Phillies Production by Position

The Phillies’ offense has been less than stellar in 2011, the continuation of a trend starting last year. They average about 4.1 runs per game, which is right at the National League average. Considering past offenses fans have grown to love, the relative lack of run support has taken some getting used to. Is the Phillies offense really as mediocre as we make it out to be?

I compared the Phillies’ wOBA by position to the league average, and then converted that into runs above or below average.

Shortstop: Relatively thin position. Only seven qualified shortstops have a wOBA above the National League average .312. Jimmy Rollins hasn’t been a wizard at the plate, but he has been ever so slightly better than the league average at the position.

Center field: Comparatively, center field has a glut of capable players. Although Shane Victorino has been incredibly good, he is one of nine NL outfielders with an above-average wOBA. Victorino has been worlds better than Rollins at the dish, but when you factor in position scarcity, his contributions are diminished.

First base: Another stacked position. 11 first baseman have an above-average wOBA, making it the most offense-heavy position in the league — a surprise to no one. Ryan Howard is barely above the league average offensively, but hopefully he has one of his trademark hot second-halves.

Catcher: Traditionally, catcher and shortstop have been the most offensively-weak and that continues to be the case in 2011. The trio of Carlos Ruiz, Brian Schneider, and Dane Sardinha have combined to be about a half-win worse offensively than the average catcher.

Right Field: The combination of Domonic Brown and Ben Francisco in right field has made the Phillies pine for the days of Jayson Werth (who, by the way, is not having a stellar season in Washington). However, right field is not the worst outfield spot for the Phillies as you’ll soon learn.

Third Base: Third base is not a deep position, but the two-month-long slump of Placido Polanco sunk him well below the league average. While the Phillies search for possible cures, Phillies fans hope he can turn it around in time for the second half.

Second Base: This is not Chase Utley‘s fault. His .382 wOBA is best among second basemen with 150 or more plate appearances. Instead, blame the trio of Wilson Valdez, Pete Orr, and Michael Martinez who filled in for Utley while he was recovering from an injury and racked up 56 percent of all of the plate appearances at second base.

Left Field: Raul Ibanez has had a disappointing season as his traditional hot streaks have been shorter and less frequent while his cold streaks have been longer and more frequent. As a result, the lefty has been nearly 12 runs worse than the average left fielder.

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11 comments

  1. bill

    July 05, 2011 12:01 PM

    Pretty amazing that Chase could still end up accumulating ~5 WAR this season (I’m assuming about 95 games played).

  2. lorecore

    July 05, 2011 12:06 PM

    Wow – the average 2B is only .001 below 1B, and therefore only .001 from beign the most productive position on the diamond?

  3. Bob

    July 05, 2011 12:10 PM

    Just wanted to compiment you on a well done article that answered a few questions for me.

    Thanks.

  4. Bob

    July 05, 2011 12:11 PM

    should be “compliment”.

    Sorry.

  5. LarryinLA

    July 05, 2011 01:39 PM

    So, the individual Phillies production adds up to almost half a run per game below average, yet as a team they are at the league average? This means either great luck with clustering hits, added value not captured here (PH, pitcher hitting, baserunning [if this wOBA doesn't include baserunning], lineup optimization [ha ha]) or something else I’m missing. Or a combination. Still, close to a half run per game seems wildly implausible from the combination of those things. Is this a potential bad sign going forward?

  6. Giving_Chase

    July 05, 2011 02:23 PM

    Wow we are getting pounded in left field. Also, lorecore, interesting what you pointed out. I don’t think that will hold up, and this is just NL as well.

  7. John

    July 05, 2011 03:15 PM

    I’d wager the phillies Pitcher / PH’s are significantly above average, for what its worth. Lee and Hamels can swing with the best at the position. Gload may lack power but he’s been BABIP lucky. And Ruiz’s slam came as pinch hitter, so I’d be it is captured in the Catchers column.

  8. SJHaack

    July 05, 2011 03:59 PM

    www.baseball-reference.com/teams/split.cgi?t=b&team=PHI&year=2011#defp

    .688 OPS as pinch hitters, which is good for a 122 OPS+ for pinch hitting. The Phillies’ .355 OPS from pitchers is solidly above league average, but frankly too awful to matter at all in the Runs/Game department.

    www.fangraphs.com/library/index.php/offense/woba/

    wOBA does not account for baserunning, just bat swinging. And bear in mind, it doesn’t have anything to do with the number of runners on base or the situations where hits occurred, just how valuable the hits themselves were. Runs driven in is a separate idea from runs created.

  9. Chris

    July 05, 2011 06:34 PM

    wOBA does include SB and CS.

  10. hk

    July 05, 2011 09:06 PM

    It’s worth noting that the Phils averaged 3.83 runs per game in their first 46 games before Utley returned and have averaged 4.49 runs per game in the 47 games including tonight’s since Chase’s return.

  11. Dino

    July 09, 2011 02:44 AM

    great stuff, but maybe it shows that will and determination mean more than just stats. The Phillies seem to have a lot of flair and spark so far this year to go along with their stupendous pitching

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