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Phillies vs Rockies, April 10-12

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This post is your guide to the Phillies-Rockies series this weekend April 10-12.  Rather than watching the game without knowing much about what the other team has to offer, you can use this post to have a much better idea of what to expect.  In this post, I will follow something similar to what I did for the World Series and for the first series of this season against the Braves, and map out what to expect from each player and what his strengths and weaknesses are.  Rather than do it in bulky paragraph form on each player, I'm going to have a list of relevant things to know about each player and general summaries for the lineup, bench, rotation, and bullpen.  The Phillies  information is the same as the first post, so I'll link to that first article in case anybody wants a review about the Phillies and their splits, etc.  Here is that link.


The Rockies' lineup begins with seven guys with medium to above average power.  No one is going to challenge for the homerun crown, but each of the first seven guys can hit a mistake out of Coors Field pretty well.  There are three lefties in the lineup, including two of the three best hitters, Todd Helton and Brad Hawpe, who are separated by Garrett Atkins.  These three guys are the best players.  There is no one in the lineup who is not a little bit strike out prone, and a few hitters have pretty high strikeout rates.  The majority of the linup has pretty distinct home/away splits as well, as they seem well built for their park to be able to hit homeruns just over the wall in Coors Field.  As I discussed a while back, very few teams actually have distinct homefield advantages, but as Dave Studeman of The Hardball Times pointed out in an email discussing our articles on homefield advantage that came out around the same time, the Rockies are a clear violation of this hypothesis.  Perhaps it is not so hard to construct a team that is especially well built to play in Coors Field, mixed with slightly above average power hitters and pitchers who change speeds rather than throw looping curveballs that won't curve right in the wind.  Anyway, the Colorado Rockies starting lineup (please note that the abbreviations are explained in the first hitters' summary):

CF Spillborghs (R):

--approximate average projection by the major projection systems (proj avg): .295/.370/.450
--approximate average BB/PA predicted by the major projection systems (bb): 10.5%
--approximate average K/AB predicted by the major projection systems (k): 18.5%
--historical groundball percentage (gb): 52%
--historical infield flies per flyball (iff): 6%
--historical infield hits per groundball (ifh): 7%
--batting average on balls in play tendencies (babip): low iff% and therefore solid on flyballs, combining with high groundball rate-- leading to slightly above average BABIP
--tendencies towards swinging at the right pitches, contact abilities when swinging, and pitcher's tendencies to challenge him in the zone (s/c/z): average all around
--righty/lefty difference in OPS with other information if needed (r/l): .801/.908
--home/away splits (h/a): .909/.774
--tendency to pull the ball (p/o): pulls a little more often but spreads ball around well

LF Smith (L)

proj avg: .280/.355/.450
bb: 9%
k: 18%
gb: 44%
iff: 0% (32 career flyballs in MLB, all to outfield)
ifh: 10%
babip: high babip last year is likely to regress to average
s/c/z: somewhat poor contact and poor eye
r/l: .909/(.083: 1/12 career vs lhp)
h/a: .776/.861
p/o: so far has spread the ball evenly around the diamond

1B Helton (L)

proj avg: .295/.405/.455
bb: 16%
k: 15%
gb: 35%
iff: 7%
ifh: 1%
babip: historical 25% line drive rate and high babip on line drives to boot; this could be park based, as many rockies hit a lot of linedrives, but clearly a skill of his
s/c/z: good eye and pretty good contact skill
r/l: 1.051/.877 career
h/a: 1.113/.888 career
p/o: pull hitter, but not extremely so
other: like many power hitting lefties, helton is much stronger with men on, but it's not just babip like with others, but he also seems to improve his k/bb numbers

3B Atkins (R)

proj avg: .295/.360/.475
bb: 9%
k: 16%
gb: 38%
iff: 7%
ifh: 6%
babip: normal
s/c/z: decent eye and good contact
r/l: .818/.890
h/a: .921/.752
p/o: definite pull hitter

RF Hawpe (L)

proj avg: .280/.375/.490
bb: 13%
k: 26%
gb: 42%
iff: 6%
ifh: 4%
babip: high babip on line drives, and high babip flyballs due to low iff%
s/c/z: swings frequently with somewhat good eye, but poor contact skill
r/l: .897/.739
h/a: .879/.858
p/o: pull hitter
other: much better against finesse pitchers and groundball pitchers

SS Tulowitzki (R)

proj avg: .280/.350/.450
bb: 9%
k: 18%
gb: 42%
iff: 12%
ifh: 6%
babip: high on line drives
s/c/z: avg
r/l: .747/.897
h/a: .840/.724
p/o: slight pull hitter

C Ianetta (R)

proj avg: .270/.375/.465
bb: 13%
k: 24%
gb: 41%
iff: 9%
ifh: 7%
babip: normal
s/c/z: good eye but poor contact
r/l: .781/.897
h/a: .775/.843
p/o: very slight pull hitter
other: better against groundball pitchers

2B Barmes (R)

proj avg: .260/.310/.410
bb: 4.5%
k: 16%
gb: 32%
iff: 11%
ifh: 8%
babip: normal
s/c/z: bad eye, somewhat impatient, okay contact
r/l: .657/.850
h/a: .808/.606
p/o: pull hitter, especially for non-power hitter


The Rockies' bench has some lefties and some righties, with some power on both sides from Baker and Stewart.  Every one on their bench is a little bit strike out prone.  Only Baker has a significant platoon split, hitting far better against lefties.

C Torrealba (R)

proj avg: .250/.310/.380
bb: 7%
k: 20%
gb: 56%
iff: 8%
ifh: 6%
babip: low babip on groundballs and slightly below average overall
s/c/z: started swinging more at pitches out of zone in '08
r/l: .668/.802
h/a: .728/.675
p/o: big pull hitter

IF Quintanilla (L)

proj avg: .265/.320/.400
bb: 7.5%
k: 18.5%
gb: 50%
iff: 11%
ifh: 7%
babip: weak on line drives
s/c/z: poor contact
r/l: .615/.391
h/a: .654/.505
p/o: actually hits the other way a little more

IF/OF Baker (R)

proj avg: .270/.330/.470
bb: 8%
k: 26%
gb: 42%
iff: 4%
ifh: 8%
babip: 24% line drives and 4% iff makes it around .320
s/c/z: poor contact skills, but not terrible
r/l: .708/.922
h/a: .896/.631
p/o: hits it slightly more the other way but very well spread

IF/OF Stewart (L)

proj avg: .265/.350/.465
bb: 9.5%
k: 27%
gb: 32%
iff: 9%
ifh: 2%
babip: very high in limited playing time, mostly because of ld%
s/c/z: bad eye and bad contact skill
r/l: big reverse split but only due to insane babip against lefties.
h/a: indications are that he has about the same homefield advantage as other hitters
p/o: not especially significant pull tendencies, but some

OF Fowler (S)

proj avg: .275/.350/.400
bb: 9%
k: 20%
gb: 58%
iff: 29%
ifh: 14%
babip: not enough information
s/c/z: poor eye  but pretty good contact
r/l: not enough info
h/a: not enough info
p/o: not enough info


APRIL 10 OPPONENT: Jason Marquis (R):

proj avg: 5.20 ERA, 3.8 BB/9, 4.7 K/9, 1.1 HR/9
gb: 49%
distribution of pitches thrown in 2008 (pitches): fb 63%, sl 16%, ch 13%, ct 5%, cb 3%
r/l: 2.0 k/bb vs rhb, 1.2 k/bb vs lhb, but about even OPS since power up against righties-- likely selection bias where managers avoid putting medicore righties against him
h/a: more k's but more hr's at home, about even overall

APRIL 11 OPPONENT: Jorge De La Rosa (L):

proj avg: 5.10 ERA, 4.1 BB/9, 7.7 K/9, 1.2 HR/9
gb: 43%
pitches: fb 57%, ch 18%, sl 16%, cb 9%
r/l: about even k/bb numbers to both types of hitters, much more power by righties
h/a: more hr surrendered on road

APRIL 12 OPPONENT: Aaron Cook (R):

proj avg: 4.50 ERA, 2.4 BB/9, 4.0 K/9, 0.7 HR/9
gb: 58%
pitches: fb 73%, sl 18%, cu 9%
r/l: 1.7 k/bb vs rhb, 1.0 vs lhb, more homeruns and a .811/.725 OPS split-- actually faces more lefties than righties as managers stack lineups with lefties
h/a: about the same


proj avg: 4.50 ERA, 4.8 BB/9, 7.9 K/9, 0.8 HR/9
gb: 52%
pitches: fb 62%, ch 19%, sl 11%, cb 8%
r/l: 2.3 K/bb vs rhb, 1.4 k/bb vs lhb, but not a huge difference otherwise
h/a: more walks and more k's on the road but about the same ops more or less

NOT FACING THIS SERIES: Franklin Morales (L):

proj avg: 5.50 ERA, 6.0 BB/9, 6.0 K/9, 1.1 HR/9
gb: 455
pitches: fb 73%, cb 17%, ch 10%
r/l: not enough at bats against lefties
h/a: not enough info


The Rockies' closer Huston Street eats righties alive.  Jayson Werth, specifically, should not face Huston Street in the 9th inning when we are behind.  If Charlie is careful to pinch hit Stairs for Werth, and pinch hit Dobbs for Feliz, the Phillies may actually be better able than most teams to mount a comeback against the Rockies.  Huston Street turns the average right handed hitter into a pitcher-- striking out 5.6 times as much as they walk, and mounting a mere .504 OPS in his career against him.  He throws his slide 30% of the time, certainly a main reason for this.  The second best pitcher in the bullpen is Manny Corpas, who also does better against righties and throws 30% sliders, but he is not as dominant against them as Street.  Corpas doesn't strike out lefties very well either.  There are two lefties in the bullpen, and neither are anything to strike fear into the Phillies.  Alan Embree is probably the one who has been forced to watch hours of tape of Ryan Howard to prepare for this series, has he does have a solid 3:1 K/BB ratio against lefties, and is projected to be above average at striking hitters out.  He throws 22% sliders.  The key for the Phillies will be to erase the starters early so that the other lefty, Glendon Rusch, also has to face Ryan Howard.  Rusch does not frequently throw sliders, and while better against lefties, he still is about average at striking hitters out overal.  Both Ryan Speier and Jason Grilli struggle mightily against lefties, and the Phillies will find it especially useful to erase Marquis and De La Rosa early enough that they wear out the other guys in the pen and get to face these righties.  Jason Hammel is a newly acquired pitcher who could see some time, I imagine.  He is about average, but a bit wild.  There is no dominant groundball pitcher in the bullpen, though Corpas and Speier both do generate momre groundballs than most.

CL Huston Street (R):

proj avg: 3.60 ERA, 2.9 BB/9, 9.0 K/9, 0.9 HR/9
gb: 39%
pitches: 60% fb, 30% sl, 10% ch
r/l: 5.6 k/bb vs rhb, 2.4 k/bb vs lhb; 140 ab/hr vs. rhb, 30 ab/hr vs lhb; eats righties alive for ops split of .504/.711
h/a: avg

Manuel Corpas (R):

proj avg: 3.90 ERA, 2.7 BB/9, 6.6 K/9, 0.8 HR/9
gb: 52%
pitches: fb 70%, sl 30%
r/l: fewer k's vs lhb
h/a: avg

Alan Embree (L):

proj avg: 4.60 ERA, 3.3 BB/9, 7.7 K/9, 1.0 HR/9
gb: 41%
pitches: 78% fb, 22% sl
r/l: 3.0 k/bb vs lhb, 2.0 k/bb vs rhb; .774/.668
h/a: .679/.787

Ryan Speier (R):

proj avg: 4.60 ERA, 3.6 BB/9, 6.1 K/9, 0.8 HR/9
gb: 49%
pitches: 55% fb, 36% sl, 10% ch
r/l: 2.3 k/bb vs rhb, 1.0 k/bb vs lhb; .666/.816 OPS
h/a: .817/.626

Jason Grilli (R):

proj avg: 4.10 ERA, 4.0 BB/9, 7.0 K/9, 0.7 HR/9
gb: 44%
pitches: 54% fb, 46% sl
r/l: 2.2 k/bb vs rhb, 1.2 k/bb vs lhb
h/a: slightly worse at home due to homeruns

Glendon Rusch (L):

proj avg: 5.00 ERA, 3.3 BB/9, 6.6 K/9, 1.3 HR/9
gb: 41%
pitches: 76% fb, 12% cb, 7% sl, 5% ch
r/l: avg
h/a: a little worse at home

Jason Hammel (R):

proj avg: 4.60 ERA, 3.7 BB/9, 6.7 K/9, 1.1 HR/9
gb: 44%
pitches: 63% fb, 16% sl, 11% ch, 10% cb
r/l: better against lefties, but not at any particular skill
h/a: better at home, but not that much so