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Who’s the Best Phillies Catcher of All Time?

In Philadelphia Phillies on January 21, 2014 at 11:40 am

With Spring Training 2014 quickly approaching the boys gathered at the Philly Pressbox for a few cold beverages and some baseball talk. We recently posted a note that it was Mike Lieberthals birthday and received both positive and negative comments about Lieby and him being honored on the Phillies Wall of Fame. That led us to the conversation of Who’s the Best Phillies Catcher of All Time. We quickly decided on the four finalists, Bob Boone, Darren Daulton, Leiberthal and Carlos Ruiz. This pretty much covers the last 40 years of full time Phillies catchers.

We’re going to provide some statistical information, as Phillies only, on each of the four and allow you, the fans, to vote on your favorite. The players are listed in alphabetical order.

BOB BOONE

Bob BooneBoonie was the Phillies full-time starting catcher from 1973-1981. He caught 100+ games in 7 seasons.

He ranks 2nd to Lieberthal in games caught in the modern day with 1125. He caught 100+ games 7 times

He is 3rd in Batting Average, .259, behind Lieberthal and Ruiz.

He is 3rd in Home Runs, 65, behind Lieberthal and Daulton.

He ranks 3rd in RBI’s with 456.

Boone struck out the least of the four with 365 behind Daulton, Lieberthal and Ruiz.

Boone won 1 World Series with the Phils, made 3 All Star Teams and won 2 Gold Gloves.

Defensively Boone led the NL in these categories during his Phillies career:

1978 – Fielding Percentage, 1973 – Assists, 1974- Putouts, 1973 – Runners Caught Stealing, 1974 & 1980 Errors Committed, 1974 & 1980 Stolen Bases Allowed.

Boone was traded by the Phillies after the 1981 season. He played 9 more seasons, making 1 more all star team and winning 5 more Gold Gloves. He actually played more games after he left the Phils than he did as a Phillie.

He was inducted in to the Phillies Wall of Fame in 2005.

DARREN DAULTON

“Dutch” was the Phillies starting catcher for the Phils for the most part from 1985-1995 although he only played more that 100 game 4 times in his career. His best 2 seasons came in 1992 and 1993 when he drove in more than 100 runs in both of those seasons helping lead the Phils to the 1993 World Series. Darren Daulton3

Daulton ranks 3rd in games caught behind Lieberthal and Boone. 

He ranks 4th in batting average, .245, behind Lieberthal, Ruiz and Boone

He ranks 2nd in Home Runs with 134 behind Lieberthal.

He ranks 2nd in RBI’s behind Lieberthal with 567.

Daulton struck out the most of the four with 709 career k’s.

Daulton went to one World Series, 1983, was selected to 3 All Star games and won one Silver Slugger Award.

Defensively, Daulton led the NL in the following categories during his Phillies career:

1990- Assists, 1993 – Putouts, 1990 & 1993 – DP’s by a catcher, 1992- Runners Caught Stealing.

Dutch was traded to the Florida Marlins in the middle of the 1997 season, his final one. The Marlins went on to win the World Series.

He was inducted in to the Phillies Wall of Fame in 2010.

MIKE LIEBERTHAL

Mike Lieberthal

“Lieby” started splitting time behind the plate in 1995 and 96 before becoming the full-time guy in 1997. He caught 100+ games 7 times before his last season with the Phillies in 2006.

He is the Phillies all time leader in games caught with 1174 games.

He leads in batting average with a .275 average.

He leads in Home Runs with 150.

He leads in RBI’s with 609.

He is 2nd in strikeouts to Daulton with 560.

“Lieby” made 2 All Star teams and won 1 Gold Glove Award.

Defensively, Lieberthal led the NL in the following categories during his Phillies career:

1999- Assists, 1999- Fielding Percentage, 1997, 99 and 2003 – Passed Balls, 2003 – Stolen Bases Allowed.

Lieby spent the final season of his career with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Lieberthal was inducted in to the Phillies Wall of Fame in 2012.

CARLOS RUIZ

Carlos Ruiz1“Chooch” took over as the Phillies full time catcher in 2007. He has been a work horse ever since. He’s caught more than 100 games in 6 of his 7 seasons. The only time he didn’t was last season when he caught 92 games after being suspended. He signed a 3-year contract extension this off-season so his stats are a work in progress.

He is last of the four on the Phillies all time leader in games caught with 825 games.

He is 2nd in batting average to Lieberthal by .001, with a .274 average.

He is last in Home Runs with 57 which is 8 behind Boone.

He is last in RBI’s with 336. He is 120 behind Boone for 3rd.

He has struck out the 3rd most behind Daulton and Lieberthal with 325.

“Chooch” has won 1 World Series in 2008, made it to another in 2009 and made 1 All Star team. He has not won any Gold Gloves or Silver Slugger Awards.

Defensively, Chooch has never led the NL in any category.

Now you have some numbers to ponder. Now it’s time to cast your vote.

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5 Phillies Things to Ponder – You Rank Them!!

In Philadelphia Phillies on May 18, 2012 at 10:41 am

While driving down the interstate of Missouri I’m pondering a few things about the Phillies and the first 38 games of the season. I’ve come up with a list of 5 things and I ask you, what do you think will happen in what order? I’ll list them randomly and give you my list at the bottom.

  • ·        The Phillies take over 1st Place in the NL East.
  • ·        Greg Gross gets fired as the hitting coach.
  • ·        Carlos “Chooch” Ruiz is named the starting catcher for the NL in the All Star game.
  • ·        Cole Hamels is signed to a long term contract.
  • ·        Jimmy Rollins will be moved out of the leadoff spot permanently.

 

Here is our list and our reasoning:

  1. Greg Gross will be fired. It’s not fair to blame everything on the hitting coach but that’s what happens, ask Mickey Hatcher who was fired after 13 seasons as the hitting coach of the Angels because he and Albert Pujols had a disagreement and the team was underachieving at the plate. GG has been fired before in favor of Milt Thompson who was replaced again by GG. When it’s all said and done, there are a lot of the same hitters that have been here throughout and they haven’t changed, regardless of who the hitting coach is. The Phils are presently playing .500 ball, 19-19, and in last place in the NL East. They rank 4th in the NL in batting average at .261, however, they rank only 10th of 16 teams in OBP, on base percentage, are 8th in runs scored  and home runs but 15th in bases on balls. It’s a shame to say but someone may have to be the scapegoat if the Phils don’t start to score more runs and GG will be that guy. Maybe Chase Utley and Ryan Howard can help out if it’s not too late.
  2. “Chooch” is named to start in the All Star game. At this point in the season he has done it all. Always solid on defense and managing the pitching staff, he has now added some pretty significant offensive numbers. He’s sporting a .343 batting average, .388 OBP, 7 HR’s, 24 RBI’s and 19 runs scored, all second on the team to Hunter Pence. It’s a no-brainer that Chooch is the NL starting catcher.
  3. Cole Hamels signs a multi- year deal. Every time Hamels goes to the mound it’s costing the Phillies money. He’s presently 5-1 with a 2.28 ERA. He’s started 7 games and the Phils have won 6 of them. He leads the team with 49 strike outs while holding the opposition to a .229 batting average. The 28 year old lefty has not reached his prime yet and needs to be locked up for the long haul. We’ve been on that bandwagon since Spring Training. The Dodgers, Angels and Yankees will likely be interested if Cole tests the free agent market and will all be willing to dish out big money. The Matt Cain contract in San Francisco has set the bar at $120m and the Phillies need to beat it and they need to do it now. Following is the link to our preseason player profile on Hamels.   https://phillypressbox.wordpress.com/2012/03/13/phillies-profile-cole-hamels/
  4. The Phils take over 1st place in the NL East. The Phils have played poorly through the first 38 games of the season. Utley and Howard are out, the middle bullpen is a mess, Cliff Lee has been on the DL, Jim Thome has been a bust, Freddy Galvis, Lance Nix and John Mayberry, among others, have struggled and the Phils are only 4.5 games out of 1st place. Although the division has improved the Phillies still have the top line of starting pitchers. It’s just a matter of time until they find some consistency at the plate and start scoring runs in bunches.
  5. Jimmy Rollins is moved out of the leadoff spot. The Philly Pressbox doesn’t under Charlie Manuals love for JRoll in the leadoff spot. Those days are gone. Jimmy is presently hitting a measly .232 with an OBP of .290. That is awful for a guy in the leadoff spot.   He has also already struck out 27 times while walking only 13 and stealing 8 bases. Only Galvis and Mayberry have a lower OBP than Rollins. With Juan Pierre swinging a hot bat, .343 average, with a .388 OBP, he needs to be in the leadoff spot until he can’t get the job done. Pierre is a proven big league player and he will produce. JRoll and Manuel need to swallow the egos and move Rollins down near the bottom of the lineup where he belongs. We don’t see it happening any time soon and the Phils will suffer because of it unless Jimmy turns back the clock to 2007 and 2008. See our preseason preview of JRoll at the following link. https://phillypressbox.wordpress.com/2012/03/19/phillies-profile-jimmy-rollins/

There you have our thoughts at close to the quarter point of the season.

What do you think????

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“View from the Philly Pressbox” – Pirates Series

In Philadelphia Phillies on April 9, 2012 at 11:47 am

In our first installment of the “View from the Philly Pressbox” we’ll review the 3 games series, at Pittsburgh, against the Pirates, in which the Phils lost two out of three.

We learned the following:

Roy Halladay and Jonathan Papelbon were really good in the opener, combining for a 2 hit, 1-0 shutout.

Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle lost his mind by pitching to Carlos Ruiz with the score 0-0, with Phillies on 2nd and 3rd with 1 out and Freddie Galvis, in his first major league game, and the pitcher, Halladay due up. Chooch hit a SAC Fly to rightfield that was all Halladay needed. 1-0 Phillies.

Cliff Lee can still be good even when he’s not at his best. He gave up 2 hits and 1 run through 6 innings, allowing a run on a wild pitch. Lee appeared to be struggling with his location some and wasn’t happy with some balls and strikes from the umpire but still pitched very well.

Games will end on bang-bang calls on the bases. This one was close and went against the Phils allowing the winning run to score giving them their first lose.

The Vanimal, Vance Worley, doesn’t appear to have any sophomore season concerns. Worley threw 6 innings of 5 hit, 1 run baseball, leaving with a 4-1lead.

Overall the Phillies starters threw 20 innings, gave up 9 hits, 2 runs, 3 walks and had 14 strikeouts and Cole Hamels hasn’t pitched yet.

The Phillies hitting is awful!! They accounted for 20 hits, 1 by Halladay, in the first three games against average pitching, hit 1 home run, had 2 doubles and only scored 6 runs.

Juan Pierre needs to be the leadoff hitter that can get on base and make things happen. If Charlie Manuel wants John Mayberry to get At-Bats it needs to be at 1st base. Not that Mayberry can’t play leftfield, but Pierre needs to be in the lineup until he proves he can’t get the job done. Shane Victorino is not a lead-off hitter and Jimmy Rollins is not a number 3 hitter. Our thought is play Mayberry every day at 1st base and bat 5th so opponents don’t walk Hunter Pence like they did Sunday with Jim Thome hitting behind him. The Phils need to establish a 5th hitter in the line-up and leave him there until he fails.

How long of a leash do you have with Freddie Galvis? He needs to hit something! 0-10 in your first series is not a great start, especially for a guy who isn’t a notoriously good hitter to begin with. He has played well in the field but he needs to hit. The Ty Wigginton, Galvis, Brian Schneider experiment in the 6, 7 and 8 spots produced a 0-9 with 2 walks for the day. They did score 2 runs. That won’t get it. Tack on another 0-4 for the 9th spot and it wasn’t a very good day.

Why pull Worley after 6 innings and only 78 pitches?

Lastly, Charlie let Sunday’s game get away. As long as I can remember being around baseball there’s been a cardinal rule of “NEVER let the other team’s best player beat you”. Charlie decided to pitch to both Jose Tabata and Andrew McCutchen with a runner on 3rd and 1 out in the bottom of the 9th inning. David Herndon was fortunate enough to strikeout Tabata for the 2nd out before McCutchen hit the game winner off the centerfield wall. Baseball wisdom says they should’ve walked both Tabata and McCutchen and set up a double play situation with Adam Walker. Those runners meant nothing so why not put them on base. Choosing to pitch to Tabata was one thing but letting McCutchen, easily the Pirates best player, beat you with two empty bases is inexcusable.

With that said, it’s early in the season and today’s game against the Marlins brings Hamels to the mound. There’s nothing like the home opener. As we stated in our Phillies Profile on Hamels, the link is attached, https://phillypressbox.wordpress.com/2012/03/13/phillies-profile-cole-hamels/, we expect a great season from him and it starts today. The Phillies pitching is going to be fun to watch but we sure need some answers at the plate, and soon.

For now, WE’RE OUTTTTTTA HERE!!!!!

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Phillies Profile – Carlos “Chooch” Ruiz

In Philadelphia Phillies on March 16, 2012 at 3:15 pm

Over the next 28 days Philly Pressbox (https://phillypressbox.wordpress.com) (@phillypressbox) will be doing a review and analysis of each Phillies player, Manager Charlie Manuel and the coaching staff leading up to Opening Day 2012.  On Day 8 we preview Carlos “Chooch” Ruiz.

Carlos Ruiz – “Chooch” has turned in a truly unbelievable story. He was signed by the Phillies as a Free Agent in 1998 as a 2nd baseman. Early on he was converted to catcher due to his strong arm. He struggled through a good part of his minor league career in Low A ball at Clearwater and Lakewood. In 2003, he started off hot at Clearwater and was promoted to AA Reading and his career started to take off. Chooch spent 2 seasons at Reading and 2 more at AAA Lehigh Valley. He continued to prosper at the plate in Lehigh Valley, hitting .300 and .307 there. All the while honing his catching skills.  Interestingly enough, Chooch never caught more than 101 games in a season in the minor leagues.

Chooch got the call to the big leagues in 2006. He made his debut on May 6 against the San Francisco Giants. He played in only 27 games in 2006 but Chooch was about to arrive on the Phillies scene on a full time basis. In 2007, Chooch became the starting catcher. He has caught 111, 110, 107, 118 and 128 games each year since. Chooch has continued to be solid at the plate while doing an outstanding job behind the plate working with the pitching staff. His hitting high point came in 2010 when he hit .302. Another amazing thing about the 33 year old Panama native is when he arrived in Philadelphia in 2007 he was paid $380,000. In 2012 he will be earning $3.7m in the final year of his contract. The Phillies do hold a 2013 team option on Chooch for amazing $5m.

Chooch has had several personal highlights during his time as the full time catcher during the “Greatest Era in Phillies Baseball”.  He caught the last pitch of Game 5 of the 2008 World Series from Brad Lidge to let the celebration begin. He was the catcher for Roy Halladays Perfect Game against the Marlins and was also behind the plate for Halladays no-hitter against the Reds in the playoffs. Halladay said of Chooch, “He’s very good at in-game adjustments and feeling his way through the game. I’ve been fortunate to have some good catchers. But I think as far as a guy that takes pride in calling every pitch, I think he’s probably the highest on that list.”  Quite a compliment from the best pitcher in baseball! Former Phillies teammate Jamie Moyer added, “He gets a great deal of respect from his teammates, and as an athlete that’s what you hope to get. He’s earned it quite well. I think if you went across the field and ask any opposing team what they think of him, they would have a great deal of respect for him as a person and a catcher.” And lastly Phils starter Joe Blanton  commented, “He’s huge, I think if you ask any pitcher, they are going to tell you how valuable he is putting down the fingers, game-calling, his ability to handle us each differently.”

Personal Analysis:

“Chooch” has become a real fan favorite of the Phillies faithful and why not? He’s fun to watch, he gets key hits, he’s under complete control of the pitching staff, and he brings his lunch pail to work every day….Philly style! There’s no reason not to expect another solid season from Chooch, both behind the plate defensively and at the plate offensively. We expect another 120 games behind the plate and another .280 batting average with a handful of home runs and 40-50 RBI’s out of the 8th spot in the batting order. The big question for the Phillies could come at the end of the season. Do you sign Chooch for his option year at $5m, try to sign him for an additional couple of years or turn him lose?

Tomorrow we will preview Ryan Howard.

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The Phils, Hamels and Spring Training

In Philadelphia Phillies on January 18, 2012 at 10:29 am

I woke up this morning to the great news that Cole Hamels is back in the fold for another year. As I’m looking out the window watching the snow fall on this frigid January day the Hamels signing makes me think about getting started in sunny Clearwater Florida. I can see Doc Halladay working out at the Carpenter Complex as I’m typing. As far as Hamels $15 million is nothing to sneeze at but I’d sure like to see a long term deal, 3 -4 years, made to keep Hamels through his prime years. It seems hard to believe that Cole is just 28 years old since he’s been in the big leagues with the Phils since 2006. I think he was the most consistent of the starters last season, including Halliday. The offense just didn’t score runs for him. His 2011 stats of 14-9 with a 2.79 ERA and 0.99 WHIP (walks, hits per innings pitched) were career bests. He could have easily won 4 more games with a little more offense.

That brings us to the 2012 season. Is this a better team than the 2011 team? As it stands today I don’t think so. It’s safe to say that the offense hasn’t improved at all. We have lost Raul Ibanez, it was probably time to go, and plan to replace him on a full time basis with former part timer John Mayberry. Mayberry deserves a chance after having a nice 2011 as a reserve. He hit .273 with 15 HR’s and 49 RBI’s. The problem is that Mayberry has never had more than 8 RBI’s in a season before that and he’s 28 years old. To be safe there needs to be a backup plan. At this point the outfield reserves are Lance Nix and Dom Brown. I’m not comfortable there. Obviously there’s a lot expected from Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence in the other outfield spots. Pence will have his hands full early in the season with Ryan Howard on the disabled list. Pence will likely be asked to bat in the clean-up spot.

The infield hasn’t changed except that it got a year older and hopefully gets healthier. This is the year for Chase Utley. Utley is still a solid player but has fallen out of the elite group over the last couple years. Most of that has been blamed on health issues, which may be true; however it’s time to get back to the old Chase. Over the last 5 seasons his batting average has been .332, .292, .282, .275, and .259. His HR numbers have also declined over that period, 22, 33, 31, 16, and 11, and with that comes RBI reductions, 103, 104, 93, 65 and 44. Chase turns 32 years old this Spring. As stated earlier this is a critical year for both Chase and the Phillies success. Placido Polanco had an outstanding first half of the season. It was obvious he fought through injuries for a good part of the season. He was still selected to the All Star game and won the Gold Glove at 3rd base. Polly is 36 years old. He needs a healthy 2012. It’s good to have Jimmy Rollins back. I like JRoll but didn’t want to over pay him or sign him for too long. He’s been the leader of the line-up but has obviously tailed off since his MVP year of 2007. His average from 2007-2011 has been .296, .277, .250, .243 and .268 although his On Base Percentage has stayed pretty much level. Jimmy needs to get on base and be the guy that drives this offense. JRoll is now 33 years old. That brings us to Ryan Howard and his health. The Phils need a healthy Ryan Howard and they need him soon. Howard still strikes out way too much but there are only a few players that can say they’ve driven in over 100 runs 6 years in a row while hitting between 31 and 58 HR’s over those years. Howard is also 32 years old and won’t be able to keep producing these numbers forever. The infield bench doesn’t look much different. We’ve added future Hall of Famer and 1st class guy in Jim Thome and his 604 career home runs and Ty Wiggington as reserves. Thome is expected to be the left handed and Wiggington the right handed reserves/pinch hitters off the bench.  Wouldn’t it be great if Thome can be ready to start while Howard is injured and produce great numbers? The other infield reserves are Wilson Valdez and Michael Martinez. They both are adequate reserves. One of these two likely won’t be around when camp breaks. Overall I don’t see any improvement in the infield.

The catchers are still Carlos Ruiz and Brian Schneider. Chooch had a nice season last year and has become a top notch catcher in the National League. He caught 132 games last year and turns 33 years old before Spring Training. Schneider does a nice job as a backup but it’s time to be getting someone ready to take over the catcher spot in the near future.

The starting pitching will still be strong with Halladay, Hamels, Cliff Lee, and 2 of the 3, Vance Worley, Joe Blanton or Kyle Kendrick. Whoever loses out on the 5th starter spot will move to the bullpen unless a trade is made. I like Worley and Blanton in those spots but Kendrick pitched well at the end of last season.

I’m having real problems with the bullpen. I’m okay with the signing of Jonathan Papelbon. In the last 6 seasons he’s recorded 35, 37, 41, 38, 37 and 31 saves. He’s a proven guy that can get it done. With that said I’d like to have seen Ryan Madson stay. Obviously something went wrong whether it was the Phillies, Madson or agent Scott Boras. Either way, Madson didn’t get the free agent deal he was expecting, 1 year – $8.5m with Cincinnati, and will not be back. It would’ve been nice to have Papelbon and Madson if it was possible. The rest of the bullpen looks like Antonio Bastardo as the lefty, Michael Stutes as the righty. Both of these guys had outstanding rookie years before running low in the gas tank toward the end of the season. That leaves just 2 spots left, assuming that either Valdez or Martinez is not with the club clearing out a spot, those choices are Jose Contrares, coming off an injury, David Herndon, Michael Schwimer, Joe Savery and Justin De Fratus. I don’t know about you but that bullpen doesn’t scare me. The key could be Savery, a former 1st round draft pick that seems to finally be coming in to his own as a left handed reliever. He needs time to prove he can pitch at the big league level.

It’s time to get started. I think I can hear bats and balls as I’m looking through the snow. It’s time to make another run to a World Championship!

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