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Monday, September 23, 2013

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The Phillies HAVE given him a chance to get 30. He's blown that chance several times now.

I made a statement about a month ago that, if Darin Ruf kept hitting like he had been, he'd be legitimate Rookie of the Year contender and would certainly walk away with some votes for such. So, on a lark, I went stat-diving to see just how close Ruf had come to that projection. Coming into tonight, Darin Ruf's logged 269 PA this season, and put up the following line:

.257/.357/.483; .366 wOBA; 133 wRC+; 129 OPS+.

Out of 305 players with at least 250 PA this season, that's good for the 36th best OPS in baseball, 33rd best wOBA, and 30th best wRC+. Amongst all MLB rookies with the same minimum number of PAs, that's good for 2nd best OPS, 2nd best wOBA, and 2nd best wRC+. (All behind Yasiel Puig, of course.)

All from a 20th round draft pick who's been almost universally derided at one point or another for being the product of a flukey career year while being too old for AA. So, with only six games left in the season, at what point can we start gushing about how awesome Ruf's time with the big club has been? Even if it is a fluke, I'd think it'd be a bigger story than it's been, given that this has been a year in which there's been precious little good to talk about and there's been little in good news coming from the farm.

Then another thought occurred to me: If you think that Ruf's bat is legit, then is it necessarily right to assume that he's the odd-man-out this off-season if the Phils pick-up another OF bat? As Ruf's out-hit Dom in Dom's much heralded breakout season (OPS: .839 v. .833; wOBA: .366 v. .356; wRC+: 133 v. 125). They're both bad LFs, as Dom boasts a -10.7 career UZR/150 versus Ruf's -9.5. (Insert all of the caveats about advanced defensive metrics [here], doubly so given the tiny sample sizes re: Ruf.) And while Ruf's older than Brown, it's to the tune of 14 months. In light of such, I'm not sure it's proper to automatically assume that the OF who's displaced by an FA corner OF bat is going to be Ruf.

Why this matters is that, if Ruf is going to be your LF next season instead of Brown, it opens up more possibilities in the OF. Because the line-up is LHB heavy, it's assumed that the FA acquisition must be a RHB thumper. But if the FA acquisition displaces another LHB, then it becomes possible to sign an LHB corner OF. You could sign Choo, Itoi (if he posts), Granderson, or even Ellsbury without opening the lineup construction can of worms that you'd have if you kept Brown in LF. (Well, aside from Ellsbury. But he opens up the can of worms due displacing Revere as the lead-off guy.)

TL;DR: Would you rather have an OF next year of Brown/Revere/Hart or Ruf/Revere/Choo? I know the former is something of a consensus pick, but I'm not sure it's as much of a slam dunk as it's perceived to be.

I'd, um, be perfectly, okay, um, if Papelbon didn't get those, um, saves...

(team protected pick)

I keep hoping that before the end of the season Doc will have a spectacular miracle come-back game that will show the Phils and the world that he's back. I know that's irrational, but you can't help but root for the guy.

A four-pitch walk? Looks like New Doc's back with avengeance.

Great post, Juums.

If only they had FREE'D RUF sooner.

Doc doesn't make it easy for himself by opening with a walk.

Keep holding out hope here...Doc DOES tend to make the first inning hard on himself.

I keep hoping because it is so uncomfortable to watch him struggle. I've said this before, but it is like when Thome was with the Phils for that short stretch and kept striking out.

Poor Manny Machado. That knee injury looked pretty bad. I feel bad for the O's too.

Juums - If Brown is not starting for the Phils next year, that means they will have traded him, selling high. I would favor such a move if done competently.

Sure glad Doc's velocity is the problem and not his command.

RIP DOC

This is so hard to watch. I posted a few weeks ago that the talk in inside circles were that Doc, indeed, had some medical issues that were being kept quiet...It seems more and more likely with starts like this.

Per MLB Gameday:

Pitches


1 Cutter

12 Changeups

3 Curveballs


5 Strikes, 11 Balls

No pitch faster than 83 MPH. Drenched in sweat, clearly has NOTHING. Glad the Phils felt it necessary to bring him back quickly.

So, Halladay's still injured. Now that RAJ knows there's an explanation behind his struggles, he just signed Doc to a new 3-year deal.

So it goes.

Speaking of quick, that was a short outing. I wonder what the story is.

Yeah, can. BAP has said something similar in the past. I believe their is some mystery medical issue at work here.

there*

Now on to the medical staff...Would none of this have shown up in pre-game warmups? Was he just fine earlier today?

GTown: I think it's pretty clear that what Gameday is calling changeups are actually fastballs.

can_of_corn: I wonder the exact same thing. At the very least Chooch, or the bullpen Catcher, had to know.

Oh, goody. Garcia. BP games are so much fun. Maybe we'll get lucky since the Fish are a worse team than we are.

Overthrowing somethin fierce

Garcia's not throwing any better than Doc was.

Cyclic, for those who didn't read the game thread when I posted, I mentioned a conversation I had with someone who is well connected to the Philadelphia baseball scene. The word is that Doc contracted an illness...possibly on one of his tropical fishing trips...that is not being made public. I have no verification of this, but it all seems to make sense from how he has looked and acted since his travels.

A pitcher struggling with his arm and other structural issues just doesn't get all red in the face, puff and pant, and become weak. Doc's workouts are legendary, and he is presumably in good shape even if the arm is not cooperating.

I don't understand how they let him out of warmups.

He has something going on medically that is being kept underwraps, there is just no way around it. No one can have the "flu" as much as he does

I'll never stop marveling at it being Kendrick who was shut down rather than Doc. Because, as bad as Kendrick's been, Doc's been worse. A lot worse.

Cyclic:
While I love counterfactuals, I just can't get myself worked up about how long it took the Phils to call up Ruf. The simple fact of the matter is that he wasn't ripping the cover off the ball in LHV and there wasn't much indication he'd be a 10%-of-MLB hitter. For a guy whose plus power is his calling card, he slugged all of .407 during his time in 300+ PAs in AAA. So long he wasn't demolishing the ball, the Phils weren't going to risk his work-in-progress OF defense if they were maintaining the pretension of competition.

Now, I'd agree that they should've given up on the pretense of competing when Howard's knee started manifesting problems in May. If they'd've shut him down then, Ruf would've been called up, and...who knows? Ruf might've flamed out or gone on the tear he has since getting called up when he did.

b_a_p: I know. It just makes for tragically amazing viewing when laid out like that. As if anyone could throw 12 "Changeups" & 1 "Fastball" -- all at roughly 81MPH-83MPH.

Wow. I feel like I'm catapulted back in time to when my son played ball, the first year that the boys pitched. Everyone walked.

Thank you, Polly, for the GIDP!

Why are they playing inside an aviary?

Yeah, corn. I remember that post. Some have speculated it may be related to the heat exhaustion back in Chicago as well.

Something is up.

Re: Ruf

Juums, did you see who the Phillies' everyday RF was for most of the year? Did you see who made the Opening Day roster over Ruf?

Per the radio broadcast, Halladay is suffering from "right arm fatigue". No mention of why he looked like he'd run a marathon after 16 Pitches in a climate controlled dome.

Doc's a Hall of Famer. I have the greatest respect for Doc and his accomplishments. Please don't bring back Doc.

Just watch that 3-2 hanging curve, Ruf.

While corn is engaging in logical fallacies let's focus on real topics here:

It is very sad to see Halladay this way. There is every chance that he could get right before next year and be "good" again. However, with the situation the Phillies are in for 2014 it would be silly if they were the team that offered him a contract.

Just keep diving for no reason, Dom.

Speaking of Ruf: That was a horrible take on strike three.

Cyclic:
Yes, I did see who made the Opening Day roster over Ruf. I also saw him looking an out-of-place first baseman with little clue what to do in the OF during Spring Training, where he also stank in the batter's box. Was it right to make a decision on bringing Ruf north based upon 75 Spring Training PAs? No. Could Ruf's worst-case scenario have been worse than Delmon Young? Probably not. But if you're going to try and compete (as laughable as it is), the lesser evil is Delmon Young and his horrendous defense and league-average bat.

GTown, exactly. I'm not buying the arm thing anymore. I've had a frozen shoulder before and am nowhere close to the shape Doc is in. My symptoms were lots of pain in the arm and maybe grimacing, but not a purple face, profuse sweat, and puffing and panting.

"I also saw him looking an out-of-place first baseman with little clue what to do in the OF during Spring Training, where he also stank in the batter's box."

I'd still prefer to have that with the MLB club than a single-A player.

@Juums, DYoung didn't play his first game until Apr. 30 (foot). Mayberry was the opening day RF with Nix and Enciarte as backups.

Cyclic:
Which is perfectly fine. Had I been sitting in RAJ's chair, there'd've been no question Ruf would've come north: Dom would've went back to RF, and the outfield defense would've been horrid, but those are the crosses you bear when you've got to kitbash together a squad using cost-controlled pieces with whatever upside they have.

You just can't fault the organization for choosing Young, as if Ruf was some clearly obvious improvement at the time. Now, you certainly can fault the organization for insisting that they could compete, and letting that insistence drive personnel decisions. (Decisions such as refusing to take fliers on risky positional players with upside at the start of the season, like Ruf.)

Dickie Thong:
Quite correct. But Young was always the anticipated RF, though. Enciarte did indeed make the Opening Day roster over Ruf, but Enciarte also fell on his sword rather quickly when it came time to active Young.

That settles it. Can of corn once had a frozen shoulder.

We can wrap this up BL. That should be the next header.

Harry, Eovaldi looks hat-tippish tonight.

When there are three empty seats for every person in the ballpark, is it still a 'crowd' or merely a 'gathering'? I've seen more people crammed into a Wawa than are in the ballpark tonight. Can't say I blame 'em though - it's still early, but boy is this an ugly game.

I look at the Marlins' park and think there're plenty of prime seats available for a modest investment of money. Makes me wish I was closer to Miami, as it's always fun to go out to the ballpark. A bad team does have its advantages that ameliorates some of their badness.

That Garcia struckout via a bunted foul ball is just the icing on the cake for this game. Apparently barber's school doesn't teach you fastball command or how to bunt.

I'm no doctor, but I have watched many an episode of House M.D. I'm thinking Halladay has either Dengue Fever or Leptospirosis.

Dickie Thong: I'm gonna go w/ Hysterical Pregnancy.

No, no. It's lupus!

I am going with chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia

It's always lupus. *sigh*

Dammit Doc! You have lupus!

I was actually thinking a thyroid condition (seriously).

Whatever it is, I hope he consults with the Mets' team physicians, because they seem to know what they are doing.

At this point you could probably consult an astrologer & receive better medical advice than you'd get from the Phillies' med staff.

I would see Dr Phil before I relied on the Phils medical team.

I wonder if players from other teams ever consult the Phillies' team physicians for second opinions. I'm going to go out on a limb and say "no".

Wow. Miami is so bad. Can't believe they only have 1 run.

It's almost like we're playing ourselves, Cyclic.

Dear Luis Garcia:

I'm a sucker for a guy with a great story of how they got to the big leagues. And I'll forgive far, far more than I should because of that. So, with your rags-to-riches story of going from cutting hair to pitching in the big leagues in one short year, that I'm at the end of my tether with after that Polanco walk should tell you just how badly you've been stinking up the joint of late.

I can't help but see the woman's legs showing through the fish tank and think about how Bouton would've dedicated an entire chapter to the quality of beaver shooting at Marlins' stadium...

Better make sure your clippers are oiled and your Barbicide jar is filled, Luis Garcia. You're gonna need them pretty soon.

You can't win every 3-0 count, but that was depressing to watch Rollins snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in that PA.

This game sucks. I agree with BAP that Halladay has some thyroid condition or some blood disorder like leukopenia.

small world:

Revere began the 2011 season with the Twins' Class AAA affiliate, the Rochester Red Wings of the International League. In May, Revere was called up to Minnesota to play left field for the injured Delmon Young.

You know what I'd very much like to see? A Phils' hitter get the ball out of the infield.

Anyone who is paying even the slightest bit of attention to tonight's game deserves a permanent grant immunity from ever being called a "front-runner."

Yep-I wonder which gathering gets the award for the smallest crowd tonight....those of us watching on television or those sitting in Marlins' park.

Six straight outs made that didn't leave the infield. At least Bernadina decided to mix it up, lazily popping out instead of grounding out.

Savery has less than two years of MLB service? Feels like he's been knocking around a lot longer than that.

Matt Gelb (@magelb):

Ruben Amaro Jr. dismissed Roy Halladay's weight loss as anything significant

"We're obviously concerned about his health because of the virus stuff, but nothing other than that," Amaro said. "I’m not concerned about [his weight].

"He wanted to pitch. We weren't going to hold him back, especially if the doctor said he couldn't do any damage. ... He's still getting paid, he should pitch."

"He's still getting paid, he should pitch."

That needs to be on Amaro's tombstone when his tenure with the Phils finally ends. Which will hopefully be sooner than later.

Dickie: How much weight has he lost, and in what time frame?

Monty should take those knee hangers he has and use them to fire Amaro right now.

Roob is a gold-plated jack@$$, which everyone knows, but after that comment he should be in one of those commercials where the little kids say dumb things that everyone thinks is so cute.

Hey! A ball out of the infield! And it only took seven hitters. At current rate, we might just get another hit by the 9th!

Glad they took out Halladay when they did but I wish he would have said something before the game. He looked like he was in real physical discomfort out there.

So now Doc has contracted some mysterious illness from foreign lands. That's clearly nonsense. I think it's something of alien origin that the government secretly implanted in him to test out mind control.

Everybody knows Doc Halladay was felled by tuberculosis.

Pay me and play me. Pay me don't play me. Play me don't pay me. Don't play me don't pay me.

I'm not going to get on board with this tropical virus thing, but I've been saying for over a year that I think Halladay's problem is more than something physical. Nothing has occurred to make me feel any differently.

You don't go from having the best physical conditioning of maybe any pitcher in the MLB to being unable to complete an inning without looking like you just ran a marathon. Something else is wrong.

""He wanted to pitch. We weren't going to hold him back, especially if the doctor said he couldn't do any damage. ... He's still getting paid, he should pitch.""

If that's a direct quote, someone needs to update the Amaro top 10 list. That definitely belongs on there.

Iceman - Serious? Who sourced that quote?

You try to give Amaro the benefit of the doubt but he does himself no favor at times when he is publicly quoted. At best, he comes off as tone deaf. At worst, as foolish and inept.

@BAP, I remember reading that Doc had lost 10 lbs. or so due to a recent illness. Gelb's article is behind the Inquirer paywall, so all I could get was the quote above from his Twitter. If someone has an Inquirer subscription... http://www.inquirer.com/sports/20130924_Halladay_exits_with__right_arm_fatigue_.html.

Hey! Another hit! Good job, Ruf! ...would be nice to get a hit when there are less than two outs, though. As Asche demonstrates why.

Great game between 2 of the best. Can not wait for 2014. Same 4 infield plus Asche. Great defense in OF. 14th best pitching in NL. Best GM in baseball.

Well said, Iceman. Someone should figure out what is wrong with Halladay and as appropriate, schedule an intervention. I just get the feeling the "WS Ring"-less Doc will pitch himself right on into oblivion in blind pursuit of his goal.

He deserves better, but I'm not sure Doc has the common sense to back off - self-preservation be damned!

Another disappointing stat on a night when the offense is floundering. Chooch over the past ten days:

6-35; 2 2B, 7 RBI, 2 BB in 37 PA.

The bloom appears to be off the rose of Chooch's late-season revival. If you remove the 9/13 and 9/14 games at the tail-end of his hot streak, you're looking at him having just two hits in his last 28 PAs.

Another stellar AB from perpetual Major Leaguer Michael Martinez.

But hey, you need that kind of versatility in the NL game.

My hand is on the bill of my hat ...

Another 'tip your cap' night. Good chance the Phils are shutout for the 14th time this year.

Phils' pitching staff has only shut out the other team 3 times.

With hand held steady, I lower my eyes and bow my head.

Gotta secure that protected 1st round pick. Lose and lose all you want! Welcome back to Philly Hunter Pence.

Another two-out baserunner! And...Rollins is the guy who's going to get a chance to do something with him. Guess our hopes will ride on Utley, Ruiz, and Dom in the 9th.

Once the Phillies cut Halladay loose, he'll probably visit the Mayo Clinic, be quickly diagnosed with some sort of physical condition having nothing to do with arms or shoulders, be placed on medication, sign a one-year incentive-laden contract with Tampa, and proceed to win the 2014 American League Cy Young Award.

Can we please not joke about a Hunter Pence reunion? The amount of bile that would cause would be tremendous, given that pretty much everybody has a problem with one of the Pence trades.

It is pretty amazing what a bad roster Amaro has put together this year.

Phils are just 9-10 vs lowly Mets and likely 11-6 vs Fish after tonight. Better than last year but a 20-16 record against two bottom feeders won't begin to cut it.

Braves are 23-15. Nats 26-12.

Not one for the highlight reel.

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