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Friday, July 29, 2011

Hagen: Phillies: A scout’s dissenting view of Astros’ Hunter Pence

A Plummering, He Will Go.

And now, speaking for the opposing standpoint, Rob Plummer . . .

He’s a successful agent who has focused his efforts on talent-rich Latin America. He watches baseball through a scout’s eyes. He’s also a Philadelphia native who unabashedly wishes nothing but the best for the Phillies. And his dispassionate assessment of the cost-benefit ratio is that getting Pence would be a huge mistake that will ultimately backfire badly. His scouting report:

Not a fast bat . . . Needs to cheat a lot and therefore strikes out a lot . . . Not a high OPS guy . . . Would not protect [Ryan] Howard in the batting order . . . Not a guy I would like to pay a lot over the next 3 years like you would have to in [arbitration] . . . Not a great defensive player either. Not a premium guy worth giving up premium cheap future-salaried young players . . . I would trade the young guys if it was a guy with an OPS of .950 or above, more athletic with higher upside with a faster bat.

He added that, in his opinion, Pence is the kind of hitter who can compile decent numbers during the regular season but is susceptible to the consistently superior starters that teams face in the playoffs.

Repoz Posted: July 29, 2011 at 10:21 AM | 26 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: astros, phillies, scouting

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   1. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 29, 2011 at 10:38 AM (#3888110)
Plummer is also the sleazy ####### who promised the Pirates that they'd have the chance to beat any offer made to Sano, then immediately turned around and sold him to the Twins.
   2. Joe Kehoskie Posted: July 29, 2011 at 11:30 AM (#3888116)
I like to get my name in the paper as much as the next guy, but I'm not sure I see the upside to this for Plummer, unless his passion for the Phillies trumps his business interests. (If it's the latter, I guess I should tip my cap.)

I would trade the young guys if it was a guy with an OPS of .950 or above, more athletic with higher upside with a faster bat.

I doubt many people see Pence as the centerpiece of a championship-caliber club, but it's somewhat amazing the extent to which prospects are overvalued these days. As of this moment, there are exactly eight players in MLB with an "OPS of .950 or above." The idea that prospects should only be traded for such elite players, or that such elite players could be acquired for kids in A-ball, seems absurd both coming and going. The attrition rate for even top prospects is higher than people seem to understand or acknowledge. (Speaking generally, not specifically re: Plummer.)
   3. AROM Posted: July 29, 2011 at 12:24 PM (#3888124)
8 with a .950 or better OPS?

My guess is most are 1b/dh types. Without looking I guess:

Joey Bats
Ortiz
Gonzalez
M Cab
Kemp
Fielder
Berkman

and going by contract, last one has to be Ryan Howard
   4. Twoey Guillen Posted: July 29, 2011 at 12:25 PM (#3888126)
Needs to cheat a lot? The Blue Jays should be all over this guy.
   5. Joe Kehoskie Posted: July 29, 2011 at 12:37 PM (#3888130)
8 with a .950 or better OPS?

My guess is most are 1b/dh types. Without looking I guess:

Joey Bats
Ortiz
Gonzalez
M Cab
Kemp
Fielder
Berkman

Well done. You were 4-for-4 in the A.L. Over in the N.L., Fielder checks in at .949 and just missed. Ryan Braun (.996) and Matt Holliday (.951) were the two you omitted.
   6. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: July 29, 2011 at 12:51 PM (#3888131)
I like to get my name in the paper as much as the next guy, but I'm not sure I see the upside to this for Plummer, unless his passion for the Phillies trumps his business interests. (If it's the latter, I guess I should tip my cap.)
I agree with this, from Plummer's perspective, but it is not see "one scout said..." actually identified.
   7. AROM Posted: July 29, 2011 at 01:49 PM (#3888159)
I knew Braun was having a good season, but didn't realize how good. Fielder still seems to get most of the attention when the Brewers are going well, but looks like Braun could be a top MVP candidate.
   8. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 29, 2011 at 02:25 PM (#3888182)
I have to say, I kinda agree in that I don't get the hype over Pence. He hasn't posted an OPS over .830 since his rookie year. He's a good, but not elite hitter, and it sounds like the Astros are demanding elite talents back. I get that he's cost controlled for years, but it seems like you could get a bat like Willingham or Ludwick or Franceour or Cabrera for next to nothing and suffer only a modest difference in production from Pence.

That said, the number of elite outfielders seems to be dwindling these days.
   9. Barnaby Jones Posted: July 29, 2011 at 02:41 PM (#3888198)
Is it really correct to call Plummer a scout?
   10. Jose Canusee Posted: July 29, 2011 at 03:30 PM (#3888224)
What I got is that Hunter Pence might be something like Jayson Werth, a guy that you need one or two like to get into the postseason but don't want to risk signing long-term. However, the assumption that you can't mash in the postseason if you are just below elite didn't apply to Werth, who hit about the same in the postseason as regular season.
   11. skylark Posted: July 29, 2011 at 03:33 PM (#3888226)
I need refreshing on baseball 101:
2012 will be Pence's 6th full season. When exactly does he hit free agency?
(He's making 6.9M this year and 'they' say probably 8M+ in arb next year.)
Considering the state of the Astros I feel they should be motivated to move him - esp. IF 2013 is his Free Agency year
   12. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 29, 2011 at 03:37 PM (#3888229)
Is it really correct to call Plummer a scout?


Not so much, no.
   13. JJ1986 Posted: July 29, 2011 at 03:38 PM (#3888232)
2012 will be Pence's 6th full season. When exactly does he hit free agency?


After 2012, he will have 5 years and 156 days (180 make a year) of service time. He was called up late enough in 2007 to delay his free agency by a year.
   14. Greg Maddux School of Reflexive Profanity Posted: July 29, 2011 at 04:31 PM (#3888272)
(180 make a year)

172
   15. skylark Posted: July 29, 2011 at 04:51 PM (#3888290)
ah ok, thanks.
I saw 456 AB (not PA, though only 26 BB) for '07 and assumed it counted as a full year of service time.
So 2 more arb years means he's still under control, though not "cheap", for 2.33 seasons.
   16. AROM Posted: July 29, 2011 at 05:01 PM (#3888305)
However, the assumption that you can't mash in the postseason if you are just below elite didn't apply to Werth


I'm surprised you question his reasoning here. I thought it was common knowledge that good hitters like Jeff Bagwell pile up good numbers in the regular seasons, but struggle when exposed to elite playoff pitching, and only elite hitters like Billy Hatcher can make a difference.
   17. ColonelTom Posted: July 29, 2011 at 05:15 PM (#3888324)
I have to say, I kinda agree in that I don't get the hype over Pence. He hasn't posted an OPS over .830 since his rookie year. He's a good, but not elite hitter, and it sounds like the Astros are demanding elite talents back. I get that he's cost controlled for years, but it seems like you could get a bat like Willingham or Ludwick or Franceour or Cabrera for next to nothing and suffer only a modest difference in production from Pence.

Exactly right. Willingham's heating up (.926 OPS in July), crushes lefties (.867 career OPS), and would cost the Phils a fraction of the price for Pence.
   18. ColonelTom Posted: July 29, 2011 at 05:31 PM (#3888345)
This gets even sillier. From Jayson Stark's latest column:

The Phillies initially offered their two best prospects, pitcher Jarred Cosart and first baseman Jonathan Singleton, and were told that wasn't enough. The Phillies then offered to include their right fielder, Domonic Brown. But the Astros, according to one team that spoke with them, would prefer to spin Brown elsewhere for multiple prospects than take him themselves.


Instead of walking away laughing, the Phils are apparently looking for a third team to join the festivities (presumably to get additional prospects for Houston in exchange for Brown). It's a cornucopia of stupidity!
   19. base ball chick Posted: July 29, 2011 at 05:41 PM (#3888353)
pence is NOT a superstar. he is a decent, solid right fielder who i'm sure could also play left. i would guess he'd actually DO better on a better team because he wouldn't be the only hitter on the team and may swing at a lot fewer bad pitches

if ed wade spit on a package of 3 top prospects, he's even stupider than i think. ed could spin off domonic brown for more his own lazyass self

the astros minor league system is pure crap - they rank foltynowitz, jon villar, jio mier and delino deshields as the astros top prospects, and to be nice about it, they are NOT good and i don't care if they are "athletic"
   20. Jim Wisinski Posted: July 29, 2011 at 05:43 PM (#3888355)
However, the assumption that you can't mash in the postseason if you are just below elite didn't apply to Werth, who hit about the same in the postseason as regular season


In fairness to Plummer I don't think that's what he was saying at all. What he was saying is that Pence has flaws in his hitting that get masked somewhat by being able to take advantage of weak pitching but the top guys can exploit those things and easily get him out. There of course is a very good chance that Plummer is still utterly full of crap and Pence hits as well or better against top pitching as other players of his overall performance level.
   21. The District Attorney Posted: July 29, 2011 at 06:17 PM (#3888404)
There of course is a very good chance that Plummer is still utterly full of crap and Pence hits as well or better against top pitching as other players of his overall performance level.
Bill James' pay site has this info.

                               AB   H  HR RBI Avg  OPS 
Pitcher with ERA 
<= 3.50       160  39 6  21 .244 .720 
Pitcher with ERA 3.51 to 4.25  119  48 2  26 .403 1.000 
Pitcher with ERA 4.26 to 5.25  81   24 1  12 .296 .773 
Pitcher with ERA over 5.25     38   12 2  3  .316 .869 

What I don't know, of course, is how the average player does. (But I'm pretty sure he doesn't hit guys with 4 ERAs better than guys with 5 ERAs.)
   22. ColonelTom Posted: July 29, 2011 at 06:39 PM (#3888439)
I think the Phils are hot after Pence in large part for his defense. Brown's been awful in RF; that's why they would consider moving him. Looking at FanGraphs, he's been worse defensively than Ibanez was in his worst seasons, and my eyes tell me the same thing. He's athletic but has poor defensive instincts and fundamentals. That said, he certainly has the raw athletic ability to become decent with work, and he's had nothing but positive reports about his work ethic regarding practice.
   23. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: July 29, 2011 at 07:28 PM (#3888479)
I thought it was common knowledge that good hitters like Jeff Bagwell pile up good numbers in the regular seasons, but struggle when exposed to elite playoff pitching, and only elite hitters like Billy Hatcher can make a difference.

Sure it's like in '92 when the Jays and Braves rode Carter, Alomar, Gant and Justice to the playoffs, then turned it over to WS MVP Pat Borders and Deion Sanders (8-15, 5 SB) in the World Series.
   24. TerpNats Posted: July 29, 2011 at 07:45 PM (#3888494)
the astros minor league system is pure crap - they rank foltynowitz, jon villar, jio mier and delino deshields as the astros top prospects, and to be nice about it, they are NOT good and i don't care if they are "athletic"
Hey, Jim Bowden probably deems them "toolsy."
   25. Tricky Dick Posted: July 29, 2011 at 09:30 PM (#3888582)
Considering the state of the Astros I feel they should be motivated to move him - esp. IF 2013 is his Free Agency year


Pence is not a free agent until 2014. He was a Super Two player.

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