The Thing People Don’t Understand

Delmon Young made his Phillies debut today. Or maybe yesterday. I can’t be sure.

And he homered in his first at-bat. Bully for him, even though the Phillies were ground into a fine powder and dissolved in the collective tea of the Cleveland Indians. But that’s really neither here nor there.

Because in advance of Tuesday’s game, Phillies assistant GM Scott Proefrock had this, among other things, to say about Young.

The thing people don’t understand about Delmon, in my opinion, he’s a baseball player.

I realize that Proefrock was in the middle of making a point that, in the larger context, makes sense. Click that link and read through Matt Gelb’s piece and you’ll find a paragraph that, while not particularly eloquently cast, does seem reasonable. And let’s face it, coming up with the perfect incisive turn of phrase isn’t Proefrock’s job, and he’d probably be a lot better at my job than I would be at his, so I’ll cut him some slack.

Or at least, I would if there wasn’t so much potential in that sentence. What did Proefrock really mean?

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The Tuesday 10: Go Left, Young Man

The Phillies swept the Mets! That’s really cool! Even in a season that’s been tinged with a bit of malaise out of the gate, taking a series like that in New York is pleasing, without fail. Some players – Halladay, Hamels, Brown – are showing some signs of turnaround, albeit conditional turnarounds. Chase Utley is still slugging over .500. Carlos Ruiz is back! Maybe things are looking up!

Or maybe I’m just getting ahead of myself. Whatever, this was a good week if you pretend that Pittsburgh series never happened.

To the 10!

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Crash Bag, Vol. 51: That Supersonic Tidal Wave

One day, when I have the time to do this, I want to have a daily podcast. I’ve already got the name picked out (though I’m not going to tell any of you what it is, because I don’t want anyone to steal it), but there are some obstacles.

I mean, sure, I don’t have the time, nor the equipment, nor the professional contacts to make something like that work, but what’s really holding me back is the lack of an opening line.

You know, how Jeremy Clarkson opens Top Gear with “Hello and welcome,” or Drew Fairservice’s “Greetings, greetings and good day!” from Getting Blanked. I was thinking of just stealing “Hello and welcome,” but if anyone’s got any better ideas, feel free to share. I’ve got no good ideas. Like, in general.

@DashTreyhorn: “What Phillies position player would you put on the mound in a tight spot?”

Gotta be Dom Brown, right? Like, seriously, there’s no other option. Think about it: the Phillies have three (THREE!) starting position players who are famous for not being able to throw all the well, in Ben Revere, Ryan Howard and Chase Utley. I mean, all three are more famous for doing other things, but they’ve all had their issues throwing the ball.

Ordinarily, you look for a guy who pitched in college, or who was drafted as a two-way player. For instance, if the Braves run out of pitchers and it’s the 19th inning or they’re down 25 runs and want to save the bullpen, they’d probably go to Andrelton Simmons, because he pitched in college and could reach the upper 90s. As far as I know, the Phillies don’t have such a player, though I must admit to a certain degree of ignorance regarding Humberto Quintero‘s youth.

Though come to think of it, wasn’t there talk of Delmon Young throwing mid-90s as a pitcher in high school?

Failing that, you’d probably go with a guy who’s got a good arm and who you aren’t that worried about hurting himself, which probably means Domonic Brown nowadays, as sad as that makes me to say.

That said, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if Utley or Michael Young had turned a decade of grimaces into a working circle change or something.

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Using Ben Revere Optimally in the Lineup

I promise I’ll focus on some other players, as this is the third article on Ben Revere I’ve written recently, but he is personally the most intriguing player on the roster at the moment. The Phillies are giving him a breather for today’s series finale against the Pittsburgh Pirates and will use him in the #8 slot tomorrow when the Phillies arrive in New York to play the Mets. That move, of course, is ripe for discourse and analysis and my initial reaction was that it is a bad idea to move Revere lower, particularly to the #8 spot, because his usefulness as a base runner is mitigated by weaker hitters who would be less likely to drive him in from second on a single, or from third on a sacrifice fly.

Inspired by a discussion with frequent commenter and friend of the blog @Yolacrary, though, I’ve changed my position on that. (With the caveat that, overall, optimizing a lineup doesn’t net you enough runs to truly be worth the hassle.) Tom Tango went over lineup optimization in The Book — a must-have for any of you Saber-inclined people who haven’t grabbed it yet — so I went back and read it again. The key point, as it pertains to base-stealing is:

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Tommy Joseph’s game calling and other notes from Triple-A

As I prioritize amateur players on my scouting schedule as the June draft approaches, I’ve only mostly been able to check out Triple-A Lehigh Valley on the pro side. I’ve got notes on some of the guys there for you at the bottom of this post. In addition to that I’d like to expose you to a special little experiment I conducted at a game two weeks ago against Pawtucket. I’m fascinated by catcher defense and the intricacies that are involved in scouting it. I decided to try something I’ve only done once before and chart Tommy Joseph‘s game calling.

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Ben Revere’s Costly Arm

Ben Revere is known for having a weak bat, but as we have seen during this series with the Pittsburgh Pirates (which mercifully ends this afternoon), his weak arm is often a detriment as well. In parsing the game logs, I was able to pull out three plays where opposing runners greedily advanced from second to third on a ball hit to Revere in center, something those runners certainly wouldn’t have done against, say, Shane Victorino.

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