Fun with FanGraphs

The Phillies have scored 13 runs in their last two games, both wins. Runs are a welcome sight for Phillies fans, who have been worrying that the offense would be the team’s Achilles heel all season long. They’re not wrong: without Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, two of their most productive hitters in recent years, and with subpar replacements, runs will be at a premium throughout the first half of the regular season.

To illustrate how weak the Phillies’ offense has been through ten games, here are some depressing lists, courtesy FanGraphs.

Team ISO
16. Pirates .075
15. Phillies .085
14. Nationals .099
3. Diamondbacks .177
2. Brewers .191
1. Cardinals .206

ISO stands for Isolated Power and is calculated by subtracting batting average from slugging percentage. It is a measure of power hitting, with a higher number indicating more power. The only team weaker than the Phillies has been the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Phillies have hit five home runs as a team with no player hitting more than one himself. Freddy Galvis leads the team with a whopping three doubles.

Team BB%
16. Pirates 4.6%
15. Phillies 4.9%
14. Marlins 5.7%
3. Dodgers 10.9%
2. Nationals 11.0%
1. Padres 11.9%

This is just a simple walk rate, total walks divided by plate appearances. Only two Phillies — Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence — have drawn more than two walks. Juan Pierre and John Mayberry, Jr. have taken a combined 53 trips to the plate and have drawn exactly zero walks. Placido Polanco and Freddy Galvis have drawn one walk each with a combined 70 PA. Even if the Phillies were hitting for power, it wouldn’t matter all that much because no one’s getting on base.

Team BsR
16. Padres -2.1
15. Astros -1.5
14. Nationals -1.3
13. Marlins -1.1
12. Phillies -0.8
3. Giants 0.9
2. Rockies 1.2
1. Diamondbacks 1.2

The above shows the amount of runs created or lost on the bases. The Phillies lead the National League with 10 stolen bases and have only been thrown out once, but have still managed to rank among the worst in the league when it comes to moving around the bases. The biggest offenders have been Mayberry (-0.6), Carlos Ruiz (-0.4), and Laynce Nix (-0.3). The only meaningful positive contributor has been Jimmy Rollins (0.5).

Team wOBA
16. Pirates .224
15. Reds .253
14. Cubs .285
14. Phillies .285
3. Diamondbacks .326
2. Rockies .331
1. Cardinals .372

wOBA, weighted on-base average, is a single number that tells you how good or bad a player or team has been offensively. The league average last year was .316. Obviously, the Phillies haven’t earned high marks at the dish. Pence (.373) and Victorino (.370) have been the only hitters to post a significantly above-average mark, but their 85 combined PA represent only 23 percent of the team’s total PA. The rest have been average to significantly below-average.

The Phillies are hitting for average well. They are tied with the Washington Nationals for the third-highest batting average in the league and have the fourth-highest BABIP as well. That is not a good thing, considering the above. Matt Swartz, friend of the blog, put it best:

twitter.com/Matt_Swa/status/191259650077900800

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12 comments

  1. Jeff T

    April 17, 2012 10:06 AM

    So we have no power and no patience and our high batting average seems to be mostly a product of luck. How very grim.

  2. Phillie697

    April 17, 2012 10:20 AM

    @Jeff T,

    On the bright side, Doc is on pace to win 33 games.

  3. Pat

    April 17, 2012 10:35 AM

    Just tread water until Utley and Howard return and (hopefully) Brown gets promoted. At that point our offense will go from awful to competent.

    On the bight side, our pitching looks as good as ever.

  4. Dan K.

    April 17, 2012 10:43 AM

    Am I the only one who looked at the wOBA standings, saw the Reds, and did a double-take? No way their offense is that bad.

    That is to say, isn’t it too early to make significant conclusions about offense? Not a single player has enough PAs to have a significant sample size for anything but swing%. I’ll concede that it’s highly probable that Pierre and Polanco might get no better throughout the year. But Pence, Victorino, Rollins, and to a lesser extent Ruiz and Mayberry aren’t going to hit for much of any power? I find that difficult to believe. And who knows what Galvis will give us in the long run. He’s certainly putting the ball into play enough to be encouraging.

    Not to say I think our offense will be anywhere near the top of the list, but still. The doom-and-gloom outlook of the offense feels very overblown to me.

  5. Phillie697

    April 17, 2012 12:16 PM

    @Dan K,

    Funny you mention swing %. Mayberry’s swing% last year, 29.9% O-Swing, 62.1% Z-Swing, 44.7% total. This year? 46% O-Swing, 60.4% Z-Swing, 53.4% total. He’s swinging more (hence why he hasn’t walked a single time yet), but much more at crap and actually less at pitches IN the strike zone. This is indicative of pitchers learning how to pitch to him. I’m afraid that Maygression might be worse than we thought.

    Maybe Mayberry will adjust to the adjustments, but we’ll see.

  6. Ryan Sommers

    April 17, 2012 03:27 PM

    Dan. K,

    I think it’s fair to say that Pence won’t hit for much more power — he’s a career .485 SLG, and his SLG right now is .462. Victorino perhaps, he’s about 40 points below his career average right now. Rollins hasn’t breached .400 in 3 years, and Ruiz just doesn’t hit for power.

  7. David

    April 17, 2012 04:21 PM

    I don’t know if you were suggesting this, (it was unclear), but BSR doesn’t account for SB or CS. Those are accounted for in wOBA.

  8. peter

    April 17, 2012 05:37 PM

    At least we’re not the Pirates!

  9. David

    April 17, 2012 06:48 PM

    I’m saying that the clarification was the confusing part.
    “The Phillies lead the National League with 10 stolen bases and have only been thrown out once, but have still managed to rank among the worst in the league when it comes to moving around the bases. ”
    When you say this, it makes it seem like BSR accounts for SB/CS numbers, not that they’ve failed to run the bases well while stealing bases at a high clip.

  10. Dan K.

    April 17, 2012 07:46 PM

    @Ryan,

    Victorino has a career .158 ISO, he currently sits at .079. Rollins(.159, .024), Pence (.192, .128), and even Mayberry (.236, .034) are all also undershooting. This is offset a bit by Ruiz (.167, .129), and some of it can be accounted for by age (Vic and Rollins) or regression (Mayberry), but that much? I doubt it very seriously. I’m calling small sample size and saying our offense is actually better than they’ve been showing, even if it’s still not great.

    @697,

    Mayberry actually isn’t one of the players who qualifies for swing% yet. But it is a bit worrying.

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