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95% Phillies, 4% Eagles/Flyers/Sixers/Big Five, 1% Nonsense .... Contact us: Scott Graham ~ Andy Musser

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Off-day musings: Polanco versus Feliz

Roy Halladay, by popular opinion, is the biggest Phillies' acquisition in 2010. I disagree.

Halladay replaced Cliff Lee at the top of the rotation. If Halladay joined Lee and the rotation was Halladay-Lee-Hamels-Blanton-Happ, then I would certainly believe that Halladay's addition was the most significant off-season improvement. However, Lee was pretty damned good.

Lee's career WHIP is 1.30; Halladay's is 1.20. Both pitchers, at this point in their careers, are better than those numbers.

The difference between the two, however, is not as drastic as the Polanco-Feliz switch. Mr. Graham and I have been saying, since the birth of this website, that Pedro Feliz is not an offensively productive third baseman. When the Phils acquired him, his career OBP was .288. In comparison, Eric Bruntlett's is .303.

Currently, Feliz reaches base at a .293 clip (the Phils' offense helped him out), while Placido Polanco has a .348 OBP. Their slugging percentages are about equal, with Feliz owning a .422 to Polanco's .414. The improvement should not be understated.

When a team has a great lineup, it is common for fans and sportswriters to desire a "top-flight"* pitcher. Their logic is this: "the lineup is so good already, they don't need another big hitter, let's get a good pitcher!" While this thinking isn't terribly off-base (as evidenced by the mid-season Lee trade and the Halladay addition), it is flawed.

Adding a good hitter to a good lineup is more significant than adding a good hitter to a poor lineup. He is more likely to come up to the plate with men on base, and he is more likely to get on base for the power hitters behind him. If Polanco were added to the Pirates, he would be pitched more carefully and have fewer opportunities to drive in runs.

The fact that Pedro Feliz is not following Raul Ibanez this year is simply awesome. The difference between Polanco and Victorino in the 2-hole is negligible, but the upgrade of Victorino in the 7-hole over Feliz is HUGE. For the past two years, Feliz has been the black hole in the lineup. Now, there is no black hole. Only one person in the lineup has a career OBP less than .339 (.335 is the league average): Jimmy Rollins at .329. If your worst hitter is your leadoff man, you have a damned good lineup.

Don't be surprised if this lineup scores 1000 runs.

*Whatever that means


Scott Graham said...

1000 runs in one game? Surely you jest.

Anonymous said...


Great to see you are back for another year. How was your winter off? Hope the accounting career is off to a good start.