Results tagged ‘ Michael Martinez ’

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.

*

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.

Fall Cleaning: Mini-Mart, Orr, Miner and Robles Outrighted

Ruben Amaro Jr. said one of the front office’s first orders of business this offseason is cleaning up the 40-man roster.

“We have some guys who will not be on our roster shortly after the season,” he said. “We have some guys who were placeholders in some regards. We have to clean up our roster and make some decisions about who may be helping us in 2014 and beyond.”

Today the Phillies announced they had outrighted four players from the 40-man: infielders Michael Martinez and Pete Orr; right-hander Zach Miner and left-hander Mauricio Robles. Martinez has a .495 OPS in 396 career plate appearances, which is the 29th lowest OPS out of 4,549 non-pitchers with 350 or more plate appearances since 1900.

Orr had four hits in 20 at-bats this season. Miner went 0-2 with a 4.40 ERA in 16 appearances. He started three games the final month of the season when Kyle Kendrick suffered a shoulder injury. Robles allowed one earned run in 4 2/3 innings in three appearances.

Yesterday the Indians claimed right-hander Tyler Cloyd off waivers. The Astros claimed left-hander Raul Valdes.

Young Reinstated, Martinez Optioned

Phillies Cardinals BaseballMichael Young feels fortunate to be back with the Phillies in a relatively clear state of mind.

He got a big scare last Tuesday at Fenway Park, where he received a serious phone call about 30 minutes before his game against the Red Sox regarding a health issue concerning his nine-month-old son Antonio. Young went on the bereavement list Wednesday to return home to Texas before returning to Philadelphia to be activated before tonight’s series opener against the Marlins at Citizens Bank Park.

“That’s what I’ve been doing, tending to my little boy,” said Young, who declined to discuss specifics regarding his son’s health issue. “A hospital bed is no place for a nine-month-old baby boy. They’re home now. Better. Awaiting some results from some tests, but he’s home now and isn’t stuck to an IV, which is a good thing to see from a father’s standpoint. He’s home with my family and he’s comfortable.”

The Phillies optioned light-hitting infielder Michael Martinez to make room for Young on the roster. They instead kept Cesar Hernandez, who replaced Young on the roster last week. The Phillies trumpeted Martinez’s defensive versatility when he replaced Chase Utley on the roster May 24, but while Hernandez is primarily a second baseman, he simply is a better baseball player than Martinez. Hernandez entered Monday hitting .263 (5-for-19) with one double in five games. Martinez has a career .509 on-base-plus-slugging percentage in 358 plate appearances over parts of three seasons with the Phillies.

But the good news is Young’s son is feeling better.

“I’m OK,” Young said. “We got a lot of potentially bad things ruled out, which is great news. The fact that some really horrible things were ruled out was great news for my family. I’m just happy my son’s home.”

Young is expected to return to the lineup tomorrow. He said he is ready to play.

“I could always count on baseball to be kind of my sanctuary, another place where I can be me and cut it loose and go out and compete at the highest level, which is who I am and what I do and what I love to do the most,” he said. “If anything, I can count on baseball for that.”

Explaining Mini-Mart

Phillies Cardinals BaseballMichael Martinez has hit .188 in 354 plate appearances over two seasons with the Phillies. He hit .239 in 121 plate appearances this season with Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

But he took Chase Utley’s spot on the 25-man roster when the Phillies placed Utley on the disabled list yesterday because of a strained right oblique. (They placed Roy Halladay on the 60-day disabled list to make room for Martinez on the 40-man roster.) Utley is eligible to be activated June 5, so Martinez is unlikely to be around long. But why Martinez and not somebody like Darin Ruf, who could provide a little help offensively? Or somebody like Triple-A infielders Pete Orr or Cesar Hernandez? I got a ton of questions about this move, so here is the explanation from the Phillies.

“We could always use somebody to run,” Charlie Manuel said. “If we take Delmon (Young) out of the game, we might want to keep (John ) Mayberry back to hit. Things like that. Michael is a switch hitter. He can play a lot of positions. Hopefully we won’t have to run Cliff (Lee) no more.”

Ruf is hitting .262 with 13 doubles, five home runs and 23 RBIs with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, but he had just three hits in his last 29 at-bats entering today. But Ruf also only plays left field and first base, which means there would be little opportunity for him to play. He is unlikely to take away starts from leftfielder Domonic Brown or first baseman Ryan Howard. The Phillies play two interleague games Monday and Tuesday in Boston, but bringing him up for essentially two games didn’t make sense to them.

“I think the better fit was someone who could play all over the field,” assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said. “We’ve got two (interleague) games. It would be hard to find (Ruf) a place to play (otherwise) and it probably wouldn’t be the right fit. At this particular point in time Michael would step into what Freddy (Galvis’) role is and play all over the field. He can play some center field if he had to. He’s been here before. That seemed to make some more sense than something like that. It was more Michael’s versatility and just the really short window of interleague play.”

Proefrock said Martinez’s versatility probably helped him over Orr. Hernadnez, who is hitting .312, is primarily a second baseman.

“Freddy is going to play ahead of him, so it didn’t make a lot of sense to bring him up,” Proefrock said of Hernandez. “He’s not as versatile as Michael. He’s pretty much limited at second base right now at least from playing on any kind of regular basis.”

Utley to DL

Chase UtleyIt seemed a certainty Chase Utley would land on the disabled list this week.

The Phillies confirmed this evening he would.

They announced Utley, who felt a burning sensation on his right side when taking swings during batting practice Monday in Miami, will be placed on the 15-day disabled list with what they have called a “very mild” Grade 1 strained oblique. They said there is no intercostal or ribcage injury. He is eligible to be activated June 5.

The Phillies selected infielder Michael Martinez’s contract from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to take his place on the roster. Martinez has hit a combined .188 with a .512 on-base-plus-slugging percentage in parts of two seasons with the Phillies. He has hit .226 with a .570 OPS with Lehigh Valley this season.

Ruben Amaro Jr. said the typical recovery for this type of injury is two to four weeks.

“We do believe and hope that Chase will be ready to play in Philadelphia within 15 days,” Amaro said in a statement.

(more…)

Betancourt Could Get A Job On Phillies Bench

Yuniesky BetancourtThe Phillies signed Yuniesky Betancourt to a Minor League contract in January, and my Twitter feed quickly filled with stunned-and-confused comments about it. I guess it’s one of those things that happens these days. The Phillies sign a guy for organizational depth at relatively low cost and minimal risk and people freak out because he has a career .290 on-base percentage.

I mean, we’re talking about the 25th man on the big-league roster or Lehigh Valley’s possible everyday shortstop, but whatever …

But an interesting thing is happening in Clearwater: Betancourt is playing well and he could get one of the team’s two utility infield jobs.

Read the entire story here.

What is especially interesting about the battle among Betancourt, Kevin Frandsen and Freddy Galvis is Betancourt has an earlier than usual opt-out clause for March 24. The Phillies must tell Betancourt by that date if he has made the 25-man roster. If he has not made the team, he can ask to be released. March 24 is a full week before the Phillies play their final exhibition game, so the Phillies will have to decide on that before they theoretically come to conclusions about the final three bullpen jobs or outfield situation. Like I wrote yesterday, I would not be surprised to see Betancourt and Frandsen start the season with the team. Galvis can be optioned to Triple-A, where he could get more seasoning with the IronPigs. Meanwhile, Betancourt and Frandsen can show what they’ve got with the Phillies. If either struggles, the Phillies could recall Galvis at that point.

Interestingly, Ruben Amaro Jr. said Betancourt’s ability to play defense is key. That’s interesting because Galvis unquestionably is the best defensive player of the three, but the fact he has options and the others don’t could tilt the jobs in their favor.

“You could probably say right now, even though he’s a young player, he’d probably be the most reliable guy [defensively],” Amaro said of Galvis. “But again, Yuniesky has got a lot of experience. It depends on how [Betancourt] performs. We’re not making any decisions today. We don’t have to make any decision for several weeks, so we’re OK.”

Will your head explode if Betancourt makes the team? If you said yes, take a deep breath and relax. Like I said, we’re talking about the last bench player here. The Phillies won the World Series with So Taguchi‘s .580 OPS on the bench in 2008. They won a National League pennant with Eric Bruntlett‘s .462 OPS on the bench in 2009. And they won a franchise-record 102 games with Michael Martinez‘s .540 OPS on the bench in 2011.

I’m not really sure which way the Phillies will go, but Betancourt is playing well enough early to make the front office think long and hard about it.

*

MLB.com’s Richard Justice takes a look at the Phillies’ revamped bullpen.

Howard, Utley Injury Updates (And More!!!!!)

Got injury updates for you:

  • Ryan Howard. He visited a wound specialist at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital today. “His wound is still healing,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said. “He’s doing well. We’re continuing the same deal.” There is no timetable for Howard’s return. “The biggest challenge was for the wound to get to the skin from how deep it was,” Amaro said. “It’s getting there. It’s getting pretty close. … The question is when does he start doing stuff so it doesn’t compromise the healing process? We’re still on hold as far as that is concerned. Hopefully we’ll know more in the next couple of days.”
  • Chase Utley. Utley, who is sidelined because of a chronically injured left knee, continues to rehab in Phoenix. He is expected to rejoin the team next week, when the Phillies travel to Arizona to play the Diamondbacks. “His strength seems to be improving,” Amaro said. “He’s moving forward.” There is no timetable for Utley’s return.
  • Michael Martinez. Martinez has a fractured right foot. He will be in a walking boot for another two weeks, when team physician Michael Ciccotti will evaluate him.
  • Justin De Fratus. He is rehabbing from a sprained right elbow, and could pitch in an extended Spring Training game Thursday. He could begin a rehab assignment shortly after that. “He’s making very good progress,” Amaro said.

*

Jim Salisbury and I co-authored the book The Rotation, which is now available. Check it out here!
Here are our upcoming book signings:

  • April 26: Barnes & Noble in Marlton, NJ, 7 p.m.
  • April 29: Citizens Bank Park, 12:30 – 1:30 p.m.
  • May 10: Tredyfrrin Public Library in Stafford, PA, 7:30 p.m.
  • June 2: Citizens Bank Park, 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Check out my Facebook page. Follow me on Twitter.

Galvis Watch: Day 2

Who expected a bruised left foot for Freddy Galvis would be such a big deal in late March?

Galvis, who seemed very unlikely to make the Opening Day roster before camp opened last month, is expected to be the team’s everyday second baseman while Chase Utley recovers from his chronically injured knees. But then Galvis fouled a pitch off the top of his left foot in yesterday’s game against the Pirates, suffering a bruise and making people fear the worst.

“I feel much better today,” Galvis said this morning.

Galvis, who was walking without a limp, said a team doctor examined him in the morning.

“Everything was good,” he said.

Galvis had been scheduled to take the trip to Fort Myers to play the Twins in a Grapefruit League game this afternoon, but there is no reason to push his health, considering Utley, Ryan Howard and Michael Martinez already are opening the season on the disabled list.

Galvis said he hopes he can play as early as Thursday.

*

Jim Salisbury and I co-authored the book The Rotation, which is now available. Check it out here!
Here are our upcoming book signings:

  • April 2: Barnes & Noble in Plymouth Meeting, PA, 7 p.m.
  • April 3: Chester County Book Company in West Chester, PA, 7 p.m.
  • April 26: Barnes & Noble in Marlton, NJ, 7 p.m.

Bye Bye Boot

Ryan Howard said Tuesday he hoped to lose the protective boot on his left foot sometime in the next two weeks.

But he showed up this morning at Bright House Field without the boot and worked out without the boot. Good news? Well, it’s not bad news, which has been coming every day lately for the Phillies infield. Placido Polanco sprained his left ring finger Saturday, although he took batting practice Thursday. Chase Utley left the team Monday to have an unknown specialist in an undisclosed location – although he had been spotted this week in the Phoenix area – look at his bad knees. Utility infielder Michael Martinez then broke his right foot Tuesday, leaving the Phillies incredibly thin in the infield.

So a bootless Howard is arguably the best news the Phillies have received in a while. He had surgery to repair his ruptured left Achilles in October. He had been progressing nicely, but an infection developed last month, which required a second surgical procedure to remove sutures that had not dissolved. Howard had been in the boot for more than three weeks to let the second wound heal.

“I don’t think it really set me back,” Howard insisted. “Because I think the biggest concern was my tendon and the tendon was never an issue. The tendon was repaired in October. So even with me not doing what I was doing before from a rehab standpoint, the tendon is still getting stronger, a little bit every day. So now I can get back to doing more strength-training stuff. So I don’t think it was really a setback at all. … It’s one of those things where I’ve looked at it as a blessing in disguise”

(more…)

Polanco Has Sports Hernia; Could Require Surgery

Ruben Amaro Jr. certainly could have been bluffing this evening at Dodger Stadium.

He said if Placido Polanco’s sports hernia injury requires surgery and he misses a significant period of time, the Phillies will not look outside the organization for help at third base. He said Michael Martinez and Wilson Valdez will man the position through the remainder of the season, even if it includes a deep run into October.

“They will be the ones who will play,” he said.

Polanco left Saturday’s game in San Francisco because of soreness in his left hip. He flew to Philadelphia yesterday for a MRI exam today. The results revealed a chronic sports hernia injury. He will receive an injection tomorrow and be evaluated Friday.

If the shot does not relieve Polanco of his discomfort he probably will have surgery. Amaro said surgery would not necessarily end his season.

“Our doctors tell us it could be somewhere between three weeks and a month,” Amaro said. “I think we can manage him through it, but we’ll find out more Friday.”

Amaro said he is hopeful Polanco can play through the injury, much like Raul Ibanez played through it in 2009. Amaro added Polanco’s injury does not seem to be nearly as severe as Ibanez’s. Ibanez’s required offseason surgery.

“It’s not an uncommon set of circumstances,” Amaro said. “He actually felt much, much better even before he flew out.”

*

Check out my Facebook page. Follow me on Twitter. Pick up a copy of my book.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 294 other followers