Random thoughts from a contentious offseason (I can only imagine what it's been like in Boston). Some of these have been touched on in separate posts, or warrant that separate posts address them, but in any case here they are...
The Phillies and Postseason Success
Lofty expectations and the disappointment of the 2011 NLDS have caused a portion of the fanbase (maybe even the majority) to view the current team as failures in the postseason.
Some of that is simply a recency effect -- if they had reached the World Series in 2011 instead of 2009, for example, I think the reaction would have been very different.
But it's worth reviewing how the Phillies' current playoff run over the past five years compares to other teams' last five playoff appearances...
Phillies (last 5 years): 2 WS appearances, 1 WS win
Yankees (last 6 years): 1 WS appearance, 1 WS win
Rangers (last 16 years): 2 WS appearances, 0 WS wins
Dodgers (last 16 years): 0 WS appearances, 0 WS wins
Braves (last 10 years): 0 WS appearances, 0 WS wins
Takeaways from this list:
- They've actually been more fortunate than 5 of the 8 other teams
Based on fWAR, he was only 32nd in July-September. But when normalized to 700 plate appearances, his 8.2 fWAR/700 PAs was 7th in the NL. That's a little unfair (to others) since his exposure to righties was limited, and it's a smaller sample, but here are the top 10 in the NL for the last three months of 2011:
2. Brian Bogusevic: 2.2 in 151, 10.2 (.805 OPS and high fielding component due to small sample)
3. T.Tulowitzki: 3.7 in 261, 9.9
4. R.Braun: 3.8 in 286, 9.3
5. P.Sandoval: 4.0 in 305, 9.2
6. Y.Molina: 2.9 in 247, 8.2
7. MAYBERRY: 2.1 in 179, 8.2
8. PENCE: 2.6 in 226, 8.1
9. C.Gonzalez: 2.2 in 200, 7.7
10. B.Phillips: 3.4 in 323, 7.4
13. VICTORINO: 2.8 in 298, 6.6
(ADDENDUM: John Mayberry Jr's Minor League Platoon Splits)
These haven't been easy to find, but by piecing together 2008-2010 from here (which has all minor league splits through 2010), and his 2011 splits from here (which aren't going to be there much longer), we get this picture:
Summary for 2008-2011
Playing full-time in the minors he faced ~75% RHPs, just as he would expect if he played full-time in the majors.
However in 2011 he only faced RHPs 59% of the time. So while he outperformed his minor league stats, his overall totals (.854 OPS) looked even more impressive because he didn't have to face as many righties.
2011 OPS vs. LHPs: .953
2011 OPS vs. RHPs: .785
With a typical 75/25 split, these work out to an .827 OPS, and I think we can all agree if we get anything close to that from Mayberry in 2012 we will be very happy with his production.
Domonic Brown's 2011
At the age of 23 last year, he already hit as well as the average MLB left fielder:
A. Soriano .325
D. Brown .322
Da. Murphy .319
J. Bay .315
J. Rivera .308
RotoChamp: .270/.360/.422 (.783 OPS, .346 wOBA)
ZIPS: .273/.330/.465 (.795 OPS)
Cole Hamels is comparing very well to Steve Carlton at the same age.
Hamels: 74-54 (.578), 126 ERA+, 1.14 WHIP, 2.3 BB/9, 8.5 K/9
- 3rd lowest WHIP
- 2nd best K/BB ratio
But I don't know that we should be disappointed with what we got out of him. His FIP/xFIP don't tell as rosy as story, but when we look at the actual results, the only issue is that he missed some starts. For the time that he was actually on the field, he delivered his usual front-line starter numbers:
- He was better than usual in 2010, and worse than usual in 2011.
How many pitchers in all of baseball had a better record than Oswalt since the trade? Not many.
Ryan Howard and RBIs
After making the last out in each of the last two postseason defeats, Ryan Howard is facing detractors across the spectrum: from the casual fan who expects him to hit a HR or get a key hit every time up, to the SABR-savvy fan who knows that Howard is not one of the best hitters at his position, let alone in the game.
2. Howard 18.6%
3. Votto 18.3%
Other first basemen over that period:
15. MCabrera 17.3%
31. AGonzalez 16.7%
34. Teixeira 16.6%
64. Fielder 15.7%
Howard's success is partly the result of a lower walk rate, and good stats with men on base (.288 BA with RISP, .588 SLG with men on base).
Health-issues (and therefore playing time) aside, I don't see a huge decline yet.
- walk percentage: career 6.8%, post-trade 11.0%