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2011 Player Review

Brad Lidge: Evolving Reliever or Small Sample?

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Tue, November 01, 2011 02:45 PM Comments: 28

Brad Lidge in Game 4 of 2011 NLDS Photo: Getty

The 2011 Phillies Nation Player Reviews continue today, with Brad Lidge

Brad Lidge dropping to his knees, embracing Chooch, the two knocked over by Ryan Howard, and squished by a literal Flyin’ Hawaiian. It is a scene this generation of Phillies’ fans will never forget. Everybody knows that Lidge had a spectacular, sometimes adventurous, 2008; what many do not realize is that Lidge had a very solid 2010 and followed it up with an even better, yet further injury shortened, 2011.

Lidge returned on July 25 against the Padres and pitched a scoreless 7th inning. He wound up pitching only 19.1 innings, but posted a 1.40 ERA pitching in both a seventh inning and set-up role. Phillies fans’ eyes were not deceiving them: this Brad Lidge was similar to the one that had much success in 2011.

Lidge again had a, sometimes self-inflicted, flare for the dramatics. He was able to strand 7 of 8 runners inherited during the regular season while stranding 90% of the runners he put on. His BABIP of .327 was only 20 points higher than his career average, meaning he was not either lucky or unlucky and held batters to a .222 BAA. Lidge’s peripheral splits were consistent across righties and lefties but surprisingly held lefties to a .097 BAA versus .317 against righties.

Continue reading Brad Lidge: Evolving Reliever or Small Sample?

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About That Herndon Guy…

Posted by Jonathan Nisula, Sat, October 29, 2011 12:45 PM Comments: 14

The 2011 Phillies Nation Player Reviews continue today, with David Herndon

Remember this?

…And I think he just gave up another walk, followed by a home run, causing a profanity-laced meltdown in the infield. His mind is like Mr. Potato Head (or Señor Cara de Papa if you are speaking to Carlos Ruiz) when he gets into trouble, because, think about it–what happens when Mr. Potato Head loses a fight? That’s right, limbs and/or facial parts go flying into the air, much like David Herndon‘s thoughts when he loses a battle to a hitter or five.

However, he actually had a pretty good year. His 3.32 ERA was good for fourth among Phillies relievers with at least ten innings pitched, and, while it may have seemed that he was terrible all year, he actually had a higher WPA–Win Probability Added, or in other words a measure of what actually happened and how much a player helped or hurt his team–than three other pitchers with the same qualifiers. Granted, his WPA was still negative (-0.41), and those three players included one who is no longer a Phillie (J.C. Romero, -0.54), a rookie (Michael Schwimer, -0.57), and KYLE KENDRICK (-0.67). Continue reading About That Herndon Guy…

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Stutesy the Silver Lining

Posted by Corey Seidman, Wed, October 26, 2011 07:00 AM Comments: 6

The 2011 Phillies Nation Player Reviews continue today, with Michael Stutes

The Phillies entered Spring Training with righthanded relievers aged 23, 24 and 25. The 23-year-old and 25-year-old combined to give up seven runs on eleven hits in seven innings. The 24-year-old let slide a lone run on three hits in nine innings. And on the 24th of April, that 24-year-old got the call to The Show.

Stutes allowed runs in only six of his first 31 appearances.

Michael Stutes came up on the fourth Sunday in April to replace a DL’ed Jose Contreras. Contreras had pitched eight scoreless innings in the young season, striking out nine while allowing only eight men to reach base. But the elbow problems began, and Stutes became the silver lining to limited contributions from a recently extended 39-year-old reliever.

Stutes was thrust into high-pressure situations from the get-go and used a 60/40 split on a 93 mile per hour fastball and biting, low-80s slider to get off to a rock solid major league start. He was scored upon in only one of his first 13 appearances and six of his first 31. And this success came at much-needed times…14 of Stutes’ 27 appearances during May and June came with the score tied or within a run, and he allowed a  run only three times. With key relievers like Contreras and Brad Lidge out, Stutes nestled himself into a nice little role in the Phillies’ bullpen, becoming the comfortable third wheel to Ryan Madson and Antonio Bastardo.

Stutes hit a bit of a wall in late-July, all through August, but that was expected from a youngster pitching so many stressful innings. An encouraging September led us to believe that perhaps the wall just briefly stunned Stutes, but a disastrous outing in the ninth of a Game 1 NLDS laugher reminded us that unheralded rookie relievers don’t just speed past growing pains.

The Phils will need Stutes to build upon the good from 2011, which could be difficult with each NL team now having not just a book but a look at him. He figures to be an integral part of the Phils’ pen in 2012. Madson and Lidge are both free agents and, as dominant as Bastardo was for much of the season, the lefty took a bizarrely stiff regression in the final weeks. It is nice to have a young, talented, inexpensive late-inning relief option. The Phillies have done an underratedly good job of developing relievers in recent years, but as long as youngsters keep seizing opportunities, it doesn’t matter who notices.

GRADE: 8.0/10 because, while the late struggles were expected, the constant early successes weren’t. And for much of the season, Stutes contributed to a bullpen that held just about every lead it was given.

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Phillies Player Review 2011: Antonio Bastardo

Posted by Michael Baumann, Tue, October 25, 2011 08:30 AM Comments: 9

There are a bunch of reasons to love Antonio Bastardo, from his bubble butt to his funny delivery to the incredible amount of joy I got from calling him “Tony No-Dad” all year. But the 26-year-old lefty, who was a middling starter prospect back in 2009 (which seems like ancient history), was quite possibly the most electrifying Phillies reliever ever, out of nowhere putting together a season that can only be described as fantastic in both meanings: excellent and resembling something from the works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

Over the whole of 2011, Bastardo went 6-1 with a 2.64 ERA and a 0.931 WHIP in 58 innings spread over 64 appearances, but that’s including a September that, due to fatigue or some undisclosed injury, was more latter-day Dennis Cook than latter-day Dennis Eckersley. Take out September and Tony No-Dad compiled an opponent slash line of .114/.204/.223. Over the course of the full season, Bastardo’s fastball was worth eight runs above average and his slider was worth 7.1 runs above average, good, between them, for a K/9 ratio that, in the finest tradition of Nigel Tufnel, nearly went all the way to eleven.

Bastardo was effective against lefties and righties and, despite being the team’s fourth-choice closer after injuries sidelined Brad Lidge, Jose Contreras, and Ryan Madson in order, filled in admirably in that role, saving eight games from nine chances and recording 32 FanGraphs shutdowns against only eight meltdowns. The only NL relievers with a higher net WPA than Bastardo were Tyler Clippard, John Axford, Jonny Venters, J.J. Putz, and Eric O’Flaherty. Bastardo’s final opponent OPS was the fifth-lowest for a Phillies reliever since integration.

Due respect to the voters who said that Ryan Madson should be re-signed over Jimmy Rollins, but not only will Madson cost more money than he’s worth, we should not be afraid if he walks away this offseason, because Tony No-Dad can fill in as the Phillies’ relief ace and, if his 2011 season is any indication, the Phillies won’t miss a beat.

Grade: 9.8/10 That awful last month cast a pallor over what was otherwise an unbelievable season, and made Bastardo’s 2011 outstanding, rather than historic. Still, the Dominican with the funny name and the prominent posterior went from middle reliever to folk hero this summer and deserves all the praise we can heap on him.

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Phillies Player Review 2011: Ryan Madson

Posted by Pat Gallen, Mon, October 24, 2011 10:08 AM Comments: 28

(PHOTO: NJ.com)

In 2011, Ryan Madson proved he could be a closer. For years, many wondered if he could handle the ninth-inning duties, as his mental game came under fire because of some poor outings filling in for Brad Lidge in years prior. He shut up the naysayers and then some.

And all of this almost didn’t happen. Jose Contreras began the year as the closer, saving five games early on before dealing with elbow troubles that would keep him sidelined for most of the season. Madson took over and took control.

Madson saved 32 games and blew just two opportunities as the primary closer for the first time in his career. He also managed to stay healthy through most of the year. If you’ll recall, his 2010 season was marred by a broken toe he suffered after kicking a chair in the clubhouse. Not a smart move. This past year, he refrained from such actions, but did go down for about three weeks after a batted ball struck him on his pitching hand. It was a fluke injury and one that did not harm him following the DL stint.

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