I’ve looked at every player on the Phillies and Rays playoff rosters, and I’ve tried to get as much information as possible about them. I’m going to report a mini-scouting report on each player. The things that I’ve highlighted are things that their simple statistics won’t show, so mostly platoon splits. I’ll do the hitters first, starting with the Rays. Please feel free to post additional information. I don’t know the Rays that well, and I only looked at the numbers. For someone who understands numbers and watches the games, I know that I’m going to attribute some things to chance that are actually based on real tendencies when I talk about the Rays, but I did a lot of research for this. I’m hoping that people, Rays and Phillies fans both, post comments on this and give more information on these guys. Here’s my report on the 50 people who don’t know me who will determine the state of my mental health for months and maybe years to come.
2B Iwamura (L): .274/.349/.380
Noteables: Very good strike zone judgment—swings at many strikes and few balls according fangraphs.com splits. In fact, he swing% at strikes is 3.55 times as high for strikes as for balls, which is definitely above average (the average seems to be slightly below 3.0, looking through various players). He tends to have a lower BABIP early in the count, and performs better against groundball pitchers. He has a very typical LHP/RHP split for a lefty contact hitter, actually putting up a slightly stronger OPS in his short MLB career against lefties, but that is belied by a poorer BB/K rate against them. He does strike out 21% of the time, but he walks 10% of the time as well.
CF Upton (R): .273/.383/.401
Noteables: Excellent strike zone judgment—swing% at strikes is 4.33 times as high as at balls. He hits a lot of groundballs—over 50%. He’s definitely stronger against LHP, with a career OPS difference of .101 and K/BB ratios of 2.23 and 1.48 respectively against righties and lefties. He tends to be stronger with men on base, and against flyball pitchers, and also tends to be stronger against extreme power/finesse pitchers rather than pitchers in the middle range. He walks and strikes out a lot, 15% and 25%, respectively. He also stole 44 bases in 60 tries this year. He has a lot of playoff homeruns, so his low SLG may be misleading.
1B Pena (L): .247/.377/.494
Noteables: Extremely high 33.9% K-rate, though he does have a 16.4% walk rate. His problems stem from a low 69.95% contact rate upon swinging. He misses the ball entirely nearly 1/3 of the time he swings, much worse than league average. Of course, when he does make contact, he is a flyball hitter, putting the ball in the air over 50% of the time and hitting line drives another 18% of the time. His splits are large: his career OPS against lefties is just .752, compared to a solid .894 against righties. His K/BB rate is 3.36 against lefties and 1.63 against righties. He’s not especially good when he’s ahead in the count, relative to other hitters, and he does better against finesse pitchers than power pitchers. He plays very good defense at first.
3B Longoria (R): .272/.343/.531
Noteables: High K-rate of 27.2%, but a low BB-rate of 9.3%. This stems from a relatively low contact rate and relatively poor strike zone judgment. He’s distinctly better when ahead in the count, more so than the average hitter. He has a reverse platoon split, but it is probably just a sample size issue. Despite a .890/.830 OPS split vs RHP/LHP, his K/BB against are respectively 2.81/2.33, indicating he probably hits lefties fine and just happens to have gotten a hold of better balls against righties this year. He does have a tendency to hit better with the bases empty compared to with men on. This could be a sample size issue, as well. He hits finesse pitchers better than power pitchers. He plays good defense at 3B despite making occasional wild throws.
LF Crawford (L): .273/.319/.400
Crawford’s career BABIPs were much higher than this year, so this stat line is probably underestimating him. His eye is improving, though he still swings a lot—at 52.29% of pitches thrown. He also swings at only 2.27 times more pitches in the strike zone than out of it—very low. He walks only 6.3% of the time, and with his high contact rate, strikes out just 13.5% of the time despite poor strike zone judgment. He’s somewhat of a groundball hitter. He has a large disadvantage against lefties as well, with a career OPS against them of just .695, compared to .792 against righties. His K/BB is higher against lefties too: 3.51 vs. 2.63. He’s better ahead in the count, presumably because he gets fooled and makes bad contact when pitchers can risk throwing things out of the strike zone. He hits finesse pitchers better. He stole 25 bases in 32 chances this year. His LF defense is good, despite a bad 2007 according to FRAA numbers.
DH Floyd (L): .268/.349/.455
Floyd has a walk rate of 10.2% and a K-rate of 23.6%, owing largely to his mildly low contact rate of 74.33%. He swings at too many balls out of the strike zone, though. He also sees a pretty low number of pitches per plate appearance for a power hitter, at 3.61 per PA. His groundball rate is 50.8%, despite a career groundball rate of 42.1%. He has a pretty hefty platoon split too. His R/L OPS are .857/.793 with the main difference coming from K/BB ratios: 1.51/3.17. He’s relatively weak ahead in the count. In his career, he’s been better against finesse pitchers, but he’s not quite as good at hitting them as he used to be.
DH/3B Aybar (R): .253/.327/.410
Aybar’s true batting average and on base skill are much higher—his BABIP was only .266 this year, compared with a career .298, even though he posted a solid 20% line drive rate. I would guess he could probably hit .270 in a reasonable year, and get on base closer at a pace closer to .340 or .350. I’m not sure his SLG would necessarily be much higher, as he seemed to hit homeruns a little more frequently than I would expect based on his previous numbers. His high contact rate of 87.74% leads to a low walk rate of 9% and a low strikeout rate of 13.6%. He’s a little better against lefties (.794/.754 vs. LHP/RHP), but probably not significantly. However, it’s enough that he will probably get the nod as the DH against Hamels and Moyer, though. He seems to be relatively better ahead in the count, compared to other hitters, so it’s important to throw him strikes. He does hit a little better with bases empty, but it’s unclear if that’s noise.
C Navarro (S): .295/.349/.407
Navarro’s BABIP was .321 this year, despite a career .292. Chances are that he’s unlikely to hit that close to .300, nor is he the kind of hitter who can get on base 35% of the time either. He does have a high contact rate of 88.92%, leading to a low walk rate of 7.4% and a low K rate of 11.5%. He’s markedly better against lefties: .680/.784 vs. RHP/LHP, with K/BB ratios of 1.81/1.08 vs. RHP/LHP. He’s not as good when ahead in the count as other hitters, hits better with the bases empty, and hits finesse pitchers better. He’s better against extreme flyball and groundball pitchers than against medium groundball rate pitchers. He threw out 38% of baserunners this year, making him a valuable catcher.
RF Gross (L): .238/.336/.414
His high K rate of 23.8% is a result of selectivity. He only swings at 40% of pitches, which is low. He sees 4.12 pitchers per plate appearance, but swinging at strikes 3.57 times more often than at balls, he only walked 12.7% of the time. When he does play lefties, he’s terrible against them. His career OPS against lefties is .519 compared to .786 against righties. He’s also much better at home: .841 home versus .670 away, with K/BB ratios home and away of 1.40 and 1.90 respectively. He does hit well in 0-2 counts. He’s better against finesse better and groundball pitchers.
SS Bartlett (R): .286/.329/.361
Barlett swings at a lot of pitches, and as a result only walks 4.6% of time, despite a 15.2% strikeout rate. He hits a lot of groundballs. He hits .647 for his career against lefties, and .829 against righties. He hits finesse pitchers better. He stole 20 bases in 26 tries this year.
OF Zobrist (S): .253/.339/.505
He did not show the kind of power he showed this year before, so I would guess that he probably can’t be expected to continue that SLG. He seems a little better late in the count, and a little better with bases empty.
RF Baldelli (R): .263/.344/.475
He’s recovering from an injury, but he did strike out 31.3% of the time this year, compared to 8% walk rate. He doesn’t seem to have strike zone judgment, swinging at strikes only 2.32 times more often than at balls. He hits lefties much better: (.743/.841 OPS vs. RHP/LHP and K/BB ratios vs. RHP/LHP of 4.62/2.44). He tends to hit better against finesse pitchers and groundball pitchers.
C Riggans (R): .222/.287/.407
He hits lefties better than righties: .701 vs. .582 with a K/BB ratio of only 1.89 instead of 3.0. He hits distinctly better against finesse pitchers, and better against non-extreme pitchers than extreme flyball or extreme groundball pitcher. His low-ish walk rate of 8.2% comes from hacking: he swings at 52.95% of pitches, and his low contact rate explains his 22.2% K rate.
IF/OF Perez (S): .250/.348/.433
He only has 72 career plate apperances, but he’s stolen 5 bases in 5 tries already, and his defensive numbers are good.
Kazmir .125/.125/.125 with 50% K rate, 0% BB rate
Shields: .250/.316/.278 with 16.7% K rate, 5.3% BB rate
Garza: .000/.143/.000 with 66.7% K rate, 14.3% BB rate
Sonanstine: .400/.500/.400 with 50% K rate, 16.7% BB rate
SS Rollins (S): .277/.349/.437
Rollins SLG was higher in 2006 and 2007. Most of this is attributed to his ankle injury earlier in the season. He has hit a couple of homeruns in the playoffs, indicating he may be understated by his 2008 SLG of .437. Rollins makes contact with 90.76% of pitches he swings at. Despite common perception that he is a hacker, he only swings at 39.65% of pitches—less than Burrell, Utley, and Howard, and barely more than even Jayson Werth. The reason that Rollins has such a low BB rate (9.4% this year, which was high for him), is his contact rate, which keeps his pitchers per plate appearance down at 3.83, despite the low swing%. He simply hits the ball in play too frequently when he does swing. His K rate is very low—only 9.9%. Rollins has historically hit lefties better than righties—with a career OPS of .767 and .794 against RHP or LHP, respectively. His K/BB ratio in his career is 1.75 against righties and 1.28 against lefties He does better with men on base, and better against finesse pitchers. He’s very flashy in the field and has a strong arm, but defensive numbers are mixed on whether he is average or above average. Rollins stole 47 bases in 50 attempts this year, consistent with his recent success.
RF Werth (R): .273/.363/.498
Werth’s career has been trending up in the past couple years, increasing his hitting skill as he gets further from the wrist injury that caused the Dodgers to non-tender him. Werth has a very deep platoon split: .755 against RHP and .920 against LHP, but seems to have decent enough plate discipline against RHP to make up for some of that, with a K/BB ratio of 2.37 against RHP and 2.00 against LHP. He swings very infrequently—only at 39% of pitches, and because his strike zone judgment isn’t great (he only swings at strike 2.49 times more often than balls), he strikes out 28.5% of the time. He still walks frequently due to his low swing rate: 12% BB rate. Werth does tend to hit better ahead in the count. He does better against finesse pitchers as well. His defense is very good in RF, and he stole 20 bases in 21 attempts this year.
2B Utley (L): .292/.380/.535
Utley started this season on fire, and finished weakly. Many have blamed an early hip injury for his mild finish. He still hits better that most second basemen anyway. He does have a small platoon split: .918 career against RHP and .861 against LHP. His fielding is good, and he will steal an occasional base as well.
1B Howard (L): .251/.339/.543
Howard had a very low BABIP (.285) compared to the rest of his career (.328). Some of this is due to the shift, evidenced by the fact that his BABIP with men on base was .347 and with bases empty was .218. The difference is likely due to the fact that defenses cannot play position players anywhere they want with runners on base. Given his .420 BABIP with runners on second (37/88 on balls in play), this is very likely the case. Howard’s RBI totals seem to be lucky to be many people who analyze baseball statistics, and frequently it is attributed to the lineup he bats in. Undoubtedly, that’s true, but he clearly has a natural “clutch” built in simply due to his relative strength with runners on. It’s not mental fortitude—just limited ability for the defense to shift. Howard’s swing rate is quite high—48.65%—combined with his very low 66.49% contact rate, leads to a very high 32.6% K rate. His walk rate is not high this year—11.7%. In his career, his walk rate has been higher, but this is largely due to intentional walks he did not receive as much this year. Howard has a huge platoon split. In his career, he has an OPS of 1.065 against RHP and .786 against LHP. His K/BB ratio against righties and lefties is pronounced too: 1.60 and 3.65 respectively. He does not have an especially large home/away split, indicating he probably can hit balls out anyway. Howard’s value derived from his homerun hitting ability. He doesn’t hit many doubles or triples, and he strikes out too frequently to put up a high average. His strike zone judgment is nothing special, which means he only reaches bases frequently if he’s being pitched around. He’s far better ahead in the count, owing mostly to his low contact rate. He hits finesse pitchers distinctly better, and hits better against flyball pitchers as well. His fielding is terrible—he cannot throw the ball much more accurately than, well, anyone, and he also struggles with balls hit to his right.
LF Burrell (R): .251/.367/.507
Burrell has typically sported higher walk rates than this year, but he has swung at many more pitches out of the strike zone this year than previous years. This changed significantly midseason, when he went into a deep slump. He does his good strike zone judgment anyway, even this year swinging at 3.18 more frequently at strikes than at balls, but historically this has been better. He strikes out a lot due to his low swing rate of 42%-- striking out 25% of the time, but walking 16% of the time. He hits lefties much better than righties. He has an OPS of .819/.950 against RHP/LHP for his career with K/BB ratios of 1.86/1.13. He does not have a pronounced home/away split in his career, despite the short fences at CBP in left. He is better ahead in the count, more so than other hitters. He is better against finesse pitchers and groundball pitchers. His leftfield defense is bad—he throws well but he simply has awful range and is frequently replaced late in the game.
CF Victorino (S): .293/.352/.447
Victorino’s SLG took a significant stride forward this year, especially against lefties, leading to a .751/.832 OPS split against RHP/LHP. He also hits markedly better at home. Despite an OPS home/away of .781/.746—which does not seem like much of a difference—his K/BB ratios at home and away are respectively 1.32 and 2.56, almost entirely due to a far better BB rate at home. Perhaps he sees the ball better with the familiar batting eye at CBP. He also gets hit by more pitches on the road—which the average hitter does not do—possibly indicating this stronger ability to see the ball at home and dodge it. He has trouble telling balls from strikes in general, swinging at strikes only 2.08 times more often. He hits a little better with bases empty. He fields very well, with a great arm and great range, though he does take peculiar routes to flyballs. He stole 36 bases in 47 tries this year, a bit less successfully than last year.
3B Feliz (R): .249/.302/.402
Feliz cannot tell a ball from a strike, swinging at strikes only 2.18 more often than at balls. He also swings a lot: 48% of the time. As a result, Feliz has a low BB rate of 7.2%, but avoids striking out much (12.7%) as he swings early in the count. He puts a lot of balls on the ground, and hits into a lot of doubeplays. His OPS is worse against RHP than LHP (.704 vs. 758 career, with K/BB ratios of 3.44 and 2.23). He’s better ahead in the count, perhaps getting tricked less frequently. His fielding has historically been fabulous, though his FRAA is low this year.
C Ruiz (R): .219/.320/.300
Ruiz had an un-repeatable low BABIP of .237 this year. He’s not a good hitter by any means, though he’s not a .219 hitter. Few people who strike out 11.9% of the time are. Despite the belief that he has bad strike zone judgment, he actually has very good judgment, swinging at strikes 3.85 more times than balls—that’s better than anyone else on the Phillies by far. His high contact rate—90.79%—highest on the team as well, explains his excellent BB/K rates of 12.1/11.9%. He swings only 37.4% of the time, less than anyone on the team but still only sees 3.85 pitches per plate appearance. Despite his ability to choose pitches in the strike zone well and hit them, he seems to hit them poorly. His groundball rate spiked to 54.3% this year, higher than last year’s 46.2% by a long shot. This seems to come from higher contact with the pitches out of the strike zone that he does swing at. He’s still seeing the same number of pitches in the strike zone, so it’s likely something that he is doing differently. Ruiz has a reverse platoon split: .700/.650 vs. RHP/LHP, despite K/BB ratios of 1.26/0.50. Seemingly, he doesn’t swing at miss at pitches from lefties but probably hits them right into the ground. He hits power hitters better and flyball pitchers better. In fact, Ruiz can hardly hit groundball pitchers better than they can hit themselves—in 2008 his OPS against groundball pitchers was .580.
3B Dobbs (L): .301/.333/.491
Dobbs swing rate is the highest on the team—55%. As a result of that and his modest contact rate of 80.29%, his BB rate is only 4.6 and his K rate is only 17.7. He also has trouble telling a ball from a strike, swinging at 2.11 more strikes than balls. He only hit 30.5% groundballs this year. He has a massive platoon split: .766/.579 vs. RHP/LHP, respectively, and K/BB ratios of 2.66/8.33. Think about that: he strikes out more than eight times more than he walks against lefties. Meanwhile, some of the so-called analysts are claiming he will DH against LHP. No way! And if Charlie Manuel does do that, he should be tested for dyslexia. His poor strike zone judgment leads him to hit relatively better ahead in the count (again, more so than other hitters). He hits groundball pitchers better, perhaps due to the fact that their trick doesn’t work on him. Dobbs is heralded for hitting .355/.388/.532 as pinch hitter, but that owes almost entirely to an unrepeatable .417 BABIP in that case. His 13 Ks and 3 BBs in that situation indicate he’s not all that much better as a PH than overall. Chances are that he may actually be deployed well—perhaps Manuel uses him against RHP groundball/power pitchers. But there’s probably a bit of luck to those numbers.
Stairs (L): .252/.341/.409
Stairs power looked like it had dropped off finally at 40 years old, but then he just a hit a homerun in
Bruntlett (R): .217/.297/.297
Bruntlett’s abnormally low BABIP is to blame here. Much of that is due to a very high number of infield pop-ups, though, so it may be more likely to persist than just bad luck. In his career, he cannot hit righties: just .596 against them, compared to .754 against righties, with K/BB ratio of 2.47 vs. RHP and 1.27 vs. LHP. He also has a much worse tendency to hit on the road, compared to at home: with K/BB ratios of 1.26 at home and 2.75 on the road, leading to OPS of .700 and .625 at home and on the road, respectively. He is relatively weak ahead in the count, compared to other hitters. He hits better with men on, much better against finesse pitchers, and much better against groundball pitchers, presumably because he’s less likely to pop the ball up against them.
Coste (R): .265/.325/.423
He swings at a lot of pitches, with poor strike zone judgment, leading to a 5.5% BB rate and a 18.6% K rate. He does have a fairly high line drive rate. He hits lefties better than righties: .861 vs. 748, but his K/BB ratios are just 3.27 against lefties and 3.47 against righties, so that may overestimate his ability to his lefties. He's also way better at home: .880 in his career compared to just .698 on the road. His K/BB ratios match this extreme: 2.41 at home and 4.69 on the road. He's not especially good ahead in the count, but he's better with men on. He hits finesse pitchers better, and is far better at hitting groundball pitchers.
Jenkins (L): .246/.301/.292
Jenkins swung at everything this year: 54% of the pitches he saw, he swung at. His contact rate was low at 75.8%, leading to a 7.6 BB rate and 23.2 K rate. His career RHP/LHP split is .871/.712 for OPS and 2.41/5.01 K/BB ratios. He’s relatively weak ahead in the count, hits better with men on, hits finesse pitchers better, and flyball pitchers better as well.
Taguchi (R): .220/.283/.297
It is not clear why Taguchi is on the team. He swings at a lot of pitches (50.13% of them), and when he does make contact (89.23% of the time), he hits them into the ground (56.6% of the time). He hits finesse pitchers a little better, but he does not really hit anybody at all.
Phillies pitchers in their careers:
Hamels: .168/.205/.190, 42.9% K rate, 4.2% BB rate
Myers: .116/.162/.140, 33.5% K rate, 5.2% BB rate
Moyer: .132/.194/.147, 33.9% K rate, 7.3% BB rate
Blanton: .077/.074/.077, 57.7% K rate, 0% BB rate
Kazmir (L): 3.56 ERA, 9.8 K/9, 4.1 BB/9, 1.4 HR/9, 30.8 GB%
Kazmir’s FIP was 4.44 and his QERA was 4.07. Both of those statistics are indicators of how he would pitch with neutral defense and luck. Of course, the Rays do have above average defense, so these aren’t great statistics for them, but it is indicative that he was very lucky. Kazmir’s very inefficient: throwing 4.29 pitches per batter faced, and facing just 23.7 hitters per game started. That could be exploited by some of the Phillies patient RHB. Of course, the LHB probably will not hit him at all. In his career, he has surrendered only a .574 OPS against LHB, compared to a .760 against RHB. He also has a K/BB ratio of 3.50 against LHB and 2.17 against RHB. He’s distinctly better at home, allowing a .681 OPS compared to a .754 OPS on the road in his career. He struggles with leadoff hitters, but does tend to be good at working his way out of jams.
Shields (R): 3.56 ERA, 1.7 BB/9, 6.7 K/9, 1.0 HR/9, 46.3 GB%
Shields had an FIP of 3.89 and a QERA of 3.76. The key to his success was his low homerun/flyball rate of 9.8%. This was likely a park effect. He may struggle more in CBP. In fact, his career home/away split is .681/.779. His strength comes from his stinginess with walks, primarily. He does not have much of a platoon split—actually better against LHB, but that is probably managers following a rule of thumb and often resting poor RHB against him. He tends to do well at retiring the leadoff hitter. He’s efficient, with good command that is even better against righties.
Garza (R): 3.70 ERA, 2.9 BB/9, 6.2 K/9, 0.9 HR/9, 41.7 GB%
His FIP was 4.21 this year, and his QERA was a poor 4.57. The reason that he succeeded so much this year was his 8.37% homerun/flyball rate. He does not have much of a platoon split. He’s still a solid pitcher, but his 3.70 ERA overstates him.
Sonnanstine (R): 4.38 ERA, 1.7 BB/9, 5.8 K/9, 1.0 HR/9, 42.1 GB%
His FIP was 3.98 and his QERA was 4.26. His homerun/flyball rate was also low at 7.98%. His success seems to derive from getting hitters to get themselves out on balls on play, a skill that I noted earlier is not terrifically useful in the playoffs. He struggles a little with leadoff hitters and isn’t especially good when ahead in the count. He’s very efficient, throwing only 3.57 pitchers per batter, though his average pitch count of 91.3 means he doesn’t always face that many batters per game anyway.
Wheeler (R): 3.12 ERA, 3.0 BB/9, 7.2 K/9, 1.4 HR/9, 28.4 GB%
Wheeler’s success this year derived from a .202 BABIP. Not even the Rays defense is that good. His FIP was 4.56 and his QERA was 4.34. He did better against righties than lefties by a noticeable amount, and struggled with men on.
Balfour (R): 1.54 ERA, 3.7 BB/9, 12.7 K/9, 0.4 HR/9, 29.3 GB%
His FIP and QERA were 2.29 and 2.72. His extra success derived from a .233 BABIP and a 5.0% homerun/flyball rate. He was good, but not 1.54 ERA good. He’s good for a K, both against lefties and righties, though he is a bit wild historically. He struggles a lot with men on base, though he avoids this by doing well against the first hitter he faces pretty well.
Howell (L): 2.22 ERA, 3.9 BB/9, 9.3 K/9, 0.6 HR/9, 53.7 GB%
His FIP was 3.46 and his QERA was 3.57. His homerun/flyball was somewhat low, 8.9%, mostly due to stadium effects, and his BABIP was .259, also a bit low. He does not have a large platoon split, though this could be because he’s frequently pulled before he faces a tough righty.
Price (L): 2.08 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 7.7 K/9, 0.6 HR/9, 50.0 GB%
Price is a fresh new rookie, who saved game 7 of the ALCS barely a year after being the first pick the 2007 draft. For now, he’s a left-handed reliever in the playoffs. There isn’t much data on him yet, but he could be tough, especially against lefties who had an OPS of just .358 against him in this 14 regular season innings this year.
Miller (L): 4.15 ERA, 4.2 BB/9, 9.1 K/9, 0.4 HR/9, 31.6 GB%
Miller is much better against lefties than righties: .709 OPS vs. LHB and .824 vs. RHB. His K/BB ratio is better against lefties too: 2.54 vs. 1.26 against righties. His FIP was just 3.43, owing to a poor .321 BABIP.
Bradford (R): 1.42 ERA, 2.3 BB/9, 2.6 K/9, 0.5 HR/9, 66.5 GB%
His FIP was 4.14 and his QERA was 4.65.
Jackson (R): 4.42 ERA, 3.8 BB/9, 5.3 K/9, 1.1 HR/9
His FIP was 4.95, and his QERA was 5.48. The key to his relatively milder ERA was his success with men on base. Whether this is persistent is probably not clear, but it does not tend to be for most pitchers. He probably won’t be used except in long relief, so he might not be much of a factor. He does struggle against leadoff hitters.
Hamels (L): 3.09 ERA, 2.1 BB/9, 7.8 K/9, 1.1 HR/9, 39.5 GB%
His FIP was 3.79 and his QERA was 3.59. This owes largely to his .262 BABIP this year. Hamels struck out people more often in 2006 and 2007, but he did better on balls in play this year. Historically, pitchers have not had much control over balls in play, and Hamels probably is not much different. Still, he clearly is the best pitcher in the World Series, and given his playoff success, the Rays need to prepare for him. Though the Rays do not hit lefties well, Hamels is actually does worse against lefties: .742 vs. 671 against RHB. However, this is probably due to opposing managers removing all but their best lefties against him. His K/BB ratio is about even both ways, and the difference is primarily explained by a .023 difference in BABIP. Hamels does about as well at home as on the road, slightly better at home, but not by much. The key with him is keeping the ball in the park. He doesn’t walk many and allows few hits, so his dominance derives from avoiding the long ball.
Myers (R): 4.55 ERA, 3.1 BB/9, 7.7 K/9, 1.4 HR/9, 47.1 GB%
Myers had an amazing second half and an atrocious first half. I posted a longer post on him earlier this year, but it’s clear that he has been much better at home than on the road. Of course, he’ll face the Rays twice on the road. He’s also much better against righties than lefties: 3.15 K/BB ratio against RHB and 1.91 K/BB ratio against LHB, so he does not profile as someone who is going to succeed in the playoffs. As he will be facing Shields twice, this is a bit part of the Rays chance to win the series. If Myers can succeed, it will be tough to beat the Phillies. His problem this year was a high homerun/flyball rate but that plummeted while his groundball rate rose during the second half of the season. Myers is far better when ahead in the count, and struggles mightily against leadoff hitters. His first innings have been a problem all year. Clearly, Myers vs. Iwamura to start games 2 and 6 in
Moyer (L): 3.71 ERA, 2.8 BB/9, 5.6 K/9, 0.9 HR/9, 43.9 GB%
His FIP was 4.39 and his QERA was 4.71. Moyer is the oldest pitcher in the series, but he had a good year. His first two playoff starts have been very bad. His contact pitcher tendencies do not tend to play well in the playoffs, but he can hope to have more success against the Rays who struggle against lefties. Of course, Moyer does not have much of a platoon split. Moyer was lucky on flyballs this year, just 9.0% homeruns/flyball, which is very low for someone who pitches half his games at CBP, even considering CBP’s surprisingly neutral park factors this year.
Blanton (R): 4.69 ERA, 3.0 BB/9, 5.0 K/9, 1.0 HR/9, 44.3 GB%
His FIP was 4.59 and his QERA was 5.03. Blanton is another contact pitcher who does not tend to succeed in the playoffs, like Sonnanstine who he will face in game 4. He’s a little better against lefties, also probably for the same selection reason as the other pitchers mentioned above, but he’s unlikely to have a pronounced disadvantage against the
Lidge (R): 1.95 ERA, 4.5 BB/9, 11.9 K/9, 0.3 HR/9, 46.2 GB%
Joe Sheehan of Baseball Prospectus has repeatedly reported on Lidge’s homerun/flyball rate: just 3.9% this year. Certainly, that’s quite lucky, though Lidge has put the ball on the ground far more than in the past. He’s throwing his slider more as well, possibly leading to the latter result if not the former. The result is that he has continued to dominate righties: to the tune of a .593/.692 OPS and 3.54/2.79 K/BB ratios versus RHB and LHB. Lidge struck out nearly 1/3 of all batters he faced this year, limiting the number of flyballs that can be hit. Once Lidge gets two strikes, he’s very good.
Madson (R): 3.05 ERA, 2.5 BB/9, 7.3 K/9, 0.7 HR/9, 51.0 GB%
Madson has been great in the playoffs, throwing much faster than he has historically. He’s been throwing faster the entire second half of the season as well, hitting as high as 97 on his fastball at times. He’s been far better against righties: 3.60 K/BB vs. RHB and 1.77 K/BB vs. LHB. His homerun/flyball rate was low this year, at 8.2%, so he’s probably not as good as his 3.05 ERA suggests, but even his QERA was 3.61, which should adjust for luck on homerun/flyball.
Romero (L): 2.75 ERA, 5.8 BB/9, 7.9 K/9, 0.8 HR/9, 61.5 GB%
One of the things that Charlie Manuel has gotten little credit for is his use of Romero. Romero dominates lefties, struggles with control, and keeps the ball on the ground avoiding extra base hits very well. So he enters games with runners already on base, against lefties. As a result, his ERA exaggerates his ability for the same reason that Chad Bradford’s does, but he still has been effectively deployed and could be responsible for the gap between the Phillies RA and EQRA. The difference between Romero against righties and lefties is astounding. His career OPS against RHB is .814 with merely a 1.17 K/BB ratio. Against LHB, his career OPS against is just .591 and his K/BB ratio is 2.17. He’s also better at home than on the road. He seems to do better at inducing weak contact late in the count, and does well against the first hitter he faces—presumably because it’s usually a lefty.
Durbin (R): 2.87 ERA, 3.6 BB/9, 6.5 K/9, 0.5 HR/9, 45.6 GB%
Durbin’s QERA is 4.41, indicating that we should look at his homerun/flyball rate—it’s 5.9%. Clearly, Durbin is lucky. Durbin has been a mediocre pitcher his whole career. Early in the season, he started using his slider way more, and as a result his K numbers temporarily spiked. Since then, hitters seem to have caught up, and his ERA has steadily risen. I called fluke on him earlier this year, and almost rescinded that accusation as his K rate rose and rose, but clearly I’m being vindicated now. If the Phillies starters go deep in games, red hot Ryan Madson should get the nod, and Durbin is unlikely to pitch in more than two or three of the playoff games.
Eyre (L): 4.21 ERA, 2.5 BB/9, 11.2 K/9, 0.7 HR/9, 35.4 GB%
Eyre is going to be used as a LOOGY. Against lefties, his OPS against is .723 in his career and his K/BB ratio is 1.89. He’s still wild, but he gets outs. Against RHB, he allows a dangerous .815 OPS against with a weak 1.50 K/BB ratio. Eyre should not face righties at this stage in his career. Eyre also does well against he first hitter he faces, but presumably because of the tendency for his managers to deploy him against a southpaw opponent first.
Condrey (R): 3.26 ERA, 2.5 BB/9, 4.4 K/9, 0.8 HR/9, 54.3 GB%
Condrey’s FIP was 4.26 and his QERA was 4.37. His homerun/flyball rate was just 9.1% this year, and his BABIP was .330. His low ERA seems to come from success with men on base. He does have a career tendency to do better with guys on base, but it is tough to say whether this is luck, skill, or managers electing to use him in good matchups mid-inning with guys on base. Condrey is terrible against LHB: .841 OPS with a 1.19 K/BB ratio. His RHB numbers are .770 OPS and 2.06 K/BB ratio. Interestingly, Condrey is far more successful at home. In his career, hitters hit an OPS of .709 against him when he’s at home and .903 against him when he’s on the road. Therefore, I recommend he be used exclusively against righties in games three-five. Then again, maybe he shouldn’t used.
Happ (L): 3.69 ERA, 4.0 BB/9, 7.4 K/9, 0.9 HR/9, 30.9 GB%
Happ led AAA in strikeouts for much of the year, and came up to the Phillies and had some success. He did demonstrate a noticeable platoon split, allowing a .774 OPS against RHB and .693 against LHB, with even more pronounced K/BB ratios of 1.67 and 2.75. He probably won’t be used much either.