Good Sights from Clearwater

Obligatory spring training stats caveat.

This won’t get too in-depth, but I just wanted to list a few of the things I’ve enjoyed seeing during spring training so far. There are a few .gifs, so let that be a warning to those of you with slower computers.

Howard has 10 hits in 24 spring training at-bats, including three doubles and these three home runs:

The first two were hit off of Craig Kimbrel and defending NL Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey. Not exactly scrubs. The third was hit off of lefty Brett Cecil. In the early going, Howard has looked very comfortable against left-handed pitching. Even better is that he is hitting to the opposite field regularly, something he did not do last year.

No one expects Howard to recapture his 2006 ways, but a 30-homer, .850 OPS year from him would be a boon to the Phillies’ otherwise questionable offense.

Brown has done this so far in spring training:

UPDATE 3/19/13: Added three more Brown homer .gifs:

Brown has a third homer which was not captured on video. He has seven hits in 20 at-bats this spring, and has added six walks just for good measure, tied for the most across both the Grapefruit and Cactus leagues. It is looking more and more likely that he opens up the season with a starting outfield job.

I’ve gone on record countless times saying that Frandsen’s success in 2012 was fluky, that he won’t be able to maintain such a high batting average going forward. And he probably won’t. But he’s hitting .364 with five extra-base hits in spring so far, which is nice to see. If he can be a reliable pinch-hitter and occasional fill-in, he will be quite a value. Remember, the Phillies intended on Frandsen being the every day third baseman before they traded for Michael Young.

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22 comments

  1. JayZeeBee

    March 04, 2013 08:26 AM

    The thought of Dom starting in the OF is wonderful news.

  2. BobSmith77

    March 04, 2013 09:00 AM

    Never once did Amaro come out and say he intended for Frandsen to be the everyday 3B.

  3. Matt

    March 04, 2013 09:03 AM

    Last year, in the games I watched or attended, their offense was horrific. I thought, ‘well, it’s just spring training, maybe it will straighten out.’

    Of course it didn’t.

    This is still just spring training, but I have to admit it’s encouraging to see some of the hitting I’ve seen so far.

    It would be nice if the error rate dropped – but hey, it’s just spring training, right? It’ll straighten out… :|

  4. JM

    March 04, 2013 09:12 AM

    JMJ & Brown have looked the best defensively in the OF as well. If…IF those two can sustain their swings, the OF should be at least league average and if…IF the INF can play to 90% of their previous production, the Phillies all of a sudden look like a threat…IF…

  5. NickFromGermantown

    March 04, 2013 10:15 AM

    Maybe it’s the GIF-ification of the video, but does Ryan Howard’s bat speed seem down?

  6. nik

    March 04, 2013 10:50 AM

    Howard’s bomb from yesterday land yet?

  7. humbug

    March 04, 2013 11:44 AM

    I’ve long said (without any substantiating prooof) that the big drop-off in Howard’s production from RoY/MVP to now has been his shift to pulling everything. Back in his first two years, he hit opposite field with power. Since, he has turned anything outside into a grounder into the shift. I am absolutely delighted by those first two gifs. Equally delighted that Dom could actually get a fair shot. Cholly has criminally mismanaged that kid.

  8. Pencilfish

    March 04, 2013 12:16 PM

    Bill,

    1) Are there any ST stats (pitching, hitting or fielding) that can be considered predictors for regular season performance? I am thinking of SO’s and perhaps errors?!

    2) Kevin Frandsen has played mostly 3B and 2B in his career. It is entirely possible he will back-up Michael Young and Chase Utley, if Delmon Young eventually comes off the DL and displaces Freddy Galvis from the bench.

  9. LTG

    March 04, 2013 12:54 PM

    Pencilfish,

    This article might be helpful to you, although it is an incomplete study: www.fangraphs.com/fantasy/index.php/spring-training-stats-that-matter/.

    Errors in ST are definitely not predictive for a myriad of reasons that are just like the reasons for other stats: unusual weather conditions, games don’t matter, random variation in small samples, etc.

    General audience,

    If y’all have been watching the games you should have noticed that every team is getting some awful fielding, some of which is not even recorded as errors. I doubt this portends anything for the regular season.

  10. Jonny5

    March 04, 2013 01:01 PM

    I don’t see any “Yuneski is batting .350+” remarks. Otherwise I’d think we were in bizarro world right now. ;>P

  11. Bill Baer

    March 04, 2013 04:18 PM

    @ BobSmith77

    Do you remember the third base free agent market? It was Kevin Youkilis, Eric Chavez, and dreck.

  12. Andrew Cleveland Alexander

    March 04, 2013 05:01 PM

    Adam Morgan with 3 hitless innings today. I’d say that’s a development to watch–they seem to be taking a very long look at him. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he sees significant time in the majors this year due to the inevitable injuries or underperformance by Lannan and/or Kendrick.

  13. BobSmith77

    March 04, 2013 08:16 PM

    Bill – There were a few options more than that including Keppinger and M. Izturis. It was a weak market & problematic options abounded.

    The point standing is that Amaro never once said that Frandsen was going to be the starting 3B.

  14. Bill Baer

    March 04, 2013 08:54 PM

    Everything the Phillies did, before the Young trade came out of nowhere, indicated Frandsen getting significant playing time at third base. That’s why they signed him to a Major League deal to avoid arbitration rather than non-tendering him.

    Amaro rarely says anything substantive about player roles, much less anything that is believable.

  15. Kevin

    March 05, 2013 01:38 AM

    humbug, I am far from a Manuel fan, and I am a big Brown fan, but objectively, when Dom has been on the roster, he has been in the line-up. It’s Amaro that set Brown back by failing to show any confidence and specifically by acquiring Hunter Pence just when Brown was starting to recover from his hand injury and successfully hit big league pitching in July 2011 (check his July 2011 splits). That had to be very discouraging from Brown, especially if how discouraging it was for me is a yardstick.

  16. BobSmith77

    March 05, 2013 09:22 AM

    They signed Frandsen to essentially the veteran league minimum and did so because he was an organizational upgrade over Fields (who the Phils had already signed to a minor league deal) and Orr.

    Basically a bench guy who can play 2B and 3B and if necessary SS. That’s all. The Phils acquired M. Young on Dec. 9th which was quite early in the offseason and refutes the notion that Frandsen was being counted on in any way to be a starter at 3B.

  17. Phillie697

    March 05, 2013 11:41 AM

    Not trying to be a sour puss, because quite frankly I’m pretty excited about the spring training performances so far, BUT… Douchbag Betancourt is hitting .421/.444/.471/.915. So yeah, let’s not get TOO excited. He might win a roster spot at this rate >.<

    There you go Jonny5 :)

  18. Pencilfish

    March 05, 2013 12:56 PM

    BobSmith77,

    I agree that Frandsen is a bench guy who can play 2B, 3B (maybe SS), but both Young and him are simply short-term solutions, while we wait for Cody Asche. We shouldn’t lose sight of that fact. I would be happy if 3B is essentially a 1.0 WAR player in 2013, considering what we have.

  19. humbug

    March 05, 2013 02:26 PM

    I stand corrected, Kevin. I dislike Manuel and loathe RAJ, so maybe I was just looking to balance my perspective…

  20. Jonny5

    March 06, 2013 08:41 AM

    I knew my mouth was going to get me into trouble with Betancourt!! LMAO! The pure randomness of baseball over a game or 10 compared to a season is part of why I love it so much.

    Somebody please rescue me from bizarro world. I think?

  21. drew

    March 06, 2013 12:34 PM

    Dom Brown has 6 walks and 5 SO. That is why he needs to be in the lineup. Only Utley and Ruiz have his OBP potential.

  22. MikeY

    March 19, 2013 10:41 AM

    Dom’s made an adjustment in his swing…he’s not letting go of the bat with his top hand on the follow through anymore. Same move did wonders for Granderson when he went to the Yanks.

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