Daily Discussion; 6/20

I’ll touch on some of the interesting points in last night’s action, then we’ll get to today’s games.

GCL Phillies won 5-2.

* Sebastian Valle, likely to be the best prospect on the team, hit his first home run in pro ball.

Williamsport won 8-0.

* Rob Roth, who has scuffled a bit the last two seasons, pitched 6 shutout innings. Brandon Haislet went 1/1 with 3 BB from the leadoff spot.

Lakewood won 5-0.

* Julian Sampson, after reading my words of encouragement, tossed 6 shutout innings.

Clearwater lost 12-6.

* Benson and newly promoted Ben Pfinsgraff got shellacked. Cardenas was 2/5, Taylor was 1/5 in his FSL debut.

Reading won 4-3.

* Newly promoted Tyson Brummett goes 8.2 innings, leaving with the bases loaded only to see Sam Walls allow all 3 runs to score. King Lou goes 0/3 with a BB.

Lehigh Valley won 8-2.

* Chris Snelling got hurt, Swindle struck out the side and Jaramillo took an 0/4. Thats really all there is to see here.

Now, onto today’s action…

56 thoughts on “Daily Discussion; 6/20

  1. Is it just me, or are the Phillies at all levels letting their pitchers throw more pitches? Usually the magic number is 100, but it looks like more and more the Phils are stretching their guys out to 115-120. I know that injury stats are usually based off IP (like the 30 inning rule), but is there really any more risk for letting starters throw those extra 10-20 pitches a game?

  2. I’ve read a couple studies that show anything over 120 is really bad and there is a hangover effect the next couple of starts if they go into the 130-140 range. I don’t remember where I read all of it though. It may have been that book that the BP guys put out a few years back (Baseball Between the Numbers or something like that.)

  3. I have noticed this too and, frankly, it’s just stuipity. As a general rule, I don’t think you should ever let a minor league pitcher throw more than 110 pitchers and, usually, around 100 is best. I mean, really, if Drew Naylor is pitching a great game through 7 innings, what is the freaking point to bringing him back for the 8th and 9th innnings. I have seen this too and it is very troubling. I’d like to go back to Drew Carpenter’s starts last year to see if this was happening to him as well. Bastardo and Happ may also have thrown too many pitches in several of their starts. What is especially disconcerting is the apparent relative ineffectiveness of such pitchers in their next start. In other words, from my unscientific survey, it appears that the big pitch counts are affecting these pitchers.

    Message to Phillies: STOP IT!!!

  4. I think the biggest danger for young pitchers is the increase from year to year, not the overall numbers. The general rule of thumb is anything greater than a 30 IP increase from year to year is pushing it and 50 is downright dangerous for future health. If they are properly stretched out, then it shouldn’t be dangerous. Though there have been a large number of Phillies prospects needing TJ surgery in the past few years so maybe something bad is going on…

  5. Snelling hurt again. I feel bad for the guy. He’s got talent, but can literally never be healthy.

  6. Actually, the biggest problem is pitching while fatigued. Fatigue level for every pitcher is different. Some guys can handle throwing 130 pitches a game (Livan Hernandez), and some guys seem to fall off the cliff right after 100. Its up to coaches to determine when a pitcher is showing signs of fatigue. One team, I think it might have been the Pirates, pulled one of their pitching prospects this year in the 2nd inning because he threw 30+ pitches in the inning, and was clearly laboring. When you trying pitching (a very unnatural physical motion) while fatigued, it can lead to injury/poor mechanics. The yearly innings mark (Rule of 30) is very important as well.

  7. And pitch counts are impossible to really figure out, because I don’t think the box scores on milb give that info, so we’d have to find another way to track it.

  8. ****Snelling hurt again. I feel bad for the guy. He’s got talent, but can literally never be healthy.****

    Maybe he should move back to middle earth and live with Frodo.

  9. Well, you can’t track pitch counts through box scores, but innings pitched is generally a good indicator, and firsthand reports are a better indicator. According to a poster on philaphans, Brummett went into the 9th inning already having thrown 96 pitches. He got 2 outs, 2 walks, and a hit in the 9th, so that’s at least another 15, minimum. But you make a good point about fatigue. At the major league level, Hamels and Myers consistently go up over 110, while Eaton and Kendrick are consistently pulled in the 80s and 90s. At the minor league level, guys like Naylor and Brummett certainly seem to be throwing more pitches than guys like Bastardo. Something I’m gonna try to keep my eye on.

  10. Interesting to note that Blackley threw 120 pitches in his 8 inning win last night. Radio reports suggested Brummett was gassed and getting pinched last night by the ump in the 9th inning as his pitch count was soring well over 100 as he fought like all get out to get a 9 inning complete game shutout in his AA debut. Radio reports had him at 96 after 8 innings. Heard Dubee earlier in the season say he sees nothing wrong with starters hitting 120 on their counts. He must be please when he got the AAA and AA reports on Travis and Tyson. At least at the low A level the Cleveland Indians have a 85 pitch limit on their starters which was noted on the Lakewood broadcast recently after a Naylor 114 pitch complete 9 inning game several weeks ago.

  11. So when is Swindle going to start being taken seriously? Sure, his peripherals are out of whack, but the guy is striking out batters at an alarming rate. 26 Ks in 20.2 IP, with only 5 BBs? That’s pretty good stuff. I’m sure many would like to see him induce a few more groundouts, but the guy is just flat out getting the job done. 1-0 with a 2.18 ERA in Lehigh Valley and a combined .189 BAA on the season should get the guy at least a second glance. Maybe it’s his unorthodox style, but who’s to say it can’t be successful given the opportunity.

  12. My view is that there are a whole number of ways to screw up a pitcher’s arm. One is to leave the pitcher in a inning for too long, another is to dramatically increase a pitcher’s workload from one year to the next (the rule of 30), and another is to simply have the pitcher throw too many pitches in a game.

    My point is, why risk it? Why have Naylor throw a complete game? Why dramatically increase Drew Carpenter’s workload one year to the next? It’s all unnecessary and stupid. Most organizations go to great length to protect their young pitchers and their is significant research backing the proposition that pitchers’ arms do not fully mature (and are easily injured) until they are in their mid-twenties. Again, why take these risks? The downside is significant and there is really no upside (who the hell cares if Drew Naylor pitches a complete game in Lakewood? He’s not there to pitch complete games in lower A ball, he’s there to develop into a strong and capable major league pitcher).

    Also, personally, I don’t care for Rich Dubee. If you want to know what a pitcher is doing right or wrong, you’ll get a MUCH better answer from Mitch Williams than you’ll ever get from Rich Dubee. Boy I miss Johnny Podres.

  13. Giving notice to Swindl; it’s about time.

    The guy has been lights out all season together with moving up to AAA and doing well there!

    His numbers vs lefty hitters is outstanding…and seems like he should be a serious candidate for the big club’s need for another lefty reliever. His numbers vs righties are not so good.

    Why not supplement Romero in our pen with this guy?

    ‘s been around a while; is now approaching his 25th b-day. No inexperienced flier. Give the guy a shot already…it may not be necessary to go outside the org to find such a guy for the relief gang.

  14. Right out of the gate in SS the Phils have Williamsport’s Robert Roth at 90 pitches:

    “I felt pretty good in the beginning (of the game),” said Roth. “I got behind on a couple of batters, but overall I felt good with the way things were going. I have a pitch count and it was the coach’s call. He told me that I was done after six (innings) and that was fine with me. I think I threw somewhere around 90 pitches.”

  15. That’s not too bad. Roth’s arm has limited mileage, though he’s coming off an injury. If I were the farm director, I’d use the tandem approach in rookie ball and at Lakewood.

  16. Here’s the thing: Pitchers in Japan have been known to throw 150-200 pitches in a game. Obviously, it’s something that the human body is capable of handling. Unless a guy is a really hard thrower, the risk of working your way up to 115 pitches and staying there really isn’t that big. And being able to pitch one more inning is really a big deal when it means being able to give your pen a rest and making sure only the good guys in the pen pitch. The Phillies lead the majors in Starter IP. Think it’s a coincidence that their pen is suddenly the best in the league?

  17. I listened to the Reading game and thought Brummett threw a fantastic game. He may not have the greatest of stuff or velocity, but he knows how to pitch. No mention how fast he was throwing, but he was getting his K’s in tough spots. Used both his curve and fastball. He threw 122 pitches, 78 for strikes. He was being pinched by the umpire in the 9th according to announcer Steve Degler, and should have had a CG shutout. Brummett threw 215+ innings between UCLA and Williamsport last season, so I figure he has a real good durable arm.

  18. Ok, I think we’re onto something. I used tangotiger’s pitch estimator formula, and it came out at 119.48, round that to 120. If he threw 122 pitches, then its a very close approximation. I think I might have found my favorite new toy.

  19. I won’t write him off as a starter yet. His control is very good, his ceiling is a #4 starter. A lot has to go right for him to get there, and he won’t ever have a huge margin for error, but in terms of raw stuff, his arsenal is more diverse than Kendrick’s, though Kendrick’s sinker is probably better than any of Brummett’s offers at present.

  20. Sorry, I’m giddy now with this spreadsheet. Here are the estimated pitches for Carrasco in his 13 starts


    Average of 102 pitches. Doesn’t seem that excessive, but the high pitch count games are worrying.

  21. Is that in order? Let’s check if he got rocked after the 113, 128,113 pitch games.

  22. How about check guys like Bastardo, Carpenter and Garcia who have been injured this year?

  23. Yeah thats in order from beginning to end. Id have added the dates, but the format would have looked weird.

    I plan on back checking all of our starters, just a matter of time right now and digging through the old box scores. Eventually (ie, this fall/winter) I’m going to try and look at all the old data from last season too, as far back as the box scores go.

  24. I cannot believe they let Carrasco throw 128 pitches. That’s incomprehensible and indefensible. I don’t think a Phillies starting pitcher has thrown that many pitches in any game in the last decade other than, perhaps, Curt Schilling and all that got him was arm surgery. Now I’m really mad. It shows me a distinct lack of leadership at the top. It shows me that someone leading the club either doesn’t know what’s going on, doesn’t know what he’s doing, or doesn’t have the guts to set limits for the minor league pitching coaches and managers. All of those are distinctly bad things.

  25. Well, its not worth getting really upset over just yet, because the formula isn’t 100% accurate. But if he did indeed crack 120 pitches, you kind of have to scratch your head. His pitching line in that particular outing was

    7.0 IP — 5 ER — 7 H — 5 BB — 5 K

    21 outs recorded, but he faced something like 33 batters. If you figure a very low 3 pitches per AB, you’re at 99, but he clearly threw more than that because of the 5 walks. It was May 10th against Altoona.

  26. Tyson Brummett’s estimated pitch counts

    123 [5/22/08]

    I’ve also developed the formula to calculate Game Score, a Bill James devised statistic. Brummett’s highest game score to date was 76, recorded on 6/7/08 against St Lucie. The highest game score recorded in the majors this season was Jon Lester’s no hitter, a game score of 94. Carlos Carrasco’s single highest game score this season was 78, on 5/5/08 against Binghamton.

    For more on Game Scores, go here


    Ill be adding that to each pitcher’s profile page as well this winter.

  27. Time for a little bit of a reality check for everyone. Except for some very rare exceptions, unless a right-handed pitcher has good velocity (90 MPH and over), it is very rare that the pitcher is going to have success at the big-league level. Left handed pitchers can get by with less, and sometimes a lot less, velocity. So, when you hear about a young right handed pitcher who “knows how to pitch” but doesn’t throw more than about 87 or 88, chances are that the guy will never amount to anything in the majors and, at best, will be a AAA journeyman. So, for now anyway, I’m not very interested in Brumett. There are exceptions, however, and I am beginning to believe that slopballer Robert Swindle may be one of those exceptions (he throws slow, but he’s not old – in fact, he’s pretty young). Every so often a Doug Jones type comes along and is able to be very effective. Often, as with Swindle, this effectiveness is accompanied by a high strikeout rate – a reflection of the ability to cause batters to swing and miss or not swing at a strike. I’d love to see him pitch just to see what he’s doing – does anyone know? Is it a trick pitch of sorts?

  28. For someone not interested in Brummett, its odd you’d be interested in Swindle, who features an 81 mph fastball and 55 mph curveball.

    Shaun Marcum comes to mind as a guy who doesn’t have plus velocity from the right side but has excellent command of 4 pitches. Marcum’s fastball averages only 88 mph and he’s sporting a 2.65 ERA with solid peripherals in the big leagues this year.

  29. For the record, the lleft-handed throwing Swindle throws 5 different pitches, all for strikes and in any count. He gets strikeouts primarily with his slider, cutter and curveball. The curveball is the pitch that garners all the attention because of its velo (52 – 55 mph). But bottom line is the guy’s pitches all have movement, he keeps most of them out of the middle of the plate and he basically outsmarts most batters.
    His fastball can get into the 83 – 85 mph range, although it may also sit in the 79 – 81 range. But when contrasted with a low 50’s curveball that looks exactly the same coming out of his hand, he is quite effective. The stats clearly support the premise.

  30. I really hope Swindle gets a look this season. Since Condrey serves basically no purpose, it would be nice to have a second lefty, and you know ESPN would have a field day with it.

  31. De Los Santos hit 2 home runs today as well. He and Valle are off to great starts for the GCL Phils.

  32. Brummett has had great year so far, he started the year in Lakewood and has reached Reading already. He almost had a complete game shut out in his debut, whether or not you believe he can be an impact pitcher in the big leagues it’d be silly to write him off.

    Look at Kyle Kendrick, how many people truly believed he had a chance to be where he is today.

  33. Re: Benson and newly promoted Ben Pfinsgraff got shellacked. Cardenas was 2/5, Taylor was 1/5 in his FSL debut

    I was really alarmed when I saw his line in last night’s box score. On second look, however, all the damage was done in the first inning, when you’d expect a guy coming off major, major surgery to just feel his way back. But he struck out two in the second (both of them hitters who homered off him in the first) and got an out on a ground ball. No hits, no walks in the second. Cause for hope? Maybe.

  34. Is Valle the real deal? He is only almost 18 and smaking the ball. Is he going to be able to stay at catcher? What is his scouting report. Obviously it’s early but very promising considering our ss teams usually stink.

  35. i think we weve seen over the past 3 days who the best teams in mlb. are. the phillies bats are being silenced by quality pitching. IT IS IMPERATIVE THE PHILLIES EITHER BRING UP CARRASCO,OUTMAN,BASTARDO NOW OR WE MAKE A DEAL FOR AN ACE LIKE BEDARD, OR WERE GOING NOWHERE. i would make marson and donald untouchable, and tell suitors they have their choice of carrasco, outman, golson, cardenas, brown. bastardo, naylor, taylor would be tough but if thats what it takes. any 4 players. the cherry would be myers as a closer. and enough of this making relievers into starters. it took the arms and heads of too many pitchers to learn this. madson, myers, papillbon etc. durbin is a very good reliever let him alone, and a guy i missed on in may. my compliments to nepp for having him down.

  36. Phillies will need to bring up Carrasco, Outman or Bastardo at some point. I don’t think you can say it has to be done now or we are going nowhere. Everyone else in NL East is in same boat as us, or worse. Some far worse. The current need is to get Myers turned around. I don’t know why Donald would be an untouchable. Unless he can play 3B, really no place for him on Phillies. I’d rather keep Carrasco, Cardenas, and Taylor.

  37. Can we not use the words Ace and Bedard in the same sentence? Take a look at his splits, attitude, and injury history and think about whether you really want to trade the farm for him.

    I wouldn’t mind them taking a look at one of our minor-league pitchers but none of them have really demonstrated that they would be an improvement over even Myers right now.

  38. Saw Swindle at Lakewood in 86 I think and could not figure out how in the world he was even in pro ball. I faced harder throwers in college and they looked a lot more like a pitcher then he does.

    Give him credit he gets the job done and deserves a chance with the big club. It can not hurt to give him 2 weeks and see what he does. Outman is your otherlefty choice and he is not taking advantage of his opportunity to make the jump The 40 man roster thing may keep both back though.
    Great site Read it everyday.

  39. Brummet throws 87 to about 91-92 mph- secondary stuff pretty advanced, fastball very hitable if its not at the knees ala Kendrick.

    “I don’t think a Phillies starting pitcher has thrown that many pitches in any game in the last decade other than, perhaps, Curt Schilling ”

    For Real? I think pitch counts in the 120’s are generally considered the high end of whats acceptable- granted you can’t consistently let a guy reach that count.

  40. i would like to see this swindle, he too throws as hard as i did, great point 1flyfan in saying the only way to know is to give him the chance. ive been saying the same thing about carrasco, outman/bastardo. seeing is believing if their ready fine if their not back down. the only reason i can think of is gillick is getting ready to pull the trigger if monty the cheap gives him the ok. and to allentown im not worried about the nl. im worried about the 2 teams you just saw. as far as donald thats the point he should be playing 3rd now. feliz has not been a revalation. as far as these minor league stats i wish people would check sandberg, rolen, rollins, and utley and scmidts 1st year when he hit .096. were going to need another ace, wolf, lowe, etc. wont win a ws. just remember schilling and johnson. ill take hamels and sabathia, signed.

  41. In an interview the next day after his EL debut Brummett said he had a good curve ball early and got an eight inning strike out on a slider. He said he is a four pitch pitcher: fastball, change, slider and curve.

    An interesting mid season analysis on the losing state of the Reading Phillies with Steve Noworyta with the key graph in the story:
    Noworyta is very happy with Carrasco’s adjustment to Double-A, so much so that if the Phillies have a need in the rotation, he hinted that Carrasco could follow the footsteps of Kyle Kendrick to Philadelphia.

  42. Yes, “For Real” I bet if you go back ten years, you’ll probably find no more than 10 starts by Phils pitchers where the starter threw at least 128 pitches. It’s very unusual for a starter to get more than a few pitches beyond 115.

    As for Brummett – never seen him, so I could be wrong, especially if he is hitting low 90s on the gun. If he’s in the mid to high 80s, however, all I’m saying is that righthanders like that rarely develop into much of anything. The vast, vast majority of highly successful righthanded starters throw hard. Just check the MLB list of successful righty starters – most throw heat.

    With regard to Swindle, why do I care about him? Well, first off, he’s a lefty so the velocity is much less of an issue. Secondly, I care because he has now struck out a vey high percentage of batters all the way through AAA. Strikeouts are, to me, the most important barometer with someone like that and he’s passed that test with flying colors. He’s also still pretty young, which suggests that he just knows what he’s doing out there and has a great feel for pitching.

    So, the moral of the story is this. Do I care about velocity with young pitchers? Yes, especially if the pitcher is right-handed. But, are there exceptions to this rule? Yes again, particularly where the pitcher is lefty and has a high strikeout ratio in upper level minor league ball. In other words, there are exceptions and when those exceptions occur they tend to be accompanied by the type of statistics that Swindle has put up.

    I hope he gets his chance as he has really mopped up AAA competition. Good for him.

  43. One more comment – nice signing on Jason Knapp. We need high upside, rocket arms in the minors. Knapp has that kind of upside. I’m very happy about this.

  44. I really can’t see the interest in bringing Swindle up to the Phillies. I’ve seen him pitch three times now, and I thought he had very hittable stuff. It could be just the small amount of times I’ve seen him, but the way he got strikeouts was through his trick curveball at 55 mph, or from hitters swinging at terrible pitches. I would like to think that the majority of MLB players have better plate discipline and would be able to hit these same pitches out of the park. I’ll admit, I could absolutely be wrong, but I don’t see enough from Swindle to use him very often in the MLB.

  45. Is Valle really a left-handed catcher? milb.com has him listed a LH thrower. Has anyone seen him?

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