Why Cliff Lee and the Phillies Are a Great Fit

Josh LevittSenior Analyst IJuly 29, 2009

NEW YORK - APRIL 16:  Cliff Lee #31 of the Cleveland Indians pitches against the New York Yankees during opening day at the new Yankee Stadium on April 16, 2009 in the Bronx borough of New York City. This is the first regular season MLB game being played at the new venue which replaced the old Yankee Stadium as the Yankees home field.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

If you're a Phillies fan, there are plenty of reasons to like the acquisition of Cliff Lee.

1. He's an ace.

2. The Phillies get to keep Kyle Drabek and Domenick Brown

3. He's signed through 2010...

4. ...at a reasonable rate.

5. Hamels and Lee are a great 1-2 punch.

6. The Phillies are now as good as any team, on paper.

7. Philadelphia gets to keep J.A. Happ.

8. The Phillies get to keep Michael Taylor.

9. Ben Francisco is a solid right-handed bat, even if he's a weak defender.

10. October.

But you know why I like itbecause Lee does not give up home runs. In 152 innings this season, Lee has only given up 10 home runs. And in 223 innings last season, Lee only gave up 12 home runs.

In addition, according to fangraphs, Lee's flyball percentage this season is a very manageable 35 percent, and his home run per flyball rate is only 5.8 percent this season.

Why are home runs and flyballs so important with Lee? Because the Phillies play in the hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Ballpark, which is a bandbox second to only the new Yankee Stadium. It's vital that the Phillies have pitchers who are not prone to the longball, because that type of pitcher has a high probability of getting hit hard in Citizens Bank Park.

There is no guarantee that these stats will lead to wins for Lee, but this a great risk for the Phillies, and it gives them a deep rotation to balance out a strong and balanced offense.


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