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Recent articles by Bill Baer


2014 Phillies Report Card: Roberto Hernandez

The artist formerly known as Fausto Carmona was the Phillies’ first transaction influenced by their new analytics department. Roberto Hernandez inked a one-year, $4.5 million deal in December, slotting in at the back of the starting rotation. On MLB Network Radio in early March, GM Ruben Amaro said that Hernandez’s ground ball rate and relative cheapness were factors
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Want to Gain An Edge? Defy Bullpen Orthodoxy

The book, and later the film, Moneyball famously championed Billy Beane‘s Oakland Athletics — a small-market team who managed to push out the big spenders by using statistics to identify market inefficiencies, like players with low batting averages but high on-base percentages. As Beane’s numbers-savvy approach contributed to the Athletics reaching the post-season four years
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The Phillies Should Keep An Eye on Michael Saunders

Mariners outfielder Michael Saunders finally had a breakout year offensively, posting a .346 weighted on-base average. Only one problem: he only took 263 trips to the plate. Saunders had one stint on the disabled list between June 11-27 due to inflammation of the A/C joint in his right shoulder. Then, on July 11, Saunders again
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Phillies at a Fork in the Road with the Starting Rotation

The Phillies could head in one of a number of directions during the off-season, depending on whether or not A.J. Burnett decides to return (it seems likely given a recent report), if Kyle Kendrick isn’t brought back, and if GM Ruben Amaro finds an irresistible trade offer for Cole Hamels. Assuming Cliff Lee makes a full
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2014 Phillies Report Card: Cliff Lee

Cliff Lee, perhaps better than anyone, adroitly summarized the Phillies’ season after a loss to the Giants in his return from the disabled list on July 21. He farted. Lee’s season wasn’t much better, as he made only 13 starts, due to two separate trips to the disabled list. The first, between May 19 and
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Report: A.J. Burnett Likely to Return to the Phillies in 2015

Last week, CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury suggested that starter A.J. Burnett was leaning towards retirement. Salisbury added that Burnett didn’t have all that much fun in Philadelphia and kept game balls from his final start of the season, the 404th of his career, which is only a noteworthy game if it marked the end of
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2014 Phillies Report Card: Carlos Ruiz

Catcher Carlos Ruiz could have signed with another team — perhaps a contender, for one last shot at a championship — but both he and the Phillies decided to continue their partnership, agreeing on a three-year, $26 million contract last November. Ruiz became one of only three catchers to ink a contract of three years or
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2014 Phillies Report Card: Marlon Byrd

In November, the Phillies signed Marlon Byrd to a two-year, $16 million contract on the heels of a breakout season split between the New York Mets and Pittsburgh Pirates. The Phillies had just completed a season in which they saw Delmon Young, John Mayberry, and Darin Ruf take the bulk of the playing time in
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Crashburn Alley 2014 Playoff Predictions

The playoffs are finally upon us, which means it’s time for some more Predictions Which Are Bound to Make Us All Look Stupid. Our pre-season predictions weren’t so hot, but we’re going to put the pedal to the metal again to see which among us can see best into the future. The numbers under the
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Another Season in the Books

Another Phillies season has come to an end and, unfortunately, there will be no October baseball for a third consecutive year. On behalf of all of us here at Crashburn Alley, I’d like to thank all of you who stopped by throughout the season and made us a regular part of your web-surfing routine. The
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Ryan Howard, Domonic Brown Finishing Historically Awful Seasons

Nothing too much in the way of analysis here. Rather, I just wanted to share a couple of interesting statistical nuggets I found pawing around on FanGraphs.


Five Things We Learned About the Phillies This Season

The Phillies are in Miami to face the Marlins in their final road series of the season. Then, they’ll head back to Philadelphia to wrap up the schedule at home against the Atlanta Braves. Most likely, they’ll finish in last place in the NL East with around 75 wins, another unremarkable season and the third
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David Buchanan Could be the Next Kyle Kendrick

Kyle Kendrick will likely make his final start as a Phillie on Wednesday when the team will be in Miami to take on the Marlins. Kendrick is eligible for free agency after the season after earning $7.675 million in 2014 in which he was arbitration-eligible for the final time. Considering Kendrick’s poor performance over the
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Guest Post: The Phillies Outfield Sideshow

By Dan Keely Before we get started, I should mention that this is more an exploratory piece than an exposition. If you’re looking for a cause and solution, stop here. Likewise, if you want hope for the future I am not offering that here. With that said, let’s delve into the depressing state of the
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Submit A Fan Scouting Report for the Phillies

Every year, Tom Tango enlists fans to submit their own defensive evaluations of the players they watch the most. It’s that time of year again, and he could use some more Phillies-related evaluations. Here’s what Tango is looking for: If you have the time, go here and submit some evaluations.


Jerome Williams Proving to be A Good Find for the Phillies

Starter Jerome Williams dominated the San Diego Padres last night, holding them to just one unearned run over 7 2/3 innings en route to a 1-0 loss. The right-hander surrendered just three hits and walked two while striking out six. Now with seven starts as a Phillie under his belt, Williams sports a 2.84 ERA
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Come Back, Hunter Pence

In case you’ve wondered why posting has slowed to a crawl here lately, it’s because I’ve been battling the flu over the last few days. Not out of the woods yet. Enjoy some filler content in the meantime. This is a cheesy rap video involving former Phillie Hunter Pence and the #HunterPenceSigns hashtag that popped
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Cole Hamels Continues Dominating

Cole Hamels was on point once again, limiting the Miami Marlins (though Giancarlo Stanton-less) to one run over seven innings last night. He allowed nine hits and walked one while striking out six. As usual, though, the Phillies gave him little run support and didn’t get the win until Cody Asche broke a 1-1 tie
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Ryne Sandberg Has Over-Exerted the Starting Rotation

On Monday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates, manager Ryne Sandberg allowed starter Kyle Kendrick to start the eighth inning despite already being at 111 pitches. Kendrick proceeded to allow three straight singles before exiting the game in what turned out to be a four-run inning. $100,000 Fantasy Football Contest – Week 2 Only

Football season has started and DraftKings is running a $100,000 fantasy football contest for Week 2. You can enter for free with your first deposit. The entry fee is $2 for everyone else. The top 11,500 will be paid, with the first place winner getting $10,000. The contest will start on Sunday, September 14th at
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What Got Into the Phillies’ Bullpen?

Ken Giles, obviously. But the Phillies’ bullpen overall, even excluding Giles, has been much improved following a rough start to the season. There has been a lot of turnover, as Jeff Manship, B.J. Rosenberg, and Phillippe Aumont have been eschewed. Meanwhile, Justin De Fratus has come on strong and Jake Diekman has been on the
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Phillies Unveil 2015 Schedule

It’s never too early to start thinking about next season. The Phillies have released their schedule for the 2015 season here. Let’s pick out some of the interesting parts.


Must-Click Link: Ben Revere’s Plate Discipline

Justin Schultz of Beyond the Box Score published a column yesterday examining Ben Revere‘s misleading walk rate. Revere has the lowest walk rate in baseball at 2.2 percent and much as been made of it, even though Revere ranks among the league leaders in hitting and owns an above-average on-base percentage.


On the Idea of Trading Ben Revere

Over at, Gary Silvers suggests the Phillies ought to consider trading center fielder Ben Revere during the off-season while his value is high, particularly if he winds up winning the National League batting title. Silvers runs down what Revere doesn’t do well, and adds that the Phillies may get a useful player or two
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The Race to the Bottom

The Phillies’ recent hot streak, in which they have won nine of 13 games, has them tenuously close to falling out of the bottom-ten in the overall standings. At 64-75, they have the ninth-worst record in baseball, just ahead of the 66-74 New York Mets and Cincinnati Reds. They’re on pace to finish 75-87.


Ben Revere On Pace For A Phillies First

It’s September 3 and center fielder Ben Revere is batting .311 with 42 stolen bases. With eight more bags, and holding his .300-plus batting average through the end of the season — which, if he gets 100 more at-bats, would require him to bat .230 or worse — Revere could become the first Phillie to bat
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Cole Hamels, Bullpen Combine For A No-Hitter

The Phillies celebrated Labor Day in style on Monday, as Cole Hamels, Jake Diekman, Ken Giles, and Jonathan Papelbon combined to toss nine no-hit innings against the Atlanta Braves. Hamels battled spotty control, walking five, but the Braves weren’t able to hit him very hard when he was in the strike zone. It’s no surprise
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Phillies Trade John Mayberry, Jr. to the Blue Jays

Take it away, Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer: John Mayberry Jr. was traded to Toronto. A third baseman named Gustavo Pierre is the return. — Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) September 1, 2014


Jimmy Rollins Has Quietly Had A Good Season

A look at his meager .242 batting average, unexciting .324 on-base percentage, and a sub-.400 slugging percentage and it’s easy to conclude that Jimmy Rollins has had a mediocre season. Even by adjusted OPS, of which Rollins has an even 100, he’s simply average. If we go a little deeper, though, and use a better
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Analyzing Domonic Brown’s Base Running Gaffe

The Phillies swept the Washington Nationals out of Philadelphia with an easy 8-4 victory last night, making them winners of six of their last seven games. Though the Phillies pounded out 15 hits, three of which were home runs, the game wasn’t without mistakes. One of those mistakes occurred in the bottom of the sixth
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Ryan Howard Could Have One of the Worst 100 RBI Seasons Ever

On Saturday night’s broadcast of the Cardinals-Phillies game, Mike Schmidt said (paraphrasing) that you can’t get to 100 RBI and have a bad season. In the eighth inning, as if the baseball gods wanted to put on a live demonstration of teammates’ effect on a hitter’s RBI total, Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley hit consecutive
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In A World Without Clayton Kershaw, Cole Hamels A Cy Young Candidate

It’s Clayton Kershaw‘s world; Cole Hamels is just living in it. The Los Angeles Dodgers’ lefty seems well on his way to a third career National League Cy Young award, leading the league with 15 wins, a 1.82 ERA, six complete games, a 0.83 WHIP, a 32 percent strikeout rate, a 195 adjusted ERA, an
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Ruben Amaro Given A Vote of Confidence’s Todd Zolecki, Erik Bacharach, and Greg Johns report that Phillies president David Montgomery said that GM Ruben Amaro “is not on the hot seat” at the Baseball 101 Clinic and Luncheon for Women at Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday.


Ken Giles Has Emerged As A Top-Shelf Reliever

Before Ken Giles‘ mid-June call up to the Major Leagues — after throwing all of 13 2/3 innings in his first taste of Triple-A competition — some space was devoted here to urging caution and patience with the talented right-hander. It was not misguided, as Giles was displaying control problems reminiscent of Phillippe Aumont. He
Continue reading… $100,000 Fantasy Football Contest – Week 1 Only

Football season is nearly upon us, and DraftKings is running a $100,000 fantasy football contest, but only for Week 1. You can enter for free with your first deposit. The entry fee is $2 for everyone else. The top 11,500 will be paid, with the first place winner getting $10,000. The contest will start on
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Phillies Might Bring Grady Sizemore Back in 2015

Over the weekend,’s Todd Zolecki reported that outfielder Grady Sizemore may be back in Phillies red for the 2015 season. The 32-year-old, oft-injured outfielder has performed well for the Phillies after struggling with the Boston Red Sox, with which he started the season.


Phillies Acquire Jesmuel Valentin from the Dodgers‘s Todd Zolecki with the report: The Phillies acquire Class A 2B Jesmuel Valentin as first player to be named later in Roberto Hernandez trade with LAD. — Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) August 17, 2014


There Are 41 Games Left, and the Phillies Need Information

Tonight, the Phillies open up a three-game series against the Giants in San Francisco. With a 53-68 record and 11 games out of the second wild card, the season is realistically over and has been for quite some time. The journey that has left them 15 games under .500 hasn’t been entirely fruitless, however. The
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Adding A Bit of Character into Analysis

For a while, most Sabermetric analysis was very cold and impersonal. Lots of column-sorting in Excel, tabbing through pages in the web browser, and querying databases. The evolution of Sabermetrics has made it simple for a casual fan, a die-hard, and your cadre of baseball writers to criticize and compare your favorite (or least favorite)
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Phillies Claim Jerome Williams off of Waivers

Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported yesterday that the Phillies claimed pitcher Jerome Williams off of waivers from the Texas Rangers. Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News reports that the Phillies are sending $20,000 to the Rangers as compensation. To make room for Williams on the roster, the club designated Sean O’Sullivan for
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Ryan Howard’s Top Five Biggest Home Runs

Last night, with the Phillies trailing the Astros 5-2, first baseman Ryan Howard hit a go-ahead grand slam off of lefty reliever Tony Sipp. The FanGraphs win expectancy chart illustrates just how important the home run was:


Antonio Bastardo Has A Point

Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News posted a column yesterday with a few rather revealing quotes from reliever Antonio Bastardo. The lefty was placed on revocable waivers by the team on Monday after failing to move him by the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Bastardo said a trade would be good for him.


Phillies trade Roberto Hernandez to the Dodgers

Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer with the report: Roberto Hernandez was traded to the Dodgers for two PTBNL. — Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) August 7, 2014


Report: Cole Hamels, Marlon Byrd Claimed on Waivers

It’s news, though not exactly surprising news. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that Phillies ace Cole Hamels and right fielder Marlon Byrd have been claimed by separate, unidentified teams on revocable waivers. Closer Jonathan Papelbon cleared waivers.


Two Months Later, Roberto Hernandez Still Getting It Done

At the end of May, I took stock of starter Roberto Hernandez‘s performance. He had, to that point, compiled a 3.76 ERA over 12 starts. In the four starts after that, he struggled, ballooning his ERA to 4.52, but he was the least of the Phillies’ concerns at the time. Since then, in his last
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What to Watch for in the Final Two Months

The Phillies are enjoying a much-needed day off today, after having been dominated by Nationals pitching over the weekend. They were shut out in each of their last two games and haven’t scored since the sixth inning of Friday’s 2-1 win. They’re 49-63, tied with the Arizona Diamondbacks for the third-worst record in the National League.
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The Latest in A Sad Chapter of Phillies Baseball

There was a reason why your parents lied about sending the family dog to a farm upstate. In ignorance, a comfortable lie is always better than the cold, hard reality. Better to deal with a temporarily nonplussed child who believes his dog will play fetch into eternity than an inconsolable child who just lost an irreplaceable best
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Ruben Amaro Explains the Phillies’ Inactivity

The Phillies didn’t do anything leading up to today’s 4 PM ET trade deadline. GM Ruben Amaro blamed other general managers.


A Rundown of the Phillies’ Activity at the Trade Deadline


The Strangest Ryan Howard Development Yet

11 years into Ryan Howard‘s tenure as a major league ballplayer in Philadelphia, we sometimes think we’ve heard it all with him — the highs and the lows. Home run streaks, home run droughts; dominance and struggles against certain pitchers; success and failure against teams or in specific ballparks. But with nearly 1,300 career games
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