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Phillies Blog Articles - July 2010

How were Phillies key players doing last year at this time?
by Scott Butler 7/10/10

To say the Phillies offense is worse than last year would be a huge understatement. But how do some our key players compare to last year? To answer that question, I decided to look at just the main power guys in the Phils lineup: Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Raul Ibanez, and Jayson Werth.

To keep it simple, we will compare their numbers straight up with the same number of games played last year and just focus on the main hitting categories. This allows for an exact comparison to last season. Here they are:

    G H HR RBI BB AVG OBP
2009 Ryan Howard 85 85 22 67 41 .257 .341
2010 Ryan Howard 85 101 17 65 26 .299 .352
                 
2009 Chase Utley 72 80 17 52 48 .304 .432
2010 Chase Utley 72 73 11 37 40 .277 .383
                 
2009 Raul Ibanez 83 99 26 75 32 .306 .370
2010 Raul Ibanez 83 71 7 39 39 .247 .331
                 
2009 Jayson Werth 82 81 20 56 52 .258 .362
2010 Jayson Werth 82 81 13 49 39 .282 .367

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ryan Howard's numbers are very interesting. Everyone has been talking about his lack of power, but his production is nearly identical. If you think about it, we should be giving a lot of credit to Howard. He has basically sacrificed a little power for a higher average and on base percentage. And he has nearly the same amount of RBIs with less guys on base in front of him.

Chase Utley is a different story. Utley's numbers are down in every single major category: 6 less homers, 15 less RBIs, his average is down 27 points and his on-base percentage is 49 points lower. Injured or not, Utley's struggles at the plate hurt the Phillies in a big, big, way.

If you have a weak stomach, you may not want to look at Raul Ibanez's numbers. He puts Chase Utley to shame in his decline. Wait until you see this: IBANEZ HAS 19 LESS HOMERS AND 36 LESS RBI'S. That is simply unbelievable. It would be tough for anyone to measure up to what he did the first half of 2009, but that is ridiculous.

Finally Jayson Werth. It is hard to believe, but Werth's numbers aren't as far off from last year as you might think. He has quite a few less homers, but his RBIs are close and his batting average is much higher. However, his numbers are clearly lower overall and that is despite a very hot start for Werth. He has time to make up for it, but if this trend continues, Werth will not get anywhere near the money he wanted in free agency.

Now for the group numbers of Howard, Utley, Ibanez, and Werth:

  H HR RBI BB AVG OBP
2009 345 85 250 173 .293 .369
2010 326 48 190 144 .264 .341

 

 

 

 

 

No, it's not pretty. The difference between 2009 and 2010 breaks down to this:

37 LESS home runs

60 LESS RBIs

29 Point LOWER batting average

28 Point LOWER On-base percentage

If you run those numbers over an entire season, that's 74 less home runs and 120 less RBI's. That's pretty powerful stuff right there. And that is clearly not gonna hack it if we can catch the Braves.

Phillies enjoy perfect ending to not-so-perfect season
by Scott Butler 7/12/10

The Phillies could not have possibly planned a better start to their All-Star break. Obviously sweeping a four game series against a first place team with 3 walk-offs is a great way to finish. But I am NOT saying that the Phils are a red hot team right now.

In fact, I am essentially arguing the exact opposite. I would say that the team itself is playing no better than before. And would you consider 2 runs in the last 21 innings exactly lighting up the scoreboard?

But that is exactly my point. See, the guys who PRAY for the all-star break are the guys who AREN'T hitting well. That basically accounts for THE PHILLIES' ENTIRE OFFENSE. There is not a SINGLE PHILLIES HITTER who could honestly say they are swinging a hot bat, so the break WILL NOT HURT ANYONE.

The great thing about that is the Phils get all the benefits of a long rest and none of the drawbacks. And the team has sucked so bad that only Ryan Howard is playing in the all-star game, and he is the one guy who would be hurt the least by playing!

Despite having a bad first half, losing the most important series of the season to the Braves, and not hitting for almost an entire four game series against the Reds, the PHILLIES ACTUALLY WALK AWAY WITH CONFIDENCE.

Just the positives, man. By winning this four game series, the Philadelphia Phillies earned the right to enjoy their time off and enjoy the break. They aren't thinking about double-plays, strikeouts, base-running blunders, and missed opportunities. They are thinking about what they can do to prove again they are the team to beat.

They can feel good about their team and start out fresh on July 15 in Chicago. And as they always do with their backs against the wall, the Phillies will come out fighting.

2010 Phillies Predictions Revisited: Starting Pitching
by Scott Butler 7/13/10

It doesn't look like anyone will be knocking down my door to sign me up as their GM anytime soon. I'll admit it, my 2010 Phillies predictions were not good. OK, they were bad. But let's face it. Almost every offensive player on the Phils underproduced compared to last year, so anybody who predicted correctly is just not a fan. That's my excuse anyway.

Here we go: it is time to review my 2010 Phillies predictions. I did OK with my predictions for the Phils' starting pitchers, so let's start there.

Click here for a link to the original 2010 Phillies starting pitching predictions.

Starting Pitchers

1) Roy Halladay vs. Cliff Lee/Cole Hamels
Prediction: BETTER
Result: BETTER

There is no question about this one. Roy Halladay was a tremendous upgrade over the top spot in the rotation last year. And yes, that includes Cliff Lee. If we take a look at the top spot in the rotation last year, there is no comparison. You don't need my analysis on this one so we will let the numbers speak for themselves.

Roy Halladay has a 10-7 record, 2.19 ERA, 148 innings, 7 complete games, 3 complete game shutouts, and oh yeah, a perfect game. Compare that to the combined number of Lee and Hamels last year. Hamels, 10-11, 4.39 ERA. Cliff Lee, 7-4 record with Phillies and a 3.39 ERA.

2. Cole Hamels vs. Cole Hamels
Prediction: BETTER
Result: BETTER

I got this prediction right, but I had to. Cole Hamels was the biggest and most important question mark heading into this season. We needed Hamels to step up, and he most certainly did. He came up with a few new pitches in the offseason and arrived to Spring Training in great shape. To his credit, he continued to use his cutter and curveball early on, even when they weren't working. Even better, he didn't get all bent out of shape for each little thing that didn't go his way. Simply put, he started pitching like a #1 starter.

What a difference a year makes. Last year at the break, he had a 5-5 record with a 4.87 ERA in 98 innings. This year, it's a 7-7 record, 3.78 ERA in 112 innings. Quite a difference.

3. Joe Blanton vs. Joe Blanton
Prediction: Slightly Worse
Result: Much Worse

Nobody expected all that much from Joe Blanton. You could normally figure Blanton to pitch 6 innings and give up 3 runs every outing. Not this year. Even ignoring the fact that he was out for a month (thank God), Blanton has been terrible. His numbers this year say it all: 3-5 record, 6.41 ERA, 103 hits, 18 runs, and 121 total baserunners in 80 innings. Ruben Amaro could have kept Cliff Lee for 9 million this year, but he chose instead to sign Blanton for 8 million. Can you say Adam Eaton?

4. JA Happ vs. JA Happ/Chan Ho Park
Prediction: Worse
Result: N/A

It would have been intriguing to see how Happ would fare in his second full season. But because he has been injured pretty much all year, we will have to wait until the second half of the season to get our answer.

5. Jamie Moyer vs. Jamie Moyer
Prediction: SAME
Result: MUCH BETTER

I said before the season that Moyer is no better or worse than a 5.00 ERA. His ERA is actually fairly close at 4.51, but if you take away his outing against the Red Sox where he gave up 9 runs in just one inning, his ERA drops to 4.22. Not bad for a 47 year old guy. Furthermore, he has 2 complete games and became the oldest pitcher in history to throw a complete game shutout. Had the Phillies scored some more runs for the old guy, he had a fighting chance to make the all-star team...AT 47!

2010 Phillies Predictions Revisited: Bullpen
by Scott Butler 7/14/10

Yesterday, we examined my 2010 Phillies predictions for the starting pitching. Now we turn our attention to the bullpen. Injuries have played a big role with the Phillies bullpen, so it will be hard to judge them, but we can at least take a look.

Click here for a link to the original 2010 Phillies bullpen predictions.

Bullpen

Brad Lidge vs. Brad Lidge
Prediction: MUCH BETTER
Result: BETTER

I really thought that with the knee problems behind him, Lidge would be lights-out once again. So far in 2010, it doesn't appear that Lidge is a whole heck of a lot better than last year. It would be nearly impossible for him to be even remotely close to as bad as last year, but 3 blown saves in 4 chances at one point does not exactly scream dominance. At times he has looked like the '08 Lidge, but then he comes back with a clunker. Overall, he has a 4.60 ERA, 6 saves, and 3 blown saves.

If Lidge doesn't improve soon, Ruben Amaro may need to investigate finding a "real" closer at the trade deadline. Either that, or give Romero, Durbin, or (gulp) Madson a chance. Hard to believe a 4.60 ERA is considered better, but it is compared to an 0-8 record with a 7.21 ERA and 11 blown saves. .

Ryan Madson vs. Ryan Madson
Prediction: BETTER
Result: Same

If Ryan Madson wasn't a complete dope, maybe we could give a true comparison to last year. But in the absolute bone head move of the year, Madson decided to kick a chair, break his toe, and leave us with guys like Baez for a couple months. As stupid as he might be, we can REALLY use Madson down the stretch. The less we have to use Baez, the better.

Chad Durbin vs. Chad Durbin
Prediction: SAME
Result: SAME

Injuries, injuries, and more injuries. As bad as Madson's injury hurt the Phillies, Chad Durbin going down hurt equally as much. When he has pitched, Durbin has been the utility man of the bullpen. He pitched a few times in middle relief, but really helped the Phils as an "innings eater." If Durbin can return and pitch like he has during his time this season, he will definitely get a BETTER rating. Last season, he had a 4.39 ERA, but in 29 games this year he has been a respectable 3.39.

J.C. Romero vs. J.C. Romero
Prediction: SLIGHTLY WORSE
Result: SAME

My initial prediction for JC Romero was based on his 2008 numbers since he only pitched 21 innings last year. He pitched a 81 innings in '08 with a 2.75 ERA. Although Romero has appeared in 28 games, he has only pitched 18.2 innings. His ERA is actually better than 2008 at 2.41, but he’s now more of a lefty specialist than a guy we really count on. Where is the guy who was a stud in the pen down the stretch? You gotta wonder if something is going on that we don't know about. If Charlie trusts Romero enough to pitch him in the ninth, why don't we see more of him in the eighth?

Danyz Baez & Jose Contreras vs. Chan Ho Park & Scott Eyre
Prediction: WORSE
Result: WORSE

If there is one guy that I would be content to not see pitch another game for the Phillies, it is Danyz Baez. He seems like a nice enough person but he is sickening to watch. Baez has given up 49 baserunners in 32.1 innings and has a 4.45 ERA. That's bad for a reliever. Charlie Manual finally figured out that Baez stinks and demoted him to more of a middle relief role. He can throw hard, but he can't hit his spots, and is guaranteed to throw at least one hanging breaking ball per at-bat. Good choice on that guy, Ruben.

As for Jose Contreras, he's been pretty good for the Phillies. He's another guy who can only pitch every other game, but he's been good when he's been in there. He slowed down after a super start, but he still has a solid 2.79 ERA.

I picked this one right. In 42 games, Scott Eyre had a 1.50 ERA and was very effective in limited action. As for Chan Ho Park, he was awesome in his role as reliever. Park had a 2.52 ERA in 38 relief appearances. Clearly better than Baez and Contreras.

2010 Phillies Predictions Revisited: Infield
by Scott Butler 7/15/10

Moving right along in our 2010 Phillies predictions, we change our sites to the infield. Injuries have just killed the Phillies infielders. Ryan Howard is the only infielder who has not missed SIGNIFICANT time on the DL. How about this for a number: The Phillies infield has missed a total of 96 games on the Disabled List.

Click here for a link to the original 2010 Phillies infield predictions.

Infield

First Base
Prediction: SAME
Result: SAME...kind of


The results for Ryan Howard have been basically the same, but in a very different way. The difference is very clear: Howard has hit 5 less home runs but has a 42 point higher batting average. Despite less power, Howard managed to have just 2 less RBI's. I like what I've seen from Howard. He put up pretty darn decent numbers without hitting his hot streak yet. You never know, we might be watching Ryan Howard evolving in front of our eyes.

Click here to view all of the career stats for Ryan Howard.

Second Base
Prediction: BETTER
Result: WORSE


This part is embarrassing. You have to look at my original predictions for Utley. It wasn't enough for me to pick him to have a career year; I had to pick him to win NL MVP.

Not only will Utley not be either of those, but he could end up being the main reason why the Phillies miss the playoffs. Who would have thought that Wilson Valdez would be not much different in our lineup than Chase Utley? Here are his first half numbers (but keep in mind he missed 15 games with the thumb injury): .277 batting average, 11 homers, and 37 RBIs. Those aren't the worst numbers in the world, but they are for your number 3 hitter and for a guy that is making a ton of money.

If you want a good laugh, take a gander at my final prediction for Utley. "..in 2010 Utley will hit above .300 with 30+ homers, 100+ RBIs, and 100+ runs scored. Mark it down, this is Utley's year to follow Rollins and Howard as the Most Valuable Player."

Click here to view all of the career stats for Chase Utley.

Shortstop
Prediction: Slightly Better
Result: N/A


If you doubted the effects of Jimmy Rollins' leadership before, you are crazy if you aren't a believer now. When the Phillies were going through a historic offensive slump, you had to wonder what would Jimmy have done to make things better. Two separate calf injuries took Jimmy Rollins out of over half the games this season, and boy did that hurt.

Outside of his leadership in the clubhouse and in the field, Jimmy has already made his presence felt even further. In just a couple weeks since his return from the DL, J-Roll has not one but two walk-off hits. Do you think it is a coincidence that we are getting clutch wins now? I think not.

Jimmy spent too much time on the DL for prediction yet. We will have to see how it plays out at the end.

Click here to view all of the career stats for Jimmy Rollins.

Third Base
Prediction: Much Better
Result: Much Better


Anybody but Pedro Feliz. Thank god that guy is outta here. We traded in terrible at-bats, wild swinging, zero emotion, and double-plays galore for the dream #2 batter. Polanco has missed 25 games this year, but no matter what he is still better than Feliz (who is hitting .220 with 3 homers and 26 RBIs by the way).

Polanco has been everything we asked for when he played. Polanco hit .318 with 5 homers, 27 RBIs, and 39 runs scored. And he brought with him tremendous plate discipline. Despite lots of time off, still MUCH better than last year.

Click here to view all of the career stats for Placido Polanco.

2010 Phillies Predictions Revisited: Outfield and Catchers
by Scott Butler 7/16/10

And finally...the outfield and catcher positions. Now it's time for our final look back at my predictions for the 2010 Philadelphia Phillies. I didn't do much better here, either. I thought we would see big years out of all outfield positions, and not a single one of them is having a better year. Ugh.

Outfield

Left Field
Prediction: Better
Result: WORSE

I was way off on this prediction. Raul Ibanez has aged right in front of our eyes. Ibanez made Ruben Amaro look like a genius last year, putting up mammoth numbers. Had he kept up that pace all season, we would have mentioned Ibanez in MVP talks. Ibanez was hitting a freakish .309 with 22 HR, 60 RBI, .367 on-base percentage, and a .649 slugging percentage. Obviously the injury ended all of that and Ibanez was never the same while he played hurt throughout the entire second half of 2009. He batted .232 after the all-star break with 12 HR and 33 RBI and finished the season with a .272 avg., .552 slugging percentage, 34 HR, 93 RBI, 119 K, and 56 BB.

Nobody knew exactly what to expect this year, and unfortunately Ibanez now looks every bit the 38-year-old he is. It doesn’t appear to be injuries or just a bad slump. Ibanez is just old. That doesn’t mean he can’t have a good season, because Raul has proven he is a good hitter. But I think we are beyond the point of expecting the middle of the lineup bat that we signed. His numbers this year are not good: .243 average, 7 home runs, 39 RBI’s.

Click here to view all of the career stats for Raul Ibanez.

Center Field
Prediction: SAME
Result: SAME/BETTER/WORSE

Shane Victorino is having a weird season. Known as more of a speedy on-base type of guy, Victorino has been everything but that. Shane is hitting only .250 with a .317 on-base percentage and 17 stolen bases, which is clearly not what we want from Victorino. But his power numbers are really good: 14 home runs and 48 RBIs. You can determine for yourself whether that is good or bad.

Normally I would treat Shane like Willie Mays Hays and have him do push-ups for each pop-up, but considering the Phillies' struggles to produce, maybe we needed that pop from his bat. It’s nice to see he has the power, but it would be great to see him put it all together.

I thought he would swipe 40-50 bags and have more RBI’s, while keeping a similar average. He will likely have less steals, way more RBIs, and a way lower average. Oh well.

Click here to view all of the career stats for Shane Victorino.

Right Field
Prediction: Slightly Better
Result: WORSE

I predicted Jayson Werth would have a career year. Darn. I thought Werth would have a dropoff year last year, and all Werth did was make the all-star team, hit 36 bombs, and knock in 99 runs.

I wouldn't make the same mistake twice and picked Werth to have a career year. Werth was bashing the ball to start the season and well on his way to signing a monster free agent deal with the Yankees after the season . I sure thought my stuff smelled good at that point.

Then Werth just STOPPED HITTING.

Since a really nice start, he has pretty much nonexistent. His total first half numbers aren’t terrible (.282 average, 13 homers, 49 RBIs, .367 on-base percentage), but they aren’t the kind of numbers he was hoping for in a contract year. But look on the bright side - now we can get Werth at a much cheaper price.

Click here to view all of the career stats for Jayson Werth.

Catcher
Prediction: BETTER
Result: BETTER

My prediction for Carlos Ruiz was definitely correct. If it weren’t for injuries, this might be a career year for Ruiz. Ruiz had an awesome start to the season. A free-swinger his whole career, Ruiz put together disciplined at-bats and had one of the top on-base percentages in the leagues until he got hurt. Even still, his numbers are impressive. He has a .283 avg and .404 on-base percentage at the break.

It appears the Ruiz has learned how to hit. The Phillies always loved his defense and control of the pitching staff. If he can put together some offense, this guy will be invaluable.

Check out the career stats for Carlos Ruiz.

OH NO! Oswalt deal is huge mistake
by Scott Butler 7/29/10

Ruben Amaro completely blew the Lee deal, and now he made it worse by grabbing Roy Oswalt.

Although he is only 32, Roy Oswalt has received 3, count ‘em 3 Cortizone shots in his back THIS YEAR. This guy is an injury waiting to happen and Ruben Amaro decided this was the way to make up for the Cliff Lee debacle. Here’s a news flash for ya Ruben: it didn’t work.

Please point out the logic to me on this one. We add a player who is on the downside of his career with definite back problems who could break down any moment. We will guarantee him the next two + years for a total of $39 million. And we will give away the player who finished second in Rookie of the Year Voting, a guy who is still extremely cheap, and who is under our control for another 3 years beyond this one. We will also GIVE AWAY two prospects, even though they claimed replenishing the farm system was the reason we couldn’t keep Cliff Lee.

WHERE IS THE LOGIC IN THAT????

This move MAYBE makes us better this year IF Oswalt doesn’t get injured. Why would you take a HUGE RISK on a guy who you have serious concerns about, and give up a solid young pitcher, two prospects, and a ton of money to do so?

I totally understand being aggressive and doing all you can today. Really, I do. But I don’t like slight upgrades that involve giving up a lot.

I pray there’s more to this story than that.

This is a stupid move! Just plain stupid!

WAY TO WORK YOUR MAGIC, RUBEN
by Scott Butler 7/30/10

I think I might have jumped the gun just a wee little bit in the last two articles. I just ripped Ruben Amaro before even waiting for the details. Shame on me!

It's amazing how just a couple little details can change absolutely everything about a trade. To say I was upset with the trade initially is a major understatement. So much in fact that I was just praying for the Phillies to do nothing at the deadline, as strange and bad as that may sound.

As it originally stood, giving up J.A. Happ for an aging pitcher who has received three cortisone shots this month and who is demanding that we pick up his salary for the next three years would have been a disaster. The deal probably would make us better this year. But when this guy breaks down, we’re stuck with his big salary for two extra years and we lose the rights to JA Happ and further deplete the farm system.

I had been DREADING THIS DEAL.

BUT OH HOW THINGS CAN CHANGE. Ruben Amaro is beginning to look like a magician in negotiations. Somehow Ruben was able to get Oswalt to agree to drop his original demand to require the Phillies to pick up the option on 2012. Then, he got the Astros to give the Phillies $11 million dollars!

That makes a HUGE difference.

If Oswalt stays healthy, none of this may matter, but let’s assume that Oswalt gets hurt soon. Before today, that would have meant that the Phillies would be stuck with two years and $32 million dollars for a guy who won’t pitch. With the way Amaro worked it, the worst case scenario now is that we are stuck with a TOTAL bill of $12 million. That is a small price to pay for a real chance to win the World Series this year.

It is time once again to raise a glass to Mr. Ed Wade. Eddie Bauer Wade was somehow able to persuade the ownership to pay the Phillies $11 million to give us a top of the line starter. I heard on the radio that when asked about possibly giving some money to the team who got Oswalt, one of the Astros owners was quoted as saying "Over my dead body!" Hopefully for his sake he was lying.

Should we also give our thanks to Brad Lidge? Somebody was able to talk Oswalt out of that 2012 option, and I would imagine that Lidge had a lot to do with it.

In my mind, this deal makes the Phillies a serious force in the playoffs. Now all we need to do is get there...

 

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