore, the problem is we're all idiots who just post on a blog and he's the GM.

Thus, he's smarter than we are (BTW, did you know he went to Stanford?).


But then, there's Qualls, Durbin, _elm_n, Nix, Wiggy and a host of other players he's signed, and the signings were ripped by many here at the time of the signing.

But we're dumber than he is, you know...

Thanks, Jake. I did watch the Phillies, just missed out on Beerleaguer.

On the Trout issue- both sides have points and valid arguments.

Trout is (apparently) a once in a lifetime type of player. What he has done is very very rare, unheard of type of stuff. He is a guy that can appeal to both traditional and more modern ways of baseball thinking and analysis. It will be incredibly fun to watch him play the next few years and see how he continues to develop.

However, it is a good point to say maybe we should slow down some of the praise until he shows it a little more over time. He has 304 career games at this point. He isn't an all-timer but he is off to an incredibly good start.

To fire up another debate: I remember last year there was talk about who was better Harper or Trout. Not necessarily on here, but around baseball. Can we declare that contest over? Trout is a considerably better baseball player than Harper. Better hitter, better plate discipline, better slugger, much better defense, and much less of a douche.

I know that BL has long been the home office of small sample size declarations, but shouldn't we wait until Asche has more than 80 ABs?

Posted by: clout | Monday, August 26, 2013 at 04:59 PM

I mean really, you're not even trying at this point.

On Trout, yeah its weird that people would mention that he's off to basically the best start in MLB history going on 2 full seasons now and is just 22 years old. Very weird.

Also, he appears to be a solid step above Harper and pretty much every single other player in the game right now. Which is surprising because if you asked me last year, I would have said the opposite. Trout simply doesn't have any holes in his game right now. That doesn't mean that in 2-3 years, Harper might be a 60 HR/150 RBI guy for the Nats and we'll all think the opposite...but right now, I' go with Trout.

TTI, you're right, it'd be foolish to declare him an all-timer, just like it'd be foolish to declare Kershaw an all-timer right now, too.

I think the point people are making when they compare him to these all-timers is that, the only times we've ever seen anything like this in baseball history, it's come from players not only ended up being Hall of Famers, but inner-circle Hall of Famers.

The point of doing so is just to say, "Hey, pay attention to this guy. You may never see anything like this again."

If he burns out, or suddenly turns into a pumpkin, so be it. If he does have a Mantle/Mays type career, I'm pretty sure people are going to want to say, I saw this guy play back when...

Aksmith- you know why the fascination with Orr and Minimart over Fields and Susdorf. VERSATILITY, BABY!

***Bernadina being consistently given the leadoff spot is Sandberg's subtle way of telling JRoll "eff you."***

Which is pretty much the silver lining of having one of the worst hitters in the game getting the most PAs for us.

Hmmm, Philies/Mets (and notably, Lee/Wheeler), or Reds/Cardinals on ESPN?

Decisions...

Whole lot of empty seats in baseball heaven.

Age 19-21 Seasons:

Mel Ott: 153 OPS+
Mike Trout: 166 OPS+

See what a tall third baseman can do?

Amazing that he caught that. He couldn't have jumped more than 5 inches.

NEPP, even more incredible, his OPS+ in his two full seasons: 175

So, if that had been Michael Young at 3B, does he even make a play on it?

I can't believe that there are actually people dissatisfied with Joey Votto's offensive output, because he doesn't "hit enough homeruns or get enough RBIs"...

If you don't appreciate a guy who's had a .430 OBP over ~3,000 PA since 2009, we'll gladly take him off your hands.

I'm not completely ready to concede that Trout will be better than Harper over their careers.

Trout has been better *so far*, but Harper is a year younger. While he hasn't matched Trout's historic age-20 season, he is putting up quite a good one of his own. He's hitting .274/.376/.512, and rates as a plus defender himself in RF. He has 7.8 career WAR with a month left in his age 20 season. After Trout's age 20 season, he had 10.7 career WAR.

Like I said, Trout has been better so far, but Harper has done enough at age 20 himself to make the margin small enough that I could certainly see him being the better player long-term (especially if Trout loses the speed-based elements of his game as he ages).

If Joey Votto were a Phillie, Rube would have released him outright or traded him for peanuts.

Jack, but with Trout posting OPS+ of 182 this year, showing that he certainly can do that, you'd have to think that Harper has a 2013 Cabrera level ceiling (200+ OPS+).

I mean, the speed elements of Trout's game are just icing on the cake over Harper.

I think Harper has that kind of potential, but that's a tough level to reach, even for generational talents.

Nice reaction time by Uts.

***Trout has been better so far, but Harper has done enough at age 20 himself to make the margin small enough that I could certainly see him being the better player long-term (especially if Trout loses the speed-based elements of his game as he ages)***

Exactly...which is why its going to be an interesting debate for probably the next decade or two if they both stay healthy.

"Bernadina being consistently given the leadoff spot is Sandberg's subtle way of telling JRoll "eff you.""

I actually think this is the reason, honestly. It's a JRoll thing, not a Bernadina thing.

Sandberg has already proven himself more flexible than Manuel in many different situations. That alone is an improvement.

I wonder how much the Reds will end up regretting that Joey Votto contract. Sure, he's productive right now at Age 29 but they've signed him through Age 40 for a sh!t-ton of money.

Similar to the historic stats you can come up with for Trout, if Harper hits 5 more HRs this season, he will have at least 45 HRs and 25 SBs through his age 20 season.

I don't believe anyone has ever done that in baseball history (including Trout).

Also Jack, Harper has a lot more PA through this point in his career than Trout had. On a career basis, Harper is averaging 5.47 WAR/700 PA, while Trout is averaging 10 WAR/700 PA.

Trout hasn't just been a little better. He's been arguably twice as good as Harper (and this is not to say that what Harper has done has not being really incredible...that's just how otherworldly Trout has been).

Fatalotti:
It's amazing that somebody could fault Joey Votto for lacking power. If he had a .315/.430/.425 line, that would be a legitimate -- if incredibly silly -- complaint. But the man's lowest SLG over that timeframe is the palty .507 he's posted this year.

Votto's extension was ridiculous -- in that $200MM is a titanic sum of money, regardless of the player -- but I'd certainly move things around to find room for him, too.

Not a great AB by Ruf. At least 2 of those fastballs looked very crushable

Fatalotti: I think the problem is there are people (again not here necessarily) that are calling Trout an all-timer which is a little over the top.

Also, Trout is better and will be long term. If he loses an aspect of his game making Harper better that doesn't make Harper a better player. It means he is better than a diminished Trout.

Yeah Juuns. I mean, Votto's ISO of .193 this year is a career low (40 points of his career average of .230).

But, hell, at that point, you're letting perfection be the enemy of the good, and while not perfect, Joey Votto is very, very, very good.

Fatalotti: Right, no question Trout has been better so far. He's been the best player in baseball history for his age, so. Yeah.

My point was merely that (putting aside risk of injury, which is always a caveat), Harper has done enough himself to be in a pretty special category. And when you have two guys in that special category, I'm not sure I would say it's definitive that one will always be better than the other.

Both are basically capable of anything at this point.

My thought as well, Cyclic. Pitch #3, at least, was one that could've been planted in the seats.

As was recently discussed with regard to Ruf's patience, ABs like that one are irritating, because his patience betrays him there too. The whole point of being patient is to get hittable pitches. You've got to at least try to swing when they show up in a 2-0 count.

TTI, I hear you. My favorite player of all time is Ken Griffey Jr., but unfortunately, I wasn't old enough (or in Seattle) during the height of his career to watch him regularly.
I'm going to make sure I catch as much of Trout's career as I can.

Bernadina, nice.

Cool outfield, Phillies.

Little league

Welp, it was nice having an MLB-caliber CF for at least one day. The Shark's reverted to a pumpkin, though, it seems.

That cancels out one of those great catches from yesterday. Maybe one and a-half.

> Re the Trout/Mays comparison: Trout has yet to master the basket
> catch or to learn how to lose his helmet every time he steals a base.
> Once Trout masters these skills, then we can re-visit this debate.
>
> Posted by: derekcarstairs

You forgot: Demanding young fans pony up cash for an autograph.

Is communicating in the OF really as difficult as our guys make it seem? A week ago, it was Dom and Mayberry failing to communicate, now Berrnadina and Mayberry.

Vision complications?

Wow, I am flabbergasted that Scott and Larry don't know what OPS+ is.

GBrettfan: Well, as I'm sure Iceman will tell you, the common denominator is Mayberry.

So he is clearly the issue, and should be shot accordingly.

LA: "What is OPS?" Seriously.

Jack, my point was, Trout isn't just holding an edge over Harper because of his defense and baserunning (the speed elements of his game, as it were). To catch up, Harper either has to catch up with him in all aspects (hitting, running and fielding), which will be hard to do, since Trout has been the second best offensive player in baseball over the last two seasons (behind the incomparable Miggy), arguably the best baserunner, and a damn good defensive outfielder.

If Harper doesn't catch up in all those ways, he'd have to blow past Trout in offensive ability, i.e. post a 200+ OPS+, which, while in the realm of possibility, is extremely hard to project.

Not saying it can't happen, but if the last two years of Trout represent true-talent, then it's hard to see Harper, or anyone, even theoretically being better than Trout.

Fatalotti: I was 8 when Griffey Jr. started his career. I do wish baseball had a presence then like it does now to watch him more. Sportscenter was appointment viewing every morning to see his stuff.

Did Utley almost punch that runner in the face?

It will probably never happen, but I wish MLB would institute the "Team Error". I hate seeing pitchers get penalized for the idiocy of their teammates.

"It will probably never happen, but I wish MLB would institute the "Team Error". I hate seeing pitchers get penalized for the idiocy of their teammates."

Agreed. That change, alone, would probably shave a full run off our team ERA this year.

TTI, I would watch Sportscenter pretty much every morning, and on days when Griffey hit a HR, I would usually watch the show multiple times just to see that swing again.

At the very least d'Arnaud didn't begin his career as a Phillie Killer in his first AB against the team that drafted him.

Haha. Love that Lee flip. "I don't wait, I don't run towards the first baseman. I casually toss it underhand from right where I caught it, and start walking to the dugout"

Mayberry should get an assist on that error.

Man, Wheeler is the shortest 6'4" pitcher I've ever seen.

Dickie: I considered an idea whereby players could be assessed 1/2 of an Error on such plays (somewhat like the "Half Sack"), but that wouldn't account for situations where, say, players triangulate on an easy pop fly & proceed to stop & watch as the ball falls to the ground.

Ben Revere Growth Chart? Is this for real? I can only assume there wasn't room on the poster for the key word "Stunted".

Maybe I should be watching the Athletics/Tigers game.

Errors are virtually extinct. A new category of errors would just be more errors to ignore.

Here's something I never thought I'd say: I'm considering putting the Phillies TV broadcast on, because the Mets' TV crew is treating Harvey's being shut down for the year as event whose importance rivals the JFK assassination or the Moon landings.

And after watching J-Roll make a fool of himself, I propose that the OBP benchmark new players have to meet be the Rollins Line, similar to the Mendoza cum Martinez Line in being a benchmark for minimum competency. The Rollins Line will be pegged at J-Roll's current OBP, a lofty .307.

If nothing else, it'll provide a useful goal for Cody Asche to chase.

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