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  1. FIP 3.72 is quite a bit higher than his actual ERA of 3.09.

    Comment by Matt B. — March 17, 2009 @ 8:34 am

  2. I like FIP as much as anyone but when projecting Hamels’ performance, it’d be bad not to include the Phillies’ elite defense in the equation. They were +74 last season according to Dewan’s +/- and while it will certainly regress a bit, it will still be well above average, saving quite a few runs for Hamels and the other starters.

    According to FanGraphs, Hamels was worth 4.6 wins last season. I believe that is adjusted for replacement level but correct me if I’m wrong. And most projections have Happ and Park being above replacement level. The drop from Hamels to whoever gets bumped into the rotation (i.e. the loser of the Happ/Park duel) is large, but not quite as large if, say, it was Hamels to Adam Eaton. In other words, losing Hamels might result in a loss of three wins or so.

    The Phillies can certainly win the division with or without Hamels. It’s tougher without Hamels, of course, but not impossible. Now, if Chase Utley had to sit out the season, that would stick a bigger fork in the Phillies.

    Comment by Bill B. — March 17, 2009 @ 8:56 am

  3. You’re much higher on our team than I am if you think they can certainly win the division without Hamels for a full year. If he misses 3-4 starts, sure, no sweat, but color me very skeptical of their chances if he goes down for a very extended period of time.

    Comment by Eric Seidman — March 17, 2009 @ 9:00 am

  4. Statistically speaking, they certainly can as long as Happ and Park are as good as most of the projections have them being, which is in the low 4’s in ERA. If the Phillies are projected to be, say, a 91-win team, then Hamels’ ~4.5 wins and Happ/Park’s ~1.0 or so would put them at around 87-88.

    That would put them right in the mix once again to win the division. Of course, I see the bullpen and overall defense regressing a bit, so it’s a bit harder.

    Comment by Bill B. — March 17, 2009 @ 9:12 am

  5. Plus, I don’t see them as a 91-win team. We’ll just have to wait and see.

    Comment by Eric Seidman — March 17, 2009 @ 9:13 am

  6. I don’t know if he’s trying to pitch to contact a bit more, but his LD% at 22% is pretty high. His O-ZONE contact % was also higher (maybe lefties rolling over the change up to 2nd base). His stat set just seemed odd. K rate lowering again is a red flag for me at his age.

    Comment by Matt B. — March 17, 2009 @ 9:37 am

  7. I doubt that they would win the division with 87-88 wins. Also FIP underrates Hamels (and a lot of good pitchers). He allows so few base runners that his mistakes (walks, HRs) don’t have as negative of an effect on him as it would on another worse pitcher.

    Comment by vivaelpujols — March 17, 2009 @ 9:39 am

  8. According to the data here
    http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/batters-and-babip/
    the Phillies as a team last year had collectively rather bad luck on balls in play. Only Werth had a BABIP higher than expected, and the team as a whole was about ~.020 below what would be expected. It could be something about Citizens Bank Park, though the opposite was true of the team’s xBABIP in 2007, so it was probably chance. A ~.020 BABIP difference over a whole season would be 70-80 base hits, which is what, ~50 runs? That would probably cover the expected regression in fielding.

    I do think that being without Hamels for much of the season would hurt their chances to win the division but they might still be in the wild card race. Now if they can only avoid giving 50 starts to replacement level pitchers…

    Comment by don — March 17, 2009 @ 10:59 am

  9. You’re right. The Phillies’ hitters BABIP last year was ridiculously low for their odds. I did a post at TheGoodPhight back in August about this, breaking it down hitter by hitter. Have a look if you want: http://www.thegoodphight.com/2008/8/20/598019/we-gon-hit . In general, the point was that nearly everyone had been unlucky on balls in play despite maintaining their performance on other statistics that are traditionally correlating with good BABIP. The offense should be a bit more productive this season. I think 91 wins is pretty reasonable with Hamels. Chone and Pecota seems to see the Phillies as a high 80s win team, but they don’t take into account things like Jayson Werth playing a full season, and neither have any real way of projecting Jamie Moyer at all. Pecota also seems weirdly low on the Phillies pitchers and weirdly high on the Mets hitters too but I think the former is a mixture of underestimating the Phillies’ defense and the latter is a result of Pecota overestimating the likelihood of BABIP improvement for fast hitters like Reyes and Beltran.

    Comment by MattS — March 17, 2009 @ 3:24 pm

  10. LD% has about the same correlation with the following year’s BABIP as the previous year’s BABIP does. O-Contact rate up is a legitimate argument, but that’s probably already taken into account with his K-rate drop.

    Comment by MattS — March 17, 2009 @ 5:02 pm

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