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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The Tuesday 10: Jesse Biddle Afterglow

Another April week, another seven days elapsed where it’s Too Early to Really Judge Anything. Except for Jesse Biddle‘s bonkers 7 IP, 16 K, 2 BB, 0 R outing for Double-A Reading Monday. That one I judge to be “pretty damn awesome.”

It’s very difficult to go back through Minor League games to crosscheck, but I wager a Phils farmhand hasn’t put together an outing like that since Cole Hamels was tearing his way through the pipeline (not to make a direct comparison). To stay grounded: it is just one outing. But for the second-youngest pitcher in the entire Eastern League to do that, well, I’m sure plenty of people will take notice. It sure gave me the tingles.

Okay, on to the 10.

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Fixing Ben Revere

Ben Revere has had a couple big hits lately — Sunday night’s go-ahead single and Friday’s first-inning triple — but overall, the Phillies’ center fielder has struggled through 20 games. He hit .294 with a paltry .675 OPS with the Twins last year, but those numbers are down to .215 and .494 thus far. Obviously, we’re dealing with a small sample size of 85 plate appearances, so a lot can change over the next five months, and Revere has never exactly been known for his offense.

In looking at Revere’s stats, three things immediately jump out at you:

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An Oral History of The Phillies’ Statistical Analysis Department

In what appears to be the twilight of an enormously fruitful competitive run for the Phillies, much has been made of the internal machinations that factor into their valuation of players. Through extensive interviews1 with a wide array of inside sources, I’ve assembled what I consider to be the most comprehensive story of the Statistical Analysis Division of the Phillies’ Baseball Operations department compiled to date. Be advised before reading: I’ve elected not to censor their language in any way.

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Dreading Delmon Young

Delmon Young officially started his rehab assignment yesterday. Matt Gelb reports the future Phillies right fielder had an interesting day patrolling the outfield, botching the first ball hit to him:

The first batter hit a fly ball at Young and it landed for a triple. Young should have limited the hitter to a single had he taken a better route, said two people who attended the game in Lakeland, Fla. Later, in the seventh inning, Young committed a fielding error that allowed a runner to take an extra base.

He batted cleanup in single-A Clearwater’s lineup and went 1 for 4 with a sacrifice fly and single. While the Phillies are evaluating Young’s bat, they are primarily concerned with his defense.

“Delmon isn’t going to come here unless he can play right field,” general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said April 12. “If he can’t play right field, he ain’t coming.”

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Crash Bag, Vol. 50: I Will Judge You For Misusing Heir Apparent

I was going to write last week that the success of the Phillies on a given night seemed to depend on whether or not I was watching, because for the first eight games, they were 3-0 when I didn’t watch the game and 0-5 when I did. And I’m a fairly well-reasoned person, not the type at all to give in to superstitions or small sample flukes.

But with that said, the Phillies are now 5-1 when I don’t watch the game and 1-9 when I do. I mean, that’s probably still just flukey. I can’t imagine a confluence of events in the evolution of the universe in which whether or not I watch the Phillies has any impact on whether or not they win. I’m just saying it’s getting to be a large enough sample where I’m starting to check my closet for poltergeists.

Question time.

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Caring About Walks, Update 1

I’m feeling generous today.

It’s almost the weekend, and productivity in workplaces around the continent is beginning to slip as Friday approaches with Saturday in tow. So I can understand – especially as it’s in keeping with plainly-stated business modus operandi with the Phillies these days – that the people in charge at Phillies HQ haven’t been keeping track of the plate discipline and walking propensity of the offense.

Well, fear not! I’m here to provide a briefing on said discipline, and the amount of, ahem, “production” that’s surely still coming in spite of any potential deficiency in bases on balls.

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Graph of the Intermittent Time Period

As you’re well aware, the Phillies’ offense hasn’t been great to start the 2013 season. They rank fourth from the bottom in average runs per game at 3.47 compared to the National League average 4.33. They rank in the bottom-third in all three triple-slash stats as well as weighted on-base average (wOBA).

You’ll hear this a lot over the next month-plus, but it’s worth repeating over and over: it’s still very early. No Phillie has logged his 70th plate appearance of the season yet. To put this in perspective, if Chase Utley has a 2-for-4 night tonight against the Cardinals, he will raise his batting average 15 points to .298.

That being said, we can still use what little stats we have descriptively rather than predictively. The following chart compares the Phillies’ wOBA by position to the league average.

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