Graph of the Intermittent Time Period

As you’re well aware, the Phillies’ offense hasn’t been great to start the 2013 season. They rank fourth from the bottom in average runs per game at 3.47 compared to the National League average 4.33. They rank in the bottom-third in all three triple-slash stats as well as weighted on-base average (wOBA).

You’ll hear this a lot over the next month-plus, but it’s worth repeating over and over: it’s still very early. No Phillie has logged his 70th plate appearance of the season yet. To put this in perspective, if Chase Utley has a 2-for-4 night tonight against the Cardinals, he will raise his batting average 15 points to .298.

That being said, we can still use what little stats we have descriptively rather than predictively. The following chart compares the Phillies’ wOBA by position to the league average.

In terms of raw runs above average, here’s the breakdown by position (assumed 70 plate appearances):

 Pos. RAA
C -7.6
1B -2.9
2B 4.2
3B 4.8
SS 0.7
LF -5.4
CF -5.4
RF 0.0

As you can see, the Phillies are getting well above-average production from second base (Chase Utley) and third base (Michael Young); average production from shortstop (Jimmy Rollins) and right field (Laynce Nix and John Mayberry); and below average production from catcher (Erik Kratz and Humberto Quintero), first base (Ryan Howard), left field (Domonic Brown), and center field (Ben Revere).

We should see regression from Kratz as he’s suffering from a .176 BABIP and a zero percent walk rate. On the other side, Young should regress back from his .416 BABIP, as should Mayberry at .375. Brown is the most perplexing as he’s walking way less than we’d have expected and he’s hitting for some, but not a lot, of power. His average should certainly inflate (assuming he is healthy) but the two areas in which Brown has the most control — walks and power — he is failing in the early going.

Going into the season, we knew the Phillies would host an average offense at best and the first 15 games shouldn’t change that expectation.

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18 comments

  1. Richard

    April 18, 2013 07:58 AM

    I have to think Brown is being “coached” to be more aggressive. Or he’s putting pressure on himself to produce as the team has struggled of late. Revere is the other real mystery. His strikeout rate is truly alarming.

  2. Pencilfish

    April 18, 2013 09:09 AM

    Not only is it too early to make any comments on player performance, it is also too early to be making excuses. Coached?! Do you have any evidence? Or is it rumors and hearsay? This is the 2nd time I this explanation for Brown’s performance. Just accept it for what it is, though beware of the tiny sample so far.

  3. LTG

    April 18, 2013 09:22 AM

    Haha, Richard. Should of read other thread.

  4. Phillie697

    April 18, 2013 09:22 AM

    @Richard,

    With Revere doing his best Ryan Howard impression, maybe the whole team is being coached to be more aggressive.

  5. Richard

    April 18, 2013 09:23 AM

    Dude, relax. I’m not making excuses. I see a player, and he’s not the only one, getting away from his strengths, and it alarms me. Small sample? Absolutely.

  6. LTG

    April 18, 2013 09:27 AM

    I’m convinced Pencilfish has a minority view on what an excuse is.

  7. LTG

    April 18, 2013 09:28 AM

    It’s also worth noting that both RAJ and Manuel have said things in public that indicate they want hitters to be aggressive at the plate. Manuel even uses that word often.

  8. Pencilfish

    April 18, 2013 09:39 AM

    I don’t exclude the possibility that RAJ/Manuel may have “encouraged” players to be more aggressive, but ultimately, it is the hitters who have to take responsibility for their individual performance. How can we blame the coach if the hitter swings at pitches up and away?!

    Also, if you blame RAJ/Manuel for Brown’s performance, I hope you also credit them for Utley’s and Michael Young’s. I recall all the negative feedback on the Young trade, and so far, he has been a pleasant surprise…

  9. Richard

    April 18, 2013 09:41 AM

    the difference, Pencilfish, is that Brown is effectively a rookie… I doubt anyone tells either Chase Utley or Michael Young what the fuck to do at the plate

  10. Pencilfish

    April 18, 2013 09:55 AM

    Richard,

    That’s a good point, so perhaps Brown’s performance is related to his lack of experience and poor pitch recognition. Also, I will remind you the Phillies hired Wally Joyner as an assistant hitting coach. He tinkered with Brown’s batting stance in ST. Perhaps Brown is still struggling to adjust.

  11. Phillie697

    April 18, 2013 10:07 AM

    Hey, I feel obliged to point out again that I was not negative on the Young trade :P

  12. art kyriazis

    April 18, 2013 02:06 PM

    Oddly, Hunter Pence and Nate Scheurholz (sp?) are ripping it up for the Giants and the Cubs, while Michael Cuddyer, whom the Phils could have signed to a free agent deal or a three year contract for $10 M per year before last year, is ripping it up for the Rockies. While none of them individually would be the answer (Erick Kratz is killing with minus .6 WAR–he will cost the Phils a full win by the end of April) the fact is that there are three problems areas:
    1) Ryan Howard should be platooned or benched from time to time until he’s out of the slump. They should bring up Darrin Ruf.
    2) Pence, Cuddyer could have supplied much needed RH bats.
    3) They need a RH power bat very badly in this lineup.
    4) Ben Revere is a nice glove, but he’s hitting at 20% of league average and costing the Phils -.3 WAR. At this pace he will cost them around minus 2 wins unless he picks it up offensively.
    5) Galvis is a piece they can trade–he can start at SS for anyone. Alternatively, they can trade Rollins and start Galvis, but Rollins is a leader and can hit and field well.
    6) Utley is in his walk year. They could trade him and get some new pieces.
    7) Amaro or the ownership is starting to look a bit silly for not having gone out and signed BJ Upton for CF or having traded for Justin Upton, because not only are those guys playing for Atlanta, but by signing BJ Upton, it helped Atlanta land Justin Upton. And those guys are in the NL East.
    8) Jayson Werth, Hunter Pence, Shane victorino, even Raul Ibanez, all of them are better than any of the current Phils outfielders on the roster. In 2009 every Phils OF was an all-star, and the OF was mashing HFs–now, the OF is costing us wins and producing nothing. The GM and ownership needs to understand that LF is a position where you put a no field, all hit guy like Darren Ruf. It’s where Del Ennis, Greg Luzinski and Pat Burrell played, none of them could field worth a lick, but they hit 1000 homers and drove in 100 RBIs a year between them and won some pennants and division flags– a lot of them actually–because they were prototypical LFers. Let’s get a basher for LF and put Dom Brown in RF in a platoon with Mayberry, and let’s use someone to platoon with Revere in CF like Mayberry when Delmon Young comes back.
    9) At some point, the Angels are going to fire Mike Scioscia, and they are going to want to hire a new manager. Ryne Sandberg isn’t going to wait forever. We need to start thinking about chopping Charlie Manuel loose. He can go manage the Angels or some other veteran AL club while we can give Rhino a chance to bring up some of the kids from the farm.

    Art K Philly

  13. Pencilfish

    April 18, 2013 02:50 PM

    Art,

    3) Ruiz comes back on April 28. He and Delmon Young are the missing RH power bats.
    4) Revere was just dropped to 7th in tonight’s lineup. Let’s see if that helps.
    5) Rollins can’t be traded without his consent. He’s a 10/5 player.
    9) You may get your wish sooner than you think.

    Don’t panic. It’s only 15 games. We should be happy to play at .500 in April until Ruiz and Young are back.

  14. Ryan

    April 18, 2013 02:56 PM

    Just be patient…Brown and Revere will come around. I’m less optimistic about Howard now that he’s limping around like that. I was under the impression that that was in the past. Could it be–Delmon Young will actually be a pretty nice upgrade? Could it?! Could you guys deal with that if, facing his last chance to play regularly in the majors, he actually has his second breakout season?

    Also, getting Ruiz back will be a huge boost to the lineup–even if he’s playing at or slightly below career averages. It’s a huge difference between him and the below replacement level players that are masquerading as our starting catcher right now.

  15. JM

    April 18, 2013 03:08 PM

    Getting Chooch back will be a definate upgrade, but he is not really a power bat. He will be hitting 6 or 7 in this lineup…

  16. Pencilfish

    April 18, 2013 04:44 PM

    Why not Ruiz or Delmon Young batting 5th behind Howard, with perhaps someone like Michael Young splitting Utley and Howard?

    On other news, Lannan was put on the 15-day DL, but is reportedly missing 6-8 weeks. Someone will come up from the minors to pitch 8-10 times. Any early favorites?

  17. JM

    April 18, 2013 06:36 PM

    I think it goes like this…
    Rollins
    Young
    Utley
    Howard
    Douchebag young
    Brown
    Ruiz
    Revere

  18. Steve

    April 19, 2013 05:45 AM

    Boy, I think we are pining an awful amount of hope on DY. Boy do we miss Ruiz more then anticipated. Last night was, once again, a monsterous failure to hit with men on base in high leverage situation. MY – double play machine. J-Pop – is a strikeout better then a popup? We had a 68% chance to tie the game inthe 9th (and with BR on third it was probably higher as this doesn’t factor in the speed of the runner) and they all came up small. I like playing Freddy, let’s see an outfield of FG in left, DB (healthy?) in Right and Mayberry/Nix in CF, could it be any worse then the slop we are trotting out now :) BR and can a defensive replacement at this point.

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