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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Comments

thephaithful - another stat-guy who, just today, is using BIP data to analyze a pitcher's approach and success in the early going:

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/his-name-is-jaime/

He'd probably have a better answer than I did to your skepticism.

That 87 mph slop kind of reminds me of Ricky Vaughn's Terminator that Parkman re-named the Masterbator .... new haircut - same rag arm.

Dukes:

(from last thread) So you're saying that the quality of The Phitin's has gone down over the last month. Doesn't that coincide with MVPTommy's switcheroo? Coincidence?

****Let's take this opportunity to revisit Ryan Madson's blown save. So what is that 87-mph pitch he throws anyway? Does it have a name? Several followers have suggested the following: Meatball Marinara, the Hitmaker, the Blown Save, the April Shower. ****

The Masturbator...the Ejaculator?

Oops, JMARR already went there.

So Romero is back, Lidge returns tomorrow and Blanton will be back soon. Our pitching staff will be healthy and we've managed to stay in good position in the standings despite the injuries. Now all we need is to get J-Roll back.

I dont think anyone realized just how much this team relied on Blanton as a solid #3. It'll be really good to have him back out there.

On one hand the return of Lidge makes me leery. I honestly don't know what to expect and like J.W. said I would consider it a bonus if he pitches well. On the other hand being nearly the most ragged on guy on Beerleaguer by some makes me just want to support the hell out of him and think he'll do fine. I really do hope he is amazing though. I think that might be more of a symptom of my child-like enthusiasm for seeing people eat their words.

What can I say I like when people are wrong.

Another thing. Isn't this like bizzaro-April. Usually the Phil's start April like junk then have to claw to get to .500. This year they started hot and will probably end up about the same as they were last April. Just, you know, in reverse order. I'll start panicking June 1.

Gtown - the reference to the investments in the pen has nothing to do with the alleged budget. it has to do with the amount they've already invested in having a good relief core. at a certain point, it's foolish to keep throwing tons of money at a problem. the investment also is evidence of a commitment they have to the guys they've already signed to play the roles Baez is currently occupying. Baez is slightly better than your average middle reliever in fact -- probably bc they may need him to do more than the average middle reliever does.

Jose Contreras is the only arm, right now, I like coming out of the pen. I'm very concerned with Lidge and Madson the rest of this season going foward.

I personally like 'Hitmaker' which Madson is now throwing 24% of the time vs. just 21% for his changeup.

Hamels is throwing his cutter 14% of the time and his changeup just 23% of the time.m KK is at 30% and really is throwing his sinker less. Moyer is up to 22% which is up last year 15%.

Dubee better find a cure for the 'cutteritis' disease that Halladay has infected the rest of the pitching staff with it. You have two of your best pitchers using their best pitch less in favor of what is their 3rd/4th best pitch and 2 other starters using the cutter too much. Sadly not one of them is having good results with it so far according to FanGraphs:

Moyer: -4.30 runs per 100 pitches
KK: -1.80 runs per 100 pitches (although his changeup is at -7.43 and it is evident by anyone watching lefty bats continue to smash KK)
Hamels: -7.92 runs per 100 pitches vs. -0.22 on his changeup and 0.42 on his fastball
Madson: -3.11 runs per 100 pitches vs. -1.62 on his fastball

Not one of these guys is having good results with their cutter in the early going.

NEPP - one of my all-time favorites - although Major League II is a far cry from the original.

My brain won't really let me consider the possibility, but can you imagine how great it would be if Lidge came back and was an effective closer? I don't even mean 2008-effective, just something decent. Would make the Madson/Contreras combo in the earlier innings even better. If Lidge can get on track, we might even, ah, have a good bullpen.

LaMar: Sir, the possibility of successfully having a middle-aged reliever coming off 2 major offseason surgeries, struggling to get out A/AA hitters in rehab, and successfully returning as a leading closer of a MLB team is approximately 3,720 to 1.
Amro: Never tell me the odds.

If Lidge is even just an Average closer this year... putting everyone else in their Paint By Numbers roles... makes the team better doesn't it?

Baez is erratic with control issues. Has been his whole career. If he can simply have a bit better location on his fastball, he will be serviceable as a 6th/7th inning guy & that is generally what the Phils are paying him for.

MG - I like Madson's change up too, and he's thrown some lousy pitches. It should be noted, however, that Madson has thrown ~150 pitches. The difference between 24% and 21% is about 5 pitches.

That said, he's throwing that cutter way too much. The cutter is taking away more from his usual use of his FB than his change, however.

MG - and I use 24% not because it's how often he's throwing the cutter, but bc that's how often he's thrown his change the last few years. The most striking difference in Madson's pitch selection is not the changeup - it's the number of FB (62% last year, 49% this year).

Sophist - Yeah small sample size creeps in especially with a reliever in April. Just not many pitches total at place.

Even though the velocity has generally been there, it doesn't seems like Madson has same life on it. Maybe because it is early. If he was hurting (especially his elbow) you figure he wouldn't be using his curveball which looks like it has been a nice 'change-of-pace' pitch.

***approximately 3,720 to 1.****

My God! That's EXACTLY the same odds you'd have of successfully navigating an asteroid field. Weird coincidence.

Conshy Matt - funny. I don't know what it is, maybe I'm just no longer in the mood for that kind of stuff. Making fun of Eugenio Velez for dropping the fly ball just isn't real funny to me, for example. Sure, the guy is a little strange looking and he should have caught the ball but what, Phillies players never make dumb mistakes? And the whole Charlie with his hands down his pants was funny at first but is getting a bit old. Now they have these strange comment boxes that don't make a whole lot of sense to me. I'm sure it's all just me and everyone else loves it, but I'll take the substance here on Beerleaguer any day of the week.

It is interesting though that they did demote Bastardo and leave Romero up. Only leaves a single lefty in the bullpen again. Guess they figure they are going to find out what they have with Romero over the next month or so.

Can't judge much but hard to believe a guy with a 87-88 MPH fastball with no location is going to be able to help this team even in a situational role.

Sounds like most people think Madson won't blow any saves in the 8th inning. Color me unconvinced.

Funny thing...I just pulled Romero's numbers from his 2nd outing hoping to find a silver lining. His velocity actually DROPPED from his 1st appearance to the 2nd. He was 88-89 in his first appearance...an 88.3 mph avg. His MAX velocity in the 2nd outing was 87.9 and he sat 86-87.

For a reference point, his average last season was 91.4 mph.

Dukes - Who should pitch the 8th?

Madson should. I just sensed a certain blind optimism as I read through the thread that all of a sudden he'll be unhittable because he won't be pitching in the 9th inning.

I think Dubee should take the entire bullpen (and Hamels) and klunk their heads together a la The Three Stooges. It might not make them pitch better, but it would sure make me feel better.

Dukes: Yeah, Madson's pitching badly right now and moving him to the 8th inning isn't likely to magically change that. As discussed ad nauseam, he needs to ditch that cutter. He has 2 very good pitches, which is all that a 1-inning reliever really needs. This cutter business needs to stop.

He doesnt need to ditch it so much as severely limit it. It shouldn't be a primary pitch. If he wants to bury one in on a LHB's hands occasionally...go for it...Dont throw it in lieu of his 4 seamer or change.

It should be a 1-2 times an outting pitch, not a primary pitch.

If romero's slider is still effective, he can afford a few MPH on his fastball. JC was never a huge strike thrower, but if he can keep the slider close enough to the zone, he should get the ugly swings hes looking for.

sophist: i guess my main disagreement would be how players with secondary numbers that 'look' better or worse than their actual results are prematurely pegged to even out.

For instance, Hamels has posted decent secondary numbers but yet has pitched ineffectively. You are suggesting he's on the right track, but to me it causes even greater concern that he is pitching "his" game and still unable to produce the desired results.

My worry is that his slider doesnt get its snap back. In his first appearance, it looked pretty weak. I dont recall how it looked the 2nd time around (mainly because I passed out before he was in the game Monday).

JC Romero appearance - "Its always an adventure." What are some of the other tag-lines that the Phils' relievers should have?

Misanelli ripped apart Keith Law on 950. Law said Howard is not the best slugger in the game, said he did nothing well except hit homers, and would not gave gotten close to 20-25 mil on the open market. Paraphrasing all this.

KLaw doesn't like a Phillies player? Shocked.

Law also put Adrian Gonzales and Prince fielder in the same class as Howard saying they were just as good or even better. He also had no answer for Howard's lifetime OBO of .370.

Phillies have absolutely no pitching depth and can't afford to lose any of it right now, not even Herndon. That's why Bastardo goes and Kendrick goes.

Braves lost their 9th in a row today. Scored 4 runs though. Their last win was the Madson blown save at the start of the Phils' road trip.

Phils haven't lost 9 in a row since the 1999 season, the Francona Era.

Doesn't sound like Klaw said anything too crazy there.

He may not have gotten $25 million on the open market b/c he would be competing with Gonz/Fielder/Pujols at the same time, right?

Talk about a Hot Mess-I've read where Braves fans are encouraging people not to go to home games.

So does this mean the Braves suck? Cause that would be great.

Predictions for Doc against Big Pelf on Saturday?

Here is the Law interview...
http://www.975thefanatic.com/teams/phillies/home.aspx?BlogID=1001331

I do like the Howard deal but for Mikey to ignore what Law was saying shows he knows very little about the game of baseball and the players today. The argument CAN be made the both Fielder and Gonzalez are as good or better than Howard.

I'll admit, I was a Braves lover in the beginning of the season. I'm pretty shocked. Most shocking to me is our friend Jair Jurrjens and his 6.38 ERA.

Was looking through the list of teams that have lost at least 9 games in a row in a season. Unsurprisingly, it's a lot of bad teams. Don't know if any team has lost that many in a row in a season and won any kind of playoff berth.

The Mets are overachieving and the Braves are underachieving. It will balance out soon enough.

If we have to be neck and neck with a team this year I'd rather have it be the Mets than the Braves. I'm not talking about stats or anything, I'm talking pure excitement. I just think the Mets rivalary is more exciting than Georgia.

bloc party...amazing 1st record.

bloc party...worst 2nd record in recorded history.

Sorry to see AB go. I actually have more faith in him right now to throw a strike then Romeo. Plus AB's fastball and stuff are better then JC's right now.

Still think by August, both AB and Mathieson will be key members of the Phils pen. Once they figure out all of these old guys they have down there now, are either running on fumes or just not any good any more.

BTW, I thought Figgy looked awful yesterday. He had no velocity and was throwing 86 MPH meatballs.

Just pure luck, he didn't blow that game. Have no clue why AB wasn't in that game to close it out, with all those lefties coming up and Figgy out there with nothing. I guess Cholly was trusting the gut again.

This is why, I think long-term KK is the better option as the long man, then Figgy. KK has a little better stuff then Figgy. Both are similar in that they are 6th pitchers, on a good 5 man starting staff. But despite some of the naysayers here, KK would be more effective in that long man, long-term, then Figgy.

KK will get sent out next week, because he has options. But he'll be back.

MG, I thought we had a tag line for Lidge, no? Thought it was "On the ledge with Lidge."

Chase Utley on DNL right now saying that Hamels pitched outstanding yesterday and the best he's pitched all year long. FYI.

yeah. "weekend in the city" wasn't great, but it wasn't as bad as "second coming" by the stone roses. That is the most dissapointing second album ever.

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Nothing worse than the Sex Pistols 2nd album. Oh, wait, they never made one.

Gonzalez and Fielder are both definitely in the same class as Howard. Who doesn't think that?

Utley on Castro: "He's had some at-bats recently."

Utley on Hamels: "He's thrown some pitches recently."

I’ll set forth a conspiracy theory – the minor league hitters in those last 7 innings thrown by Lidge mailed it in, at the request of their big league front offices, to hasten Lidge’s return to the Philly closer spot, knowing that Cholly’s unwavering loyalty will garner their teams a couple more wins via Lidge blown saves.

59 posts and not a single comment on the blockbuster Austin Hinkle signing?

60 posts and not a single comment on Kyle Kendrick's K/9?

I don't care which player(and I like most of them, including Cole) it is, or what you have done for the team. If you are going to walk around in public with a 6oz. dog on your back, I'm going to poke fun at you. He remains Mr. Heidi to me, although others have more clever names. He may be "Hollywood Hamels", but I don't think he'll be starring in "The John Wayne Story".

"He may be "Hollywood Hamels", but I don't think he'll be starring in "The John Wayne Story"."

And that matters because...?

"59 posts and not a single comment on the blockbuster Austin Hinkle signing?"

Too taken aback to comment.

"He may be "Hollywood Hamels", but I don't think he'll be starring in "The John Wayne Story"."

And that matters because...?"

Hamels needs a 2nd career to fall back on and acting out is his specialty

I heard there will be a new group at the stadium called 'Austin Hinkle's Class A AllStars'

Now we can say we have an Austin Hinkle posting

Old Phan: It only matters to me in getting it off my chest, and being defiant to the "thought police" on behalf of Lake Fred, myself, and others who like a little humor with our baseball. Lighten up.
From a 68 year "old fhan".

"The argument CAN be made the both Fielder and Gonzalez are as good or better than Howard."

Hey there are intangibles that nobody talks about.

As far as Fielder goes, he is overweight w/ no inclination to get in better shape, and has a quick temper and has fought w/ his team-mates.

Not the guy I would want on my team.

However - Howard is an exemplary role model & always is trying to improve himself getting in shape physically and trying to improve baseball wise too. He is a winner.

I don't know enough about AG to comment.


Stark on the Phils trying to resign Werth:

"There are rumblings that their game plan is to dangle Raul Ibanez to try to clear payroll space. But we're talking about a guy who will turn 39 next year and make $11.5 million in 2011. He also has hit .227 with a .327 on-base percentage and .421 slugging percentage since he came off the disabled list in July 2009. So unless Ibanez finds his stroke, it'll be tough trying to move his dollar signs."

They couldn't move him & his entire 2011 salary ($11.7M) if they tied a pork chop on a rope around his neck and were trying to trade him to a team with a dog for a GM.

I have a feeling that the Ibanez deal is going to end up looking alot like the Gordon deal did. Produced like gang busters out of the gate and after that you only got value out of his seldomly.

Gordon have the Phils about 6.5 months of decent production out of 18 months (3 years) he was signed. Ibanez gave the Phils about 4.5 months of decent production last year. I do think he has more than 2 months of decent production left in him but not much more than that.

Carl Crawford has 3/4 of the cycle after 3 innings.

Another thought: After a "bad" week, we still have the best road record in the NL.

goody: What does Crawford need? And does that speak of the Phillies, or poorly of the National League?

Make that 4 months. Anyone else think that Ibanez has more than 2-3 months of above average production left in him over the next 2 years?

Carl needs a HR, and with them up 9-1, they won't bat in the 9th.
I think that speaks well for the phils.

Food for Thought:

While the Phils' offensive has seemed to really struggle the past week and the pitching seems like it has been pretty shaky this month, the Phils are still scoring 5.42 R/G and giving up 4.28 R/G.

Compare that to previous Aprils (RS/RA):
2005 - 4.04/5.12
2006 - 4.64/5.44
2007 - 4.96/4.81
2008 - 4.69/4.28
2009 - 5.13/5.17

While the pitching staff seems like it has been pretty awful this month, it is not something that has been uncommon. In fact, the Phils' pitching staff during Cholly's tenure has been pretty awful every April with the exception of '08.


goody: Thanks ... & I hope you're right.

Lidge and Madson will also make a combined $18M next year. Suspend your imagination a moment & imagine that Lidge comes back and has a big 2010 season. At that point, do you welcome him back next year -- knowing that he'll make $12M and has a wildly erratic history? Or do you unload him while his value's high, using the money to keep Werth? Frankly, I wouldn't hesitate to unload both Lidge & Madson if that's what it took to keep Werth. That would obviously leave us with gigantic holes in the bullpen, but I'd gamble that it's easier to pluck good relievers out of nowhere than it is to find a Gold Glove caliber right fielder with an .860+ OPS.

b_a_p: From your computer to Rube's ears ...

The biggest question I have and continue to have, is why Madson has started using the cutter so much.

He has been hurt by that pitch SO much in the past year, its not even funny. It either misses too far inside to a lefty (and falls behind in the count) or it ends up on the inner half of the plate for a lefty to hammer. And since hitters know, that he won't throw his fastball or his change inside, once they see the ball coming inside, they know what is coming.

He has gotten away from his fastball (for whatever reason). Fastball, change. OCCASIONAL cutter. That should be it. Why is he making this so difficult? Its almost like he still thinks like a starting pitcher, wanting to establish different pitches and show what a complete pitcher he is. Don't get it. And its not working.

BTW, another save for Mathieson tonight. ERA now at .84 for the season. Stay healthy Scotty and keep firing strikes. Your time is coming...

bap: At $12.5 million, Lidge would have to repeat 2008 to have anyone willing to take him off our hands.

And let's talk about Raul for a second. He gave us a great first half last year, and his overall value for the season definitely exceeded his salary. It was a good deal in the first year. But now? Does anyone think it looks very good for the next almost two seasons of Raul? Let this be a lesson, considering the news of the recent week, about celebrating contracts early on, and saying "hey, we'll deal with the bill later when it comes."

The bill always comes. In May of last year, it was sacreligious to say that the Ibanez deal might not be an unqualified success just yet. Now, along with some other deals, it might be costing us a shot at keeping Jayson Werth, and it's not as if Raul looks like he's gonna make up for it with his play on the field.

I hope Raul bounces back and puts together another good season, but as I said, just let this be a reminder about saying "we don't need to worry about the future." The future is always coming, and it usually gets here quicker than you think.

The one big problem with "unloading" people to pay Werth...

Werth doesnt have to take our money until he sees what the rest of the league will give him. So if the Phils make room for a 5yr/$75M offer, and someone else tops it...all of that unloading for nothing?

I am confident that if Rube wants Werth he will sign him and I hope the deal is so grand that it gives KLAW and instant conniption.

Jack: Every long term deal is a gamble. What if Rube pulls all the strings to sigh Worth long term, and some wacho bimbo stabs him in his throwing arm?

MG - Ibanez obviously would be tough to move but Victorino might be the odd man out in all of this if they can resign Werth.

Victorino's $7.5M in 2011 and $9.5M 2012 might be more attractive to the Phils & potential trading partner to move.

"and its not as if Raul looks like he's gonna make up for it with his play"

Ibanez's road trip: .304/.433/.522 - .955 OPS

I'm shocked there hasn't been more comment on The-Next-Santana-Better-Than-Hanson being optioned.

Jack? No defense of your boy?

BobbyD: Howard should be ripped. KLaw is right. All he does is hit HRs. He doesn't walk nearly enough. And one thing I learned on here is that a walk is equal to a hit and that HRs have no special value. In fact, a HR is no better than 4 walks.

Jack: Closers are in high demand & they are pricey. I doubt anyone would take all $12.5M off our hands, but if Lidge has a good year, they might take a good $8M or so.

I, too, wish that Amaro would be more cautious about wading into these long-term deals with older players. On the Howard deal, my first instinct was that I was happy to keep him & happy to extend our window of opportunity by a year or two. But the more I think about the long-term ramifications of the deal, the less I can really justify it.

Then again, here's the flip side. We all really want them to resign Werth. If they don't, the offense will suffer badly next year. To sign him, though, they will almost certainly have to lock him up until his age 36 season. I could be wrong, but Werth doesn't really strike me as the kind of player who's likely to have a long shelf life.

KLaw(I'm not a Red Sox Fan) has an inborn distaste for great homerun hitters and their value ever since The Babe headed south.

I have come to firmly believe that, if the FO wants to pay a player (Howard, for example), they'll do it. But by the same token, if they decide someone is expendable (say, Park or Cliff Lee), they'll make some lame excuse about financial limitations or needing to restock the farm system. The Phillies simply cannot be trusted when it comes to matters of payroll. They have always lied about matters of team economics, & will undoubtedly continue to do so. In short, I don't believe Howard's deal has any bearing whatsoever on the team's ability to re-sign Werth, or anyone else.

G Town, I agree, but i think that applies to most teams (and business in general). If they want something, they pay for it, and if they don't, they won't. If they want to sign Werth, they will find a way to do it.
I'm thrilled that finally, after following this team for a long time, they are spending money to put a good team on the field.

Bed Beard: According to your logic of how markets function, then why did Matt Holliday sign for 7yrs/$120 mil this off season after Jason Bay had already signed with the Mets for 4 yrs/$66 mil? Curious that.

Why should the Phillies or any sports team make matter of payroll public? Why should they let players that they are negotiating with and teams that they are competing with know exactly where they stand?
Fans always moan about this and teams fibbing about injuries. Why should teams make thier plans and inner workings public?

I never weighed in on the Howard deal. I like it, not because they will get their monies worth(they probably won't), but because it not only shows a willingness to spend, but a eagerness to do it early. If you are a good player, you are usually underpaid on your way up, and overpaid for your possible decline years. That's just how baseball works. And I'm not saying Howard is near his decline.

gobaystars: Who said anything about making plans public? I just don't appreciate being lied to after the fact, as w/ the Lee situation. If the Phillies don't re-sign Werth they'll make some BS excuse about money, & people here will post along the lines of "If they hadn't spent so much on Ryan Howard ...", blah blah blah. I won't be buying into that line of false reasoning. Stil, as Old Phan wrote, I'm glad the Phillies have chosen to spend more often than not. It's a far cry from 10 or so years ago, & I have enjoyed the results.

clout: "In fact, a HR is no better than 4 walks." That's correct. If you hit a HR, you get a run but the bases are empty. However, if 4 consecutive guys walk, not only do you get that run but now the bases are loaded. Not sure what's so complicated about that.

goody: That's how baseball works, but that doesn't mean smart teams shouldn't try and adjust. Why not invest more into locking up guys when they're being underpaid? you could give them raises over what they would be making, and yet still under their "market" value, thus creating an efficient outcome for everyone, right?

In that regard, the Ryan Howard deal would've been just fine, had they done it starting last year, or after he had established his record arbitration. But why are you signing a guy you already have at market value for the next two years, and then adding 5 more years of above-market value onto it, when you didn't need to? It just doesn't make sense.

Look, I'm glad the Phillies are spending money too. It's WAY better than it was 10 years ago, as G-Town Dave says. And I've always said, in the interest of equitable justice, I'd rather have money in the pockets of players who actually produce the product I love than in the pockets of the billionaire owners. I just have no problem saying when I think they should be spending money in a smarter fashion, and when I think it will have a negative effect on the team's competitiveness further on down the road. That's when I get concerned. We'll see how the Howard deal turns out.

Brian G: Well played.

Numbers are like people; torture them enough and they'll tell you anything.

Brian G.: Good luck building that lineup which can hang with the Yankees and Rays thanks to its uncanny ability to produce 8-walk innings.

Baseball revenues are doing better than ever. The economy is starting to turn around. We've seen player salaries stagnate over the last couple of years, but I think we are coming into a period where there is a set change in salaries. I think Rube feels the same way...lock up Ryno before that step change occurs.

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