Part of

« What kind of contract does Carlos Ruiz deserve? | Main | Kendrick shut down, heads into uncertain winter »

Friday, September 20, 2013


I dont think its Light at the end of this tunnel, but nevertheless, its the end of the tunnel.

In response to Tom in the previous thread: Don't look now, but Ruf is striking out a faster rate than Howard... And looking almost as useless against LHP.

A series win would firmly grasp 3rd place. I love September baseball.

I was going to make that point, too, Phillibuster. There's plenty to like about Darin Ruf over Ryan Howard, but strikeout rates aren't one of them.

I think you're too harsh on Ruf re: LHP, though. As Ruf has had conventional splits in the minors, in which he's been hell of wheels against LHP and merely a very good mortal against RHP. (See, e.g., .896/1.318 OPS v. RHP/LHP at Reading in 2012 and .845/1.037 at Clearwater in 2011.) I don't think 74 MLB PA is enough of a sample size to overwrite four years' worth of MiLB PAs that says he should hitter LHP better than RHP.

Juums: Yeah, and I've said as much before as well. Overall, I'd expect him to revert more to the norm of his splits (with reduced efficacy vs. both kinds as compared to his MiLB numbers, since this is the majors) with time, especially since his BABIP vs. lefties is unusually low.

That said, he's striking out against them at a (slightly) faster rate, and taking walks against them at a (significantly) faster rate as well.

I kind of wish Fangraphs had more information in their splits section, because that would lead me to believe he's just swinging at less stuff from lefties in general... But there's no swing/contact/Zone% stats set by pitcher-handedness.

It looks like Ruf has had to face some tough LHPs this season.

" He's hitting .329 with a .398 OBP in 88 plate appearances, and has five multi-hit games in his last six starts."

Corey, glad to see you reference OBP.

To my fellow BLr's: All of you who have fallen in love with Cesar's 88 PA and think he ought to replace Ben Revere, please let us know whether you think he can sustain that performance, and, if you do, please let us know how much you'd like to wager.

Dickie: oddly, his OPS vs most of those LH starters is great, but all of the single PA chances vs others are mostly 0for.

"I don't think 74 MLB PA is enough of a sample size to overwrite four years' worth of MiLB PAs that says he should hitter LHP better than RHP."

Juums, excellent post, but I'm not sure 'buster agrees. He seems to think Hernandez ought to be platooned with Ruf.

I think we haven't seen either of them get enough MLB PA to make that judgment.

Although one other thing of note: even this year, Howard has performed significantly better than Ruf in high leverage/wRiSP.

In fact, Howard's (2013) BA increases as the leverage does, while Ruf's (2013) plummets. All of Howard's baserunner splits (empty/on/RiSP) are higher than any of Ruf's non-empty numbers.

It's difficult to count the high leverage stats that much, since neither of them have seen a ton of those situations this year, but the numbers of them are pretty similar so you can do at least a little comparison (27 PAs for Ruf, 26 for Howard). I will admit to some confusion, however, as to how both can have high leverage situations in more games than they have total PAs... Errors, maybe?

Dickie, nice link.

awh™: Define "replace". I'm for moving Revere to LF, not sitting him on the bench. And if Cesar winds up flaming out, who cares? What, exactly, has been lost? The Phillies have a golden opportunity to give players ample time to succeed or fail, because they're not contenders now, nor will they be in '14.

awh: But we've seen enough of them to make the judgment that we shouldn't? Because that seems to be the argument you've been advancing.

Incidentally, you've misrepresented my thoughts exceptionally well. Bravo. What I said was that because of Ruf's terrible defense (at every position he's played thus far), it makes sense to forgo his everyday presence in the outfield corners. I said that a platoon of Ruf/Hernandez as the non-Brown corner made sense, especially because Ruf could spell Howard vs. left-handed pitching.

In other words, Ruf could get first on nights we faced tough lefties, meaning he'd see more PAs than in your standard corner outfield platoon.

I get that you like Ruf. I get that you think he can solve the "big right-handed bat" shortage we've had in recent years. However he hasn't proven that, and his defense is so bad that making him (and Brown) an everyday outfielder is tantamount to having the worst defensive outfield in baseball.

Until he proves he can be the "BRHB" (and again, the only reason you care that he's right-handed is because it lets him punish guys Utley/Howard/Brown can't), no, I don't think he "needs" to play in every game - outside of ones in AL stadiums, at least.

gtown: If Howard wasn't under contract, your rebuilding plan would work. But he is and he's not going anywhere (except the DL), so if you start Cesar in the OF, then you are benching Ruf.

How would giving Cesar and opp be the right move, but not Ruf?

awh™: I differ from Phillibuster in that I don't believe Ruf's defense has been nearly so bad as advertised. The sad fact is the Phillies defensive OF is going to remain one of the worst in MLB unless new outfielders are acquired, & that will remain true whether Ruf's involved or not. However, my idea for keeping Darin on the field involves working a strict platoon at 1B, which would both aid Howard's health & numbers.

Unfortunately, that is where fantasy & reality clash, as the Phillies persist in their ignorant belief that an overpaid player simply must be inserted into the starting lineup of every single game precisely because he's overpaid.

Whether you believe Ruf belongs in the order everyday, I think, depends a lot on where you think his upside is. If you think that Ruf's current line of .253/.353/.484 is what can be expected going forward, then it's logical to assume he should be in the order everyday: Guys who're good for .850 OPS/130 OPS+ don't grow on trees, especially when they've got 11% walk rates and your team's OBP is in the basement. If you think his slash line clouded by his ridiculous breakout upon getting called up and that more regression a la Ruf's August funk can be expected, it's a lot harder to justify him being in the order everyday due to his terrible OF defense. As, in August, Ruf hi5 .229/.305/.505: It's unlikely that, if that's all Ruf's good for, he'll keep belting 9 HR/month required to support that .500+ SLG.

LorecorE: Just saw your post. Admittedly, I'm speaking ideally, not practically. But if I had to choose between Ruf & Cesar, I'd still give Cesar the playing time. I might feel differently if I thought the Phillies could contend, & Ruf's power might make a difference. But I don't, so I'd rather see more of the younger guy who's a better overall athlete.

Now we've got a legit debate on our hands:

Who is the better player(overall, not just for what the Phillies need): Cesar or Ruf

Neither were highly touted prospects, both have had short term MLB success - but yet they couldn't be more different players.

I'm leaning towards Ruf think I believe his obp/power is more 'real' than Cesar's high avg/defense. If Cesar proves to be a competent CF and can translate his +.300 avg (and SB skills) to MLB, then I will probably come down on his side.

If Li'l Cesar can be a competent defender in CF, post a .350 OBP, and steal bases at a similar clip to what he did in the minors...he's Ben Revere, though trading some speed for an iota of gap power.

As I'm a big believer in Ben Revere's upside, that's not a bad thing. But I'm not sold yet that we should even be hoping for Hernandez's CF defense to become good enough for him to stick there. The fact of the matter is that he's only 23 and we've got a 34 year-old 2B who, while having a renaissance season, still has a degenerative knee condition and isn't getting any younger. There's still more than enough time for him to become the player of the future at his natural position, by which all accounts he's an able defender at. I came to the conclusion not too long ago that he should make the club as one of the utility infielders: If he can be the backup CF, all the better, for it guarantees him at least 300 PA/season during Utley's guaranteed years. But I'm just not sold yet that we should give up on him being the 2B of the future just yet.

> Now we've got a legit debate on our hands:

Yeah, it's nice to see the debate has turned to which of the young players who are performing well should get more playing time, rather than which replacement-level player on this team sucks less. :)

juums: how does that compare to what you think of Ruf

LorecorE: It's def. a legit debate, & I can see both sides. I've been a Ruf fan from the get-go, so I don't back Cesar lightly. Ideally there would be room for both ... & who knows, given the injury history of both Howard & Utley, there might well be. In the interim, however, I'd like to see how Hernandez performs (or doesn't) given a few more turns through NL opponents.

" If Cesar proves to be a competent CF and can translate his +.300 avg (and SB skills) to MLB, then I will probably come down on his side."

I would too, and, contrary to what some may assume, I like Cesar, I just don't think he CAN hit .300 at the MLB level.

This is Cesar's MiL line: .294 .351 .387

For comparison, this is Revere's MiL line: .326 .383 .404

Interestingly, they were at the same level in the minors at about the same ages (21 - A+, 22 - AA, etc.) so the comparison has some validity.

This board spent a great deal of time debating - after the Revere trade to Philly and during ST and the early part of the season (when Revere sucked) - as to whether Revere would ever really be an everyday player at the MLB level, and whether his 2012 season was a mirage.

Now, after a comparable minor league track record that IS NOT as good as Ben Revere's and 88 MLB PA, some here are ready to proclaim Cesar the superior player.

Color me mystified.

So, until Cesar PROVES he can hit .300 at the MLB level, I'm not ready to proclaim him superior overall to Darin Ruf or anybody. Conversely, until Ruf PROVES his bat is good enough for him to stick at the MLB level, I'm not ready to anoint him either.

"Yeah, it's nice to see the debate has turned to which of the young players who are performing well should get more playing time, rather than which replacement-level player on this team sucks less. :)"


I think the NL needs to have a come-to-Jesus-moment this off-season and adopt the DH, so that Darin Ruf can finally play his natural position. (Whether one feels that his natural position is 1B or DH will go unsaid.) Otherwise, I find it really hard to be objective about Darin Ruf. I just want him to succeed too much and have been on the Ruf bandwagon for a while now.

From watching Ruf for ~300 MLB PA, I think he's a legit MLB bat with plus power and a sound approach at the plate, which should produce 70-75 walks a year and a .250/.350/.500 line so long as he can continue to have some success in forcing RHP to get those low-and-away sliders called strikes. Given the state of offensive production in the big leagues, I think that earns him a starting job, even if he were the defensive butcher he was in Spring Training. I also think he's balanced upon the razor's edge, as he's a below-average defensive OF and an average-at-best 1B, so his bat has to be that good to play everyday. If his approach regresses or his pitch recognition skills erode, I suspect the line will erode to the point where he's the bench bat/platoonmate that the scouting community has him pegged as.

Between Li'l Cesar and Babe Ruf, I think Hernandez is probably the better overall player because he has real defensive upside. But because they're so different, comparing them is like comparing apples and oranges. Who I'd rather have in the line-up (if not both) is an entirely separate question: I'd take Ruf in a heartbeat, because the Phils' desperate need not only the on-base skills both have, but Ruf's RH power.

The DH is anathema and an abomination, the whore of Babylon.

The DH is the skid mark on the underwear of Major League Baseball.

I think Revere is right at the edge of being a regular starter. I doubt he gets over .700 OPS so his possible improvement will be on defense.

I see Hernandez as a similar player but with higher risk since he has limited MLB time. He could have more power and less SBs. Both could be spark plug guys but need help in the lineup.

Ruf's bat is necessary due to the true lack of a power RH bat. But he is also on the edge of being a starter. I think he could become close to a Burrell type player but agree if he loses any one skill he'd become a backup.

Unfortunately all these guys are useful players but barely average. The all have years of control so Phillies can try to find upgrades and use these guys as replacements.

I missed the Ruiz conversation, but I was really hoping Phillies would get him for a discount from this season due to how bad he was playing, hoping 2yrs at 4M per.

That is currently laughable as he has come back as a cleanup hitter. He is due for a raise and will definitely have free agent offers for 2/$14M and maybe 3/$18M. I wanted Sandberg to bench him and let Rupp play just to keep Ruiz cost down.

Again it's not my money directly, but I see him as the #3 hole hitter in next years lineup. He definitely needs to be resigned at almost any cost.

Phx, interesting perspective.

I agree that it's a "maybe", a big MAYBE, in that I don't think Chooch will get a 3-year offer, but more like 2 years with an option.

Obviously, he's going to be a valued commodity on the FA market, so there may be a team willing to give him the 3rd year.

But if he does get a 3 year deal he may get as much as $7MM/yr.

Lotsa dough in MLB, and Chooch is a clear upgrade for many MLB teams, even some of the playoff contenders.

... some here are ready to proclaim Cesar the superior player.

I haven't noticed much, if any, evidence of this.

So, until Cesar PROVES he can hit .300 at the MLB level, I'm not ready to proclaim him superior overall to Darin Ruf or anybody. Conversely, until Ruf PROVES his bat is good enough for him to stick at the MLB level, I'm not ready to anoint him either.

Catch-22 for both Cesar & Ruf: Unless they get regular playing time, how will they ever prove anything one way or the other?

While Chooch has finally found his offensive stride, there's one red flag from this season that hasn't been assuaged by recent torrent: His walk rate. It's a lofty 5% on the dot this year, while his career walk rate's been about double that.

Why it's problematic is because non-contact on-base skills generally have a reverse aging curve: The more experienced a player gets, the more their selectivity and pitch recognition are supposed to improve. Ruiz's walk rate fell to 6.9% last year, which is well below league average, but that was masked by his career year. A second straight year of regression is doubly concerning, as what impresses most about Chooch's career has is that .360 OBP. If his ability to work the walk has been compromised a change in approach or aging eyes (which have, thus far, gone untreated) then it undermines the logic of paying a guy who's almost 35 and good for 120-games-at-best as is $6-8MM/year for the next few years.

Of course, it's also possible that the walk rate is aberrant because of just how much Chooch stunk prior to about six weeks ago, and pitchers threw him strikes when they otherwise would not have had he been not stinking out to the tune of .600 OPS for most of the season.

Standard set lineup tonight, with RFD in RF.

And no, no one "forgot" to mention Stutes is back from the DL for tonight's game.

"I haven't noticed much, if any, evidence of this."

Then you haven't been reading very much.

Since my great privilege to join the Mets, I have rediscovered my unique gyroball. Be prepared to tip your cap, Phillies!

Juums, how many of those career walks that Chooch got occurred while he was hitting in the 8-hole with the pitcher behind him, and how did that affect the pitches he saw?

The last couple of years he's hit much higher in the order. Here are his splits based on where he hits in the order:


" think Revere is right at the edge of being a regular starter."

Phx, if that's the case, based on their minor league track records, how can anyone think that Hernandez is anything more?

Glad train wreck finally gonna end soon.

"Glad train wreck finally gonna end soon.

Posted by: Looking ahead 2014 | Friday, September 20, 2013 at 03:52 PM"

So, next year will be a mere car fire, or can we get so crazy as to think a fender bender might be in order?

Ruf just nice to see someone at 1B who can field the ball and throw to 2B to start a DP.

awh™: That reply is a cop out.

who the f is Kevin Siegrist? God i hate the Cardinals.

Rube had a talk with Chooch about his unproductive walks. That is why his BB% is down.

> who the f is Kevin Siegrist? God i hate the Cardinals.
> Posted by: LorecorE

It seems they have enough talent to field two MLB teams.

That's what's so counterintuitive about it. He's generally drawing fewer walks the further he moves up in the order. Which...doesn't really compute, because when you're batting in front of the pitcher, they're got no real disincentive not to pitch to you. As you go up the order, you'd think there'd be more opportunities with guys on base, and thus more incentives to nibble or otherwise throw pitches which would produce walks if you can lay off of them.

A thought does percolate, though: Is it really possible that the Phils' order was so stacked for so long that even the guy in the eight-hole got into enough situations with guys on-base that he had to be handled like he hit higher in the order?

Juums: I'm not sure I understand your comment there. Generally speaking, if the pitcher is hitting behind you, you're going to see worse pitches (and thus take more walks). Opposing pitchers have no reason to pitch to you, because the guy hitting behind you is almost a certain out, and a GiDP threat to boot.

Looks like Chooch took his highest % of walks in the 8-hole (as that would predict), and still a pretty good number in the 7-hole. He did well with walks in the 6, but didn't spend a ton of time there.

Also, am I the only one who finds it almost crazy that chooch has spent more time hitting 4th than 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th, or 9th?

It is kind of crazy Chooch has spent so much time batting clean-up, given that he's a .415 SLG guy for his career and only really demonstrated the ability to mash last year. It's also weird he's spent so little time in the two-hole, as his contact and on-base skills profile as an ideal fit for there. Probably because he's a poor runner and baseball orthodoxy expects somebody who can steal a base or two be batted that high in the order.

On walk rates, that's a fair point. Which I admit I had not really considered. As it's really the other side of the coin of lineup protection: The guy in the eight-hole has no real disincentive to be pitched to, because the guy behind him is no threat to drive him. But because the guy behind him is an easy out, the risks of putting the eight-hole guy on base are mitigated, and so there's little pressure to make your pitches. Which would indeed lead to more walks.

You learn something new everyday, I suppose.

Marc Narducci: ‏"Ryne Sandberg says Phillies RHP Kyle Kendrick is being shut down for the year."

Please don't re-sign Kendirck. Please, please, please don't re-sign Kendrick ...

It's a pity Morgan's year has been about as dismal as Tommy Joseph's, as with Pettibone getting hurt and Kendrick being prematurely shut down, there's a wonderful opportunity here for a young guy to step up and show that he belongs with the big club.

Juums, will Severino Gonzalez, under the watchful eye of Chooch, make the jump to MLB next season?

I would think what Ruf DOES possess (high OPS at bargain-basement salary) would have great value to an AL team, esp. seeing what some teams are using as DHs these days.

Rather than shoehorning him into a position, or creating awkward positional logjams/Jenga games, maybe the best solution is moving him for some OF help that mixes decent defense and decent offense.

Ruf would have had that.

Please don't bring back Mayberry, either. Please, please, please don't bring back Mayberry, either.

Dave - which one? Kendirck or Kerndick?

I think we should have a poll on whether we should bring back Mayberry or Bernadina.

Dealing with Mayberry is, actually, so far down my priority list that I don't care.

Andy: Neither. They're both terrible.

Thinking Ceaser will knock Mayberry off the roster

Asche gets charged w/ an Error, but Mayberry doesn't. That makes a lot of sense.

You have to look at errors as pretty much useless. M.Young was only charged with 9 errors while with us. By my count he was near 25

You have to look at errors as pretty much useless.

In which case they should be renamed "Martinezes"

What's the over-under on how many pitches Jimmy sees in today's game?

When you're facing a future Hall of Famer like Dice-K you've just got to tip your cap. Slowly.

For sure, Gtown...

I hate watching Dice-K pitch...he's just brutal.

I, for one, am looking for some positives - only 9+ more games of TBag, before a nice long Winter slumber...

Pedro's Rooster:
Didn't you hear? Ruf has no trade value whatsoever, because there're a dozen guys in every organization with the same skill-set. So it's pointless to even think about trading him to an AL squad that's running out .710 OPS guys at the DH position. As my thought was the same as yours before being instructed on such by the betters here at BL.

Dennis Deitch: "There's a crane working on the giant ad tower in CF. They are going to lower it & turn it into a two-sided sign."

It's about damn time!

Juums, thank you. I look forward to my well-deserved humbling, and subsequent reeducation from the masters in residence.

Okay, major squander coming up...

Looks like it's a Ruf night for Dice-K, eh?

Ruf, making a case for himself!


Dice K will slow down even more, now :)

Just the way Ruf planned it!

Hilarious. Good for Ruf.

Ruf flashes some speed there.

35 sec between pitches for Dice K there.

Dice K sucks as a fielder too...

Nice to see the Phillies (well, Ruf) making Dice-K -- or anyone, really -- pay for BBs for a change.

Just noticed Hamels has 99 W for his career. It would be cool if the Phils managed to come all of the way back & put Cole in line for his 100th tonight.

Have no fear. Gaining Cole Hamels his 100th win is a sufficiently dramatic act that the Legend of Babe Ruf would be incomplete without its inclusion. And what do you know, he's up again next inning.

Congratulations to Cole on reaching 1500 Ks tonight.

I'd love it if we'd get him his 100th win the same night.

The Amazing Expanding Strike Zone!

Cant take pitches that close.

... & more crack base running. I miss Davey Lopes so much.

Another out on the basepaths. One of our areas of specialty.

Bowa - 3B Coach.

Ruf got screwed, yes. That wasn't strike three.

And while he was a fraction of a second late recognizing that first-pitch fastball, I'm thrilled he swung at all. Wish he'd've gotten ahold of that, though. Thing would still be flying if he had.

Looking at their respective spray charts, I'm going to admit an erroneous perception. Hernandez does not, on average, appear to hit the ball further than Revere. Their charts are almost identical - eerily so, save for the greater density of Revere's. I figured hernandez for more MLB power, but I'm not sure that's a warranted inference.

The biggest point in favor of Hernandez is his arm, which isn't great for the OF but should keep opposing teams from preying on it they way they do Revere's.

Why is Juan Samuel a coach on this team? Other than the good ole boy network and ridiculous team loyalty to past players.

"Why is Juan Samuel a coach on this team? Other than the good ole boy network and ridiculous team loyalty to past players."

Wait, there are other reasons???

NEPP: I think you answered your own question. Although Samuel is blameless for tonight, as he's been granted leave for "personal reasons".

Having Cesar on the roster next year means we might actually have an okay bench player who can at least hit...its a weird concept but it's nice when your bench players aren't complete and utter jokes along the lines of Pete Orr, Mini Mart, Bernadina, etc etc.

Hadnt even noticed...I still blame Samuel for that mistake on the basepaths though.

As to the DH, the beginning of the decline of the United States of American can be pinpointed at 1973, the year the DH was introduced to American League. So, to those who want the DH in the National League, I ask one question; why do you hate America?

BTW The hundred thousand dollars saved by the FO that Lopes wanted before he walked is the most costly the team ever saved. Can there be a WAR for coaches?

This umpire is beyond incompetent.

So where do we stand on that protected draft pick? We're going to have to hit on Franco, Crawford and a couple more in the next few years to build the next core.

Some nights you can't a break. Ruf drilled that ball and Legares took away a double right there. If he keeps squaring the ball up like that, though, he might just stick in the league.

Even if guys like him are a dime a dozen.

The comments to this entry are closed.

EST. 2005

Top Stories


Rotoworld News

Follow on Twitter

Follow on Facebook

Contact Weitzel