Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports:
A.J. Burnett leaves $12.75 million on the table. He has declined his option. For Phillies, a gift from baseball gods.
— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) November 4, 2014
Ken Giles pitched the first 45.2 innings of his Major League career in 2014, which is about 60% of a full season for a reliever. We can’t really draw any meaningful conclusions from a sample size that small. Sure, we could run through all the awesome highlights from Giles’ statistics in those 45.2 innings – for example, the fact that of 171 relievers who pitched 40 innings or more, Giles was seventh in K% at 38.6%, behind Aroldis Chapman (a ridiculous 52.5%), Andrew Miller and Brad Boxberger (42.6% and 42.1%, both also completely ridiculous), Dellin Betances and Wade Davis (39.6% and 39.1%) and Craig Kimbrel (38.9%). Or we could talk about his K-BB% of 31.9%, which was sixth behind Chapman, Miller, Sean Dollittle, Boxberger, and Betances (and better than Davis, Kenley Jansen, Greg Holland, Koji Uehara, Kimbrel, and David Robertson). Since this report card is supposed to be an evaluation of the player’s performance this season, that kind of analysis is warranted. OK, fine.
|Rank (of 171 RP with 40+ IP)||3rd||3rd||7th||5th||7th||49th||6th||5th|
Any way we slice it, Giles had a fantastic season in 2014. He struck out everybody, didn’t walk nearly as many batters as he did in the minors, and the ERA retrodictors indicate his performance is backed up by his skills. I don’t want to go any further with the numbers now, and if you want more, Bill already did some good statistical analysis in this August 20 article. I want to step away from the nerdtastic data analysis we usually do, just for a moment, to take a longer-angle view of Giles and how he symbolizes the next era of Phillies baseball.
It feels wrong to talk about “the heady days” of 2012, but that’s appropriate in the case of Freddy Galvis. As the understudy for the injured Chase Utley, Galvis was a defensive revelation and fan favorite in a little more than two months of play at second base. He didn’t hit well at all–.226/.254/.363 in 200 PA–but he was simply magnificent in the field, and the ability to pick up for Utley without missing a step, as well as his cherubic disposition, made him a fan favorite. A couple of us even tried to get a silly nickname–El Falcon, after his home state in Venezuela–to stick on Galvis.
The hope was that Galvis would turn into the kind of dynamic defensive shortstop who could be an acceptable starter in this new dead ball era without contributing much with the bat. Now that we’re not expecting everyone to hit .280 with 20 home runs anymore, you can get away with a shortstop who doesn’t hit at all if he’s truly elite with the glove. The archetype of this player is Andrelton Simmons, who is simply the best defensive shortstop in the world, but there are others, including Brandon Crawford and Alcides Escobar. Galvis, who doesn’t run as well as Escobar or hit for as much power as Simmons, had a ways to go, but as a 22-year-old rookie, El Falcon represented a player we could dream on.
The first season of Friday Night Lights *pilot episode mild spoiler alert* depicts a backup quarterback, the thoroughly lovable Matt Saracen, being thrust into the role of starting quarterback, or “QB1” in the show’s vernacular, following a devastating injury to the original QB1. The immediate shift in expectations and attention on Saracen depict the massive impact depth charts can have on a player’s mindset. As the backup, Saracen never expected to take an in-game snap but moving just one rung up the chart changed Saracen’s life completely. */spoilers*
While depth charts in football may be more well-defined, they clearly play a role in baseball as well. One can quibble over the exact order, but allow me to present a depiction of the Phillies middle infield (MI) depth chart from the beginning of the 2014 season: Continue reading…
Cameron Rupp‘s big league experience in 2014 consisted of about half-time PAs from the middle of June through the middle of July, when both Carlos Ruiz and Wil Nieves were out injured at different points, and just one appearance in September, despite Chooch admitting mid-way through the month that he’d been suffering from a year-long shoulder injury. Fangraphs makes Rupp even on WAR for the year, as he added some defensive value to a poor offensive showing. In all, I’d call that a disappointing but tolerable second cup of coffee, which I would imagine is not uncommon in the coffee world, because it gets cold or bitter or something. IDK, I drink iced tea. Either way, better to spend a little time profiling the player than try to dive into 64 big league PAs, in my opinion. So here goes that. Continue reading…
A bit more than a decade ago, Reid Brignac began his professional baseball career with plenty of promise. A second-round pick of the then-Devil Rays in 2004, Brignac flirted with top prospect status after an excellent 2006 saw him chip in a .321/.376/.539 line between two levels as a shortstop at age 20. Not bad, huh?
That would be the pinnacle of Brignac’s minor league career and, to spare the details of a long journey in the interim, Brignac wound up signing a minor league deal with the Phillies in November 2013, ostensibly as Chase Utley/Jimmy Rollins insurance. When Freddy Galvis decided to contribute two hits in his first 46 PA with 12 strikeouts, Brignac found himself back in the Majors quicker than he might have pictured.
One of my favorite ever Phillies blog posts is the Generic Game Recap Template posted at The Good Phight by Peter Lyons in 2011. It’s a spot-on script of familiar, frustrating tropes from Phillies losses that season and many others, back when losses were more of an occasional annoyance than an inescapable reality. A particularly funny bit:
B.J. Rosenberg was a 13th round pick in 2008 out of Louisville, and the fact that he’s made it to the bigs from such a position is laudable, (you know there’s trouble coming when someone points out how good someone has to be just to make the majors). About a year ago, there was a glimmer of hope that he might turn into a reliable bullpen arm. He pitched well over the 2013 season, actually accumulating positive fWAR. He was throwing pretty hard, he had worked on his secondary pitches out of the AAA rotation to the point where they seemed passable, and his peripherals in the bigs were fair in a small sample.
2014 came, and Rosenberg broke camp with the big club. On April 14th, things got ugly. If you saw the outing, you’ll remember it. Our man faced three Atlanta batters and gave up three home runs – an MLB first, (what a trailblazer!!!) The Phils kept him around for a couple more outings, then sent him down to AAA, where he was promptly beaned in the head by a line drive. He spent a month on the DL with a concussion and related symptoms. His return to the bigs in late June was ended by ineffectiveness in early July, and in late July he spent another month on the AAA DL with a hip injury. He came back in August and re-aggravated it after two games, and finished the year back on the DL. On Monday, the Phillies got Rosenberg through waivers and sent him outright to AAA.
So I’m sure he’s thrilled with how his year went. Continue reading…
Mike Adams‘ 2014 season was the continued manifestation of the concern showed when the Phillies signed the right-handed reliever to a two-year, $12 million deal in December 2012. Adams was coming off of thoracic outlet surgery on his right shoulder but was ready for Opening Day 2013. However, things quickly deteriorated as he had surgery at the end of July to repair a torn rotator cuff and two labrum tears. He pitched only 25 innings in 2013 with a 3.96 ERA.
Adams had surgery for a sports hernia last December. He began the season on the disabled list as he was still recovering from the shoulder surgery the previous summer. He made his season debut on April 18 and was able to pitch regularly for, oh, about a month and a half. Through the end of May, he had a 2.04 ERA with a 19/7 K/BB ratio in 17 2/3 innings.
With the re-signing of Jerome Williams to a one-year deal, it seems increasingly likely that Kyle Kendrick has pitched his final game in red pinstripes. The seven-year veteran probably would have liked to go out on a higher note. Aside from a career high in innings pitched (199.0), it was a thoroughly forgettable season for Kendrick. Among all 43 qualified starting pitchers in the NL, his strikeout-rate (14.0%) was dead last and only Travis Wood (5.03) had a worse ERA than Kendrick (4.61).
Still, in a season that will be remembered for pitching injuries, it’s very much worth noting that only 16 NL pitchers threw more innings than Kendrick. In fact, since 2013, Kendrick’s 381.0 innings pitched ranks 36th in all of Major League Baseball. Innings pitched is not a sexy stat, but it’s an important one. The ability to eat innings, even if they’re sub-average innings is a skill set that will get Kendrick paid this winter. Add into the calculus the upside Kendrick offers and I think his deal is more likely to resemble last offseason Phil Hughes (3/$24M) than last offseason Roberto Fausto Hernandez Carmona (1/$4.5M).