Analysis

Wilson Valdez's Historic Season

I don’t know how it was where and when y’all were growing up, but my high school pretty much stopped teaching new material around Memorial Day, even though we didn’t get out until the end of June. The last three weeks of school were dedicated to watching movies, sitting around chatting, and playing cards. My senior year, I took band and four AP classes, so after the AP tests and our spring concert were over in early May, I did nothing for the last seven weeks of school in five of my eight classes, to say nothing of the overwhelming force of senioritis.

With seven of the right MLB playoff spots locked up, this week has a definite “Last Month of School” vibe to it: we’re all just sitting around, happy to have the chance to relax, but looking forward to what’s to come even more. So in the spirit of end-of-the-school-year distractions, here’s one: Wilson Valdez could have done something historic this season.

Now, Exxon hasn’t been as bad as I had feared this season. When the Phillies replaced their injured offensive sparkplug and informal captain, Jimmy Rollins, with a man who had slugged .292 in 369 major league plate appearances, I feared the worst, but Valdez, mostly on the strength of his glove, has been pretty good. In 107 games, he’s hit .257 with four home runs and seven stolen bases. Don’t get me wrong: these are terrible offensive numbers, but considering his rock-bottom expectations and solid glove, I’ll take them. In fact, Baseball-Reference rates him at 1.3 WAR this season, and FanGraphs at 0.5 WAR–not ideal starter numbers, but satisfactory from a player like Valdez.

There is, however, one offensive category in which Exxon is putting up record numbers: double plays grounded into. Wilson Valdez grounds into double plays the way Weezer puts out new albums nowadays–often, indiscriminately, and sometimes with disastrous results.

Wilson Valdez is tied for 14th in the major leagues in GIDP, with 20. That might not sound so bad, but consider the following: the league leader in that statistic, Kansas City’s Billy Butler, has exactly 300 more plate appearances than Valdez (655 to 355). It’s not that Valdez is grounding into so many double plays–it’s that he’s doing it in so few at-bats.

In the DH era, a player has grounded into 15 or more double plays while not qualifying for the batting title 290 times. 29 of them have grounded into 20 (including two Hall-of-Famers: Tony Gwynn and Jim Rice). One needs 502 plate appearances to qualify for the batting title, and most of the players on the list came to the plate 400 times or more. Again, Exxon has only 355 plate appearances. So how many players have had 20 GIDP in 375 PA or less in the DH era? Two. Wilson Valdez this year and some poor sap named Eddie Williams who grounded into 21 in 325 PA for the Padres in 1995.

Let’s extrapolate, and place Valdez’s absurd GIDP rate in historical context. The single-season record for GIDP is 36, set by Jim Rice in 1984. Rice put up that remarkable stat in 708 plate appearances, almost exactly twice Valdez’s total. For those of you without a calculator handy, that’s one double play every 19.67 plate appearances. The career record is held by Cal Ripken, Jr., who grounded into 350 in 12,883 career plate appearances–that’s one every 36.81 PA. Valdez this season grounds into a double play every 17.75 plate appearances. Given adequate playing time, Valdez would demolish both of those records.

And how about this–he’s come to the plate with a runner on first and less than two out only 82 times this season. In those plate appearances, he has 20 GIDP, and only 18 hits. I’ll repeat that for the cheap seats: with a runner on first and less than 2 outs, Wilson Valdez is more likely to ground into a double play than he is to get a hit. “Dreadful” hardly does that statistic justice. I’m reaching into my bag of adjectives and coming out with words ordinarily used to describe war criminals, livestock rapists, and “We Built This City” by Starship.

Of course, he has turned 35 double plays in the field this season, so he’s making up for it at least somewhat. I guess the takeaway lesson from this is that when Wilson Valdez is in the lineup, expect outs to come in bunches. Just thought you might like to know.

108 Comments

108 Comments

  1. JAY-AKA-PHILLYBOY

    September 29, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    JRoll is baaaaaaa-aaaack …. but won’t be 100 percent “until February.” http://tinyurl.com/23tworc

  2. Keegan

    September 29, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    Hey, Hurley is good stuff and Raditude isn’t nearly as bad as everyone gives it credit for. They cut a little loose for it but its still good-spirited and fun.

    And I <3 Wilson Valdez.

  3. Kate

    September 29, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    WTF???

    It NEVER fails! Someone has to sh*t all over everything with some unnecessary, gratuitous negativity.

    Without Wilson Valdez, we’re not in the playoffs, let alone NL East Champions.

  4. bfo_33

    September 29, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    Dobbs almost never hits into double plays, primarily because he rarely makes contact, and when he does, it is usually a pop-up. The only nice thing I can say about Dobbs this year is he routinely provided a reason for me to explain the infield fly rule to my kids.

    The one big comment is “Valdez had only 355 ABs”. If someone told you in March that Wilson Valdez was going to get 355 ABs replacing Utley, Rollins, and Polanco, what would your over/under on wins be? 78? Maybe 82? Agree that there are too many GIDP, but in 355 ABs, only struck out 42 times, and has been rock solid on defense.
    PA H R RBI BB SI GIDP Avg
    Valdez 355 84 33 33 19 42 20 257
    Other* 345 61 25 33 21 67 3 191

    (Other is Dobbs, Castro, and Ransom – Dobbs owns a 3rd baseman’s glove, doesn’t know how to use it, Castro is comparable defensively, but doesn’t have the arm, Ransom is decent at 3rd, no so good at ss or 2nd).

    Valdez gets a free pass in my book for his D and not atrocious hitting.

  5. Bart Shart

    September 29, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    Wilson Valdez is a utility infielder. He is supposed to be a good fielder and a below-average hitter. In my opinion, he was a god’s-send this year as he filled in well for injured players. He hussled and was a genuine asset to this team. To expect more from him in his role in 2010 is assinine. He deserves an ovation.

  6. twc84

    September 29, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    Given that Valdez is usually batting 8th, when he comes up to the plate with a runner on first and less than two outs, doesn’t it make sense for him to bunt, thus ensuring that at the very least, the lineup gets turned over? Also, note that while he isn’t an especially speedy runner, he is a solid bunter and would probably be far less likely to bunt into a double-play than he would be to ground into one?

    The worst case scenario would be a bunted double-play. But the best case would be the top of the order starting the next inning, or better yet, the pitcher keeping the inning alive. Also, note that when bunting, you force the opposing pitcher (often times) to make a play, which can increase the chances of an error. I don’t have any stats to back up this theory, but it has to be worth a thought, considering the 20 double-plays to 18 hits data listed in the article.

  7. EHS Jeff

    September 29, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    Eastern High School – stopping teaching in mid-May? I can absolutely validate that, as I was there to experience it. Love to see the Vikings get their due on the message boards!

  8. Chuck

    September 29, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    Thank you, Kate!!

    “Terrible offensive numbers” Really???????

    .257 isn’t “terrible” for anyone….let alone a utility guy.

    Seriously…some of you writers have to constantly over-analyze everything.

    Kate is right….Without Valdez this season is lost.

  9. Paul Boye

    September 29, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    Valdez’s OBP is .302

    The only Phillies with more than 100 PA who have a lower OBP this year are Greg Dobbs and Juan Castro (RIP).

    His fielding is a nice stop-gap, but he’s nothing special and is only a cult hero because he hasn’t been as God-awful as the rest of the bench bats not named Gload.

  10. Paul Boye

    September 29, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    And, frankly, I think it would be fun to laugh at this absurd rate of double playing. It’s a fun thing, not a “we’re dumping dirt all over Wilson Valdez” thing. I believe our reputations may be starting to precede us.

  11. Chuck

    September 29, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    In fact, I will go out on a limb and say that…right now…for THIS postseason….I would rather see Valdez in there instead of J-Roll.

    Jimmy isn’t even close to being healthy. He said so himself. Valdez can more than hold his own.

    The infield is a problem. Nagging injuries to Polly and J-Roll…and only Valdez to really truly fill in. That’s why Dobbs (gulp!) may have to be on the roster.

  12. Chuck

    September 29, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    Again….Without Valdez this year…and I don’t think the Phillies are where they are right now.

    As far as I’m concerned…I’ll call that “SOMETHING special”

    Sh*t on him if you must. But the truth is the truth, ex-Phrontiersmen, Paul and Michael.

  13. Phylan

    September 29, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    It’s true, the Phillies would never have won 94+ games without their barely-above-replacement utility infielder. You can’t find those anywhere else in the MLB!

  14. Phylan

    September 29, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    Wilson Valdez has a .660 OPS. That’s around 30% below league average. He’s hitting .257/.308/.358. He’s struck out more than twice as many times as he’s walked. He’s grounded into 20 double plays in 355 PA.

    Yes, he’s been an acceptable fill-in while Rollins has been down. Yes, he has a good glove by all indications. It’s patently ridiculous, however, to say that the Phillies would be anywhere but where they are now without Wilson Valdez. This is because there are tons of Wilson Valdezs in the league — the shortstop position is glutted with well-below-average-bats and good defenders. That’s the nature of the position. You can find them on the waiver wire, in the minors, and as throw-ins with trades.

    The point of all this is not to be overly-negative, or dismiss Wilson Valdez’s contribution, or to “over-analyze” or whatever else you think. The point is that, I’m sorry Chuck, but you and Kate are tremendously overrating Wilson Valdez. By a lot. A whole lot. This seems to happen perennially in Philadelphia, especially when the broadcasting crew and media take it upon themselves to heap undue praise on any backup that gets significant playing time, which they certainly have in Valdez’s case.

    Valdez has held his own on the defensive side while Rollins has been out, but he is far from irreplaceable. And the Phillies would be right where they are now without him, on the backs of a tremendous starting rotation and the talents of Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jayson Werth, Carlos Ruiz, etc.

  15. SJHaack

    September 29, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    Wilson Valdez has been a bit above average fielder, and a horrible batter. He has far exceeded expectations, but only because expectations were so low.

    If you looked up Replacement Level Player, you’d see a picture of Wilson Valdez. If you looked up Wilson Valdez, you’d see a picture of a scorebook with 6-4-3 written in it.

    Anyone remember Inning-Endy Chavez? Wilson Valdez is literally that guy but an infielder.

    Except he’s a worse hitter.

  16. Kate

    September 29, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    And I’m not saying Valdez is a star, either.

    But he deserves a lot more respect than this waste of time article gives him. He’s the most valuable utility player of the year.

    Like I said, without Valdez, we’re not even in the playoffs.

  17. George

    September 29, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    Paul, if you honestly believe this is a “fun thing,” and not “we’re dumping dirt all over Wilson Valdez” thing, you must be reading humor into a piece of writing that contains none.

    Myself, Kate, Chuck, Bart Shart, and bfo_33, don’t seem to see any “fun” whatsoever in bashing a reserve infielder–originally signed to a minor league contract, no less–who was called upon more than anyone could ever have expected and did the job admirably.

  18. Publius

    September 29, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    Oh my god people are actually arguing that Wilson Friggin Valdez is the reason the Phillies made the playoffs. Forget the fact that the waiver wire is full of guys who have Valdez’ skills (only sans the GiDPs) such as Felipe Lopez, Jose Lopez, Willie Bloomquist, Josh Wilson, etc.

    Valdez should only see ABs in the postseason in extra-inning games when the rest of our entire bench has already been burned by Cholly’s hilarious-yet-reliable mismanagement of assets.

    Also, are we seriously using batting average, and an anemic .257 batting average at that, to justify Valdez getting at bats?!

    Also also, Ben Zobrist and his 3.0 WAR easily wins as most valuable utility player. Valdez’s WAR is 0.5. Barely above being a replacement player.

  19. Paul Boye

    September 29, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    If we can’t pick on a guy for something like this, there is probably nothing critical that we can write that would sit well with you.

  20. Lefty

    September 29, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    Valdez last ten games-
    5 walks and 9 hits -14 for 31- That’s an OBP of .451 Paul. I could care less about his historic stats the rest of the year, the ones that matter are the ones posted at the end when we needed help because JRoll went down. Oh and I think there was a concurrent 11 game winning streak in which the team committed exactly zero errors in there somewhere. Defense up the middle in MLB is a critical stat for championship teams and Wilson Valdez was part of that. Oh and, interesting use of the word “y’all” Michael.

  21. Publius

    September 29, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    Hooray for using arbitrary end points, small sample sizes and hilariously bad stats (errors? really?!!) to “prove” a point!

  22. Phylan

    September 29, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    Hey George I need to perform further scientific analysis but preliminary results indicate that you are the Most Serious Person on the Internet.

  23. Sam

    September 29, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    Wilson Valdez is the savior of this season. Enough said

  24. Sam

    September 29, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    That fireball arm is incredible one of the best i have seen. you can hang some laundry on his throws

  25. Manny

    September 29, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    If you take a glance at J-roll’s 2010 and Valdez’s 2010 stats, you’ll see that they’ve put very similar numbers… Now add to that the fact that J-roll isn’t and won’t be 100% healthy this postseason… and I feel like the safer bet is to go with Valdez in our NLDS games (unless J-roll shows some signs of life in the next few games). On the other hand, J-roll has the *it* factor and some magic postseason moments in his record.

    Plus, something nobody has mentioned and may sound crude: Having Valdez on the lineup also means: Victorino leads off (instead of Jimmy) –that’s good!—; Chooch gets bumped up one spot on the lineup –that’s good!– . Even if we bring J-roll back right now, he’d probably bat 6 or higher in the order… that would mean that RAUUULL would get bumped down to the 7th spot (gulp!).

    Those are the unintentional consequences of Jimmy not being in the lineup. Despite Wilson’s GIDP, the lineup flows somewhat better from 1-7 as it is.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that it would be nice to get Jimmy swinging well for the postseason, as long as he’s not batting leadoff.

  26. biz

    September 29, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    This site is poison. Too much negativity. Did Jeff write this article? I see a lot of people with very little baseball knowledge making asinine posts about a 3rd string infielder who stepped up in a big way. Remember Juan Castro? Yeah, him. If Valdez hadn’t stepped up the way he did, we’d have seen 400 AB from Juan Castro. Can you imagine that? How about Eric Bruntlett? Do I need to even go there?

    I don’t care about Ryan Howard’s K’s, and I don’t care about Wilson Valdez’s GIDP. Ya know why? Because they do so much in other areas. Valdez has been far above average in the field. He has a cannon. He also has quite a few clutch hits this season with big RBI’s. Anyone who doesn’t know this, hasn’t been paying attention and shouldn’t be voicing a negative opinion about the man.

    It never ceases to amaze me how a good portion of our fans do nothing but complain. 4 straight divisions, possibly the best team in the game, and here you are, whining about a career minor leaguer who stepped up big time and helped this team win the division. You ought to be ashamed of yourselves.

  27. biz

    September 29, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    # Sam Says:
    September 29th, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    That fireball arm is incredible one of the best i have seen. you can hang some laundry on his throws

    _________

    YES! Exactly. I wonder why no one ever tried to make him a pitcher. He’s gotta be topping off in the mid 80’s on some of his throws.

  28. bfo_33

    September 29, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    Phylan/Paul/Michael,…
    I think you are missing the point. When is the article coming out about the poor bunting technique of Roy Halladay, or how slow Carlos Ruiz is? Valdez was brought in as a defensive replacement, originally intended to get maybe 80 ABs. He’s played solid defense at three different infield positions. Is he the best defensive player on the team? No – but right now he’s better than Jimmy Rollins (defenisively or at the plate – I hope Jimmy gets it together quick, but only has 4 more games to do it). Anything off the bat is a bonus.

    Maybe on your way home tonight, you can pick on some 3rd graders for being short.

  29. Kate

    September 29, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    Without Valdez’s (and the rest) defense, the starting pitching would have been in even more trouble while the bats were slumping.

    And this is not “fun.” This is why Philadelphia fans have such a bad reputation, because we trash for “fun.” It’s one thing to trash other teams in good fun, but this is just stupid. Is there really nothing else to blog about?

  30. JAY-AKA-PHILLYBOY

    September 29, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    Hangover Part II: Rollins 6, Valdez 4, Victorino 8, Sweeney 3, Francisco 7, Mayberry 9, Dobbs 5, Hoover 2, Blanton 1

  31. Publius

    September 29, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    I think what we have here is a problem of expectations. Paul and Michael obviously expect baseball players to be good, or at least not be a massive void at the plate when there is a man on first, while everyone else is happy with league-average mediocrity.

    To each their own I guess, but I don’t see why we shouldn’t point out flaws, especially ones as blatant and back-breakingly painful as Valdez’ constant GIDPping

  32. The Dipsy

    September 29, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    Wilson Valdez has been a savior in the field this season. I honestly think the double plays thing is a is freak thing. An aberration. You could have Eric Bruntlett, I guess. I’ll be glad to take him on the post season roster.

    The Dipsy

  33. biz

    September 29, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    Also, are we seriously using batting average, and an anemic .257 batting average at that, to justify Valdez getting at bats?!

    _________

    So are you saying that J-Roll and his .245 average shouldn’t be back in the starting lineup? Cause .257 > .245.

  34. Publius

    September 29, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    Once is a fluke, twice is an aberration, 20 is a pretty consistent pattern of hitting soft ground balls with a runner on first and getting doubled up.

  35. JAY-AKA-PHILLYBOY

    September 29, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    Just for fun-Jimmy Rollins talks about Justin Bieber, Snoop Dogg and the music business: http://bit.ly/9Ghchy

  36. JAY-AKA-PHILLYBOY

    September 29, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    WILSON HAS BEEN 1 OF OUR MVP’S THIS YEAR,PLANE AND SIMPLE!!!

  37. Publius

    September 29, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    biz I would much rather have Rollins’ .693 OPS than Valdez’ .660. Batting average is not a good metric to compare offensive value when we have things like OBP and SLG.

  38. JAY-AKA-PHILLYBOY

    September 29, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    Without saying it, Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee made it clear Tuesday that Roy Halladay will pitch Game 1 in the postseason against an opponent still to be determined.

    Conventional wisdom has been that the Phillies will follow Halladay with Cole Hamels in Game 2 and Roy Oswalt in Game 3 to split up the two righthanders, but there are strong indications now that Oswalt will pitch Game 2 and Hamels Game 3.

    “It’s going to be Oswalt in Game 2, you can bet on it,” a baseball source said Wednesday.

    It would make a lot of sense regardless of the opponent, but especially if the Phillies face the Cincinnati Reds.

  39. biz

    September 29, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    Publius

    To each their own I guess, but I don’t see why we shouldn’t point out flaws, especially ones as blatant and back-breakingly painful as Valdez’ constant GIDPping

    ________

    I don’t see why you feel the need to point out the flaws of a career minor leaguer who stepped up and helped this team win the division. It’s a shame that we don’t have Hanley Ramirez riding the pine for instances such as these, but given that we’ve had Juan Castro, Eric Bruntlett, and Greg Dobbs playing utility infield for us in the past, I would think you would be grateful for a guy like Valdez. Instead, you feel some need to point out his flaws.

    I have to question exactly what is wrong with people who “feel the need” to do the things you “feel the need” to do.

  40. SJHaack

    September 29, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    @bfo_33
    ***I think you are missing the point. When is the article coming out about the poor bunting technique of Roy Halladay, or how slow Carlos Ruiz is? Valdez was brought in as a defensive replacement, originally intended to get maybe 80 ABs. He’s played solid defense at three different infield positions. Is he the best defensive player on the team? No – but right now he’s better than Jimmy Rollins (defenisively or at the plate – I hope Jimmy gets it together quick, but only has 4 more games to do it). Anything off the bat is a bonus. ***

    But the point of this article is not to talk about how good Wilson Valdez is, OR how bad Wilson Valdez is. It is to point out that he hits into a hilarious number of double plays. This is pure fluff and people are gettin’ all MAD and stuff.

    @Manny – It’s not Jimmy Rollins’ fault that Charlie won’t move him down in the order. Having a hitter so bad he has to bat 8th and forces you to move someone better suited to leadoff up to the top is not a positive outcome.

  41. Chuck

    September 29, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    Publius,

    so with your argument…

    “an anemic .257 batting average to justify getting Valdez at-bats.”

    …wth that argument…Jimmy Rollins shouldn’t be getting at-bats…earlier in the year when Raul was struggling he shouldn’t have been getting at-bats….Chase Utley was close to that too (at one point I thinkmhis avg was .268)….and so forth.

    Come to think of it…wasn’t Ryan Howard hovering around .250 or so for part of last season? I suppose he shouldn’t have gotten at-bats, either…

    Thank God Charlie, Ruben and the rest of the Phillies management doesn’t take the advice of some of you so-called geniuses.

  42. JAY-AKA-PHILLYBOY

    September 29, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    HERE IS A TAKE ON WILSON GUYS-In the first part of our Phillies series, Know Your Role, in preparation for the playoffs: Wilson Valdez. http://bit.ly/ajZzJl

  43. biz

    September 29, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    Negadelphia

  44. Phylan

    September 29, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    I think how personally some of you are taking criticisms of Wilson Valdez is an indication of how objective you’re capable of being about him. And to continue to note that not much was expected of him is missing the point: the fact that nobody expects anything of a defensive replacement is exactly why you could get any number of players from around the MLB or in the minors to do exactly what Wilson Valdez has done this season — a bad bat and good defense at shortstop. This is not to say he didn’t make a contribution, it’s just that his contribution is very replaceable, so it’s ridiculous to say things like “The Phillies would not be in the playoffs without Wilson Valdez.”

    I mean, take a step back people, some of you are getting positively irate about people pointing out that Wilson Valdez just isn’t a very good baseball player. Philadelphia fans don’t get a bad reputation because they point out which of their players aren’t good; they get a bad reputation because as a Phillie you’re all embracing him as a savior, and if he were on any other team you wouldn’t hesitate to knock him. Think hard about how much the media narrative is driving your opinion on this topic.

  45. Phylan

    September 29, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    And does critically evaluating a fringe major leaguer provoke the “negadelphia” and “typical negative Phillie fan” comments, while these notions are nowhere to be seen when people, including commenters from this very site, bash consistently great players like Ryan Madson, Jayson Werth, etc.

  46. SJHaack

    September 29, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    To put it a different way, Chris Wheeler fucking LOVES this guy.

    The proper way to frame your opinion of something is to listen to Chris Wheeler, and then think the exact opposite thing.

  47. Phylan

    September 29, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    “And why does” is obviously what I meant to type there.

  48. biz

    September 29, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    Phylan,

    I’m perfectly able ot be objective about Valdez. He grounds into a lot of DP’s. How’s that?

    What I’m also able to say, which apparetnly you are not, is that he has stepped up in a big way this year. He’s played great D, has a cannon, and has provided some clutch hits. I’m willing to overlook his GIDP because I remember Juan Castro and Eric Bruntlett.

    Btw, IMO, Valdez has had a better year than Jimmy. How’s that for objective?

  49. Kate

    September 29, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    This is not “all in good fun.”

    My dad says, “Oh, Double-Play Valdez” each time he steps to the plate and I laugh a bit and shrug, because he’s making fun of me because I like Valdez.

    To actually put all the time and effort into such a mean-spirited, negative exercise is not FUN. Don’t even try to sell this as not being mean-spirited, because the language in the article proves otherwise.

    “Here comes Double-Play Valdez,” is all in good fun.

    Actually going out and researching these stats for no good reason other than to trash someone who’s helped our team reach the play-offs is completely pointless. Shame on this site for allowing this kind of pointless negativity. “Fluff?” Try “garbage.”

    It’s not like Valdez was released or left off the post-season roster and this negative piece was supposed to be defending such a move.

    Chase Utley was slumping like mad even before he was injured. No one’s going off and looking up his stats during the great bat blackout of 2010.

    No one’s timing Schneider or Ruiz from the plate to first base.

  50. Chuck

    September 29, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    There’s no guarantee that any other utility player in the mold of a Wilson Valdez would have done what he’s done this year.

    ——

    Paul…

    “Cult heroes” help teams win pennants….and World Championships. Baseball history is littered with them. Brian Doyle of the late 70’s Yankees and Craig Counsell of the ’97 Marlins come to mind.

    Point is…good teams….CHAMPIONSHIP teams….need people like Wilson Valdez to help them win.

    And, yes…whether you choose to embrace the fact or not….Wilson Valdez HAS been a savior this year.. No media member had to convince me of that.

  51. JAY-AKA-PHILLYBOY

    September 29, 2010 at 4:21 pm

    GOD I HOPE THIS IS NOT TRUE!-just announced Sweeney will be left of the NLDS roster in favor of Dobbs……..I AM CHECKING INTO THIS!!!!

  52. SJHaack

    September 29, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    Every time Eric Bruntlett was on base in a World Series game, he scored a run.

    That’s the walking, talking definition of clutch contributor!! I can’t believe people think badly of him!!!

  53. Chuck

    September 29, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    Right now…I would take Eric Bruntlett over Greg Dobbs.

    Seriously.

  54. Chuck

    September 29, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    JAY..

    I guess Ruben figured that Sweeney’s WAR wasn’t good enough….so they left him off.

    In all seriousness…really?? he’s not on the roster ?? What the…..???!!!!

  55. Scott in D.C.

    September 29, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    I find that hard to believe. Source?

  56. JAY-AKA-PHILLYBOY

    September 29, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    CHUCK-I AM HOPING JUST LIKE YOU THAT ITS NOT TRUE,I READ IT ON A SITE,BUT I HAVE NOT FOUND OUT FOR SURE YET……….

  57. JAY-AKA-PHILLYBOY

    September 29, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    I THINK IT IS B.S TOO…….

  58. Scott in D.C.

    September 29, 2010 at 4:31 pm

    They’ve got to have a righthanded batter off the bench. Clearly, Gload is the go-to guy from the left. Sounds fishy.

  59. JAY-AKA-PHILLYBOY

    September 29, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    WELL THEY WILL HAVE BEN……….DOBBS WILL BE A BACKUP INFIELDER,THAT WOULD BE THE ONLY REASON HE MAKES THE ROSTER,BUT WHO KNOWS!!!

  60. JAY-AKA-PHILLYBOY

    September 29, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    YEA-I CANT FIND ANYTHING,SO WE WILL FILE THIS UNDER NOT TRUE FOR NOW…….

  61. The Dipsy

    September 29, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    Bruntlett was one of the worst players in Phillies history. Check the stats.

    The Dipsy

  62. Scott in D.C.

    September 29, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    Forgot about Benny Fresh. How could I?

    Regardless, I think last night was Dobbs’s audition for a postseason spot. He didn’t make a very strong argument in his favor.

  63. JAY-AKA-PHILLYBOY

    September 29, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    SCOTT-WELL HE IS IN THE LINEUP AGAIN TONIGHT…..LOL

  64. Scott in D.C.

    September 29, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    God help us.

  65. SJHaack

    September 29, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    @Kate
    ***Chase Utley was slumping like mad even before he was injured. No one’s going off and looking up his stats during the great bat blackout of 2010. **

    Ok, I will. Why? Because baseball statistics are fun!

    Chase got hurt on June 28th. His batting line was .277/.383/.466. (.849 OPS)
    His current batting line for the year is .278/.391/.454 (.843 OPS)

    Chase is having a down year (for Chase). He’s getting on base as well as ever, but his power clearly suffered from the injury. His OPS+ is 126 (100 is league average).

    Valdez’s batting line for the season is .257/.302/.358 (.660 OPS)
    His batting line as a second baseman is .248/.295/.347 (.642 OPS)

    Wilson is having an incredible year (For Wilson). His slugging is 30 points higher than it has ever been, but is 100 points below Chase (and 20 points below Jimmy, who is having a horrible year but still better than Wilson Valdez). His OPS+ is 76 (Again, 100 is average). His career OPS+ is 63.

    Also Ruiz runs the bases really well, catcher or no. Remember who scored without a throw from 1st base with only 1 out on Jimmy’s double in the NLCS last year?

  66. SJHaack

    September 29, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    To put it a different way, Chris Wheeler freaking LOVES this guy.

    The proper way to frame your opinion of something is to listen to Chris Wheeler, and then think the exact opposite thing.

  67. Chuck

    September 29, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    That shows just how much I can’t stand Greg Dobbs….

    …..the fact that I would rather have Eric Bruntlett….. “one of the worst players in Phillies history”…..

    …..over him.

  68. Publius

    September 29, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    Dipsy telling people to look at the stats. Delicious irony.

  69. Bart Shart

    September 29, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    We should go out and get Wilson Valdez teeshirts made. He is the face of the 2010 Phillies. We should be talking to artists to begin on his statue in front of the stadium. We should be grateful to this wonderful little man who fills so many infield holes so effectively. A bit hyperbolic, but you do get the drift that Wilson Valdez in indeed a contributor to this team in 2010. He does not deserve to be disrespected.

  70. Andrew from waldorf

    September 29, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    Real bad wether today in DC I think they dont get this one in.

    Valdez ia the most pleasent suprise of the team.
    Period

  71. Phan in the outfield

    September 29, 2010 at 5:32 pm

    Again Chuck — I have to back your thoughts on Dobbs. I’d PAY a little leaguer over Dobbs. Anyone but Dobbs. Just say NO to Dobbs. I vote NO TO DOBBS. That should do it.

    I read all the above posts. The numbers were informative, the opinions interesting. I honestly think both sides have salient points. The truth is the real Wilson Valdez falls in the middle. In the beginning every time he was on the field or stepped to the plate, I realized I’d developed a silent mantra, ‘Oh pls let us come out the other side of this in one piece. It’s not fair – it’s not fair.’

    Like bfo, Chuck, Kate, George, Andrew, Bart & others I’m sure I left out, I grew to really like the guy. He not only hung in there in a difficult sports environment, with a team that was having problems, but he worked hard & we could see it. A few wks later his fielding was well above average & he wasn’t hitting into double plays every AB. Lately his fielding has been terrific.

    Would we not be here w/o Valdez? I doubt that. Like Phylan, I think that fact has more to do with Uncle Charlie, Polanco (Mr. Consistency), Ibanez, Werth, Ruiz (& his 2nd Schneider & 3rd Hoover), Howard (& his 2nd Gload & 3rd Sweeney), Halladay, Hamels (never thought I’d say that one), Durbin, Contreras (sadly today’s Jeltz), possibly even Lidge, and definitely the acquisition of Oswalt.

    Someone else would’ve been in Valdez’ spot. They also would’ve risen to the expected play of the rest of the Phillies. They would’ve found the relaxed clubhouse environment that Halladay & Sweeney both talk so respectfully & happily about just as fun to be in. They too would’ve wanted to stay just as I’m sure Wilson does.

  72. Phan in the outfield

    September 29, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    I meant to include this — I’m not sure why Michael Baumann felt he wanted to write the article to begin with though. I don’t think I understand the point. Wilson Valdez has served his purpose and performed admirably. Let it go.

  73. Phylan

    September 29, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    Probably because this is a Phillies blog about the Phillies and he thought he’d write something about a Phillie who was flirting with a significant milestone.

    But to read the comments of Kate you’d think he sought out Wilson’s family and told them he was a child molester. You guys are just ridiculous. Seriously, look at yourselves. You’re canonizing a below-average backup thrust into a starter role because he wasn’t a total catastrophe.

  74. JAY-AKA-PHILLYBOY

    September 29, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    Some more news-looks like Roy Oswalt for Game 2 http://bit.ly/dvrWAE

  75. Phylan

    September 29, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    “It’s OK if my dad makes an off-hand remark about how he hits into a lot of double-plays but the second you actually research that fact and god forbid actually write about it, you sir have crossed the line!”

    Like, can we evaluate this statement for a second?

  76. Chuck

    September 29, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    Michael Baumann wrote it because he just wants to innecessarily stir up the pot and say things that make no sense. And it’s interesting that whenever he or Paul Boye write one of these ridiculous columns….that’s when guys like Phylan and Publius show up.

    If they want to de-value Valdez…so be it. I am choosing to embrace his presence on this team…and I’ll be laughing my a$$ off when he wins the Phillies a few postseason games…

  77. Phylan

    September 29, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    It’s actually hilarious to me how offended you all are about this.

  78. Chuck

    September 29, 2010 at 6:09 pm

    Nobody’s “canonizing” the guy.

    But we’re saying that he is a major reason why the Phillies are where they are.

    Like I said…if you wish to DE-VALUE him…go ahead.

    But don’t come back on here and sing his praises when he helps win them a game or two in the postseason.

  79. Chuck

    September 29, 2010 at 6:09 pm

    I’m not offended at all. I just think your DE-VALUATION of him is off-base.

  80. bacardipr05

    September 29, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    What they going to leave Sweeney off the Roster this is insane? As far as Valdez i think he has held his own. Double Play Exxon has done an admirable job. He was never known for his bat but .257 isnt as bad. He was a 3rd stringer and for a 3rd stringer he has been doing a great job. If we would of hit into lets say 10 double plays we wouldnt even be having this discussion. Great plays save close games which the Phillies have been in plenty of this year. He is like that 7th man on a basketball team. The little contributions can make a difference.

  81. sjhaack

    September 29, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    I don’t understand where all the offense is coming from. Here is what I got from the article:

    “Holy crap, Wilson Valdez hits into a lot of double plays. Everyone knew it was a bunch, but it really is that many.”

    He even wrapped it all up high-school style in the last paragraph. When Wilson Valdez is in the game, you get two outs on a single batted ball a lot. The end!

    Where is everyone getting this accusation of horribleness from? The entire article is wholly about double plays re: Wilson Valdez. Why are people angry about this?

  82. Phylan

    September 29, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    I’m not devaluing him Chuck, I’m assigning him his proper value, if you read what I’ve said in this thread. You’re overvaluing him.

  83. Kate

    September 29, 2010 at 8:32 pm

    Valdez has been a bright spot in a spotty season.

    I won’t be so quick to defend Phillies fans the next time someone reminds me we always find something to complain about.

    I don’t care that someone did the research into ol’ Double-Play Exxon. The facts of the opinion piece are not in dispute.

    What I find offensive is the mean-spirited, derogatory, dismissive way this “article” treats a guy who has more than pulled his weight this season, and unexpectedly so.

    No one’s going to convince me that we would have made it further than the Wild Card without Wilson Valdez and the other bench, back-up, and utility players like him. Brian Schneider also won us a game right before the All-Star break, if I recall.

  84. Phylan

    September 29, 2010 at 9:04 pm

    I guess you could interpret it as mean-spirited, derogatory, and dismissive, if you completely ignored this paragraph:

    Now, Exxon hasn’t been as bad as I had feared this season. When the Phillies replaced their injured offensive sparkplug and informal captain, Jimmy Rollins, with a man who had slugged .292 in 369 major league plate appearances, I feared the worst, but Valdez, mostly on the strength of his glove, has been pretty good. In 107 games, he’s hit .257 with four home runs and seven stolen bases. Don’t get me wrong: these are terrible offensive numbers, but considering his rock-bottom expectations and solid glove, I’ll take them. In fact, Baseball-Reference rates him at 1.3 WAR this season, and FanGraphs at 0.5 WAR–not ideal starter numbers, but satisfactory from a player like Valdez.

    Which is exactly what most of us have been saying – he did what was expected. And I’m guessing you didn’t really read much of the article so you probably did ignore it.

    I don’t know why you’re comparing him to Brian Schneider, since Schneider has an OPS 80 points higher, and is actually producing at nearly league average at the plate. What you don’t understand is that there are tons of available players exactly like Wilson Valdez. This is why the Phillies would be right where they are now without him. If you can’t be convinced of something so demonstrably true, then why are you bothering to “debate” the topic with a closed mind?

  85. SandPhlea

    September 29, 2010 at 9:15 pm

    As I recall the MANAGER said Wilson might be the MVP of the team. You know, the best manager in the majors this year.

  86. Chuck

    September 29, 2010 at 9:19 pm

    You can’t say that for sure…that “the Phillies would be right where they are now without him”.

    Maybe there are other players that are “exactly like Wilson Valdez”….with their numbers.

    But Valdez has brought something INTANGIBLE to the equation that maybe a player “exactly like” him wouldn’t have brought.

    You…and I…and Kate…and the next person….don’t really know that…and we never will. But you can’t make the statement that you did.

    And again…”terrible offensive numbers” doesn’t describe Valdez when the guy is hitting .257.

    Not .157

    .257

    The bottom line is…and I will stick to it….is that the Phillies are DAMN lucky that they had Wilson this year. And give props to Ruben for seeing something in him that led to his becoming a Phillie.

    Oh, and Phylan, I read the entire article. Just sayin’

  87. Phylan

    September 29, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    If you’re making a positive assertion that there is something “intangible” about Valdez, some intangible thing so important that the Phillies would be in a significantly different position without him, the burden of proof is on you to demonstrate that it exists; you can’t simply say “you don’t know!” and act like that means anything. I’ve used demonstrable facts to qualify Valdez’s contribution to the Phillies, you must do the same.

  88. Kate

    September 29, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    Case in point: Valdez’s chemistry with Utley and Howard is almost Rollins-esque in nature. Unless you’re going to try to tell me there’s nothing unusual about the chemistry of the infield triple-headed monster of Rollins, Utley, and Howard.

    Valdez and Mike Sweeney fit right in with this club.

    They plugged Juan Castro in the same spot and he didn’t produce the way Valdez did. So there’s *something* there that Valdez brought to the table that Castro didn’t.

  89. Kate

    September 29, 2010 at 9:39 pm

    And a half-hearted backhanded compliment doesn’t render the rest of the piece innocuous.

    It’s mean-spirited and unnecessarily negative, especially for a guy who has more than earned the respect and gratitude of the club and the fans.

    Baseball isn’t only about the numbers, it’s about the guys playing it.

  90. Chuck

    September 29, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    Phylan, here’s the defintion of intangible:
    http://www.yourdictionary.com/intangible

    The fact is that NONE OF US KNOW for sure whether someone else with similiar stats as Wilson Valdez would have brought the same thing to the team…..and made it so that the manager said, as someone above just suggested, “that Wilson might be the MVP of the team”

    I didn’t say that. SandPhlea didn’t say that (he just recalled it)

    CHARLIE MANUEL said it.

    And I think that the MANAGER might know better than any of us whether or not someone is valuable or not…whether he has those “INTANGIBLES” or not.

    Again…NONE OF US KNOW what would have happened if someone else was in there instead of Valdez. Maybe the Phillies would have doen the same thing. Maybe they would have 110 wins. Or maybe they would now be on the outside looking in.

    And sometimes “demonstrable facts” don’t tell the whole story. You can’t just sabrmetric everything to death.

    Why can’t you just accept the fact that Valdez has been a major benefit to this team…and leave it at that. Stop over-analyzing and over-thinking every single thing about this beautiful game.

  91. Phylan

    September 29, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    None of us know, but I have a pretty good idea based on the facts that are available. You are asserting something you cannot even define or explain that makes Wilson Valdez substantially more important to the team than his performance indicates. You have to prove that, if you want me to be convinced. This isn’t about sabermetrics, at all, so don’t even bring it up. I’ve used nothing but conventional stats – average, on base percentage, slugging, OPS – to talk about Valdez’s contribution.

    I can’t accept that Wilson Valdez has been a “major benefit” to the team because that overrates his contribution. He’s been an acceptable backup. And don’t you dare imply for a second that I don’t appreciate the beauty of baseball just because I dig a little deeper to understand what’s going on. I don’t over-analyze anything. In the case of Wilson Valdez, you’re running with the media narrative, a quote from the manager, and some anecdotes – you’re under-analyzing.

  92. biz

    September 29, 2010 at 10:01 pm

    Phylan,

    I’m glad you took the hyper-link off of your name. It was really hard to take someone’s opinion seriously when their name links to firerubenamaro.net.

  93. Kate

    September 29, 2010 at 10:04 pm

    Firerubenamaro.net?

    Yeeeeaaaaaahhhhhh…

    Well, I’m convinced.

  94. Phylan

    September 29, 2010 at 10:12 pm

    I would encourage you to read the content before you decide how informed I am on the subject but you didn’t give Michael that benefit.

  95. Chuck

    September 29, 2010 at 10:17 pm

    I said earlier in this thread that the media did NOTHING to convince me or influence me that what I have been witnessing with Valdez has been pretty special.

    And the same with the manager’s comments.

    I have watched enough games this year to figure out for myself that the Phillies…and the fans….have been VERY BLESSED…to have Valdez as part of the team and part of this CULTURE here in Philadelphia.

    That’s what it is…a CULTURE…that’s special here. Sometimes that’s something that just supercedes stats…whether they be conventional ones or ones of a sabrmetric quality.

    You’re right. His stats alone suggest that he’s just another utility player in a group of many. He DOESN’T have “terrible” offensive numbers, as Michael suggests in his article. .257 isn’t a “terrible” average (unless you’re Ted Williams)

    But he has *something*…as Kate has said….that can’t necessarily be defined. That’s INTANGIBLE.

    And so what?? Does it matter that it’s intanginble??

    If you don’t want to appreciate what he’s done…as you’ve alluded to by saying that he hasn’t been a “major benefit”…then that’s your business and right.

    But please don’t come on here if/when Valdez wins a few games for the Phillies in the postseason and hoot and holler and sing his praises. By devaluing him and what he’s done this year…you’ve sacrificed that right.

  96. Phylan

    September 29, 2010 at 10:24 pm

    So because I think he’s been an adequate backup and nothing more, I don’t get to pump my fist when he makes a great play? Because I’ve already been doing that.

    And who gets to decide which utility guys contribute INTANGIBLES and CULTURE to the team? Just you and Kate? Don’t you see the problem here?

  97. Phylan

    September 29, 2010 at 10:26 pm

    How do you know he has SOMETHING that can’t necessarily be defined? Can you give me any hint to what it is? I watch all the games too, and somehow it’s eluded me.

  98. Chuck

    September 29, 2010 at 10:43 pm

    That’s why it’s INTANGIBLE, Phylan. Not everything can always be defined. Not everything is black or white. And I shouldn’t have to give you any hints. You’re a seemingly intelligent person. Figure it out…it’s really not that hard .

    Yeah, sure, pump your fist. Shout. Carry on like a crazy person. What ever it is you do during games.

    Just don’t come on here and sing his praises if he has some kind of unbelievable postseason that helps the Phillies to another WFC….maybe wins MVP of one of the series (could happen, you know) Your credibility will have been shot with me…and I would imagine a few others on this site (not just Kate, by the way).

  99. biz

    September 29, 2010 at 10:45 pm

    Phylan Says:
    September 29th, 2010 at 10:24 pm

    So because I think he’s been an adequate backup and nothing more, I don’t get to pump my fist when he makes a great play? Because I’ve already been doing that.

    ________

    First of all, he’s been more than adequate. He’s been outstanding. I would go as far as saying he’s been just as good as Jimmy’s been this year. Plus, he’s saved us from having to see extended AB from Juan Castro and Dobbs.

    2nd, you can’t pump your fists for him because you’ve decided to sit here and spend the better part of a day finding faults with him and trying to convince others that he has only done an “average” and “adequate” job. That’s why you can’t pump your fists. You wanna sit here and rip him, then fine, go ahead. But don’t pretend you’re a cheerleader later on. That would be like Jeff going around high-fiving guys after a Howard Tater. It’s hypocritical.

  100. Chuck

    September 29, 2010 at 10:54 pm

    See what I’m saying, Phylan? Your credibility is in question. biz just confirmed what I have been saying and went further by suggesting that you would be a hypocrite by being a cheerleader.

    You want to do that in your own home or somewhere else…fine. But not on here after “spending the better part of the day finding faults with him and trying to convince others that he’s only done an average and adequate job”.

  101. Phylan

    September 29, 2010 at 11:47 pm

    That’s why it’s INTANGIBLE, Phylan. Not everything can always be defined. Not everything is black or white. And I shouldn’t have to give you any hints. You’re a seemingly intelligent person. Figure it out…it’s really not that hard .

    OK, it’s intangible. But what is it? Something that makes the offense perform better? Something that helps the rotation? The bullpen? I appreciate that you perceive me as intelligent, but I need you to at least outline what you’re referring to here. Do you see how convenient it is to assert that something exists, with no proof, and no definition, that validates your argument? If I had done that you wouldn’t have even bothered to respond.

    Just don’t come on here and sing his praises if he has some kind of unbelievable postseason that helps the Phillies to another WFC….maybe wins MVP of one of the series (could happen, you know) Your credibility will have been shot with me…and I would imagine a few others on this site (not just Kate, by the way).

    Why? My credibility is endangered because some of you disagree with what I’m saying? You and biz and Kate and some others have a monopoly on what is the acceptable evaluation of Wilson Valdez? I always thought J.A. Happ was overrated by Phillies fans, was I not allowed to get excited when he struck a batter out? I’m a Phillies fan through and through, stop acting like I’m some pariah fan because I don’t agree with you about a utility infielder.

    Also if you think responding to you guys has constituted the better part of my day, you’re getting a wee bit ridiculous. I have a job. And I had to watch the Phillies.

  102. Adrian

    September 30, 2010 at 1:17 am

    Valdez has a career line drive percentage of just 16%, and he hits in a lineup that gets on base more than most. This stat doesn’t surprise me all that much.

  103. Chuck

    September 30, 2010 at 6:54 am

    I think this horse has been beaten. You have your opinion and I have mine. Whatever…

    Go Phillies!!

  104. biz

    September 30, 2010 at 10:45 am

    I hope Wilson Valdez gets a ring this year. What a fantastic job by a career minor leaguer. Great up-the-middle defense and some clutch hitting when we could have had Eric Bruntlett or Juan Castro. I feel sorry for the Jeffites who felt the need to bash a man doing a fine job. It would have been a lot easier to congratulate and think him. But I guess Im asking to much in the City of Brotherly Love. The national media is right. There is a ton of jerk-offs in this city.

  105. SJHaack

    September 30, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    Biz I absolutely agree with you.

    The amount of people who’ve provided nothing but baseless speculation, hyperbole and accusation to a conversation that started from a cute discussion on double plays is really disappointing.

  106. Chuck

    September 30, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    This was never a “cute discussion on double plays”

  107. Kate

    September 30, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    Seconded, Chuck.

    If it was a “cute discussion on double plays,” there wouldn’t be so much attention paid to it and I think that’s what the writer was looking for.

  108. JAY-AKA-PHILLYBOY

    October 1, 2010 at 10:44 am

    Valdez story by JSalisburyCSN is a must read! He’s been a VITAL part of the team! http://bit.ly/9ztyFs

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