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  1. Bastardo has allowed 3.2 H/9


    MLB record for 50+ IP –> juiced-out-of-his-mind Eric Gagne (4.04) in 2003.

    Comment by Pete — July 21, 2011 @ 11:18 am

  2. Another biased Fangraphs article not giving the Phillies the credit they deserve. Shameful. Disgraceful. Disgusting.

    Comment by Pat — July 21, 2011 @ 11:19 am

  3. Another biased Phillies fan whining about the coverage they receive on fangraphs. Lame. Trite. Tiring.

    Comment by chuckb — July 21, 2011 @ 11:25 am

  4. How exactly does it not give the Phillies credit? What exactly do they need anyone’s acknowledgement or approval for? They have the best record in baseball. All this does is point out that they’re doing it with different players than they have in the past and that they could use another bat and maybe a bullpen arm. Which you could say about just about any other team.

    Comment by Collateral Damage — July 21, 2011 @ 11:28 am

  5. As a Phillies fan, Bastardo scares me. It’s only a matter of time before those fly balls turn into home runs. In the month of May, of 23 batted balls against him, 22 (!) were fly balls and exactly 1 was a grounder. A 27.3% GB rate is just horrendous.

    He’s a strikeout machine, but there’s a reason why his xFIP is 2.24 points higher than his ERA.

    Comment by Max — July 21, 2011 @ 11:28 am

  6. Really, Pat? Did you miss the comparison to Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz. Or how about the part that says even if they don’t do anything by the deadline that they will still have a good shot at the series? Or that they may be one of the best teams of the decade? Or what about the shout out to all of the unheralded guys who have stepped it up?

    But oh yeah, I forgot any slight criticism of Howard, Utley and Oswalt is a disgusting slight against the Phillies and the great city of Philadelphia.

    Comment by Matt — July 21, 2011 @ 11:30 am

  7. I’m no Ryan Howard apologist, but he has made a habit of having a strong second half. If he holds true to that late push, 30 homers and 120+ RBI might push him up to his career averages.

    Comment by Bay Slugga — July 21, 2011 @ 11:31 am

  8. That article gives them plenty of credit. If anything it does the opposite.

    Comment by balagast — July 21, 2011 @ 11:32 am

  9. I have no idea if the point of this comment was to make me lol, but it did.

    Comment by Levi — July 21, 2011 @ 11:32 am

  10. How does his RBI total have any bearing on his performance?

    Comment by balagast — July 21, 2011 @ 11:33 am

  11. Take a look at his infield fly %. nobody is squaring up on him.

    Comment by Nik — July 21, 2011 @ 11:34 am

  12. Another dummy on Fangraphs with a broken sarcasm detector. Typical. Predictable. Amusing.

    Comment by Chris — July 21, 2011 @ 11:34 am

  13. RBI isnt a stat?

    Comment by Nik — July 21, 2011 @ 11:35 am

  14. True… but is that sustainable? Or is it just noise?

    Comment by Max — July 21, 2011 @ 11:36 am

  15. How many guys have been able to ever sustain that kind of rate though?

    Comment by balagast — July 21, 2011 @ 11:36 am

  16. ZiPS still projects him for 32 and 123, but by no means does that mean he had a good year if he keeps up his .247/.342/.452. In this case, that end would not justify his means.

    Comment by Levi — July 21, 2011 @ 11:37 am

  17. Also check out Tyler Clippard. They basically have the same peripherals. As the SIERA article pointed out, the better the K rate, the better the HR/FB rate.

    Comment by Nik — July 21, 2011 @ 11:39 am

  18. Not to nitpick here, but in 47 games (including some ugly early rehab-esque games), Utley has managed to produce 2.2 WAR, or about 7 WAR/150. in 2010 he had 5.4 WAR in 115 games, which is about the same 7 WAR/150. While it’s below his 07-09 seasons, it’s right along the lines of his 05-6 seasons. Hopefully he’ll continue to remain healthy and some of his numbers (especially ISO, which is 50 points below his career average) will continue to rise. As an absolute homer, I can say that I think Utley hasn’t fallen off as much as people think, and has some great years of productivity left in him.

    Comment by Sean — July 21, 2011 @ 11:39 am

  19. Because he faces a defensive alignment that causes him to hit 130 points of OPS better with men on base, meaning that context-independent stats understate his value. (Not that RBIs don’t overstate his value, but they have some value for a player with splits like Howard’s)

    Comment by Chris — July 21, 2011 @ 11:39 am

  20. Lets always project based on stats when a guy is in a slump.

    Comment by Nik — July 21, 2011 @ 11:40 am

  21. WAR dont lie. Sure, the HRs are down, but he’s still great in the field and is getting on base at an elite pace.

    Comment by Nik — July 21, 2011 @ 11:40 am

  22. Ground ball pitchers can maintain the GB%. I dont see a reason why a guy can’t similarly maintain a weak (IF) FB%.

    Comment by Nik — July 21, 2011 @ 11:42 am

  23. I was shocked when I just looked at his numbers. Ike Davis is worth more than a half win more than Howard this year – and he’s been hurt since May!

    Comment by vivalajeter — July 21, 2011 @ 11:43 am

  24. LOL at people who take this comment seriously.

    Comment by Nik — July 21, 2011 @ 11:44 am

  25. Bastardo and Venters should have a serious case for top 50 trade value list.

    Comment by Nik — July 21, 2011 @ 11:46 am

  26. Additional items not mentioned here:
    Michael Stutes has proven to be a reliable bullpen addition, lessening the possibility for a big drop off in performance with injuries from Contreras, Lidge, and Madson. Think about it – if he weren’t around, Baez and Herndon would be getting high leverage innings. Scary thought.

    As Jonah said, “Meh” is about right for the Phillies roster outside of Victorino. But the thing is, they have the 6th best BB% and 5th best K% in baseball, no small feat considering the replacement level fodder they’ve thrown out there, as well as Ibanez and Howard’s K-heavy ways. They also have the 5th worst BABIP. I’d say they are doing a lot of little things right, staying disciplined (as the oldest lineup in the league should be). As far as their “mediocre” hitting, see below – it looks like they are mediocre across the board, which isn’t the worst thing in the world (ask the Giants/Braves). I’d say they are due to improve a bit in the second half hitting-wise, as some players get healthier and others hit more as they are expected.
    C- 14th in wOBA
    1B- 13th
    2B- 17th
    SS- 5th, Go Jimmy!
    3B- 13th
    OF- 18th

    Comment by DD — July 21, 2011 @ 11:46 am

  27. jeter – likely Defense making up the difference, and then some.

    Comment by DD — July 21, 2011 @ 11:49 am

  28. The Phillies are getting better than league average production out of Utley, Polanco, Ruiz, Victorino and Rollins, even with the injuries taking away a lot of playing time from Utley and Polanco. Rollins is having a quietly good year thanks to staying healthy, putting up a decent show at the plate, and some above average fielding at a premium position.

    Realistically how much more do you need to surround Halladay, Lee, and Hamels in order to have a team that should make the playoffs?

    Comment by domingoes — July 21, 2011 @ 11:50 am

  29. The “fifth-worst defensive team in baseball” has committed the fewest errors in the league.

    Comment by Cro — July 21, 2011 @ 11:52 am

  30. This is fangraphs. People on care about UZR here.

    Comment by Nik — July 21, 2011 @ 11:55 am

  31. An error is a stat that determines how often a guy messes up a play hit right at him. It hasn’t got anything to do with how well a defensive player gets to the ball, what he does with the ball once he gets there, or how effectively he positions himself, which ends up being much more meaningful in terms of runs prevented.

    Comment by domingoes — July 21, 2011 @ 11:56 am

  32. You can’t commit errors on the balls you can’t get to.

    Comment by Max — July 21, 2011 @ 11:57 am

  33. Exactly. To commit an error, you have to have first done something right.

    Comment by dbake005 — July 21, 2011 @ 11:58 am

  34. Oh ok, so making errors on routine plays has no consequence on runs prevented. Gotcha.

    Comment by Nik — July 21, 2011 @ 12:01 pm

  35. That’s the problem at the deadline – they don’t have a glaring need anywhere in the field, unlike the Giants who need a SS and anyone who can handle a bat, the Brewers who need 3B and SS, the Braves needing a SS and for Uggla to wake up (he’s starting to…) Getting healthy is probably their biggest need.

    Comment by DD — July 21, 2011 @ 12:05 pm

  36. I like the part about how making the fewest errors makes them one of the worst fielding teams in the league.

    It’s almost like errors and fielding are unrelated or something.

    Comment by Carlmart — July 21, 2011 @ 12:07 pm

  37. I find it hard to argue that a guy who airmails a ball over the first baseman’s head has done any more right than a guy who can’t get to a ground ball in the hole.

    Comment by Cro — July 21, 2011 @ 12:09 pm

  38. He has extra “lift/raise” on his fastball. same thing that those pesky giants pitchers have.

    Comment by Jamie — July 21, 2011 @ 12:09 pm

  39. It is worth noting that the 17th at 2B includes a major contribution from Wilson Valdez, Pete Orr, and Michael Martinez (before he got extremely lucky). We can expect that ranking to rise as Utley plays more.

    Comment by LTG — July 21, 2011 @ 12:10 pm

  40. LF is a pretty glaring need right now, although getting Oswalt and a couple of the bullpen guys back would be nice as well.

    Comment by Andrew — July 21, 2011 @ 12:10 pm

  41. First off, errors != defensive ability, if a fielder just can’t make it to a ball, the official scorer is unlikely to call it an error. So it would seem to me that the Phillies just have no range. Now if the fielder punts, drops, or watches a ball go through his legs then it’s more likely to be called an error.

    I just looked up the defensive metrics for the Phillies, and it seems to support my hypothesis, -4.3 ARM, -12.1 RngR. Weak throws and poor range rarely get counted towards errors.

    Comment by Chris — July 21, 2011 @ 12:11 pm

  42. Corner Outfield! The Phillies are getting terrible corner outfield production. Of course, Ibanez won’t be hitting the pine anytime soon because Charlie doesn’t bench veteran starters for poor performance; so, the Phillies probably won’t improve in the lineup where they need it most. But that doesn’t mean the don’t have a glaring hole.

    Comment by LTG — July 21, 2011 @ 12:12 pm

  43. Phillies’ offense has actually been pretty good since Utley’s return. Nothing like they were back in 07, but better than the other contenders in the NL, besides Milwaukee. Utley does a lot of “little” things in terms of running pitch counts, getting hit with a ridiculous number of pitches, taking the extra base, that go a long way. And, as somebody pointed out, his WAR per game is about what it has always been. If Howard finally does his second half thing, and they avoid major injuries, their offense should be an asset going forward, even if they make no moves.

    Comment by JT — July 21, 2011 @ 12:16 pm

  44. I’m an A’s fan who wishes the Giants would lose every game they play…but the Giants are going to beat the Phillies again in the postseason if Phildealphia doesn’t do something at the deadline. Not sure what Phillys propsect situation is, but they should try to pry bullpen help and maybe Coco Crisp or Willingham from the A’s because right now the Giants will beat anyone and everyone.

    Comment by Jeremy — July 21, 2011 @ 12:18 pm

  45. Defense is one of the things for the Phillies that should presumably improve this year with health. Three of the best defenders on the team have missed significant time this year (Utley, Victorino, Polanco) and have been replaced by weaker defenders. The fielding numbers should likely improve just by virtue of more innings from those guys and fewer from the replacements. If they replace Ibanez in LF with Mayberry or a trade acquisition, the improvement would be sharper still.

    Comment by Andrew — July 21, 2011 @ 12:19 pm

  46. These comments are just confusing matters. We need not be too theoretical here. To evaluate defense we just want to correlate runs prevented with different defensive contributions players make. The two basic contributions are covering territory and making the play once the territory is covered. The question, then, is which of these makes a greater impact on preventing runs. The intuition in favor of treating range (covering territory) as more important rests on the correct thought that an error is almost the same as not having gotten to the ball in the first place (and in some cases it is exactly the same). Since the difference between how many balls one player reaches compared to another is significantly greater than the difference in errors, range is a more telling stat. None of what I just said denies that errors can cost runs. Steve Sax and Chuck Knoblauch could cover every grounder from first to second base and it wouldn’t make them good fielders (since they would never record any outs). All I have provided is a solid reason for using range as the primary defensive stat rather than fielding percentage or a raw number of errors. Usefull analysis has to penetrate deeper than one stat anyway.

    Comment by LTG — July 21, 2011 @ 12:23 pm

  47. Sarcasm is the lowest form of comedy, in this case I agree. Unfunny. Uncreative. Unworthwhile.

    Comment by My echo and bunnymen (Dodgers Fan) — July 21, 2011 @ 12:24 pm

  48. On top of the little things, he also smacks doubles.

    Comment by LTG — July 21, 2011 @ 12:25 pm

  49. *whoosh* Did another plane land at LAX?

    Must be you missing the point that “what he does with the ball once he gets there” includes when he misses up on a routine play.

    Comment by My echo and bunnymen (Dodgers Fan) — July 21, 2011 @ 12:31 pm

  50. The Giants v. Phillies matchup has to be a toss-up at this point. The pitching is a wash and the Phillies have slightly better hitting but not so much better that they are even a little resistant to the fortunes that rule playoff series. Last year the Giants got every big hit and the Phillies got almost none. If they had a guy on base with 2 outs it seemed more likely he would score than he wouldn’t. That could happen again and if it does the Phillies will lose. But that sort of happenstance can’t be predicted. Also, how could it be that the Giants will beat anyone and everyone in the playoffs but they are not doing it now? Are they saving themselves?

    Comment by LTG — July 21, 2011 @ 12:32 pm

  51. *stands up and applauds*

    Comment by My echo and bunnymen (Dodgers Fan) — July 21, 2011 @ 12:32 pm

  52. I’m not sure Ibanez is a GLARING hole, although they could use an upgrade of course. He’s hitting near league average, especially since May. Certainly, his defense is poor, but they have competent CF and RF defense, and should consider using Francisco as a defensive replacement late in games. I would love to see them get Beltran, but the Mets likely want Singleton or some other Top 15 prospect, and I doubt the Phillies give one up for a guy they won’t even get to offer arbitration to. Are the Phillies most likely options for his replacement that much better than him, or Francisco for that matter? Ludwick/Willingham/Wigginton are not a considerable upgrade, and may not be worth the price to obtain.

    Comment by DD — July 21, 2011 @ 12:33 pm

  53. Someone correct me if I’m wrong but UZR takes errors into accout. So while they may have the fewest errors, there are many other things that contribute to good defense, and they apparently are not doing those things well. It’s the equivalent of saying a guy is one of the worst hitters on the team because of a .300 wOBA and then hearing someone argue “but he has the most hits on the team!”, we all know there is more to offense than the aggregate number of hits a guy gets. You can’t take one aspect of something and treat it like it’s the only thing that matters.

    Comment by Santos — July 21, 2011 @ 12:41 pm

  54. Agreed, I’m not one to throw toss-ups around but the Giants and Phillies has to be one simply because luck could play a huge role in this. Pablo Sandoval is a legimate offensive player for the Giants, but other than him who will hit? Their second best hitter this season is gone and is not coming back (Buster Posey). I don’t see Schierholtz maintaining the decent production he has put up so far (he is 27, so it’s possible). And Cody Ross is more know for being clutch than offensively stable (though there’s still value to be had). I could look at the Phillies, but it’s more of the same with higher ISO.
    If “The Boss” (Giants have trademarked the worst nicknames in baseball: the Beard, Panda, The Boss, etc.) continues his luck and his defense improves, I could swing it the Giants way. But Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Worley/Oswalt/Blanton versus Lincecum, Cain, Bumgarner, Vogelsong is not a huge enough advantage to definitively say they’ll win (the Giants that is).

    Comment by My echo and bunnymen (Dodgers Fan) — July 21, 2011 @ 12:48 pm

  55. Big Daddy Cain, Freak, and even more I can’t recall off teh top of my head.

    Comment by My echo and bunnymen (Dodgers Fan) — July 21, 2011 @ 12:49 pm

  56. Has anyone recently been to AT&T Park and seen the Ross, Cain, Lincecum, Sandoval, Posey, and more jerseys, the ones celebrating the World Series with pictures on ‘em? Horrible.

    Comment by My echo and bunnymen (Dodgers Fan) — July 21, 2011 @ 12:57 pm

  57. Yeah, I also noticed that Utley has 2.2 WAR in roughly 200 at bats. He has been 29% better than the average hitter this year, as compared to last year’s 30%. And his defense is rated about the same. Some drop off, eh?

    Comment by guest — July 21, 2011 @ 1:29 pm

  58. Errors have more impact than merely not getting to a ball – especially a throwing error. A short stop that overthrows first is most likely allowing a runner to move to second if not third base. Not getting to a ball usually means someone has hit a single. That does not mean range is not important or a factor – but errors do matter.

    Comment by K — July 21, 2011 @ 1:29 pm

  59. It’s really overdone, especially here, but it’s easy to recognize and ignore and it’s amazing how many people reply earnestly every. single. time.

    (I think I did that wrong)

    Comment by don — July 21, 2011 @ 1:31 pm

  60. Another case of people overusing a witty remark. Pizza. Bagels. Samoflange.

    Comment by Patricio — July 21, 2011 @ 1:33 pm

  61. @DD
    Ibanez has been worth -1 WAR … If that isn’t a glaring hole I don’t know what is.

    Comment by balagast — July 21, 2011 @ 1:48 pm

  62. @Cro
    UZR does penalize for errors, but it also rewards for having range.

    Comment by balagast — July 21, 2011 @ 1:50 pm

  63. Two words, Michael Cuddyer. Replaces Raul on most days. Great against left-handed pitching (which they need in the worst way). Plays 2B/3B, so they can spell Utley as well as replace Polanco while he’s on DL. Salary is in line with what the Phillies would be comfortable with. Having a guy who can hit and play all over the field is exactly what the Phillies need for the stretch run. Here’s hoping the Twins go on a 10-game losing streak before the trade deadline…

    Comment by Phillie697 — July 21, 2011 @ 1:58 pm

  64. One thing that does surprise me is how JRoll is quietly putting together a potential 5 WAR season. If you don’t believe me, look it up. He’s already at 3.3 WAR now. It’s going to hurt trying to resign him…

    Comment by Phillie697 — July 21, 2011 @ 2:01 pm

  65. How can people still read this site and have absolutely no clue how defensive measures work?

    Comment by twinsfan — July 21, 2011 @ 2:21 pm

  66. And draws walks, and plays pretty good defense.

    Comment by twinsfan — July 21, 2011 @ 2:23 pm

  67. Cuddles can man 3B, I wouldn’t say he can “play” it.

    Comment by twinsfan — July 21, 2011 @ 2:26 pm

  68. It seems as though the team defense takes a hit because of three defenders; Ibanez(mainly), Brown(surprisingly) and Howard(unsurprising). Ibanez’s UZR is pretty wacky. Brown is young enough to, hopefully, improve on what has been a bad start defensively for his career. Plus I don’t remember hearing to much about him being a defensive liability coming up through the minors. and Howard is Howard.

    With that said, I don’t think the Phillies defensive range has been bad, especially up the middle. The Utley, Rollins and Victorino combo has been good defensively. And while I do think that fortunate-to-have-been-named-a-All-Star Polanco’s range has declined, he still rates up there with the better defenders in the league at his position this year, which is one of his few bright spots this year.

    Comment by Philley118008 — July 21, 2011 @ 2:43 pm

  69. the better question is: if team uzr is the sum of individual uzrs, how can we credibly believe that team uzr says *anything* worthwhile??

    think of it this way: let’s say that each of the eight starters on the phillies has a uzr of 0 +/- 5. if team uzr is just the sum of those 8 players (and this is how we calculate team uzr, correct?), then don’t those errors sum?!?

    Comment by joshcohen — July 21, 2011 @ 2:45 pm

  70. team uzr is worthless. it is the sum of individual uzrs (and their corresponding errors). it is much, much less precise than an individual uzr.

    Comment by joshcohen — July 21, 2011 @ 2:49 pm

  71. Doubt he can be any worse at 3B than Ibanez in LF.

    Comment by Phillie697 — July 21, 2011 @ 3:02 pm

  72. Given the rate at which Venters is being (ab)used, I’ll be pleasantly surprised if he has more than 2-3 effective seasons left in the tank.

    Comment by Surrealistic Pillow — July 21, 2011 @ 3:18 pm

  73. No, no they don’t.

    If you’re going to complain about error propagation, please learn how it actually works first.

    Comment by micah — July 21, 2011 @ 3:32 pm

  74. So you’re making the assumption that not only is every player’s UZR off the mark, but that they’re all off the mark in the same direction?

    Comment by twinsfan — July 21, 2011 @ 3:39 pm

  75. Ben Francisco as a defensive replacement? Personally, I’d option Francisco to the minors since he still does have a minor option available and leave Mayberry and Brown to start in rf and to give Ibanez some rest since Charlie won’t bench him unless we make a trade.

    Comment by Jimbo Jones — July 21, 2011 @ 3:41 pm

  76. “They’re also not that far above, say, Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner. Yet the Phillies sit well above the Giants, and ahead of every other team in baseball, with a 61-36 record.”

    I don’t know what’s surprising about this. They’re 5 games ahead of the Giants, which isn’t that much, and based on performance this season, the least valuable of Halladay, Lee and Hamels is more valuable than the best of Lincecum, Cain and MadBum based on both fWAR and bWAR.

    Comment by Bip — July 21, 2011 @ 3:46 pm

  77. Player stands still at his 3B position, never getting to a ball outside his arms reach. He goes all year only committing 3 errors. Is he the best fielder in the game?

    No – he just hardly ever touches the ball, so he doesn’t have the opportunity to commit that many errors, He’s a horrific fielder that, when the ball is hit directly at him, doesn’t screw up – that’s it…

    If anyone questions why the Phillies have such a low Error total, then really have to look no further then the fact that they are DEAD LAST in getting to Balls Outside the Zone. They are sitting at 223 OOZ, where average is in the 275 range and the Rays are at 337.

    Making things worse though is the fact that they just don’t have strong arm strength and have committed a well-below average amount of DP. So while they don’t bobble the balls that are hit at them, they don’t get to them otherwise, they cant throw out the runner if they can and they are less likely to create a DP.

    As far as the culprits – Wilson’s time in the infield hurts but it comes down to Ibanez (Range & Arm), Brown (Arm and Errors) and Francisco (lesser Range and Error) being horrific. So bad in fact, the three cancel out the Victorino and Mayberry positive contributions completely and leave them overall with the Worst OF defense in the game.

    Guess that’s even more reason to upgrade the corner OF spots too…

    Comment by Joe — July 21, 2011 @ 3:48 pm

  78. Agreed. They should’ve signed Jimmy Rollins to a reasonable two- or three-year extension this past winter after determining that finding a better SS who they could sign at a reasonable price was highly unlikely. Rollins’ price tag has obviously been going up quite a bit over the past month or so.

    Comment by Robbie G. — July 21, 2011 @ 3:48 pm

  79. If the Phillies trade for Michael Cuddyer, my guess is that the grand total of innings that he ever plays at 2B and 3B for Philly this season is zero. Let’s hope that Placido Polanco comes back and is able to be reasonably productive, though; otherwise, Philly will be getting horrible production at 3B the rest of the way from Wilson Valdez and Michael Martinez. I am in favor of Philly trading for Cuddyer, assuming the price tags for Hunter Pence and Carlos Beltran and Matt Kemp are too high and that Cuddyer’s price tag is reasonable. I do think that it’s in Philly’s best interest to play all of these teams with good right-handed slugging outfielders off of each other over the next several days, however, so as to give up as little as possible in a trade for one of these guys. For instance, if Team X trades for Beltran, Team X is no longer interested in Cuddyer, and if Team Y trades for Pence, Team Y is no longer interested in Cuddyer; if Philly is then the only team that is particularly interested in Cuddyer, then Minnesota’s asking price can only come down. Unfortunately, Ruben Amaro, Jr. has a history of being inpatient, jumping the gun, and overpaying for his targeted player.

    Comment by Robbie G. — July 21, 2011 @ 3:54 pm

  80. You’re joking right? You think we overpaid for Oswalt, really?

    Comment by Phillie697 — July 21, 2011 @ 3:56 pm

  81. At this point if they can sign JRoll to a Hardy-like contract I’d be doing back flips.

    Comment by Phillie697 — July 21, 2011 @ 4:01 pm

  82. Perhaps in free agency, but he did not overpay for Lee, Halladay or Oswalt.

    Comment by Phils Goodman — July 21, 2011 @ 4:16 pm

  83. kinda sad really, the dude is absolutely phenomenal

    Comment by jim — July 21, 2011 @ 6:34 pm

  84. “Chase Utley nowhere near the top-three player he once was.”

    Really? Based on what? From a skill perspective he is just as good as ever. His career wRC is 133. This year it is 129. His UZR is still great. So far this year his UZR/150 is 21.3. Obviously his injury to begin the year is a huge red flag, but there don’t seem to be any signs pointing to a long lasting problem.

    Comment by DavidCEisen — July 21, 2011 @ 7:09 pm

  85. What is crazy is their pitching numbers would be even better if that statue in left, Raul Ibanez, was benched. If I was an opposing hitter, I would never try to hit it anywhere but in left against the Phillies. The guy turns outs into singles, and singles into doubles.

    Comment by Phantom Stranger — July 21, 2011 @ 8:19 pm

  86. Amaro overpaid for Raul Ibanez in free agency and got less from Seattle for, in theory, a year’s worth of Cliff Lee than what Seattle got from Texas for a few months’ worth of Cliff Lee. And I do think Philly overpaid for Roy Oswalt, who, at the time of the trade, had a very recent history of back problems. Philly got a half-season of good production from Oswalt in 2010, but here we are in 2011, and Oswalt looks like he might be done. Amaro also totally jumped the gun by giving Ryan Howard that extension, and obviously grossly overpaid Howard, as a result. Howard’s contract may be the worst contract in MLB. In theory, Philly could have traded Lee to Texas for Justin Smoak et al. (i.e., the package that Texas sent to Seattle for Lee a few months later), which would’ve given Philly its eventual Ryan Howard replacement, thereby avoiding the Howard extension altogether.

    So yeah, I think that Philly fans should be concerned that Amaro is about to give up WAY too much for a right-handed slugger.

    Comment by Robbie G. — July 21, 2011 @ 9:05 pm

  87. it’s been years since i took error analysis. i’m genuinely interested in what the answer is…i can sort of see it both ways. in my example, is it >5 or <5?

    Comment by joshcohen — July 21, 2011 @ 9:26 pm

  88. @ twinsfan

    no, that’s not what i’m saying. i thought that if you sum random variables that each have their own variance, the sum’s variance is the sum of the individual variances.

    Comment by joshcohen — July 21, 2011 @ 9:28 pm

  89. Agreed. One should not overlook Utley or understate his importance to both the offense and defense. In the first 46 games while Utley was on the DL, the Phils scored 176 runs (3.82 per game). In the 51 games since he’s returned, they have scored 239 runs (4.68 per game).

    Comment by hk — July 21, 2011 @ 9:30 pm

  90. @Joe

    two questions:

    1. is an OFers arm strength measured in UZR?

    2. how much could good/bad managerial positioning as well as differing ballparks change the balls outside the zone number?

    Comment by joshcohen — July 21, 2011 @ 9:45 pm

  91. The Phillies ERA – FIP is -0.12 for tied for 11th best in MLB. To me that either implies that the Phillies have an above average defense, or that FIP is meaningless. Take your pick but I’m inclined to go with above average defense. And that doesn’t even take into account their MLB leading fewest errors committed.

    Comment by Travis — July 21, 2011 @ 9:50 pm

  92. K,

    Right. That’s why I hedged in my post and said “almost the same” as well as gave a nod to the Steve Sax case. But for what you say to matter in developing a defensive metric, you would need to establish that the cases where errors lead to more bases than simply not fielding the ball would have generally lead to a significant increase in runs scored by the opponents. By significant I mean enough that the range statistic misrepresents the phenomena on the field in such a way that we draw wrong conclusions about the value of a fielder. I don’t have the data to back up this claim but I suspect that the kind of error you have in mind is not common enough to make a big difference in the statistic. Of course, Steve Sax and Chuck Knoblauch are outliers for the range statistic due to their knack for throwing the ball into the stands, but they are also extremely atypical cases.

    Comment by LTG — July 22, 2011 @ 12:24 am

  93. @Travis,
    “The Phillies ERA – FIP is -0.12 for tied for 11th best in MLB. To me that either implies that the Phillies have an above average defense, or that FIP is meaningless.”

    No, actually its option 3 – they haven’t allowed enough HR. They currently sit with a 0.70 HR/9 (5th best in the game) and 7.7% HR/FB (6th best.) Granted this is heavily influenced by having 4 Aces (plus an Ace-like replacement in Worley to this point) and a GB-heavy BullPen. But they also play in a park which should really increase HR output and instead the team sits way down with the clubs who play in parks where its nearly impossible to hit dingers.

    To give you an idea of how out of whack the number actually is, the clubs 2005-2010 HR/9 was 1.15 while they posted a 11.8% HR/FB over that time. That’s and extreme swing, and its one which would drastically reduce a teams ERA. It’s at least a huge factor in that astronomical 77% Left On Base rate they hold

    Start correcting HR ratios and your FIP will go up a bit (as their xFIP shows) but the real-time ERA will likely go quite a bit higher then that even. That’s the (likely) 2nd half change which will start to show the Defense inadequacies in their ERA a bit more.

    These defensive problems in the corner OF spots (which Ibanez/Brown/Francisco do make up almost all their fielding issues) can also be seen in the Balls to Outfield BAbip of .533 the team holds. The NL average is otherwise .510; and just think of that for a sec – they are +.023 BAbip to the Outfield when they have the best fielding CFer in the game this season.

    Comment by Joe — July 22, 2011 @ 2:04 am

  94. @joshcohen

    RE: 1 – yep, sure does. Well, arm/throw results at least.

    RE: 2 – it includes park factors

    As far as Defensive placement, it isn’t factored for and would affect it a little bit I imagine, although two things come to mind here. 1, poor alignment should even itself out quite a bit over a season unless a player was consistently in the wrong location to where the ball lands. 2, the Phillies haven’t seen this corner outfield defensive ineptitude before – well, not to this level at least.

    Ibanez has been unbelievably brutal this season, seeing a huge drop in both Arm and Range. Brown is just looking like a consistently poor fielder with a bad Arm, below average range and a tendency to create errors at a high rate. Francisco has consistently been a -9 UZR/150 guy the last three seasons; it seems to be his true defensive talent level.

    Comment by Joe — July 22, 2011 @ 2:30 am

  95. The Phillies traded for a year and a half of control of Cliff Lee, and they did not overpay for that control. The fact that they traded him in December of 2009 has nothing to do with assessing the the price they paid in July of 2009. That is logically backwards.

    Comment by Phils Goodman — July 22, 2011 @ 4:45 am

  96. I understand fully the UZR argument and the fact that Ibanez is slow and old.

    My argument is this: Phillies pitching is 3rd in GB%, 4th in pop ups, 3rd in LD%, 1st in FB% – IFFB%, 4th in K%. The frequency of “balls you can’t get to” is far, far lower for the Phillies than for a normal team, and I’d be willing to argue is the lowest in the league. The team sees so many more of the “routine” variety that the ability to make the plays becomes that much more important. In addition to seeing a much higher frequency of routine plays, the Phillies lead the league in fielding percentage.

    I love and appreciate stats as much as the next guy. We can argue about fictional players and hypotheticals all day. But the reality is that the real life Phillies defense and pitching play to each others’ strengths, and I would argue that as a result the defense is an asset and not a liability.

    Comment by Cro — July 22, 2011 @ 9:19 am

  97. I watched Utley take a pitch off his thigh the other day. He didn’t even flinch, just stood there and took a 90 mph inside heater off his leg and trotted down to first.

    He didn’t even grimace. Now that’s a ballplayer.

    Comment by AdamM — July 22, 2011 @ 9:27 am

  98. @Joe

    thanks for clearing that up. it does make sense that poor alignment would seem to even out over time, especially as it relates to balls out of zone.

    Comment by joshcohen — July 22, 2011 @ 10:49 am

  99. The Phils’ defense is almost certainly pretty good. Errors are important because it effects unearned runs. Unearned runs count and giving up a lot of them leads to more losses. The Phils, as they did last season, have allowed the fewest unearned runs in the NL. They are way better than average in this regard. When your pitching staff has a very low ERA and you aren’t giving up unearned runs that’s a good thing. A very good thing actually.

    It really does not compute that the Phils have a terrible defense and yet they allow 3.32 runs per game. Their pitching isn’t THAT great.

    UZR and Dewan’s +/- and all these other defensive stats are good but they are far, far from being as good as advanced hitting or pitching stats. I keep reading that MLB teams have access to awesome good defensive stats that they have to pay for. Until we can take a gander at those, I’m not gonna put a whole bunch of credence into UZR and OOZ and all that other stuff. It’s useful. But it doesn’t tell you everything. In fact, the Phils’ pitching staff is pretty unique. I’d guess that has some kind of effect on their defensive stats as well.

    The Phils are also min the upper half of the league in Defensive Efficiency and PADE for whatever that’s worth.

    All that aside, I’d bet Ibanez is pretty terrible defensively. Francisco is pretty bad and Brown has a ways to go. But the rest of the team is pretty good or better defensively (well, maybe not Howard). And they don’t give other teams extra outs via the error. And they don’t allow many runs. And I’l take that ten times out of ten.

    Comment by smitty — July 22, 2011 @ 4:39 pm

  100. Yet another one of these effects-must-prove-the-cause postings. Sure unearned runs count, but the name of the game is NOT to prevent unearned runs, it’s to prevent ANY run. I will gladly give up a few more unearned runs if it means our fielders are getting to so many balls that they save a ton of actual runs.

    And the Phillies allow such ungodly low number of runs probably not because of its defense per se, but, you know, by having an awesome pitching staff with an overall ERA of 3.12 and starter ERA of 2.99. Are those numbers helped by the defense? Maybe, but the numbers certainly don’t say so.

    Come up with better arguments and stop making Phillies fans look dumb.

    Comment by Phillie697 — July 23, 2011 @ 12:32 am

  101. So your position is the Phillies have a terrible defense yet their pitching is so great that they prevent runs better than anyone else?

    Jesus. Speaking of making Philly fans look dumb. And you top it off by using ERA. Criminy.

    What numbers say the Phils’ defense is bad? Do you have access to actual advanced metrics? The team DER, which is an imperfect metric but isn’t bad reflects how many balls in play a team gets to. The Phils do well there as well as in PADE.

    The Phils’ defensive numbers are pretty decent as I pointed out. You should try reading my whole post instead of just part of it.

    I guess you just gotta look at that ERA though.

    Comment by smitty — July 23, 2011 @ 5:24 pm

  102. For one thing, they don’t seem to turn any DPs. That’s huge, right there.

    Comment by Shazbot — July 24, 2011 @ 5:12 pm

  103. They have given up the fewest walks in the league, by far. Well below league average. They have given up the second fewest hits in the league. Again, many fewer than league average. They have made the fewest errors in the league — again many fewer than league average.

    And they have turned 85 DPs. One less than league average with far fewer guys on base. I think their DP turning is just fine.

    Utley has been right near or at the top defensively amongst 2Bmen. Rollins has been near the top at SS. Polanco is a glove man at 3B. I seriously doubt they have all fallen off the cliff defensively.

    Their corner Ofers, except maybe when Mayberry is out there, are pretty bad. But Victorino in CF is good. Ruiz is a very fine defensive catcher near as anyone can tell.

    This a decent or better defensive team most likely.

    Comment by smitty — July 24, 2011 @ 6:29 pm

  104. Oh wow. I just saw another defensive metric at Baseball-Reference. They have a defensive efficiency rating for teams. The Phils are second in the league there.

    Also they are well above average in striking the other guy out which also results in fewer base runners (and fewer DPs except they do just fine there).

    I guess if Mr. Phillies697 wants to continue to insult people he should learn some things first and not be a dope himself. I really don’t like internet bullies I guess.

    Comment by smitty — July 24, 2011 @ 6:41 pm

  105. what are you talking about? i’m a Giants fan but they can’t hit to save their damn lives and unless they get a Beltran type hitter, they’re gonna get rolled by either the Braves or Phillies. last year they had a few guys that could hit and Ross, Renteria, Freddie Sanchez and Uribe had some big big hits in the playoffs – who’s gonna do that this year? nobody.

    and who’s gonna play the role of Brooks Conrad? nobody.

    you make the Giants sound like Godzilla, just waiting to wreak havoc on the rest of MLB come September. i wish it were true but it ain’t gonna happen.

    Comment by Ron Pruitt — July 25, 2011 @ 4:05 am

  106. FWIW, Martinez has been a bit if a revelation @ 3B. He has played very well defensively, and his bat has come alive. There has been zero drop off from Polanco. If anything, Martinez has been better. (granted, SSS)

    Utley was dearly missed. Valdez is a good defensive replacement at SS last year… but he’s not nearly as good at 2B (or 3B). No help at the plate. If Utley goes down again, it hurts. But what can ya do? He’s just not replaceable.

    Brown… he clearly has a clue at the plate now, even when not hitting. He works the pitchers and makes them throw strikes. So, you just have to deal with his growing pains in RF.

    LF… that’s a huge, yawning, deep, dark abyss.

    How terrible would it be to lose because you didn’t replace your 40 year old, sub-replacement level, left fielder?

    After all the effort to build this team… I think that would be inexcusable.

    Comment by Dave S — July 25, 2011 @ 4:50 pm

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