Leftovers: Revere, Rollins, Stutes and more

A relatively short practice for the Phillies today. Tomorrow is the annual golf tournament, so that will be a short workout too. 

A few things that didn't fit anywhere else:

1) I watched Mike Stutes face hitters in live batting practice yesterday, and I can tell you that if he does not make the Opening Day roster, it won't be because of a lack of effort. He was the most intense pitcher on the mound yesterday, and his slider and fastball both looked good, particularly the slider which was not nearly as effective last season as it was at the start of 2011. Live batting practice is not normally a competitive event. It is designed mostly so that hitters can get used to standing in the box against pitchers, and pitchers can get used to facing a live body. But Stutes looked like he was pitching the ninth inning of a one-run game. 

"He's trying to get everybody out," one uniformed onlooker cracked.

2) Adam Morgan and Jonathan Pettibone were both facing hitters yesterday. It's easy to see why so many people like Morgan, who will start the Phillies' intrasquad scrimmage on Friday. He has four pitches and uses them all, but more than anything he keeps the ball down in the zone and stays on the edges of the plate. He did an excellent job of keeping the ball down when I watched him. 

3) In today's Daily News we wrote our latest story about Jimmy Rollins and the leadoff spot. Personally, I don't think who bats No. 1 matters nearly as much as a lot of people seem to think. More important might be who bats No. 3, because I think Chase Utley and Ryan Howard need to be broken up given the fact that they both have struggled mightily against lefties over the last couple seasons. 

But a couple of things to consider. . .

-Ben Revere has logged 581 plate appearances in the leadoff spot in his major league career. In those PAs, he has a .263 batting average, .310 on base percentage and .294 slugging percentage. His most productive spot has been No. 2, where he has a .307/.340/.368 line. 

-The real issue might be the fact that there is no ideal spot to bat a singles hitter like Revere. You can certainly craft an argument that the leadoff spot is the best scenario. The problem a hitter like Revere presents is when there are men on base. In his career, he is a .266/.318/.290 with runners in scoring position and .278/.320/.312 with men on base. In that respect, maybe leadoff is the best spot for him. In 2012, the top spot in the Phillies order had 136 plate appearances with RISP, compared with 173 for the six-hole hitter. The No. 2 spot, which is another possibility for Revere, had 137 plate appearances with RISP. 

-On the other hand, batting Revere at No. 1 means you give him more plate appearances than anybody else, despite the fact that he is arguably the least potent hitter in the lineup. For instance, last season, the Phillies' leadoff hitter had 75 more plate appearances than the No. 6 spot in the order. Because Rollins created an average of .475 bases per PA, and Revere created .374, those 75 plate appearances would produce 35 bases from Rollins compared to just 28 from Revere. 

-I have long been of the opinion that Chase Utley is the most ideal leadoff hitter on the team.

-Just some things to consider. Like I said, I don't think the leadoff hitter matters as much as we think. And I don't think it would be a mistake to bat Revere leadoff. I just think it is never a bad idea to err on the side of getting the better all-around offensive player more plate appearances. Take 75 plate appearances away from Rollins last season, and that's two fewer home runs. That matters, doesn't it?