Results tagged ‘ Delmon Young ’

Finding a Numbers Guy

Amaro Talks Werth, Getting Old and MoreRuben Amaro Jr. grabbed the attention of Phillies fans last month when he mentioned the team planned to hire an analytics person to help with player evaluation.

Sabermetrics had not interested the Phillies in the past, but Amaro said they “owe it to ourselves to look at some other ways to evaluate.”

Amaro said recently they are getting close to hiring somebody.

“I think it’s just a matter of getting more information,” he said. “I don’t know if it’s going to change the way we do business, necessarily. We still plan to be a scouting and player development organization, but I think it’s important to get all the information and analyze not just what we’re doing but how other clubs are evaluating players when we talk about possible trades and other sorts of things.”

The Phillies have been working with the Commissioner’s Office during their search. Major League Baseball’s Labor Relations Department works closely with teams and has helped make personnel recommendations in the past. The LRD also has developed resources for baseball operations staffs, including former employees like Pirates president Frank Coonelly and a number of assistant general managers.

Asked if he looked back at recent personnel decisions and wondered if analytics would have helped steer him toward or away from particular players, Amaro said, “Not specifically, no. Again, we believe in our scouts and the things that they recommend. We’re not going to be 100 percent right all the time. But we want to be more right than wrong. We just have to do a better job of targeting the right guys.”

How much the Phillies use analytics or value the new hire’s findings remains to be seen. But there will be plenty of information to consider.

As an example, when the Phillies signed Delmon Young to a one-year, $750,000 deal in January, they mentioned he had 74 RBIs in 2012 hitting behind Tigers sluggers Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder, the implication being Young “produced” and would have had more RBIs had Cabrera and Fielder not taken RBI opportunities from him. But if they had examined the numbers more closely they would have discovered Young actually ranked 20th in baseball in 2012 with 415 runners on base when he came to the plate. He knocked in just 13.5 percent of those runners, which ranked 96th out of 135 qualifying players.

In other words, he had a ton of RBI opportunities in 2012, even with Cabrera and Fielder in the lineup, but did a poor job knocking them in.

That is just one small example of how numbers can help. Maybe regardless of those numbers — including Young’s low on-base percentage (21 points lower than the average outfielder from 2006-12) and OPS (29 points lower than the average outfielder from 2006-12) the Phillies sign Young anyway because it was a low-risk deal. Or maybe they say, “Hey, the odds are against Young helping us like we need him to help us,” and they look in a different direction.

Will they delve deeply into Roy Halladay‘s numbers this offseason? Doc’s 5.15 ERA the past two seasons ranks 161st out of 169 qualifying pitchers in baseball. Fangraphs.com found pitchers over 35 — Halladay turns 37 in May — who went on the DL for any sort of shoulder injury only averaged 59 innings the rest of their career. Halladay pitched 27 2/3 innings following right shoulder surgery in May. Do the Phillies consider those numbers and pass? Or do they believe Halladay’s reputation as a “gamer” and hard worker is enough to beat the odds?

It will be interesting to find out.

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Random things from the past week:

  • I’ve plenty on Twitter today about Domonic Brown wearing a Cowboys jersey at yesterday’s game at the Linc. (Gasp!) I think what’s funny is absolutely nobody noticed Mike Adams standing over his right shoulder.
  • Everybody has seen the photo of Bryan Cranston wearing a Phillies jersey during an outtake of Breaking Bad. Once the photo hit Twitter word quickly spread (with plenty of Philly-based news organizations picking it up) that Cranston wore the jersey because he is a Phillies fan. Of course, a simple Google search showed Cranston is a diehard Dodgers fan. I contacted AMC publicity about the photo. Its response: “The shot was taken during the World Series of 2009 (Yankees vs. Phillies). Bryan is definitely a Dodgers fan, but I believe he was rooting for the Phillies in that series. As a gag, (while shooting ep #307 “One Minute”) he did a take with the jersey on.”
  • A report the Phillies resigned Michael Martinez is not true.
  • Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported the Phillies will interview bullpen coach Reid Cornelius for their pitching coach vacancy. Former Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee interviews tomorrow with the Orioles.

Delmon Young Released

Delmon YoungThe Phillies made a low-risk, high-reward move in January when they signed Delmon Young to a one-year, $750,000 contract with awards and performance bonuses.

They released him today when he refused an assignment to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Young was designated for assignment Friday when the Phillies decided rightfielder Darin Ruf needed regular playing time as they evaluate their needs entering the offseason. Ruf could be an everyday player in 2014 as he is one of the only right-handed bats in the lineup. He has been productive to this point, hitting .274 with seven doubles, six home runs, 11 RBIs and an .888 OPS in 124 plate appearances.

Young hit .261 with 13 doubles, eight home runs, 31 RBIs and a .699 OPS in 291 plate appearances.

He made about $1.75 million from the Phillies.

“He ended up having a couple different streaks where he swung the bat OK, but he really didn’t do the things we hoped he would do,” said Ruben Amaro Jr., who indicated he would take a shot again with Young. “I’ll say it again. I think at some point he may end up being a much better hitter. I wouldn’t be surprised if he comes back next year for somebody and has a much better year. You just don’t know how guys are going to react to certain situations or certain opportunities.”

Brown Back, Nix Nixed

nixThe Phillies planned to have Domonic Brown play two rehab games this week before activating him tomorrow night against the Cubs.

Instead, they activated him a day early.

They designated Laynce Nix for assignment to make room for him on the 25-man roster. I thought the Phillies might release Delmon Young, making room for Brown in right to keep Darin Ruf in left. But they have decided to try Ruf in right field instead, pushing Young to the bench. It should be interesting. Ruf has never played right field before and had not played much outfield before this season. But I guess the Phillies figure Ruf can be as adequate as Young, maybe even a little better? I’m not sure.

But parting ways with Nix is another negative mark on the season in regards to the front office’s player personnel evaluations. The Phillies signed Nix to a two-year, $2.5 million contract in Dec. 2011, despite the fact he had never signed a guaranteed big-league deal before. Nix followed a two-year deal to outfielder Ross Gload. (I wonder if anybody else would have offered Nix or Gload a two-year deal.) The Phillies in November then non-tendered Nate Schierholtz because they figured they already had a left-handed-hitting fourth outfielder in Nix.

Schierholtz signed with the Cubs and enters tonight hitting .268 with 23 doubles, three triples, 14 home runs, 43 RBIs, a .500 slugging percentage and .827 OPS in 337 plate appearances. If he had enough plate appearances to qualify, his slugging percentage would rank fifth among 22 big-league rightfielders. His OPS would rank seventh.

Nix, meanwhile, hit .180 with four doubles, two homers, seven RBIs, a .258 slugging percentage and a .486 OPS in 136 plate appearances.

Now what is interesting is Schierholtz never would have put up those numbers with the Phillies because they never would have provided him enough opportunity to play. They were committed to Young in right field once he got healthy — they needed a right-handed bat in the lineup — and Charlie Manuel doesn’t make it a habit of playing his bench players unless absolutely necessary. They simply didn’t think Schiertholtz was good enough to warrant a spot on the roster, much less playing time. But the point is they missed badly on Schierholtz over Nix. Schierholtz was the much better player and they simply let him go.

This follows decisions like John Bowker over Brandon Moss, releasing Jason Grilli, believing Ben Francisco and John Mayberry Jr. could be everyday corner outfielders, Danys Baez, Chad Qualls, Chad Durbin, not developing a utility player in the system better than Michael Martinez, etc. Now it should be noted every front office makes mistakes. Remember that Pat Gillick acquired Adam Eaton, Geoff Jenkins and Freddy Garcia. But too many decisions lately have landed in the minus column than the plus column. Certainly injuries to players like Roy Halladay, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Mike Adams, etc., over the past couple years have played a role in this team’s struggles. But those personnel decisions have hurt, too.

And Then Depression Set In …

I can honestly say I have never covered a worse stretch of Phillies baseball than this. This is their worst 14-game stretch (1-13) since a 1-18 stretch Aug. 28 – Sept. 14, 1999. Just ugly to watch in every way.

Charlie Manuel expressed his frustrations last night. He has been handed a bad hand this season. If this is his final season with the Phillies — I suspect it is — then this is a sad way to leave.

On the offense:
“I think they’ve got to show more hunger, definitely when they’re hitting. Every guy in our lineup can square up one two or balls a night, sometimes they can square up three or four balls. And that’s how you get one or two hits and have a batting average. I don’t see no really getting after those at-bats. We look like we take it very casual. Like it’s ‘we’ll get ‘em next time.’ No, that’s not good enough. That’s what I see with our offense.”

On everything going south:
“I wish I could sit here and tell you we’re way better than that, but that’s what I’m trying to see — if they are better than that. You’re looking to see how good players are, I know I am.”

On another John Mayberry Jr. base running mistake:
“I can’t explain to you how the guy can be holding him on, how he can have a short lead, he doesn’t have what you call a lead at all and he gets picked off. I’m not throwing him under any bus or nothing like that. That’s what I saw.”

On mistakes like being picked off being inexcusable:
“That becomes inexcusable. When you’re playing like we are now, you’ve got to really be concentrating on staying focused and playing the game right and cutting down and eliminating mistakes. But at the same time, the more that you see mistakes and the more you see somebody keep making mistakes over and over and over and over, that might tell you what kind of player that he is. If I’m going to be responsible, I think other people have to be responsible too, especially the ones that play the game.”

On concerns younger players here might not learn right way to play because of the losing:
“I’m concerned about that, but also this is a game where you have to learn quick. Who to pick to talk to. It’s very important in any phase of life to find the positive people. Don’t be getting around nobody who is going to drag you down or be a whiner and stuff like that. If you want to be really good, I’m going to hang around somebody really good. I’ve seen some of those guys on the field that I’d hang around with. Someone like Mike Schmidt is going to be my buddy, not someone hitting the same as I’m hitting. I’m going to hang around with someone who’s better. I’m going to run around with (Harmon) Killebrew or Bob Allison and them. That’s who I ran around with and they were pretty good.”

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I wonder if the Phillies will make a roster move to keep Cody Asche and Darin Ruf in the lineup once Domonic Brown rejoins the team Wednesday? Manuel said yesterday he plans to play Asche and Ruf regularly the rest of the season. Manuel also added Brown will be in the lineup everyday, too. That seems to create a decision for the Phillies. They decided to keep Michael Young rather than give him away in a trade. I don’t see them benching him — that wouldn’t make sense considering they can still trade him this month — which means he will be playing quite a bit at first base. So that leaves Ruf in left field. That could force Brown back to right, which means Delmon Young‘s day could be numbered.

I would say they could keep Young and release Laynce Nix, but that would not solve the problem of Ruf’s playing time because Nix rarely plays anyway.

The Phillies signed Delmon Young to a low-risk deal before the season because they thought he could provide power in right field for a team they hoped would make the postseason. But the Phillies are headed nowhere now, and his production doesn’t justify giving Ruf less of a look. Young is hitting just .263 with eight home runs, 31 RBIs and a .708 OPS in 285 plate appearances. If Young had enough plate appearances to qualify, he would rank 18th out of 22 rightfielders in baseball in OPS.

An Offensive Pulse

Chase Utley, Kurt SuzukiCole Hamels might be getting his mojo back, which could mean good things for the Phillies going forward. They need good pitching.

A few numbers to consider this fine Wednesday morning:

  • The Phillies have won six of their last eight games.
  • Since Atlanta started the season 12-1, it is 40-37, while the Phillies are 39-38 and the Nationals are 38-38. The Braves are practically begging somebody to challenge them in the NL East the second half of the season.
  • Since the end of May, the Phillies rank seventh in baseball averaging 4.58 runs per game. Since a loss in San Diego on June 24, they are seventh in baseball averaging 5.29 runs per game.
  • Ben Revere is hitting .346 since the end of April, which is seventh-best in baseball. He also is hitting .369 with an .871 OPS this season against lefties.
  • Following a 0-for-22 slump at the end of May, Michael Young has hit .331 with eight doubles, one triple, four home runs, 15 RBIs and an .844 OPS in his last 33 games.
  • Chase Utley‘s .504 slugging percentage is his best mark since a .508 slugging percentage in 2009.
  • Delmon Young has hit safely in 13 of his past 14 games. He is hitting .431 with three doubles, one home run, 10 RBIs and a 1.022 OPS in that stretch.
  • Domonic Brown cooled a bit in June, hitting .135 with two RBIs in a 10-game stretch. But in 18 games since June 19 he has hit .319 with five doubles, two triples, four homers, 15 RBIs and a .978 OPS. He is hitting .305 with an .816 OPS against lefties, and .343 with a 1.007 OPS in eight games in the cleanup spot.
  • Jimmy Rollins is not hitting for any power this season, but he has a .326 batting average and .340 on-base percentage in his last 10 games.

Looking at those numbers you could say the offense is coming alive, which is desperately needed because the pitching staff is 24th in baseball with a 4.33 ERA since June 8. The bullpen is even worse. It has a 5.21 ERA in that stretch, which is 27th. That is why Hamels’ last two starts are encouraging. If he can return to form he can put up a few zeroes, keep the young relievers in the pen and give the Phillies a better chance to win.

If these past few weeks are a sign of something real and not fool’s good then you have to think the Phillies will look to shore up its bullpen in the coming weeks. Of course, at what cost? As encouraging as the offense has been lately, I can’t imagine it would make much sense to part with a legitimate prospect to plug a hole in the bullpen … unless it is a guy the Phillies can keep beyond this season. (Joba Chamberlain? That makes ZERO sense. I mean, none.)

Phillies Remaining Patient with Young

Delmon YoungDelmon Young enters tonight’s game against the Mets hitting .222 with six doubles, six home runs, 17 RBIs and a .677 on-base-plus-slugging percentage in 148 plate appearances.

He has not been the consistent right-handed run producer the Phillies had hoped and he is a “below-average defender” in right field, according to the Phillies, but they said yesterday they are sticking with him for a couple reasons:

1. He is a slow starter. He had his best season with the Twins in 2010, when he hit .298 with 46 doubles, one triple, 21 home runs, 112 RBIs and an .826 OPS. Through his first 125 plate appearances that year, Young hit .250 with four homers, 16 RBIs and a .742 OPS. Last season with the Tigers, Young hit .267 with 27 doubles, one triple, 18 homers, 74 RBIs and a .707 OPS. Through 126 plate appearances, he hit just .226 with a .599 OPS.

Here is a look at his OPS by months over his career:

  • March/April: .645
  • May: .673
  • June: .744
  • July : .862
  • August: .741
  • September/October: .760

2. “We don’t have a suitable replacement for him,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said. John Mayberry Jr. is hitting .256 with 12 doubles, one triple, five home runs, 18 RBIs and a .752 OPS in 168 plate appearances. He regularly replaces Young in right field late in games. Certainly an argument can be made the Phillies should go with Mayberry in right because he is producing better offensively and is an upgrade defensively, but the Phillies believe Young’s upside — a American League Championship Series MVP Award in 2012, etc. — has earned him a longer look. Mayberry had a chance to earn an everyday job last season, but failed. You wonder if that plays into their thinking. In other words, the Phillies know what Mayberry offers and he has not shown the ability to produce consistently over an extended period of time. With everything as it is, the Phillies seem willing to roll the dice that Young can recapture some of his 2010 magic.

What about Darin Ruf? He is hitting .270 with 18 doubles, seven homers, 36 RBIs and a .778 OPS in 285 plate appearances in Triple-A. I think if Ruf were producing more in Triple A — although he is showing signs of heating up with a 1.055 OPS in his last 12 games — the Phillies would be more eager to bring him up, but he hasn’t so they’ll continue to give Young chances.

“He’s a much better hitter than he’s shown so far,” Amaro said of Young, “but at some point he’s going to have to start providing some offense and proving he can do some things for us or we’re going to have to see if there are other ways to improve the club. But right now we’re going to remain patient with him. And like I said, right now we don’t have a real suitable replacement.”

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MLB.com’s Stephen Pianovich visited Jimmy Rollins‘ charity event last night. Rollins offered some of his thoughts on the team’s chances going forward.

Zambrano to Pitch Sunday in Lehigh Valley

Carlos Zambrano threw seven scoreless innings Tuesday with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, but he will make at least one more start in the Minor Leagues.

He will start Sunday for the IronPigs.

“He threw much better,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said today. “He’s getting much closer. He’ll pitch Sunday and we’ll kind of make a decision from there.”

Zambrano allowed five hits, one walk and struck out six Tuesday. He is 3-0 with a 0.95 ERA in five Minor League starts, but in his previous start last week his fastball sat in the mid-80s. Amaro said he saw improvement there.

Zambrano must be placed on the big-league roster by July 1 or he can ask for his release. He could only make one more start in the Minors beyond Sunday before the Phillies have to make a decision. If he joins the team he likely would replace rookie right-hander Jonathan Pettibone, who is 3-3 with a 4.40 ERA in 11 starts, although he is 0-3 with a 6.98 ERA in his last four starts.

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Also, read what Delmon Young has to say about his first few weeks with the Phillies, and why Amaro is sticking with him.

The Delmon Experiment

Delmon YoungThe Phillies took little risk in January when they signed Delmon Young to a Minor League contract.

They believed he could help their offense, so they figured why not sign him for just $750,000?

But Young is hitting .215 (20-for-93) with four doubles, four home runs and 10 RBIs in 28 games. He has just a .387 slugging percentage and a .279 on-base percentage. He has played OK defensively, although he dropped a catchable ball in right field in the fifth inning today, which led to a two-out run in a 4-3 loss to the Brewers.

“I think sooner or later we definitely are going to have to evaluate him and decide,” Charlie Manuel said. “When you’re playing like that and trying to get going (as a team), there is a time when you have to sit down and definitely evaluate not only his performance and other guys’ too. I think that’s when we’ll decide, actually how much he gets to play or what. I think he’s going to hit. There again, it’s kind of like, when? I don’t like to give up on a guy that’s got the track record like he has with the bat. What I saw in Miami showed me that if he would get going and steady, that he could be a big addition to our lineup.”

Young appeared to be heating up late last month when he hit .333 (5-for-15) with one double, two home runs and four RBIs in four games. But since then he has hit .182 (6-for-33) with one home run and three RBIs in nine games.

“It’s only (93) at bats,” Young said. “That usually Aprils month of baseball. But when you’re losing you’re trying to do a little of everything to help the team score runs.”

I think the Phillies will give him more time. How much more? I’m not sure. Could be a couple weeks, could be a month, could be until the Phillies decide to blow up the 25-man roster and start from scratch. If that happens, the Phillies could move Domonic Brown to right field and call up Darin Ruf to play left. But at the moment, even though the Phillies are four games under .500 and show no signs , they still plan on giving this a shot. So they’ll continue to send Young out there, hoping he gets hot.

Young Could Be in RF Tomorrow

Delmon YoungCharlie Manuel planned to play Delmon Young in right field tonight against the Indians, but then he got hit with a pitch on his right elbow in last night’s 14-2 loss at Progressive Field.

“It’s nothing crazy,” said Young, who thought he could play in right field as early as tomorrow night against the Marlins at Citizens Bank Park. “I’ve got a big fat knot right there. Today was one of those days where if I had to play out there I could have played.”

But because this is an interleague series Manuel DH’d Young instead.

“Yeah, probably,” said Manuel, asked if Young could be his rightfielder tomorrow. “Probably going to take a couple days for the soreness to get out his arm, though.”

Young Is Motivated, But Can He Play Right Field?

Delmon YoungRuben Amaro Jr. said a few times in the past couple weeks they would not put Delmon Young in a Phillies uniform unless he showed he could play competently in right field.

Apparently, they believe he can.

The Phillies activated him from the disabled list before tonight’s game against the Indians at Progressive Field, designating outfielder Ezequiel Carerrera for assignment to make room for him on the 25-man roster. Young hit fifth behind Ryan Howard in the Phillies lineup, serving as the designated hitter. Charlie Manuel said he expects Young to play in right tomorrow night.

It should be interesting to watch. Young has been recovering from microfracture surgery on his right ankle, reacquainting himself with right field, a position he has not played since 2007. Young said he feels fine out there and his mobility continues to improve the more he plays.

He also said he is motivated.

“You’ve got to be motivated if you want to play,” he said. “If you aren’t motivated you could have one good season and then take it back to the house and never play again. So if you want to play as long as you can possibly play, have a career sort of like Chipper Jones, you have to be motivated day in and day out. This is not an easy sport. It’s not a sport that’s going to let you have your way with it. You have to work hard. You have to have to have some type of motivation to come out here and play.”

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