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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A Quick Note on Jason Grilli

I haven’t been on the Internet too much over the last few days — who’dathunkit — but I managed to catch some “should of kept” [sic] sentiment regarding Pittsburgh Pirates closer Jason Grilli after he nailed down his second consecutive save against the Phillies. Grilli spent the 2011 season with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, with whom he posted a 1.93 ERA in 32.2 innings. He opted out of his contract on July 20 and signed with the Pirates, willing to give him a shot at the Major League level — a commitment the Phillies weren’t willing to take.

In retrospect, it is very easy to look distastefully at a 2011 Phillies bullpen that included Danys Baez (6.25 ERA) and Michael Schwimer (5.02 ERA), among others, but that bullpen was quite good. Their collective 3.45 ERA ranked seventh in the National League, but was just a few shades from being next to fifth-place Milwaukee (3.32). Four Phillies relievers tossed 50 or more innings, and here is how they fared:

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