Phillies Bench Struggles in 2011

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Tue, November 29, 2011 08:24 AM | Comments: 19
2011 Player Review, Analysis, News, Opinion, Posts

Martinez stuck with the Phillies all season. But did he deserve it?

We continue on with our player reviews. Today, we look at the bench parts of the Phillies roster from 2011.

Michael Martinez – Martinez came into the 2011 season as a 28 year-old who had yet to reach the majors and was one of the few players in minor league history to ever post a .000 ISO (SLG-AVG) when he did so in 2006. Despite the red flags, specifically positing a .223/.313/.298 triple-slash as a 27 year-old in Double A in 2009 or the aforementioned 2006 season where he hit a tremendous .172 in Single A, the Phillies took a chance on Martinez in the Rule 5 draft.

As part of the Rule 5 draft, the Phillies had to keep Martinez on their roster the entire season or offer him back to his original team, the Nationals. Martinez’s defensive reputation kept him on the Phils for the entire season;  according to UZR/150, Martinez excelled in limited playing time at 2B and SS but was horribly underwhelming in the outfield. Martinez didn’t walk a lot (7.7%) and put up a triple slash of .196/.258/.282. Why the Phils kept Martinez on the roster the entire season, I will never be sure, particularly considering they had Pete Orr, a stronger, faster, and comparable defender in the system.

Martinez did outfield Wilson Valdez position for position in 2011 but both Orr and Valdez are faster, stronger, and have better bats than Martinez. With the acquisition of Wigginton from Colorado, Martinez will likely start 2012 in Lehigh Valley.

Grade: 1.5/10


Wilson Valdez – Wilson Valdez quite literally defined “replacement player” in 2011 for the Phillies. If you wondered what league average was in 2011 in the NL, Valdez’s .249/.294/.341 triple slash with 3 steals and 1 HR gave him exactly 0 WAR. Valdez was well under league average defensively at 2B and 3B but put up above average (11.2) UZR/150 at short. Valdez memorably became a jack of all trades for the Phils on May 25 by retiring the heart of the Reds line-up without surrendering a hit in the 19th inning of a win. Wilson became an admirable back-up for the Phils in 2010 by outplaying Juan Castro for the utility role. Valdez wasn’t as good in 2011 and is arbitration eligible for the first time this off-season. Valdez is a likely non-tender candidate with the acquisition of Wigginton. The call on Valdez will likely come once a decision at short is made.

Grade: 4.0/10


Ben Francisco – The hidden gem in the first Cliff Lee trade had a torrid spring training, showing then-and-since unseen power and earning outright the starting gig in RF. Ben Fran had a nice April and joined Dannys Baez and Valdez as unlikely heroes in the May 25 match-up against the Reds by hitting a HR. But that dinger would be Francisco’s last in the regular season, posting a .244/.340/.364 triple-slash and showing little of the smart base-running that he possessed in the minors and in the first few years of his career. Francisco did increase his walk rates by nearly 3% better than his career average and reduced his strike-out rates by nearly 3% as well but he was relegated to 4th, most times 5th, outfielder by July.

Francisco enters 2012 in his second arbitration eligible year and earned $1.18 million last season. The emergence of Mayberry combined with the signing of Wigginton and the inexplicable inclusion of John Bowker on the 40-man roster points to Francisco being a non-tender candidate. Ben is a favorite of Charlie Manuel, however, so if a reasonable contract can be had, he may stay. Francisco ended the season with a timely 3-run shot against the Cardinals that helped the Phils put the Cards away in Game 3 of the NLDS. For this, I, and reader Andrew From Waldorff, thank Ben Francisco.

Grade: 5.5/10


Brian Schneider – Brian Schneider only played in 41 games in 2011, exactly 5 less than Pete Orr and 26 more than Dane Sardinha. Schneider posted a career-low triple-slash of .176/.246/.256 with only two homeruns. Strangely/coincidently, the Phillies went 27-8 in games Schneider started. Schneider worked primarily with Vance Worley in 2011 and appeared to have good chemistry with the Vanimal. 2011 was a disappointing year for Schneider but he will have a chance to redeem himself on a team friendly deal in 2012.

Grade: 4/10


Ross Gload – Admirable and frustrating. Those are the two words I would use to describe Ross Gload’s 2011 campaign with the Phils. Gload once again led the Majors in pinch hits but was unable to generate much power due to lingering hip issues. His .257/.276/.327 triple-slash in mostly pinch-hitting roles is admirable considering his injuries but with these reviews, players are reviewed in a vacuum. His inability to play even first base well (-19 UZR/150), his 2.5% BB rate and uncharacteristically high 19.5% (12.3% career) K rate made Gload a liability for most of the year while the Phillies inexplicably kept him active.

Grade: 2.5/10


Pete Orr – Orr was probably the most surprising member of the 2011 Opening Day roster but was able to fill in when needed. Orr played as a league average defender at 2B and 3B for the Phils and showcased some serious wheels and a strong arm. A.219/.279/.250 triple-slash is a little easier to stomach than Martinez’s and is actually only slightly below replacement level for a NL 2B. Orr turns 33 next season and is likely to start the season in Lehigh Valley after signing a new minor league deal with the Phils this offseason.

Grade: 3.5/10


Dane Sardinha – The Other Hawaiian once again made an appearance for the Phils in 2011 posting an amazing 10 walks in only 43 plate appearances. Sardinha hit .219 with only one extra base hit but did end the year with a .419 OBP. Sardinha is a puzzling player: he doesn’t pass the eye test defensively and in house options, Erik Kratz and even Tuffy Gosewich seem to be better hitters, yet the Phils use Sardinha as the emergency catcher. As far as emergency catchers go, Sardinha once again did an OK job in 2011.

Grade: 3.2/10


John Bowker – John Bowker was acquired from Pittsburgh before the trade deadline and was supposed to be a nice left-handed bat off of the bench headed down the stretch and into the playoffs. Bowker finished the year 0 for 13, striking out at an astonishing 53.85% clip, and playing poor defense. He also very nearly decapitated Chase Utley on a fly to shallow right. Bowker has yet to be designated for assignment and remains on the 40-man roster in one of the bigger mysteries of the 2011 Phillies off-season.

Grade: -5/10. Not quite as bad as Baez, but striking out in over half your plate appearances while going hitless is a pretty bad year.


Erik Kratz – Kratz memorably was called up to the Pittsburgh Pirates as a 30 year-old rookie during the 2010 Triple A All-Star Game at Coca Cola Park and put up a terrific season in Triple A in 2011 for the Iron Pigs. Kratz hit .288/.372/.466 with 15 HRs in an impressive year and earned a September call-up. In 6 plate appearances with the Phils, Kratz went 2-6 with a double and a strikeout. Kratz didn’t look lost in 10 innings behind the plate with the Phils and played well.  Another sentimental pick, Kratz’s grade reflects an unlikely return to the Majors via a terrific year in Triple A and a nice job filling in as the third catcher in September.

Grade: 6/10


Brandon Moss – Moss was once a heralded prospect in the Red Sox organization, traded to the Pirates for Jason Bay in 2008. After a few years of trying to put it together in the Majors, the now-28-year-old Moss looks more like a AAAA player who struggles with striking out to a large degree. Moss’s terrific 2011 campaign in Lehigh Valley featured 23 HRs and a .275/.368/.509 line but also featured a 25.1% K rate. Moss’s play earned him a September call-up where he went 0-6 with 2 Ks.

Grade: 1.5/10, not quite as bad as Bowker and gets credit for his strong year in Lehigh Valley.

Avatar of Ian Riccaboni

About Ian Riccaboni

Ian Riccaboni has written 826 articles on Phillies Nation.

Ian's athletic achievements include getting stuffed by NBA center Aaron Gray in high school and hitting .179 over four years for NYU against D-III, NAIA, JuCo, and NCBA schools. Ian hopes his athletic successes will help him achieve his dream of becoming the underground Bob Uecker.

  • Posts: 0 Larch Sarum

    This is the kind of stuff that drove me away from your site. How on Earth does Eric Kratz get a 6/10 after like 6 at bats? How was he more valuable to the team than Valdez? Makes no sense. From a bench player perspective, Valdez deserves a 6.5-7. And Martinez wasn’t amazing, but a 1.5? You clearly just don’t like him. He had a handful of big hits, wasn’t a butcher in the field and drove in runs in key situations. At least a 5.5 – he was more dependable than Francisco and deserves an extra point or two because no one expected to get much of anything out of him.

    • Posts: 1435 Pat Gallen

      Avatar of Pat Gallen

      Larch, I’m sorry that completely arbitrary numbers drove you away from the site.

      In the time that Kratz was here, I guess Ian thought he did a well enough job to warrant a decent grade. It’s obviously a grade over the 3 weeks he was here. It’s not saying he’s as good as Carlos Ruiz, etc.

      There’s no rhyme or reason to the numbers – we don’t have a scientific formula. But I guess you could look at each player compared to someone in a similar situation. How did Mini Mart stack up against the 25th man? How did Kratz stack up against the rest of the Sept. callups?

      I think you’re looking too deep into it.

      • Posts: 0 Lutease

        Michael Jack sent it to get draw attention to hseimlf, intimating that he can’t handle being “replaced”. WTF? Yeah, that’s why everyone sentence out of his mouth starts with “When I was pitching…” I was looking forward to the Fox telecast today just to be spared from the SNY team, but it’s looks like Hanna has cursed me and I’ll have to put up with them one more time tomorrow afternoon. At least Keith Hernandez was off last night!

  • Posts: 19 Moondog

    Avatar of Moondog

    Gonna just beat this Minimart thing to death. Jeez take a deep breath. Never saw so many people worried about the 25th man on the roster. When you’re the Mets this is a problem. You either get lucky like with Stairs or yopu don’t. The only thing worst is Howard’s contract. Who cares?. Be a contender and win

  • Posts: 0 bacardipr05

    I thought Mini-Mart did a decent job fielding. Obviously he is probably better at certain positions more than others. He should be only used in those situations unless a emergency situation arrives that he has to move to the outfield. However, as noted the guy cant hit. He should be tucked away in AAA and only called up for injury replacement. That is unless he becomes a decent hitter. Cant say he is young enough that there is possibility of him becoming a decent enough hitter. If he can approve to say at least .240ish he could be a reserve sort of like a Pete Orr…Lol…I remember a few posters adamantly said( i think this blog maybe another) he would never hit a MLB HR he hit 3. So take that…

  • Posts: 0 George

    Brandom Moss “gets credit for his strong year in Lehigh Valley.”

    That’s just ridiculous! AAA has absolutely nothing to do with his performance in the majors. He shouldn’t get that much higher a rating than Bowker given that neither one of them got a hit while actually on the ML roster.

  • Posts: 442 Ian Riccaboni

    Avatar of Ian Riccaboni

    @George – Moss also fielded all of the balls hit to him. Bowker not only struck out 7 times but was horrible in the field. Both were truly non-factors to the team this year regardless, as was Kratz. Kratz absolutely showed some signs of life and caught an entire 10 inning game and came up with a big double. For me, it was really fun to see Kratz and Moss destroy Triple A pitching and get pretty surprising call-ups at the end of the year.

    This scores, at least mine, are based on what the players did while they were on the field. With the bench and September call-up guys, that can be particularly tough because you’re working with such small numbers so emotion and arbitrary things really factor in more for guys that aren’t Martinez, Valdez, Schneider, and Francisco almost because they have to.

  • Posts: 5279 Lefty

    Avatar of Lefty

    I look at it from this angle. If I had to pick 2 of the bench players to keep over all the others, they would be Schneider, and Valdez.

    Schneider, I think, will improve at the plate this year, as last season’s numbers were the worst of his career. It’s hard to project him being worse, and even Bill James has him .45-60 points better in wOBA and SLG. And when healthy was a very good back up veteran defensive catcher for his cost.

    I don’t think WAR does Valdez justice. He does do one thing very well, in fact the best on the team for most of the year, he gets (multiple base) hits when you need him to. You want to see a good looking triple slash line? With runners in scoring position in 2011 Valdez’ numbers were .370/.407/.534 – a .941 OPS. In the end, only Jimmy (.948) did better on the team.
    He’s worth more than a 4 to me, and I think he should be tendered a contract.

  • Posts: 0 BART SHART

    Adding Willingham and Thome has improved our bench considerably. Pete Orr would be an upgrade over Martinez. Keep Valdez. Say goodbye to Gload.

  • Posts: 442 Ian Riccaboni

    Avatar of Ian Riccaboni

    @Lefty – No doubt there are some things that aren’t easily seen in stats or by the naked eye. Along those same lines, Valdez actually hit and hits well in “high leverage” situations. Perhaps 4 was a little too low but it felt like he was outplayed at times by Orr even if the offense stats don’t bore that out.

    Valdez will be a very interesting case; I think any year until 2009, the Phils would have let him walk but I could see them going either way. There’s cheaper, comparable players available but to a point Valdez is now “our” cheap role player and I’m sure there’s a degree of comfort with that with management. I think it’s 55/45 he stays, meaning I really have no idea and I think really only Amaro and Charlie know for sure.

  • Posts: 442 Ian Riccaboni

    Avatar of Ian Riccaboni

    @Larch – When grading Martinez, a lot of things were considered. Martinez was acquired for speed, bunting, and defensive ability. The Phils were fully aware that he was unlikely to develop much at the plate. Unfortunately, Martinez wasn’t the top speed option (Orr, Mayberry, and Francisco were used as pinch runners), didn’t deliver at the high level of defense that was expected, and, to no fault of his own, was put into very few bunting situations. The fact that he was overlooked for a few substitution scenarios throughout the year played a lot into the grade by reading between the lines in Charlie’s moves.

  • Posts: 0 Andrew from Waldorf


    Blame the bench when you employ Howard Utley Rollins and Polanco.

    You sell crazy someplace else.
    But the bench didnt score 0 runs in game 5

    That was your boys.

    Cry me a million rivers for the bench

    Then you bat a .317 slugging 4th

    How do they lose?

    You had the 25 best players and all.
    Roll of the dice.

    Rollins Pence Victorino Howard Utley Ruiz Polanco

    You are joking? They won.
    They win every year.
    The bench is just some dressing on the cake.

    Can you sign Utley Howard Rollins Polanco to a longer contract?

    • Posts: 0 Copy/Paste

      Same drivel as always…

    • Posts: 0 Connie mackdaddy

      what are you talking about? is that supposed to be a series of Haiku’s? If so, they are wrong. Its supposed to be 5-7-5, please remember the format for your future posts.

      • Posts: 0 George

        Actually, Haiku does not have to be 5-7-5; that’s just the closest approximation to Japanese “phonetic units,” which do not really correspond to Western languages and their “syllables.” It works well in English, but trying to explain 5-7-5 to a Japanese poet probably won’t get you any further than a Japanese person would get explaining their own language to a westerner.

      • Posts: 442 Ian Riccaboni

        Avatar of Ian Riccaboni

        I always thought Andrew always attempted to write in iambic pentameter, myself. At least it makes a little more sense that way.

  • Posts: 0 Connie mackdaddy

    Are you sure? My buddy’s cousin was on a sit com in the early 90′s called Big Brother Jake and he used to hang out with Gedde Watanabe (dong from sixteen candles) and he taught me everything I know about Haiku, so I have a fairly vast knowledge. Oh wait, Gedde Watanabe was born in Oregon? forget it.

    I like Baseball.

  • Posts: 0 George

    Actually, AFW writes in “Broken Phonograph Record.” It’s quite a bit different than iambic pentameter, although that, too, should sometimes be broken up with a trochee or a spondee.

  • Posts: 161 therookie300

    Avatar of therookie300

    I never thought I would see the words “iambic pentameter” here…lol

Leave a Comment

>> Create a new Phillies Nation account.
>> Already registered with Phillies Nation? Log in here.
>> Comment without logging in:

Please ensure your comments comply with our Comment Policy.