Welcome to the Lou Marson Era

Lou MarsonBefore the start of the regular season, the Phillies traded one of their three MLB catchers, meaning that prospect Lou Marson was just an injury away from the big leagues.

After catching a pop-up in which he strained his ribcage yesterday, Carlos Ruiz may be headed to the DL [UPDATE, Zolecki: Ruiz to DL] and as such, Marson was a very late scratch from the lineup in last night’s AAA game. Yep, Lou Marson is headed to Colorado to join the Phillies.

If Marson performs well, he may force Ruben Amaro to make a trade — almost guaranteed to involve Chris Coste — at the July 31 deadline, assuming Ruiz regains his health.

How optimistic were the pre-season projections?

Lou Marson 2009 OPS Projections

The Phillies got a collective .694 OPS out of their catchers last year; .629 from Ruiz and .748 from Coste. Assuming Marson is at least as good defensively as Ruiz and Coste (which shouldn’t be hard), and assuming Marson lives up to what most of the projections foresee, the Phillies are actually upgrading at catcher.

A Depressing Chart

With four games in the books, Phillies pitching has allowed 9 home runs, an average of more than two per nine-inning game. To put that in perspective, no Major League pitcher averaged 2 HR/9 last season; the closest was Brandon Backe at 1.94. So far, the Phillies’ pitching — particularly the starting pitching — is worse than Backe in 2008.

The following chart, in which you are looking at the strike zone from the catcher’s perspective behind home plate, shows the location of all nine home runs the Phillies have allowed:

Philadelphia Phillies pitching, HR allowed

The additional information:

  • Brett Myers
    • Brian McCann: 83 MPH change-up (-0.445, 3.343)
    • Jeff Francoeur: 90.5 MPH four-seam fastball (-0.437, 2.791)
    • Jordan Schafer: 91 MPH four-seam fastball (-0.119, 2.336)
  • Jamie Moyer
    • Kelly Johnson: 79.5 MPH cut fastball (0.249, 2.792)
    • Chipper Jones: 77.5 MPH cut fastball (-0.803, 1.733)
  • Joe Blanton
    • Brian McCann: 90 MPH four-seam fastball (0.356, 2.533)
  • J.A. Happ
    • Jordan Schafer: 79 MPH change-up (0.283, 2.348)
  • Brad Lidge
    • Matt Diaz: 85 MPH slider (-0.006, 2.105)
  • Cole Hamels 
    • Garrett Atkins: 87.5 MPH four-seam fastball (-0.558, 2.919)

In case you’re unfamiliar, you can use the coordinates (in parentheses) to find the pitch in the chart. You use the first number to find the location along the X-axis and the second number for the Y-axis.

On an unrelated note, Ryan Howard grounded into three double plays in yesterday’s 10-3 loss to the Rockies. That marks the 75th time in baseball history that a player has had three or more double plays in one game.