A Look At The Phillies In "Hitters' Counts"

[edited to add jump and update date & time]

Something we have been kicking around during the game threads has been the Phillies’ approach at the plate, especially with regard to getting ahead in the count, namely 3-0 and 3-1. Our eyes tell us there is something off about certain hitters and how they hit once they get to those particular counts, but it is hard to ascertain precise numbers. This is an attempt to get a feel for where the Phillie hitters stand in those situations. How the numbers are to be interpreted, I am not sure at this point; without doing this for every team we aren’t going to know what would be considered ‘average' at this point in time.

A note about the methodology in compiling – I was not interested in how they hit in a specific count; you can look that kind of stuff up at B-R and Retrosheet. What I wanted to see was what the results would be ONCE a hitter got to the deep so-called "hitter’s counts". There are two charts – one for 3-0 counts and one for 3-1 counts. There is a bit of overlap, considering that many hitters are taking a strike on the 3-0 count. If that happened, then it has been counted on both charts.

I went through every plate appearance and tracked hits and walks; not making an out was what I was looking for here. There is no distinction held between four-pitch walks or walks after eleventy billion foul balls, so long as the hitter got to 3-0 during his plate appearance. I do not include intentional walks, unless it was just a fourth ball intentional walk (i.e. putting him on after the count got to 3-0 already - which has happened, I believe, only 2-3 times this season).

Key - T.P.A.: Total Plate Appearances; P.A.: Plate Appearances with that count

This first chart consists of the results after reaching A 3-0 count

Player T.P.A. P.A. Hits Walks
Rollins 260 14 1 6
Polanco 269 15 1 13
Utley 61 4 0 4
Howard 268 18 4 6
Victorino 200 12 2 8
Ibanez 240 13 1 7
Brown 63 2 1 1
Ruiz 158 7 0 7
Francisco 192 14 2 8
Valdez 154 5 1 3
Mayberry 117 5 0 3
Schneider 55 1 0 0
Sardinha 36 3 0 1
Martinez 57 1 0 0
Orr 67 1 0 1
Gload 41 1 0 1
Pitchers 148 0 0 0


All of these numbers are through last night's 2-0 win over the Dodgers.

Small sample size does apply in some of these cases. What is seen here with the Phillies is they have had, through 62 games and 2,386 total plate appearances, 116 (4.9%) of those PA with instances of a 3-0 count; 69 of those times (59.5%), a walk would be the result. 13 hits also resulted (11.2%). Some were on 3-0 green lights, others came after taking a strike or two. In total, 70.7% of the time there was a non-out result.

This chart is for results after a 3-1 count

Player T.P.A. P.A. Hits Walks
Rollins 260 35 5 9
Polanco 269 17 2 9
Utley 61 6 0 4
Howard 268 28 3 8
Victorino 200 16 4 4
Ibanez 240 16 2 5
Brown 63 7 2 4
Ruiz 158 11 1 7
Francisco 192 26 4 11
Valdez 154 9 1 4
Mayberry 117 9 1 5
Schneider 55 6 1 1
Sardinha 36 7 0 5
Martinez 57 1 0 0
Orr 67 4 0 2
Gload 41 2 0 1
Pitchers 148 5 0 3


In the same 2,386 plate appearances, the Phillies managed to work a 3-1 count 205 times (8.6%), with the end result of 26 hits (12.7%) and 82 walks (40.0%) - with a total non-out percentage of 52.7. I think one would expect a lower walk percentage in a count that is traditionally one when hitters like to swing, but I was expecting a higher hit percentage.

Some of the numbers did surprise. For example - Jimmy Rollins worked a 3-1 count in 13.5% of his PA, but didn't make an out in only 40% of those. Ryan Howard is slightly worse in a 3-1 count (39.3% non-outs). The disparity in some players between a 3-0 and a 3-1 count is interesting. Polanco and Victorino both have done well when working a 3-0 but they fall off a bit when getting to 3-1, which potentially suggests that the manner in which they got to 3-1 influences their approach afterward.

The Phillies are currently toward in the middle of the NL in OBP (8th), hits (9th), and walks (10th). Will these change as the year moves forward? It remains to be seen; I will continue tracking these numbers through the summer and see if they change at all, or whether we are going to continuing seeing a team that likes to hack away.

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