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Tuesday, April 29, 2014


The continuance of stodgy, old school thinking will take the Phillies nowhere.

Last year, there were 8,134 defensive shifts across baseball, according to Baseball Info Solutions. That’s nearly double the 2012 total of 4,577 shifts, which was nearly double the 2011 total of 2,358.

Per Matt Gelb - The Phillies shifted fewer than 28 of baseball's 30 teams in 2013 and graded out as the worst defensive club in baseball last year, per Baseball Info Solutions.

The Phillies shifted 48 times last season when balls were in play. The Orioles led the majors with 470.

The Pirates, who one would assume have less money to spend on extra staff, hired their analytics guy in 2008.

The sad thing is that 2/5 of our rotation is coming from a team that shifted extensively last year with Burnett in Pittsburgh and Hernandez in Tampa. You'd think they would have said "You know guys, shifting really helped us out last year...maybe we should try it."

I dont understand the reluctance to aggressively shift.

NEPP, agreed.

And honestly, I'll bet they're so far behind the analytics curve, that they still haven't gathered enough proprietary data/studied it enough to suggest to them how to shift. I could be wrong, but I think some teams have an analytics guy dedicated just to defense. We have a part-time analytics guy trying to do it all, and an ownership that is resistent in the first place.

Analytically, the Phillies are bringing a knife to a gun fight.

***We have a part-time analytics guy trying to do it all, and an ownership that is resistent in the first place. ***

And, IIRC, his background is more on the business side of it and he's building it up from complete scratch (from literally having to buy computer equipment and servers to hoping some unpaid interns will serve as slave labor during the summer). No way that will fail...even if it doesnt, it will take a long time to get it up and running efficiently.

To be fair to Freedman, he's not "part-time" anymore. They made him a full-time employee back in January.

Was that a swim meet last night or was that baseball?

Freedman is supposedly the guy who recommended that they sign Fausto Carmona, so he's not exactly off to a great start.

This just in:

Rally red or cut fastball...change your name however you want- you are a moron!

Analytics guy has found that $1 Kielbasa night would be the most successful financially in terms of marginal rate of return among the several varieties of meat products although they will try out several types in Sept weeknights including chorizo night too.

"And honestly, I'll bet they're so far behind the analytics curve, that they still haven't gathered enough proprietary data/studied it enough to suggest to them how to shift."

WSJ, this team is so far behind on the analytics curve they can't even figure out that it's better to play Mayberry against Niese.


"Analytically, the Phillies are bringing a knife to a gun fight."

...and a paring knife at that!

the phillies analytics curve is more like a mobius strip.

Anytime you question Hamels' mental focus you are now lumped into the 'cretin fan' bin.

Hamels clearly did let conditions get to him though unlike Niese. Both guys were clearly uncomfortable with the mound as evidenced in how they behaved especially in the 4th inning.

Or maybe he simply couldn't grip the ball well and it led to his pitches getting hit.

Why does it always have to be a "mental focuse" thing with Cole?

I don't subscribe to the "Hamels is soft" meme, but Niese did have to pitch in the same conditions.

I guess what I'm saying is that our offense is soft? Gotta be honest, I don't even know anymore. I just hate losing to the Mets.

Thanks WP. I agree - that's the premiss of my original remark. I would have hoped that Cole could have at least handled the opposing pitcher; keeping him from reaching via a walk.

It's not such a big deal, unless you're paying Cole six years, $144 million.


Now we won't know if it is the bullpen, offense, or starting pitching that would have been responsible for tonight's loss.

(Probably the offense)

Cyclic, unless I'm mistaken, I think the bullpen is next in line as the "loss attributable to [entity]" but I could be wrong. Paps is due for a blown save, and I was almost certain that tonight was the night.

Now I guess we'll have to wait and see if that's something that rolls over to the next game, or is skipped entirely.

Ugh, that'll make 1 game over 4 days...feels like the all-star break.

The Flyers chances just took a massive hit too as they are only ever allowed to win when the Phillies lose on the same day.

nokwurst, you have no interest in playoff hockey/the Flyers, I presume?

If nothing else, it frees up my attention for Game 7 (which, channeling my Phillies outlook, I just assume the Flyers will lose in glorious fashion).

I see NEPP and I are on the same page...

NEPP - From his body language though and looks he was clearly frustrated with the home ump and the calls he was/wasn't getting especially on the last 2 BBs including Niese.

Corey Seidman ‏@CoreySeidman 1m
Gotta say, I love that Phils are skipping KK/Hernandez to go Lee-Burnett-Hamels this weekend. Need to beat the Nats whether it's May or Sept

* * *

Think the strategy'll work?

"Think the strategy'll work?"

Firstly, huge fan of "strategy'll"!!!

Secondly, I like the thinking and it's a nice change of pace from Cholly's logic to keep the rotation chugging along.

Thirdly, I'll be extremely perplexed when the accompanying lineup cards in these "need to be the Nats" games include the words "Galvis" or "Nix" especially after all of this off time. That would be hypocritical of a manager who is setting his rotation to win the series.

Is there anyone alive who's sorry to see one less KK/Hernandez start? Didn't think so.

What's another kick in the guts for Kendrick. It shouldn't leave a visible mark. He can take it.

If Mayberry doesn't get the start over Howard on Sunday against Gio Gonzalez, I'll scream.

Oh yeah, forgot about the Flyers.
I like hockey, it's just always taken a backseat to the other 3 major sports for me. But with nothing else tonight, I'll have to remember to watch.

GB: I hope so, I was happy when I realized they were skipping Hernandez in order to setup Lee/Bur/Ham for the gNats.

It seems silly to say "they have to sweep all 3" in May, but: at home, 1-2-3 rotation, minus Harper/RyZimmerman/Ramos...I really want them to sweep.

If Mayberry doesn't get the start over Howard on Sunday against Gio Gonzalez, I'll scream.

Problem with that: Howard is actually hitting LHP pretty well this year:

35 PA, .258 AVG/.314 OBP/.798 OPS

He's actually slugging better against LHP than RHP too, .484 to .463.

Granted, I dont expect that to continue (the even splits or the reverse slugging split) but I could see Sandberg using that as his "logic" to start Howard against LHP.

Overall though I would definitely give Howard the day off against Gio and I would use it as a simple rest day/day to get Mayberry in against a fastball throwing LHP that he should hit well. There's also the fact that Howard is hitless against Gio for his career (9 PA, 0-8, 1 BB) whereas Mayberry has a .866 OPS against him in 18 PA.

Should be interesting to see what Sandberg does.

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There was a time when people put effort into their spam and took pride in it.

That time has clearly passed.

upto I saw the paycheck saying $8928 , I be certain brothers friend was realey bringing home money part-time at their computer. . there uncle had bean doing this less than 1 year and recently paid the morgage on their house and bought a great new Ford . Learn More Here.......­­W­­W­­W­.W­­O­R­K­s6­­­.­C­O­­M

Like against many lefties, JMJ's high OPS against Gio is mostly from slugging. He's not great at getting on base.

That is accurate. Though sadly he has pretty much the best split of any Phillies player against Gio.

Nix is also 3 for 9 against him with a 1.030 OPS (he hit a HR as one of those three hits)

Betcha they're both in the lineup.

In Spring Training it seemed as if Sandberg was setting the stage for an eventual 1B platoon (or at least "semi platoon"), and even made comments about Howard having to show that he can hit left handed pitching. We even surmised about the potential of the platoon being enacted after Howard demonstrated that, yet again, he just wasn't up to the task.

Then the season started and he's (at least for now) hitting left handed pitching! At least in that respect, I wouldn't blame Ryno for "draining the well." History tells us that he should start JMJ against Gio. Recent history at least argues that Howard should have a shot at him. I'm not going to feel too passionately either way. Though I'd probably rely on a few years worth of data, I can at least see reasoning if Howard does start, especially since he's apt to be well rested after all this down time.

Howard takes a ton of crap here, and elsewhere, and usually rightfully so. However, I don't think he's being given enough credit for his improvement against LHP (at least, so far...) and his recent attempts to try to hit through the shift. Those two points are the single biggest deficiencies anyone can find in his hitting and he's clearly working on them. Who knows, maybe he'll become master of the throw to 2B and figure out how to run a 4.3 forty next!

***and figure out how to run a 4.3 forty next!***

From what I understand, he's been working with Bengie Molina to try and improve his speed on the basepaths.

Cyclic, thanks for the retro rainout message.

Cyclic: "If Mayberry doesn't get the start over Howard on Sunday against Gio Gonzalez, I'll scream.

NEPP: "Should be interesting to see what Sandberg does."

awh™'s take:

Sandberg will play Howard.

After last night's game, where he sent a 1/15, 7 K Howard up against Niese, despite having Mayberry, 9/34, 2 2B, 3 HR on the bench, Sandberg has proven to me that he is no better than Charlie in that regard and incapable of learning.

It is mind-boggling, and frankly inexplicable. Howard is now a whopping 2/18, with a .111 .150 .111 slash line and 9 K against Niese.

Sandberg may have had a reason, but there simply is no GOOD reason for it.

Charlie was fired because Sandberg was supposed to be an improvement.

So far, all we're seeing is why Charlie was the winningest manager in Phillies history.

"Like against many lefties, JMJ's high OPS against Gio is mostly from slugging. He's not great at getting on base."

Cyclic, you're not saying you'd play Howard, are you?

I believe I said I'd scream if Howard is playing instead of Mayberry.

cyclic: Revere's higher OPS than Brown's is also mostly due to his SLG:)

If there is one thing MG knows less about than bullpen management it is body language.

Take MG with a silo of salt when he says some things

Just you wait. Brown is excited about May...

Ruben wants to wait until 2021 so he can trust the analytics guy's 7 year old data.

To "Cody Asche Quotes" from early this morning...

Believe It!

Also: would be nice if the Flyers could get more than 3 shots in the 2nd period.

In other news: Marlins absolutely demolishing the Braves for the second night in a row. Harang gave up 9 over 4.2, all earned.

To "Cody Asche Quotes" from early this morning...

Believe It!


Your right Reality. Hamels didn't walk off the mound and stare down the ump during the Niese AB last night before he walked him.

You add nothing to the conversation here except to mock others & the irony is you say hands down some of the stupidest things on here.

Hamels after the game expressed how he was disappointed in himself especially with the BBs in the 4th.

No Sixers, no Flyers. From here till Fall it's The Boys of Summer. Or in the case of this year's team - The Boys of Simmer.

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I've been reading for years on BL that Hamels us soft. He'd probably fall to pieces in post season.

No doubt. I have no doubt that we'd have at least 1 WS victory over the past 7-8 years if not for Hamels soft demeanor.

I don't know how anyone could have watched Hamels' career and still think he's soft. The guy is a fierce competitor and a very talented pitcher. In fact, this may reflect more on the Phillies suckitude over the years than on Hamels talent, but he is the best pitcher the Phillies have developed (completely homegrown) since Robin Roberts. That covers my entire lifetime. Yes, the Phillies are historically bad at developing players and with only a few brief respites have been beyond awful at it. But Hamels is basically it since the Wiz Kid era.

Too bad some can't appreciate him. He may be the only one of his kind for another 50-60 years at this rate.

"Who knows, maybe he'll become master of the throw to 2B and figure out how to run a 4.3 forty next".

I'm sure he could run a forty in 4.3, as long as it was forty feet.

Yeah but he has a little dog that he carries around and stuff.

i appreciate the hell out of him. heidi too. he is a gentle soul. and that just irritates some ppl.

Good assessment

Corey Seidman ‏@CoreySeidman 15m
.@JSalisburyCSN breaks down the positives and negatives from the Phillies' .500 April

I agree with Heack1958

Nothing like what seems an eternity of off time for a team that was trying to build off a successful West Coast trip. Obvious drop off in traffic on BL, too. I hate off days. I hope no one slips and falls and breaks a hip during all this down time.

"I agree with Heack1958"

Which post? Both were so damn "meaty."

Predictions from most here would have had them anywhere between 8-20 and maybe as high as 12-16 after April.

13-13 is where they're at (with a couple postponements). Not too shabby.

Though, they are already outperforming their pythag by 2 wins.

I'm optimistic still. With a good Hamels start, that could easily be 14-12. Also, I firmly believe that the bullpen and 3B base (almost literally) can't get worse.

So here's hoping.

1 game (if you can even call what that was a game) in 4 days really sucks.

Go Phillies.

With a good Hamels start they could have . . .

Yes, and if Asche and Galvis and Nix could hit, they'd likely have 16 wins. And if Rosenberg didn't stink, and DeFratus wasn't mediocre, and Lincoln was a major league pitcher and . . .

Is this Beerleaguer or FantasyLeaguer?

They are what they are. A .500 team at best. We hope for more, but this is what we get.

Oh come on. I was referring to one start. From a guy we can usually expect better of.

I even pointed out their pythag.

I'm not suggesting they're a true talent 14-12 team instead of .500. Not that that difference even means anything.

We didn't get a predictions thread, but anyone saying this was a .500 team would have been ridiculed at the beginning of the season.

I'm encouraged at the 13-13 start. Hoping they can hang around and make this season fun.

I seem to remember some picks at 80-82 on the makeshift predictions thread. But what I should have said is that a poor start by Hamels against the Mets was perfectly predictable and to be expected. He just has trouble with that team.

I think a .500 team is being optimistic for this crew. But I suppose hoping for another protected draft pick is not a happy goal. So I won't hope for that.

81 wins probably does a number of bad things. Lower draft pick. Rube sticks around. Rube doesn't try to maximize value by trading his valued vets. And it's possible that my predicted 73 wins does about the same.

"From here till Fall it's The Boys of Bummer"

Fixed that for ya!

ak-- You are thinking of last year's "predictions thread".

I stand corrected.

NEPP said 80-82

Yeah, it wasn't an official predictions thread. NEPP did predict 80-82. I only predicted the wins at 73 because I didn't want to do the math on how many losses that meant. Too much math and too sad.

And I did say 84... but most we're in the 70s.

80ish if everything broke right.

Well everything hasn't broken right (though some things have since they're outperforming pythag) and yet they're .500.

Just tread water until Ruf/Martin (bullpen savior)/MAG get back.




Fixed that for ya!

"we're crap"

Fixed that for ya!

I know we joke about Ethan Martin, BULLPEN SAVIOR, but with his pitch repertoire, if he did happen to put things together, he could be properly lights out. And isn't a lights-out RHP reliever exactly what the bullpen needs?

I'll be honest. I'd take a lights-out reliever from either side, so long as he's lights-out against both kinds of hitter.

The "bullpen savior" phrase is sort of tongue-in-cheek, but I'm totally not joking about him. I really think he'll be a huge asset/boost to the bullpen. Think this year's version of 2013 Diekman. (>140 ERA+)

Martin has the exact same problem as Diekman and Aumont: a career walk rate than is north of 5. There aren't many major league pitchers who can succeed with that kind of walk rate. The theory goes that Martin's walk rate is a product of his endurance problems, which wouldn't be an issue out of the pen. But that theory has never been tested and it may or may not be true. For one thing, I'm not even sure if the premise is true; we'd need to see his minor league splits by inning. And, even if the premise is true, we also don't know if his endurance will hold up any better throwing 20-30 pitches a few times a week as opposed to 80+ pitches once a week.

I'm skeptical.

Howard Eskin thanks for pointing out what every Philly sports fan already knows...Duh'...Your barely mediocre yourself dude..

And piece that frees us up to jettison Camp or Manship is only an upgrade, and this team should be looking to upgrade without exception. If (and that's a huge "if") Martin can figure something out, he'd be a valuable upgrade in that vein.

It's actually a bit scary when, in these late/close games, Sandberg gets his 'pen up and it's two lefties or two righties (based on the opposition's impending lineup) and the difference is one "if we have a tie/lead" guy versus one "wave the white flag" guy. I've seen Bastardo warming up next to Hollands and Adams/Manship combos in the last week and a half or so.

As of 5/1:

fWAR: 0.6
bWAR: 0.6
OPS+: 160

fWAR: 0.1
bWAR: 0.5
OPS+: 104

I'll try and remember to update at the beginning of each month.

Yup, I said 80-82 and they pretty much look to be right on track for that. Win a few, lose a few, etc etc. Never get any momentum going and the pitching is good enough to prevent any massive losing streaks.

Recently advanced catching prospect Deivi Grullon hit a HR for the Lakewood BlueClaws tonight. It would be great if he could show some power this summer while honing his catching skills.

I agree with you, NEPP.

But I think there will come a time, shortly after the ASB, where either the wheels will fall off completely and they'll struggle to touch 70-75 wins, or they'll turn it on and make serious wild card noise, possibly winning, but more than likely missing by a game or two, 86-88 wins.

I've also got my eye on the Chooch-Navarro comp, since a few of us thought RAJ would have been better off signing Navarro. So far, RAJ is looking pretty good on this one:


bWAR 0.4
fWAR 0.3
OPS+ 102


bWAR 0.8
fWAR 0.9
OPS+ 148

I hope he doesn't progress. I don't want to have to spell his name.

"I hope he doesn't progress. I don't want to have to spell his name."

You're in luck. The odds are very slim that you will ever have to.

How do pronounce his name. DeeAyeVay GrewYawn?

Davey Grew-Yahn is my guess

He may have been overly confident with his arm this evening. Had a throwing error on a wild pitch.

Any further timeline on Ruf besides "extended spring training soon"?

As of 4/29: "Ruf (strained left oblique) has been taking batting practice and will play in extended spring training games "within two or three days," according to Sandberg. The manager said Ruf would split time between left field and first base once he begins a Minor League rehab assignment."

Thanks, buster.

I'm sure the Iron Pigs can't wait to have him back.

If the Phillies were running a medical school, their best "brain surgery" prospect would be the 14-year old recruit who aced his 8th grade biology final, and has plus manual dexterity for his age, but who is still 2 years away from his first frog dissection.

Geez. It's amazing how many people are pining for Frandsen just because he's not embarrassing himself at the plate or in the field as much as he did last year.

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