October 25, 2014

The last-place Phillies through the quarter mark

The Phillies season, despite what you may think, has gone about as expected…

Without Ryan Howard and Chase Utley, the offense has been inconsistent (yet, still 7th in the NL in R/G).

The starters, for the most part, have been excellent, with a combined 2.90 ERA in 260.2 IP.

The bullpen, which was a question mark after Papelbon, has been flat out bad. With non-Papelbon relievers sporting a whopping 5.97 ERA with 8 losses. For all the focus on the offense, it’s the bullpen that has us where we are today.

Since I’ve not posted on the Phillies since the season started, I’m going to do a full rundown of the team, ranked by WAR, and any comments I have on the player…

1. Carlos Ruiz, C, 1.9 WAR

Ruiz has been MVP-worthy through the first quarter of the year. There aren’t enough superlatives to describe the way he is playing. His 1.024 OPS is outrageous, his 7 HR are already 2 away from a career high and the only players in the NL with higher WAR’s at the moment are David Wright, Joey Votto and Michael Bourn. Truly an amazing start.

2. Cole Hamels, SP, 1.6 WAR

He’s going to get some contract, huh? Despite our hitting problems, I would still give him a 6 year, $120 million deal. He would be younger than Roy Halladay is now at the end of that deal and his left-handed-ness and incredible change-up give him a great chance of being elite for several more years. I will be devastated if we don’t re-sign him while watching Howard earn $25 million and Papelbon earn $13 million.

3. Cliff Lee, SP, 1.5 WAR

Would be higher if he hadn’t missed a couple stars. 1.95 ERA and 0.76 WHIP and 0 wins. It’s almost like that is a dumb statistic.

4. Roy Halladay, SP, 1.1 WAR

Thus far, he’s still a top-10 pitcher in the league, but it looks like he may have taken a step back from his “best” in the league title. Velocity is a little down, as is his K/9 rate, but he has enough movement to overcome that. Still on pace for 250+ innings.

5. Juan Pierre, OF, 0.9 WAR

Not going to lie. I wanted no part of Juan Pierre in the starting line-up. He’s a singles hitter who gets thrown out on the base-paths a ton and has the worst outfield arm in baseball. All that being said, if he hits .343 the whole year and gets on-base almost 40% of the time, that doesn’t matter. Considering he’s had one season over .300 in the last 7 years, and that was .308, I think he’s due for a fall back to earth at some point.

6. Joe Blanton, SP, 0.7 WAR

Somebody wants a contract, huh? I thought Blanton could return to form this year, but “form” was a 4.20 ERA, not sub-3. Blanton is walking less hitters and giving up fewer HR’s than he has in his entire career. Hopefully he can keep it up. You wonder if he could be moved for a bat at some point this season.

7. Vance Worley, SP, 0.7 WAR

The most pleasant surprise of the year for me. His 45 K’s in 44 IP are amazing to me. He was never a strike out guy in the minors, but seems to have perfected the backwards K. Hopefully his arm soreness isn’t serious.

8. Placido Polanco, 3B, 0.5 WAR

This  number is helped by his still-excellent defense and his .347 BA in his last 19 games.

9. Antonio Bastardo, RP, 0.5 WAR

Not throwing as hard or well as last year, but still sporting a 1.50 ERA and 10.5 K/9.

10. Shane Victorino, OF, 0.5 WAR

Very disappointing with the bat so far, but I think he will pull it together. Love the 12 early steals though.

11. Laynce Nix, OF, 0.4 WAR

Our hottest hitter when he went down. Has a .979 OPS on the season.

12. Jonathan Papelbon, RP, 0.4 WAR

Overpaid or not, he’s done his job. 18 K’s in 15.1 IP despite a noticeable drop in velocity from last year.

13. Brian Schneider, C, 0.1 WAR

Getting into the “don’t play that much, so we’ll be around 0.0″ group here.

14. Hector Luna, Util, 0.1 WAR

Spring training hero hit a grand slam in his first Phillies AB.

15. Mike Fontenot, Util 0.1 WAR

He’s 2 for 3. He’s still not very good, sorry…

16. Raul Valdes, RP, 0.0 WAR

Showed off his 88mph heater, but still struck out 2 in his one appearance. I don’t see him as a bullpen answer.

17. Hunter Pence, OF, 0.0 WAR

History told us Pence would come down to earth a little, but maybe not THIS much. He’s gotten some clutch hits, but his fielding has been horrendous and his OBP hovering around .300. The Phillies might have an interesting decision with him next year as he could make upwards of $12 million in arbitration.

18. David Herndon, RP, 0.0 WAR

Did his thing where he gives up a ton of hits, then got hurt.

19. Pete Orr, Util, -0.1 WAR

Getting into worse-than-replacement territory here. And Pete Orr more-or-less defines “replacement player.”

20. Freddy Galvis, 2B, -0.1 WAR

A defensive prodigy, Galvis really needs to only hit about .250 to be valuable. Right now he’s hitting .233 with a .270 OBP, but has delivered some timely hits. Watching his glove has been one of the highlights of the season for me.

21. Chad Qualls, RP, -0.1 WAR

Looked great early on, then fell off a cliff. I feel like his arm is in decent shape, but his location is not. I think he’s fixable, but right now it’s looks like Bastardo is back in the 8th and we could really use someone to step up in the 7th.

22. Erik Kratz, C, -0.1 WAR

0-3.

23. Jim Thome, 1B, -0.1 WAR

Big time disappointment before going down with injury. Looks done, but I’m not counting him out yet. Just give me ONE more HR in a Phillies’ uni!

24. Joe Savery, RP, -0.1 WAR

Gotten hurt by the HR. A 1.00 WHIP in 8 IP, but 2 HR given up. Doesn’t seem to throw quite hard enough or have quite enough movement on pitches to be successful. I’m not completely writing him off though.

25. John Mayberry, OF, -0.2 WAR

Sorry, but I was expecting this one. Thousands of minor league ABs said last year was a fluke, and it certainly looks that way. His .574 OPS is the worst on the team among qualified hitters.

26. Brian Sanches, RP, -0.3 WAR

Part of the parade of mediocre relievers that had Twitter losing it’s mind. Allowed 11 base-runners in 4 innings. Hopefully we’ve seen the last of him this year.

27. Michael Stutes, RP, -0.3 WAR

Was he just another flash in the pan last year? Could his arm only handle one MLB season? 11 base-runners in 5.2 IP before injury.

28. Ty Wigginton, 3B, -0.4 WAR

On his bat alone, he be up a little bit, but his advanced defensive metrics aren’t very friendly. 2nd worst on the team to Pence.

29. Mike Schwimer, RP, -0.4 WAR

Despite his great minor league numbers, he has not looked good in the majors. I feel like if he settled in, he would improve, but I’m not sure he will get that chance.

30. Jimmy Rollins, SS, -0.5 WAR

Not looking good Jimmy. Both hitting and fielding metrics are down. He’s really got to get on a hot streak. I think he will, but the question is whether he reverts back this after it’s over. Should probably be hitting 7th right now.

31. Jake Diekman, RP, -0.5 WAR

OMG DIEKMAN IS AWESOME! OMG HE ACTUALLY SUCKS! If this kid can ever learn to locate, he could be great. That’s a big IF though.

32. Jose Contreras, RP, -0.6 WAR

Seems done. 8 ER in 9 IP so far this year.

33. Kyle Kendrick, P, -0.7 WAR

He’s been as bad as the other pitchers, the only difference is that he’s been allowed to pitch 25.2 innings so far. Hopefully his last start will get him on track, but prior to that he’d given up 31 hits in 19.2 innings. It’s hard to explain how bad that is.

So there it is, the 33 players the Phillies have thrown out there. Let’s group it up a little bit…

Starting Pitching: 5.3 WAR
Relief Pitching: -2.1 WAR
Hitting: 3.1 WAR
Fielding: -0.2 WAR

Total: 6.1 WAR

So, essentially, without our starting pitching, we’d be in the neighborhood of 15-24.

With average relievers, we’d be in the neighborhood of 22-17.

I still think the Phillies are in good shape. The bats have lit up a little bit and I expect Rollins, Victorino and Pence to all hit a little better as we move forward. I think Utley and Howard will provide at least some upgrade when they return and I think someone in the bullpen will step up behind Paps and Bastardo.

Right now, my real concern is the future. Our farm system has exactly zero MLB ready position prospects, and it’s simply not possible to fill a championship roster with all large contracts. You need guys in those first 1-5 years of their MLB career’s to fill in the gaps, and that is looking like a problem right now. The hope is that Domonic Brown would be one of those guys, and I still think he can be, but he just can’t stay healthy. I’m not sure what the answer is for 2013 and beyond, but the Phils need to figure it out sooner rather than later. 

 

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Comments

  1. phillyfan says:

    I certainly agree that we will be fine considering they are 0.5 game out of a playoff spot while playing mediocre baseball.
    I would love to see the combined stats of the players who tried to fill in for Howard at first.  Really a black hole for this lineup.  Notice none of the players summarized has “1B” next to his name cause tried to cover it with a bunch of utility guys.  Not working.
    Galvis on pace for 12 homers, 40 doubles and 75 RBIs.  I think we are getting more production from that position as a less than 100% Utley would give us.  Possibly even an upgrade to Utley.  Pretty amazing.  From this conclude the return of Howard is much more critical than the return of Utley.
    The contract that will cost us Hamels, if it does, is Lee.  Not a necessary signing, in very much the same vein as Howard.  But Howard’s was done and RAJ should have calculated that with Lee Hamels was gone.  Maybe he did calculate it.
     

  2. jjg says:

    On season “gone about as expected”… have to claim some individual exceptions:  Ruiz, 5th in ML at .355 (behind only Wright, Hamilton, Konerko & Kemp); Lee, 0-gm winner on May 21; Galvis, 3rd on team in RBIs; Hunter “Downtown” Pence, 10 in 179 PA but fielding like a softball beerleaguer; “Paps” save opportunity perfection; Knot-king Cole willin’ then drillin’ lower back of Bryce (who hadn’t at that time had the time to be not-nice); Tom McCarthy & Chris Wheeler, STILL Comcasting badgering buffoonery with boisterous bantering of blather, bromides, blunders and blarney. 

  3. Mike Donnelly says:

    6-10 in our division so far and  15-12 outside the NL east. 

  4. phillyfan says:

    WAR
    Howard’s replacement’s line through 43 games.  .257 ave, 19R, 2 2B, 4 HR, 11 RBI, 43k
    Really brings WAR statistic into perspective since historic WAR suggests that Howard’s production is imminently replaceable.  Suggests you can plus basically a minor leaguer and not lose any wins.
    I think we can all agree Howard’s numbers would drawf those above if healthy, and I think we all can agree a healthy Howard means we would have at least 3-4 more wins.

  5. Dude says:

    Unless this team goes on a tear over the next month or so, we may well be talking about who we can get value back for at the trade deadline instead of who can help us make a late season push. This is a real tough division, and realistically it would not be wise to expect Howard to come back strong this year (invariably takes almost two full years to regain full strength after a major ligament injury – if full strength returns at all.) If last year was any indication, Utley will not hold up over the whole season, even of he plays well for a little while after coming back. This team needs to think real hard about where it’s going. They have an ownership that’s willing to spend, but right now the money is poorly allocated.

  6. Mike Donnelly says:

    Just looked at our splits, we stink in day games and vs. left hand pitchers