Graph of the Intermittent Time Period

Rumors of the offense’s demise may be greatly exaggerated. Although they have been shut out on ten different occasions (four of them at the hands of New York Met pitchers), the Phillies are slowly climbing back up the offensive leaderboards. Their average 4.75 runs per game is second-best in the National League behind the Cincinnati Reds.

As the following chart will show, the Phillies actually have quite a crew of above-average hitters:

(If you’re not familiar with wOBA, stop by the new stats page.)

Jayson Werth leads the pack with a .397 wOBA that is ninth-best in all of baseball. He is currently tied with Adrian Beltre and just ahead of Robinson Cano. Contrary to popular opinion, Werth is enjoying the best offensive season of his career.

No surprise that Ryan Howard and Chase Utley come in at two and three, respectively. Utley could be as high as Werth given his career .388 wOBA, but he was slumping for a while before his injury. From May 16 to June 28, Utley compiled a triple-slash line of .239/.331/.336 (.667 OPS). He went 0-for-5 last night in his first game since June 28.

Ross Gload should surprise you. During the first half, he wasn’t getting much playing time — maybe two or three starts per month. Once Howard injured his ankle, Charlie Manuel gave Gload more at-bats and it paid off. In the ten games in which he has played while Howard has been out, Gload has a triple-slash line of .320/.433/.600 (1.033 OPS).

Carlos Ruiz is another surprise. He is routinely lauded for his defensive contributions as well as his ability to work with the pitchers; he was never expected to do much with the bat, especially after his disappointing .279 wOBA in 2008. This year, though, Ruiz has become one of the better offensive catchers in baseball. Among catchers with at least 200 plate appearances this season, Ruiz has the seventh-best wOBA, just ahead of John Jaso and Miguel Olivo and slightly behind Jorge Posada and Miguel Montero. He’s also been on a three-week tear: since July 27, Ruiz’s triple-slash line is impressive: .361/.378/.597. Best of all, a healthy portion of those hits have come in higher-leverage situations. Although they may not be predictive of anything, the stats show that his timing is indeed impeccable.

Shane Victorino and Jimmy Rollins have the most room for improvement. Victorino hasn’t been hitting as many line drives, having hit more fly balls instead. Sadly, his BABIP on fly balls is a staggeringly low .042, much lower than the National League average .136. This may be because Victorino has adopted a more power-oriented approach — his HR/FB went from 5.5% last year to 10.6%  this year, causing his ISO to go up by 35 points.

Rollins’ trend is the opposite of Victorino’s. He’s drawn more walks, struck out less and hit for very little power (.114 ISO). The calf injury likely deserves a lot of blame but there are signs that Rollins is feeling healthier. In the first 21 games after his injury, he attempted only one steal. Since July 17 (26 games), he’s stolen nine bases in nine attempts. Hopefully the power is the next thing to come back to him.

As frustrating as this offense has been this year, the Phillies are finally getting closer to full health and should be back to scoring runs in bunches. Just in time for another late-season playoff push.

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9 comments

  1. flyer49

    August 18, 2010 09:42 AM

    Amazing runs scored numbers, given all the shut outs and one run losses endured this season. It really shows how skewed things become with the aberrant blow out games. It doesn’t matter if you win by 1 or 9. It’s one game. Statistics can be and ARE very misleading.

  2. Adamr14

    August 18, 2010 10:54 AM

    More like a three-STRONG tear for Ruiz, hey-yo!

    but yeah, it’s week. love the site!

  3. MplsPhilsFan

    August 18, 2010 01:05 PM

    It is amazing to look at that graph and to see every one of the projected Philles starters as above league average for wOBA.

    Are the Phillies the only NL team to be able to make that claim?

  4. Bill Baer

    August 18, 2010 01:10 PM

    The Yankees, of course, have their starters all above .323 wOBA. Only Francisco Cervelli (.285) and Ramiro Pena (.220) are below.

    The Reds and Brewers come close — their shortstops are the reason they’re not with the Phillies and Yankees.

  5. Steve

    August 19, 2010 10:47 AM

    Jayson Werth having a career year!? Blasphemy! By watching the games on my HD Television a few times a week, I can tell with absolute certainty that he’s been horrible for the Phillies. They should have traded him when they had the chance! Long live Ryan Howard!

  6. Bill Baer

    August 19, 2010 11:14 AM

    But if you were watching the games on your HD Television last night, you would have seen that Werth finally got a hit with 2 outs and RISP, therefore making him clutch again.

  7. MplsPhilsFan

    August 19, 2010 11:48 AM

    Bill, since you brought it up, what are your thoughts on Werth’s inability to get hits this year with 2 outs and RISP?

    Is this just a case of a small sample size, since the idea of a “clutch” hitter has been shot down by statistical analysis.

    It just seems very strange that he has performed so poorly in that situation over the course of the year, but odd circumstances do occur in baseball

  8. Bill Baer

    August 19, 2010 12:03 PM

    There’s definitely a possibility that Werth was pressing, especially towards the latter half of those 36 2-out/RISP at-bats. I don’t think his struggles are in any way evidence that he’s not “clutch” — just check those numbers from last year. It’s not as if he forgot how or lost the ability to be “clutch”.

  9. CH Phan

    August 19, 2010 05:35 PM

    Here we go with the anti-Werth stuff again. It hasn’t been “a year” that he’s had a poor RISP avg. It’s been a couple of months. And frankly he isn’t the only one. It just seems other players can be forgiven all kinds of problems, but not Werth. And btw, while others on the team were busy hitting into double plays and/or getting injured and going on the DL (and costing the team money), Werth was staying healthy and all of his other numbers were getting better. Little did he know that wouldn’t be good enough. Aside from that, exactly where do you think this team would be right now if Werth weren’t on the team playing as well as he has been? Specifically where do you think Ryan Howard might be without Jayson Werth? This hyper-criticism of him has gotten to a point that’s almost beyond belief. Articles can be written about virtually any aspect of the Phillies (not mentioning Werth at all), but soon people will be posting negative opinions about Werth. Wow, just hard to believe.

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