Phillies vs. Padres: April 17-20 (four game series)

The Phillies take on the Padres for four games at CBP this weekend.  The Padres have gotten off to a pretty solid start at 7-3.  The Phillies are even at 4-4.  In my previous series previews this year, I have linked to the report on the Phillies that I did before the World Series, but I have updated that to fit more with the format I've been using to plot out our opponents.  So this time after the jump, I'll have comments and details about all 50 players on both rosters for this series.

 

The pitching matchups:

Friday 7:05: Cole Hamels vs. Chris Young

Saturday 7:05: Brett Myers vs Shawn Hill

Sunday 1:35: Chan Ho Park vs (unnamed-- possibly Josh Geer as Walter SIlva will miss this start)

Monday 7:05: Jamie Moyer vs Kevin Correia

 

I preview the individual players after the jump...

PADRES

 

LINE UP

The Padres lineup is pretty left-handed on top, and pretty weak at the bottom.  They have one solid power hitter in Adrian Gonzalez in the four spot, but he struggles agaist LHP.  Gerut and Giles are the 1st and 3rd hitters and are also lefties with large platoon splits.  The Padres have very few hitters who are legitimate power threats, which is fine for playing in Petco but leaves them not likely to take advantage of CBP.  The bottom of their lineup is pretty weak and should be exploited.  The Padres do not steal much, and no one in their lineup seems all that likely to be a basestealing threat.  Everth Cabrera did steal 73 bases in 89 tries in single-A last year.  He's the backup shortstop.

1) CF Jody Gerut (L)

projection average (proj): .280/.345/.460
projected BB/PA (bb): 8.5%
projected K/AB (k): 15%
career gb% (gb): 45%
career infield flies/flyball (iff): 12%
career infield hits/groundball (ifh): 5%
batting average on balls in play tendencies (babip): average all around
swing/contact/zone facts (s/c/z): okay eye, doesn't swing much, makes pretty good contact
righty/lefty (r/l): .840/.639 ops-- k/bb ratios of 1.2 vs 2.2
home/away (h/a): somewhat better power on road but only marginally
pull/opposite (p/o): definite pull hitter
anything else (other): only 6 of 10 steals last year

2) 2B David Eckstein (R)

proj: .275/.340/.350
bb: 7%
k: 9%
gb: 47%
iff: 12%
ifh: 7%
babip: pretty good on groundballs but pretty low on line drives, high groundball rate helps-- about average overall
s/c/z: very good contact and sees a lot of pitches in zone.  swings at below average number of strikes but average number of non-strikes.
r/l: .700/.741 ops; k/bb is 1.2 vs 0.8
h/a: .738/.687
p/o: slight pull hitter but spreads ball around pretty well
other: used to steal bases more frequently but only tried 3 times last year and was caught once.  He hasn't tried to steal yet this year.  In 2007, he cut back to 11 attempts.

3) RF Brian Giles (L)

proj: .280/.375/.420
bb: 13%
k: 12%
gb: 37%
iff: 11%
ifh: 4%
babip: average overall
s/c/z: excellent eye and excellent contact skill
r/l: .966/.788 ops; 0.6 vs 0.9 k/bb
h/a: about the same
p/o: pull hitter
other: none

4) 1B Adrian Gonzalez (L)

proj: .280/.355/.500
bb: 10%
k: 21%
gb: 41%
iff: 5%
ifh: 2%
babip: above average, around .315, rarely pops out, though doesn't get many infield hits.  power indicates he should do well on linedrives
s/c/z: swings at average amount of balls, but lets fewer strikes pass than other players; somewhat below average contact
r/l: .886/.743 ops; 1.9 vs 3.0 k/bb
h/a: far more power on road (park effects) but slightly better k/bb at home (1.9 vs 2.4) and better babip at home (.328 vs .283)
p/o: somewhat of a pull hitter but spreads ball around pretty well for power hitter
other: far more success against finesse pitchers

5) LF Chase Headley (S)

proj: .265/.345/.430
bb: 10%
k: 27%
gb: 38%
iff: 2%
ifh: 4%
babip: projection systems have him high-- like .330s+, but it seems like it he should be around .310 or so, since even though he pops out rarely, he doesn't get many infield hits and his groundball rate was abnormally high last year.  even then, given that his eye is nothing special and his contact skills aren't great, he's likely due for a drop-- i think his overall projections are probably high
s/c/z: not a great eye and prone to chase, poor contact skills
r/l: only 140 career PA as RHB so it's tough to know
h/a: not enough info, so far better away but mostly luck based stats
p/o: definite pull hitter both ways
other:

6) 3B Kevin Kouzmanoff (R)

proj: .275/.325/.455
bb: 5.5%
k: 20%
gb: 41%
iff: 6%
ifh: 4%
babip: average all around, low on groundballs and high on flyballs due to infield hit/fly rates
s/c/z: free swinger and chases a lot of pitches while at it, pitchers don't throw him that many pitches out of strike zone, despite that and somewhat low contact rate
r/l: typical
h/a: better on road, even at k/bb rates
p/o: pull hitter
other: struggles against power pitchers

7) C Nick Hundley (R)

proj: .235/.285/.400
bb: 7%
k: 23%
gb: 37%
iff: 12%
ifh: 7%
babip: projected to be poor and tough to tell from small mlb sample size
s/c/z: average all around so far, it seems
r/l: very small sample size but 5.0 vs 2.9 k/bb difference
h/a: 3.1 vs 5.3 k/bb
p/o: spreads ball around pretty well
other: none

8) SS Luiz Rodriguez (S)

proj: .265/.325/.345
bb: 8%
k: 10%
gb: 48%
iff: 6%
ifh: 4%
babip: somewhat low since doesn't have much power, maybe .285ish
s/c/z: excellent contact and doesn't swing much
r/l: so far hasn't shown power righty at all and has shown a tiny bit lefty
h/a: .724/.603 ops
p/o: pull hitter
other: none




BENCH

The Padres keep only four players on their bench.  Scott Hairston is a valid right-handed hitting power threat on the bench but the other three hitters are unimposing.  Everth Cabrera is probably a pinch-runner type, as he stole 73 bases in single-A last year.

C Henry Blanco (R)

proj: .240/.290/.350
bb: 6%
k: 19%
gb: 37%
iff: 13%
ifh: 6%
babip: not much power and tendency to pop up; below average
s/c/z: good eye, okay contact
r/l: a little more power right-handed
h/a: a little better k/bb at home but fewer extra base hits
p/o: pull hitter
other: none

IF Edgar Gonzalez (R)

proj: .270/.330/.400
bb: 8%
k: 22%
gb: 46%
iff: 2%
ifh: 4%
babip: definitely above average, rarely pops out and makes solid contact
s/c/z: great eye and good contact
r/l: k/bb of 4.7 vs 1.6; .685 vs .750 ops
h/a: typical given park effects
p/o: slight pull hitter
other: none

IF Everth Cabrera (S)

proj: .230/.300/.300
bb: 8%
k: 24%
gb: had groundball rates of about 60% in minors
iff: had infield fly rates of about 11% in minors
ifh: not clear in minor league data
babip: high in minors (around .350ish) but not really clear how that would translate especially with high infield fly rate; perhaps somewhat above average due to high groundball rate
s/c/z: not enough info
r/l: not really clear from minor leagues but seemingly better as lhb vs rhb based on k/bb numbers
h/a: not enough info
p/o: not enough info
other: stole 73 bases in 89 tries in single-A last year

OF Scott Hairston (R)

proj: .255/.325/.465
bb: 8.5%
k: 23%
gb: 36%
iff: 16%
ifh: 12%
babip: slightly below average, .290ish, since he pops out a lot, but good on groundball since he gets infield hits and decent on line drives as he has some power
s/c/z: slightly below average contact
r/l: 3.5 vs 2.5 k/bb; .712 vs .842 ops
h/a: a bit better at home in career but seemingly mostly luck so far
p/o: definite pull hitter
other: none



ROTATION

The Phillies will avoid Jake Peavy this weekend, which is quite fortunate for a four game series.  They will have to face Chris Young on Friday, but as he is a flyball pitcher extreme, the Phillies will hope to turn those flyballs into homeruns in CBP.  Young is less effective on the road.  Shawn Hill is a groundball pitcher, but is pretty average overall.  He doesn't rely on breaking stuff, so he shouldn't really be at a disadvantage facing the Phillies lefties.  A third righty will face the Phillies Sunday, Walter Silva, who is not supposed to be very good according to the BP's projection, but maybe the scouts saw something in him.  Kevin Correia pitches against the Phillies on Monday.  He seems to be a pretty average pitcher in nearly every category, though he has pretty poor command against lefties thus far.

FRIDAY OPPONENT: Chris Young (R)

proj avg: 3.85 ERA, 3.85 BB/9, 8.0 K/9, 1.1 HR/9
gb: 28%
pitches: 75% fb, 18% sl, 5% ch, 2% cb
r/l: 2.6 vs 2.2 k/bb, .647 vs .674 ops
h/a: 2.8 vs 2.1 k/bb

SATURDAY OPPONENT: Shawn Hill (R)

proj avg: 4.50 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 5.5 K/9, 0.7 HR/9
gb: 50%
pitches: 74% fb, 14% cb, 7% ch, 6% sl
r/l: similar k/bb but lefties do better on contact
h/a: .681/.869 ops but 2.0 vs 1.9 k/bb

SUNDAY OPPONENT: Not yet determined, Walter Silva has forearm strain
POSSIBLE SUNDAY OPPONENT: Josh Geer (R)


proj avg: 4.70 ERA, 2.8 BB/9, 5.0 K/9, 1.1 HR/9
gb: 35%
pitches: 64% fb, 22% ch, 14% sl


MONDAY OPPONENT: Kevin Correia (R)

proj avg: 4.40 ERA, 3.5 BB/9, 6.7 K/9, 1.0 HR/9
gb: 39%
pitches: 60% fb, 27% sl, 9% ch, 4% cb
r/l: 2.3 vs 1.2; .762 vs .819
h/a: similar

SKIPPING NEXT START ON SUNDAY: Walter Silva (R)

proj avg: 5.85 ERA, 5.0 BB/9, 6.0 K/9, 1.2 HR/9
gb: 42%
pitches: 39% fb, 38% sl, 16% cb, 7% ch
r/l: not enough info
h/a: not enough info

NOT FACING US THIS SERIES: Jake Peavy (R)

proj avg: 3.25 ERA, 2.9 BB/9, 9.0 K/9, 0.9 HR/9
gb: 42%
pitches: 57% fb, 18% sl, 17% ct, 7% cb, 6% ch
r/l: 3.8 vs 2.6 k/bb, .603 vs .740 ops
h/a: .614/.737 ops's, 3.7/2.5 k/bb's





BULLPEN

The Phillies will benefit from the Padres' lack of lefties in the bullpen.  Heath Bell's recent attack on ESPN is much appreciated, but he will become an enemy this weekend again as the Phillies are forced to deal with his swing and miss stuff, and his ability to induce groundballs.  Duaner Sanchez was picked up after being released by the Mets, so his projections look good but he may not be.  Cla Meredith is excellent at inducing groundballs, but he is far more effective against righties than lefties.  The rest of the Padres' bullpen seem to be young and right-handed, and the Phillies could do themselves a favor to knock out the starters early and feast on the unspectacular young righties.

CL Heath Bell (R)

proj avg: 3.30 ERA, 3.2 BB/9, 9.0 K/9, 0.7 HR/9
gb: 50%
pitches: 72% fb, 28% sl
r/l: 4.7 vs 2.2 k/bb but .687 vs .616 ops since more power surrendered to lhb
h/a: .573/.726 ops split but k/bb even

Duaner Sanchez (R)


proj avg: 4.10 ERA, 3.5 BB/9, 7.0 K/9, 1.0 HR/9
gb: 47%
pitches: 46% fb, 31% ch, 19% sl, 4% cb
r/l: 2.1 vs 1.4; .679 vs .773
h/a: 2.1 vs 1.5 k/bb, .709 vs .735 ops

Cla Meredith (R)


proj avg: 3.70 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 6.7 K/9, 0.7 HR/9
gb: 69%
pitches: 79% fb (I think sinkers count as fastballs on fangraphs), 18% sl, 3% ch
r/l: 4.3 vs 1.4; .612 vs .794: major ROOGY
h/a: .637 vs .721 and 2.9 vs 2.7 k/bb

Edwin Moreno (R)

proj avg: unprojected (last year 4.53 FIP in AAA)
gb: slightly above average in minors
pitches: so far in majors 48% fb, 18% sl, 12% ct, 22% ch
r/l: no major splits in minors
h/a: not enough info

Luke Gregerson (R)

proj avg: unprojected
gb: very high groundball rates in minors
pitches: 55% fb, 33% sl, 9% ch, 3% cb in majors so far
r/l: much better against righties and walks a lot of lefties in minors
h/a: not enough info

Edward Mujica (R)

proj avg: 4.40 ERA, 2.8 BB/9, 7.0 K/9, 1.0 HR/9
gb: 28%
pitches: 67% fb, 9% sl, 6% cb, 2% ch, 17% sf
r/l: 8.0 k/bb vs righties, but mostly just no walks; 1.5 k/bb vs lefties in minimal experience
h/a: not enough info

Luis Perdomo (R)

proj avg: 4.90 ERA, 4.6 BB/9, 7.0 K/9, 1.2 HR/9
gb: 47% in AAA
pitches: ?
r/l: not enough info
h/a: not enough info

Eulogio De La Cruz (R)

proj avg: 4.80 ERA, 4.2 BB/9, 6.7 K/9, 1.0 HR/9
gb: 57%
pitches: 78% fb, 20% ch, 1% sl
r/l: 12 bb and 4k in 45 PA vs lefties
h/a: not enough info

 

 

 

PHILLIES

 

LINE UP

The heart of the Phillies lineup leans further to the left than Ralph Nader.  The rest of the lineup is pretty well balanced, but with Utley hitting 3rd, Howard hitting 4th, and Ibanez hitting 6th, managers have an advantage to use lefties against the Phillies in key situations.  The team is absolutely positioned to mash righties well, and fortunately that is who they'll face this weekend-- the Padres have no lefties on their staff at all.  Both of the switch hitters atop the lineup hit lefties a little better than righties, and the bottom of the lineup has two righties.  The Phillies' catcher Carlos Ruiz is on the disabled list now with a strained rib cage, so Chris Coste and Lou Marson will be splitting time.  Lou Marson is a pretty highly touted catching prospect who had an extraordinary year in AA last year, though has yet to hit for much power.

1) SS Jimmy Rollins (S)

projection average (proj): .285/.350/.460
projected BB/PA (bb): 8%
projected K/AB (k): 11%
career gb% (gb): 42%
career infield flies/flyball (iff): 10%
career infield hits/groundball (ifh): 5%
batting average on balls in play tendencies (babip): about average overall, though a little bit high popup rate so slightly below average
swing/contact/zone facts (s/c/z): good eye, pretty selective, but very high contact rate so low walk rate
righty/lefty (r/l): 1.7 vs 1.3 k/bb, mostly because of higher k-rate as lhb.  otherwise similar on contact
home/away (h/a): 1.5 vs 1.7 k/bb; .805 vs .739 ops
pull/opposite (p/o): definite pull hitter
anything else (other): stole 47 bases in 50 attempts last year.

2) CF Shane Victorino (S)

proj: .285/.345/.430
bb: 7.5%
k: 13%
gb: 46%
iff: 15%
ifh: 8%
babip: slightly above average due to high babip on groundballs-- partly because infield plays in for him and he spreads the ball around well; not that high due to high infield fly rate
s/c/z: pretety bad eye but high contact rate
r/l: much more power righthanded (1.6% to 3.8% HR rate), but much better k/bb as lefty: 1.65 vs 1.88; higher babip lefty also (.316 vs .286)
h/a: far fewer walks on road but nearly exactly the same strikeout rate, same power, same babip
p/o: pull hitter both ways
other: stole 36 of 47 bases last year

3) 2B Chase Utley (L)

proj: .295/.380/.525
bb: 9.5%
k: 18%
gb: 37%
iff: 10%
ifh: 6%
babip: distinctly above average historically and for projections too; seemingly strong power leads to high line drive babip rate and reasonably high groundball babip especially for pull hitting lefty; high on flyballs despite high infield fly rate since he hits deep flyballs
s/c/z: pretty good eye, somewhat selective, somewhat high contact rate
r/l: not significant-- only 1.7 vs 2.0 k/bb; .919 vs .865 ops
h/a: similar k/bb home & away; better hr at home-- probably park factors; higher babip at home too
p/o: pull hitter
other: much better against power pitchers relative to other hitters

4) 1B Ryan Howard (L)

proj: .275/.375/580
bb: 14%
k: 33%
gb: 40%
iff: 2%
ifh: 4%
babip: low on groundballs over time as he pulls the vast majority of them; very very high on flyballs because he almost never pops out in the infield at all and many of his flyballs are very deep.  also since so few of his flyballs stay in the park (only 2/3 or so), a higher percentage of his balls in play are line drives-- which he does well on like many power hitters-- his low contact rate means he sometimes make poor contact though.  probably above average overall
s/c/z: swings a lot especially for someone who doesn't see many strikes.  however, he is pretty good at distinguishing pulls from strikes despite the consensus on him.  he makes terrible contact overall though
r/l: 1.064 vs .786 ops: say it with me "that means he's good against righties, not bad against lefties!"  in fact, he's the best hitter against righties in baseball right now probably.  his k/bb vs lhp is 3.7 vs 1.6 vs rhp.  he has a lot of power against lefties however, but a lower babip.  i don't have split data on pull% vs lhp/rhp but observationally i'm pretty sure that's the difference in his babip: .338 vs .309.
h/a: much higher babip on road.  very similar hr numbers.  2.0 vs 3.2 k/bb.
p/o: pull hitter, especially on groundballs-- hits more homeruns the opposite way though
other: struggles mightily against power pitchers and groundball pitchers, dominates flyball pitchers (since he almost never pops out, and has 10.3% hr rate against them) and smashes finesse pitchers (11.8% hr rate); he also does much better on babip with runners on base as defenders can't shift against him-- especially with runners in scoring position

5) RF Jayson Werth (R)

proj: .270/.360/.460
bb: 12.5%
k: 29%
gb: 38%
iff: 8%
ifh: 8%
babip: high on groundballs due to high infield hit rate, high on line drives due to power, and hits pretty deep flyballs too; has been historically probably higher than it should be since he's faced more lhp than normal rhb do; overall still seems to be very above average
s/c/z: very selective and pretty good eye; somewhat low contact rate
r/l: .762 vs .919 ops; 2.4 vs 2.0 k/bb; hr rate of 6.7% vs 2.9%
h/a: not much of a split at all
p/o: spreads ball around well for power hitter, but still a pull hitter
other: stole 20 bases in 21 attempts last year

6) LF Raul Ibanez (L)

proj: .285/.350/.480
bb: 9%
k: 17%
gb: 42%
iff: 11%
ifh: 5%
babip: above average, probably because he spreads the ball around pretty well for a power hitter; much better babip with men on-- probably hooks ball in hole well or maybe he was shifted against more so beforehand
s/c/z: definitely a good eye though it's getting worse, slightly above average contact
r/l: .850 vs .733; 1.5 vs 2.8 k/bb
h/a: better k/bb (1.6 vs 1.9) but worse power probably park factors, and probably likely to be better at home
p/o: slight pull hitter but not much for a power hitter
other: none

7) 3B Pedro Feliz (R)

proj: .250/.300/.420
bb: 6%
k: 15.5%
gb: 44%
iff: 15%
ifh: 5%
babip: very low-- pops up a lot, hits groundballs predictably to left side and is slow so they can play shaded over and deep; not all that much power so not terrific on line drives either, makes a lot of weak contact as he isn't good at making contact so he chops a lot of balls
s/c/z: high swing rate and not terribly good at distinguishing balls from strikes.  swung significantly less in 2008, but it was as much of a decrease in balls as strikes, makes average contact
r/l: 3.3 vs 2.3 k/bb; .708 vs .755 ops, more babip and a little more power agaisnt lefties
h/a: much higher k rate on road, similar bb rate; more power on road, higher babip at home.  likely not much difference (.725 vs .716 overall ops)
p/o: definite pull hitter
other: defensive numbers dipped last year, had offseason surgery for back, perhaps these are related

8) C Chris Coste (R)

proj: .265/.315/.405
bb: 5.5%
k: 17.5%
gb: 40%
iff: 10%
ifh: 6%
babip: slightly below average, seemingly due to poor eye and swinging and hitting bad pitches
s/c/z: high swing rate, pretty poor eye, average contact
r/l: .747 vs .855; same k/bb rate, much better babip against lhp, similar power but slightly more vs lhp
h/a: .886 vs .679; 5.4% vs 1.5% hr rate
p/o: pull hitter
other: struggles with power pitchers somewhat




BENCH


Like their lineup, the Phillies' bench is much better from the left side.  Dobbs and Stairs are two solid lefthanded pinch hitters with power.  Stairs is by far more patient and is much more successful against lefties than Dobbs.  From the right side, the Phillies have superutility man Eric Bruntlett.  Bruntlett struggles mightily against RHP, but actually has very solid numbers against LHP.  Bruntlett can be used as a counterswitch when managers bring in lefties to face Dobbs or Stairs.  The Phillies other RHB on the bench is Miguel Cairo.  He is not a very good hitter, but is flexible and can play many positions.

IF/OF Eric Bruntlett (R)

proj: .240/.325/.335
bb: 10%
k: 18%
gb: 41%
iff: 14%
ifh: 5%
babip: high popup rate leads to low babip, but not that low; also doesn't do all that well on line drives due to lack of power
s/c/z: somewhat above average eye and doesn't swing much; makes very good contact, sees a lot of strikes
r/l: .592 vs .764 ops; 2.5 vs 1.2 k/bb; 5.7% vs 8.8% xbh/ab-- he's actually  average if not above average against lhp; he just is terrible against rhb.  he should be used as a counterswitch to loogy use against lefty pinch hitters
h/a: more power at home and more walks at home; similar strikeout rate and babip
p/o: opposite field hitter
other: none

IF Greg Dobbs (L)

proj: .285/.335/.445
bb: 7%
k: 17%
gb: 36%
iff: 13.5%
ifh: 3%
babip: has been high but probably should not be projected as high-- success derives from impossibly high line drive babip which doesn't typically happen for non-extreme power hitters.  given his popup rate, he probably isn't a .320 babip guy and there isn't a .285 hitter
s/c/z: poor eye but very high swing rate; average contact rate
r/l: .761 vs .579 ops despite impossible .481 babip against lhp.  in reality, he strikes out in 48% of at-bats against lhp.  he should never see them.  absolutely no power against lefties also.
h/a: virtually no split at all
p/o: pull hitter
other: much better against finesse pitchers

OF Matt Stairs (L)

proj: .255/.340/.440
bb: 11%
k: 22%
gb: 42%
iff: 11.5%
ifh: 5%
babip: average all around
s/c/z: very good eye and slightly below average contact
r/l: .862 vs .748; much more power against rhp; 1.4 vs 2.1 k/bb
h/a: not much of a split at all
p/o: slight pull hitter but not much for a power hitter
other: use stairs in case of emergency

IF/OF Miguel Cairo (R)

proj: .255/.315/.335
bb: 7%
k: 15%
gb: 45%
iff: 11%
ifh: 7%
babip: not much power so slightly below average
s/c/z: okay eye, maybe a little above average; makes good contact
r/l: 1.6 vs 2.0 k/bb; .647 vs .735 ops
h/a: virtually no split at all, somewhat better walk rate at home
p/o: slight pull hitter
other: none

C Lou Marson (R)

proj: .270/.345/.400
bb: 11%
k: 22%
gb: 59% in minors in 08
iff: 7% in minors in 08
ifh: ?
babip: very above average in minors, bizarrely high on flyballs and groundballs, and this seems to be without a significant reason
s/c/z: ?
r/l: better k/bb in minors vs rhp but tough to tell
h/a: 0.7 vs 1.5 k/bb; much higher infield fly rate on road (10.6% vs 3.5%)
p/o: ?
other: high walk rate in minors may be at risk in majors if he doesn't develop power


DISABLED LIST: Carlos Ruiz (R)

proj: .255/.335/.390
bb: 10%
k: 14%
gb: 50% (but rose in 2008 to 54% from 46%)
iff: 9.5%
ifh: 4%
babip: was extraordinarily low in 2008, but that seems to be rather flukey.  his high groundball rate and solid contact rate and pitch selection indicate he should be a good babip guy, but he does very poorly on groundball as he chops the ball a lot
s/c/z: very good eye and excellent contact skill, extremely patient
r/l: bizarre reverse split despite 0.5 k/bb vs lhp and 1.2 vs rhp; impossibly low .204 babip against lhp, probably flukey and probably much better vs lhp in reality
h/a: similar k/bb, worse babip but higher power at home (park factors)
p/o: slight pull hitter
other: better against power pitchers, currently on DL with strained rib cage, probably longer than 15 days as originally thought




ROTATION

The Phillies rotation finally got its first quality start on Thursday, albeit in a loss.  Ace Cole Hamels has struggled with velocity and location in the early going.  He had elbow soreness in Spring Training, but the MRI came back fine.  He still struggled as he worked his way back and had a very bad starter in Colorado for his first start.  He added in an extra throw day between starts this past week, and hopes this can help him with both the velocity and the location.  We will have a better picture of where he stands over his next couple starter.  Enigmatic Brett Myers starts Saturday night's game for the Phillies.  His main struggles consistently come early on.  If he can mix in his curveball better, he should be more successful.  On the heels of a fabulous Spring Training, Chan Ho Park beat out three younger competitors for the last spot in the Phillies rotation and he will go Sunday.  Towards the end of the Spring, I admit to endorsing his use in the rotation only because of how much better he had been than before in the Spring.  Despite a biased sample of lower quality hitters, the difference in his K and BB rates was statistically significant.  Park did not make me look too smart in his first start in the rain in Colorado.  His trouble has always been retiring lefties, so his success will depend on his ability to get some of the Padres tougher lefties out.  On Monday, Jamie Moyer will pitch Monday evening's game.  The 46-year old has struggled somewhat early on, but hopes to rebound Monday.

FRIDAY STARTER: Cole Hamels (L)

proj avg: 3.45 ERA, 2.3 BB/9, 8.4 K/9, 1.1 HR/9
gb: 40%
pitches: 55% fb, 32% ch, 14% cb
r/l: .680 vs .748, but same 3.6 k/bb both ways; slightly more power vs lhb-- this is probably selection bias as managers withhold all but the best lefties against him (explaining 20% of hitters faced are lefties only)
h/a: 3.85 vs 3.4 k/bb; .676 vs .709 ops-- less of a difference due to higher HR rate at home
other: much higher k-rate at night: 25% vs 20%, which is statistically significant.  ERA difference (4.71 vs 3.01 exaggerated by babip difference), as HR rate and XBH rate very similar.  most likely he strikes out more at night.

SATURDAY STARTER: Brett Myers (R)

proj avg: 4.15 ERA, 3.1 BB/9, 8.0 K/9, 1.3 HR/9
gb: 47%
pitches: 48% fb, 23% cb, 18% sl, 9% ch, 1% ct, 0.2% sf
r/l: .788 vs .747 ops despite 3.1 vs 1.95 k/bb; main issue is much higher HR rate vs rhb, slightly higher babip vs them as well; does not seem to be selection bias
h/a: .738 vs .800 ops; 2.7 vs 2.15 k/bb; slightly higher HR rate at home, but that is probably park factors as he surrenders far more doubles on road
other: HR rate is bizarre-- very few pitchers have the HR/Flyball rate he does.  My personal suspicion is that statistics that don't exhibit much persistence despite what common sense suggests only do not exhibit persistence specifically because players make adjustments.  If you throw fastball after fastball on the outside corner on every 1-2 count, the hitters will respond by hitting singles to the opposite field over and over again and your BABIP will go up.  However, pitchers learn to mix up their pitches and BABIP ends up lacking persistence due to the constant game theoretical reaction that pitchers and hitters take.  For Myers, his bizarre refusal to use his curveball early in the game leaves him especially vulernable to RHB who know it isn't coming.  A little game theoretical mixed strategy would probably allow him to finally live up to his peripherals which suggest a low HR rate and borderline ace stuff.

SUNDAY STARTER: Chan Ho Park (R)

proj avg: 4.50 ERA, 3.5 BB/9, 7.3 K/9, 1.2 HR/9
gb: 45%
pitches: 51% FB, 29% SL, 12% cb, 5% ch, 4% ct
r/l: .666 vs .820 ops; 2.6 vs 1.3 k/bb; .280 vs .301 babip; 2.6% vs 3.6% HR rate-- much better against righties
h/a: 2.0 vs 1.7 k/bb; .708 vs .780 ops

MONDAY STARTER: Jamie Moyer (L)

proj avg: 4.80 ERA, 2.8 BB/9, 5.5 K/9, 1.2 HR/9
gb: 39%
pitches: 41% fb, 30% ct, 24% ch, 6% cb
r/l: virtually no split but that seems to be selection as he sees 24% lefties only compared with 32% league average for lhp
h/a: 2.3 vs 1.9 k/bb; not much difference on contact; slightly better babip at home but not more so than the average starter gets

NOT PITCHING THIS SERIES: Joe Blanton (R)


proj avg: 4.25 ERA, 2.5 BB/9, 5.8 K/9, 0.9 HR/9
gb: 45%
pitches: 56% fb, 16% ch, 15% sl, 12% cb
r/l: 2.3 vs 1.8 k/bb; .750 vs .719 ops
h/a: 2.2 vs 2.0 k/bb; .698 vs .776 ops; much worse babip away (.313 vs .282), more power surrendered on road
other: extraordinarily good against leadoff hitters, especially the first hitter of games






BULLPEN

Lidge has been nowhere near as effective as the Phillies closer in the early going this year, but still has not blown a save despite letting two games come to within one run.  His HR rate was the key to his improvement and he is likely due for some regression.  However, that still leaves him as one of the best closers in baseball.  Ryan Madson has stepped up to be an elite setup man recently, as his velocity improved mightily over the course of 2008 and has started strong in 2009.  The Phillies will have to make do against LHB with J.C. Romero suspended through May.  Scott Eyre, Jack Taschner, and J.A. Happ are the Phillies' lefties in the pen.  Happ does not have especially difficult stuff against lefties, though, and will probably be the long man.  Eyre and Taschner both should not face RHB, especially Taschner who exemplified that inability well against the Nationals on Thursday.  Chad Durbin is somewhat streaky, but I've remained bearish on him for a while.  He still is a reasonable middle reliever to use at times.  Condrey is the other middle reliever, but he should not face lefties at all if possible.  The Phillies' bullpen has been extraordinary since the beginning of 2008, and has kept them in games in 2009 thus far.  It is due for some regression, but I suppose the rotation is due for some improvement as well.

CL Brad Lidge (R)

proj avg: 3.50 ERA, 4.1 BB?9, 11.0 K/9, 0.8 HR/9
gb: 41% (though this went up to 46% with increased slider use in 2008)
pitches: 56% sl, 43% fb, 0.4% ch in 2008 (historically 54% fb, 42% sl)
r/l: 3.6 vs 2.8 k/bb; .601 vs .686 ops (tough to tell if that tendency became more or less extreme in 2008 due to limited sample size)
h/a: 3.6 vs 2.9 k/bb; .666 vs .614 ops though due to higher babip away
other: HR/Flyball plummeted in 2008-- probably unsustainably low and his ERA should rise; still rumors of him tipping pitches explain the HR/Flyball spike in 2006 & 2007

Ryan Madson (R)

proj avg: 3.80 ERA, 2.9 BB/9, 7.2 K/9, 0.8 HR/9
gb: 48%
pitches: 58% fb, 24% ch, 15% ct, 4% cb
r/l: 3.65 vs 1.8 k/bb; .714 vs .786 ops
h/a: no major split at all

Scott Eyre (L)


proj avg: 4.20 ERA, 4.1 BB/9, 8.8 K/9, 0.9 HR/9
gb: 41%
pitches: 59% fb, 35% sl, 6% ch, 0.2% cb
r/l: 1.5 vs 1.9 k/bb; .815 vs .720 ops
h/a: not much of a split

Jack Taschner (L)

proj avg: 4.50 ERA, 4.1 BB/9, 8.0 K/9, 1.0 HR/9
gb: 35%
pitches: 57% fb, 30% sl, 13% ch
r/l: 1.45 vs 2.2 k/bb; .754 vs .747-- large selection bias where he faces only very good lefties and not very good righties
h/a: .698 vs .797 ops; 2.1 vs 1.5 k/bb

Chad Durbin (R)

proj avg: 4.10 ERA, 3.5 BB/9, 6.5 K/9, 1.0 HR/9
gb: 41%
pitches: 47% fb, 38% sl, 8% ch, 7% cb, 1% ct
r/l: virtually no split
h/a: somewhat of a reverse split but probably just noise

Clay Condrey (R)

proj avg: 4.50 ERA, 2.8 BB/9, 4.9 K/9, 0.8 HR/9
gb: 50%
pitches: 59% fb, 17% ct, 15% sl, 9% ch
r/l: 2.1 vs 1.3 k/bb; .761 vs .842 ops
h/a: .703 vs .898 ops; 2.2 vs 1.3 k/bb

J.A. Happ (L)

proj avg: 4.40 ERA, 3.8 BB/9, 7.7 K/9, 1.2 HR/9
gb: 29% in majors thus far; 42% in AAA in 2008
pitches: 64% fb, 18% ch, 14% sl, 2% ct, 2% cb
r/l: 1.7 vs 3.0 k/bb in majors thus far; 2.7 vs 3.5 k/bb in AAA in 2008
h/a: not enough info



SUSPENDED: J.C. Romero (L)

proj avg: 4.00 ERA, 5.5 BB?9, 7.5 K/9, 0.7 HR/9
gb: 55%
pitches: 58% fb, 25% sl, 17% ch, 0.1% cb
r/l: 1.2 vs 2.2 k/bb; .814 vs. 591 ops
h/a: 1.6 vs 1.3 k/bb; .697 vs .768 ops

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