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Transaction Oracle
— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Saturday, January 17, 2009

2009 ZiPS Projections - Philadelphia Phillies

While new GM Ruben Amaro Jr. made a completely muck-up of the leftfield situation, losing a draft pick when the team didn’t

offer arbitration to Pat Burrell and another to sign Raul Ibanez, who’s no better a player than Pat Burrell (and if one’s

better than the other, the check mark is probably not in the Ibanez column), the team still has enough front-line talent on

offense to survive a bit of nincompoopery.

The pitching staff isn’t exciting, but it’s also almost entirely intact.  There’s nobody in the rotation that scares anyone

after Cole Hamels, but even the weak link, Kyle Kendrick, is much better than your typical 5th starter.

Utley’s signed through 2013 but the team’s going to have to decide what to do with Howard and Rollins long-term.  The Phils

strike me as more likely to sign Rollins than Howard, but there’s no Jason Donald that can fill-in adequately at first base

in the next couple of years.

All-in-all, the Phillies should contend strongly for the division, especially as the Mets have apparently decided to ignore

the starting rotation and hope everything will just be OK.  Sure, Fred Wilpon has apparently lost a lot of money in the

Bernie Madoff scandal, but given some of the parasites in baseball such as Jeff Loria and Ogden Nutting, I would think he’s

used to giving untold millions of dollars to thieves already. 

———————————————————————————————————————————————————
CATCHERS
———————————————————————————————————————————————————
Name               P Age   AVG   OBP   SLG   G AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB   K SB CS OPS+ RNG

FAIR
Carlos Ruiz         c   30 .254 .338 .386 104 319 40 81 19 1 7 38 36 43 2 1   86   Fr
Ronny Paulino         c   28 .264 .325 .394 103 348 43 92 18 0 9 40 31 73 1 1   85   Av
Lou Marson           c   23 .260 .336 .350 106 389 50 101 17 0 6 38 44 82 2 2   78   Vg
Chris Coste         c   36 .255 .307 .394 96 302 31 77 15 0 9 36 16 53 0 1   78   Fr

POOR
Paul Hoover         c   33 .228 .280 .342 63 202 20 46 9 1 4 19 13 58 1 1   59   Vg
Joel Naughton*        c   22 .230 .273 .297 83 283 23 65 10 0 3 25 18 45 0 3   47   Vg

———————————————————————————————————————————————————
FIRST BASEMEN
———————————————————————————————————————————————————
Name               P Age   AVG   OBP   SLG   G AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB   K SB CS OPS+ RNG

EXCELLENT
Ryan Howard*        1b 29 .271 .372 .586 151 558 97 151 25 2 49 132 89 187 1 0 141 Fr
Chase Utley*        2b 30 .297 .384 .538 152 595 112 177 42 4 31 104 65 107 12 2 134 Vg

FAIR
Matt Stairs*        rf 41 .272 .356 .449 89 254 39 69 12 0 11 40 31 55 1 0 105 Fr

POOR
Greg Dobbs*          3b 30 .283 .333 .445 138 321 42 91 18 2 10 41 23 56 4 1   98 Av
Andy Tracy*          1b 35 .257 .339 .443 98 343 46 88 19 0 15 54 42 80 2 1   98 Av
Terry Tiffee#        3b 30 .279 .317 .417 97 369 46 103 22 1 9 48 20 46 1 1   86 Av
Mike Cervenak         3b 32 .277 .308 .412 102 393 50 109 18 1 11 56 14 61 2 1   82 Av
Chris Coste         c   36 .255 .307 .394 96 302 31 77 15 0 9 36 16 53 0 1   78 Av
John Mayberry Jr.      lf 25 .235 .287 .412 131 490 55 115 25 1 20 55 31 121 11 2   78 Av

———————————————————————————————————————————————————
SECOND BASEMEN
———————————————————————————————————————————————————
Name               P Age   AVG   OBP   SLG   G AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB   K SB CS OPS+ RNG

EXCELLENT
Chase Utley*        2b 30 .297 .384 .538 152 595 112 177 42 4 31 104 65 107 12 2 134 Ex

POOR
Tadahito Iguchi       2b 34 .262 .332 .380 90 332 50 87 16 1 7 34 34 72 7 1   83 Av
Marcus Giles         2b 31 .251 .332 .367 109 406 67 102 22 2 7 48 46 76 9 2   79 Av
Eric Bruntlett       ss 31 .232 .317 .305 120 246 36 57 10 1 2 22 28 43 10 3   62 Vg
Brad Harman         2b 23 .221 .269 .364 124 470 48 104 17 1 16 64 30 132 4 1   61 Av
Jorge Velandia       ss 34 .242 .294 .324 95 343 36 83 14 1 4 25 23 76 3 2   58 Vg

———————————————————————————————————————————————————
THIRD BASEMEN
———————————————————————————————————————————————————
Name               P Age   AVG   OBP   SLG   G AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB   K SB CS OPS+ RNG

AVERAGE
———————————————————————————————————————————————————
Greg Dobbs*          3b 30 .283 .333 .445 138 321 42 91 18 2 10 41 23 56 4 1   98 Fr

POOR
Terry Tiffee#        3b 30 .279 .317 .417 97 369 46 103 22 1 9 48 20 46 1 1   86 Fr
Mike Cervenak         3b 32 .277 .308 .412 102 393 50 109 18 1 11 56 14 61 2 1   82 Fr
Pedro Feliz         3b 34 .248 .295 .424 121 427 52 106 20 2 17 63 28 68 0 1   82 Ex
Eric Bruntlett       ss 31 .232 .317 .305 120 246 36 57 10 1 2 22 28 43 10 3   62 Vg
Brad Harman         2b 23 .221 .269 .364 124 470 48 104 17 1 16 64 30 132 4 1   61 Av
Jorge Velandia       ss 34 .242 .294 .324 95 343 36 83 14 1 4 25 23 76 3 2   58 Av

———————————————————————————————————————————————————
SHORTSTOPS
———————————————————————————————————————————————————
Name               P Age   AVG   OBP   SLG   G AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB   K SB CS OPS+ RNG

VERY GOOD
Jimmy Rollins#        ss 30 .283 .346 .469 144 614 104 174 37 10 19 68 55 68 37 3 106 Vg

FAIR
Jason Donald         ss 24 .255 .316 .393 120 478 60 122 20 2 14 55 39 109 9 4   81 Av

POOR
Eric Bruntlett       ss 31 .232 .317 .305 120 246 36 57 10 1 2 22 28 43 10 3   62 Av
Brad Harman         2b 23 .221 .269 .364 124 470 48 104 17 1 16 64 30 132 4 1   61 Fr
Jorge Velandia       ss 34 .242 .294 .324 95 343 36 83 14 1 4 25 23 76 3 2   58 Av

————————————————————————————————————————————————————-
CORNER OUTFIELDERS
————————————————————————————————————————————————————-
Name               P Age   AVG   OBP   SLG   G AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB   K SB CS OPS+  LF RF

AVERAGE
————————————————————————————————————————————————————-
Raul Ibanez*        lf 37 .285 .350 .472 149 579 76 165 39 3 21 100 57 98 0 1 109 Pr  
Jayson Werth         rf 30 .257 .357 .444 112 342 54 88 15 2 15 53 50 104 12 1 105 Av Vg
Matt Stairs*        rf 41 .272 .356 .449 89 254 39 69 12 0 11 40 31 55 1 0 105 Fr Fr

FAIR
Shane Victorino#      cf 28 .283 .347 .436 143 495 86 140 25 6 13 53 40 65 24 7 100     Vg
Greg Dobbs*          3b 30 .283 .333 .445 138 321 42 91 18 2 10 41 23 56 4 1   98 Fr Fr
Geoff Jenkins*        rf 34 .262 .333 .441 103 313 38 82 18 1 12 43 28 80 1 1   97 Av Av

POOR
Terry Tiffee#        3b 30 .279 .317 .417 97 369 46 103 22 1 9 48 20 46 1 1   86 Fr  
Chris Snelling*      lf 27 .240 .344 .369 77 225 34 54 9 1 6 29 30 54 2 1   85 Av Av
Mike Cervenak         3b 32 .277 .308 .412 102 393 50 109 18 1 11 56 14 61 2 1   82 Fr Fr
Michael Taylor       lf 23 .264 .310 .428 111 428 45 113 20 1 16 59 27 90 11 7   87 Av Fr
Jeremy Slayden*      rf 26 .256 .314 .405 107 402 47 103 22 1 12 54 30 90 4 2   83 Av Av
John Mayberry Jr.      lf 25 .235 .287 .412 131 490 55 115 25 1 20 55 31 121 11 2   78 Av Fr
T.J. Bohn           rf 29 .244 .303 .362 106 340 43 83 17 1 7 35 26 83 9 3   70 Vg Vg
So Taguchi           lf 39 .255 .325 .328 83 137 25 35 7 0 1 12 12 18 3 1   67 Av Av
Jason Ellison         cf 31 .255 .321 .328 107 290 42 74 13 1 2 21 25 50 8 5   67 Av Av
Dominic Brown*        cf 21 .242 .297 .340 100 409 50 99 13 0 9 40 31 71 23 7   65 Vg Vg
Eric Bruntlett       ss 31 .232 .317 .305 120 246 36 57 10 1 2 22 28 43 10 3   62 Av Av

———————————————————————————————————————————————————
CENTERFIELDERS
———————————————————————————————————————————————————
Name               P Age   AVG   OBP   SLG   G AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB   K SB CS OPS+ RNG

AVERAGE
Jayson Werth         rf 30 .257 .357 .444 112 342 54 88 15 2 15 53 50 104 12 1 105 Fr
Shane Victorino#      cf 28 .283 .347 .436 143 495 86 140 25 6 13 53 40 65 24 7 100 Vg
———————————————————————————————————————————————————

FAIR
Chris Snelling*      DL 27 .240 .344 .369 77 225 34 54 9 1 6 29 30 54 2 1   85 Fr

POOR
T.J. Bohn           rf 29 .244 .303 .362 106 340 43 83 17 1 7 35 26 83 9 3   70 Fr
So Taguchi           lf 39 .255 .325 .328 83 137 25 35 7 0 1 12 12 18 3 1   67 Av
Jason Ellison         cf 31 .255 .321 .328 107 290 42 74 13 1 2 21 25 50 8 5   67 Fr
Dominic Brown*        cf 21 .242 .297 .340 100 409 50 99 13 0 9 40 31 71 23 7   65 Av
Eric Bruntlett       ss 31 .232 .317 .305 120 246 36 57 10 1 2 22 28 43 10 3   62 Av

* - Bats Left
# - Switch Hitter

—————————————————————————————————————————————
STARTERS
—————————————————————————————————————————————
Name               Age   ERA   W   L   G GS   INN   H   ER HR   BB   K ERA+

TOP THIRD
Cole Hamels*          25   3.60 14   8 31 31   207.1 184   83 28   54 199 126

MIDDLE THIRD
Brett Myers           28   4.49   9   8 24 24   132.1 136   66 19   44 120 101
Joe Blanton           28   4.53 12 11 32 32   176.2 194   89 18   47 119 100
—————————————————————————————————————————————
Jamie Moyer*          46   4.65 12 12 32 32   178.0 191   92 25   55 117   98
Kyle Kendrick         24   5.02 10 12 31 30   161.1 190   90 21   51   74   90

BOTTOM THIRD
Justin Lehr           31   5.34   4   5 24 13   86.0   99   51 14   27   45   85
James Happ*          26   5.40   6   8 29 26   125.0 130   75 22   61 107   84
Carlos Carrasco       22   5.48   7 11 26 25   133.0 143   81 24   63   93   82
Brian Mazone*        32   5.49   6 10 21 21   116.1 134   71 22   33   61   82
Robert Mosebach       24   5.57   8 13 28 27   161.2 195 100 20   67   61   82
Antonio Bastardo*      23   5.70   3   6 18 18   85.1   87   54 18   48   62   80
Joe Savery*          23   5.87   5   9 19 17   95.0 110   62 15   46   48   77
Drew Naylor           23   5.92   6 10 22 22   121.2 138   80 26   49   66   77
Adam Eaton           31   6.10   5 11 24 24   121.0 146   82 23   47   72   74
Andrew Carpenter       24   6.14   7 15 25 23   140.2 173   96 27   50   71   74
Yorman Bazardo         24   6.50   5 12 26 22   124.2 158   90 23   52   59   70

—————————————————————————————————————————————
RELIEVERS
—————————————————————————————————————————————
Name               Age   ERA   W   L   G GS   INN   H   ER HR   BB   K ERA+

TOP THIRD
Ryan Madson           28   3.48   3   2 61   0   72.1   68   28   5   23   56 133
J.C. Romero*          33   3.53   4   2 74   0   51.0   41   20   4   33   45 129

MIDDLE THIRD
Brad Lidge           32   3.76   3   2 71   0   64.2   54   27   8   31   86 123
Chad Durbin           31   3.89   5   3 60   0   71.2   70   31   7   28   53 117
Scott Eyre*          37   3.94   2   2 55   0   45.2   45   20   4   20   48 115
Mike Zagurski*        26   4.15   2   1 32   0   39.0   39   18   2   21   34 111
—————————————————————————————————————————————
Rudy Seanez           40   4.25   5   4 53   0   53.0   53   25   6   25   47 105
Clay Condrey         33   4.41   4   3 50   9   65.1   76   32   6   19   31 103

BOTTOM THIRD
Mike Koplove         32   4.45   2   2 48   0   54.2   56   27   6   22   37 101
Chan Ho Park         36   4.79   3   3 61   0   67.2   73   36 11   27   55   95
Blaine Neal           31   5.22   2   2 39   0   39.2   42   23   8   17   32   85
Gary Majewski         29   5.37   2   4 63   0   62.0   76   37   7   22   41   85
Dave Borkowski         32   5.43   3   4 54   0   69.2   80   42 10   24   50   84
Sergio Escalona*      24   5.77   3   5 32   6   64.0   73   41 10   34   41   79
Tom Gordon           41   5.79   3   5 40   0   32.2   36   21   6   16   28   78
Scott Nestor         24   6.15   1   3 56   0   60.0   63   41 11   46   55   74
Joe Bisenius         26   6.71   2   6 39   0   52.1   62   39 10   36   34   68

* - Throws Left

——————————————————————-

Player Spotlight - Ryan Howard
            AVG   OBP   SLG   G AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB   K SB CS OPS+
Projection     .271 .372 .586 151 558 97 151 25 2 49 132 89 187 1 1 141

Top Near-Age Offensive Comps:  Cecil Fielder, Willie McCovey, Harmon Killebrew

ODDIBE

Offense     %
Top Quintile   60
2nd Quintile   30
Mid Quintile   7
4th Quintile   3
Low Quintile   0

OPS+        %    OBP   %    3B     %    Hits   %
>160       15     >.400   12     >10   0     >200   0
>140       52     >.375   42     >5     6     >150   50
>130       72     >.350   82
>120       88     >.325   98     2B     %
>110       96     >.300   100   >45   0
>100       99               >30   19
>90         100
>80         100
>60         100

BA         %    SLG   %    HR     %    SB     %
>.350       0     >.550   77     >50   41     >70   0
>.325       1     >.500   98     >40   83     >50   0
>.300       10     >.450   100   >30   99     >30   0
>.275       41     >.400   100   >20   100   >10   0
>.250       80     >.350   100   >10   100

MILESTONE ALERT
     
          %
60+ HR     10
65+ HR       5
73+ HR   1-in-177    

(Based on Projected PA)
——————————————————————-

Player Spotlight - Chase Utley
            AVG   OBP   SLG   G AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB   K SB CS OPS+
Projection     .297 .384 .538 152 595 112 177 42 4 31 103 65 107 12 2 134

Top Near-Age Offensive Comps:  Lou Whitaker, Charlie Gehringer, Highpockets Kelly

ODDIBE

Offense     %
Top Quintile   92
2nd Quintile   5
Mid Quintile   2
4th Quintile   1
Low Quintile   0

OPS+        %    OBP   %    3B     %    Hits   %
>160       6     >.400   27     >10   1     >200   5
>140       36     >.375   66     >5     25     >150   98
>130       60     >.350   93
>120       80     >.325   99     2B     %
>110       92     >.300   100   >45   28
>100       98               >30   94
>90         100
>80         100
>60         100

BA         %    SLG   %    HR     %    SB     %
>.350       1     >.550   38     >50   1     >70   0
>.325       12     >.500   82     >40   9     >50   0
>.300       47     >.450   99     >30   49     >30   1
>.275       85     >.400   100   >20   94     >10   55
>.250       98     >.350   100   >10   100

(Based on Projected PA)
——————————————————————-

Player Spotlight - Cole Hamels
              ERA   W   L   G GS INN   H   ER HR   BB   K   ERA+   
Projection       3.60 14   8 31 31 207.1 184   83 28   54 199   126

Top Near-Age Comps:  Frank Tanana, Vida Blue, Johnny Antonelli

ODDIBE

ERA   %
Top 1/3 79
Mid 1/3 17
Bot 1/3 4

ERA+  %    BB     %
>150   23     >35   7
>140   34     >46   31
>130   49     >58   69
>120   65     >69   89
>110   79     >81   96
>100   89     >92   98
>90   96
>80   98     HR     %
>70   100   >16   8
          >23   34
K/9   %    >30   65
>207   36     >37   83
>184   68
>161   92
>138   99

(Based on Projected IP)
——————————————————————-

Player Spotlight - Joe Blanton
              ERA   W   L   G GS   INN   H   ER HR   BB   K   ERA+   
Projection      
4.53 12 11 32 32 176.2 194   89 18   47 119   100
 
Top Near-Age Comps:  Don Nottebart, Dennis Lamp, Chris Holt

ODDIBE

ERA   %
Top 1/3 30
Mid 1/3 54
Bot 1/3 16

ERA+  %    BB     %
>150   2     >29   6
>140   3     >39   28
>130   6     >49   59
>120   14     >59   84
>110   30     >69   96
>100   53     >79   99
>90   80
>80   95     HR     %
>70   99     >14   30
          >20   67
K/9   %    >26   90
>177   1     >31   97
>157   3
>137   17
>118   49

(Based on Projected IP)
——————————————————————-

ODDIBE (Odds of Important Baseball Events)

OPS+ >140

Howard   52
Utley     36
Werth     2

OBP >.400

Utley     28
Howard   11
Werth     7

SLG >.550

Howard   77
Utley     38
Stairs     3

BA >.325

Utley     12
Victorino   4
Rollisn   3

2B >45

Utley     29
Ibanez   24
Rollins   14

3B >10

Rollins   46
Victorino 11
Utley     2

HR >30

Howard   99
Utley     49
Mayberry   7

SB >50

Rollins   11
Victorino   1

ERA+ >140

Madson   47
Romero   40
Lidge     34

K/9 >9

Lidge     96
Hamels   36
Nestor   31

BB/9 <1.5

Blanton 8
Concrey 7
Hamels 6

HR/9 <0.7

Romero 66
Madson 65
Durbin 50

All figures in % based on projection playing time - Min. 300 PA/50 IP for inclusion

Disclaimer: ZiPS projections are computer-based projections of performance.
Performances have not been allocated to predicted playing time in the majors -
many of the players listed above are unlikely to play in the majors at all in 2009.
ZiPS is projecting equivalent production - a .240 ZiPS projection may end up
being .280 in AAA or .300 in AA, for example. Whether or not a player will play
is one of many non-statistical factors one has to take into account when predicting
the future.

Players are listed with their most recent teams unless Dan has made a mistake.
This is very possible as a lot of minor-league signings are generally unreported in
the offseason.

ZiPS is projecting based on the AL having a 4.44 ERA and the NL having a 4.38 ERA.

Players that are expected to be out due to injury are still projected. More information
is always better than less information and a computer isn't what should be projecting
the injury status of, for example, a pitcher with Tommy John surgery.

Positional offense is ranked by RC/27 and divided into quintiles based on what the
most frequent starting players at each position did in 2006-2008. Excellent is the top
quintile, Very Good the 2nd quintile and so on.

ZiPS Frequently Asked Questions


ZiPS 2009 Archive


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Dan Szymborski Posted: January 17, 2009 at 11:06 PM | 61 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: January 17, 2009 at 11:12 PM (#3054448)
Snelling: At least, at his position, he won't be blocking any young talent.
   2. steagles Posted: January 17, 2009 at 11:16 PM (#3054449)
chris snelling.
   3. The District Attorney Posted: January 17, 2009 at 11:21 PM (#3054450)
When an excellent-fielding 2B would be an excellent-hitting 1B, that's a good player.
   4. Frisco Cali Posted: January 18, 2009 at 12:37 AM (#3054474)
What exactly happened to make Madson so good? He was decent before, but is better now apparently? Trusted 8th inning guy, very good projections.
   5. I Am Not a Number Posted: January 18, 2009 at 12:48 AM (#3054477)
What exactly happened to make Madson so good?

Did you not see him in the World Series? It appeared that at some point in the season, he had suddenly learned to throw 150 MPH.
   6. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: January 18, 2009 at 12:56 AM (#3054479)
I'm really not seeing Lou Whitaker as a good, near-age comp for Utley. Utley has better power (not just HR, but also doubles--even adjusting for run environment) and more durability (Whitaker never played more than 150 games after turning 28).
   7. Davo's Favorite Tacos Are Moose Tacos Posted: January 18, 2009 at 01:14 AM (#3054480)
A 4.53 era is league-average at Philadelphia? Wow.
   8. Mr. Robinson Cancel's Quango Posted: January 18, 2009 at 01:32 AM (#3054483)
Interesting Lidge projection.
   9. Walt Davis Posted: January 18, 2009 at 01:41 AM (#3054489)
Top Near-Age Offensive Comps: Cecil Fielder, Willie McCovey, Harmon Killebrew

Well, can't argue with that.

Top Near-Age Offensive Comps: Lou Whitaker, Charlie Gehringer, Highpockets Kelly

Highpockets? What kind of nickname is that. According to the "urban dictionary" that's someone with a "very large, very high" ass.

OK, apparently also a tall person ... and Kelly was 6'4" ... he must have been a giant back in 1915. I take it his HoF presence is due to Frisch.

Top Near-Age Comps: Frank Tanana, Vida Blue, Johnny Antonelli

So he's gonna blow out his arm but have a very long career as an average innings-eater or he's gonna be a workhorse till he's 30 then blow out his arm.

I'm shocked(!!) that you passed up this opportunity to give us Jamie Moyer's near-age comps.

I'm guessing Lazarus, Methusaleh and Harveys Wallbanger.
   10. Mike Webber Posted: January 18, 2009 at 01:59 AM (#3054500)
I think Werth will beat that projection, both in playing time and in rate stats.
Anyone else think Werth is a little low? Or am I zooey-looey?
   11. Wes Parkers Mood (Mike Green) Posted: January 18, 2009 at 03:03 AM (#3054520)
BBRef suggests Joe Gordon as a comp for Utley.
   12. Chris in Wicker Park Posted: January 18, 2009 at 03:15 AM (#3054522)
Well, as a Mets fan, this reminds me how frustrating our FO is. Of course they will add a "low lever right handed hitter." Ugh.
   13. Starlin of the Slipstream (TRHN) Posted: January 18, 2009 at 03:39 AM (#3054531)
Whitaker's not a terrible comp. First, from 26-29, Whitaker wasn't any more fragile than Utley has been in his career. During that span, Whitaker played in 600 games vs. Utley's 598.

As for the actual performance, obviously Utley's 26-29 season have been much better than Whitaker's. Yet almost all of that difference in value is in power, which 6-4-3 correctly noted is the big difference between the two. Whitaker had 69 neutralized HRs & 147 2B + 3B from 26-29 to Utley's 115 HRs & 186 2Bs + 3Bs. Everything else is a solid match: hits (694 for Lou to 714 for Utley), PAs (2701 for Whitaker, 2687 for Utley), average (.297 neutralized for Sweet Lou, .304 for Utley [un-neutral=.290W to .305U]) and walks (9.6% of PAs for Lou, 9.2% for Utley). As Dan intimates, the number of second basemen who could even approach Utley's value is pretty small. When you take into account the shape of that value, it becomes impossible to find a perfect match. I assume ZiPs sacrificed a bit on power, because the two are so similar in durability, Avg, OBP & BBs. When everything else is so close, Whitaker's merely good power vs. Utley's excellent power isn't such a big deal.

Trying to come up with other 2B comps, everyone else seems to have some defect or large disparity that would probably put them out of the running. Joe Morgan was closer than Whitaker in terms of overall value & neutralized power, but he had 2 times as many walks per season as Utley over that age span. I suspect ZiPs would see that as a huge difference. Biggio's closer too on overall value and on gap power (207 2Bs + 3Bs), but he's even further away on HRs (65), games played (572) and again he's more of a walker (11+%). Ryne Sandberg doesn't compare because he had a mid-career lull from ages 26-28. Jeff Kent didn't become Superman until age 30. Joe Gordon didn't have an age 29 season. Bobby Grich missed 100 games in his age 28 season and didn't really hit that many HRs in that span. Soriano had the power, but not the average or the walks. Alomar was too fragile (502 GP). Nap Lajoie & Rogers Hornsby played a form of baseball in which players could bat .400. Gehringer, though, is a good comp. too.
   14. *BaseClogger* Posted: January 18, 2009 at 05:19 AM (#3054555)
As good as Utley is, he still can't touch Joe Morgan...
   15. Starlin of the Slipstream (TRHN) Posted: January 18, 2009 at 08:47 AM (#3054592)
No, he can't. Even if he were to match Joe Morgan's brilliance in his early 30's & the long, productive tail to his career, Utley started way too late. Joe Morgan's OPS+ column on his BBREF page is a thing of beauty.
   16. RollingWave Posted: January 18, 2009 at 11:13 AM (#3054602)
As good as Utley is, he still can't touch Joe Morgan...


hopefully that means he'll be a better sports analysis after he retires.
   17. Dan Posted: January 18, 2009 at 03:24 PM (#3054612)
I thought the 99% chance Howard hits over 30 home runs was pretty interesting.
   18. JPWF13 Posted: January 18, 2009 at 05:34 PM (#3054677)
and more durability (Whitaker never played more than 150 games after turning 28).


It wasn't that Whitaker wasn't durable- he couldn't hit lefties at all, and after awhile the Tigers simply stopped letting him "hit" against them
   19. The District Attorney Posted: January 18, 2009 at 05:49 PM (#3054687)
Highpockets? What kind of nickname is that. According to the "urban dictionary" that's someone with a "very large, very high" ass.
That Kelly appears indicates just how hard a time ZiPS had finding solid comps for Utley
Are you implying that Utley has a small, low ass?

And, does ZiPS factor that in?

I take it [Kelly's] HoF presence is due to Frisch.
Yeah, generally accepted that he is a Frisch guy and is one of the very worst players in there. (James has a fun story about getting a letter from Kelly's daughter or something disputing this. No disrespect of course, but, he just is.)
   20. nathanj42 Posted: January 19, 2009 at 06:08 PM (#3055201)
I guess I'm missing how the Phillies are "the team still has enough front-line talent on offense to survive a bit of nincompoopery." W/o Utley for 1/2 a season, their only above average players are Howard and Rollins. They seem like a poor man's version of the Brewers, just in a band box hitting environment.
   21. JPWF13 Posted: January 19, 2009 at 06:20 PM (#3055210)
just in a band box hitting environment.


They also have better pitching then they are given credit for.
The 2008 Phillies had a team ERA+ of 113

The 2008 Phillies had a team OPS+ of 104
their leader was Utley at 135
The only guy likely to better 2008 is Howard (Rollins 103 mark is the 2nd best of his career, his career average is 99)

Without Utley for 1/2 year, a little regression from Werth and from Ibanez and from Dobbs, they could easily slip under 100 next year.

Ryan Howard's OPS+ progression: 167, 144, 124, I've always seen Howard as the 2nd coming of Cecil Fielder, he's in better physical shape, but he's basically the same player, I think he's going to settle in around 120 for few years, but if he continues his progression and hits 100, and Utley misses 300-400 PAs... this will be a below average offense.
   22. Famous Original Joe C Posted: January 19, 2009 at 06:28 PM (#3055218)
I guess I'm missing how the Phillies are "the team still has enough front-line talent on offense to survive a bit of nincompoopery." W/o Utley for 1/2 a season, their only above average players are Howard and Rollins. They seem like a poor man's version of the Brewers, just in a band box hitting environment.

Have you seen their division? The Mets will contend, but without adding a starter and an outfielder they are only maybe a mid to high 80s win team. Florida and Atlanta both have a chance to be okay, but they are still behind the Mets. Washington is Washington. This Phillies team could still win 88 games as constructed, and that might be enough to get them into the dance.
   23. JPWF13 Posted: January 19, 2009 at 06:54 PM (#3055232)
This Phillies team could still win 88 games as constructed, and that might be enough to get them into the dance.


Sad but true, the 2009 NL east leader could easily be under 90 wins next year...

but that usually doesn't happen, because usually one team (or more) greatly outperforms what you think they are capable of.

Right now the NL East has 2 teams that should win in the high 80s- at least one will probably clear 90

I think the Phillie's big problem is that it is extremely unlikely their pen will duplicate 2008.
The Phillies lost fewer leads after 7 innings than, well, just about anyone.
The Phillies had fewer leads after 7 ip in 2008 than the Mets, or the Cardinals.

Extremely effective Pens tend to be transitory (except for the Yankees who have Mariano, and the Angels who have made a deal with beezelbub I guess)
Extremely poor Pens also tend to be transitory (except for Colorado which has to deal with Coors, and KC, which is cursed).

The Phillies had a far more effective Pen than the Mets or Cardinals in 2008, in fact it was that Pen that was the difference maker- however over the past 3 years the Phillies pen was only slightly more effective (judging by save %) than the Mets or Card's pen, and over 7 years the Phil's pen was slightly less effective... If the only thing separating 2 teams (or 3) are their pens, you should basically assume that difference will disappear on its own.
   24. frenchredsox Posted: January 19, 2009 at 07:49 PM (#3055280)
Right now the NL East has 2 teams that should win in the high 80s- at least one will probably clear 90


THAT is true but the problem that all NL East teams have is their reliance on their starters - no NL East team can really afford to lose a main player even a non superstar....

Phillies big,big hole is at 3B like the Mets at 2B & the Braves at RF....overall this division is "weaker" on paper than say the Central but isn't that what most pundits say comparing the AL & the NL.


They had a "perfect" 08 season (Lidge comes to mind) which will be difficult to repeat unless rookies step up eg Marson/Halman/Donald
   25. ColonelTom Posted: January 19, 2009 at 07:59 PM (#3055289)
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Phils just signed Ryan Madson to a 3-year, $12M deal (+ incentives).

Madson cited a "eureka!" moment in a bullpen session after he was shelled by the Cubs on August 28 - a tweak in his delivery bumped up his fastball about 3-4 MPH, and it became much more consistent both in velocity and location. After that session:

27 IP, 23 H, 5 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 30 K, 0.67 ERA, 0.926 WHIP

Well worth the cash, IMHO. I wasn't impressed with his free agent moves, but Amaro's doing nicely in the arbitration settlements so far.
   26. JPWF13 Posted: January 19, 2009 at 08:03 PM (#3055292)
After that session:

27 IP, 23 H, 5 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 30 K, 0.67 ERA, 0.926 WHIP


he's had stretches like that before
   27. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 19, 2009 at 08:12 PM (#3055300)
he's had stretches like that before

But, you'd assume if the velocity bump is real, it's more than just randomness. Guys don't just have "random" months where they throw 3-4 MPH faster. This should be verifiable from the pitch tracking, shouldn't it?
   28. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: January 19, 2009 at 08:36 PM (#3055321)
Phillies big,big hole is at 3B like the Mets at 2B & the Braves at RF....

You could say that if you only look at these offensive stats, but the Phillies do have the best defensive 3B in baseball.
   29. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: January 19, 2009 at 08:41 PM (#3055323)
The Dobbs/Feliz platoon is serviceable. Much more productive than Castillo and post-2005 Francoeur.
   30. nathanj42 Posted: January 19, 2009 at 08:57 PM (#3055338)
My comment was that the offense w/o Utley is below league average. Given their ballpark, their gross run production will still be among NL leaders. They're a veteran team w/ little upside and high downside given their age. The pitching led my Hamels and a good bullpen is a strength. Also, a full season of Blanton should help.
   31. Walt Davis Posted: January 19, 2009 at 10:11 PM (#3055382)
and KC

eh? KC's 2008 pen:

Soria 67 IP 266 ERA+ (yes 266)
Ramirez 72 IP 162 ERA+
Mahay 65 IP 123 ERA+
Nunez 48 IP 143 ERA+
Tejeda 33 IP 133 ERA+

They got about 120 IP of utter crap from some guys they maybe didn't expect to be utter crap but what team doesn't? Why the 2007 Royals of course:

Soria 69 IP 189 ERA+
Gobble 54 IP 156 ERA+ (OK, that was a fluke)
Riske 70 IP 191 ERA+
Peralta 88 IP 124 ERA+
Greinke (as a reliever) 53 IP 132 ERA+
Nunez 44 IP 120 ERA+
Bale 40 IP 116 ERA+
Dotel 23 IP 120 ERA+

In 2007, apparently they could have sent me out there and I'd have put up at least a 110 ERA+ ... which makes me better than the other Ryan Braun. :-)

There's only one thing the Royals have done well of late ... and you didn't even notice. Now you're making them feel bad.

Guys don't just have "random" months where they throw 3-4 MPH faster.

Oh I dunno about that. Depends on your notion of "random" of course but between minor injuries, mechanical problems and fixes, "dead arm" periods and the like, I wouldn't be surprised to find velocities "randomly" bouncing around. Heck, I'm supposed to believe that defenders can "randomly" bounce from +10 to -5, I have no problem believing Madson capable of a hot streak where the fastball was popping.
   32. ColonelTom Posted: January 19, 2009 at 10:21 PM (#3055392)
The lineup's not below league average without Utley, but it could be better. I love Jayson Werth, but we have yet to see whether he'll hit better against RHP in an everyday role. His career platoon split is huge (.291/.374/.545 vs LHP, .251/.347/.408 vs RHP), and he didn't fare well once the Phils started playing him every day (.242/.308/.389 from Sept. 1 on).

I wonder if the Phils have kicked the tires on Ken Griffey Jr.? There have been rumors of two NL teams showing interest, but no specific teams have been cited. Werth could play against LHP and sub on defense at either corner for Ibanez or Griffey, and Griffey's still a good hitter against RHP. John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer thought he'd be looking for $3-4M on a one-year deal.

Mind you, the Phils' pitching staff would be cringing at the thought of Ibanez and Griffey on the outfield corners....
   33. JPWF13 Posted: January 19, 2009 at 10:23 PM (#3055397)
Guys don't just have "random" months where they throw 3-4 MPH faster.


Spoken like a man who hasn't seen Ollie Perez or Aaron Heilman pitch enough...
   34. JPWF13 Posted: January 19, 2009 at 10:35 PM (#3055406)
and KC

eh? KC's 2008 pen:


last 7 years the KC pen has 157 blown saves out of 388 save opps.
they were above average in 2007 and 2008, and wretched every other year. Their 59.5% save % the last 7 years is 30th out of 30. The Angels over the same period were at 75.7%.

Having a pen blow more saves than average 5 straight years is quite a feat- having one of the 3 worst save rates five straight years is an even greater feat- but alas, extending that streak beyond 5 years was beyond even KC's suckitude.
   35. MM1f Posted: January 19, 2009 at 10:50 PM (#3055414)
The Phils strike me as more likely to sign Rollins than Howard, but there's no Jason Donald that can fill-in adequately at first base in the next couple of years.

Theres also no adequate fill-in at SS for the next couple years. Donald is a solid player, but putting him at short could be disastrous with that noodle arm. Especially considering that... A. His actions and range aren't more than solid so they can't really make up for that arm. B. The blow to the pitching staff would be tremendous when you consider than you'd go from a plus glove in Rollins to a poor-to-very poor one in Donald.

Eckstien-type D would be the best case but Donald doesn't have the accuracy Eckstein has, nor are his fundamentals as strong.
   36. Quaker Posted: January 20, 2009 at 12:56 AM (#3055508)
The Phillies have a grand total of three old players, Ibanez, Moyer, and Feliz, between their everyday starting lineup and starting rotation. That doesn't equal a "high downside due to age," but it's funny watching the Mets fans come up with "scholarly" reasons for the Phillies to fall off a cliff.
   37. Dog on the sidewalk Posted: January 20, 2009 at 01:17 AM (#3055517)
I don't think the Phillies are going to fall off a cliff. I just think just about everything has gone right for the past couple of years while many things have gone wrong for the Mets, and yet they've managed to outwin the Mets by a total of 3 games during that time. Combine a few months without their best player with a bullpen that I think you'd have to agree can only be worse next year, and this Mets fan is optimistic about the upcoming season. The Mets have plenty of issues too, but I just think, player for player, they are a better team than Philadelphia. The difference is not nearly enough to I am overwhelmingly confident, and if I was, you could just point me to '08 and '07, but I do think that if you played the '09 season out 10,000 times, the Mets would usually be the team that finishes on top. I certainly expect Diamondmind and BPro's projections to back that up.
   38. Quaker Posted: January 20, 2009 at 01:39 AM (#3055531)
The above is a more reasonable assessment of the teams' comparative strengths, imo, although I think the '07 Phils encountered a decent amount of misfortune.
   39. Padraic Posted: January 20, 2009 at 01:41 AM (#3055533)
I just think just about everything has gone right for the past couple of years

Well, they did benefit from some cheap and excellent talent, but last year at least was hardly a case of everything clicking.

Rollins got hurt early and only played 137 games (down about 21 games from his average season).

Utley played through an obvious injury for nearly four months of the season.

A guy (Howard) whom ZiPS predicts to have a 98% chance of an OBP above .325 played the vast majority of the season below that number.

Ruiz dropped 23 points of OPS+ off the previous year.

Jenkins (whose demise admittedly could have been predicted) completely fell in the tank, Brett Myers lost any confidence in himself for half the season, Kendrick regressed, etc.

I agree that in the bullpen, where there is generally a lot of variability, the Phils pen played at the top of their game while the Mets pen didn't, but that's baseball. To extrapolate an edge in the variability of one element of the team to "everything going right" is just sour grapes.
   40. Padraic Posted: January 20, 2009 at 01:45 AM (#3055537)
And Quaker makes a good point about '07, considering that at the start of the season Jon Lieber, Freddy Garcia, and Adam Eaton were considered to be crucial in determining the team's success.
   41. Quaker Posted: January 20, 2009 at 01:49 AM (#3055539)
I don't think it's quite fair to use that Howard statistic, since he did finish north of .325 as ZIPS predicted.
   42. ColonelTom Posted: January 20, 2009 at 01:54 AM (#3055541)
I'm waiting for the Mets to sign another big free agent. They have mediocrity in the outfield corners while there are three huge upgrades (Ramirez, Abreu, and Dunn) still on the market. Any of those three would make the Mets clear favorites to win the division.
   43. Quaker Posted: January 20, 2009 at 01:54 AM (#3055542)
Also, I'll add that I see the Mets as having more variance in their results than the '09 Phillies, whom I'm pretty confident will finish between 85 and 90 wins. I could see the Mets posting the best record in the NL, but I could also see them cratering sharply if they don't add another starter and Delgado + one of the corner OFs don't meet expectations.

I consider the Phils pretty strongly anchored to that 85-90 win range because I think they have several guys capable of keeping them in games, even if they experience an injury to a starter or two. On the flip side, I don't see the Phils as having anyone terribly likely to exceed his ZIPS projection by a large margin other than Happ (I think he's a good bet for a 4.60 ERA) and possibly Myers, but I wouldn't bet much on the latter.
   44. Dog on the sidewalk Posted: January 20, 2009 at 02:02 AM (#3055554)
I think it's fair to say the Mets are more high variance than Philly, though it's hard to picture a team with Reyes, Wright, Beltran, and Santana do much worse than about 80 wins barring serious injuries to that group.
   45. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 20, 2009 at 02:14 AM (#3055561)
I think it's fair to say the Mets are more high variance than Philly, though it's hard to picture a team with Reyes, Wright, Beltran, and Santana do much worse than about 80 wins barring serious injuries to that group.

Well, eventually one of them is going to miss 50+ games, even if it's just a fluke injury. The Mets have been extremely fortunate is that regard.
   46. Quaker Posted: January 20, 2009 at 02:16 AM (#3055562)
I said that mainly because I consider Pelfrey/Maine/4/5 of the Mets less of a known quantity, in both directions, than their Philadelphia counterparts.
   47. kwarren Posted: January 20, 2009 at 02:19 AM (#3055563)
The Phillies have a grand total of three old players, Ibanez, Moyer, and Feliz, between their everyday starting lineup and starting rotation. That doesn't equal a "high downside due to age," but it's funny watching the Mets fans come up with "scholarly" reasons for the Phillies to fall off a cliff.

Pat Gillick is gone. That will make a huge difference.

If you look at the record of the Blue Jays, Orioles, & Mariners pre Gillick, during Gillick, and post Gillick you will swill see that he is a tremendous difference maker.

The "Burrell and two draft picks" for Ibanez move is typical of new Phillie thinking.
   48. ColonelTom Posted: January 20, 2009 at 02:57 AM (#3055598)
Gillick's still on the Phillies' payroll as a "consultant" - the same role he had with the Mariners when they signed Ibanez back in 2003. He handled the Ibanez signing personally for the M's as a consultant then, and almost certainly had a big role in bringing him to Philly this offseason. So let's not absolve Gillick of responsibility for the Burrell/Ibanez fiasco.
   49. Quaker Posted: January 20, 2009 at 03:20 AM (#3055621)
Let's also keep in mind that we should probably wait until Raul has actually played a game for the Phillies to deem it a fiasco.
   50. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: January 20, 2009 at 03:21 AM (#3055622)
No way. Raul Ibanez is the first catastrophe of the failed Obama administration.
   51. kwarren Posted: January 20, 2009 at 03:47 AM (#3055647)
#50

I know that Gillick is a big fan of Burrell. He may have had a role in bringing Ibanez to Philly, but I pretty sure that he preferred Burrell if that option was still open.

Gillick's record in Toronto:

1983: 89-73
1984: 89-73
1985: 99-62 won AL East
1986: 86-76
1987: 96-66
1988: 87-75
1989: 89-73 won AL East
1990: 86-76
1991: 91-71 won AL East
1992: 96-66 won World Series
1993: 95-67 won World Series

then he left and the Jays were below .500 for the next three seasons

the Orioles were 71-73 in 95, the last season before Gillick. Then with Gillick they went 88-74, 98-64, and 79-83 (suffering from Angelo's contant interference causing him to leave) making the playoffs in both 96 and 97. These are the only two seasons that the Orioles have made the playoffs since 1983.

Then with Seattle he took a below .500 team to 91, 116, 93, & 93 win seasons and two ALCS appearances. They won 63 and 69 games in the two seasons after he left.

Then on to Philly where he took a struggling team to two NL East titles and a World Series Championship.

All in all not a bad record. This is a guy who has a tremendous positive impact everywhere he has gone.
   52. ColonelTom Posted: January 20, 2009 at 04:57 PM (#3055994)
#51 - Burrell/Ibanez isn't a fiasco because of anything Ibanez does or doesn't do this year. It's a fiasco for trading off a similar player for one 5 years older, coming out far behind financially on the deal, and losing a pick when there are better players on the market who are likely to cost less for a shorter commitment.

I'm not arguing that Gillick's a bad GM - quite the contrary, he's a damn good one. I'm just saying you can't just put Burrell and Ibanez on Amaro's tab and say Gillick had nothing to do with either one.
   53. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: January 20, 2009 at 06:22 PM (#3056062)
I'll take the under on Lidge's ERA projection.
   54. nathanj42 Posted: January 20, 2009 at 07:14 PM (#3056110)
Quaker - I've never been labeled a Mets fan before. Ha.

Age - Of their starting position players, all are either in their prime years or past their prime years. Since players rarely make performance steps in the 30s, I don't think the line up has much upside. Also, some players fall of a cliff in their 30s, I think the line up has a lot of downside.

That said, they have a huge hole at 3b, and if they are to acquire a league average 3b, that'd greatly improve the line up.
   55. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: January 20, 2009 at 07:37 PM (#3056129)
That said, they have a huge hole at 3b, and if they are to acquire a league average 3b, that'd greatly improve the line up.
Well, everyone can't have league average and better players at every position. :) I would like to see Manuel give Dobbs more time at 3B -- I'm not sure if the math quite works, but if he can get Dobbs 55% of the ABs and Feliz 55% of the innings in the field, the position would not be a total sinkhole. Feliz impressed the heck out of me defensively last year, matching his incoming rep.
On the other hand, would I like the Phils to upgrade that position? You betcha.
   56. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: January 20, 2009 at 10:29 PM (#3056383)
That said, they have a huge hole at 3b, and if they are to acquire a league average 3b, that'd greatly improve the line up.

You could say that if you only look at these offensive stats, but the Phillies do have the best defensive 3B in baseball.
   57. Harris Posted: January 21, 2009 at 08:51 PM (#3057295)
(Ramirez, Abreu, and Dunn) still on the market. Any of those three would make the Mets clear favorites to win the division.


I'll give you ManRam. Dunn-upgrade, but no so sold on him as a game changer.
Abreu, I'm also not sure about. Does the new CITI field have walls?
   58. Harris Posted: January 21, 2009 at 09:42 PM (#3057357)
Feliz impressed the heck out of me defensively last year, matching his incoming rep.


I'd like to second this statement. The stats seem to indicate it was a below average fielding year by Feliz standards, but it was just a different feel.

When the ball got hit to third base, I *expected* Feliz to field it and throw out the runner. I knew he wasn't going to get all of them, but if he got leather on it, that meant in my mind that the play was over.

With Bell and Helms over there, when the ball was hit to 3rd, I'd cringe. Furthermore, if they got to it, I worried if it'd be a good throw, and even came to expect a bad one, especially if it was the 8th or 9th inning.

Feliz = automatic last year, and that's an awesome feeling at 3b. He may have hit only marginally better than Bell, but he was a comfort to have in the field.
   59. Exploring Leftist Conservatism since 2008 (ark..) Posted: February 02, 2009 at 08:13 AM (#3065520)
I'm waiting for the Mets to sign another big free agent. They have mediocrity in the outfield corners while there are three huge upgrades (Ramirez, Abreu, and Dunn) still on the market. Any of those three would make the Mets clear favorites to win the division.
You guys are a lot more optimistic than I. We still need to sign Perez just not to be clear runners-up. I agree w regard to the OF, CT, but it will take at least Perez and Dunn (or his like) for the Mets just to be small favorites.

I said that mainly because I consider Pelfrey/Maine/4/5 of the Mets less of a known quantity, in both directions, than their Philadelphia counterparts.
Both directions? Maine is a known quantity by now--I don't think anyone projects him as more than a 2-1/2 starter; and it's tough to see a pitcher with Pelfrey's stuff and K rate getting better. I dunno, gang. I think we bungled the offseason, and I think Madoff killed off whatever chance we had of buying our way out this late in the day.

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