Dom Brown’s Hands

At the Baseball Analytics blog, I used heat maps to verify that Mitch Williams‘ analysis of Domonic Brown seems to be correct: he needs to lower his hands so that pitchers can’t simply throw him up-and-in all the time.

The heat maps indicate that, although he was swinging at up-and-in pitches frequently, he was not successful —¬† not only in terms of hitting for power, but simply making contact.

Brown finished 2010 with a .271 wOBA, which ranked all the way down in the eighth percentile of Major League hitters with at least 100 plate appearances. If Brown is to blossom into the offensively-potent player the Phillies organization has long thought he would be, he may need to take the advice of Mitch Williams and lower his hands.

Future Phillies Wall of Famers

I was reading a quite interesting thread on a Phillies forum about the recent era of Phillies baseball and how many potential Hall of Famers have recently played or still play for the Phillies. The discussion took a bit of a detour as others wondered how many players will be added to the Phillies Wall of Fame out in Ashburn Alley.

Darren Daulton, a fixture of the 1993 team that made it to the World Series, was inducted last year. He followed the legendary Harry Kalas, whose plaque was proudly mounted in 2009. A look through the list reveals a lot of players from the 1980 World Series champion team, including Tug McGraw, Garry Maddox, and Dallas Green. In fact, of the 32 Phillies Wall of Famers, 13 were a part of the 1980 team.

Presumably, more of the ’93 team will be included, and then the 2008-era Phillies will get their turn. Before we speculate as to which of the more recent Phillies will get their plaque, let’s take a look at the current Wall of Fame and try to find some trends.

The Wall of Fame tends to lag by a few years. The first member of the 1980 team to be inducted was Paul Owens in 1988. He was immediately followed by Steve Carlton, Mike Schmidt, and Larry Bowa in ’89 through ’91. Juan Samuel was the first (and only) member of the ’83 team who was not a part of the ’80 team to be inducted (in 2008). And, as mentioned, Daulton was enshrined in 2010 for being a part of the ’93 team.

Between the three eras, we have spans of 8, 25, and 17 years. If that is in any way indicative of the way things will continue, the earliest we can expect a member of the 2008 team to get up on the wall is 2016.

Phillies Wall of Famers played an average of 11 seasons with the team or spent an average of 13 seasons in another capacity (general manager, manager, coach).

Elsewhere, only two inductees never played for the Phillies: former GM Paul Owens, who also managed for three seasons, and Harry Kalas, who was the voice of the Phillies for 39 seasons. Five others played for the Phillies and were seen in another role such as coaching: Chuck Klein, Larry Bowa, Gavvy Cravath, Tony Taylor, and John Vukovich.

Onto the fun stuff: which recent Phillies can we expect to see on the Wall of Fame? I will list my candidates below in no particular order.

Ryan Howard: Unarguably the best first baseman in franchise history. He won the Rookie of the Year award in 2005, the Most Valuable Player award in ’06, and has led the league in home runs twice (’06 and ’08) and RBI three times (’06 and ’08-09). Will undoubtedly finish his career with the second-most home runs as a Phillie. He currently sits at 253, just behind the 259 of Del Ennis, and well behind the 548 of Mike Schmidt.

Jimmy Rollins: Rollins became the face of the franchise, breaking out in 2006 with a 25-HR season. In ’07, a year in which he won the National League MVP award, he became one of four other players to post a season with at least 20 doubles, triples, home runs, and stolen bases. Known for his great defense, having won three Gold Glove awards. If his Phillies career extends beyond 2011, he will likely finish second in Phillies history in stolen bases. He currently sits at 343 in fourth place. His pre-season proclamations in ’07 and ’08 seemed to give the Phillies an attitude they had been lacking for nearly 15 years.

Chase Utley: Baseball’s best second baseman five years running (2005-09). He wasn’t a face of the franchise like Howard and Rollins, but had some memorable moments of his own. In the ’09 World Series, he tied Reggie Jackson‘s record for home runs with five. Utley is a five-time All-Star with four Silver Slugger awards and will go down as the best second baseman in franchise history.

Pat Burrell: Spent the majority of his career as a Phillie, posting some great offensive seasons, twice finishing with a .900 or better OPS (’02 and ’07). Currently sits fourth all-time in Phillies history in home runs and seventh in RBI.

Bobby Abreu: One of the most productive players (offensively speaking) in franchise history. Posted five consecutive seasons with a .900 or better OPS (1998-2002), was twice an All-Star, and won one Silver Slugger and one Gold Glove. Has the highest on-base percentage in franchise history among players who played after the Dead Ball Era. Abreu also has the seventh-highest slugging percentage.

Carlos Ruiz: Rapidly became a fan favorite because of his obvious love of the game. He was never expected to become a Major Leaguer, much less a productive one, but he finished 2010 as one of the most valuable catchers in all of baseball. Was the receiver for Roy Halladay‘s perfect game against the Florida Marlins and his no-hitter against the Cincinnati Reds in Game One of the 2010 NLDS. Respected by every pitcher that has passed through Philadelphia, especially Halladay.

Brad Lidge: Was a perfect 48-for-48 in save opportunities in 2008, including 41-for-41 during the regular season. Eric Gagne is the only other closer to have a perfect season.

Cole Hamels: Named the MVP of the 2008 World Series as part of a pitching staff of which he was the ace. Led the league in WHIP (’08) and shut-outs (’09). By the time his Phillies career is over, he may be a slam dunk Wall of Famer.

Jayson Werth: His stint with the Phillies was short, but the team made the playoffs every year he donned Phillies red (2007-10). He finished four consecutive seasons with an .860 or better OPS and he played quite well defensively in right field, throwing out a total of 37 runners (avg. about 9 per season).

Ryan Madson: Rarely the closer, Madson has nonetheless been (arguably) the most dominant reliever in franchise history. Finished with a 3.26 ERA or lower in each of the past four seasons. In 2010, he joined Billy Wagner, Doug Jones, and Dick Hall as Phillies relievers with a 4.9 or better strikeout-to-walk ratio, minimum 40 innings.

Jamie Moyer: Set a plethora of age-related records in his four-plus seasons as a Phillie. Won 56 games in his age 43-47 years with the Phillies. His start in Game Three of the 2008 World Series was crucial to their winning in five games over the Tampa Bay Rays. Became known as a pitching guru; a secondary pitching coach behind Rich Dubee. Also respected as a leader in the clubhouse and for his charitable efforts with the Moyer Foundation.

Charlie Manuel: The toast of the town managed the Phillies since 2005 to an aggregate .560 winning percentage (avg. 91 wins per 162 games). Led the Phillies to four consecutive post-season berths, three consecutive NL pennant bids, two World Series, and one title. His team led the Majors in wins in 2010. He is also credited, as a hitting guru, for helping many of the hitters out of slumps.

Pat Gillick: Although he was the GM for a short time (three seasons), he left his mark on the team. He helped end the Phillies’ long playoff drought and made some very significant transactions, including trading away Jim Thome and Bobby Abreu, and acquiring Brad Lidge. He also gave Jayson Werth a shot at redemption which turned out to be one of the most important signings in franchise history.

Chris Wheeler: Like Harry Kalas, “Wheels” has been part of Phillies games for a long, long time — 34 years, to be exact. At times, he can be “goofy” (as he would say) but he has been as much a part of Phillies baseball as any of the players.

Depending on what happens in the future, cases can be made for Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Shane Victorino, and Ruben Amaro Jr., among others.

If you can think of some other candidates or disagree with any of those listed above, feel free to share in the comments below.