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Phillies Best Ever, by Position
Posted By Bill Baer On November 26, 2010 @ 11:23 am In Graphs,MLB,Philadelphia Phillies,Sabermetrics | 29 Comments
MLB Network recently aired an episode (likely a re-run) of Prime 9 where they looked at the best players at each position during the 1980’s. The usual candidates were mentioned: Gary Carter at catcher, Don Mattingly at first base, Ryne Sandberg at second, Cal Ripken at shortstop, Mike Schmidt at third — just to name a few. Since I have been beating the “Utley is super duper awesome” drum so loudly for a while, I was interested to see where the present-day second baseman ranks among his peers in Phillies franchise history.
In chart form:
Utley, over the course of his career, has been three times as valuable to the Phillies as the franchise’s second-best second baseman, Tony Taylor. He also has the five best single seasons (and six of the top-ten) by a Phillies second baseman.
Prorating WAR to 700 PA, Utley ranks sixth among all Major League second baseman dating back to 1901.
While the above is simply overkill on a dead horse that has been beaten thoroughly, it does lead to an interesting question: who are the Phillies’ best players all-time by position? I sped to Baseball Reference’s Play Index to find out.
Darren Daulton: 21.9 WAR
Range between 1st and 2nd place: 4.2 WAR
Ryan Howard: 20.9 WAR
Range between 1st and 2nd place: 1.2 WAR
Mike Schmidt: 108.3 WAR
Range between 1st and 2nd place: 71.2 WAR
Jimmy Rollins: 30.3 WAR
Range between 1st and 2nd place: 13.2 WAR
Sherry Magee: 47.6 WAR
Range between 1st and 2nd place: 15.9 WAR
Richie Ashburn: 52.3 WAR
Range between 1st and 2nd place: 22.5
Bobby Abreu: 46.6 WAR
Range between 1st and 2nd place: 11.6 WAR
The big takeaway from this is that the Phillies’ best first baseman, second baseman, and shortstop since 1901 (about 110 years) played in the 2007-2010 “post-season era”. All three were home-grown, to boot. Throw in Werth, arguably the franchise’s second-best right fielder, some historically-great base running, consistently-elite defense, and solid pitching, and you have a tasty recipe for playoff success.
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