A Bucket of Cold Water

Happy Monday! The Phillies are 15-10, remarkably, and the team’s .600 winning percentage is fifth-best in the National League. The Phils have won six games in a row and nine of the last ten. They just swept the Nationals and the Indians, beating Max Scherzer, Gio Gonzalez, Tanner Roark, Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer, and Danny Salazar along the way. Ryan Howard hit an extra innings walk-off homer against Cody Allen, one of the game’s best closers. The pitching staff has exceeded all expectations, and even the bullpen has come around. The catching duo has put up strong numbers at the plate. Most importantly, the team is having FUN and is a pleasure to watch.

Naturally, I’m here to destroy all hope and optimism you may have for the remaining five months of the season. With one month in the books, here’s how the Phillies’ hitters are performing and their corresponding rank among all 30 MLB teams.

Category Value MLB Rank
wOBA 0.286 29
wRC+ 72 28
OBP 0.290 28
SLG 0.366 26
Runs 82 26
SB 10 19
Hits 185 24
HR 21 21
ISO 0.136 25
XBH 62 26
Hard Contact % 25.9% 27

Well, at least they’re stealing some bases? Those offensive numbers should not be surprising considering the hitters the team has in its employ, but may come as somewhat of a shock in the context of how many games the team has won. Hey, they’re not the Blue Jays, and I’m not saying they should be or that anyone expected them to be. The lineup will probably look much different on August 1, or maybe much sooner if Nick Williams and/or J.P. Crawford arrive sooner than expected. For now, it’s Odubel Herrera, Maikel Franco, and not a whole lot else. Outside of Herrera, the outfield has contributed next to nothing offensively. While Freddy Galvis has flashed some wood with three homers, he’s still hitting to a 76 wRC+, just a hair above his career 72 wRC+. His double-play partner, Cesar Hernandez, is hitting .266 with a .326 OBP and .329 SLG. The first base platoon has been just about as dreadful as was expected: Ryan Howard has five homers but little else, and Darin Ruf is slugging .243.

The Phillies are averaging 3.28 runs per game, and are indeed five games over .500 on May 2. The low runs total and great pitching have combined for some very exciting games thus far. However, the anemic offensive production from a lineup that looks every bit the part of a bottom-five group will eventually catch up with and overtake the gains made by the impressive young pitching staff.

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  1. norcalvol

    May 02, 2016 03:14 PM

    Their record of 15-6 following the 0-4 start reminds me of the run they had immediately following the 2015 all star break. But this 2016 version was in April, not July, and more good streaks surely are to come, separated by not-so-good periods. All in all, my expectations have been greatly exceeded so far, and it is so much fun to watch these (mostly) kids having the time of their lives.

  2. JRVJ

    May 02, 2016 03:15 PM

    “For now, it’s Odubel Herrera, Maikel Franco, THE CATCHER’S PLATOON and not a whole lot else”.


  3. Mike

    May 02, 2016 03:44 PM

    I said this in the last post so I will shut up about this. The third best hitter on the team is riding the bench almost every night. I know there is no long term benefit to playing Blanco over Ruf, Hernandez, Howard, Galvis, or Bourjos. But the guy has done nothing but be an extra-base hit machine since he arrived. Put him at cleanup and bat the 1st base platoon 5th. Rotate him around the field to give everyone a day off. Why couldn’t he hold up in left field? Maybe it only makes the difference between 76 and 74 wins and when Williams comes up, put him back to his bench role, but it is much more enjoyable watching him smack the ball around than what the Phils are running out there every night in the name of rebuilding.
    But indeed this season already has been more fun than the last two combined. Hellickson has taken the de facto “ace” and mentor role and taken it seriously. Every pitcher is throwing the ball like their lives depend on it. Besides the “four aces”, I cannot remember a Phillies pitching staff from top to bottom that was this enjoyable to watch. The dog days are coming. Could be the Cardinals will remind them they haven’t earned anything yet, who knows…. but you can start to see the light at the end of the tunnel…

    • Brett Krasnov

      May 02, 2016 04:10 PM

      Mike. It needs to be considered that Blanco is the 3rd best hitter “because” he sits so much. More AB’s and more time in the field may just make him be worse not better. That may or may not be true, but it could be that this is his role and he is making the best of it. That Pete Mackanin guy is a genius 😉

      • Brashly Unclear

        May 02, 2016 09:38 PM

        AKA the John Mayberry Jr problem. The guy was fine as a 4th outfielder with spot starts and PH appearances but he got exposed as the Phillies’ OF thinned out and was repeatedly inserted into the lineup because there weren’t true every day options.

  4. Major Malfunction

    May 02, 2016 04:19 PM

    Whatever happens this year happens. The fact they came out standing after the month of April is nice to see, but its a loooong season and plenty of reality will be coming. They might begin a precipitous fall, but also I don’t think they get the 1st pick in the draft for next year. Atlanta looks like they couldn’t beat any of the college team they might be drafting from. They are barely out slugging Ruf as a team. You have to be pretty awful to slug .287 as a team.

  5. @GMKevv

    May 03, 2016 01:15 PM

    Looking at OPS by position, 1B 2B and the corner outfield spots are killing the Phillies. That is to be expected as Howard and Chase held down the right side of the infield for the past 10 or 12 years and the corner spots have been in flux since Burrell was the gut in LF. This team is fun to watch, they are “in” ball games well past the 6th inning and that’s just fine by me. Once the younger guys start filling into those slots like SS and the OF the team will be in much better position.

  6. Mike B

    May 04, 2016 10:30 AM

    I have no complaints. Whatever happens this year happens. As long as the young guys get playing time, good coaching, and play hard and the right way, I’m happy. That said, while the pitching will likely regress, I think the hitting will start to improve as the season goes on, not to mention when/if guys like Crawford finally get called up. While I don’t get to watch them here in CO, I always look forward to checking the score, which is not something I could say during the past two years.

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