Analysis

Raul Ibanez: Extra Base Machine

The early returns came to our newsroom at about 4 p.m. Sunday: Raul Ibanez is a hell of an offensive player.

Just innings after misplaying a line drive and grounding into a defeating double play, the new left fielder strode to the plate, hearing a collection of boos and “Rauuuuls.” Ryan Howard stood at first, the game stood at a one-run deficit, the crowd stood to attention and Ibanez locked in: One mammoth 2-0 swing later, and Ibanez rounded the bases — the bell chiming, the crowd rejoicing and Harry Kalas’ trademark call serenading him home.

Now Ibanez is a Phillie.

Sure we’re looking at small sample sizes (11 games), but so far, Ibanez has earned his keep in Philadelphia, regardless of the late-game heroics. Here are the numbers, with National League ranks in parenthesis:

Runs: 12 (T2)
Hits: 17 (T3)
Doubles: 4 (T4)
Home Runs: 5 (T1)
Total Bases: 38 (1)
On-Base Percentage: .438 (14)
Slugging Percentage: .864 (1)
Batting Average: .386 (5)

The most important statistics for our sake are the total bases and slugging percentage. Now, notice that I didn’t list runs batted in — his 10 make him tied for sixth in the National League. So, here’s a thought: What about moving Ibanez to the three-hole, pushing Chase Utley and Ryan Howard each down one spot in the lineup? It’s early, but the Phils could take full advantage of their hottest hitters this way.

That said, Ibanez is so far earning his keep.

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0 Comments

  1. Chris L

    April 20, 2009 at 6:48 am

    Instead of moving Utley and Howard down – how about moving Utley to the 2, Raul hits in the 3 and Rollins or Victorino hits 6. That would be similar to some of their late season lineups from last year and Chase is a better hitter with 2 strikes so if the leadoff guy (either Rollins or Vic) does get on he would have a couple of chances to steal.

  2. Lewisauce

    April 20, 2009 at 7:21 am

    Like Chris just said. Chase to No. 2, Ibanez to No. 3, Werth at 5, one of the fast guys at 6.

  3. DHall

    April 20, 2009 at 8:16 am

    Yes, it’s a shame the Phillies don’t have a legit leadoff hitter, but that said, I’d keep Victorino at the top and move Utley up to second and Ibanez up to 3rd. Howard and Werth at 4th and 5th and Rollins at 6th. If Rollins starts hitting again, he can move back to 2nd. Of course Charlie will eventually put Rollins back in the leadoff spot, even though he’s not a leadoff hitter….drives me nuts. Chase is fine at number 2 for a short while, but I like him better in the 3 spot to take full advantage of his power.

  4. Chuck P

    April 20, 2009 at 8:41 am

    Chase is the perfect 3 hitter. He’s got power, he can steal a base, he can hit the ball the other way… if you feel like Howard is leaving too many opportunities on the table, just switch him and Ibanez.

    I don’t feel like the lineup needs to be tinkered with… the guys at the top of the order need to get on base and our pitching needs to stop giving up HRs.

  5. Phil

    April 20, 2009 at 8:51 am

    your best overall hitter should hit 3rd and that is utley. if utley hit 2nd ibanez 3rd and howard 4th you would still have 3 lefties in a row

  6. Tim C

    April 20, 2009 at 9:05 am

    yeah, Phil is right, we have to watch out for the three lefties in a row. The only reason we had them like that against the Padres is because they didn’t have any lefties in their bullpen. Against anyone else that could get us into big trouble. Things are fine the way they are unless we want to consider vic/werth/utley/howard/rollins/ibanez but that doesn’t reallly take advantage of werth’s abilities.

  7. mick

    April 20, 2009 at 9:09 am

    Too early to fool with the lineup—huge egos here coming off a perfect season—assuming Rollins picks it up the Phillies are going to score plenty of runs—-the pitching on the other hand needs to pick it up

  8. Chutley

    April 20, 2009 at 9:10 am

    Glad i got him on my fantasy team

  9. Geoff

    April 20, 2009 at 9:13 am

    Against a RH starter its ok to leave him at 5th, though late in the game a lefty could come in and face them – but Utley and Ibanez are good against LH pitching anyway. Against a LH starter, however, at least until Howard starts ripping the cover off the ball, Id move Ibanez to cleanup and Howard to 5th to take advantage of his hot streak right now – just for a few weeks against LH pitching.

    Ibanez most certaintly fits into the definition of “Professional Hitter,” and I really think hes starting to show it was the right decision to sign him. Im sure he’ll go through a slump, everyone does – but you can see what this guy is capable of when hes playing well. Hes been their best offensive player by far.

    If they can start getting more consistent Starting and relief Pitching, theyll be fine…

  10. Maverick

    April 20, 2009 at 9:15 am

    I’m just happy were not wishing we had Pat the Bat back…

  11. Todd

    April 20, 2009 at 9:39 am

    Guys, Rollins had close to 50 steals last season, and hit a few leadoff home runs in the playoffs last season. He’s a leadoff hitter. I know he has shitty discipline but he’s an on base machine when he’s right. Do you think sizemore is.a leadoff hitter? Same deal there, no?

  12. Chooch's Cooches

    April 20, 2009 at 9:56 am

    Hitting leadoff home runs isn’t the best argument for why he should be a leadoff hitter. Leadoff hitters need to get on base- bottom line.

  13. reddeath

    April 20, 2009 at 10:32 am

    imagine this lineup when vic and jroll start getting on

  14. Jeff

    April 20, 2009 at 10:40 am

    I think the following is the best bet
    Rollins
    Utley
    Ibanez
    Howard
    Werth
    Victorino
    Feliz
    Ruiz
    Pitcher

    Discuss amongst yourselves

  15. Maverick

    April 20, 2009 at 10:48 am

    I say

    Utley
    Rollins
    Ibanez
    Howard
    Vic
    Werth
    Feliz
    Marson

  16. Chuck P

    April 20, 2009 at 10:50 am

    Everyone puts too much emphasis on the three lefties in a row thing… against lefty starters, throw Werth in the 5 hole but against RH starters, I would keep Ibanez there. If we can get to the other team’s bullpen early, that is huge… the advantage that the other team might gain late in the game by being able to keep a lefthanded reliever out there for one or two more batters is minute compared to what happens when this team is able to force the opposing manager to go to his bullpen in the 4th inning. That’s not how it played out yesterday but that’s what you’re shooting for.

    I like having speed at the top of the order… it doesn’t matter what our order looks like if our pitching doesn’t stop giving up homeruns.

  17. mikemike

    April 20, 2009 at 10:50 am

    I believe the key to this lineup is if Felix starts hitting with some power you could have lineup of rollins, victorino, utley, howard, felix, ibanez, werth and ruiz against lefthanders.

  18. Maverick

    April 20, 2009 at 10:56 am

    As bad as our pitching has been….atleast we dont have Chin Ming Wong!!

  19. Geoff

    April 20, 2009 at 11:02 am

    Id Wang is a very good pitcher whos lost his mechanics. His sinker isnt sinking. When his sinker is sinking and his mechanics are right, hed be a good steal.

  20. Tim C

    April 20, 2009 at 11:29 am

    Why does everyone want to put Utley 1st or 2nd? He’s the best hitter on the team and we want him to have as many opportunities to drive in runs as possible. That wouldn’t happen in the top two holes of the line up. Its like asking Pujols to hit leadoff because he draws a lot of walks. It doesn’t make any sense. The current lineup will really be fine once Rollins gets going.

  21. Maverick

    April 20, 2009 at 11:35 am

    Wang 6IP 23 runs allowd 34.50 ERA
    Eaton 8IP 10 runs allowed 11.25 ERA

    ….its hard to beat Eaton in a “who sucks more” competition but Wang is doing it in style..

  22. reddeath

    April 20, 2009 at 11:40 am

    atleast has been dominant. i wonder if the knee injury wang had last year has anything to do with his mechanics being crewed up?

  23. Griffin

    April 20, 2009 at 11:41 am

    I don’t mind who hits where as long as you break up the lefties (except against the Padres who carry 13 pitchers but have no lefties in the pen.)

    Let’s say Werth hits 5 and Ibanez 6, once the opposing manager goes to the pen, you’re guaranteeing that a lefty will come in to face Utley, Howard and then stay in to face Werth before facing Ibanez or the manager will bring in a lefty to face Utley and Howard and then bring in a righty to face Werth and Ibanez.

    Either way Werth or Ibanez will get to face the type of pitcher that they are better against. And before anyone asks, Ibanez is a better hitter against RHP much like Werth is a much better hitter against LHP.

  24. Geoff

    April 20, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    Actually Chien Ming Wang is a far better pitcher than Jamie Moyer – when hes got his mechanics right that is. Im sure that will piss a lot of people off too..

  25. TR

    April 20, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    Time for a nickname for Raul……………Carlos Lee is “El Caballo”, How about “El Matador”?

  26. Mark B

    April 20, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    Geoff – I would think so. One is 20 years younger than the other.

  27. Geoff

    April 20, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    Raul Ibanez was born and raised in New York City…so hes a hispanic-american as opposed to just being purely hispanic.

    Yeah Wang is a former 20 game winner and former cy young candidate, when hes on Id much rather have him here. As a matter of fact, we need more sinkerballers on our pitching staff. Hamels is Hamels, and Myers is Myers. Blanton needs to throw more sinkers than he does. Chan Ho Park needs replaced by Happ.

    The main problem is Moyers sinkers are all meatballs when the umpire doesnt give him a strize zone the size of a doormat. Replacing him with someone who throws HARD sinkers down in the zone would really round our the starting staff well.

  28. beta sigma shag

    April 20, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    have to agree with tim c. why would want to move utley out of the 3 spot, he has been on fire this year doesn’t he have 3 home runs in 3 games and batting like 350. I am really clueless as what to do with the 3 lefties in a row thing against a team with good lefties relievers. But it seems to me that Raul has been hitting well in the 5 spot. Both Vic and JRoll are impatient at the plate, but I think JRoll is our best option at lead off if he can get his head out of his a%% Hopefully yestarday will get him going.

  29. John Fire

    April 20, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    Wait a sec… let me get this straight. The fans were BOOING Raul in the bottom of the ninth? I was watching on MLB TV, but didn’t pick up on that. If so, I’m incredibly disappointing. Fielding mistake and double-play aside, Ibanez has been nothing if not clutch for us so far this year. To think the fans were turning on him in the ninth as he stepped up with a chance to win the game is disappointing. Before the game, he was hitting .375 with four dingers and has been a HUGE upgrade from Burrell on the basepaths if nowhere else. Not to mention he has made a good amount of solid plays in the outfield. I’m a lifelong Philly fan and I’m just a bit surprised to hear that anyone would be booing this guy already – if you have to boo, boo Rollins… he’s been a black hole.

  30. Griffin

    April 20, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    Were the fan really booing Ibanez? Are we sure they weren’t saying “Rauuuuul”?

  31. beta sigma shag

    April 20, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    I justatched the game on dvr and I am pretty sure there was no BOOing in the ninth inning, on my surrond sound it sounds like RAUUUUUUL.

  32. Kevin M

    April 20, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    I like Ted R’s idea…….”El Matador!!!!!!!”

  33. reddeath

    April 20, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    i was there and me and everyone else were saying “rauuuullllll”.

  34. Don M

    April 20, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    I think I was off by 5 games… When they first signed him, I said that fans would stop complaining, and start to love him when he hit a walk-off Home Run on Opening Night.. and people would go run out and buy his jersey.

    Dude is professional hitter.. misplayed a ball in LF, but made up for it at the plate.

    Nice story in the Inq. today saying how Ibanez “fits in[to the clubhouse] unbelievably” … breaking things down with Utley and Werth to get adjusted to the National League.

  35. Joedad

    April 20, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    The Phils are scoring more than enough runs. no need to adjust the lineup when it is producing.

  36. peasant

    April 20, 2009 at 3:06 pm

    i never had any doubts that raul would be a bigger threat behind howard than burrell. we needed someone who hits for average with good power, raul’s power numbers are going to JUMP up this year because he’s now in the NL and he’s playing in CBP, which no matter what you think about it’s reputation for being a hitters park, it can’t be denied it’s more of a band box than safeco field. the lefty lefty lefty thing is not good, but werth will comeinto his own this year, he’s already starting to, and feliz can’t play worse than he did last year. one thing i noticed about last year that surprised me is that the phillies bats were in a pretty serious lull most of the regular season, get them all producing at their career averages, and this lineup is in the running for best in the league, no question… and lets not forget that MOST teamsrotations and bullpens are heavy with right handers, so it’s not absolutely terrible to have a lefty heavy lineup for the most part

  37. Bruce

    April 20, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    I don’t think anyone here mentioned the improved hitting of Howard (.341BA; 9 RBIs) who has displayed patience and getting good pitches to hit thanks to Ibanez providing protection in the five hole. Ibanez’s hot bat (.386BA; 10 RBIs) certainly helps hitting behind Howard.

  38. Don M

    April 20, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    I didn’t see it, but was wondering if Howard made WED GEMS for either of his diving stops yesterday?

    He had a nice play on a foul-ball too, down the line, earlier in the game yesterday.. nice to see him improved all-around!

  39. BFO

    April 21, 2009 at 1:10 am

    The whole 3 lefties in a row concern is waaayy overated. Between Utley, Howard, and Ibanez, Howard is the only one who hits poorly against good lefties, and he still has the sluggers chance to hit one out (led the league in hrs against lefties last year). The key is one and two. Jroll still isn’t quite on track, and Victorino is streaky. I’d give Werth a shot at lead-off at least until Rollins gets some more at-bats.
    Line-up, Lefty starter:

    Werth
    Marson
    Utley
    Ibanez
    Howard
    Rollins
    Victorino
    Feliz

    Against righties, swap Ibanez and Howard, Marson and Rollins.
    Our starting pitching will line out, but until Hamels comes back, expect 3 runs in 5-6 innings from the rest of the crew when they are going good. If the bullpen can hold it to a run, we’ll win a lot more than we lose.
    I also think that unless the pitchers don’t like Marson, he is here to stay. Not a ton of power, but at least he can turn on the ball.

  40. steve

    April 21, 2009 at 6:46 am

    If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The problem is pitching, not the batting order.

  41. frank

    April 21, 2009 at 9:32 am

    chase has to hit in the third spot. he is a perfect three .

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