Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The consequenses of "The Catch"

I am not now nor ever will say that Rowand shouldn't have caught that ball. It's the kind of play that you remember years later, the kind of moment which will be enshrined forever in Phillies' lore.

However.

There are consequences to the catch.

Before the catch, Rowand had an OPS of .871, including an OPS in May of 1.067. His replacement, the "Hawaiian Punch" Shane Victorino, has a nifty OPS of 1.104, and is tearing the cover off the ball since he took over in center.

So, is this good?

Well, consider Bobby Anreu's May slump. In spite of a fantastic OBA of .432, Bobby isn't hitting, with an overall OPS of .884, .626 in May. Plus, he missed two games to a bad back (which might explain his slump).

What if Bobby had gone on the DL and not Rowand?

The Phillies aren't exactly scoring a lot of runs right now. If Abreu was sitting, and Victorino was in right, would that be worth 2.84 runs over this stretch? That's what Baseball Prospectus puts as the value of Rowand's catch. Excerpt:

So I'd say that catch turned a .308 chance for the Phillies to win into a .592 chance, a gain of +.284 wins.
At 10 runs/win, that's 2.84 runs, which is the rough equivalent in linear weights terms of hitting two (randomly placed) home runs.

As I said, I am not criticising Rowand's spectacular catch, nor the importance it has in the eyes of Phillies' fans and teammates. However, there are consequences. If the current power outage continues, how much can we lay at the feet of Rowand's nose?

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