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Saturday, July 03, 2004

More Fun w/ Stats... 

The Phils continue to be an offensive juggernaut (note, I am not including Friday night's bloodbath):

GPA: (1.8 * .OBP + .SLG) / 4
1. Philadelphia: .269
2. Colorado: .265
3. San Francisco: .264
4. St. Louis: .263
5. Chicago: .261
6. Houston: .260
7. Cincinnati: .258
8. Los Angeles: .253
9. Atlanta: .251
10. Milwaukee: .250
11. Florida: .250
12. Pittsburgh: .250
13. Arizona: .248
14. New York: .245
15. San Diego: .246
15. Montreal: .228
(as of July 2, 2004)

(Five strike-outs on Friday night aside, Jim Thome is still carrying this team: .357 GPA / .387 ISO / .567 SecAvg.)

ISO (Isolated Power): .SLG - .BA = .ISO
1. Philadelphia: .183
1. Chicago: .183
3. Colorado: .177
4. St. Louis: .171
5. Cincinnati: .168
6. Arizona: .164
7. Atlanta: .160
8. New York: .157
9. San Francisco: .155
10. Houston: .152
10. Florida: .152
12. Los Angeles: .146
13. Pittsburgh: .144
14. Milwaukee: .142
15. Montreal: .138
16. San Diego: .118
(as of July 2, 2004)

What got my interest looking at these stats was the fact that the Giants accomplished their rise in GPA largely on the back of their ability to get on base, with an NL leading .354 OBP (.009 higher than the Phils.) This team, aside from Barry Bonds, simply cannot hit the ball very far with consistency.

SecAvg (Secondary Average): (TB – H + BB + SB – CS) / AB = .SecAvg
1. Philadelphia: .314
2. Cincinnati: .296
3. San Francisco: .289
4. St. Louis: .281
5. Colorado: .280
6. Chicago: .271
7. New York: .267
8. Houston: .261
9. Atlanta: .261
10. Milwaukee: .258
10. Arizona: .258
12. Florida: .253
13. Los Angeles: .241
14. Montreal: .234
15. San Diego: .221
16. Pittsburgh: .215
(as of July 2, 2004)

Secondary average is a fun stat because it includes steals, home runs, etc. Because it values base-stealing I can imagine that it is disfavored by sabremetrics types.

(Here's hoping Chase gets some playing time soon.)

Here are the Top 5 MLB teams in ISO and SecAvg:

1. Chicago White Sox: .195
2. New York Yankees: .190
3. Texas Rangers: .189
4. Chicago Cubs: .185
5. Philadelphia Phillies: .180
(as of July 3, 2004)

1. New York Yankees: .326
2. Philadelphia Phillies: .316
3. Chicago White Sox: .312
4. Boston Red Sox: .305
5. Cincinnati Reds: .295
(as of July 3, 2004)

Imagine what the Phils stats would look like with a DH ... (The Phils would also be fourth in the MLB with 429.6 runs created, behind the White Sox, Red Sox and Indians...)

Off subject: I remarked the other day to a friend that Survivor winner Jenna Morasca and Big Brother / Amazing Race contestant Alison Irwin both went to the University of Pittsburgh, my alma mater (they were probably freshmen when I finished). It made me think: I've never seen Penn State graduates win anything ...

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New Blog 

I just found a new blog, the Berks County Phillies Fans. Check 'em out.

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Friday, July 02, 2004

Powering up... 

We all know that the Phils broke the old team record for home runs in a month, but in case anyone was wondering just how good the Phils June was offensively aside from homers, check it out:

April: .252 / .161
May: .267 / .185
June: .281 / .202

(Send your "Thank-you for keeping us with the Marlins" cards to Thome...)

Compared with last year's month-by-month:
April: .257 / .142
May: .248 / .165
June: .255 / .157
July: .266 / .157
August: .259 / .162
September: .266 / .172

The Phils isolated power and gross productive average totals in both May and June exceeded every month of 2003 (June 2004's ISO was higher by about forty-five points over the previous June), so the Phils are hitting the long ball a lot more these days. What is intruging to me is the fact that the Phils starting a 14 game home-stand. Thome could have 33-35 home runs by the All-Star break. Overall, the Phils July 2004 numbers are going to look terrific ... Colorado Rockies terrific.

Good work, Jim!

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Random Thoughts... 

In a mildly stunning development the Phils have pulled a game ahead of the Fish in the standings. Which means regardless of what happens tonight between the Birds and Phils, the Phils will still be in at least a tie for first.

-Winning three out of four from the Expos was a nice start. (The Phils are 9-1 against them so far this season.) These three games against the Birds are troubling: they bring back painful reminders of June inter-league play…

-Not to nit-pick (not a lot to complain about when your team scores ten wins and wins comfortably) but why is Bowa so fixated on base-stealing?: in the fifth, with one out, Bowa sent Jason Michaels to second with Jimmy Rollins at the plate. Michaels gets thrown out and then Rollins proceeds to walk. I think Polanco made an out to end the inning. Why? If Rollins had walked the Phils would have had runners on first and second with one out. Fear of the double-play? (A legitimate fear, given the fact that Rollins is a ground ball hitter.) Now, instead of Abreu coming to the plate in the fifth with two on, Abreu starts the sixth with nobody on base. It was a wasted base-runner. (His decision to send Polanco in Sunday’s Red Sox game still baffles me.)

-A few weeks ago I commented on the differences between the Phils at home and on the road. Here are the current GPA / ISO numbers for the home and away:

Home (36 games): .269 / .207
Away (39 games): .266 / .164

Hangin’ Tough…

More later…

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Thursday, July 01, 2004

Quick note... 

Cardinals fans, please don't construe the fellow post as me talking smack on your team: I thought that both were pretty comparable in their personnel and evenly-matched. I plan on doing some more team-to-team comparisons soon. I think that it lays out a nice case for the argument that the Phils have the strongest trio (or foursome) in the league.

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3 v. 3 ... 

A little while ago I had a conversation with someone about how the Cardinals
"Big Three" of Pujols, Rolen and Edmonds stacked up against the Phils Burrell, Thome and Abreu trio. I suspected that Pujols, Rolen and Edmonds were probably a little better statistically than Burrell, Thome and Abreu, a reasonable assumption give how much attention the Cards offensive unit gets. How do they actually stack up?:

Thome: .420 / .708 / .366 / .400
Abreu: .439 / .571 / .340 / .268
Burrell: .391 / .498 / .300 / .216

Pujols: .401 / .596 / .329 / .296
Rolen: .416 / .621 / .342 / .279
Edmonds: .377 / .542 / .305 / .269

Generally speaking, the Phils come out ahead although Burrell is the weakest of the six and the Cards are all closely matched statistically: there is a big difference between Burrell and Thome and/or Abreu.

Secondary Average:
Thome: .580 / Abreu: .563 / Burrell: .404
Pujols: .466 / Edmonds: .443 / Rolen: .404

Again, the Cards are all about the same, while Thome (and Abreu, due to his ability to steal bases, a skill Pujols, Rolen and Edmonds all lack) is head-and-shoulders above the others.

Thome: 10.29
Abreu: 9.88
Burrell: 6.99

Rolen: 9.31
Pujols: 8.00
Edmonds: 7.38

Again, more of the same, although I hadn't expected Rolen to come out ahead statistically over Pujols. What really caught my eye about Pujols was this:

Abreu's skill at controlling the plate is impressive: despite hitting for power he still walks more often than he strikes out. Thome and Burrell sacrifice a lot of contact for power:

BB / K ratio:
Abreu: 1.15
Thome: 0.72
Burrell: 0.63

Unsurprisingly, Rolen and Edmonds are strikeout artists:
BB / K ratio:
Rolen: 0.69
Edmonds: 0.58

But look at Pujols:
BB / K ratio:
Puhols: 2.09

I did a double-take when I saw that and immediately went to look it up: 48 BB's, 22 K's. Wow. I'm extraordinarily impressed by Pujols ability to consistently make contact with the ball. It isn't just good: it is phenomenal.

Statistically, I'd give the edge to the Phils, and the difference becomes starker when you add in a fourth: David Bell is having a good year for the Phils:

OBP / SLG / GPA / ISO / SecAvg
Bell: .364 / .478 / .283 / .201 / .337

The Cards fourth hitter is Reggie Sanders, the ex-Pirate ... ex-everyone. Sanders looks a lot less impressive:

OBP / SLG / GPA / ISO / SecAvg
Sanders: .284 / .471 / .246 / .223 / .315

His OBP is pretty lousy, so when he isn't clobbering doubles and home runs, he's a pretty much automatic out. Not coincidentally, Sanders contributes far less to the Cards offense than Bell does for the Phils:

Bell: 5.95
Sanders: 4.87

(Of note- Bell: 0.80 BB / K ; Sanders: 0.18 BB / K)

In the final analysis, it must be said that the Phils middle of the order looks clearly superior to that of the Cards. Overall, the two teams are remarkably close (lead-off guys Renteria and Rollins have roughly similar BA's & OBP's), but the Phils look to be the superior team offensively. Now if they could improve their pitching...

(Stats current as of July 1, 2004.)

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Break Up the Devil Rays! 

I wanted to digress from my usual focus on the Phils to focus on the stunning June success of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. This team went from 18-31 in April & May to 20-6 in June. All with a payroll about $70 million less than the Phils.

It boggles the mind.

I'm not sure what prompted this burst by the Rays, but it is a terrific thing for baseball to see a team jump from mediocrity (actually, sub-mediocrity) to contender status. This is what makes the NFL so terrific: on any given Sunday the worst team in the NFL can score the biggest upset. In any given season a team can go from 1-15 to the Super Bowl (okay, in the case of the Panthers it took two seasons).

The Yankees perennial dominance over the AL makes baseball fans grow weary. Seeing the Devil Rays go from being an automatic W on team's schedules to a team that makes the Red Sox and Yankees look nervously over their shoulder is a wonderful, wonderful thing. I don't know anything about these guys. I couldn't name a single player on the Devil Rays team. Not one. And I couldn't care less.

Go Rays!

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Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Rollins: OBP machine? 

I looked up Jimmy Rollins OBP & GPA stats for this season and 2003, month-to-month. (I would have done more investigation if given a little more time.) I was curious about how much better Rollins got as the season wore on: Thome, as has been documented, has awful Aprils, mediocre Mays and spectacular Junes (this year being a notable exception). Here are Rollins stats:

2004: (OBP / GPA / ISO)
April: .263 / .185 / .085
May: .325 / .237 / .084
June: .375 / .292 / .117

They’ve shown a definite rise over the season and his numbers for June are fairly impressive: .375 OBP is about what you’d expect from your leadoff guy.

2003: (OBP / GPA / ISO)
April: .365 / .271 / .133
May: .305 / .233 / .107
June: .272 / .213 / .119
July: .357 / .261 / .115
August: .295 / .218 / .107
September: .345 / .264 / .178

Rollins numbers from 2003 are mildly encouraging: after June he seemed to get better overall, aside from August. Since Rollins has successfully lowered his strikeout rate this is brand-new territory for him. I’m not sure if we can expect him to turn into an OBP machine or if we should brace for the inevitable decline…

What the stats mean:
GPA (Gross Productive Average): (1.8 * .OBP + .SLG) / 4 = .GPA
ISO (Isolated Power): .SLG - .BA = .ISO

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Team GPAs - Guess Who is First? 

I haven’t been keeping track of GPA stats of late for teams, but here we are:

GPA (Gross Productive Average): (1.8 * .OBP + .SLG) / 4 = .GPA
1. Philadelphia: .268
2. Colorado: .265
3. San Francisco: .264
4. St. Louis: .263
5. Chicago: .262
6. Houston: .260
7. Cincinnati: .258
8. Los Angeles: .254
9. Florida: .250
10. Pittsburgh: .249
11. Milwaukee: .249
12. Atlanta: .248
13. Arizona: .246
14. San Diego: .246
15. New York: .244
16. Montreal: .227

I’m not so much surprised to see the Phils in first place so much as I am stunned to see Colorado out of it: I’m sure there is a Citizens factor there, and there is an Expos factor as well, but that is still very impressive: the Phils have the NL’s best offense or, at the very least, the most efficient one.

This is an impressive achievement, largely the product of Thome and Abreu’s terrific work this season.

I would note also that the Phils division-mates have the ninth, twelfth, fifteenth and sixteen best offenses in the NL. The Phils pitching staff needs to shut these guys down. They can do it.

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Just Remember ... It is the Expos ... It is the Expos ... It is the Expos ... 

While it is terrific to watch the Phils offense light the opposition up with 31 runs in two games just keep repeating to yourself: it is just the Expos, it is just the Expos ...

A few random thoughts:

-Milton is the worst 10-game winner I have ever seen. The guy gives up seven runs in five innings and he still wins?

-Two more games of this ... I wonder what the record for runs scored in a four game homestand are? The Phils did set a record last night with 43 home runs in the month of June, breaking the old record set in June, 1977.

-Uh-oh ... Pat Burrell was injured last night ... please don't tell me that this means playing time for Glanville ...

-I caught about 5 minutes of ESPN's Outside the Lines last night before bed. It was about the use of stats in baseball and they interviewed Michael Lewis of Moneyball as well as Riccardi in Toronto, a scout Riccardi fired and replaced with statistical analysis, and some other old-school baseball guys. I thought it sounded pretty interesting and I had wished I could have taped it. Anyone know if they repeat them?

Alright. Sorry about the decline in posts. Bar exam studies come first.

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Tuesday, June 29, 2004


Stat update! Here are the Phils GPA, ISO, Secondary Average and RC27 stats for the season as of June 28, 2004:


Starting Lineup…
Thome: .370
Abreu: .328
Burrell: .292
Bell: .268
Lieberthal: .246
Rollins: .243
Polanco: .234

The Platoon…
Michaels: .311
Glanville: .161

The Bench…
Perez: .238
Pratt: .229
Utley: .220
Wooten: .153

Playing well in Scranton…
Byrd: .210

I was disappointed to see that Rollins hasn’t improved his GPA much in the last week. I thought that he might finally move last Lieberthal. Last night he was a measly 1 for 5 in the Phils stat-padding 14-6 win over the Expos … Meanwhile, I maintain that while Ledee is out, there should be a platoon of one in centerfield: Jason Michaels.

ISO / SecAvg:
Starting Lineup…
Thome: .413 / .583
Abreu: .255 / .543
Burrell: .198 / .397
Bell: .163 / .296
Lieberthal: .177 / .237
Rollins: .114 / .232
Polanco: .105 / .174

The Platoon…
Michaels: .175 / .404
Glanville: .041 / .149

The Bench…
Utley: .202 / .228
Perez: .200 / .253
Wooten: .068 / .091
Pratt: .051 / .186

Playing well in Scranton… Byrd: .079 / .164

Chase’s ISO numbers will go up thanks to his three run pinch-hit home run …

Starting Lineup…
Thome: 10.74
Abreu: 9.16

Burrell: 6.55
Bell: 4.99
Rollins: 4.66
Lieberthal: 4.21
Polanco: 3.50

The Platoon…
Michaels: 7.48
Glanville: 1.66

The Bench…
Perez: 4.32
Pratt: 3.96
Utley: 3.82
Wooten: 0.43

Playing well in Scranton…
Byrd: 2.84

Again: a platoon of one, Larry…

What the stats mean:
GPA (Gross Productive Average): (1.8 * .OBP + .SLG) / 4 = .GPA
ISO (Isolated Power): .SLG - .BA = .ISO
SecAvg (Secondary Average): (TB – H + BB + SB – CS) / AB = .SecAvg
RC/27 (Runs Created per 27 Outs): ESPN’s formula for Runs Created is simply too complex for me to replicate easily here. This is their stat based on what a hypothetical team of nine of the same player would score.

The Phils are scoring runs in bushels, but they are too darn inconsistent. Polanco and Rollins need to produce more... Last night they were 2 for 11.

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Monday, June 28, 2004

Not The Best Week Ever… 

This last week was, by any standard, grim. The Phils dropped four out of six. While the Red Sox were a tough foe it is disturbing that the Phils got hammered for 12 runs in two of the three games. The bottom-line from the Red Sox series is that the Phils pitching staff is very vulnerable this year. As for the Expos series: it is extremely disappointing to see them lose to the Expos, a team that dominated so far this year. This team needs to be consistent: when a gimmie win presents itself, take it.

Random thoughts:

-The Phils are opening a huge 14 game home stand. Now is the time to start winning some ball games. Four games against the Expos should be a nice tune-up for the Mets and Braves and Orioles. These are series they need to win to pull ahead of the Fish.

-I’m sure the Phils will be happy to leave the DH home: they gave up 24 runs in two games to the White Sox, 26 in three games to the Red Sox and 13 in three to the Twins. I’m sure that the Phils pitchers are breathing a sigh of relief.

-Larry Bowa was so upset that the Phils had to play the Red Sox and the Marlins got the Devil Rays: it is mildly funny to see that the Devil Rays have been playing like the 1929 Athletics (better team than the ’27 Yankees). Until they lost 2-1 to the Blue Jays on the 23rd, the Devil Rays had won 12 games in a row. In any case they took two out of three against the Fish, so the Phils can count themselves fortunate that the Devil Rays were the Fish’ foes and not some team like … I dunno, the Yankees.

-Given how badly the Phils pitching staff is doing it might be time to start looking for another starter. Hmm, is Randy Johnson on the block?

-I thought Jim Salisbury was right on the money with his piece in Sunday's Inquirer about the Phils needing to improve and fast. Particularly interesting was his note that the Devil Rays payroll is about $70 million less than the Phils, a team only about a game and a half back of the Phils.

I have a few more thoughts for later. Back to work, ya’ll!

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Red Sox 12, Phils 3… 

Remarkably I actually got to see a Phillies game this weekend. Typically I don’t because I live in Pittsburgh so I get the Pirates, and ESPN is obsessed with giving me the Astros and Cardinals and Reds, rather than the Phils. This weekend I was visiting my parents in Chester County (the reason I haven't been posting) and I actually caught the final two innings of the Red Sox and Phils. I always love listening to Harry Kalas’ voice on the TV. I can’t imagine baseball without him giving us the play-by-play. Nobody calls a game better. It was a joy to actually see the Phils in live action, but I’m sure anyone else who watched it was as unimpressed as I was at both the quality of the Phils play and the result.

The pitching staff got hammered badly, and the Phils choked with runners in scoring position: Burrell’s strike out in the seventh (I think) stands out in my mind, because he was swinging the bat to launch the ball into the outfield, not to make contact. June is shaping up like a grim replay of the ’03 season, when Abreu and Thome had to carry the team with very little help.

I’m sure all sabremetrics enthusiasts stood up and screamed bloody murder in the fifth when Polanco was caught stealing second and then Abreu doubled. Had Polanco been sitting on first he might have scored, or at the very least the Phils would have had runners at third and second with just one out, so Thome’s strike-out would have still left them with a chance to score. It was devastating: the Phils ran themselves out of a big inning by trying to manufacture runs. Bad idea, Larry. Bad idea.

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