The Phellowship of the Ring

Freddy Galvis, the rookie infielder who has captured the imagination of Phillies fans this season, went on the 15-day DL with a lower back injury. No one took this news harder than Galvis’ double play partner, Jimmy Rollins. According to reports, Rollins was inconsolable when he saw Galvis sprawled out on the trainer’s table. At that point, the following conversation took place between the stricken Galvis and the heartbroken Rollins:

Freddy Galvis: “They took the lead!”
Jimmy Rollins: “Be still.”
Galvis: “Kendrick! Where is Kendrick?”
Rollins: “I let Kendrick go.”
Galvis: “Then you did what I could not…I tried to take the ball from him.”
Rollins: “The game is beyond our reach now.”
Galvis: “Forgive me, I did not see. I have failed you.”
Rollins: “No, you’ve fought bravely. You have kept your honor.”
Galvis: “Leave it! It is over…the world of the Phillies will fall and all will come to darkness and my team to ruin.”
Rollins: “I do not know what strength is in my blood, but I swear to you, I will not let the division championship fall, nor our team fail.”
Galvis: “Our team…our team.” (Rollins picks up Galvis’ bat and hands it to him. Galvis grabs the bat and clutches it to his chest)
Galvis: “I would have followed you, my brother…my shortstop, my king.”
Rollins: “Be at peace, El Falcon.”

Graph of the Intermittent Time Period

This was one of the more popular and most-heavily requested features last year. With the recent injury to Freddy Galvis, the latest of many, it’s time to break out the first injury chart of 2012.

Name DL Injury $/Game $ to Date Cost
Ryan Howard* 58 Ruptured L Achillies $123,457 $7,160,506 $7,160,506
Chase Utley* 58 L patellar chondromalacia $94,358 $5,472,764 $5,472,764
Cliff Lee 19 L oblique strain $132,716 $7,697,528 $2,521,604
Roy Halladay* 9 R latissimus dorsi $123,457 $7,160,506 $1,111,113
Jim Thome 36 Lower back strain $7,716 $447,528 $277,776
Laynce Nix* 26 Lower L calf strain $7,099 $411,742 $184,574
Michael Martinez* 58 R foot fourth metatarsal $3,003 $174,174 $174,174
Placido Polanco 4 L knee contusion
L ankle sprain
L finger laceration
$39,611 $2,297,438 $158,444
Michael Stutes* 42 R rotator cuff $2,994 $173,652 $125,748
David Herndon* 35 R elbow inflammation $3,056 $177,248 $106,960
Jose Contreras* 6 R flexor pronator $15,432 $895,056 $92,592
Carlos Ruiz 4 R thigh strain
L wrist sprain
$22,840 $1,324,720 $91,360
Hunter Pence 1 L shoulder contusion $64,198 $3,723,484 $64,198
Vance Worley 19 R elbow inflammation $3,056 $177,248 $58,064
Ty Wigginton 1 Shoulder soreness $24,691 $1,432,078 $24,691
Chad Qualls 2 R heel soreness $7,099 $411,742 $14,198
TOTAL 378 $674,783 $39,137,414 $17,638,766

* on disabled list

(click to enlarge)

As expected, Howard and Utley lead the way as they are two of the team’s more expensive players ($20 million and $15.3 million, respectively) and have yet to play a game in 2012. Lee and Halladay are the other two players who have cost the Phillies over $1 million through June 6. The data illustrates the risk of assigning large sums of money to aging, injury-prone players. GM Ruben Amaro’s gambling hasn’t paid off yet this season.

. . .

Unrelated, but I just want to thank you for continuing to tune in to the Crashburn Alley podcast, despite our erratic scheduling. If you have been enjoying the show, please rate it five stars and leave some feedback on our iTunes page. Make sure to click “View in iTunes” when you’re on that page.

Likewise, thanks to everyone who has purchased “100 Things Phillies Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die“. Due to contractual issues, a Kindle version of the book has been delayed but I have been told it should be available shortly. I will let you know exactly when it will go up on Twitter. In the meantime, don’t forget to get a gift for Father’s Day.

Cot for Choice

Ryan Howard said it best:

Cot for Choice.

The Phillies’ catcher, known affectionately as Chooch (or, in some parts of the Internets, CHORCH) is fourth among NL catchers in All-Star voting. He trails Yadier Molina, Buster Posey, and Brian McCann. Another deserving candidate, A.J. Ellis, is a dark horse that could cause even more trouble for Ruiz.

Prior to his current 2-for-15 skid, Ruiz was leading the league in hitting at .381. He currently sits fifth in the league in OPS among all hitters at .989, behind Joey Votto, David Wright, Carlos Gonzalez, and Ryan Braun. Yeah, pretty good. Ruiz ranks seventh in the Majors in wOBA at .422 behind Votto, Josh Hamilton, Paul Konerko, Wright, Mark Trumbo, and Gonzalez. All of them will be All-Stars and almost all of them will be in their league’s starting lineup.

How does Ruiz compare to the catchers in his way?

A.J. Ellis Dodgers 178 15.7% 20.8% .185 .379 .308 .426 .493 .394 2.7
Carlos Ruiz Phillies 177 4.5% 9.6% .226 .358 .358 .407 .585 .422 2.6
Yadier Molina Cardinals 203 5.9% 10.3% .199 .335 .328 .373 .527 .394 2.4
Buster Posey Giants 201 9.5% 16.9% .169 .326 .294 .358 .463 .356 1.5
Brian McCann Braves 172 10.5% 9.9% .163 .231 .242 .320 .405 .316 0.9

A blue shade indicates the worst in the group and a red shade indicates the best in the group.

Right off the bat, you can boot McCann from this discussion. Posey doesn’t have a leg up in any category and he’s a full win behind third place, so you can kick him out as well. It’s essentially a three-way race between Ellis, Ruiz, and Molina. The difference between Ellis and Ruiz offensive is essentially small ball against power: Ellis is drawing walks at nearly 3.5 times the rate as Ruiz, while Ruiz is hitting for significantly more power. Ellis has 31 singles and 14 extra-base hits; Ruiz has 37 singles and 20 extra-base hits. According to wOBA, Molina is having equally as good an offensive year as Ellis, but lags behind because FanGraphs values Ellis as a better defender and as a better base runner, both highly questionable conclusions given the small sample size.

Using Baseball Reference’s version of Wins Above Replacement (rWAR), Ruiz jumps ahead of the pack.

Ruiz is a half of one win better than Posey and a new challenger appears in Jonathan Lucroy, who may not be healthy in time for the midsummer classic. Prior to his boxer’s fracture, Lucroy posted a .414 wOBA and 1.8 fWAR, which would rank second and fourth among NL catchers, respectively.

It becomes clear that both Ruiz and Ellis should be All-Stars, but then the debate focuses on who should start in this alternate universe where All-Star rosters are chosen appropriately. Based on the stats, I think the starter has to be Ruiz. In overall offense by both OPS and wOBA, Ruiz has been significantly better than Ellis and there isn’t a wide enough gap to overcome the small sample size when it comes to defense and base running, both of which Ellis leads by a narrow margin.

Help send Ruiz to the All-Star Game by voting for him up to 25 times per e-mail account HERE.

UPDATE: The catcher defense ratings that I won’t shut up about have been updated by Matt Klaassen. Click here to check them out. No surprise, Ruiz has been the best defensive catcher in baseball so far this year.