207 thoughts on “General Discussion – Week of February 11. Spring is in the air.

  1. Does anyone know when the minor league guys are supposed to report? 45 guys already practicing over at BHF! I just read that Martin and Morgan played together on a youth travel team. That is very cool that they’re reunited now, so close to playing together in the big leagues.

  2. I love to hear about Spring Training. This year even moreso. I live in CT, 29 inches of the white stuff fell on my yard on Friday and Saturday. I spent my weekend shoveling out. Somewhere, some pitcher or catcher is complaining about too much sun or heat. If anyone wants to bring their shovel up, I can still use some help up here.

  3. Jonah Keri’s 15 Worst MLB Contracts:
    1.Alex Rodriguez
    2.Carl Crawford
    3.Ryan Howard *
    4.Jayson Werth
    5.Vernon Wells
    6.Barry Zito
    7.John Lackey
    8. Juan Uribe
    9. Brian Roberts
    10.Johan Santana
    11.John Danks
    12.Adam Dunn
    13.Brandon League
    14.Adrian Gonzalez
    15.Albert Pujols

    1. Albert Pujols’ contract is worse than all of those listed, except A-Rod’s. Fielder’s is close to being list worthy, too.

  4. Things I’m looking forward to this spring:
    * Seeing how Ruf and Brown respond to the competition for jobs as regular corner outfielders;
    * Watching the old men (Utley, M. Young, Roy, Howard, Jimmy) shake off the rust;
    * Asche, Joseph and Morgan getting their feet wet with the big club.
    * Ben Revere. Just because.

    1. * Our annual Clearwater Beach Pub Crawl on St. Patrick’s Day. Anyone interested in joining? Usually about 20 of us, but looking to grow the event where we talk Phillies baseball and tour the beach pubs from Frenchy’s South Beach north to the Palm Pavillion with stops at all places in between. A great time to talk Phillies baseball!

    1. Never mind, I just read that the Indians surrendered a competitive balance pick rather than a first rounder.

    2. No, Cleveland stank last year and so their first round pick is protected. I think they do lose a second rounder.

        1. It’s a third because their first-round pick is protected and because they lost the second-round pick on the Swisher signing.

    3. The Indians, huh?

      I think this may be an example how the new CBA may advantage teams with protected first round picks in negotiating with free agents. The thought being these teams provide better offers because there is less to lose in 2nd round picks. Also, it seems once you’ve signed one tendered FA, the second one in the same off seasons is more palatable.

      Given the ways things currently are, you might just reallocate draft spending towards Latin America for a year anyways.

  5. yeah murray. i quess your right,its still a lot of money, but what gets me is the value,teams are putting on a draft pick over a proven player. amazing.baseball draft is a crap shoot,

    1. Its the possibility that a 1st round pick could become a star and you need stars to win. The new rules make it more important to pick the right guy early because you can’t pick the really talented high school guy late and overpay him to convince him to skip college. I also think there are guys you’d sacrifice a pick for and guys you wouldn’t.

  6. This is exactly what we talked about last week. Players and agents will learn from this season and market values should adjust going forward to fair market values. I think 4/48 is the exact right number for Bourn but thats not where he and Boras started.

    I don’t blame a player for trying to inflate the value I would like to inflate my value. I’m happy for Bourn but very few FA’s that hit the market are going to be worth a pick in the 11-19 range at an over inflated value. I think had Bourns camp come to the Phillies with this number out of the gate they do that deal in a heart beat. And May and Worley are still in the system or trade chips for another position of need.

    But thats water under the bridge and speaks to what I perceive is Amaro’s main weakness (patience)

    1. In Amaro’s defense, had he gone until Feb 12 with question marks at all 3 OF spots, he would be absolutely killed by the fans and media for being too patient.

      I do think teams are really trying to figure out the whole qualifying offer thing and whether a player is worth of losing their draft allocation.

    2. I am happy for Bourn and in the same token happy for the Cleveland fans…. in Philly the fans think they have it the worst! Cleveland sports is in a plague. Hopefully the Indians are more competitive in their division.

      1. I’m sorry, but that is simply a very silly statement. I have seen no evidence at all that Philly fans are so blinkered in their vision that they think the have things the worst. What could possibly give you such an idea? Do Philly fans want things to be better? Of course they do! That is not at all the same thing as deluding themselves that they have things the worst. Have the managements of the Philly teams made many errors in strategy and tactics, and do the fans call them on these mistakes? Yes they do. Once again this is not at all the same thing as Philly fans believing that they have it the worst.

        1. Evidently you do not live in the immediate surrounding area of the city with access to the two sports radio talk-shows or else you would hear all the neagativity for ALL four sports teams. Perhaps the reality and the perception are different. But, do not delude your thinking that Phiily fans do not know the total number of championship banners they have flying over their stadiums vs other four sport cities. Nevertheless, it is an opinion I hear on a daily basis from callers on both talk radio stations and read from commenters on philly.com.

          1. I think there are different forms that negativity take. The WIP crowd always seems to be complaining about something, but you would think that they would LOVE Amaro who has the same kind of sensibilities when it comes to talent that they do.

            1. You misjudge the the current demographics. Everybody has seen or read Moneyball, and believes they are a baseball expert. Walks and OBP aren’t secrets just for the intellectual crowd anymore.

            2. You would think so, wouldn’t you? I don’t listen to WIP – I mean, I have, but I don’t regularly. Too depressing. Maybe things have changed. But I do spend more time than I should in various internet forum comment threads. And, this place excepted (and this place not ENTIRELY excepted, by any means), I get the impression that it’s still 1980 (and a not-very educated 1980). BBs are fine for lead off types, but don’t matter for middle of the lineup guys. And RBIs are THE most important offensive statistic. Because, you know, it measures .. run production.

              Where else could Jimmy Rollins be one of the most hated players in franchise history because he doesn’t always run out routine grounders?

              Where else would M. Young and D. Young be popular acquisitions? (And they were, not so much hear, but generally.)

              How do you explain the Brown hatred?

              Ryan Howard. I mean, I like him – and there are some people who go way overboard in the other direction. But much more prevalent are people who think he (when healthy) is still one of the best first basemen in the game.

    3. If the Phillies needed to sign Bourn, they wouldn’t have gotten that deal from Boras, ever. Boras pushes every angle. Cleveland got a reasonable deal for Bourn because there were no more players for Bourn’s services. The Mets would only take him if they didn’t have to give up their pick and they wanted Boras to agree that he wouldn’t shop their deal around while they tried to convince the league to not take their 1st round pick. Bourn didn’t want to wait. Cleveland knew they wouldn’t lose their 1st pick plus they weren’t competing with anyone so they didn’t have to increase their offer. Bourn had no leverage. The Phillies couldn’t have been in that situation. Amaro did the right thing and got himself a CF before the market dried up. The Reds are trying Choo in CF even though he’s never played there before. GM is a very tough job.

    4. Bourn also would have cost a lot more than Revere and probably would have hindered the Phillies from getting Adams and Young.

  7. The Revere trade was made Dec 6. My question is this would anyone else out there have swooped in and taken that trade out from under us? My opinion is that trade would have been there Jan6 and by that point all things being equal Bourn had to be getting antsy to land some where.

    I don’t know what the facts were. My perception is that Amaro needs to play a better game of poker. I’ve asked this question a while ago as an example. Do you think Wade wasn’t going to give us Pence if we didn’t include Santana? I mean Cosart and Singleton were more than enough.

    The point is not that Santana is going to be a star but that he could have been a chip you still have to get something else you need. Same for the Michael Young trade did it really have to be Bonilla? Daniels wanted to move young and clear salary. I can’t imagine that to many teams were beating down the doors to get their hands on him.

    The adage is true if you make moves because of fan pressure you’ll soon be sitting with them. you might be sitting with them any way if your moves are bad but that is a different story.

    1. The Revere trade probably would not have been there later, it seems now and then that the Twins made the decision to rebuild, you wait that out and the Twins might say that Revere is young enough that they could hang on to him and trade him later. Not to mention that Revere is an interesting piece for a lot of teams including those rebuilding because he is under control for the next 5 years. I am not convinced that getting Bourn would have better than Revere. Here is the equation over the next 5 years:

      Ben Revere + #16 pick + $45 million

      Bourn + Worley + May

      Is the difference between Bourn and Revere, especially once Bourn declines worth that. Worley is a back end starter and is replaceable by Morgan or Pettibone or John Lannan, and May is likely a reliever. The #16 pick could be anything but it is still valuable. The money is really useful especially if ownership is going to stick to staying under the luxury tax.

      1. Agree with both of your points. I think the moves during this off season were not good examples since almost no one could have predicted the Bourn situation back in December but there are better examples in the past of Amaro’s lack of patience: the Papelbon contract last year and (going way back) the Blanton contract which seemed to force the Lee trade once we acquired Halladay.

        1. Not disagreeing, I think the second guessing on the Bourn/Revere moves seems silly to me because the situations are very tied together (Revere helped remove Bourn’s market) plus there is the whole draft pick thing.

          As for Amaro and lack of patience that is a good list and you can throw the Howard contract and Ibanez signings on there.

      2. It sounded like I was making an argument for Bourn over Revere and that wasn’t my intention.

        My intended point was to say Amaro in my perception lacks patience, tends to fall in love with a move at which point he may overpay more than he has to in order to get a deal done.

            1. I think I’m going to have to disagree with ya there. I can understand how Bonilla can be an asset, but my personal opinion is that the Phillies aren’t hurting for reliever prospects and that the value of a reliever prospect is small compared to other positions. Relief prospects aren’t usually the centerpieces of major deals or even used as trade bait. They are usually throw ins to deals.

              I also think that Bonilla was overrated by us Phillies fans, but that’s just my opinion.

        1. I agree with you that it does appear that RAJ often overpays a little and maybe doesn’t wait out some situations but I actually like the GM who goes out and gets what he wants. There’s lots of proof that shows waiting out the market often results in getting no one.

          1. Actually the Papelbon deal is a good example on when getting you guy early is a good move. Had the Phillies waited out Papelbon only to have him go elsewhere, do they then end up signing Madson to the originally reported deal?

            1. Actually the original Madson deal, if one was really offered, is a better example of Amaro’s impatience. Assuming the deal was offered, Amaro would have paid Madson almost the same money as Papelbon and far more than any other reliever if not for Boras.

      3. Agree. I wouldn’t want that Bourn deal even without surrendering the #16 pick. That thing will be an albatross.

    2. Comparing the Revere trade to the Pence trade is not an apples to apples comparison. One is made in the offseason, where prices are lower than in-season trades. The Pence trade was an abomination, I think everyone agrees with that. It was made as a final piece to a team with Championship aspirations. GMs usally pay a much higher price at the trade deadline than at the winter meetings. The Revere trade was to get a cost controlled CF for the next few years.

      As for the Michael Young trade, the Phillies are flush with reliever prospects. Giving up Bonilla and having Texas pay $10 million of Young’s salary is a decent deal especially for one year. You can shake the Pharm tree and relievers with Bonilla’s upside will fall out.

      1. Two comments. First, one reason we paid so high for Pence is that we took money back in the deal. The more money you take back, the more prospects you must deliver. With RA always working snugged up against his max budget, he gives up a lot of trade leverage that $ can buy. Second, Bonilla is not as minor a toss off as you stated. Few on the farm had his K rate.

        1. Even so, reliever prospects are a dime a dozen and in the Phillies system they aren’t hurting for relievers.
          Aumont, DeFratus, Giles, Friend, Simon, Diekman. There’s six off the top of my head. I could add Wright because he could be a reliever to reach the show.

        2. Bonilla was a minor ‘throw in’. A major piece in a deal is a top 5-10 prospect. Bonilla ws a relief pitcher who we didn’t even think enough of, to include him as a top 15 prospect. You can’t have it both ways. Either he was a top prospect, or he wasn’t.

          1. I’d convert Bonilla back to a starter (like Texas will do) since he has an MLB out pitch in his change up and a plus fastball. He was working on another breaking pitch as well. I am not sure why Phillies moved him to a reliever. I had him ranked similar to May (Top15)and would have ranked him higher had Phillies kept him as a starter (and he produced).

  8. The Phils are paying big money to Hamels, Lee, Halliday, Howard, Papelbon, Rollins and Utley. Adams and M Young are a notch below. Can the Phillies win this year if each of those guys performs at a level equal to his salary? I say yes. I’m not sure they will but IF they do, then yes they will win a lot of games. The one thing going for the Cardinals and Giants in recent years with their winning teams was that they both received tremendous value from guys still not elgible for free agency. Who have the Phils received that kind of value from in recent years? Worley in 2011 and Werth in 2010. Unfortunately, Dom Brown not succeeding back in 2010 has really hurt this team. Even Bastardo and Stutes, who helped for much of 2011, were not the same in 2012. For the Phils to surprise in 2013, we need the money guys to earn their pay plus we need Ruf or Dom to step up while Revere hits 300 and steals 50 bases. Add to that, we need Lannan making 30 starts with a 4.00 era and we need a few of our young relief pitchers to be what we think they can be. Lots of IFs but its not impossible. Anything is posible in the spring…. It happens every spring….

    1. IMHO, here are the keys to the year:

      1. Halladay, Halladay, Halladay. If Halladay is able to get back to close to his old form, the team should have three aces and they’ll be in it all year, even if injuries crop up. If he pitches like he did last year, the team will need a surprise breakout pitching performance – probably from one of the minor leaguers – to stay competitive. As Halladay goes, so go the Phillies.

      2. Utley and Howard play and look something like their old selves. Some regression is expected, but 135 solid games from each would be very helpful. And they have to hope that none of the other stars on the team hits a wall and stops performing altogether – again some age-related regression is expected.

      3. Dom Brown and/or Darin Ruf step up. If either of these players, preferably Brown, steps up and plays like a regular, the whole team will be a lot better.

      4. The bullpen comes together. I think it should and it will – it has to be the deepest collection of bullpen talent I’ve ever seen. It should be a huge strength and it will need to be a huge strength.

      5. Freddy Galvis gets playing time. The more Freddy plays, the better and it almost does not matter where. Just trust me on this – you won’t be sorry.

      6. Delmon Young either turns things around in a big way (no, LarryM, I don’t expect this to happen) or otherwise spends as little time in the field and at the plate as possible. Why is he on this team? Ugh.

      7. One of the young pitchers enters the rotation. Assuming Halladay is at least good, we still need another starter to be at least very good. I don’t think we can rely on Kendrick or Lannan to be any better than okay to good (at best). We need another Vance Worley 2011 season and it could very well happen as possible candidates abound. Don’t be surprised if BJ Rosenberg ends up being the righty JA Happ of 2013 – his arm is tremendous and he’s ready for a break through.

      8. Charlie does not stick with “established” players who can no longer do the job. If Michael Young spends the entire season at third doing his best Ty Wigginton impersonation, this team is probably not going to make the playoffs.

      1. “it has to be the deepest collection of bullpen talent I’ve ever seen” – On the Phillies I mean – other teams, including the Braves, have deeper and better bullpens. But the Phils pen should be very good this year.

      2. With regards to No. 8, the only option is Freddy Galvis. If this team’s in the playoff hunt, Michael Young isn’t coming out of the line up.

        If they’re not in the hunt, it’s moot anyway as Utley, Halladay, Ruiz, Young, etc are all more than likely going to be trade bait.

        1. Barring any injuries, with Rollins, Utley and MYoung each getting one day off every 7/8 games, Galvis should get plenty of games under his belt.

  9. I agree with everything you said. Question is based on what you want Revere to do he has to bat lead off to steal that many bags does Charlie do it?

    Howard and Utley can no longer bat back to back. To prone to the lefty out of the pen to kill a rally. Does Charlie anyone have the guts to bat Ruf 4 and Howard 5?

    If Halladay is not Halladay and things are not looking good by June 30 the moves they make here will be critical to the future.

      1. If Cholly would think outside of the box, Utley would bat 2nd and Revere would bat 9th. I think that would optimize the lineup. Utley batting 2nd, puts the best hitter in the 2 hole where he belongs, and gives a chance of splitting the lefties. Batting Revere 9th, rather than 8th, allows him to steal bases in front of Rollins and Utley. The worst thing they can do, is bat Revere 8th.

        1. Generally agree. Though I do not like M.Young batting anywhere, I think he is toast.
          Since I optimistically predict good things for Dom Brown I bat him leadoff, since I do not like Rollins there either.

          Brown, Utley, Ruiz, Howard, Rollins, Nix, M.Young, Pitcher, Revere
          (swap Young and Kratz I suppose until Ruiz is back, by that time M.Young will have deserved the demotion.)
          Delmon Young is even worse than Nix but can put Ruf or Mayberry there also.

    1. I really want Revere batting 2nd. He sprays the ball all around and can easily score on Utley and Howard doubles when he doesn’t steal a base. The biggest fear I have with the lineup is if Charlie puts M Young 2nd and he’s too slow to score on Utley and Howard doubles. I agree that Revere can’t steal 50 batting 8th but I believe it will help the team that JRoll is away during spring training. It will allow Charlie to lead Revere off and for Charlie to remember how valuable speed is at the top.

  10. Sheeesh, all this spring optimism! I ask you, doesn’t anyone, other then LarryM, want the number one round draft pick next year?

  11. Spotted our old pal on the BP chat today. The years go by, but his tune is always the same.

    Free_AEC (New Jersey): Chooch was overheard telling Cliff Lee today that this is his last year with the Phillies. Apparently they won’t pay him either. Utley must also be gone. Josh Hamilton was clearly the answer for the Phillies this winter, but instead it appears they cut about $25 million from the payroll (baseball-reference) despite being number one in attendance in MLB in 2012. Should I be locked up in prison for calling them the SCAMMIES and suggesting a boycott is in order?

      1. Not that I’m going to sit here and defend AEC – I mean, really – but, while there are different ways to measure payroll, if we use a consistent method and look at the total at the start of the year, it is down 18 million. Not 25, but still substantial. That’s per COTs.

        IMO, if you ask me what my “best case” would have been, it would probably have been to sign Swisher, with an OF of Swisher, Brown and Revere. That still doesn’t put them over the luxury tax threshold. Maybe, maybe sign Youk, which puts them about at the threshold (remember, they are paying 7.2 million to Young). That, or, if they want some payroll flexibility, go with Frandsen/Galvis at third. Ruf could platoon with Howard & get some spot starts in the OF. IMO that’s about 3 to 4 games better (most of that Swisher versus Young) than than what they are actually putting on the field, and the difference between a long shot for the playoffs and right in the hunt. (Assuming reasonable health otherwise.)

        Yes, it would have been worth the pick.

        1. Larry, you can’t have it both ways if you want the team to get younger than the Phillies needed to keep the #15 pick and the money pool it brings. If you want to sign Swisher than we are getting older which you don’t like and criticize the FO.

          1. No, it’s not either/or. And a lot of the bad thinking on this board IMO is related to this false dichotomy. It’s also the kind of thinking that leads some people (not you, as I recall) to talk about how Satan Young is “only 27.” As bad as the “keep trading away prospects for veterans crowd” is the “play the kids” crowd. Both will lead to 100 loss seasons in short order, the latter more quickly (we may have that anyway with the village idiot in charge, but that’s another issue). We just don’t HAVE many position players in the upper minors that are real prospects. The real answer is to use reasonably cheap but quality veterans to bridge the gap to (hopefully) the next group of home grown stars.

            As for “getting younger,” unless you buy Ruf as a long term corner outfield regular, and I don’t, there’s a hole that has to be filled by SOMEONE for the next 3 or 4 years until (we hope) one of the prospects in the low minors comes through. (Of course, in reality, the team is NOT “getting younger” in any meaningful sense – D. Young is the worst of all possible worlds.) D. Brown aside (and the Phillies seem determined not to give him a shot, but for a SANE franchise there would be room at the OF corners for Brown and Swisher), the Phillies don’t HAVE young OF prospects. Ruf is a 1B prospect.

            Yes, there is one small cost – the pick..I’ve said before that it is absurd to fetiishize a single pick (maybe a top 2 or 3 pick, but not a #16 pick). Yes, it has value. But if the Phjliies future hangs on that one pick, then we are completely screwed anyway. Fortunately it does not.

            To put this in perspective, people didn’t seem to mind that May was a virtual throw in int he Revere deal. May, despite his troubles, is still probably as valuable as a mid first round pick.

            But the bottom line is this – it’s Swisher versus D. Young, not Swisher versus some hypothetical prospect. And that is an absolute no brainer. Especially with payroll to spare.

            1. How many “sane” franchises were bidding for Swisher? If it was such a good idea, why weren’t many teams trolling for him? We just disagree…..

            2. Why do you keep equating May to the 16th pick in the draft? If May was as valuable as the 16th pick, he wouldn’t have been a “throw-in” in the Revere trade. It’s completely false to say May holds that kind of value.

              Clearly the draft pick is a major factor in all of this. It’s the only reason Cleveland landed Bourn and Swisher. Teams no longer have the option of throwing cash at talented guys later in the draft. The 16th pick is absolutely the best chance this franchise has had in the last several years of landing an elite talent. Just because it’s not a slam dunk we get a stud at 16, doesn’t mean keeping the pick is stupid.

              Last year the Dodgers had the 16th pick. Their 2nd round pick was #73! We already have a bottom 10 system. You think it’s absurd to not want to wait until the mid-70s to make our first selection?

              And we simply don’t have the cap space to have signed Swisher. B-Reference has our estimated payroll at $158MM. Last year the insurance/40 man costs assigned to each club was $10.8MM. So we’re currently at roughly $169MM. How are you going to sign Swisher and “maybe” Youk for $9MM?

            3. I believe the Phillies had the money to sign Swisher and probably others should they chosen to do as much. For reasons not yet apparent to me, the FO seems to have prioritized keeping the pick/slot and not going over the luxary tax. It’s as if the decision was made — no playoffs no luxary tax. Apparently they did bid for Upton and Hamilton, but I think the bids were to ensure the market level was raised. One could argue the FO discounted their bids in FA for thosed tied to comp by what they valued their pick / slot allocation. That might make the FO sound too savy, so I tend to believe the were not in love with any FA OF, so they went with youth and spare parts.

              Also, the fact that several prospects were traded leads me to believe the FO believes in the core of the existing team. The continued willingness to pay for pitching (over the past few years) reconfirms the FO puts a premium on pitching, not offense. That’s one reason I thought Greinke was the most likely Amaro target.

              It’s a middling year, because there is an old infield and a younger outfield. But what is clear to me is the FO is betting 3 high quality starters will carry them. The wildcards are whether the defense is passable or the youth in the OF outperforms.

            4. This really shouldn’t surprise you. The Phillies did not go over the luxury tax threshold, because the Phillies have never exceeded Selig’s formal and informal guidelines. Owners regard that as acting for the good of baseball. They’ve behaved like this under 3 GMs now. They are not going to change, regardless of how much money they have.

              I have no idea how strong a team management thinks they have. To me, this has been an off-season of desperation. The Phillies have stuck with their core, because there really is nothing else they could do. They explored trades last year and they know how much money they would have to send west to get somebody to take on the Howard or Lee contracts. They know that if this season is a flop, Utley and Halladay are in the final years of their contract. If as individual players they are having a good year, they are very tradeable at the deadline. There is no reason to trade them now. If there is a 10% chance of making the playoffs, why throw that away. They really weren’t going to get any better use out of those $ this season.

              There are tickets to be sold and fans/media to be appeased. Whether or not it turns out to be a smart trade, Revere is at least a forward looking trade rather than a patch. Everything else was doing the absolute minimum as cheaply as they could in order to say they had made an effort to fill all the holes and were really, really doing EVERYTHING possible to contend this year. Of course they weren’t, but they gave themselves a veil to hide behind.

            5. Well, the investment in pitching (Adams) didn’t surprise. Neither has the subpar development of Brown and other options. The real concern in my eyes is the transition plan to the next generation.

              I think that the other influences at work this offseason are the new CBA, the Dodgers TV deal, and the Blue Jays / Nationals willingness to spend large market dollars. In combination these changed the lay of the land this off-season. These are all new things and gave players more options.

            6. Yet Bourn is still in Cleveland for far less than he expected. Adams makes sense if he is healthy. Otherwise we just get to pay him to rehab.

            7. I don’t think you’re contradicting anything I said. “Yet Bourn is in Cleveland?” That’s one of the effects of the new CBA. Smaller teams lose revenue sharing and have to stay more competitive to draw fans and maintain revenue.

            8. Murray,

              Well, we don’t know who else was talking to him or even made an offer. But how many contenders had a hole as big as the Phillies in the outfield? In one corner, a formerly highly regarded prospect that the team has lost faith in (unfairly IMO, but enough that they apparently prefer the Prince of Darkness himself). In the other corner, a 26 year old rookie first baseman.

              My guess is that if any serious contender had an unfilled hole like that, they would have been all over Swisher.

              More to the point, though, the sanity comment had much more to do with how they are treating Brown, than with the non-signing of Swisher. The latter is something regarding which reasonable minds may differ. The former not so much.

            9. LarryM…..from Clearwater qors is Dom Brown has bulked up…225/230 lbs upper-body mass. So your one corner guy could be ready to blossom.

          2. Pat,

            Why don’t you make, you know, and actual argument about May versus a number 16 pick? Put it this way: May was a one point a top 100 prospect. He was the Phillies’ top prospect a year ago. He’s slipped a bit, but still good enough for Minnesota’s top 10 on some lists. A middle round #1 pick is VERY unlikely to be a top 100 prospect, at least initially. Probably most will never be. It just seems to me that the people overvaluing the #16 pick (pretty much everyone here) are ASSUMING that the Phillies will manage that one in ten (roughly) chance of getting a future star at #15. It is, frankly, insane.

            As for the impact of the #1 pick in terms of the FA market more generally, it’s clear that it had an impact. But (a) that impact was mainly reducing the amount of the contracts – which means that the financial commitments for signing these guys was smaller. Swisher very much a case in point. (b) The picks did not stop contenders from acquiring players with compensation attached when they had a position of need. Swisher suffered from the fact that most contenders were at least reasonably happy with their corner OF options (or made moves for better players, e.g., Hamilton and J. Upton.

            Look, I fully realize that a lot of people don’t buy the fact that Swisher is a star or near star (depending upon how you define star). IMO that’s a lot about the BB, where he gets credit for his BBs but not enough credit. In value over the past 3 years, fWAR puts him in the same class as Prado and Mauer and J. Upton (who is nonetheless likely better going forward because of his age).. If you don’t agree with that, then obviously you won’t like the signing. If you do, even taking into account a normal aging curve, a 14 million AAV is a bargain for a FA of his talents.

            1. Let me ask you this Pat – where do you think a generic #16 pick ranks in the current Phillies top 30? That is, which of the Phillies’ prospects are more valuable than that pick? I’d put him probably between 9 and 13. Roughly the same value as Martin.

              Then ask yourself – if the Phillies could fill a corner outfield gap with a 4 WAR player with a market priced contract, would you do it?

              Disagreeing with me means one or more of the following:

              (1) You wouldn’t trade (say) Martin for such a player;
              (2) You think a generic #16 pick is more valuable than martin, or
              (3) You don’t think Swisher is that good.

              You can make an argument for any of these, I suppose. But it has to be one of those 3.

            2. I personally have Watson who was a pick in the 40s at #10. Considering the 2012 #16 Lucas Giolito dropped due to injury he is not a good example. The #17 pick was DJ Davis who is essentially Quinn already in CF with a chance for more power. I would put him somewhere around #6 on my list (#18 Corey Seager would have been #4 or #5 and is a borderline Top 100 prospect). May is a back end starter or reliever despite his value he is well below the #16 pick (May would have been #9 on my personal list). Essentially the #16 pick is somewhere around the price the Nats paid for Span and his contract.

              In other words I would completely take the #16 pick over Martin (who I really like). I also don’t think Swisher + his contract + surrendering an asset is that great a deal (the contract is free agent market price, but you don’t surrender good assets for a just signed free agent market contract).

            3. Larry – I’d rank the generic #16 pick at #5 or #6 behind Morgan, Biddle, Quinn, Franco, and perhaps Joseph. Like Matt, I’d definitely put him ahead of Martin and May. And that’s just right now. I would hope he’d become a top 25-50 prospect by 2015.

              If Swisher was, say, a 28 year old 4 win player, I’d be less hesitant to surrender the pick. He’s not though. He’s 32 and he’s averaged about 2.5 wins the last four years. I’d expect about 6-8 WAR over the next four. He also may have to move from RF halfway through the contract and we’re unfortunately stuck with Howard at 1B.

              I just think this was a good year to sit out the free agent market, given the aging roster and the fact that we have one of the highest picks eligible for compensation.

            4. Okay, at least we know where we are in terms of assumptions. As I suspect is often the case, small differences in a variety of opinions (value of May, value of Martin, value of a generic #16 pick, value of Swisher) add up to a larger disagreement.

              I’ve said all along that reasonable minds can differ regarding Swisher. I will say this, though: one can argue (if one is optimistic about the team’s health, and reports thereof are pretty good so far), that the team is exactly at the point where marginal wins have the most value. That is, if the team is healthy, there is a good chance that Swisher is precisely what would have made the difference in terms of a wild card. Of course there are many variables here, but, even setting aside value received from Swisher in years 2 to 4 of his contract, would (say) a 30% increased chance in making the post season in 2013 be worth the pick? I’d say yes, though 30% may be high.

              Realize, though, that, if the team goes through with the Young experiment, you need to compare Swisher to a replacement (or even below replacement) level player. And Swisher, who has, per fWAR, been a 4 WAR player over the last 3 years (still over 3.5 the past 4 years, I assume you are looking at rWAR), is highly unlikely to fall off a cliff during his age 32 season. (I’d estimate his likely value over the course of his contract at closer to 10 to 14 WAR, with a disproportionate amount of that in the first 2 years.)

              I think the chance that a #16 pick is ever a top 25 to 50 prospect (in all of baseball, I assume you mean) is probably less than 1 in 4. Of course that’s what you HOPE for; it just seems to me that too many people ASSUME that, instead of hoping for it.

            5. Sorry I didn’t see your first post where you used fWAR, I was using rWAR out of habit. Fangraphs really likes his defense more. If they’re accurate, it looks like he could stick in RF for the next four years.

              I acknowledge the marginal wins argument, but I think this is a 79-83 win team. Obviously I could be wrong about that, but that’s where most projections have us pegged. I don’t think Swisher is going to be the difference.

              Out of curiosity, I looked at the 16-18 picks from 2001-2010 and 18 of 30 spent at least a season on BA top 100. Even if the pick isn’t an impact player, a top 100 prospect is valuable trade bait and we know how much RAJ likes trading prospects for established players. I do agree that we should be active in free agency most years, but I’d rather wait until next offseason.

            6. Well I did say before that IMO it is the optimists who should be MOST upset by the lack of moves. But yeah,if you think they are a 79 to 83 win team, that’s another reason to be happy they didn’t make a significant signing. Personally, despite being a pessimist compared to some around here, I think they can win around 88 games if healthy – leaving them likely just short of the second wild card. Of course health is a big if.

              I think that’s more of realistic view of a mid first round pick than some have around here; I suspect that, if you shared my other assumptions you might feel differently about not signing Swisher.

  12. living in south jersey…I really want to visit few minor league games this year. I know lakewood is closest. In all of your opinions..which minor league team is the one to watch this season? Reading/Scranton is bit of a haul.

    1. I would try to see all the levels you can. I realize Allentown and Reading are far but you catch the ‘Phightens’ when they are in Trenton. I would defenitely go to Lakewood as well. It will give you a better appreciation of the developmental process (I would also research the team they are playing to see what kind of prospects are on the other team). The Lakewood team should be stacked so enjoy it.

        1. If you really want to see the AAA IronPigs, Scranton-Wilkes Barre has the NY Yankees AAA team which the IronPigs play often. The IronPigs should be interesting as most of the position players and pitchers are Phillies developed which is a change from past years.

    2. Lakewood is a pretty stadium and they’ll have lots of talent. Sit on the thrd base side and talk to Mickey Morandini who coaches third. Reading is my favorite stop though with its old time stadium although they just installed a huge new screen in CF, and they’ll have serious pitching.

  13. I was reading a article from january 19th.about pence trade and they mention santana. as a future big league starter. I checked out his number in cal league. really good. but the strikeouts. if my math is good, he strikes out one in three times. thats a lot of strikeouts.

  14. Now it is approaching close to 150 MLB players who have filed for exemptions, with their medical approvals in hand, to the league to use Adderall to help their ‘ADHD’ issues. What kind of farce is this!

    1. Who cares if they take Adderall; it is a standard medicine used by many people. It may help with mental aspects of the game, but it will not help you hit the ball further or overcome injury,

      1. ‘it is a standard medicine used by many people’…not as many as you think. As for one setting of a controlled adult group, MLB is one of the highest percentage of users of any adult career grouping in the US.

      2. That’s a slippery slope. I think doctors liberally prescribing drugs is a major problem. As I understand it, there is a much larger population of MLB players taking this drug than the population at large. That would indicate an issue; which eventually trickles down to college and kids. That’s why I care.

      3. It could be that a ADHD is more prevalent in athletes than in the general population. I heard someone make a statement to that effect. If you are concerned that too many people in the country are on Adderall, I am with you there. One of my kids has been on Adderall: it has quite a few side effects, including insominia and loss of appetite. However, in this case it is a trickle up effect, as I am pretty sure it was being prescribed for kids in elementary school before it became prevalent in professional sports.

        1. I am really skeptical when the argument is made that a group is uniquely exposed to a disorder, especially when it’s not just a MLB occurrence – my understanding is its frequent use occurs in other professional sports as well. The population sample across pro athletes is not narrow. I need a better background and more information to support a story about more athletes having ADHD than the public at large.

          You could argue they have more access to better healthcare. I tend to believe that the healthcare profession has only a few arrows in their quiver to treat ADHD – mostly pills. So if there are symptoms, provide a pill and see if it makes any difference – no harm no foul. That said, given all we’ve learned about the steriod era in baseball, I think that athletes tend to work within the rules to get whatever edge they can – because the financial rewards are immense.

          Adderall has only been marketed since the mid 1990s. I understand that you’re saying kids diagnosed with ADHD now and that are playing in MLB brought it with them. I don’t mind that, that will happen. The risk is that today’s kids look for an edge; they see role models with antler spray or Adderall, HGH or EPO, who make millions even if they’re caught; it’s a poor example to set.

  15. Its only a surprise to us Addy and Ritalin are quite simply amphetimines much like the candy bowls of the 70′s players and widely used by todays players and some coaches…

    According to some in the know you have to be tested within hours of taking it to get caught.

    1. Its also likely that those who get caught do so because they took an XR instead of an IR right before they took the field.

      1. If the drug is not used properly there are side effects that can adversely affect the body’s cardiovascular system.

  16. Its so much fun watching all the positive early reports from Florida. Its a nice change from the last two springs even if its only day 2. I know guys will get hurt once they start playing and no one tells the truth but for now, DeFratus, Stutes, Adams, Utley, Howard, and Halladay all say they feel great. Thank you! Who wants Madson now? His elbow hurts and they already shut him down. Not good…

    1. It is good to hear all the injured players are feeling good now and hope it stays that way. After last year I would believe that good fortune will be on our side this year. As for Ryan Madson it seems the Phillies made the right choice in letting him go but hope he can recover from his injuries to pitch effectively again.

    1. I like this stat, though it has its arguements:
      ‘Phillies went 30-21 in Brown’s starts last year (a 95-win pace over 162 games) and 33-16 in 2011 (a 109-win pace), we can at least say that his defense was not a glaring liability?’

    2. Good work by Murph there- and he accurately points out where the club went wrong with Brown:

      “Let’s go back to the point where all of this began. It was July 30, 2011. Brown was playing regularly in rightfield, and he was playing well. In his previous 24 games, he was hitting .301 with a .402 OBP and a .410 slugging percentage while scoring 17 runs and driving in eight. Overall, he was hitting .245/.333/.391 with five homers, 19 RBI and 28 runs in 210 plate appearances, numbers that compared favorably to those posted by leftfielder Raul Ibanez, who was hitting .245/.291/.418 at that point in time. Then, the Phillies traded for Hunter Pence, and instead of keeping Brown in the majors to partner with him, they sent him back to Triple A.”

      1. Dom Brown confidently tapping into his potential as a RF + Darin Ruf keeping 1B warm for Jonathan Singleton at a $24M savings over the current 1B + Domingo Santana and Jarred Cosart in Reading and LHV, respectively > a bunch of “Good Game, Let’s Go Eat” T-shirts on the discount rack at Forman Mills.

      2. He’s right. The marginalization and near demonization of Dom Brown is one of the more puzzling things I’ve ever seen from a major league baseball team. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen such a treasured prospect jerked around in this manner and, frankly, absent an offensive explosion by Brown, it’s not looking like the jerking around is going to come to an end anytime soon. Why? I don’t get it.

        1. Since DYoung will not be playing until sometime in May/June, hopefully Dom is the RF every day from ST-March thru that time and maybe his potential will materialize.

          1. Maybe I have too much faith in RAJ, but I think Delmon Young is nothing more than a message to Dom to grab the ring in Spring Training.

            1. I’m not as extreme as some in the “Manuel is real decision maker” camp, but once a player is on the 25 man, I believe that Manuel is the person who decides who gets playing time. It’s possible that that will be Young (when healthy) regardless of what Brown does, but at a minimum, Brown would nee to get off to a monster start.

              So even if Amaro isn’t that stupid (I think he is), Manuel is too … I don’t even know what it is, some combination of veteran friendly or just some bizarre personal dislike of Brown or both.

              Is there a precedent for a team publicly, verbally undermining a top prospect to the extent that the Philies have with Brown?

            2. I do love that you cannot help yourself to personally attack Amaro and Manuel. Why do you follow the Phillies again?

              You criticize WIP callers, but you have the same neanderthal mentality that leads to name calling and personal attacks.

            3. It’s totally okay for people to use a standpoint to criticize Manuel and Amaro. Larry has been fairly consistent over time on this, and I applaud him for that. I just wish there was a little more tact – in general – across all posters. Writing people off as “stupid” or other names, really doesn’t move the discussion.

            4. Criticism is fine. Personal attacks and name calling is what I’m calling out. There’s no need for that in a discussion of Dom Brown’s role with the Phillies.

            5. A fine line sometimes between the two though. I happen to think Amaro is (a) lousy at talent evaluation for position players, (b) doesn’t fully understand aging curves, and (c) is mediocre at best regarding payroll management. Now, if I was Amaro I might consider that a personal attack. But IMO it is valid criticism.

              Is he “stupid?” Heck if I know. He makes stupid decisions.

            6. Regardless of who the decision maker is, it’s Brown’s play that will determine whether or not he starts. If he’s getting on base and driving the ball consistently the way that many of us believe he can, and isn’t a butcher in RF, I can’t see Charlie pulling him for a guy like Delmon Young.

              Has Dom Brown been jerked around? Absolutely. Should the Pence trade have happened? No, not for what was given up. But has Dom really done anything at the ML level that says, “This guy is an important piece that is needed for our upcoming World Series run?” Unfortunately, no. In fact, he has yet to post a WAR that does not have a negative sign attached to it.

            7. Disagree on many levels. Focusing on the future, rather than the past:

              (1) A few AB in spring training simply is an absurd basis to determine his ability to “get on base and drive the ball consistently .” This is not just a sample size issue, but is primarily one. It is wholly irrational to make a decision based on spring training results. As long as he comes to camp in shape and with a good attitude – reports are positive on both fronts – he should have a full season of full time play with no cause to look of his shoulder and worry that a 3 game slump will leave him on the bench.

              (2) I don’t want to offend Riggs by belaboring this, so let me just state it simply: I have no faith that he will be given a chance at a full time job, even if he has a productive spring. He needs to hope that Young isn’t ready to go at the start of the season AND he has to absolutely crush the ball – something that, in a SSS, is not at all entirely something he can control. Really, in one sense I am giving more credit here to Manuel and Amaro than their defenders – I am assuming that they actually mean what they say. And they SAY that they think that Young is a more accomplished hitter than Brown who is capable of being the team’s regular right fielder.

              I hope I’m wrong about the latter. I am not wrong about the former.

            8. You aren’t offending me. I think you make some great points. But your petty name calling demeans your posts and clouds your points.

            9. With a full season of play he will have over 1000 career PA. If he makes no discernible progress this year, then I can see giving up on him (though many prospects have had much more than 1,000 PA to prove themselves, sometimes (A. Gordon) with positive ultimate results, sometimes (D. Young) without such positive results).

            10. I agree that he needs a full season. But he should be able to not only handle the presence of competition over his shoulder, but thrive on such a situation. Just my opinion. I haven’t given up on Brown, and believe he can be a player similar to Jayson Werth (offensively). But at some point, the results need to come from box scores, not scouting reports.

              We’ll see how the season shakes out. I think the proclamation that DY is “ideally the starter in RF” is a challenge to Brown, and DY’s actual presence is as insurance against Ruf or Brown tanking in the corners. I’ll say it again: If Brown produces early (and he’ll get more than ‘a few spring training at bats’) RF will be his.

            11. So wait, you think I’m absolutely right about Brown, but wrong about Manuel and Amaro? It’s hard for me to reconcile those statements.

              Look, unlike some people around here who will remain nameless, I think Amaro and Manuel want to win and have good motives. And I’ve even praised aspects of both of their skill sets – Manueal more so than Amaro. But I don’t think I have to apologize for making negative statements about either individual that happen to be well supported by the facts.

              And the Brown saga is a particularly blatant example of the worst decisions making aspects of both men. As others have pointed out, the way they have handled him is just inexcusable. That’s not even getting into the bizarre public statements. As I’ve said, I DON’T question their motives, but someone who was intentionally trying to break down Brown’s confidence couldn’t have done a better job of doing so. And again, NOT accusing Manuel and Amaro of having intentionally done that, but the result is as bad.

              It’s not possible to discuss the Brown saga without at least implicitly criticizing Amaro and Manuel (and Murphy’s article certainly does that). Murphy has professional relationships to maintain, so he can’t be as explicit as I can. I don’t have that worry.

    3. Really good article, and a good job of talking about the narrative which has unfairly developed. Aided and abetted by just simply bizarre public statements by the organization.

      I do think a reminder about the nature of the hamate injury would have been helpful. My guess is that the casual fan has no clue that the effects of the injury likely continued at least throughout 2011 and likely into 2012.

      The comments section tells you all you need to know about Phillies fans (the worst in the world, any sport, any country). Vile and disgusting, absolutely disgusting. The simple fact is that, at this point, neither the Phillies fans or Phillies franchise deserve him. I almost hope that he goes on to be a star for someone else.

      1. If you despise your fellow fans so much, why are you one still?

        And honestly, the commenters on philly.com are the lowest common denominator. These are the Eagles fans who only follow baseball because football isn’t on in the summer.

      2. And you really have no knowledge of any sports outside the US if you think that what Phillies fans say on a website is worse than soccer fans throwing bananas at opposing players.

      3. And for the record, I agree with everything you say when it comes to Brown. You just don’t need the superfluous hyperbole in every single one of your posts.

      4. When Delmon Young took his physical three weeks ago in Philadelphia he weighed 238 pounds. He would not disclose his weight today (Friday). “I don’t really go on the scale that much,” Young said. “I just see what clothes fit and see if I can go on the beach.”….ok we all can agree…he’s da man!

  17. I just dont understand. what a 1000 at bats will do for brown. He cant hit a fastball, sorry a good fastballs. cant get around on them. that is a big hole, and 5000 at bats can’t cure a lack of talent. if i am wrong i will kiss your ____ on broad street.this guy cant hit. let alone field. another toolsy flop. plain and simple.

    1. I am just going to go through this point by point:

      - Can’t get around on a good fastball

      Brown’s approach was very hesitant last year, the bat speed itself has little problems except for consistency with a swing that has been constantly tinkered with. Brown’s bat is faster than Ruf’s for example. He was swinging late a lot of the time in situations where another hitter might cheat on a fastball, and it is a testament to his bat speed that he was making contact with them at all after waiting to swing

      - Lack of talent

      Seriously?!? Here are the hitters with more “talent” than Brown on the Phillies right now, Rollins and Utley. Some guys may have more developed skill (Revere, M Young, Ruiz), but on raw talent Brown is near elite (though his physical tools have definitely slipped some)

      - Can’t hit

      By OPS+ he was a better hitter in 2013 than any OF on the Phillies spring training roster other than Ruf (who had a ridiculously small sample size). If you judge on just batting average, you are missing the point entirely

      - Can’t Field

      Brown isn’t good in right, but he has gotten much better and his accuracy has really improved making the arm a real weapon. In left he is average defensively. Mayberry, Revere, and Inciarte are better fielders (all can play center as well), but Brown is not a butcher in the field, he just doesn’t add value with his glove.

      - Toolsy Flop

      Yay for narrative and profiling! The narrative is the “toolsy” guys fail because they lack baseball instincts, Brown at the plate has better instincts than anyone not named Utley or Ruiz, he can work counts and when healthy is able to really identify and crush “his pitch”. The failure of Brown can be attributed to some things; the lack of major league adjustments (partially due to the fact that he never got consistent enough ABs to make them, and when he did in 2011 the team traded for Pence) which is common across prospects not just “toolsy” ones, injury issues that robbed him of athleticism and tools as well as consistent playing times, and a lack of developmental time because the Phillies rushed him to the majors in 2010 and then didn’t give him the ABs on the major or minor league level to continue developing. If Brown is a failure it is because he failed in ways that tons of prospects fail not because he was some “toolsy” athlete who couldn’t play baseball (you do realize all of the racial undertones associated with denigration of “toolsy athletes”)

      1. I saw a lot of Phillies games last season, and Brown had problems with the fastball. Now is this because of bat speed or pitch recognition? I don’t know. All I know is that he better fix that ASAP.

        1. really because i saw a lot of Phillies last season and i saw Brown turn on and jack some fastballs into the seats. sometimes you see what you want to see. i also remember brown pulling a lot of balls foul when he first came up because of his bat speed

      2. ‘(you do realize all of the racial undertones associated with denigration of “toolsy athletes”)’…lets get something straight…the term ‘toolsy’ was NOT coined on this website. It has been around for a long while frequently in print with noted publications by noted sports journalists notwithstanding the local Philly papers. If you feel it has racial undertones then thats something you will need to address personally. IMO Derrick Mitchell was a toolsy guy, of course not a first round pick, but a guy with every physical tool but a ‘batting eye’, who didn’t quite measure up.

      3. (referring to Dom Brown) “In left he is average defensively”? In what world do you live in where D Brown is average defensively at any position? Guys like you take what are otherwise complimentary yet valuable modern-day statistics and discredit them with statements like this. “Domonic Brown”, “average defensively” and “left field’ shouldn’t be used in the same sentence and no amount of research on Baseball Reference.com or secondary-approvals by your pet posters will change that.

        1. This is a ridiculous statement. It is absolutely conceivable that Brown could be average in left. He will never look pretty but what he lacks in grace he could make up for in range and arm strength. Not only is thus conceivable, I fully expect that if he was put in left field, gotbenough playing time and stayed there, this would be the most likely outcome.

          1. “It is absolutely conceivable that Brown could be average in left”

            Of course it is catch, but as of today he is far from average. Not even remotely close to average. Could he develop into an average or even above average defender? Sure, But today he isn’t and until he does develop further, and provided he even can, he is hardly an average defender

        2. But that’s why stats are important. Brown has dropped balls in the OF, he has also misjudged balls. Those are errors which are obvious when you watch him play, so your eyes tell you that he stinks as an OF. But…. you watch a painfully slow guy like Ibanez play LF. He catches almost everything he gets to, so your eyes say ‘not so bad’. And yet… he gets to a lot fewer balls than Brown does. So Brown may both catch more fly balls than an Ibanez or Ruf will, but will also make more obvious errors. Same balls, more outs, makes Brown the better fielder, even though he doesn’t please your eyes.

          1. All true, but it’s even worse than that w/r/t Brown’s defense – his error rate was fine last year, better than average. Still confirmation bias from his 2011 error rate.

            Mind you, both advanced metrics and personal observation suggest he is still a slightly below average corner OF. But he was massively better than in 2010-2011, massively better than Ibanez and Satan Young and (probably, unless he really has managed to learn to be a corner outfielder over the winter) much better than Ruf.

            1. Larry, this may be odd but I agree with you 100% about Domonic Brown and his improved defense. Upon hearing that Delmon Young will start the season on the DL it is clear to me that the RF job is Domonic Brown’s to lose. I personally hope that he does well and is the Phillies everyday RF for a long time..

          2. “So Brown may both catch more fly balls than an Ibanez or Ruf will, but will also make more obvious errors. Same balls, more outs, makes Brown the better fielder, even though he doesn’t please your eyes.”

            I buy that Atown, but it still doesn’t make D Brown an above average defender. In fact, above quote describes three very below average defenders. Now, if someone, and perhaps this was Matt’s intention, wants to make claim that DBrown had an above average year defensively last season, at least statistically, then I could hardly disagree. But this only illustrates that relying on advanced metrics alone, particularly of the defensive nature, is a short-sighted approach. And references above to DBrown covering more ground than most is also a short-sighted statement which relies solely on the player’s speed without the greater consideration of route-running, the latter of which is still a big problem for Brown.

            1. And? I never responded to the original poster. But if it makes you feel better, please disregard the word ‘above’ since it was my contention that DBrown isn’t even an average defender let alone above average

          3. Excuse me…..but Dom Brown’s biggest issue with me was…HE TOOK WRONG ROUTES IN FIELDING LDs/FLY BALLS.. Thus he was out of position to make the approproiate play. His arm is extremely strong, his glove was above-average sure, his speed is outstanding. His anticpated fly-ball judgement, well, IMO, he raw.

            1. I would agree there, and the reason I have optimism is that he does just fine when he has to make an instinctual play. It is those plays when he has to make a decision that he seems to mess up.

        3. And you discredit casual fans by refusing to contemplate the possibility that your observations might be wrong. How many games of Dom Brown’s have you watched over the course of his career? The past year? And what are your credentials, that we should trust you over what are flawed, yet decent stats? If “watching the game” were so simple, baseball teams wouldn’t need scouts.

          1. You’re kidding me, right? You’re defending these guys? Really? Really really? You’re probably the kind of guy that defending that poor Jerry Sandusky.

            This isn’t just about stats, and isn’t even primarily about making predictions about Dom Brown. In fact, using the “eye test” Brown probably comes out better than using stats – Brown is hated by ignorant “fans” because his raw major league stats so far are not good. it’s true that a more INTELLIGENT look at his stats is not so bad, but if we were just looking at basic or advanced stats, we wouldn’t be defending him – if that was ALL we were going on, he wouldn’t be much.

            Look, this isn’t about me being incredibly knowledgeable or (even close to) always right. I take no particular pride in being smarter than a bunch of stupid, ignorant, nasty cretins who couldn’t reason their way out of a paper bag. But let’s not pretend that those idiots, even collectively, have even one tenth the baseball knowledge of even the least well informed person who comments on this site. Alright, I exaggerate – we do have a couple of guys who would be right at home on Philly.com. But not many.

  18. mratfink. here is how sure i am. i PROMISE if he hits 260, with say 15 homeruns , YOU wont have to ever see me post again. i am so sure, he is a flop. if i am wrong, i will apologize and nver post again. and were did you see him turn on any good fastballs??????? i nevr saw him hit one yet

    1. roccomr…’nver post again’—c’mom roc don’t get carried away! How about if you lose, take a temporary leave of abscense.

        1. Watch these two swings back-to-back and you can see the adjustments he’s made since his debut. The one from his first year is so long it looks like he’s harvesting wheat with a scythe. The more recent one is Utley-esque by comparison.

          Very excited to see if he can win the job this year.

          1. It is like watching Howard and Utley swing. A lot more power and leverage in the original swing but there are a lot of holes there. The second swing is really quick and compact.

            1. Though the visual comparison is apt, here were their strikeout rates in the minors:

              Utley: 16.3%
              Brown: 17.2%
              Howard: 27.0%

              Which is why I’ve been saying all along that the Phillies shouldn’t have changed Brown’s swing.

            2. Despite at least tentatively agreeing with you regarding the swing, I’ll somewhat play devil’s advocate here. A good swing is not JUST about contact, it’s also about the type of contact made. I think the revised swing was meant to generate better contact – i.e., more line drives. It doesn’t seem to be working (perhaps because of factors I’ve discussed previously), but certainly one can argue that, all else being equal, a short, compact swing generates better contact.

              Also, big SSS caveat, but his K rate was quite high in 2010 before they changed his swing. Of course you could argue that the team over reacted to a SSS.

            3. My view is that the major-league guys (chiefly Manuel) saw his long swing and his strikeouts in 2010, and immediately leaped to the conclusion that his swing would never work in the majors. In other words, they followed the same thought process as the WIP crowd.

              I think this was a rash decision given the body of evidence we had at the time. I think the smarter move would have been to let him try to succeed in the majors using his regular swing, and then only make adjustments if he continued to struggle to make contact.

              Changing a swing is risky and not to be undertaken lightly. Shortening a swing trades off power for contact, and we’ve seen Brown struggle to drive the ball with his new swing, while his K-rate the last 2 years is actually LOWER than in the minors. I think trading a couple points off K% for .100 ISO is a terrible bargain.

              (Incidentally, this is not too different from what happened when Howard moved closer to the plate, and he saw a large drop in power for a small drop in K%).

              I’m still hopeful Brown rediscovers his power stroke and becomes a good hitter. Personally I think he’s a very talented hitter, not least because of his bat speed and plate discipline (which I think is what let his long swing work in the minors).

            4. Maybe a better way of putting it, is that I think you’re likely right about the swing, but I don’t think the K data proves much one way or the other (regarding the swing).

            5. You’re right that K% is not the only downside of a long swing, however I think it’s quite indicative. I don’t have a ton of data to go on (I looked up a couple players to confirm my suspicions), but my belief is that major league hitters who struggle with contact generally had fairly high K-rates in the minors. I think it’s one of the most important leading indicators.

    2. But you start out with the dumb, old-fashioned standard of ‘if he hits .260′, when we know that OBP is more important than BA. Brown’s past performance projects to 15 HR if he gets 500 AB. No improvement needed to achieve that.

  19. Something cute I ran across messing around on BP. You guys’ll love this.

    Swing Rate, as in swings divided by total pitches seen, has Delmon Young as the example for the “Very Many” marker for the statistic.

  20. Anyone else find it interesting that Ruf has supposedly been getting work at 1B already? You would think at this point they wouldn’t even let him leave left field for batting practice. Could the long anticipated (by some of us) sitting of Howard against some lefties be in the cards?

    1. The only problem with sitting Howard vs lefy starters….there are not many quality lefty starters in their own division…Gio, Johan (maybe), Minor (maybe), Niese. Of course there is Kershaw, Baumgarner, Garcia outside their division.
      What hurts Howard is the lefty relievers after the sixth inning. Charlie cannot pinch hit for him then.

    2. I hope so mds13. At this point there is very little value in having Howard in the lineup against tough lefties particularly when you have more capable hitters against lefties in Ruf and Mayberry both of whom are also better defenders at 1B. In my perfect world, Howard sits at least 10-games this year against lefties and I’ll continue to contend that there are plenty of ABs to go around to satisfy both Ruf and Mayberry and to a lesser extent DYoung who shouldn’t start a single game against a righty. Hopefully Charlies breaks from his customarily pattern this year though I have little confidence that he will actual do so

      1. A line-up against lefties of Ruf at first and Mayberry in left could be fairly potent in my opinion. I didn’t consider Romus’ well made point that there might not be a ton of opportunities for that and, of course, no way Charlie will or even necessary should pinch hit for Howard late in games

        1. Why just “quality” leftie starters? What not all at this point? And why NOT PH for him? I agree that it won’t happen, but, combining the past 4 years, against lefties he has the 8th worst BA (.223) in baseball, among the 166 players with enough AB to qualify. And yes, BA is not everything, but the trend line is downward, even not considering 2012.

          1. To be somewhat fair to Charlie, he’s never had a quality RH 1B option bef0re (at least one I can think of- and I don’t consider Mayberry as one).

            I tend to write off completely Howard’s 2012 when evaluating him because I do think he was brought back too soon and was playing on one leg. He was bad against lefties in 2009 which was hit last monster year for the club, and I’m pretty sure he hit them at a rate not too far below his career rate in 2011. Unfortunately his stats against RHs have declined more significantly which is scarier because it portends a more general decline. Still there is no reason not to sit him against “nearly” all LHs (there may be some that that he hits well or who aren’t necessarily tough against LH hitters) when you have a legitimate RH option.

  21. The news so far on Utley is very encouraging. Obviously the team needs more than just Utley even to be a 88/89 win team, but man 140 games from Utley would help a lot – not to mention that the team is just more watchable with him playing.

    OTOH, did anyone notice Manuel’s comment about Howard needing to be more aggressive? Ugh. Combined with a cryptic comment regarding bat speed and his use of a weighted donut in the batting circle – the comment could be regarded positively (if Manuel was saying that he thought that the use of the donut had contributed to reduced bat speed, which is counter intuitive but in fact likely the truth), or negatively if he was advocating use of the donut (which also of course caused the broken toe at the end of the year). Mind you, I still say that Manuel is very good at his most important task, and better at strategy than given credit for (not good but not as bad as people think either), but he does say some strange things.

    1. Actually Howard should be more aggressive at the plate, he often takes a fastball or two in the zone to start an at bat before ending up in a hole where pitchers can go soft away. Howard could make some definite improvements by being aggressive early in the count.

    2. Also heard Charlie really praising Revere and his speed and excitement that he will bring to the team when he starts stealing bases. Remember he said something similar a few years ago about Tyson Gillies and his speed and enthusiasm in his first Phillies ST camp. Boy how things have turned out!

      1. Beerleaguer info on Revere:
        Let’s face it, 57 walks in 1,064 career plate appearances in the majors is far too little. It’s a walk in five out of every 100 trips to the batter’s box. See, it’s not that Revere swings at too many pitches. Not at all, actually. He swung at 41 percent of the pitches he saw last season. Only 21 major-leaguers swung at fewer. (Delmon Young led all of baseball by swinging at 59 percent of pitches.) The problem Revere ran into last year when it came to working walks is that when he did swing, he made contact at a higher rate than just about any player alive. On pitches he swung at in 2012, Revere made contact 92 percent of the time. Only Marco Scutaro and new Nationals centerfielder Denard Span had higher rates. And Revere barely fouls anything off. Just 22 percent of the total strikes he saw were foul balls. Only one player, Martin Prado, had a lower percentage. Revere actually ran more 2-0 counts (65) than Brandon Phillips, A.J. Pierzynski and Carlos Ruiz. But only 10 of those 2-0 counts ended up in walks, because Revere swung at that 2-0 pitch 23 times and put the ball in play 15 times.
        Revere also worked a 3-1 count 40 times. That’s more than Adrian Beltre, Ichiro, Matt Kemp, Brett Lawrie and Torii Hunter. But again, Revere swung on that count 21 times, and 15 of those times he put the ball in play. If you’re swinging at that 2-0 or 3-1 pitch half of the time, and making contact on that pitch 60 percent of the time, not too many hitter’s counts are going to turn into walks. And if you’re in the midst of a .294 season, you’re probably not going to change your approach too much in July or August. It’s not as if Revere is getting up there and swinging at the first pitch every time. He did that just 37 times last year, hitting .357 on the first pitch with six sacrifices. To put that into context, Jimmy Rollins swung at the first pitch 62 times last year and was far less successful, hitting .217. Shane Victorino, another free-swinger, offered at the first pitch exactly 62 times, also. It’s not that Revere swings too much. It’s that he doesn’t swing and miss enough to work deep counts, nor does he foul off enough pitches to prolong an at-bat. When he swings, he makes contact. From a discipline standpoint, Revere is way more Juan Pierre than Jimmy Rollins. We get hung up a lot on OBP, and for good reason. But with players like Revere, it’s best to let them play their game. As long as he’s hitting .290, let him be. If he were hitting .265 it would be a different story. Any team would have taken Pierre in his prime, when he hit .300 with a .347 OBP. Give Revere two or three more hits last year and that’s where his line would have been. It’s not that Revere’s eyes are poor. It’s that his wrists are too quick. And that’s not as bad a thing as everyone wants to make it.

  22. Readers poll philly.com:
    Who should bat leadoff for the Phillies?
    Ben Revere 750 (82.3%)
    Jimmy Rollins 161 (17.7%)
    Total votes = 911

    1. I’d like to see:

      Revere
      Utley
      Rollins
      Howard
      MYoung
      Brown
      Kratz
      Ruf

      IMO Rollins and MYoung are interchangeable, as are Kratz/Ruf.

      1. No, M YOung and Rollins are not interchangeable in the 3-hole. You don’t want the slow Young clogging the bases in front of Howard.

      1. Ideally yes you want a higher OBP for your lead off hitter but Revere is only 24 so I expect he can improve there. But again he is just not the type of player that is going to walk a lot. They are going to pitch to him and make him get on.

        its the damage he has to do in creating runs once on that is his value at the top. Easily he can steal 50+ bags and score on balls most guys will not.

        That assumes he can maintain a .290+ avg.

        1. Sorry it’s just funny to me that the biggest criticism of Rollins is his low OBP but then want to replace him with Revere who up to this point has a lower OBP. That’s irony at its finest.

          1. But that’s not the logic. The logic is that Revere is a fairly useless offensive player anywhere else in the lineup. He has no power, but great speed. Rollins has the power to be a valuable hitter elsewhere in the lineup. If you place Revere in a lineup spot, where he can’t maximize his SB, you really subtract a huge part of his game.

            1. That’s really not relevant though to the question of who should lead off (it also, btw, exaggerates Rollin’s so-called free swinging tendencies). It’s not accurate to say that Revere has poor plate discipline, but, in evaluating him as a lead off hitter, what matters his his OBP. Which is not really a lead off caliber OBP.

              Btw, another thing the article misses (and don’t get me wrong, it is a good article, just incomplete) is missing the extent to which Revere’s low BB rate is also an indirect result of his extreme lack of power. Pitchers can and do challenge him, throwing more pitches in the zone than for the average player.

              Utley should lead off, maybe Brown if he can get his average up a bit while retaining his BB rate.

            2. Relevant to this discussion are Bill James’ 2013 projections (OBP / SLG):

              Rollins: .317 / .411
              Revere: .331 / .331
              Brown: .347 / .445
              Utley: .372 / .463

              Assuming these are right, it seems Rollins is the worst option of those 4 to hit leadoff. Utley is probably the best option followed by Revere. I’d rather have Brown lower in the lineup because his OBP projection isn’t THAT much higher than Revere’s, but he brings a lot more power to the table (I hope his projection is right!).

      2. You have the numbers wrong. Ben Revere’s career OBP is .319. His best OBP was last year’s .333, which was better than Rollins’ .316.

        I think it’s likely Revere’s OBP is higher than Rollins’ next year considering their ages.

        1. Ah, sorry. I did mix it up. Point still stands however. The criticism of Rollins is low OBP. That OBP is in the same range as Revere’s. Until Revere proves he can get on base at a higher clip, he shouldn’t be hitting leadoff.

      3. Rollins is 34 years old. I think it a mistake to quote career stats with mid-30s guys. Last year, Rollins OBP was .316. Rollins OBP has been declining. Revere’s OBP has been rising. His highest OBP was last season. and it was .333, not .319. That .319 is his career OBP. If I were betting, I’d bet that Revere posts a higher obp in 2013 than Rollins does.

        1. I agree with you. Just pointing out the irony of wanting a guy who has the same OBP as Rollins in the lead off spot.

          I think Rollins actually would be better in the 2, 5 or 6 hole at this point because he can provide power. But until Revere proves he can get on base more, he really has no business hitting lead off.

        2. I mean I don’t think it would be correct to say that Rollins’ OBP has been declining. I mean around his peak years he was like .330-.340 OBP and then in 2009 he dipped slightly below .300. Then it rose in both 2010 and 2011 where it was (.338 in 2011), then dropped a little to .316. I wouldn’t call that a steady decline. In fact Rollins’ BB rates have improved since his peak. I’m not disputing that Revere is younger and that he has room to grow but I think it’s unfair to label Rollins’ OBP as steadily declining. Simply not the case really.

    1. I think Aumont. They like his power arm and plus pitch potential. Stutes needs to show that he can pitch after having surgery and stay healthy. DeFratus, while probably more refined than Aumont, needs to show he can stay healthy also after missing significant time last year.

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