Reading Phillies Recap 5/15/2011

Reading at best treaded water over the last two weeks going 7-8. New Britain, New Hampshire, and Reading appear to be the class of the Eastern League this year, and all are in the same division, meaning it will be a tough fight for Reading all the way through August. The R-Phils averaged 5.4 runs/game over the period while yielding exactly 5.4 as well, leading to the .500 stretch. Details below the fold.

The pitching was inconsistent over the last two weeks…the best was Austin Hyatt, who was 3-0 as a starter and yielded only an average of 3 runs a start while pitching at least 6 innings in each outing. A poster at one of the R-Phils games reported Hyatt’s fastball velocity in the low 90s, which is a good sign.  JC Ramirez had two bad starts leading up to his excellent outing today, so maybe he went through a dead-arm period.  Ryan Edell was 1-1, but the bullpen blew a lead for him after his best start. Josh Zeid was 0-2, and lost a start to a rainout. Chris Kissock continues to struggle at AA, going 0-2, although the RPhils won one of his starts after he departed.

Offensively, Michael Spidale has been hot, hitting .323 but only posting a .699 OPS over his last 10 games.  Cody Overbeck has been ice cold average-wise, but 3 of his 7 hits have been HRs, so the power numbers continue to be solid. Matt Rizzotti has been hot over his last 10, hitting .421 with a 1.120 OPS, but only 4 of his hits were for extra bases. Carlos Rivero has also been on fire, posting a .359 average and a 1.046 OPS. Even Fidel Hernandez has been smoking the ball, hitting .382 over his last 10 games with an OPS over .900. No one else has been particularly cold, so, given the offensive production, the low number of runs has to be attributed at least somewhat to bad timing or bad luck. They have also lost the relatively close games (with the exception of Hyatt’s start two weeks ago) and won the blowouts, which is partly on the bullpen, particularly DeFratus, Diekman, and Ellis, who, even when allowing few runs, have been permitting base runners at an alarming rate.

All teams go through lulls, let’s hope the next two weeks, featuring games against Portland, Richmond, Trenton, and Erie see a resumption in their winning ways.

19 thoughts on “Reading Phillies Recap 5/15/2011

  1. Rivero and Overbeck have gotten my attention. Both look like they have some potential to help a big league bench some day, particularly Rivero since he had been a SS for so long. How is Rivero doing defensively at 3B? How is Overbeck doing at 1B and in the OF?

    1. I got to see Brummet pitch the other night in reading he has ben doing well this year and helped the team pick up there first win of the long weekend series with the fishercats. I heard rumblings of his fastball touching 95 could this be accurate? Also why no love for his great performance?

  2. So… our two best hitters are also considered by the vast majority of people here to be nothing more then org filler/bench MLB players…

    On one hand we have Joe Savery… posts the following lines as a hitter:
    A+ 2011: .378/.427/.496
    AAA 2010: .348/.348/.478
    Sample Size: 119 AB, plus 46 AB’s last year in AAA, grand total = 165 AB’s in his career as a hitter. Changes from 2010 – 2011 – significantly higher BB% (2011 @ 9.2% vs 2010 @ 0%)

    Now we have Matt Rizzotti:
    2011 AA: .351/.405/.597
    2010 A+/AA/AAA: .343/.430/.555
    Sample Size: 134 ABs + 420 AB’s from last year
    Significant changes from 2010 to 2011, higher xbh % (+4%), lower BB rate (-4%)

    So, here’s my question, when do these statistics become statistically significant, and when given maintaining the current pace, will they be promoted to AAA and AA respectively (though in Rizzotti’s case, i don’t think AAA doesn’t serve much point). Perhaps even further, when will there be a consenus that these are top prospects, how many at bats maintaining their current pace?

    1. I think AAA will serve a purpose for Rizzotti since when he was promoted last year, he struggled.

    2. Maybe there will be a consensus that they are top prospects when they shave a couple of years off their ages and show the ability to play a position other than 1B/DH?

      The Phillies have a guy on their roster today who put up the following line in AAA ball at the age of 24 in 115 plate appearances – .404/.452/.942. And yes, Ross Gload is a good bench player!!!

    3. In Savery’s case, the age/level means it may never be statistically significant. Savery’s OPS is .923 right now. Brett Harper produced a .923 OPS in the FSL in 2005 and never saw the majors. Terry Evans did the same in ’06 and has 21 plate appearances to his credit.

      Projecting 25 year olds lower than AAA is difficult because they are unlikely to make great improvements. Savery is a special case. But Rizzotti is close to his peak athletically. And its still a wide disparity in talent between AA and the pros.

      1. I totally agree. These guys are a little better than chance prospects, but the Phillies are treating them like high-performing organizational filler and reducing the odds of them ever making the majors. All three of these guys need to be promoted. What is blocking them truly is organizational filler and that filler can move down a level, if needed to make room.

        1. I won’t get into the long explanation (again) as to why neither of these guys are real prospects. But did it maybe occur to you that, in Savery’s case especially, that the Phillies’ strategy is increasing the slim odds that he his going to make the majors? What purpose, exactly, would it serve to promote Savery now? If he is to have a successful major league career, it will be because he develops more plate discipline and some power. And where is the best place for him to develop that? Probably just exactly where he is right now.

    4. Frankly, I don’t know how good Matt Rizzotti might be but we sure as heck are not going to learn that having him continue to dominate the competition in AA. They sent him down to hit for more power but they also sent him down to send him a message that his future is tenuous, he needs to work on his game and he has to stay in shape. LaMar has indicated that they were not pleased that he showed up to camp too heavy and they are happy that he has lost some weight this year. So there’s a lot going on with Rizzotti, but not all that much of it is relevant to his hitting.

      1. Yeah, I saw Rizz in ST and he looked a little like Jabba the Hutt, his belly spilling over his belt. Not a pretty sight. Phils sent a message that they expect him to take his profession more–professionally. He got the message, worked on his conditioning and is hitting a ton. You have to give Phils and Rizz credit for doing the right thing. Agree he needs to go to AAA, maybe mid- to late-June, give him 2-3 months there. If he tears that up, I think he has earned a spot as a bench bat in September. Hopefully he sees the benefit of working out seriously every year over the winter, not just once and then been there, done that. You can still hit with a flabby body for the short term, maybe a couple years, but eventually poor conditioning leads to injury and/or poor performance. It’s an athlete’s game for the most part. The John Kruks and Smoky Burgesses are few and far between. Also the extra weight makes him more of a liability in the field, instead of getting better. We saw what Howard’s conditioning did for him in the field, along with hard work in perfecting technique.

    5. I think the numbers are significant now. All three guys have age and other problems that keep them from being strong prospects as major league starters. Rizzotti is not even a good fielder at 1B and is limited to that or DH. I did see him make a very nice play the last time I was at Reading. He definitely has a bat and could fill the Matt Stairs role on the Phillies bench as a DH against the AL and a PH. Overbeck has been hitting HR, but his average has been sinking. Still learning to play LF, but I’m not convinced he has the bat of a starting major league LF. He also could be a major league bench bat for us and might be more attractive than Rizzotti if he also plays LF and an emergency 3B. Savery falls between the two, in my mind. He may develop the best bat of the three but will have to prove he can be a plus defender. Despite their hitting, I think all three are marginal prospects. It is not unusual for the guys with impressive bats to fall into this position. Susdorf has been there and is returning himself to the mix with these 3. Jeremy Slayden was also in this boat, then he was just gone. This is the converse of great glove guys like Anderson Machado, Freddy Galvis, and Greg Golson, who aren’t going to be considered serious prospects until they learn to be at least adequate with the bat. One-dimensional prospects tend not to rank very high, especially when old for their league.

      1. Interesting bunch of borderline or outlier prospects. Agree it makes ensue to look at them as a group. Agree Savery, who could still be a Mark Grace bat and a solid fielding 1B or RF, might have the best chance or highest value. Rizz could wind up in the AL, hopefully after giving us some DH and September pinch hits for a year or two. Overbeck–anyone who can hit the long ball gets a shot eventually. If he’s not overmatched in majors, someone will find a job for him. Susdorf was mediocre last year, coming on a bit, still a big ?. Still, not a bad thing to have some dangerous bats banging at the door, despite their flaws.

      2. Mostly true. I want to touch upon “I think the numbers are significant now.” That’s more true of Rizzotti than Savery. But even apart from that, signficant in what sense? Obviously it is the gaudy batting averages that are making the casual fans so infatuated with those guys. For some of us – and I’ll be arrogant enough to say the statistically savvy of us – if we are talking about signficant in the sense of predicting major league success – then a high minor league batting average not supported by the relevant peripheral statistics is – never, ever, signficant. Honestly I think the best way to evaluate minor league prospects is to ignore BA entirely. And yes I mean that. It has some predictive signficance, but so little (by itself) that it is more a distraction than anything else.

        Now, that said, Rizzotti, with some power, a longer track record, and success at a higher level, has proven he is a talented hitter (but without a position). Savery, while a great story, hasn’t proven anything yet. Yes, he has started to draw a few walks which is encouraging. And who knows what could have happened if he had given up pitching 4 years ago? But he didn’t. Great story, but not a prospect.

    6. “Perhaps even further, when will there be a consenus that these are top prospects, how many at bats maintaining their current pace?”

      Short answer – infinity plus one.

      In a way it’s a silly question, because “current pace” assumes the impossible – that is, maintaining current batting averages with their current peripherals.

      But let’s take the question seriously. If “current pace” means holding EVERYTHING constant – position, defensive skills, power, and, improbably, batting average, etc., etc. – then the answer is easy …. never. They could maintain their currrent performance over 10,000 PA and not be “top” prospects.

      I know I go on a lot about sample size, but that is definitely not the biggest issue for Rizzotti, and not really the biggest issue for Savery either. Looking at the whole packages – age, position, defensive skills, BB rate, power, K rate – they are simply not “top” prospects, and not much in the way of prospects at all, and no amount of continued play at the “current rate” will change that.

      Now, I paint with slightly too broad a brush – Rizzotti doesn’t have a role in Philadelphia, but I actually think that he could have some major league value as a DH or as a 1B for a team without a decent major league 1B. He may or may not get a chance at such a role, but IMO he is already a prospect in that sense. Just isn’t and won’t be a prospect in the sense that some of his less realistic fans think. And certainly not a “top” prospect.

      Savery is a somewhat different matter. While I don’t think he ever will be a prospect, he could become one (outside chance) if he demonstrates the ability to play the OF AND starts hitting with some power AND proves that his current 2011 BB/K data, and LD rate, is for real AND repeats all of this at AA. If he does all of that, he will be a top prospect. Well, a prospect. At his age, frankly “top” prospect is impossible whever he does.

  3. Being limited to 1B is a major problem for a minor league hitter. They would basically need to have near triple crown numbers and projection to compete with the Pujols or even Billy Butler’s of the Majors. 1B is where poor fielders and older major leaguers end up so it is difficult to get a chance.

    I was and still am a big Rizzotti supporter. His numbers are still excellent and AA is fairly close to AAA in terms of quality players. For someone like Rizzotti I think he would need to face AAA soft tossing vets and Loogys that will find his weaknesses. However, I learned what his true prospect value was when he was dropped from the 40-man and no other team picked him up.

    When nobody in baseball put him on their 40-man roster, I know he is not a top prospect. I find it very hard to argue with that evidence even though I think some of those GMs were dumb not to do so. Now, even I think his best case is a poor fielding Ross Gload.

    1. Usually the conventional wisdom is correct. But that is not always so. The Red Sox picked David Ortiz off of the waiver wire and David Justice, Dan Uggla and Joann Santana made it through the Rule 5 process. GMs screw up all the time.

  4. Pardon me, Dan Uggla and Johan Santana did not make it through the Rule 5 process, but they were given away in that process – further GM screwups.

Comments are closed.