Setting the Post-Season Roster

Matt Gelb gives his best guess as to what the Phillies’ 25-man roster will look like heading into the NLDS. There isn’t much that should surprise you, but the absence of Domonic Brown is quite noticeable. The Phillies protected him in four blockbuster trades (Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, and Hunter Pence), but he seems to have fallen out of favor with the club with his pre-season hamate bone injury and his poor performance in 209 regular season plate appearances.

Gelb suggests the Phillies will take six outfielders: the five you would expect and John Bowker. For as bad as people think Brown has been, Bowker has been worse at the Major League level. The former Giant and Pirate has a career .291 wOBA compared to Brown’s .307, and let’s not forget that Bowker has had 335 more trips to the plate. Furthermore, Brown shows better skills in the areas we know indicate legitimate skill. Brown has a great idea of the strike zone, striking out in just 16 percent of his PA and walking in 12 percent of them this year. Meanwhile, Bowker’s BB% and K% are six percent and 22 percent, respectively, for his career. Both have shown similar power, with Brown posting a .147 ISO (isolated power, or slugging percentage minus batting average) and Bowker at .152.

So, Brown would be slightly better overall, But is it worth getting flustered about? Not really. Gelb writes:

And in all honesty, this spot probably has little effect on the postseason. There are three pinch-hitters ahead of Bowker — Ross Gload, John Mayberry Jr. and Ben Francisco. If the Phillies need four pinch-hitters in a postseason game, they’re in trouble (or playing a long game).

It is, however, interesting  how the Phillies are choosing to handle Brown. They seem to be sending out different messages about Brown than they were sending going into spring training in March.

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17 comments

  1. mratfink

    September 15, 2011 10:27 AM

    the disturbing thing to me is how the fans have completely turned on brown. he is young and full of promise and yet whenever i read comments about brown people are already writing him off entirely. And the ways the phillies are handling him really don’t seem to dispute that kneejerk reaction

  2. Rob

    September 15, 2011 10:38 AM

    I think they Phillies are probably wary of putting Brown in another high pressure situation and having him perform poorly.

    He was really struggling at Lehigh Valley. At this point, they probably just want to shut him down and try again next year, even if he would be marginally better than Bowker.

  3. PhillyFriar

    September 15, 2011 10:39 AM

    I agree that I’d keep Brown over Bowker (and Moss, obviously, who some seem to be clamoring for), but there is one fact that lends support to Bowker: pinch hitting splits.

    Now, obvious caveat about small sample sizes and whatnot, but I do put a bit of faith in even smaller pinch hitting splits because, quite frankly, it’s a unique role. And Bowker has shown some interesting potential in that area. Career pinch hitting splits for the above three:

    Bowker: .282/.356/.423 — 87 PA — 9:22 BB:K
    Brown: .250/.286/.450 — 21 PA — 1:9 BB:K
    Moss: .211/.237/.351 — 59 PA — 1:20 BB:K

    Again, not a huge sample size in any case, but that’s where I think the BB:K can come in handy (to assess the quality of the at bats to some degree).

    Just my two cents, anyway. And needless to say, I’d take both Brown and Bowker over a guy with no hip who’s hitting .243/.257/.291 on the season.

  4. fresh

    September 15, 2011 10:56 AM

    thank god Podsednik’s body had to breakdown all year at Lehigh Valley >_> I’d love him in Bowker’s position right now.

  5. Alan

    September 15, 2011 10:58 AM

    Correct me if I’m wrong but Brown’s not eligible unless someone get’s hurt is he?

    To be eligible for a team’s playoff roster a player must be on any of the following as of midnight August 31:
    (a) the 25 man active roster
    (b) the disabled list,
    (c) the bereavement list,
    (d) the suspended list

    Brown wasn’t on any of these so he’s not eligible unless a position player goes on the 60 day DL where he can replace them with the Commissioner’s permission.

  6. Rob SJ

    September 15, 2011 11:07 AM

    Any thought to Orr over Martinez? He is a (slightly) better offensive player, and neither are likely to play in the field. Orr is also stealing at a higher clip, but that’s a small sample size. I see the most likely role for either as a pinch runner. Debating the 25th player is probably meaningless, but what else is there to debate these days? Unless you want another 100+ posts on Ryan Howard (please no).

  7. Rob SJ

    September 15, 2011 11:09 AM

    Alan, Contreras is hurt, Phillies can choose any organizational player to replace him. Gelb covers this in his article.

  8. Alan

    September 15, 2011 11:15 AM

    Well yes but I think he’s wrong! You can only replace like for like so they could only call up a pitcher.

  9. Jon

    September 15, 2011 11:17 AM

    Hey Bill,

    I think you have Bowker’s K% and BB% flip flopped with respect to their place in the sentence. If Bowker’s only K’ing 6% and BB’ing 22%, I’d say that’s great, haha.

  10. Richard

    September 15, 2011 11:18 AM

    I think that’s if someone gets hurt during the post-season, Alan.

  11. Mike

    September 15, 2011 11:37 AM

    Agreed that the fans’ turning on Brown is disappointing. Not surprising, but disappointing.

    I continue to hope that – as with the fan backlash against Cole Hamels circa 2009 (or Mike Schmidt during most of his career) – they’ll be eating crow soon enough.

    Remember – it’s typically 12 months for players to recover their power after hamate surgery. (A reason I have no major objections to leaving Brown off the post-season roster – rest up, get strong, come into spring training ready to assume everyday left field duties.)

  12. hk

    September 15, 2011 01:25 PM

    Alan,

    I believe Brown is eligible. I don’t think he has to be on the roster as of 8/31, he just had to have been on the roster prior to midnight on 8/31.

  13. bptess

    September 15, 2011 05:04 PM

    @Rob SJ…

    I totally agree on Orr over Martinez. He is more of a weapon off the bench than MMart.

  14. AFish

    September 15, 2011 10:04 PM

    Gelb is right and Alan is incorrect about playoff replacements. The rules used to be much more restrictive, but now anyone in the organization (position player or pitcher) can replace anyone on the DL. Hence, anyone in the organization can replace Contreras. No approvals required.

  15. Alan

    September 16, 2011 05:06 AM

    Thanks AFish – is there a link anywhere? Even wikipedia doesn’t have one!

  16. JohnAdams

    September 21, 2011 11:37 PM

    After the disgraceful way Ruben Pacino Amaro handled Brown this year, I would be very surprised if Domonic were a Phillie this coming spring.
    He was hung out to dry after he broke his hand trying to revert back to his old(better)swing. insider.espn.go.com/mlb/blog?name=law_keith&id=6470379
    Then Dom was replaced in RF by someone less dynamic who will be there for 8 years. LF is rightfully going to JMJ, leaving no place on the Phillies for Dom Brown. He will be sensational somewhere.

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