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  1. As a die-hard Reds fan, I appreciate this article, but have a few corrections.

    Much to my (and many other true fans) chagrin, you WILL see a lot of Jonny Gomes in the playoffs. Also, Orlando Cabrera will be starting at SS over Paul Janish.

    Also, Francisco Cordero is not good. Not even a little bit good.

    Other than that…. good stuff!

    Comment by Chris — October 4, 2010 @ 5:09 pm

  2. I put $5 down on the Reds to win the World Series when I was in Vegas in February. The casinos were giving 40:1 odds at that point. I’m a huge Reds fan for the next month.

    Comment by JH — October 4, 2010 @ 5:11 pm

  3. Pitching wins championships.

    I think when referring to the Phillies offense, its unfair to leave out that every position player, except for Werth and I think Raul spent time on the DL at some point this season (With Utley and Rollins being the longest stints of course). Yeah your offense is gonna suck when you have Willie Valdez and Juan Castro starting much too often.

    Comment by Nick — October 4, 2010 @ 5:14 pm

  4. Boy Dave, you just have it in for the Phillies don’t you? We know they insult you because they haven’t relied on anything SABR related to build their ballclub, but can you write something positive about them one time?

    Comment by Jeff — October 4, 2010 @ 5:18 pm

  5. When I was in eighth grade, I visited New York City. After visiting the WTC, I went and saw “Les Mis”. I returned home the following day. For the next month, I’m a huge Royals fan.

    Comment by PointlessPersonalStoryGuy — October 4, 2010 @ 5:19 pm

  6. You’re right. Pitching is the only thing that wins championships. Hitting and defense? Totally irrelevant. Kirk Gibson’s famous walkoff HR? Never happened.

    Comment by JH — October 4, 2010 @ 5:20 pm

  7. I don’t normally defend someone else on teh internet, but are you trying to pick a fight?

    Comment by My echo and bunnymen — October 4, 2010 @ 5:30 pm

  8. I definitely don’t think it’s fair to reference the advantage the Reds have over the Phillies in team wOBA without even making reference to the amount of games played by Wilson Valdez and Juan Castro. I would venture to say the wOBA of the Phillies team that will be taking the field on Wednesday is a good bit higher than .328.

    Comment by Greg — October 4, 2010 @ 5:40 pm

  9. I’m shocked that Dave Cameron writes an article diminishing the Phillies chances without once mentioning that he himself is much smarter than every member of the Phillies front office because he would know that signing Mike Cameron is a better move than signing Raul Ibanez. That’s usually a go-to meme and I’m disappointed that it was overlooked here; shame on the editors.

    As for the substance of the article, such as it is, I think whatever slight advantage the Reds have in the bullpen will largely be nullified into irrelevance by the fact that the Phillies will largely rely only on Lidge and Madsen in the bullpen due to the Phillies’ better starters pitching more innings while the Reds will have to go deeper into the bullpen due to their inferior starters. I think that Cameron is incorrect and the Reds will likely choose to deploy their starting LF in this series (Cameron need not look at depth charts to know the Phillies are overrated!). And I think using season wOBA is misleading to the point of silliness when it takes into account so many (1) backups that the Phillies won’t be playing in this series like Castro/Valdez/Sweeney (2) additional games against AAA teams that play in Pittsburgh. Although regardless of who wins this series (and I’d give the Reds a 2/5 chance like any team would get), I’ll assume that the Reds, Mariners and Nationals will rank ahead of the Phillies in this offseasons organization rankings.

    Comment by Andrew — October 4, 2010 @ 5:46 pm

  10. Not an accusation of bias: i dont think you hate the phillies or reds. I do think using a total team wOBA, especially when that team was extremely injured, is disingenuous. You can do better. The Phillies are going to play the same 8 players every night in the playoffs, so I’m pretty sure Ross Gload and Greg Dobbs wOBA really have no predictive value for this series. Same goes for the Reds Cabrera/Janish situation. Wouldnt it make more sense to line up the 16 position players and regress their wOBA across a couple years to project them forward? is 2010 a constant now?

    Comment by eh — October 4, 2010 @ 5:59 pm

  11. I’m trying to point out that saying “pitching wins championships” and ignoring the other 2/3 of what’s happening on the field is dumb. If that angers someone who incorrectly believes that pitching and pitching alone wins championships, it won’t ruffle my feathers.

    But no, I am not specifically trying to start a fight.

    Comment by JH — October 4, 2010 @ 6:01 pm

  12. truisms and cliches win championships.

    Comment by eh — October 4, 2010 @ 6:03 pm

  13. What a brutal article. How does this man have a job writing about baseball?

    Comment by Ryan — October 4, 2010 @ 6:05 pm

  14. I guess every other so-called “expert” is wrong. I also wonder why the Phillies are the heavy favorites in Vegas to win the World Series. You’d think they’d be the easiest out in the playoffs according to the all-knowing Dave “#6org” Cameron.

    Comment by John — October 4, 2010 @ 6:09 pm

  15. I think he briefly mentioned that if you did go ahead and regress their numbers like you’re suggesting, that you’d find that the Reds probably still have the superior offense. Not sure if that’s exactly true, but I still think the point of the article is valid– outside of their starting rotations, the Reds match-up pretty evenly with the Phillies. Which is to say they’re a pretty good team.

    My guess is Phillies in 5.

    Comment by Virgil Pryor — October 4, 2010 @ 6:13 pm

  16. ” Few teams got better production from their up-the-middle spots than the Reds got from Ryan Hanigan, Brandon Phillips, Paul Janish, and Drew Stubbs.”

    Oddly enough, one of them happens to be the Phillies with Ruiz, Utley Rollins and Victorino.

    Comment by Ryan — October 4, 2010 @ 6:15 pm

  17. He used the words “production” and “Paul Janish” in the same sentence.

    Comment by Anthony — October 4, 2010 @ 6:16 pm

  18. Other than what has been mentioned by many others (that team wOBA is meaningless when it includes so many at bats by secondary players like Valdez, Castro, Schneider, Dobbs, Gload and Sweeney) and the fact that most of the Phillies relievers will never be seen, especially Danys Baez who kills their numbers (and gifted the wildcard to Atlanta yesterday), there’s the fact that the Phillies rotation isn’t just “better” than the Reds, it’s drastically better.

    That was a long sentence, I apologize.

    Comment by mcb — October 4, 2010 @ 6:23 pm

  19. Sry I didn’t think you would take it so literally.

    Comment by Nick — October 4, 2010 @ 6:29 pm

  20. Geez, let the Reds fans have this. Anything can happen in the playoffs, so DC has a small chance of being able to brag that he (alone) saw this coming. That’s serious nerd cred if it hits.

    Comment by bflaff — October 4, 2010 @ 6:29 pm

  21. There is not an anti-team bias at Fangraphs, but I think it’s pretty clear that Cameron and others here give +100 points to any team whose front office talks the SABR talk. The Phillies do not, so even though they’ve bumbled around and stumbled into constructing a team that seems to do pretty well for itself, it will at best be begrudgingly accepted here, even if it takes Morgan-level feats of anti-logic to dismiss their accomplishments this regular season.

    Comment by Andrew — October 4, 2010 @ 6:31 pm

  22. You could only come to the conclusion “the only place the Phils are better is the starting rotation” if you wanted to come to such a conclusion, that is if you gerrymandered the categories in such a way to come to such a conclusion. If you look more specifically, you’ll find the Phils better at any number of places, like 2b, c, and ss, with all the outfield positions basically a push, and 3b a big advantage for the Reds (though Rolen slowed down a lot in August and September), and 1b a huge advantage for the Reds. But if you want to argue that the Reds hit better than the Phillies what you are really arguing is that Joey Votto is better than Ryan Howard and Chase Utley’s true performance level is indicative of this season (post injury) and not the entire rest of his career. (And while it’s only a month, he did get his power back in September. Not entirely coincidentally, the Phillies had a very good month.)

    It also seems since the Phillies have the huge advantage at 1st starter, 2nd starter and 3rd starter that their hitters will have a much easier time replicating or exceeding what they did this season than the Reds.

    Do the Reds have a shot? Sure, it’s a game of percentages. No one knows what will happen in a short series, or even a long one. I mean it took 162 games to separate out the Giants, Braves and Padres. But the Phillies are better than the Reds in lots of places.

    Comment by Crumpled Stiltskin — October 4, 2010 @ 6:37 pm

  23. One would think that the Jack Z & the 6th ranked team in baseball would even handle the Phillies with ease. The Phillies just aren’t a very good team.

    Wilson Valdez, Brian Schneider, Juan Castro, Greg Dobbs bunch of losers the whole lot.

    Comment by B — October 4, 2010 @ 6:57 pm

  24. Dave,

    Earlier today Matt warned the world about the trap you just fell into. It’s been said already but I’ll say it again anyway, the Phillies lineup that posted a .328 wOBA over a full season was much worse than the one primed to take the field on Wednesday. Now whether they can all stay healthy for 3-19 more games is a different matter…

    Comment by The A Team — October 4, 2010 @ 7:02 pm

  25. Fail. I think you’re supposed to say that he’s currently angling for a job. Or, at the very least, he thinks he’s smarter than [insert FO here].

    Get the counter-rev talking points right man.

    Comment by Will — October 4, 2010 @ 7:17 pm

  26. Along these lines, I got a grand difference between the two teams starters wOBA to be .03 advantage to the Reds. And that’s counting Hanigan’s flukey .368 wOBA, I doubt that’d be the case if he played more than 70 games this year.

    Comment by B — October 4, 2010 @ 7:23 pm

  27. Literally or figuratively, it’s wrong. Run scoring and run prevention are pretty evenly split in terms of determining what “wins” any given game. Pitching is the most important component of run prevention, but however you want to weight pitching vs. defense in that respect, the “pitching wins championships” cliche is just wrong.

    Comment by JH — October 4, 2010 @ 7:35 pm

  28. So Dave’s an idiot for saying that the Phillies are mere favorites in this series, and not overwhelming favorites?

    The Reds are a quality baseball team, and they’re not necessarily a cakewalk. In a game where overwhelming favorites don’t really exist even at the absolute extremes, how is that controversial?

    Comment by JH — October 4, 2010 @ 7:37 pm

  29. Did you even read the article? He quite clearly said the Phillies are favored.

    Comment by q — October 4, 2010 @ 7:38 pm

  30. Guys, guys. Seriously. Calm it down.

    Winning more games than your opposing teams wins championships. Statistically, every team to win a WS has had a positive win differential in each of their post-season series that year. Look it up.

    Comment by B N — October 4, 2010 @ 7:47 pm

  31. Wow, all of you guys crying about an anti-Phillies bias need to get two things through those thick-skulled heads of yours:

    1) Cameron clearly said the Phillies are favored.
    2) Cameron gave the Reds an organizational ranking of 20 and the Phillies a ranking of 10.

    By the way, in hindsight, the Phillies ranking is looking pretty good. Given Seattle’s pathetic performance, the Phillies surely deserve to go up a spot, but I’m not sure if they’ve shown enough in the past year to leapfrog the Braves or the Rockies.

    Comment by q — October 4, 2010 @ 7:49 pm

  32. Neither do the Reds, which is why all of these ‘anti Phillie’ claims on the basis that they don’t use sabermetric idea’s as the reason Dave likes the Reds a little more than what we are seeing elsewhere is a big joke. My biggest issue with the Reds is their lack of advanced statistical use (which is entirely me reading into the things that they do and say rather than actual knowledge of their use, but they never talk about it at all and some of their moves go right in the face of sabermetric ideas).

    Comment by Doug Gray — October 4, 2010 @ 8:00 pm

  33. 1) “But, if you look at the other aspects of the rosters, I think the Reds not only hold their own, but they probably have the advantage.”

    Yeah, he definitely said the Phils are favorites to win the serious.

    2) He ranked the Phils 9th. And the only thing holding the Phillies back from passing the Rockies (sitting at home right now) and the Braves (squeaked into the postseason despite all efforts to the contrary in September) would have to be farm systems. That might not even be the case, but I’m just too lazy to look it up right now. Frankly, I’m not sure how you can consider the team with the best record in baseball the 9th best organization, especially with all of aforementioned replacement players used during the season.

    Comment by Mark — October 4, 2010 @ 8:24 pm

  34. Whoops. Wrote “serious” instead of “series.” Sorry.

    Comment by Mark — October 4, 2010 @ 8:25 pm

  35. “Everyone knows about Joey Votto – he’s a monster, and the best offensive player in this series by a good margin.”

    What is the basis of this assertion? Is it just what has been talked about all season long? Granted he has had a great year, to say he is the best offensive player by a good margin is simply inaccurate. You can point to Howard, Werth, and Utley on the Phillies, as well as Bruce on the Reds as prime examples of why the margin is not that much. Votto may very well be the best hitter in the series, but it is certainly not by any significant margin.

    Comment by Tom C — October 4, 2010 @ 8:40 pm

  36. It’s a best-of-five series. Small sample sizes and streaks reign supreme. Even Pitts. could beat the Phillies if things fell right.

    O the joy of playoff baseball!

    Comment by neuter_your_dogma — October 4, 2010 @ 8:59 pm

  37. Average age, 2010 Phillies: 31.8
    Average age, 2010 Rockies: 28.8
    Average age, 2010 Braves: 28.6

    That, plus the state of the Phillies minor league system, suggests that the #9 ranking may not be so off after all.

    The 2001 Mariners average age was 31.3. They collapsed three years later, thanks to Pat Gillick stripping the minors bare in trades and underinvesting in scouting. While Gillick hasn’t been at the wheel in a couple years, you can see the same problems developing with the Phillies. What happens when Howard’s decline starts and the Phils are paying $20M to a guy with an sub-.800 OPS?

    In present value, yes, the Phils are #1. But if the Phils were a stock, I’d be selling now and buying the Braves. The Phillies are getting old.

    Comment by dw — October 4, 2010 @ 9:03 pm

  38. I actually really like this Reds team, but I also think they’re the worst team in the playoffs. I think one major issue with this article is that assumption that the Reds offense will continue their regular season offensive success in the postseason. Unfortunately for the Reds, they won’t have the benefit of facing the Pirates, Cubs, Brewers, and Astros in the postseason. The Reds only averaged 4.09 runs/game, while the Phillies averaged 4.56. The Reds offense took full advantage against the weaker pitchers, but they won’t have that opportunity facing only Halladay, Oswalt, and Hamels. Somebody earlier was criticized for using the cliche “pitching wins championships.” While that statement has its clear faults, it is true that pitching during the postseason is better than during the regular season and this works against teams who feasted on bad pitching during the regular season.

    In this case, I don’t think the numbers used in the article really tell the whole story. Anything can happen in a five game series, but unless the Reds can figure out a way to beat good teams in the next few days (20-33 record against teams over .500 this year), their gaudy numbers aren’t going to mean a whole lot.

    Comment by Murgatroid — October 4, 2010 @ 9:23 pm

  39. Ugh, those runs/game stats are both just against teams with winning percentages about .500.

    Comment by Murgatroid — October 4, 2010 @ 9:25 pm

  40. Dave knows more than every national MLB expert in the world. After all, who could deny such a face?

    Comment by Jeff — October 4, 2010 @ 9:28 pm

  41. “In present value, yes, the Phils are #1. But if the Phils were a stock, I’d be selling now and buying the Braves. The Phillies are getting old.” 1) Phillies’ farm system is well stocked at single A and below; 2) Phillies have cash; and 3) does the Phillies’ average age include Jamie Moyer?

    Comment by neuter_your_dogma — October 4, 2010 @ 9:32 pm

  42. Unfortunately, you should expect to see Gomes every day. Dusty still hasn’t figured out that his defense gives back every run his bat produces.

    Comment by Rick — October 4, 2010 @ 9:35 pm

  43. Among more analytical minded people (i.e., geeks) is commonly expressed the notion that values, not sentiments, are trump. It’s not how you say it, it’s the data in the tables. But a lover being told “it’s not you, you’re great” still knows she’s being dumped, irrespective of the words, which, by the way, is seriously a reason so many smart people have so much trouble with love.

    So. Albert Pujols is worth more wins than Ryan Howard. So is Joey Votto. So is Prince Fielder, maybe. Joey Votto is WAY more valuable than Howard? Nope; not right now. If Votto is worth 5.5 more wins than Howard over 162 games, then over 5 games, the advantage is 3/20 of a win.

    The Phillies’ advantage in their top 3 starters is double that, and that still isn’t all that meaningful. But I’ll take it. (That’s even if you believe that Edinson Volquez’ 2010 WAR means anything at all, which it really doesn’t in the playoff context.)

    Lee trade a mistake? Maybe. They “papered over it” by acquiring Oswalt? No, they painted a room a dumb color, went out and got new paint, and now the room looks good. Extending Howard was a mistake? Ibanez for 3 years foolish if it costs you Werth? Probably – we’ll find out in 2011, or 2012. But not in 2010.

    The Phillies have made mistakes, and going by that, will make more. They’ve also done some things right. If the Phillies are favored, they are favored – “they’re favored but” is subjective and it’s emotional and even a statstruck Phillies fan will be riled by it. If they’re favored, write that they’re favored. Writing anything else is simply acknowledging the truth: much to the chagrin of many, data have their limits, and when it comes to the playoffs, we’re all just saying what we’re thinking.

    Comment by messytaco — October 4, 2010 @ 9:47 pm

  44. I was going to say the same thing. A good portion of the lineup missed significant time this season, and they are all pretty much healthy and back in the lineup. I wonder what a comparison of just the starting lineups would look like? My guess is that the numbers would be pretty much a wash.

    Also, the Reds may have gotten decent numbers from Janish, but I’m guessing it’s Cabrera who will be playing most or all of the time at SS. I’d also wager that we WILL see Gomes a decent amount.

    Comment by WY — October 4, 2010 @ 9:57 pm

  45. He didn’t actually say that. He said, “No, you shouldn’t rely on just one year of data when looking at player abilities, but even a current true talent estimation will suggest that the Reds can hit, and probably hit better than the Phillies.” But he doesn’t mention the injuries to the Phillies’ position players, and that’s a glaring omission. The Reds’ starting position players missed a lot less time due to injury than the Phillies’ did. It has nothing to do with regression.

    Comment by WY — October 4, 2010 @ 10:01 pm

  46. Regardless of what methods he uses, Walt Jocketty has proven with both the Cardinals and now the Reds that he knows how to put a winning team together in the actual real world. That is worth something.

    Comment by WY — October 4, 2010 @ 10:05 pm

  47. Do you mean 0.003? 0.339 – 0.329 comes out to 0.010. I’m guessing that the difference between the rejiggered numbers would be smaller than 0.010.

    Also, I wouldn’t call Hanigan the starter for the Reds. It’s more of a 50-50 time share, right?

    Comment by WY — October 4, 2010 @ 10:08 pm

  48. Whoops, the number DC cited for the Phillies was 0.328. So … 0.339 – 0.328 would be 0.011. Same idea, though.

    Comment by WY — October 4, 2010 @ 10:09 pm

  49. So, what about the Reds playing “fierce” competition like the Cubs, Astros, Pirates, and Brewers?

    What about guys like Valdez and Castro getting around 500 PA and ZERO in the playoffs?

    Comment by Rich — October 4, 2010 @ 10:13 pm

  50. Yes. The way you can tell I read it is by the manner in which I referenced the arguments made. I never said, as you imply, that the article said the Phillies weren’t favored. However, I do note that the article made a series of arguments about advantages the Reds have that are overstated (bullpen), misleading (wOBA of non-starters), or bizarre (Gomes is the Reds starting LF) that I believe I have pointed out the fallacy of. Does this clarify my original post?

    Comment by Andrew — October 4, 2010 @ 10:20 pm

  51. Given your tough reputation, you Philly fans sure know how whine when somebody else gets even a little credit. Look, your team is better than the Reds. But the series is hardly a foregone conclusion.

    Comment by RMR — October 4, 2010 @ 10:21 pm

  52. So basically all of his points, including those that are demonstrably wrong or misleading, are unassailable because his ultimate conclusion is stated as an “although” clause? “Although I think he was a fine president, George Washington was an evil robot sent from Jupiter.” According to you, we couldn’t dispute the second part because after all, he said he was a fine president. I think that we thick skulled folk can get around this amateurish argumentative cover and debate the underlying points.

    Comment by Andrew — October 4, 2010 @ 10:26 pm

  53. It’s not really close. Look at wOBA for the last two years. When you factor in position, Utley obviously does a lot better, and so does Werth. But as an OFFENSIVE player, Votto’s clearly the best in the series. (Howard’s the most overrated player in baseball).

    Comment by Chris — October 4, 2010 @ 10:42 pm

  54. Sorry, Jeter is obviously the most overrated. Howard wins the NL title.

    Comment by Chris — October 4, 2010 @ 10:43 pm

  55. Hasn’t hit a cutoff man all season.

    Comment by Chris — October 4, 2010 @ 10:44 pm

  56. Brandon Phillips has a name for that kind of whining.

    Comment by Chris — October 4, 2010 @ 10:46 pm

  57. Heavens to Murgatroid!

    Comment by Snagglepuss — October 4, 2010 @ 10:47 pm

  58. Fair enough, and perhaps this is not a perfect example of that phenomenon, but I still believe that Cameron disparages the Phillies’ future chances because they have apparently (we don’t know what happens behind the scenes) succesfully built a team in a manner that he finds distasteful. If the Phillies did not change a single actual baseball decision, but discussed SABR principles in positive terms publicly (as Seattle or Boston do), I think they would find much more favorable coverage on this site.

    Comment by Andrew — October 4, 2010 @ 10:54 pm

  59. Don’t forget that Dave wrote a pretty glowing article on the Twins, the ultimate anti-sabermetric poster child, just a week or two ago.

    I don’t think there’s a pro-sabermetrics phenomenon going on. I think there’s a pro-smart people phenomenon vibe instead.

    Comment by dw — October 4, 2010 @ 11:19 pm

  60. 1. The early 2000s Mariners was well stocked at class A and below. A lot of good that did them.

    2. The Phils only have cash as long as they keep winning. But $86.5M committed for 2012, $56M in 2013, that’s a lot of money committed to just a small handful of players that are just going to keep getting older and more broken down. They cannot have Howard go Mo Vaughn or Richie Sexson on them.

    3. I was pulling from B-R, which uses a weighted average, but based on my math taking Moyer out of the equation if it were unweighted drops the Phillies from 31.8 to 31.4. That’s still the oldest team in the league — .5 ahead of second place Boston, a full year ahead of the Dodgers.

    Comment by dw — October 4, 2010 @ 11:38 pm

  61. Dave is a smart guy. He just uses conclusive-based reasoning sometimes. It’s a terrible trap, but he is only human.

    Comment by Richie Abernathy — October 4, 2010 @ 11:49 pm

  62. haha, everyone’s getting mad because the Reds are getting some credit! I like how all the experts on here are already declaring this series over. May I remind you that Cincy has really turned the tables on Oswalt lately. He owned Cincy in previous years, but lately they’ve gotten back at him. Hamels is very tough on the Reds, and he probably will beat them. He’s a gamer. As for Halladay, everyone talks about Philly’s playoff experience, yet this will be Halladay’s first postseason appearance. He’s in the same boat as Volquez. Plus, as aforementioned, the Reds beat up on Halladay earlier in the year.

    This series is hard to predict. I don’t bother predicting playoff games, because they never turn out like you’d expect. There’s always some mystery guy (Valdez?) that emerges as the hero of the series, and completely turns the tables.

    You people don’t give Cincy enough credit. They may not win, but they’re going to make it a tough series to play. If you just discredit them like this, they’ll turn around and prove you wrong. Happens every year.

    And the knives are being thrown at me in 3…2…1….

    Comment by JumpinJackFlash — October 5, 2010 @ 12:43 am

  63. Just for information presentation purposes wRC+ of the respective starting 8s:

    C: 128
    1B: 176
    2B: 104
    SS: 77
    3B: 127
    RF: 125
    CF: 112
    LF: 102

    C: 128
    1B: 128 (Ruiz = Howard apparently)
    2B: 132
    SS: 95
    3B: 99
    RF: 149
    CF: 109
    LF: 111

    I don’t know if this works math wise (as I not positive if wRC+ is linear), but just for the record, if you aggregate the differences between all the positions you get : 0

    This is just for this year, but I just thought it was interesting.

    Comment by Greg — October 5, 2010 @ 5:41 am

  64. Sheesh! You know, every article or comment that praises the opposition doesn’t need to be taken as a personal affront to Phillies fans. The Phillies are a good team. We know it. The other teams are good also.

    Comment by chuckb — October 5, 2010 @ 8:59 am

  65. The Reds front office is led by Walt Jocketty who happens to be one of the most anti-SABR front office people in baseball. You Phillies fans really need to chill out. It’s like if someone doesn’t say that the Phillies are overwhelming favorites to win the World Series you take it as a personal insult. There are 7 other good teams in the playoffs. It’s not like it’s going to be the Phillies against the Washington Generals.

    Comment by chuckb — October 5, 2010 @ 9:03 am

  66. “Halladay-Hamels-Oswalt make them the favorites, but this series will likely be a lot more competitive than people expect. ”

    Read the entire article next time before you post. It’ll help reduce the likelihood that you end up looking stupid.

    Comment by chuckb — October 5, 2010 @ 9:07 am

  67. Give Valdez credit in that he was probably the best 3rd SS in baseball this year and he basically saved Amaro’s arse when he came through as well (albeit mediocre for a starter) as he did at 3 different positions. As an afterthought signed for AAA insurance, he did an admirable job. His defense is quite good for a backup.

    Comment by NEPP — October 5, 2010 @ 9:08 am

  68. The ironic thing is that the Phillies have never said any such thing. The actual statement made by Ruben Amaro Jr is that the Phillies do not rely solely on scouting and they do not rely solely on statistical analysis. They like to use both (as does every other team in baseball). However, when there is a disconnect between the two (a trusted scout with a good track record says a guy is worth a look and the statistics dont support it), they give the scout’s experience more weight.

    Honestly, its not a bad way to build a team. That type of player analysis had nothing to do with some of the moves that have been panned by the SABR community (basically the Howard contract). It was that type of player analysis that gave them Victorino & Werth, its the type of analysis that has given them the prospect depth to make several major trades in the past 3-4 years and still have a good farm club while not spending a ton in the draft or on international signings.

    Its obviously working quite well for them at the moment.

    Comment by NEPP — October 5, 2010 @ 9:13 am

  69. Castro was released 4 months ago. Dobbs is AAA filler at this point, Valdez was actually pretty solid for a 3rd SS (he was signed as their AAA SS and brought up due to a TON of injuries) and Schneider is no worse or better than most backup catchers as its a very thin position MLB wide. Luckily their starter is one of the best catchers in baseball (Chooch hit over .300, had an OBP over .400 and gave them superior defense all season…that’s pretty nice for a catcher)

    Comment by NEPP — October 5, 2010 @ 9:17 am

  70. Dusty Baker is one of the biggest weapons the Phillies have in this series.

    Comment by NEPP — October 5, 2010 @ 9:20 am

  71. Interestingly, the team wOBA for the Phillies for the last month is .363. Unsustainable? Of course, but it gives you an idea of how hot they are right now, and how their talent can produce when they’ve got their full lineup, which they’ve had an overwhelming 28 games this year.

    Essentially, when doing any offensive comparisons with the Phillies this year, I’d be shocked if they didn’t come up short due to the massive amounts of injuries to their run-scoring and run-producing players.

    Comment by olo567 — October 5, 2010 @ 9:44 am

  72. dude pretty much any team could say they are stocked at the Single A level. it is just a matter of whether those prospects pan out and stay healthy.

    Comment by dutchbrowncoat — October 5, 2010 @ 10:23 am

  73. Alright, you guys have convinced me on this point. I retract my attempt ascribe a pro-motive to Cameron here, but I still think there are rather severe logical shortcomings in this article that tend to inflate the Reds’ chances at the expense of the Phillies’. Specifically: (1) the difference between the players who will actually pitch out the bullpen is not significant; (2) the lineups are also very close to each other and using season wOBA for a team that has had as many injuries as the Phillies had (and is now healthy) seems to be almost purposefully misleading; and (3) the Reds will play their starting LF. As to why he wrote an article with such logical shortcomings, I will just say I do not know.

    Comment by Andrew — October 5, 2010 @ 10:27 am

  74. yes they are hot but they also faced some pretty bad pitching in that stretch. most of those runs came against a marlins staff without nolasco and johnson and a pathetic nationals staff. they only pulled about 4 runs a game off teams with decent pitching (mets and braves) and even that is with the help of getting to face a rookie pitcher in his first two starts.

    Comment by dutchbrowncoat — October 5, 2010 @ 10:38 am

  75. I’m surprised that Dave – who is such a stellar analyst – whiffed on this one. You’re dead on Nick. This is the same kind of mistaken analysis that plagued the handicappers for the N.L. East at the All Star Break. A number of analysts pointed to the Braves Pythag W/L vs. the Phils in late July and gave the Braves a big advantage…ignoring the fact that Oswalt had just joined the team and that the Phillies had a higher potential for wins with a complete line-up. The Phillies starting eight has a higher WAR/AB than the Reds do. Dave’s point is still valid – the Reds are close making this adjustment – but it is an adjustment that must be made.

    Comment by Mike Gianella — October 5, 2010 @ 10:46 am

  76. The counter to that is that the Reds faced some pretty bad pitching all season long in the NL Central. Their record against above .500 teams is abysmal. They basically feasted on the weak underbelly of the NL all season long.

    Comment by NEPP — October 5, 2010 @ 10:53 am

  77. The only thing you’ve clarified, Andrew, is the notorious douchiness of PHI fans. Sorry, phans.

    Totally agree with those posters who remind that Gomes and Cabrera are the likely starters, and that measuring each team’s wOBA for the season ignores the absence of Utley and significant stretches where Polanco and Rollins were unavailable. OTOH, don’t be surprised to see Gomes pulled for defense late in games. If Cabrera tweaks his oblique, Janish is there, and I could see Janish getting a start. And of course, inevitably Cabrera will over achieve and be the LDS MVP, sparking endless debate over intangibles vs. SSS. Willie Bloomquist would have played this part had he only been eligible for the post-season roster.

    The Reds’ bullpen is, generally speaking, empirically to their advantage against the Phillies as they have excellent left-handed relief in Rhodes and Chapman and the now underrated Bill Bray. After watching what Marte did to PHI last year, the importance of lefty relief against them can’t have been lost on anyone.

    Comment by blackout — October 5, 2010 @ 11:19 am

  78. i agree totally. but people tend to talk of the phillies as being hot and all that but a lot of it has to do with strength of schedule. they faced only 13 teams over .500 in their last 63 games.

    and just for the record (ie any future commenters) the respective records against 500 and over teams –
    phillies – 34-27
    reds – 20-33

    Comment by dutchbrowncoat — October 5, 2010 @ 11:28 am

  79. Now that makes a heckuva lot more sense, Andrew, and aside from the bullpen question (the advantage is not bullpen vs bullpen, but rather the advantage that any ‘pen with good lefties has against PHI) I agree with you, and I’m a Reds fan. Douchiness remark retracted as well in light of your conciliatory tone.

    Comment by blackout — October 5, 2010 @ 11:28 am

  80. I love Jay Bruce, but there’s no way he’s in Votto’s league at this point, and there’s absolutely a *good margin* between the two in terms of production. Utley is the only player who’s comparable to Votto imo, and I’d certainly take his track record at this point, but he’s never posted a season as good as Votto’s 2010. I guess you have to define *good margin* to debate the point, but remember that we’re talking offense, not offense+positional value.

    Comment by blackout — October 5, 2010 @ 11:40 am

  81. I’ve actually seen him hit the cutoff man three times IIRC, Chris. Let’s not exaggerate. lol

    Comment by blackout — October 5, 2010 @ 11:42 am

  82. Jack, as a fellow Reds fan I’ll just say that the *Halladay’s first post-season* meme going around among Reds fans only serves to make us look dopey. That dog don’t hunt.

    Comment by blackout — October 5, 2010 @ 11:45 am

  83. A lot of the Phillies weaknesses go away in a short series. The only pitchers that will likely see any action are the Big 3, Madson & Lidge. Durbin and Bastardo might see a couple hitters but there wont be any Jose Contreras, Danys Baez, David Herndon, Kyle Kendrick. The backend of the Phillies bullpen has been nearly unhittable since late July. Lidge is back, Madson is fresh and one of the few elite bullpen arms out there. Durbin and Bastardo are decent role options as RH and LH specialists respectively. There wont be any key Greg Dobbs ABs or key Ben Francisco PAs. You’ll see their top 8 position players…all of whom are healthy. The guys that are banged up (Rollins, Polly, Utley, Ruiz) will all benefit from the off-days in the schedule. Those off-days are a huge boon to the older club and the club with the 3 great #1 level starters.

    This series is a huge favorite towards the Phillies but its also a short series. The Reds could stun everyone and pull it out…stranger things have happened and its baseball…the worst team in baseball still wins around 40% of its games.

    The Reds offense is no fluke…but then, the Phillies offense, when healthy as it is now, is also no fluke. It should be some great baseball.

    Comment by NEPP — October 5, 2010 @ 11:47 am

  84. Did you just say that Halladay is in the same boat as Volquez? Only if Volquez is the steerage overseer and Halladay is the gourmet chef.

    I’m not sure what all the hub-bub is about. The Phillies’ starting pitchers dominate the Reds starting pitchers. The Reds’ depth is negated in a short series. The Reds’ best hitters now face the Phillies top three pitchers in every AB in the series.

    I never rule out any team in a five game series. If there is a series that looks like a foregone conclusion, however, this is it.

    Comment by Toz — October 5, 2010 @ 12:23 pm

  85. Wow talk about false analogies. You can go ahead and dispute Dave’s analysis (and I agree it seems he neglected to account for injuries), but ascribing a bias is ridiculous.

    Comment by q — October 5, 2010 @ 12:56 pm

  86. “Yeah, he definitely said the Phils are favorites to win the serious”

    Yes, he did. The sentence you quoted was most likely referring to the Reds’ advantages in the “other aspects” of the rosters, otherwise it doesn’t make any sense in light of the rest of the article.

    Comment by q — October 5, 2010 @ 1:00 pm

  87. last year was cliff lee’s first postseason as well and he totally collapsed under the pressure.

    Comment by dutchbrowncoat — October 5, 2010 @ 1:11 pm

  88. It makes complete sense in light of the rest of the article. Why else would he spend the meat of the article addressing the Reds advantages at the plate, in the field, and in the bullpen, and then insert what equates to a footnote stating that the Phillies are favorites? He says so pretty unequivocally, but he contradicts himself from the start and leads the reader astray by stating that the Reds have the advantage.

    Comment by nuke — October 5, 2010 @ 1:46 pm

  89. How many games have they played against those thirteen teams though? That still makes 13 of their last ~20 series against .500 teams.

    Comment by nuke — October 5, 2010 @ 1:52 pm

  90. that is my bad. 13 games out of 63.

    Comment by dutchbrowncoat — October 5, 2010 @ 3:20 pm

  91. To answer the first part of your question for Anthony – yes, he is.

    Comment by Ryan — October 5, 2010 @ 3:24 pm

  92. His comment was just fine. It’s a terrible article.

    Now you can make a smug response about my comment too.

    Comment by Rick — October 5, 2010 @ 3:28 pm

  93. I wonde if Dave Cameron will make the Seattle Mariners the sixth best organization in the MLB in next year’s rankings.

    Comment by Michael — October 5, 2010 @ 3:30 pm

  94. Contreras is actually better than Durbin, so he’s more likely to see time.

    Comment by Michael — October 5, 2010 @ 3:32 pm

  95. Wow. GQ should definitely be giving him a call for a photo shoot.

    Comment by John — October 5, 2010 @ 3:35 pm

  96. The more egregious rankings were from after the 2007 season (right after the Phils made the playoffs and lost to the Rockies in the first round).

    Cameron ranked the Indians #1
    Cameron ranked the Phils #24

    Since then the Phils have won 90+ games three seasons in a row (92,93,and 97 wins respectively), won a WS, lost a WS, and made the playoffs again.

    Cleveland has won 81, 65, and 69 games respectively. crikets.

    All this goes to show that the rankings are subjective, ranking all the teams is really hard, ranking the teams based on future potential is hard because no one in 2007 could have known that the Phils payroll would jump 50mm, etc. Cleveland had a lot of talent, but the talent either got hurt, or got traded because Cleveland was unable to re-sign their talent.

    A ranking of 10 is probably not high enough probably because given the Phils revenue from their stadium, and that the TV ratings increased something like 15+% this year they are probably going to be able to increase payroll again next year if they wanted to, unlike most teams. Lets face it, in most non Met cases, Revenue really trumps smart front offices

    Comment by Alec — October 5, 2010 @ 3:37 pm

  97. @dw. I’m not sure why the mariners age in 2001 compared to the Phils in age in 2010 is really relevant. If I was a Phils fan I would look at that comparison with a postive slant.

    The 2002 and 2003 Mariners were REALLY good. They won 93 games BOTH years. If you told a Phillies fan: Your team is going to win ~93 games in 2011 and 2012, but then probably fall off a cliff in in 2013, would you take it?” My guess (not a Phils fan) is that most Phils fans would take it and say in 2013 we’ll have probably 65mm coming off the books and just reload via free agents or something else (i’m just guessing that this is their response)

    The 2001 Ms were unlucky in that the team in their division was awesome, The As won 102, then 96 or something games in 2002/2003.

    Comment by Bilbo — October 5, 2010 @ 4:17 pm

  98. nuke, reading comprehension fail. Cameron was addressing Klassen’s quip that the Phillies are simply going to steamroll the Reds due to the big SP advantage. Obviously to make the argument that the Reds will make it a competitive series (while still not being favored), one would need to focus on where the Reds have an advantage.

    It makes no sense to interpret the statement that the “Reds … probably have the advantage” to mean that they’re favored against the Phillies when a more reasonable and consistent interpretation in light of the entire articles (and, oh I don’t know, how about the words preceding it) would be that the Reds have an advantage in non-SP areas. Unless you have a hard-on for for picking a bone with Cameron, while making yourself look retarded in the process.

    Comment by q — October 5, 2010 @ 6:41 pm

  99. Also, really now, the concluding paragraph “equates to a footnote”? You not only fail at reading, you also fail at writing. Get thee back to grade school.

    Comment by q — October 5, 2010 @ 6:48 pm

  100. I’m not sure why the mariners age in 2001 compared to the Phils in age in 2010 is really relevant.

    I see it as relevant because the two teams have a lot of similarities, not only in terms of age but also in composition — and more importantly, how they were constructed. 2002 and 2003, while good, reflected two fundamental problems with the M’s: Their old starters (not named Moyer) were in decline, and there really wasn’t much in AA and AAA that could step up and fill the gaps, mostly because they were traded away. The M’s had the added problem of losing draft picks due to free agent signings (again, Gillick undervalued the farm system).

    The result was 2004. The M’s contended for two years, unable to really shift course, and then they plummeted as their offense relied heavily on Ichiro, a 42 year old Edgar Martinez, and a collapsing Bret Boone for whom the roids stopped working. And ever since then, well, it’s what those #6org people keep crowing about.

    The Phillies look to be in a similar situation — saturated with low-30s people, not a lot coming out of the high minors save Domonic Brown.

    Yes, the Phils could just reload on free agents. But it’s going to be hard to do that this offseason — they’re already at $139.7M committed to 16 players. In 2012 Ibanez comes off the books, but it’s still another $86.5M due. It’s going to mean a lot more Greg Dobbs bench filler. It’s going to mean less flexibility to sign free agents unless Phillies fans are willing to tolerate higher ticket prices.

    What it means is this might be the Phils’ last best shot. I’m not saying they won’t win the Series in 2011 or 2012, but I am saying this might be the last time we say “The Phillies are the favorites” and not “The Phillies sure surprised us.”

    Oh, and I forgot: The 2001 Mariners average age: 31.4, the same as the 2010 Phillies minus Moyer. That was where this whole thing started.

    Comment by dw — October 5, 2010 @ 6:57 pm

  101. Yeah, Dave has said A LOT of good things about the Twins in the past year.

    I’m also sure he hasn’t said spectacular things about Sabermetric teams like the Indians and Pirates.

    Comment by Steven Ellingson — October 5, 2010 @ 8:52 pm

  102. Charlie Manuel has shown more confidence in Durbin than Contreras over the last couple months. If UC needs a reliever in the 7th inning or earlier, his first pick will likely be Durbin…unless its a LH matchup in which case he’ll go to Romero or Bastardo.

    I dont necessarily disagree that Contreras is the better reliever.

    Comment by NEPP — October 5, 2010 @ 9:53 pm

  103. @q Let’s take this thing paragraph by paragraph…

    1) Introduction. Cameron introduces the fundamental argument: that the Phillies-Reds series will be more competitive than many others believe.

    2) Cameron asserts that Philadelphia’s primary advantage is it’s starting rotation–and it’s a considerable one at that.

    3) There’s a simple yet profound adage in journalism: the most important structural element of any piece of journalistic writing (and I do consider this journalism) is the lead. It is the thesis of the article, the raison d’etre–this is where the core of the piece is found. Let’s take a look at Cameron’s lead: “But, if you look at the other aspects of the rosters, I think the Reds not only hold their own, but they probably have the advantage.” Now, yes, if I read how you were taught at whatever abhorrent grade school you wish to send me back to, I could see that he’s making a statement regarding only those specific other aspects of the Reds roster. However, the correct manner of conveying that idea would be to write the sentence as such: “But, despite the Phillies’ starting pitching, it will not be an easy series for Philadelphia due to the Reds’ superb offense, left-handed relief pitching, and reliable defense, where they hold an advantage in each of those categories.” This allows Cameron to still argue the competitiveness of the Reds, while at the same time providing himself the opportunity to clarify and state that he still sees the Phillies as the favorites.

    Instead, Cameron’s original sentence is, in my opinion, poorly structured for the context of the piece, and reads as: “Despite Philadelphia’s starters, the Reds probably have the advantage because of the other parts of the rosters.” The key here is the use of “the advantage.” Not just an advantage, but the advantage. Cameron would have been fine to leave it at “the Reds will hold their own in the series.” By qualifying the statement however, Cameron indicates that the Reds hold the advantage in the series. I have no problem with that. If Cameron wants to come to that conclusion, that’s fine with me. I concur that the Phillies will not simply steamroll through this series. However, the problem comes at the conclusion of the piece when Cameron contradicts the apparent thesis of the article. More on that in a little bit.

    4) The Reds have a better wOBA in 2010… (I’ll abridge the next few paragraphs because I’m more concerned with addressing the contradiction in the article.)

    5) Joey Votto is great, and the Reds have strong offense at premium positions.

    6) The Reds play stellar defense.

    7) The Reds bullpen is well positioned going into this series.

    8) The Phillies possess a huge advantage in their starting rotation. True, but the difference is almost made up by the Reds advantages in other areas previously elaborated upon

    9) Now here is where I think Cameron goes awry: “Halladay-Hamels-Oswalt make them the favorites, but this series will likely be a lot more competitive than people expect.” Wait a minute–I thought you said that the Reds probably had THE advantage in this series? That their better offense, better bullpen, and better defense would help them not only hold their own, but give them the advantage? Hmmm…

    Yes, as you state, “Obviously to make the argument that the Reds will make it a competitive series (while still not being favored), one would need to focus on where the Reds have an advantage.” That’s very true. However, that’s not the argument Cameron sets out on in the beginning. It is not clear that he doesn’t favor the Reds until that footnote.

    And yes, it’s a footnote. If you’ve ever actually used one, you would know that they are employed to make known some detail that is essential to the piece, but not practical to insert within the writing, so as to prevent a distraction. It would certainly be a distraction in this instance, and it was a distraction, from what I deemed to be Cameron’s thesis at the start: the Reds have the advantage.

    I don’t have a “hard-on” for picking a bone with Dave Cameron. I happen to think most of his work is very well thought out and intelligently written. However, I believe that this piece was not written well. From the research to the syntax, the article missed the target and just came across as misguided to me.

    Now, please return to civility and refrain from any more personal attacks.

    Comment by nuke — October 5, 2010 @ 10:06 pm

  104. Yeah, Michael, can you elaborate on that? Don’t necessarily disagree, just always kind of saw those two as equals. Just wondering what you’re basing that on.

    Comment by nuke — October 5, 2010 @ 10:13 pm

  105. I wonde if people will stop cluttering the boards with such immature comments. Grow up.

    Comment by neuter_your_dogma — October 5, 2010 @ 10:25 pm

  106. nuke, you have shown yourself to be utterly incapable of reading English. This is what Cameron wrote:

    “But, if you look at the other aspects of the rosters, I think the Reds not only hold their own, but they probably have the advantage.”

    Yes, this could mean he’s saying the Reds have an overall advantage. Or, hmm, I don’t know, maybe it means the Reds have an advantage in “the other aspects of the rosters”? Because that would simply make too much sense? And wouldn’t require silly mental gymnastics about how a *concluding paragraph* of all things is really just a distracting footnote? Seriously, do you realize how nonsensical you sound? So his conclusion that the Phillies are favored is inconsistent with your interpretation of his thesis, therefore he really doesn’t believe his own conclusion and that’s why he threw it in a “footnote.” Gee, silly Cameron, doesn’t he know he didn’t have to write that the Phillies are favored if he wants an internally consistent article?

    You’ve basically chosen the least charitable interpretation; one that could only be plausible if one assumes Cameron is a braindead moron who can’t keep his thoughts straight. Your denial of your fetish for Cameron falls on deaf ears.

    Comment by q — October 6, 2010 @ 3:00 am

  107. Thanks for the lesson, q. From now on, I’ll ignore horribly misleading writing, take your approach, and forgive an author for inserting although clauses at the last possible second. I’ve wasted too much of my time arguing with you. How about, instead of questioning my ability to read, you simply accept the fact that I have an opinion about the article (that it’s uncharacteristically poor writing from the otherwise intelligent Dave Cameron), respond that you respectfully disagree like most of the other users on this forum, and move on? Or are comments of substance and courtesy out of your realm?

    Comment by nuke — October 6, 2010 @ 9:23 am

  108. Reds in 5.

    Comment by Mevs — October 6, 2010 @ 10:48 am

  109. @dw — I still don’t think the 2010 Phils and 2001 Ms are all that similar. In the last couple of years have the Phils signed Type As other than Ibaneaz? Next year they are likely to lose a Type A in Werth, so they haven’t been that bad with respect to forfeiting draft picks. They messed up the Cliff Lee trade, but they did try and get some AA type guys (not sure if they are any good or not).
    I don’t think all the Phils ‘old’ starters are in decline, particularly I’d site Halladay and Oswalt on the pitching side, and Polonco, Utley and Ruiz on the everyday player side.

    Either way, and I guess I’m a bit pragmatic, but I’d be very happy with a 93 win season, that as a fan, would be a very enjoyable year (again the Ms were unlucky a bit in that 93 wins didn’t get them into the playoffs). In the NL 93 wins will put this team in the heart of playoff races for the next two years. So, in conclusion, I still disagree with you that the two teams are all that similar except for age, but if they are similar I would take it because 93 wins for two more years probably would give their big 3 starters a chance in any playoff series.

    Comment by Bilbo — October 6, 2010 @ 10:51 am

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