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Monday, April 07, 2014


Ah, can any team afford to waste strong starting pitching by coughing up leads late?

i like the decision by the phillies to post-pone the opening day game. very fan-centric. after all, it's a very special game, by tradition.

i/m excited to see how brown's offense has come around in recent days. and he is looking pretty good in the field. i hope he didn't hurt his shoulder banging into the wall on the foul ball.

For those of you looking to keep tabs on the Iron Pigs this year. I'm sure the app will be laden with other things like buying tickets or concessions, but the information feed from the game itself could be useful.

"MiLB Inside the Park” will provide an inning-by-inning feed of all contests, ballpark events, available coupons and general information at Coca-Cola Park.

postponing the opener for the threat of rain is the opposite of fancentric. lots of people who can't switch days off are screwed.

Sunday was one of those games which the Phils seemed to play an awful lot last year:

- Spotty/poor starting pitching
- Too many BBs allowed by the Phils' pitching staff
- Inability to put a big inning on the board due to the lack of power in the lineup.
- Defensive miscues (especially mental blunders) which played a key part in the opposing team having a big inning.

Games like yesterday up with which I shall not put.

Which brings me to another point. They dont have much ability to mount comebacks like before. The best of them will eventually cough up or give up the tying runs.

postponing the opener for the threat of rain is the opposite of fancentric. lots of people who can't switch days off are screwed.

So having them show up and having it get cnacelled due to rain at 2:30 pm instead works better?

Exactly, NEPP. This is exactly why they build in the off day after the opener. There's no doubt that it's going to rain this afternoon, and it will be 65 and sunny tomorrow.

MAG signing and Nieves

Between the two, the Phils would have had over $5.5M freed up and it would have allowed them to address the bullpen by bringing in 2 mid-tier veteran relievers on 1-year deals.

MAG has no timetable set on when he is going to even start pitching again and more and more it sounds like he has a bum shoulder. Since they moved him to the 60-day DL, it sounds like MAG is a lost cause this year. Just waiting for the Phils to mishandle this injury, not diagnosis his injury properly, and MAG to have season-ending shoulder surgery at some point later in the year & not be ready for the start of spring training in the process.

Signing him wasn't a bad idea but once again this medical staff erred and it has really cost the Phils.

It's a general consensus that the sky is gonna absolutely open up today. The game will definitely be cancelled anyway. They're giving fans a chance to rearrange their schedules and not waste 3+ hours driving to a washout. Those evil bastards.

Very selfish of the Phillies really...bunch of bastards!!!

The jerks even pushed the start time back to 4:05 to help with people leaving work early for the ridiculously selfish can one front office be?!?

More traffic at 4:05 than 3:05,

I'm told the MRI shows the inside of MAG's shoulder looks like a plate of vermicelli a vongole.

Still easier to cut out of work to make a 4pm start instead of a 3 pm.

Most offices have core hours and you have to stay until at least 2pm or 2:30pm. Now people can flex their schedules and still make it to the game on time.

Its not a perfect solution but its the best of a crappy scenario.

I commend the Phillies for doing what they can to have a nice Opening Day knowing full well that today would be rained out.

***I'm told the MRI shows the inside of MAG's shoulder looks like a plate of vermicelli a vongole.***


No one leaves work early around here. We must have PRODUCTION!

One time I told the owner at work that I was taking the next day off for a funeral. His reply: Can't they have funerals on a Saturday?

Everyone else is getting the security exception error with logging in here, yes?

Also, in case anybody missed it, the Lancaster Barnstormers' latest BIG SIGNING? Greg Golson.

Wait, hold the phone...

Are you saying that if the Phillies bullpen wasn't so sh!tty, the Phillies would be a better team?


Golson has more tools than Sears Craftsman.


Outfielder Michael Taylor has cleared outright waivers and been assigned to Triple-A, tweets Chris Cotillo of The 28-year-old will take up residence in Sacramento for the fifth straight year since joining the Oakland organization.

the barnstormers also signed brief phillie, jim negrych.

Raining yet in Philly?

The last two seasons the bullpen's been bad. Amaro's plan to improve this year's pen was to sign Brad Lincoln, pray that Mike Adams can return to elite setup status, and hope the young arms would improve. At best a fairly weak plan because it relies far too heavily on unproven arms and an old, injured shoulder. When Brad Lincoln is the centerpiece addition to one of the worst bullpens in baseball it's a stretch to expect big strides from the pen.

some text

Shows rain on the radar so I think they made the right decision.

It's been raining in Philly since about 11am.

golson was a barnstormer for 1 game last year, in which he lead off with a HR.

Who is Brad Lincoln? Does Ryne know he has a guy by that name in the bullpen? Our $12 MM per year closer can barely top out at 90 MPH on his fastball. Hope he gets some of that "juice" back soon...

Bullpen? How about spreading the wealth around on one of those Texas losses? Getting picked off second doesn't even get a mention? And how about a leadoff hitter who almost never walks, with an OBP = BA and BA = Slugging %?


Minimart knows he was never going to be the starting CF, right?

Yeah, nobody's talking about the biggest problem on this team: Ben Revere.

Seriously. That league lead in SBs, combined with a CF who's boasting a an RF/9 and RF/G a full point better than the league average, is doing nothing if not keeping us in the division cellar this year.

bullit: Are you saying he LED off with a HR, or he had LEAD in his bat:)

lol. led, ofc.

The Ben Revere list of shortcomings seems to grow everyday. I'm not convinced that they shouldn't let Jimmy hit leadoff, start Mayberry in center and start shopping Revere for middle relief help.

Revere may reach base more often than Mayberry, but that is more than offset by his arm, his ability to hit for power and his reasonable competence in CF (with Gwynn subbing in the 8th).

Repeat after me. I am not a center fielder. I am not an every day player. Thank you.

Revere is drastically better at CF than Mayberry, even factoring in the arm. He also can hit LHP and RHP equally (.024 OPS split), and is likely the fastest player on the field most nights.

Couple that with an apparently-improved base-running strategy, and he's tied for the MLB lead (Bonifacio has 4 as well), and at this rate I could easily see him netting 60 bags this year. To put that in perspective, Ellsbury led baseball last year with 52.

He's never going to be the best defensive CF because of his arm, but he does look a little better in that department, and his routes have looked a heck of a lot better this year (his botched catch yesterday notwithstanding).

Revere is a good player whose ceiling is absolutely limited by his lack of power and his contact ability (which means he will never draw a lot of walks).

Even if he hits over .300, his OPS will almost surely max out around .700 (something like the .305/.338/.352 line he put up last year). Now, good defense and good baserunning make that a perfectly solid player. But that's in his best seasons, and even then he's never going to be anything more than a 2-3 win player, because his offense will simply always be below average. If he hits .270 he's probably close to replacement-level.

I actually think Revere is being underrated by a lot of fans who seem to want other CF options, but we should just be honest about what he is. A guy who in his good years will max out as a league-average player, and therefore you hope is one of your complimentary players, not someone you're counting on to be among your best.

Mickey Morandini on Maikel Franco. Maybe Maikel can have a talk with Ryan Howard.

“He wants to swing the bat, but his recognition of breaking balls is much better now. He used to swing at a lot of balls out of the zone, and he‘s learned how to lay off some of those pitches. One thing he does better than anyone I’ve seen in his age group is he’ll swing at a pitch out of the zone, and when he gets that pitch again, he won’t swing at it.”

Jack: His speed will allow him to turn walks/singles into doubles often enough that his SLG will be incredibly misleading as to his true offensive value. I honestly don't think that a .305 BA is his ceiling (that's what he posted in 2013 after only getting 2 months to make up for his disastrous April - his MiLB career BA is .326, including a .314 across two partial years at AAA in his age 23/24 seasons) either, and I think he could top out closer to .320 without tremendous difficulty.

That would leave his OPS in the high .600s/low .700s range, to be sure, but that's less important with a low-power/high-speed type of player.

Maikel Franco for president. But there is no room for him in my fan club.

WSJ: To be fair to Howard, he doesn't often swing at the same bad pitch twice. All this season (and most of ST) he's generally been getting two strikes on him before he swings at something out of the zone.

A few of those times I find it hard to blame him, because at least twice I can remember the umps granting shin-high pitches almost in the RH batter's box as called strikes against him. Overall he's got to get better, but he hasn't been having nearly as many poor ABs as I thought he would thus far - especially against LHP.

I heard (from sources) that Jonathan Papelbon sucks. Can you confirm?

Seriously, has anyone seen a good article describing the cliff Papelbon and his FB velocity fell off of? Is this just an age thing? Ken Giles was up to 101 MPH at Reading apparently. Time to Papelbon on the iceberg and push him off into the ocean, me thinks.

Giles could throw 200 MPH, but if your career walk rate is higher than Phillippe Aumont's, you're not going to be an effective pitcher. Which probably explains why Giles' career minor league numbers are pretty terrible.

He's certainly young enough to improve his command, but that doesn't mean he will.

BAP, I bet if he could throw the ball 200 MPH, he'd have a job in the majors. Teams would just forfeit. If you're the marlins do you just walk off the field or let Stanton face an out of control pitcher who throws 200 MPH? #foodforthought

I can throw 100 MPH, too.

noname: True. But, at a mere 100 MPH, he's gotta at least have some small semblance of command.

Anyone else sick of umpire challenges all ready?

Not much in life is more exciting than watching a group of umpires in headsets having an unheard conversation because they are the only ones who can't see the replay.
Nice system MLB. A dedicated monitor for the umps use is too high tech for this multi-billion dollar sport.

Imagine getting hit by a 200 MPH fastball. I would forfeit my AB for that reason alone.

Philibuster: I bet Revere will hit .320 no more than once in his entire career. Frankly, I doubt he will ever hit .320. It's really hard to do that.

I'm already factoring in Revere's baserunning when I talk about his ceiling value--see where I said "Now, good defense and good baserunning make that a perfectly solid player." I am separating out baserunning from what value his OPS represents. He is a terrible hitter by OPS, but he becomes a better overall player when you factor in baserunning and defense.

But just assuming his steals make up for a lack of power is factually inaccurate. You need to steal bases at about a 68% rate just to break even. Revere steals bases so far in his career at a 78% rate. So he is absolutely adding value there (which, again, I already took into account), but it's not like it's a perfect match. A double is worth more than a single and a SB, because a double doesn't carry the risk of negative value that the SB attempt does.

Of course, it would be even better to have power *and* speed. That way you can turn your singles into doubles, and also hit doubles.

Jack: It carries less risk but not no risk (see: slow guys trying to stretch singles into doubles), and Revere's speed is actually probably good enough that he'll do that more than once or twice in a given season.

I do agree that a double is worth more than a single and a SB, but not primarily due to the risk associated so much as the fact that the double is likely hit deeper, which would increase the odds of a player previously on-base scoring.

However, when playing in the NL, the lead-off man comes to the plate with runners on-base significantly less than likely any other position in the lineup, thus reducing the functional difference between the two. It also doesn't take into account the likelihood of the pitcher throwing more fastballs (which are easier to judge in/out of zone, and thus easier to hit than most breaking pitches) to subsequent batters when the opposing team feels that threat to steal. That likely benefits the guys after him more than if he'd started at a higher base, and increases the potential utility of a squeeze or even a blocked pitch scoring the runner.

All in all, he has the potential to give you a better-than-average overall result from CF, though odds are better he provides thoroughly average benefits over time.

Using WAR as a means of calculating how useful a player is to the team is just silly, though. Different skills among players complement each other in ways that are worth more than the sum of their parts - which is part of the reason why adding together all players' WAR doesn't give you a team's actual record.

and it finally started raining at the stadium

MG at 10:14: "- Inability to put a big inning on the board due to the lack of power in the lineup."

All MLB teams in 2014:

Phillies are tied for 4th with 7 HR.

Making sh8t up again are we, MG?

While I'd like to see Revere catch that ball yesterday, and I'd like to see him stealing bases earlier in the count to help the hitters, he is clearly not the problem with this team.

The manager has coughed up at least one game so far and made a good number of head scratching decisions in others. Like leaving in Burnett to get destroyed and put the game out of reach yesterday. Incomprehensible.

Jimmy Rollins giving us a glimpse of life with some dude who seriously can't hit playing shortstop (congrats on the baby.) Then brainfarting yesterday on that grounder which should have been an easy out at second.

Our closer clanking away a win in Texas.

A team as mediocre as the Phillies will find many ways to lose a game. But Ben Revere, while not blameless, is in no way the biggest problem with the Phillies.

On the subject of the Phils' inability to put together a big inning against the Cubs, they had the makings of one in the 5th, as they finally seemed to be getting Villanueva's number when the one-two of that BABIP luck to get Chase out and Emilio Bonafacio's leaping skills to take away Howard's hit killed that hard-won offensive momentum. Some days you just can't buy a rally, even when you're doing things right.

Smitty, who posted that Revere WAS the biggest problem on the Phillies?

awh- the moron who posts under the handle of Mini-Mart says instead of talking about the league's worst bullpen, we should be discussing Revere. I believe that's what he's referencing.

That's almost outdone by Will, who says they should start Mayberry and trade Revere for 'middle relief help.'

Those weren't both joke posts?

Sometimes it's hard to tell.

There are still "limited tickets" available for tomorrow's home opener. Is this the first year in a while that the home opener has not been sold out ahead of time?

Jamie Moyer quote (source Moyer Foundation on Facebook):

“In spring training, I learned I love talking about baseball and have things to say. I want to be informative while having fun, to give the audience perspective about baseball while entertaining the young and old in it. I believe I can do that and have a great year in the booth.”

Frankly, I don't think many teams would be willing to give up a half decent reliever for Revere.

You'd be highly surprised then.

Just confirmed by Guinness: new world record set Sunday for clank distance off a CFer's glove.

awh - Yeah they didn't hit a HR yesterday and when all is said and done I don't think they'll hit any more HRs than last year.

As for Revere, this team would be crazy to assume JMJ could start there everyday. Question is can Revere hold up for 150+ GS in CF over the course of the season & if the can improve defensively this year in CF on his routes.

Regardless if he does, Worley is trying to salvage his career in Pittsburgh's AAA club (Indianapolis) and May has made zero progress the last years at AA as a starter.
Even if Revere is the starter here in CF for 2 or 3 years, the Phils look like they won that trade by default.

A single and SB is worth less than a 2B not just because it less ability to drive runners in (or move them along the bases, in general), but because the batter who comes up behind the double has a runner on 2nd with a 0-0 count, whereas a batter who comes up behind a single/SB can have a batter on 2nd base no earlier than after he's seen at least one pitch, and many times, more than one pitch.

Also, there are probably hard-to-quantify disadvantages to a pitcher when a stolen base threat is on the basepaths, but there are probably also hard-to-quantify disadvantages to the hitter, as well. For example, how many times have we seen hitters take called strikes simply to allow the runner on base a chance to steal a base? Now that's not to say that all of those times would have produced a hit; of course they wouldn't. But in an ideal world, I'd like my team's hitter to swing at the best pitch he sees, unencumbered by any presence on the bases.

Being able to steal bases is an asset, without a doubt. But all things considered, not having to steal bases because you've already gained those bases through your hitting is always going to be the far more productive strategy.

Even Bourn who I was kind of upset the Phils didn't sign last year after he wouldn't have ended up costing the Phils a compensation pick only put up a .263/.316/.360 (.676 OPS) line last year with the Indians.

Indians are stuck paying Bourn $13.5M this year, $13.5M in '15, and $14M in '16. Been bothered by a couple of injuries last year (only played 130 G) and now is having issues with his hamstring that he had surgery on this offseason.

Say what you will about Amaro but passing on a long-term deal for Upton and Bourn really helped this team even if the price for Revere seemed a bit steep at the time.

Dave Cameron crapped on the trade at the time but he did right this paragraphs which will likely turn out apt on Revere:

"And, if Revere is a +5 defender in center field, even with his elite baserunning value, then he’s more of a +2.0 to +2.5 win player than the +3.5 win guy he graded out as last year. An average starter, essentially. With five years of team control, including two more at the league minimum, an average player is a valuable asset."

GBrett- thanks for the laugh. I wonder sometimes too. In Will's case, I hope he is kidding.

BJ Upton is also to a slow start (3-25, 1 XBH) and Braves are stuck to the tune of $13.4M this year and increasing $1M annually through '17.

Braves have as much young talent as anybody in MLB right now on their MLB roster but that hurts a team with a roster that is only $112M.

If Revere can stay healthy, it would surprise me if does have a better overall season than Upton or Bourn.

Corey Seidman ‏@CoreySeidman 4m

Marlon Byrd's 2nd in MLB to Yasiel Puig in an important defensive stat. That & 4 other 1st-week Phillies observations

Is there a single CF that was available last winter (Pagan/Bourn/Upton/???) that would have been worth the money, in hindsight?

Amaro dodged a huge bullet by trading for Revere, in addition to capitalizing on Worley's value. Frankly, it's probably the best decision of his tenure. Unfortunately it was preceded by numerous decisions that will stick with the franchise for years to come.

As for what his value in a trade would be, if a team needed a CF, they would certainly give up a 'half decent reliever' to get him. What a stupid statement.

The Revere trade was the smart move last winter...I don't the criticism of Rube on this one.

J.P. Crawford's off to another hot start at Lakewood (other than the 3 errors). Dylan Cozens & Larry Greene too. Also Samuel Hiciano, who is my call to be this year's breakout prospect.

Is Hiciano a prospect? Not sure we know enough yet. Has power potential, but arm and range limit him to LF only and his glove will never be a strong point. He's not young for Lakewood, so this season should be revealing.

FWIW, Baseball America has never listed him among the Phillies Top 30 prospects.

That's why I said he's a breakout candidate. No one really knows about him. He definitely doesn't have much positional value, but he does seem to have some power, some speed, & an ability to take a walk. The guy who used to run Phuture Phillies was fairly high on him, as I recall. That was back when he was still playing in the Venezuelan Leauges (Hiciano, that is; not the guy who used to run Phuture Phillies).

Passiing on overpaying for Upton and Bourn showed that Rue-ben himself can flash some versatility, as did getting the better of the Worley deal. Now if only Revere showed a little less versatility in taking bad routes, clanking and getting picked off in scoring position.

Sorry, but the good on this club, so far, appears to be negated by the bad. This is not a bad team. This is a better team than last year's team. Nonetheless, this is, at best, a .500 team. Still too many flaws to be a contender.

I wanted Bourn myself I was elated when we lost the BJ sweepstakes. Just wasnt feeling it. Now i did entertained the thought of trading for Justin.

in the post-greenie era it is probably more rational to hope for an entertaining .500 season from a team with so many aged stars. even if they surprise in the first half, i expect them to tail off after that. without stimulants the road is simply too long. in a recent interview utley exposed the problem when he said that the key is to find a substitute for the adrenaline that fuels the beginning of the year. you think he was talking about psychology?

For a Thursday night game during the first homestand, it looks like ticket prices are actually pretty reasonable this year – under $40/ticket for seats in Row 10 (or closer) in some of the Baseline sections (133, 136, 137, 112, 111, 110) per Stubhub. Could be the main side benefit of a mediocre Phillies team.

"I think he's gonna pork her, dad!"

"He's not gonna port her, Russ. And, you're drunk"

PorkCenter is physically located on the Field Level at Coca-Cola Park and features a quad-screen set-up for social media tracking, game watching and more. It will truly be a social media headquarters and sports desk, allowing the IronPigs to engage with fans in a both an in-person and online setting.

Someone said it last thread, even in the best of times, they would miss out on sweeps and play poorly on getaway days.

For now, I'm happy with a 3-3 road trip. Try and play .500 on the road, hopefully win 55-60% at home and that's the playoffs right there.

"That's almost outdone by Will, who says they should start Mayberry and trade Revere for 'middle relief help.' "

Iceman, yeah, I saw that too. I wanted to post something to counter it, but it was so off the wall I didn't even know how to respond. You can't reason with the unreasonable.

Considering that easily half the teams in baseball are probably around .500, that indicates that almost no game should be a foregone conclusion before the first pitch (which we definitely couldn't say last year).

I'm fine with having an entertaining season where I don't feel the need to stop watching after 3 innings. Obviously, I'd prefer a parade, but every year 29 teams don't get one of those, and I don't live near enough to CBP to make attending playoff games feasible anymore.

"awh - Yeah they didn't hit a HR yesterday and when all is said and done I don't think they'll hit any more HRs than last year."

Ahhhhh, MG, so it's your OPINION, not a fact. Gee, the way you wrote it originally it looked like you knew it for a fact.

BTW, the Phils are on pace to hit 189 HR this season, 49 more than in 2013.

As "bad" as that 14o HR in 2013 looked, it still ranked 9th in the NL.

I'd wager that it had something to do with the general decline in offense in MLB the last several years. Besides, we were spoiled by teams like the 2009 team, which had 4 guys with 30+ HR and 5 guys with 20+ HR.

Had the Phillies hit 189 HR in 2013, it would have ranked FIRST in the NL and SECOND in all of MLB.

They'll probably hit more HR in 2014 than last season because Jimmy will probably hit more than 6 and Howard will catch up to at least 25 balls he can plunk over the wall, and Byrd will add a few.

But if we're going to discuss team power or the lack thereof, it needs to be discussed in the context of the overall decline in offense.

Me thinks a guy like Revere is important in this lineup. This group of old amigos can barely run. Him and a older and slower Jimmy are the only real threats.

awh: Arguing that the Phillies have good power based on the first six games of their season is a little disingenuous, no?

Revere's not a star, and they're not paying him to be. He was never going to be a consistent 3-4 WAR guy. The Phils got him figuring he'd be a solid, relatively low-cost option for the next few years while the team has so many large salary commitments. Getting 2.0 WAR for $1.95M this year is a significant asset, and Revere should continue to be cost-effective compared to his production level through his remaining arbitration years.

The problem isn't Revere. It's the huge salary commitments to other aging players who can no longer live up to them.

I wouldn't even say that's the biggest problem, CT. For all that they're not providing value equivalent to their cost anymore, they're all likely to provide as much - if not more - value as anybody else they could have acquired/used for this season (with maybe 1-2 exceptions, who likely would have required draft pick compensation).

The bigger problem is just that the FA market "ain't what it used to be," and the farm is mostly stocked at the lower levels, and not at the upper.

Excellent point, PB.

awh - On 'per 162 G' after 6 games is meaningless.

This team was a middle of the pack team and they actually 'okay' power at 1B last with 19 HRs. Howard might add a few there. Say 6-8 if he stays healthy all year.

Here is a breakdown by position last year and rank in NL:

C 16 (t-8th)
1B 19 (10)
2B 20 (3)
3B 14 (10)
SS 9 (10)
LF 29 (2)
CF 6 (14)
RF 22 (10)

Amaro said this preseason he did think this team would hit more HRs because of Howard and Byrd. Didn't mention JRoll.

I would actually agree 100% with Amaro here but only if Howard puts up ~30 HRs over the course of the season & Byrd is able to hit 25+ HRs.

The only position on paper where you see the Phils hitting more HRs is 1B which is likely offset by the HRs (maybe SS if JRoll can beyond with a 12-15 HR season) in CF is Revere plays all year and less at C if Chooch/Nieves get almost all of the plate appearances this year.

Emphasis on HRs is a bit overdone but CBP is an offensive-friendly park contrary to the nonsense that has been asserted on other places the past few years namely Crashburn Alley.

CBP is 9th in R/G among current parks since it opened and 6th in HRs/G.

awh: Arguing that the Phillies have good power based on the first six games of their season is a little disingenuous, no?

Posted by: Jack

Uhh, Jack, that's not my argument. I'm taking issue with MG, who, BASED ON THAT SAME 6 GAMES, made the argument that they don't.

Point: At this time there is MORE evidence that they DO have good power than they don't, but anyone would be a fool to argue after a six game sample size.

BTW, the Yankees have 1 HR in six (6) games.

One (1).

That's a 23 HR pace so far this year. Is there anyone here who would argue that they are only going to hit 23 HR this season?

Correction: That's 1 HR in 7 games for the Yankees.

"Jack, that's not my argument. I'm taking issue with MG, who, BASED ON THAT SAME 6 GAMES, made the argument that they don't."

He actually did not make that argument at all. He said, "Sunday was one of those games which the Phils seemed to play an awful lot last year," and he then went on to cite lack of power in the lineup as a result (10:14 a.m. post). He said nothing about that lack of power displaying itself over the first 6 games. His "sample size" was the 2013 season. It wasn't MG, but you, who introduced the first 6 games as some sort of indicator of the Phillies' power.

Hmmm is Chase out due to flu?

Even when he's sick Chase does it old school.
He's out with the "flu".
Everyone else whose been out, with something similar, for the past 10 years has been out with "flu-like symptoms".

Utley is sick enough that they sent him home for bed rest rather than let him sit on the bench.

I'm assuming he's crapping himself continually and throwing up blood for that to be the case.

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