Phillies-Giants NLCS Preview: Starting Eight

The Phillies are four wins away from a third consecutive World Series appearance. If that happens, they would be the the first National League representative to accomplish that feat since the 1942-44 St. Louis Cardinals. While the San Francisco Giants played four tough games with the Atlanta Braves, the Phillies made quick work of the Cincinnati Reds, riding the arms of Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels in the best-of-five. How do the Giants and Phillies compare? We’ll look at the starting eight in this preview.

Rather than repeat all of the Phillies-related analysis, I’ll just direct you to what was written in this NLDS preview. The analysis here is strictly Giants-related, but at the end I’ll do a position-by-position comparison.

Catcher

Buster Posey is neck-and-neck with Jason Heyward in the NL Rookie of the Year award race. He quickly became one of baseball’s premier catchers, entering into the same stratosphere as Joe Mauer and Brian McCann. His .368 wOBA ranked third in the Majors, just a couple points ahead of Carlos Ruiz. Like Ruiz, Posey has been praised for his intangibles — his ability to handle a pitching staff, call a game, and remain calm under pressure for example. Posey has held the running game in check as well, throwing out 37 percent of base-stealers. Since being called up, Posey has mostly hit fourth in the Giants’ batting order.

For a power hitter in the middle of the Giants’ lineup, Posey hit a few too many grounders — nearly 50 percent of his batted balls were of the ground ball variety during the regular season. Ryan Howard, by comparison, hits ten percent fewer grounders and five percent more line drives and fly balls. While Posey has quickly become one of the more potent bats in the league, he is also one that can be comfortably pitched to with runners on base when a double play is needed.

First Base

Going into the 2010 season, no one would have expected Aubrey Huff to out-produce Ryan Howard by 20 points in wOBA, especially considering the dimensions of the players’ home ballparks. Huff turned in a fine season, ranking second among National League first basemen in wOBA at .388. The biggest change was found in his 12 percent walk rate, way higher than his eight percent career average. The rest of his peripherals stayed near his career averages. Huff and his .385 on-base percentage will hit third, in front of Buster Posey. While the Giants’ offense doesn’t inspire fear, Huff and Posey are certainly able to create stressful innings for the Phillies’ starting rotation.

Second Base

Freddy Sanchez is about as average a player as you will find in Major League Baseball. His .326 career wOBA is, yes, almost exactly average. His 9.3 UZR/150 sticks out but he is more likely to be found near his 5.1 career mark which is good, but not great. Sanchez hits a lot of ground balls, making him another double play candidate for the Phillies’ mostly grounder-oriented starting rotation. He is not a threat to steal bases with only four attempts on the season.

Third Base

After his great 2009 season, Pablo Sandoval was believed to be the next great thing to come out of San Francisco along with Tim Lincecum. His .314 wOBA during the 2010 regular season is a drastic 82 points lower than it was last year. His 60 point drop in BABIP has a lot to do with it but there’s been almost no change in his batted ball splits aside from an increase in infield pop-ups. He has simply lost his ability to hit for power. His .140 ISO is in the same company as Jhonny Peralta and Marlon Byrd — it’s not nonexistent but nowhere near the .226 he had last season.

Worst of all, Sandoval grounded into 26 double plays, the most in the National League. He found himself in 137 situations in which he could have grounded into a double play, meaning that he did so in one out of every five such situations — 20 percent. That is a terribly high rate. By comparison, Posey and Sanchez — who we labeled as GIDP candidates — had a rate of about 12 percent each.

Defensively, Sandoval is about average according to UZR.

The Giants, however, had been starting Mike Fontenot at third base. As Andrew Baggarly writes for MercuryNews.com:

It could be that neither [Sandoval nor Fontenot] will start when it comes time for Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels to pitch. There’s a good chance Juan Uribe would move to third base and Edgar Renteria would start at short.

Sandoval has much more offensive upside than Fontenot, but the hack-happy Panda also over-rotated on almost every swing during the first two games of the Braves series. Neither is stellar at third base, but Fontenot might be better able to slow down the game because of his playoff experience.

It will probably come down to this: The Giants won both games after switching to Fontenot, and Bochy is from the “ain’t broke, don’t fix it” school of managing.

Shortstop

Hey, another GIDP candidate! Uribe grounded into 20 double plays, fifth most in the NL, with a conversion rate of 16 percent. Aside from that, though, Uribe was about average offensively. His 24 HR and 85 RBI are gaudy, often overshadowing his lackluster on-base percentage. His .192 ISO is in the same company as Delmon Young and Lyle Overbay. In other words, Uribe is not to be feared. To his credit, though, Uribe has shown much better plate discipline as he increased his walk rate and decreased his strikeout rate.

UZR likes Uribe’s defense — in fact, it likes all Giants defenders — with a 3.3 UZR/150 this year. It’s not impressive, but it’s better than average and exactly in line with his career numbers.

Left Field

After struggling in Tampa Bay for a while, Pat Burrell finally found his niche in San Francisco. He’s back to being the “Pat the Bat” we grew to admire in his nine years in Philadelphia. His 2010 numbers are, across the board, very close to his career averages. Unlike his teammates, Burrell hits a lot of fly balls and comparatively very few grounders which is why he’s hit 18 home runs and grounded into only five double plays with the Giants. Burrell’s calling card is incredible plate discipline but he still strikes out frequently.

In 632 defensive innings, Burrell — somehow — received high marks, with a 10.7 UZR/150. I’m highly skeptical, given his career -6.4 mark. Last year, Raul Ibanez was at 5.0 but regressed to -8.4 this year. Burrell is definitely someone opposing teams prefer to have in the field given his lack of mobility.

Center Field

Andres Torres may be the National League’s most surprising player. Among Major League center fielders, Torres tied for the fourth-highest wOBA at .363. Drafted by the Florida Marlins in the 1997 draft and again by the Detroit Tigers in the ’98 draft, Torres spent time in the Minors with the Chicago White Sox, Texas Rangers, Minnesota Twins, the Tigers again, and the Chicago Cubs before landing with the Giants last year. His numbers in the Minors were never really impressive until 2008 with the Triple-A Iowa Cubs. Now, he’s evolved into a poor man’s Jayson Werth — he can hit for power (.211 ISO), run the bases (7.0 EQBRR), and field his position very well (career 11.7 UZR/150).

His mediocre .343 OBP isn’t ideal hitting lead-off for the Giants, but he’s been one of their most consistently productive players.

Right Field

There’s our old friend Cody Ross, former Florida Marlin. Ross has hit more home runs against the Phillies (13) than against any other opponent. However, he is simply another average player as his .324 wOBA and career 1.0 UZR/150 in the outfield illustrate. Ross hits for occasional power but he has not been as productive a hitter as we saw when he was with the Marlins.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy will move Ross from right to left field late in games when he removes Burrell for defensive purposes — a familiar tactic to Phillies fans.

Summary

  • Catcher: Push
  • First base: Giants
  • Second base: Phillies
  • Third base: Phillies
  • Shortstop: Phillies
  • Left field: Giants
  • Center field: Giants
  • Right field: Phillies

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63 comments

  1. Dennis

    October 13, 2010 07:09 AM

    Aubry Huff over Ryan Howard? Come on. Andreas Torres is on steroids

  2. Chris

    October 13, 2010 08:05 AM

    Torres over Victorino is a joke. Burrell over Ibanez I disagree with. Burrell won’t hit good pitching. He only hits mistakes. Ibanez has been good the second half. I can’t argue with Huff over Howard. The contract they gave Howard was worse than the Cliff Lee trade if for no other reason than supply/demand economics. There are plenty 1st basemen with number close to Howard the last 4 years.

  3. Bill Baer

    October 13, 2010 08:12 AM

    Torres: .343 OBP, .479 SLG, 7.0 EQBRR, 11.7 career UZR/150
    Victorino: .327 OBP, .429 SLG, 5.8 EQBRR, 3.7 career UZR/150

  4. Chris

    October 13, 2010 08:16 AM

    Victorino – most hits in Philly’s post season history.
    Torres – First postseason appearance, Currently .176 OBP

  5. John

    October 13, 2010 08:40 AM

    I agree on all fronts witht the exception of Burrell/Ibanez. Ibanez isn’t terribly better than Burrell, but it’s at least a push. I’d also like to see you compare lineup slot to lineup slot. For example, comparing Ruiz to Posey when one hits 4th and one hits 8th doesn’t give as clear a picture as comparing Howard to Posey since will be the number 4 hitters.

  6. Trevor

    October 13, 2010 08:46 AM

    Huff’s definitely put together a nice season. In Howard’s defense, however, I do feel that we’d be seeing much better numbers had he not been sidelined with that ankle injury. Prior to the injury, he was on quite a hot streak followed by a terrible week or two coming off of it. For this reason, I’d be a little hesitant to say that Huff has a clear edge here.

    Utley is certainly another example, though obviously much more affected by injury than Howard. His 73 point dip in OPS from 2009 to 2010 would normally be cause for concern, but I don’t think anyone is under the impression that he’s in any sort of decline.

    You see a similar thing happen when comparing both teams overall offensive numbers for this season. It may come as a surprise that there’s fairly little difference between the two in terms of runs/game, OBP, SLG. However, if you consider the Phillies’ epic slump in May/June coupled with the injuries to Utley, Howard, Polanco, etc, it stands to reason that these numbers are not necessarily indicative of the team’s true offense output or potential output.

  7. Jon

    October 13, 2010 08:49 AM

    Seems about right. I think fans might have a bit of a surprise reaction (wow, Phils only better at four positions!?) because simply stating “advantage: team” doesn’t show the chasmsic (is that a word?) advantage the Phils have at 2B and in RF.

  8. Ted

    October 13, 2010 08:53 AM

    Not surprisingly, I agree with everything you have here Bill. If you value playoff experience you might say the Phillies have the edge at catcher with Ruiz, but from what I saw from Posey in the NLDS I think it’s very fair to call them even.

    Anyone who thinks Howard is better than Huff is insane. Howard going to get owned in this series with the Giants throwing out 2 left-hand starters in addition to Lopez who is a slider throwing machine in the bullpen. Add the fact that Lincecum likes the high fastball + slider down and away combination, which Howard routinely chases, and things really don’t look so good for Howard in this series.

  9. Richard

    October 13, 2010 08:59 AM

    I’m not that data from surprising single years from old-ish players (Torres, Huff) is sufficient to tell us that those players are “better” in a given short series than their counterparts (Victorino, Howard). It’s true enough that they had better regular seasons in 2010, and that, for example, Torres has better career defensive value than Victorino… but beyond that, what can be said? Do I think the edge should be sifted to the Phillies side, then? Not necessarily; those guys are old-ish too. Maybe they’ve sunk to new performance levels. But one year is not enough information for either group.

    (That said, I’m nervous about the Phillies having the edge everywhere… can’t wait for these games to start, damn.)

  10. Richard

    October 13, 2010 09:00 AM

    uh…. opening to my comment should read “I’m not *sure*”… re-write problems.

  11. Ed

    October 13, 2010 09:11 AM

    Trevor – while I agree with your point of view – wouldn’t evaluating “potential” verses “true” offensive output be evaluating the effectiveness of the manager? Which manager is more effective – one that wins with less talent (potential) or one that wins with great talent? See Dallas Cowboys.

    Great blog – thanks for the interesting reading.

  12. Scott G

    October 13, 2010 09:19 AM

    Bill,

    I agree with your analysis at every position. However, aren’t career numbers more predictive than season numbers if for no other reason than a bigger sample? Obviously recent performance (2010) should be weighted more heavily than 2006, but I would have to say that 1B should be a push. Yes, Huff was pretty good this year, but it came from nowhere.

    If anyone wants to see the lineup breakdown, I posted it on my site (click my name) yesterday. It consists of the batters and pitching rotations. For batters the stats are wOBA for 2010, career, and career splits vs LHP/RHP. For pitchers it’s OPS against for the same breakdown.

  13. Cosmo

    October 13, 2010 09:28 AM

    I agree with the analysis, but not the summarization. I think alot of us would prefer if the actual degree of advantage were in some way listed. I know it’d make me feel better to see that while Aubrey Huff actually out-produced Ryan Howard (thus a Giants advantage), it pales in comparison to the chasm (nice Jon) between Werth and Ross. Maybe a quick and dirty fWAR tally of the starting 8?

  14. Bill Baer

    October 13, 2010 09:40 AM

    Eh, I wouldn’t be a fan of using WAR here especially since I’m in disagreement with some of the UZR grades — particularly for Pat Burrell. But, since you asked:

    (Click to enlarge)

    Total: PHI 27.7; SFG 28.1

    I know the total favoring the Giants will seem odd, but consider how much time the Phillies’ regulars missed due to injury.

  15. B

    October 13, 2010 09:48 AM

    Ruiz and Posey a push? Interesting. A .280 career BABIP guy needs a .335 BABIP just to equal the other guy’s offensive performance, and it’s a push? Do you think his .366 wOBA this year or his .326 career wOBA is a better indicator of how good he is?

  16. Bill Baer

    October 13, 2010 09:52 AM

    Ruiz is objectively hitting more balls harder — he’s had a 5% reduction in fly balls, spread about evenly to an increase in line drives and ground balls. Fly balls have the lowest BABIP of the three broad categories of batted balls.

    I don’t think Ruiz is .335 BABIP good but I also don’t think he’s a .280 BABIP hitter anymore either.

  17. KH

    October 13, 2010 10:03 AM

    I don’t think its fair to look at just this year in a vacuum when evaluating guys. Ryan Howard had an injury which totally screwed his season. He lost close to a month and when he came back it took two weeks to get right again. Aubrey Huff pulled basically a career year out of his butt. If you had to choose a guy right now Bill would you really take Aubrey Huff over Ryan Howard? Ryan Howard and Aubrey Huff at best is a push for the Giants imo. Also, I feel Burrell and Ibanez is a push. The fact of the matter is it doesn’t bode well for the Giants imo that most of there best offensive players (Posey, Burrell, and Huff) are basically pushes when looked at in close to the best/most shortsighted possible light versus there counterparts on the Phillies. Also, I could pile on talking about Torres. This is another guy who pulled a career year out of his butt. Shane Victorino was clearly a superior player to this guy before this year. Torres looked like crap against the Braves.

  18. MIKE

    October 13, 2010 10:08 AM

    There is no length that Sabermetricians won’t go to in order to ridicule Ryan Howard. What happened Bill? Were you standing outside the stadium and he wouldn’t give you an autograph? I can’t decide whether the stats are racist or whether Bill is.

  19. Ted

    October 13, 2010 10:40 AM

    Mike you are an idiot. Bill’s argument is not that Ryan Howard is terrible, but rather he’s not as good as you make him out to be. Discounting the sabermetric stats for a minute and just look at in-game performance, it is very obvious how teams can neutralize Howard’s effectiveness. Just look at his performance in the NLDS (albeit a small sample size) and you can clearly see the Reds had no trouble dealing with Howard as he only hit three singles: a bloop single against the shift, an infield single against the shift, and one clean hard-hit single. And all that was against RHPs, need I not remind you what happened when Chapman came in to face Howard in game 2.

  20. Dukes

    October 13, 2010 10:42 AM

    Mike, sabermetricians only say what sabermetrics point out. That Ryan Howard isn’t as good as most people think he is. Even without sabermetrics, just looking at the way Huff and Howard have been playing, I think Huff is set up to have a better series than Howard.

    A question that sabermetrics won’t answer though is which Jayson Werth will show up. The graph shows Werth as a huge advantage over Ross, but will we see the guy who whiffs on one knee at the high fastball or the guy who is able to hit the ball to right field?

  21. Dukes

    October 13, 2010 10:44 AM

    Ted…or when Marte came in for the Yankees last year to face Howard.

  22. Moose

    October 13, 2010 11:23 AM

    I feel like people highly over-rate Victorino as well. To me, he is an average to slightly above average baseball player. Can someone provide the numbers/analysis to back that up?

  23. Cosmo

    October 13, 2010 11:39 AM

    Victorino and Howard get overrated because they’re likeable, fan favorite guys and I love them for it. However, the stats do not, and it doesn’t take a ton of delving to see that Shane is a rather average offensive player and probably an overrated fielder.
    Mr Baer, since you’re not in love with the UZR quality and lost-playing time factor, how bout a VORP graph?

  24. e

    October 13, 2010 11:55 AM

    sabermetrics don’t like black people?

    the best thing i ever heard regarding non believers.

  25. Goofus

    October 13, 2010 11:56 AM

    Bill,
    I’m a Giants fan and came to similar conclusions. Your is a good, fair analysis. Some of the comments you’ve received seem to be Philly fans not willing to admit these team are more evenly matched than they want to believe. The Phillies ranked #5 in the league in team OPS+ and the Ginats ranked #6, so I think factoring in park differences is an eye-opener.

    As for the comments about Torres being not for real, they might not realize that he re-built his swing from being “slappy” to driving the ball. He was also diagnosed with ADD/ADHD and credits the meds for helping his focus, much like pitcher Scott Eyre’s career was helped.

  26. B

    October 13, 2010 12:09 PM

    There’s very little predictive value in those stats you’re using. You’re much better off assuming he’s still the same hitter he’s always been (or rather, using a 3 year weighted average as Marcels does) than assuming he’s actually undergone some sort of significant change in his talent level. When guys have flukey BABIP years, their batted ball profiles don’t stay the same, but that doesn’t mean that change in batted ball profile is permanent. It’s not. Batted ball profiles are subject to quite a bit of random variation, with that random variation correlating with the random variation in BABIP. Long winded way of saying if you’re a betting man, the smart money is on Ruiz being a .280 BABIP guy.

  27. sutton

    October 13, 2010 12:26 PM

    Can you do a post showing whether your pre-Reds series predictions were accurate predictors? Were the position players you said would be better actually better after the games were played? I’d be curious to know how the before and after numbers compared. Great site by the way.

  28. Dino

    October 13, 2010 12:29 PM

    The Giants have the worst lineup of any of the remaining 4 teams.

  29. GiantFaninDodgerLand

    October 13, 2010 12:37 PM

    And arguably the best pitching. Should be a great series.

  30. Bill Baer

    October 13, 2010 01:22 PM

    I’d be curious to know how the before and after numbers compared.

    I have no idea how many of my predictions were right — although I do know I nailed Mike Sweeney getting only one AB — but in such a short series, any success or failure is almost meaningless given the small sample.

  31. bill

    October 13, 2010 02:04 PM

    Victorino (at least this year) is way different depending on whether he’s hitting left or right. He’ll get to hit right-handed in at least 2 games, possibly 3. Victorino this year hitting righty – 320/380/554 for an .934 OPS. On the flip side – 233/305/376 lefty.

    Also Posey v. Ruiz is close to a wash, but I’d give the defensive edge to Ruiz at the moment.

  32. Conshy Matt

    October 13, 2010 02:15 PM

    Googus – there has been a considerable spike in baseball players “diagnosed” with ADD these past couple of years.

    i believe that ritalin, etc. are uppers, akin to the greenies big leaguers used to take.

    it’s a new way to cheat in baseball, albeit a form of “legal” cheating.

    this giants lineup is simply not that scary. your season’t hopes rest on pat the bat’s shoulders. that can’t be good.

  33. Phylan

    October 13, 2010 02:22 PM

    VORP is also counting so lost playing time will still be factored in. You could do VORP rate.

  34. Sanj

    October 13, 2010 03:00 PM

    Oh man, now Aubrey Huff is better than Ryan Howard? I guess I should not be surprised since Sabermetricians believe players like Corey Koskie and Randy Winn dwarf Howard’s acheivements (sports.espn.go.com/mlb/columns/story?id=4740695). The sabermetrician hate for Ryan Howard is seriously getting to the point of absurdity. Is he not the reigning NLCS MVP. What award, all-star appearance, accolade, pat on the back has Aubrey Huff ever received? I really don’t understand in what way he has slighted you, because statements like these are obviously based on personal bias.

  35. Dave

    October 13, 2010 03:00 PM

    Dungeons and Dragons is so passé. I get my kicks from playing online Risk like everyone else.

  36. Moose

    October 13, 2010 03:28 PM

    I like sabermetrics, but I don’t know how to calculate them and what they all mean but I think they are very valuable. I used to be a “ZOMG he has 18 wins hes so good” fan until about my freshman year of college. I learned the more meaningful stats. So I just don’t get how people can throw away sabermetrics as trash but keep ERA and wins and saves; they were new stats once too. It also blows my mind that people refuse to believe Howard is not nearly as good as they think he is

  37. Goofus

    October 13, 2010 03:57 PM

    Conshy Matt
    As the parent and coach of a son who has ADD/ADHD, I can tell you from experience it’s not simply a way to cheat. Without his medication, my son drops about every fourth ball. With them, he catches nearly everything. (It has nothing to do with being amped up.)

    With Torres, coaches would give him simple instructions like steal on the next pitch and he’d forget. He’d also lose track of the number of outs. It’s strictly a focus thing.

  38. Chris

    October 13, 2010 04:42 PM

    Ryan Howard had one phenomenal year (’06), 2 very good years (’07 and ’09), and 2 relatively average years (’08 and ’10) considering how the majority of baseball fans view him and the amount of money he is going to be paid. His numbers haven’t been bad, but Howard is viewed by most fans as one of the “elite” offensive players of the game. In reality, he’s probably going to average out through his career as a top ~30-40 player each season offensively, not a top 10-15. Oppose that to Chase Utley, who is top 15-20 offensively every year except this past year, has been the best defensive 2nd basemen over the past 5 years as well as a top 15-20 defender overall, yet has never won even a gold glove, let alone a single 1st place MVP vote. Even in this, arguably his worst year since becoming a full-time player, he’s been the best all-around 2nd baseman in the majors, yet will likely receive no recognition for it unless he hits like 7 more home runs this postseason.

  39. CH Phan

    October 13, 2010 04:48 PM

    Dukes: I’m keenly aware that I could live to regret this — but Werth’s solid hitting in the past month or so is a large part of the reason the team played so well and made the playoffs (that & the Braves & Mets tanked in tandem). Werth’s history is that he does well in the playoffs. At the moment, he doesn’t worry me (though his last AB against the Reds reminded me of July and gave me the creeps – forgetitforgetitforgetit).

    Howard is a bit of a concern. He didn’t show up until late in the WS last yr & isn’t hitting much now. Utley’s infield errors still linger. And Jimmy Rollins isn’t exactly himself, either on the field or in the line-up. If Charlie insists on keeping him in, then I’d like to see him look like himself.

    I’m less concerned with how allegedly good or bad the Giants are and more concerned with the fact that they’re the kind of team that knows how & when to take advantage of the small, dopey mistakes we’ve been making and have been getting away with up until now.

    My feeling about an NLCS against the Giants is not so much about pitching, or offense, or individual players, but more of a generalized feeling that we need to nail this or we could wind up paying for it.

  40. Rob

    October 13, 2010 05:13 PM

    Not just personal bias Sanj — racism.

  41. Dukes

    October 13, 2010 08:10 PM

    CH Phan,

    It’s funny how you bring up Werth’s last at bat against the Reds giving you the creeps. I think that at bat is a big reason why I wrote what I wrote above. It seemed to me during the season that his swinging from the knees approach went on for weeks once it started. I’m anxious to see which Jayson Werth shows up – I’m hoping it’s the put the ball in play Werth instead of the K on the high fastball Werth. If Werth is on we’re in good shape, he’s that good.

  42. Scott G

    October 13, 2010 09:30 PM

    Dukes and CH Phan

    Jayson Werth has been a beast the entire year. If you’re going to read some of the posts/comments on this site, please read most if not all of them. This has been covered before.

    This so called “slump” Werth was in must not have been that bad.

    OPS by month for Werth:
    April – .987
    May – .913
    June – .884
    July – .877
    August – .895
    Sept/Oct – .969

    Yes, the slump could be lost somewhere in the month of stats, but I’m not too worried about it when his stats look like that.

    Werth is a beast. I’m fairly certain that striking out isn’t an omen. It just happens. Look at your probable favorite player: Ryan Howard. Hey, I think Chase Utley has struck out before too.

  43. Dukes

    October 13, 2010 10:17 PM

    Scott G… You don’t have to be an ass and place demands on how often we read this site. And for what it’s worth, I read it pretty often.

    I never said anything in my post about Jayson Werth’s month to month totals, I just said that sometimes he goes on a streak of whaling away at the high fastball. It has never lasted for an entire month, but I’ll bet it has lasted for 5-7 days. As I said above, Jayson Werth can carry this team and I’m just hoping he lays of the high heat.

    And what’s with being all cute by saying Ryan Howard and Chase Utley have also struck out before? Really? I’m thinking you might actually be Jayson Werth.

  44. Scott G

    October 14, 2010 12:28 AM

    yeaaaa.. I’m not Jayson Werth, but I’m guessing you were just being cute ;)

    The point is that people tend to remember bad instances more readily than good instances. This exact point has been debated before by Bill Baer on this site. That’s why I mentioned reading it (being on top of what’s been discussed so as to not repeat brutal, subjective conversations). It wasn’t a demand, it just gets frustrating when people keep bringing up the same opinions that have been quelled.

    Jayson Werth is pretty consistent despite what people believe (as you just proved. It’s a common argument against Werth). Just because he Ks in one at-bat doesn’t mean that he’s in a slump. People strike out. He usually looks “ridiculous” when he takes healthy hacks at pitches and misses. There is really nothing wrong with that. He also got a single to right field in game 2 against the Reds. Later in the game he got an RBI single with RISP and 2 outs. Small sample size as well.

    I just don’t like when people fall into traps of saying he gets into these funks. The man was pretty close to the leader in the league in P/PA (he might have been #1, idk). His wOBA is pretty ridiculous. I have faith in him, and am prepared to take whatever he gives the team.

    Kind of a Werth love fest, but hey, the man’s worth it.

  45. Jim

    October 14, 2010 01:29 AM

    @B,

    Normally I would agree with you, but Ruiz is better across the board in just about everything; more selective at the plate, hitting the ball better, etc. If it was just a fluke improvement in batted ball profile, I would say Bill is being optimistic. But his numbers this year really do suggest that he somehow learned to be a better hitter this year.

    Granted, it’s just looking at the same coin from different sides. But if we’re talking smart money, a betting man would bet the Phillies to win the series. Do you really want to talk about smart money? Probably not.

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