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Posts Tagged ‘Lefty’

Why The Phillies Failed At The Trade Deadline

Posted by Jonathan Nisula, Fri, August 01, 2014 08:00 AM Comments: 10

Mo Money Mo Problems

Yesterday, the 4 PM MLB trade deadline came and went without a single move by the Phillies. Marlon Byrdthe player thought to be the most likely to be dealt, and the one who should have been dealt for at least something, didn’t go anywhere. A.J. Burnett wasn’t traded, and neither were Jonathan Papelbon, Cliff Lee, or Cole Hamels.

Around the league, Jon Lester was traded along with Jonny Gomes to the Athletics for Yoenis Cespedes. David Price was traded to the Tigers in a three team deal. John Lackey was sent to the Cardinals, and Martin Prado to the Yankees. The Phillies? Nada.

Continue reading Why The Phillies Failed At The Trade Deadline

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Ryan Howard and the Shift: An Analysis

Posted by Jonathan Nisula, Fri, April 18, 2014 02:10 PM Comments: 4

PHOTO: AP

PHOTO: AP

The Big Piece. Ryan Howard has given us plenty of great moments over the years–from game winning monster home runs to “get me to the plate, boys”. Ruben Amaro Jr. awarded him with a monster contract that has since been proven to be one of the biggest mistakes he’s made as Phillies GM due to a tremendous drop in production from the lefty slugger. But this isn’t about the amount of money that the now run down, breaking ball chasing Howard is making. This is about a different aspect of his game that I don’t think has been analyzed deeply before.

Ryan Howard has always been a strong pull-hitter. And, much like his predecessor–Jim Thome–he gets the shift treatment each time he steps to the plate. The second baseman plays in shallow right field, the short stop plays somewhere up the middle, and the third baseman plays shortstop. The third base position does not, and will never, exist when The Big Piece is in the batters box. For this reason, Howard has gotten plenty of “ground outs” on frozen ropes that are hit directly at the second baseman in right field. On the other hand, he’s had a handful of swinging bunts to the left of the pitcher that got him a single as well. Here’s an analysis of what the shift does to Ryan Howard, and what Ryan Howard does to the shift. First, we’ll look at a couple spray charts courtesy of Brooks Baseball.

plot_hc_spray

As you can see in the image above, there is a large cluster of ground balls (marked in green) in between first and second base on the right side of the field. The dots are marked at the point at which the fielder made contact with the ball. A large portion of those dots are in the outfield, a direct result of the shift. Lets take a look at another lefty on the Phillies–Chase Utley.

plot_hc_spray (2)

He has a similar tendency to pull ground balls to the right side, but the contact with the fielder in his chart is much more condensed and closer to the natural second base position. He also has more ground balls make it through the infield to the right fielder.

Now, seeing his spray chart, Howard clearly falls victim to shift more often than not. Most of his ground balls to the right side are eaten up by the shift, and result in outs. Also, a larger portion of his line drives (red dots) to the right side are caught by the shifted fielders than Utley. But here’s another chart:

plot_hc_spray (1)

The black dots in this chart represent his outs. As expected, there is a cluster on the right side of the infield and in shallow right field. But what’s interesting, is that he has more outs in center field and left field than he does in right field. This is–you guessed it–another direct result of the shift. Opposing teams are able to cut down the amount of batted balls that even make it to the outfielders. Another area of interest is the amount of singles and doubles to the right side. He has significantly more singles to right than any other part of the field, but less doubles. Outfielders play him to pull, and are able to cut down deeply hit balls that the infielders could not get to.

This is proven by looking at some numbers on Baseball Reference. When Howard pulls the ball, he gets a hit roughly 37.8% of the time. But when he hits it up the middle, that average jumps to 41.4%. And when he hits it the other way, it’s an even 40%. His OPS, however, distinctly increases as you go from the right side (1.050) to the middle (1.237) to the left (1.408). So, while his strength is pulling the ball, opposing teams have successfully been able to counter that with the fielding alignment. And, judging by his numbers to each field, limiting the number of balls he pulls would benefit him.

So, knowing this about himself, has Howard tried to change his approach a bit to try and beat the shift? David Ortiz, another slugging lefty, was able to change up his approach a few years ago. He began to fight off outside pitches to the left side, rather than still trying to pull them. He even attempted to bunt a few times. Howard, on the other hand, has made minimal changes, if any:

plot_hc_bytime (1)

No.

Overall, there is little change since 2007 in the area where Howard hits the ball. It doesn’t look like he’s trying to drive the ball the other way any more than he did seven years ago. It’s quite understandable that Ruben Amaro Jr. isn’t paying him to hit line drive singles to left-center, but at this point in his career, can The Big Piece afford to keep driving hit after hit into the teeth of the shift? Should he change his approach? In my opinion, Howard should keep doing what got him that ludicrous contract in the first place. Changing up his approach now would do more harm than good for a guy still trying to find his old self at the plate.

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Phillies Player Review: Jake Diekman

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Mon, September 30, 2013 06:00 AM Comments: 12

Diekman was one of few bright spots for the Phillies’ 2013 bullpen.

The Phillies wrapped up their 2013 season yesterday, finishing 27th in bullpen ERA, 28th in FIP (defined here), 28th in xFIP (defined here), and 29th in BB/9 IP. To say the bullpen was brutal would be an understatement. The 2013 Phils used 51 players, 21 of which were relievers.

Yikes.

To add insult to injury, the arms the Phillies had hoped to develop in 2013, including Phillippe Aumont, Michael Stutes, and J.C. Ramirez to name a few, spun out. Well, except for Jake Diekman.

Continue reading Phillies Player Review: Jake Diekman

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Gameday: Phillies (60-71) vs Mets (58-71)

Posted by Kenny Ayres, Tue, August 27, 2013 06:00 PM Comments: 27

Philadelphia Phillies (49-48) vs New York Mets (41-51) new-york-mets-alternate-logo-2-primary_display_image

Kyle Kendrick (10-10, 4.51 ERA) vs Jon Niese (5-6, 4.03 ERA)

TIME: 7:10, Citi Field

TV: PHL 17

Weather: 95, cloudy with chance of storms

Media: Twitter and Facebook

The Phillies will look to continue their recent success and take an early series win on Tuesday when they take on the Mets in the second game of their three game series. The Phillies are now 7-3 in their last ten and are one game ahead of the Mets in the standings.

Kyle Kendrick will get the start, coming off an outing against the Rockies in which he allowed four runs in five innings, receiving a no decision. Kendrick has struggled mightily since his torrid start, posting a 2-4 record and 7.46 ERA since the All-Star Break. He has faced the Mets three times this year, but just once since April. In that start on July 19, he allowed six earned runs in 5 2/3 innings.

He will opposed by Mets lefty Jon Niese, who has pitched very well since  his return from a partially torn rotator cuff. In 19 innings since his return, he has racked up 23 strikeouts and posted a 2.84 ERA. Niese had one start against the Phillies this year, and was the tough luck loser after allowing just one earned run in 6 2/3 innings of work. In his career he is 5-5 with a 3.45 ERA against Philadelphia.

John Mayberry Jr. has by the far the most success against Niese, with a .290 average, three homers and seven RBI in 31 at bats. Carlos Ruiz and Michael Young have also homered off the lefty in their careers.

Lineup: Bernadina CF, Rollins SS, Utley 2B, Kratz C, Young 3B, Ruf LF, Frandsen 1B, Mayberry RF, Kendrick P

Gameday Beer: Otter Creek Copper Aledownload

This medium bodied beer is a very versatile and refreshing brew that goes well with all types of ballpark food, especially stuff off the grill. It’s got a sweet, toasty, crisp taste that is perfect for either a chilly night or hot summer day watching the game. With a day game today fire up the grill and kick back with one of these and you’ll be set.

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Reading Eagle Survey: Franco Ranked Top Phillies Prospect

Posted by Jay Floyd, Tue, August 27, 2013 08:00 AM Comments: 39

Recently, Mike Drago of The Reading Eagle conducted a survey of about ten experts, made up of writers and other media members, designed to rank the top prospects in the Philadelphia developmental system.

The participating individuals, who are all close to the Phillies minor league system, were asked to rank their personal top 15, which were tabulated to determine the paper’s published list of top prospects. Those that offered their insight for the ratings this time around included Bob Brookover, Tony Graham, Mitch Rupert, Jeff Schuler, Mike Drago himself and yours truly, PhilliesNation’s Jay Floyd.

The collection of experts found that fast rising third base prospect Maikel Franco, who represented the Phillies organization in the MLB All-Star Futures Game this year, is the club’s top minor leaguer.  Franco, who recently began playing first base is primed to make an impact with the big club in the near future and has become the Phils’ most highly touted offensive prospect since Ryan Howard was trying to break into the big leagues.

Last year’s results ranked lefty hurler Jesse Biddle at the top.  The Philadelphia native fell in this year’s rankings while others rose and some fell completely off of the list.

Here’s a review of The Reading Eagle’s Phillies prospect rankings…

1- Maikel Franco, 3B, Double-A Reading…the 21-year-old slugger notched his 30th homer and 100th RBI of the season on Monday night.  Franco, who began the season with Class A Advanced Clearwater, is one of the biggest breakout prospects in all of minor league baseball this season and plans to continue his outstanding year in the Dominican Winter League.  In 127 games this season combined at the two levels, the youngster sports an impressive .313/.352/.566 line.
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Weekly Minors Roundup: Hernandez, Franco, Altherr, Cozens Heat Up

Posted by Jay Floyd, Mon, August 26, 2013 08:00 AM Comments: 13

Here’s another weekly rundown of the Phillies’ minor leagues with details on some recent noteworthy performers…

Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs…

In eight games since returning to the IronPigs’ lineup, following a wrist injury, second baseman/center fielder Cesar Hernandez has gone 11-for-26 (.423 avg) with a double, a triple, two RBI and two steals.  The 23-year-old batted .250 in nine games with the big league Phillies earlier this season.

Third baseman Tyler Henson is batting .375 with seven doubles, four home runs and 17 walks in 22 games since joining the ‘Pigs.  The 25-year-old was signed as a minor league free agent last off-season.


Double-A Reading Fightins…

MaikelFranco8

Maikel Franco, Image- Jay Floyd

In his last six games, Maikel Franco, who turns 21-years-old today, is 8-for-22 (.367 avg) with a double, three home runs and seven RBI.  The Dominican native began playing first base for the Fightins over the weekend after being strictly a third baseman in his pro career till then.  Overall in 126 games combined with Reading and Clearwater, Franco is batting .314 with 29 home runs and 98 RBI this year.


Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers…

Outfielder Aaron Altherr is 15-for-37 (.405 avg) with three doubles, two homers and seven RBI in his last nine games.  The 22-year-old righty hitter is sporting a .276 average with 12 home runs, 68 RBI and 21 steals in 116 games this season.  Altherr was the Phillies’ 9th round draft choice in 2009.

Cameron Perkins, another Threshers outfielder, had a hot stretch ended with an 0-for-5 effort on Sunday.  The Phils’ 6th round pick from 2012 was 11-for-25 (.440 avg) in his previous eight games prior to Sunday’s contest.  Overall this season, the 22-year-old Purdue product is batting .300 with seven homers and 53 RBI in 99 games. Continue reading Weekly Minors Roundup: Hernandez, Franco, Altherr, Cozens Heat Up

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PN Interview: JP Crawford on Promotion to Lakewood, Advice From Big Leaguers

Posted by Jay Floyd, Fri, August 23, 2013 11:00 AM Comments: 0

JP Crawford, Image- Jay Floyd

Last week, this year’s top Phillies draft pick shortstop J.P. Crawford was promoted two levels, from the Gulf Coast League to the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws. After leading the rookie level league in batting for a considerable stretch and posting a .345 average with a homer, 19 RBI and 12 stolen bases through 39 games, the 18-year-old lefty batter was offered a bigger challenge of playing in the South Atlantic League.

The move made it clear that another much hyped shortstop, Roman Quinn (2nd round, 2011), wouldn’t be able to return from his broken wrist before season’s end, but the silver lining of Crawford’s addition to the ‘Claws’ roster was certainly welcome.

Crawford, who was selected 16th overall by the Phils, stands six-foot-two and weighs about 180 pounds. He’s the third Phillies first round pick out of Lakewood High School in California to play for the Lakewood BlueClaws. The other two are catcher Travis d’Arnaud and righty pitcher Shane Watson, who is currently at home nursing a shoulder injury.

This week I had the opportunity to speak with J.P. once again (previous interview HERE). Topics included sharing good news with his long-time friend and childhood teammate Watson, the transition to the new level, advice he’s received and more. Read ahead for that quick interview.

- When I spoke with you about a month ago, you were saying that the transition to the pro’s had been an easy one for you. Now that you’ve been promoted and taken two steps, what do you feel about transitioning up two levels now?

I think I just have to get more comfortable with the team and stuff. It’s the same game. I just have to go out there and have fun.

- Do you have thoughts on the competition between the Gulf Coast League and here in the Sally League right now?

I’m loving this way better. The competition’s better and it’s more competitive here. Continue reading PN Interview: JP Crawford on Promotion to Lakewood, Advice From Big Leaguers

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Phils Interested in Roger Bernadina

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Tue, August 20, 2013 07:54 AM Comments: 13

According to CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury, the Phillies are interested in signing recently released former Washington Nationals outfielder Roger Bernadina. Bernadina, 29, had a career year last year, hitting .291/.372/.405 in 261 PA for the Nats with five homers and 15 steals but stumbled out of the gate in 2013 and never really got going. Bernadina’s .178/.247/.270 line in 2013 are career lows as is his .233 weighted On-Base Average (wOBA) while his 26.3% K rate is a career high.

Bernandina is a lefty but does not have particularly strong platoon splits for his career, hitting righties at just a .244/.313/.367 clip. Berandina would provide versatility as a back-up outfielder and has been of a net-positive value in left and right field for the Nationals in the defensive metric Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR).

Analysis: Signing “The Shark” would be like signing a left-handed version of Casper Wells. Bernadina makes the plays in left and right and can fake it in center while Wells plays a touch better defense and has more potential to run into a fastball every once in a while. Bernadina has two years of arbitration eligibility remaining so adding him this year could have some value but I would much rather see a player like Leandro Castro added to the 40-man roster for September or Tyson Gillies have a cup of coffee with his improved swing that has led him to a .314/.364/.451 line in August.

His nickname, however, has lead to one of the most unique stadium give-a-ways of all time and some interesting memes.

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Gameday: Phillies (53-69) vs Dodgers (72-50)

Posted by Kenny Ayres, Sun, August 18, 2013 12:35 PM Comments: 27

Philadelphia Phillies (53-69) vs Los Angeles Dodgers (72-50)dodgers_logo

Cole Hamels (5-13, 3.65 ERA) vs Ricky Nolasco (9-9, 3.62 ERA)

Time: 1:35, Citizens Bank Park

TV: PHL 17

Weather: 84, rain possible

Media: Twitter and Facebook

The Phillies have yet to score a run under new manager Ryne Sandberg as the Dodgers have shut them out in consecutive games and won another series to continue their torrid play. The Dodgers have now won 42 of their last 50 games, which has been done just twice since 1900.

Cole Hamels will be pitch for the Phillies looking to continue his recent stretch of quality starts. In his last four starts (31 innings) Hamels has allowed just five earned runs (1.45 ERA) and has gone eight or more innings twice. In that stretch he has lowered his season ERA from 4.16 to 3.65.

Lifetime, Hamels is 3-1 with a miniscule 1.64 ERA against the Dodgers. His last time facing them was in 2012, when he tossed six innings and allowed three earned runs.

Hanley Ramirez, who is having an MVP caliber season, has had the most success against Hamels. In 65 career at bats he is hitting .296 with two homers, six RBI and 10 doubles. Adrian Gonzalez also has two solo homers in 27 at bats against the Phillies’ lefty.

After seeing Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw in games one and two, the Phillies will get little relief in the third game of the series when Ricky Nolasco takes the hill for the Dodgers. Since coming over to L.A. from Miami, Nolasco has earned a win in four of his seven starts, and in his last three starts he is 3-0 with a 2.76 ERA.

As a member of the Marlins, Nolasco has seen the Phillies many times with varied success. In 21 starts he is 8-6 with a 3.78 ERA. In three starts this year against the Phillies he is 0-1 and the Marlins lost all three games, but he allowed just seven earned runs in 18 2/3 innings (3.38 ERA).

Chase Utley has seen Nolasco well in 35 career at bats, posting a .293 average, two home runs and a team leading seven RBI,  and Domonic Brown has a homer, double, triple and three singles in 15 at bats against him.

Lineup: Martinez SS, Frandsen 1B, Utley 2B, Brown LF, Ruf RF, Asche 3B, Wells CF, Ruiz C, Hamels P

Gameday Beer: Smithwicks Irish Red Ale3498868847_cdfdc0e2ed

Smithwicks has been around forever yet it never gets old. This red ale is one of the most common Irish brews and is perfect if you are in that Irish mood and want something lighter than a Guinness and a bit more than a Harp lager. It might not jump out at you, but you know that you are going to get a consistently solid beer, and a lot of times, that is enough.

 

 

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Gameday: Phillies (53-68) vs Dodgers (71-50)

Posted by Kenny Ayres, Sat, August 17, 2013 06:00 PM Comments: 23

Philadelphia Phillies (53-67) vs Los Angeles Dodgers (70-50)dodgers_logo

Kyle Kendrick (10-9, 4.48 ERA) vs Clayton Kershaw (11-7, 1.88 ERA)

Time: 7:05, Citizens Bank Park

TV: Comcast SportsNet

Weather: 88, sunny

Media: Twitter and Facebook

The Phillies will get their second crack at earning their first win under Ryne Sandberg on Saturday when they take on the Dodgers in the middle game of their three-game set. After losing last night, the Phillies have now lost three straight and sit at 15 games under .500.

A struggling Kyle Kendrick, amid his worst stretch of the year, will toe the rubber for the Phillies. In his last three starts Kendrick has gone just 12 1/3 innings, and has allowed at least five runs in each start, swelling his ERA from 3.96 to 4.48 over that stretch.

The Phillies right-hander faced the Dodgers back in June, suffering a loss after allowing four runs on ten hits in six innings of work out at Dodger Stadium.

The Phillies will be facing perhaps the toughest pitcher they will face all year-Cy Young candidate Clayton Kershaw. The Dodger southpaw is vying with Roger Clemens to hold the lowest ERA in the National League since Greg Maddux posted a 1.63 in 1995. Kershaw is coming off a stretch in which has allowed two earned runs or fewer in five straight outings.

However, Kershaw has seen his fair share of the Phillies and has never had much success against them. In eight career starts, he is 0-4 with a 4.31 ERA. That is his highest ERA against any team in the National League over his career, and the highest against any team in baseball that he has had more than two games against. At Citizen’s Bank Park he has been even worse, posting a lofty 5.96.

Carlos Ruiz has easily had the most success against Kershaw in his career, hitting at a .429 clip with a homer and five RBI against him. Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley have also homered off the lefty, but have posted .207 and .238 averages against him, respectively.

Lineup: Rollins SS, Frandsen 2B, M. Young 3B, Brown LF, Ruf RF, Wells CF, Mayberry 1B, Kratz C, Kendrick P

 

Gameday Beer: Otter Creek Copper Aledownload

This medium bodied beer is a very versatile and refreshing brew that goes well with all types of ballpark food, especially stuff off the grill. It’s got a sweet, toasty, crisp taste that is perfect for either a chilly night or hot summer day watching the game. With a day game today fire up the grill and kick back with one of these and you’ll be set.

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