Phillies Mid-season Pitch Values

With the All-Star break at hand, it’s as good a time as any to review how the Phillies fare with various pitches both hitting and pitching. The metric of choice is total runs above average. I imported the numbers from FanGraphs and created a bunch of charts. Ooooh, pretty lines. Click on the thumbnails to view a larger version.

Hitting

Fastball

Phillies' hitters vs. Fastball

Best

  • Chase Utley: 21.2

Worst

  • Jimmy Rollins: -8.4

Slider

Phillies' hitters vs. Slider

Best

  •  Ryan Howard: 8.7

Worst

  •  Carlos Ruiz: -3.2

Curveball

Phillies' hitters vs. Curveball

Best

  •  John Mayberry: 2.3

Worst

  •  Ryan Howard: -3.7

Change-up

Phillies' hitters vs. Change-ups

Best

  •  Raul Ibanez: 8.1

Worst

  •  Shane Victorino: -5.0

Pitching

Fastball

Phillies' pitchers using fastballs

Best

  • J.A. Happ: 7.7

Worst

  • Brad Lidge: -9.4

Slider

Phillies' pitchers using sliders

Best

  • Joe Blanton: 4.0

Worst

  • Brett Myers: -3.2

Curveball

Phillies' pitchers using curveballs

Best

  • Brett Myers: 3.1

Worst

  • Joe Blanton: -2.8

Change-up

Best

  • Ryan Madson: 6.1

Worst

  • Jamie Moyer: -10.6

Surprise: Despite MLB 2K9’s persistence, Cole Hamels does not, in fact, throw a slider. I know, earth-shattering. But on a more serious note, I was surprised at just how well Shane Victorino handles fastballs — nearly as well as Chase Utley. Unlike Utley, however, Shane does not hit change-ups well.

Cole Hamels’ change-up is exactly at average: 0.0. His fastball and curve are both in the negatives at -6.6 and -2.0, respectively. And yet he’s still been worth 1.7 wins above replacement according to FanGraphs.

I was personally surprised that Ryan Howard hits sliders well. Do right-handers throw him a lot of those? It seems like whenever I see RyHo against a lefty, he’s flailing at low-and-away sliders. He’s at a positive 8.7 RAA against sliders overall. Mind-boggling for me.

J.A. Happ and Rodrigo Lopez are the only starters with an above-average fastball. Roughly, the average Phillies fastball is about two runs below average.

Lastly, Jamie Moyer’s change-up is really bad. He only has about a 6 MPH differential between his fastball and change-up. That would rank among the worst among qualified starters, and as I found out back on June 10, the bigger the differential between FB and CH speeds, the more likely you are to deceive batters and induce swings-and-misses.

Addendum: Wanted to add in the Phillies team ranks

  • Fastball: 50.7 (4th in MLB, 1st in NL)
  • Slider: 11.8 (1st in MLB)
  • Curveball: -13.4 (28th in MLB, 15th in NL)
  • Change-up: 3.7 (8th in MLB, 5th in NL)

Home Run Derby Predictions

Everyone knows my predictions are worth less than a peso (though blind squirrels do find acorns from time to time), but I’m giving them away for free again anyway. Here are my predictions (pulled straight from my posterior) for tonight’s Home Run Derby. Feel free to criticize mine and leave your own.

Opening Round

Ryan Howard: 8

Prince Fielder: 8

Albert Pujols: 6

Nelson Cruz: 5

Brandon Inge: 4

Adrian Gonzalez: 4

Carlos Pena: 4

Joe Mauer: 2

Semi-Final Round

Ryan Howard: 6 (Total: 14)

Albert Pujols: 7 (Total: 13)

Prince Fielder: 3 (Total: 11)

Nelson Cruz: 4 (Total: 9)

Championship Round

Albert Pujols: 6

Ryan Howard: 4

BONUS Predictions

Number of “Gold ball” home runs hit by all players in all rounds combined: 14

Number of “Hit it here” signs tagged: 1

Number of “the Derby ruined his swing” articles written about Derby contestants’ second-half struggles: 1,138