The Phillies offense has not been good this year. They are 10th in the NL in runs scored, 11th in runs per game, 10th in home runs, 10th in OPS, and 10th in wOBA. In other words, it's pretty safe to say that the Phillies have the 10th best offense in the NL.
There are a lot of contributing factors to the team's offensive struggles. Ryan Howard is off to a horrible start, posting a .277/.300/.385 triple-slash line with only 1 home run and 6 runs batted in. Erik Kratz has a lower on-base percentage (.211) than batting average (.214). Michael Young's hot debut as a Phillie is mitigated by his propensity to ground into double plays (second in the league with 5). Jimmy Rollins is struggling to get on base in more than 30% of his plate appearances (.295 OBP).
But buried in the ease of looking at individuals and their contributions to the Phillies' offensive struggles is the collective responsibility of the outfield. Going into the season, many of us were worried about the Phillies outfield. We worried that Ben Revere's speed and glove were not going to make up for mediocre on-base skills and no power (literally, no power). We had a hunch that the mix of right fielders were better suited for fourth or fifth outfield spots. We were concerned that Domonic Brown might not be any better than what he's shown us in his three partial seasons.
Well, so far, our worries have come true. In fact, we may not have been concerned enough about the outfield Ruben Amaro has assembled for the 2013 Phillies. Here are how the Phillies have hit by outfield position so far:*
Of course, that's horrible, particularly in center field. But, looking at the individual positions masks how truly terrible the entire outfield has been. Thanks to some quick Excel work, I've got that info for you compared to each outfield in the NL. And it's not pretty. Not at all.
The Phillies have the worst outfield among major-league NL teams (excluding of course the AAA Marlins, though if Giancarlo Stanton weren't injured, I'm sure they'd be higher than the Phils in this chart regardless of who else is out there with him).
We're only three weeks into the season, so all small sample size warnings apply. Ben Revere can't be this bad, Domonic Brown must have more power than this to go along with his solid on-base skills, and Delmon Young is going to be the right field savior very soon (ha, I kid).
But until these things happen, we have to recognize that the outfield as a whole is one of the biggest drags on the Phillies' offense.
* All data is from espn.com. Fangraphs has data for individual positions, but that data is inaccurate. For instance, for Phillies left fielders, Fangraphs has 3 home runs. That total includes the two from Brown as well as 1 from Freddy Galvis. However, Galvis hit his home run as a pinch hitter, not as a left fielder. (Same with including Laynce Nix's 2 home runs. Both were pinch hits, not while he was playing right field.) Apparently, Fangraphs includes all stats for a player it believes plays that position for the majority of that player's time, not just stats accumulated while a player is playing that position. The latter is what espn.com does, which makes it useful for this inquiry.