Note: I made some edits to this post after realizing that I had misstated what XBH% represented. See the comments below.
It won’t matter in the standings, but this afternoon’s 8-2 win over the Mets was anchored by offensive production from some of the least probable sources. Entering today, the Phillies had managed a .322 slugging percentage, fifth worst in the MLB, and a .086 ISO, second worst only to the Pirates. Their 13 extra base hits were also second worst in the league. In the 7th and 8th innings, however, Laynce Nix, Pete Orr, and Ty Wigginton each hit a double, contributing a collective .304 win probability added and driving in 4 of the Phillies’ 8 runs. They were the only extra base hits for the Phillies this afternoon.
This graph shows their XBH% (extra base hits per plate appearance) for their career and for the previous three seasons. The only one with substantially above average pop is Nix, but he doesn’t typically hit for a high enough average (career .244) to take advantage of it. If the Phillies are to patch the power outage that has characterized their offense in the early going, it will need to be with players that have historically hit the ball hard, like Shane Victorino, Hunter Pence, and Jimmy Rollins, who entered today with slugging percentages of .400, .452, and .364 respectively. It’s a small sample, but at the moment the Phillies have the 6th lowest line drive rate and 5th highest groundball rate in the MLB. They’ll need to start generating hard hit balls to the outfield with the strongest non-injured components of their lineup, rather than rely on unlikely explosions from roster filler, to more consistently support the pitching staff.