Archive for December, 2012

Former Phils Polanco, Others Find New Teams

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Sat, December 22, 2012 09:01 AM Comments: 8

Polanco is headed to Miami. Photo: AP

Former Phillies third baseman Placido Polanco agreed to a one-year, $2.75 million contract with the Marlins, reported by CBS Sports’ Danny Knobler. Polanco played in just 90 games last season while nursing various back injuries. Polanco hit career-lows .257/.302/.327 for the Phillies but still provided positive fielding value in the field. Polanco, 37, leaves Philadelphia after earning a Gold Glove and All-Star appearance with the club. He is entering his 17th Major League season.

Former Phillies infielder Brian Bocock signed a Minor League deal with the Washington Nationals according to Matt Eddy of Baseball America. Bocock last appeared in the Majors as a member of the Phillies in 2010, seeing time in six games primarily as a defensive replacement. Bocock spent last year with the Blue Jays’ Double-A New Hampshire club and their Triple-A Las Vegas affiliate.

Pitcher Andrew Carpenter has also found a new home according to Eddy. Carpenter is entering his age 28 season and has signed a Minor League deal with the Cubs. Carpenter has pitched in 65 games over parts of five Major League seasons with a 7.56 ERA. No word on what his former Cal-State Long Beach teammate John Bowker is up to these days.

Reliever Nelson Figueroa signed a Minor League deal with the Diamondbacks per Eddy. Figueroa spent 2012 with the Triple-A affiliates of the Red Sox and Yankees. Figueroa saw time with the Phillies in 2010, pitching in 26 games before being traded to the Astros.

Utility infielder Cody Ransom signed a Minor League deal with the San Diego Padres according to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman. Ransom hit .220/.312/.411 with 11 HRs for Arizona last season, playing all four infield positions. Ransom was a Phillie in 2010 and provided a pair of memorable home runs in 22 games for the club.

2012 Lehigh Valley IronPig Dave Bush has signed a Minor League deal with the Blue Jays, the team that drafted him in 2002, also reported by Eddy. Bush posted a 3.16 ERA in 11 starts last year for the ‘Pigs and also spent part of 2012 pitching in Korea.


Know Thy Phillies History: Mike Young

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Fri, December 21, 2012 10:59 AM Comments: 7

http://i.ebayimg.com/t/1988-Mike-Young-Philadelphia-Phillies-Baseball-Press-Photo-/00/s/MTAyM1g4MTI=/$(KGrHqZ,!oEE63WY+DDeBO4mqe!Mcw~~60_35.JPGSometimes, I am amazingly impressed by the Phillies Nation community with their knowledge. The one-off-references and jabs provided on here and on Twitter are shining examples of how Philadelphia has among the most dedicated fans in baseball. An off-handed Don Money comment on Twitter resulted in several responses. Money was the starting third baseman for the Phillies in 1972 that Mike Schmidt ended up replacing despite the fact that Money was a pretty decent hitter and excellent defender. There will be more on that one in the future.

Anyhow, in wading through old Phillies data on FanGraphs, I stumbled upon something that nobody has seemed to point out, something so big, so important, that I am now disappointed as a Phillies fan. No Phillies fan, to my knowledge, has yet made the joke that Michael Young is not the same Mike Young that played with the Phillies. I could be wrong, after all, the internet is a pretty big place, but I am genuinely disappointed at the lack of recall of Mike Young #1.

Continue reading Know Thy Phillies History: Mike Young


The 2012 Phillies and the De-Lucker X

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Thu, December 20, 2012 06:40 PM Comments: 13

Martinez was the Majors eleventh luckiest hitter in 2012 according to FanGraphs. Really. Photo: AP

Fangraphs posted an interesting article today combined with a pretty neat sortable spreadsheet regarding “luck”. The article, entitled “De-Lucker X: The Final 2012 Numbers“, took a look at how the Majors fared when comparing fielding independent wOBA and xBABIP (click on the links for some nice explanations). When comparing the two, the resulting number attempts to measure luck, positively or negatively. How did the Phillies fare?

Most Phillies Were Slightly Luckier Their Stats Indicate – But So Was the Entire MLB

Not adjusting for plate appearances, Michael Martinez, yes that Michael Martinez of .174/.208/.252 line, was the 11th luckiest hitter in the Majors in 2012. Ryan Howard was the 32nd luckiest hitter in baseball, which translated into a line of .219/.295/.423. Placido Polanco was 54th, John Mayberry was 63rd, Domonic Brown 105st, and Juan Pierre 121st. It is worth noting that over 73% of Major League hitters were “luckier” than their wOBA indicated, so it should not be a surprise that 80% of the Phillies who spent the entire year with the team were luckier than their stats indicated. Continue reading The 2012 Phillies and the De-Lucker X


Effectively Using Young, Galvis & Howard

Posted by Eric Seidman, Thu, December 20, 2012 11:56 AM Comments: 51

Last week, Bill Baer wrote up a terrific idea he had at Crashburn Alley: the Phillies should play Freddy Galvis at third base whenever John Lannan starts. The thought makes perfect sense and represents the type of minor adjustment that could benefit the team and maximize the utilities of different rostered players.

As Baer outlined, about 78% Lannan’s batters faced put the ball in play, 53% of those balls in play are grounders, and over half of those grounders are pulled. Having shaky defense at shortstop and third base would hurt the Phillies run prevention with Lannan on the mound. Jimmy Rollins remains an elite defensive shortstop but the Phils are set to start Michael Young at the hot corner. Young hasn’t played third base regularly since 2010 and was a poor defender even then.

Young’s acquisition also leaves Galvis without a clear role. The Phillies could insert him at second base to give Chase Utley a rest and play him alongside Ryan Howard. They could also move Utley to first and play both he and Galvis on the right side of the infield. Rollins might need a day off every now and then as well. Where Galvis could really help the team in a more consistent manner is, as Baer suggested, by playing third base whenever Lannan starts.

I want to take that idea one step further. Not only should Galvis start at third base whenever Lannan pitches, but when Lannan is opposed by a fellow southpaw starter, the Phillies should sit Ryan Howard and play Young at first base. This alignment improves the offense by using Young against the lefties he crushes instead of Howard, who is quite poor against same-handed pitching, and clearly improves the infield defense.

Continue reading Effectively Using Young, Galvis & Howard


Phillies Eying Left-Handed Howell?

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Wed, December 19, 2012 05:48 PM Comments: 14

http://www.examiner.com/images/blog/replicate/EXID44730/images/howell_sm.jpgPop quiz: Which lefty reliever would you rather have? (2012 stats listed, 2013 aged season listed)

- Player A: 52 IP, 14.02 K/9 IP, 4.50 BB/9 IP, 3.18 xFIP. Age 27

- Player B: 50.1 IP, 7.51 K/9 IP, 3.93 BB/9 IP, 4.17 xFIP. Age 30

- Player C: 27.1 IP, 11.52 K/9 IP, 6.59 BB/9 IP, 3.92 xFIP. Age 26

- Player D: 31.1 IP, 11.49 K/9 IP, 4.02 BB/9 IP, 3.24 xFIP. Age 27

- Player E: 31.0 IP, 10.16 K/9 IP, 1.45 BB/9 IP, 3.03 xFIP. Age 35

- Player F: 25.0 IP, 5.76 K/9 IP, 2.88 BB/9 IP, 4.48 xFIP. Age 27

There are a lot of players on that list – of the six, five are currently on the Phillies 40-man roster and one was reportedly a free agent target. Player F is the only player whose stats indicate that he is probably not as good as the other five. Player F is Joe Savery – let’s assume everyone is OK with moving on from Savery for the sake of this exercise and move on to exhibit B.

Knowing that four of the five are already available on the Phillies 40-man, and that the Phillies have limited salary available headed into 2013, here are the estimated commitments for each of the players above:

Continue reading Phillies Eying Left-Handed Howell?


Off-season Q&A: Cloyd Up For Challenges Ahead

Posted by Jay Floyd, Wed, December 19, 2012 01:30 PM Comments: 4

Throughout the off-season, I have checked in with various players from around the Phillies organization to gauge their thoughts on fall/winter leagues they’ve played in and what their outlooks are going forward.  Recently, I heard from right-handed pitcher Tyler Cloyd, who won the 2012 Paul Owens Award, an honor bestowed upon the most outstanding pitching and offensive players in the Phillies minor league system each year.

This year combined with Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley, the Nebraska native posted a 15-1 record with a 2.26 ERA and a .214 batting average against.  Cloyd, the 18th round draft choice from 2008, was promoted to the Phillies late in the season, and sported a 2-2 record along with a 4.91 ERA in six starts in the big leagues.

Tyler was nice enough to offer his thoughts on his off-season routine, his potential to claim a spot in the starting rotation next year and plenty more.  Read ahead for that full interview.

- What exactly is your off-season workout routine like?  Is there anything different this year compared to other years?

I would say that this off-season has been a lot different this year, as far as working out, than years past. When this season was coming to an end, I really sat down with the strength and conditioning coach and we talked about a good off-season plan for me. I’ve really been pushing myself and even got together with one of my buddies, who is now a personal trainer, to really help me stay on track and get to the point where I want to be at going into spring training. Continue reading Off-season Q&A: Cloyd Up For Challenges Ahead


John Lannan Minimizes Risk

Posted by Eric Seidman, Wed, December 19, 2012 09:00 AM Comments: 47

The Phillies opened up a spot in their rotation when they traded Vance Worley for Ben Revere. They were looking to fill that spot with a low-risk free agent instead of relying on farmhands Tyler Cloyd and Jonathan Pettibone.

Definitions of risk vary but it seemed that the Phillies were looking for cheap and durable starters, valuing those attributes over pure talent and upside.

While several pitchers were available on reasonable short-term deals — Brandon McCarthy (pre-signing), Shaun Marcum, Kevin Millwood and Carlos Villanueva, to name a few — the Phillies signed Nationals castoff John Lannan to a one-year, $2.5 million contract. The deal could be worth upwards of $5 million through incentives. However, the deal is designed in a way that Lannan would most likely be worth $5+ million if those incentives were triggered.

The move was met with mixed reviews. Some gravitated towards the idea of having a durable pitcher with a stellar groundball rate at a minimal commitment. Others trashed it because they felt Lannan’s numbers were bad, occasionally conflating his numbers against the Phillies with his overall stats. Some were against it because they wanted the Phillies to spend more money and bring in a Marcum or McCarthy. And, of course, many people still couldn’t get past his propensity for beaning Phillies players.

I fell into the first group — those in favor of the deal.

What the Phillies did with Lannan was minimize risk at the back-end of the starting rotation. He isn’t flashy but he has been eerily consistent over the last several seasons. He is very much a known commodity and, from an expected value standpoint, there is far greater certainty in what he will provide than there is with Marcum or McCarthy.

Both of those pitchers have the potential to outperform Lannan but they are also big injury risks. They are question marks for a team that needs no more.

When judging the Phillies move along those lines, too many fans are comparing Lannan to the best case scenario of Marcum. Hearkening back to expected value, there is far more uncertainty as to what Marcum would provide, and that wasn’t worth a potential $4-$6 million premium for a team looking to minimize risk.

Continue reading John Lannan Minimizes Risk


Join Pat Gallen for Sports Quizzo at Drinker’s Pub!

Posted by Pat Gallen, Wed, December 19, 2012 06:35 AM Comments: 0

Wanna get out and start the weekend a little early? Come do it with me at Drinker’s Pub Rittenhouse Square on Thursday, December 20th at 8 pm. Drinker’s is a Philly institution located at 19th and Chestnut Sts.

Each quizzo player will receive a PHILS sticker on top of the great specials on Thursday’s.

  • $1 Tacos & $.50 Wings
  • $2 PBR
  • $2 Bud Light drafts & $7 pitchers
  • $3 Flying Fish drafts & $10 pitchers
  • $3 Soco ‘n Lime Shots
  • $4 Jack Honey Shots
  • $4 Jager Shots & $6 Jager Bombs

You wanna hear about the prizes!? We’ll have PHILS stickers for all who play, plus a great Phillies prize each week. On top of that, the 1st place team gets a $35 gift card to Drinkers Pub, with 2nd place getting $15. Even the 3rd place team gets a free round of PBR’s!

Plus, we’re giving away an awesome Phillies Nation prize pack that has a ton of a stuff in it; all Phillies related of course.

Hope you can make it out for Sports Quizzo at Drinker’s Pub on 19th and Chestnut sts. this Thursday!


Phils Remain Interested in Ross, Wells

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Tue, December 18, 2012 07:22 PM Comments: 33


The Phillies are linked for the second day in a row to Wells.

Jon Heyman is reporting that the Phillies remain interested in Cody Ross and Vernon Wells as right-handed, power hitters to hit behind Ryan Howard. Ross is believed be seeking a three year deal between $9-11 million per year. Wells may be available in a salary dump scenario.

Analysis: The Phillies could do worse than Ross. Wells would certainly fit that bill. Wells is entering his age 34 season and is coming off two of the worst seasons among any part or full-time player in the Majors. He will receive $21 million a year in each of the next two seasons.

It’s hard to believe that lightning may strike twice, that the worst contract in baseball may be traded for the second time in three offseasons but the Phillies are certainly exploring the possibility.


BA’s Prospect Rankings Up for Debate

Posted by Jay Floyd, Tue, December 18, 2012 02:30 PM Comments: 12

Jesse Biddle was ranked as the Phillies' number 1 prospect by Baseball America

On Monday, Baseball America released its annual list of top 10 prospects in the Phillies organization. The rankings feature some plenty of names that are deserving of considerable regard, but also includes some debatable placement.

Generally, I feel that prospect rankings issued by national writers or their publications are a somewhat questionable, as such members of the media do not get to see many of the same players on a regular basis and, as such, must rely on other people’s accumulated scouting reports and other material to publish full reviews.  Limitations of how frequently a player is viewed over a season can prevent an analyst from witnessing development or getting to see the type of work individuals put in outside the lines.  A player’s progress is key in reviewing his potential and in ranking him among other prospects, as are his age, his proximity to helping the big league team and other factors as well.

What’s wrong with the list-

Failure to include third baseman Cody Asche in the top five is quite an oversight.  The University of Nebraska product ranks 7th on the list and proved to be one of the Phils’ best young talents in 2012 when he posted a combined .324 average with 12 home runs and 72 RBI at Class A Advanced and Double-A during his first full pro season.

Shortstop Roman Quinn holding down the number two spot is not on point.  With other players more deserving, the 19-year-old Quinn having not yet shown the sort of efforts that could solidify such a ranking should be considered for the list, but should not be at the top of it.  Quinn, the Phillies’ 2nd round draft choice last year, batted .281 with a homer, 23 RBI and 30 stolen bases in 66 pro games with short-season Class A Williamsport after debuting as a pro in 2012. Continue reading BA’s Prospect Rankings Up for Debate

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