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Phillies Stat Notes: How are they playing .500 ball lately?

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The Phils are 21-21 dating back to July 7th, and so have slipped to 9th in next year's draft order.

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

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Contents

  • NL Standings and team stats
    Phillies have been playing .500 ball lately, mostly due to luck
  • Phillies Team Stats
  • Individual Stats
  • Today in Phillies History
    link
  • Milestones
    Rollins becomes the 8th player ever with 450 steals and 800 extra base hits

NL Standings

The Nationals have a very strong claim now as the best team in the National League. They have the best record in the league, and are now on a 94-win pace, and their run differential indicates they are even better than that (a 97-win pace). The Nats now have a 99% chance of winning the division, according to fangraphs, leaving Atlanta to battle for a wild card spot.

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Reverse Standings

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Both the Cubs and Twins had worse 2013 records than the Phils, so they rank higher for purposes of determining the 2015 draft order.

2015 Draft Pick

9th if the season ended today (8th worst record, plus Houston's #2 comp. pick for Aiken).
9th based on FanGraphs' projected end-of-season standings (8th by record, plus comp. pick)

Note that with a recent rules change, the teams with the 10 worst records will have their first round picks protected, regardless of how many compensation picks might be inserted before them. For 2015, that means the first 11 picks will be protected.

In terms of the 2015 Draft, the Phillies haven't done themselves any favors over the last month and a half. Since July 7th, they've gone 21-21, and gradually drifted down the projected 2015 draft order from 6/7, down to 9.

Why have they been winning more lately? First, we should note there is selection bias in that 42-game window. We start on July 7th to highlight that .500 record, but starting even two games earlier (21-23) or later (19-21) shows how that can quickly change.

Their relative lack of suckiness lately is almost entirely due to their offense, as they've been allowing even more runs than before during this stretch:

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Why have they been scoring more? Mainly because they've benefitted from a couple of types of luck in that period:

1) BABIP: More hits are falling in, with their batting average on balls in play rising from .285 through July 6th, to .309 since then.

2) Timing of hits: they've scored more runs than their underlying stats would indicate. While their scoring has jumped from 12th through July 6th, to 4th in the NL since then, wOBA has only moved up slightly, from 14th to 11th, even with the favorable BABIP.

But they've hit .280 with runners in scoring position over those last 42 games, and that has helped to make the most of their still below-average hitting.

3) Timing of runs: as you'll note in the small table above, they're still allowing more runs than they score (4.52 to 4.17), and over a larger sample that kind of run differential would normally translate into a .463 winning percentage -- better, but not quite .500. The favorable sequencing of runs is evident in their record in one-run games: they've won 9 of the 14 one-run games they've been in in this recent stretch (.643 W%), compared to only 12 of 28 through July 6th (.429 W%).

So, in short, while winning about half their games has been a nice break from more consistent losing, we shouldn't expect the recent run of mediocrity to continue.


Phillies Team Stats, vs. 2013 and vs. the Nationals

HITTING
The Phils now lead the NL in taking the first pitch.

They've been the second most successful team in the NL at stealing bases (81%), behind only tonight's opponent (85%).

Phillies hitters at Fangraphs
Nationals hitters at Fangraphs

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Progression of key hitting stats:

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PITCHING

Phillies pitchers at Fangraphs
Nationals pitchers at Fangraphs

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Individual Stats

Phillies Hitters

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Grady Sizemore: Repeating the Fade?

Sizemore started the season hot in Boston, and then really faded, until the Sox finally released him:

first 9 games (38 PA): .343/.395/.571 (.966 OPS)
from then on (167 PA): .187/.263/.267 (.530 OPS)

He also started hot when the Phillies called him up in July, but has been slumping again recently. Time will tell whether he can return to productive hitting, and that will likely determine how much interest there will be in him during the off-season, both by the Phils and other clubs:

first 18 games (72 PA): .353/.389/.485 (.874 OPS)
last 18 games (44 PA): .190/.227/.310 (.537 OPS)

Dom Brown: Faint Glimmer of Hope? Nah

When Dom started hitting a bit at the end of June, there was some hope that he could return to some semblance of past form, even if not the torrid May-June of 2013:

through 6/28 (277 PA): .217/.268/.318 (.586 OPS)
6/29 to 7/25 (64 PA): .300/.344/.450 (.794 OPS)

His BABIP jumped from .248 through 6/28, to .356 in his little hot(ter) streak, so that was a warning sign already. But I don't think we could have predicted he'd do this over the last month:

7/26 to 8/24 (58 PA): .189/.259/.283 (.542 OPS)

Ben Revere: Projected RBIs vs. Hits

To the many weird aspects of Revere's season, we can add one more: he's on pace for 183 hits, but only 19 RBIs.

Below are the fewest RBIs ever for a player who had 175 or more hits:

17 - Luis Castillo 2000 (180 hits)
24 - Don Blasingame 1959 (178)
26 - Patsy Dougherty 1904 (181)

Or, looking at it another way, below are the most hits ever by a player with 20 or less RBI:

180 - Luis Castillo 2000 (17 RBI)
161 - Morrie Rath 1912 (19)
150 - Richie Ashburn 1959 (20)
148 - Clyde Milan 1910 (16)
147 - Ben Revere 2014 (15) - i.e. if his season ended today, he would already have the 5th most hits ever for a player with 20 or fewer RBIs

In case anyone is wondering, the fewest RBIs in a season with 502+ PAs is 12, by Enzo Hernandez of the 1971 Padres.

Chase Utley: Walking more lately

Utley's walk rate was only 6.8% before the all-star break, pretty far below his 9.6% career rate.

But since the break, it's been up at 11.8%, bringing his season average up to 8.2%.

Carlos Ruiz: Quietly having a good year

Typically OPS is a decent (and easier to calculate) approximation of hitting value. Correlation between OPS and wOBA for the 414 players who have 90+ PAs this year is 0.995 -- it doesn't get much higher than that. For comparison, the correlation between batting average and wOBA is 0.79, and 0.88 between OBP and wOBA. But there are cases where OPS and wOBA do differ, and Carlos Ruiz is an example where OPS sells him short. While the OPS table above shows Chooch far behind Byrd and Utley among the team's hitting leaders, wOBA and wRC+ show that he has actually been very close to the top so far this year:

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OPS Progression:

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Pitching

Below is how starters' ERAs have progressed since early May. Hamels has ticked up slightly in his last two starts, but is still in a league of his own on this staff.

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This Date in Phillies History
Go here for odd and interesting events on this date in Phillies history: broadandpattison.com
Milestones

Recent milestones by Phillies players, and those that may be reached over the next week...

Jimmy Rollins

  • Rollins was caught stealing for the 95th time in his career recently, passing Larry Bowa for sole possession of #1 in Phillies history. Caught stealing stats have been kept since 1951. When talking about Rollins and this caught stealing mark, lest people get the wrong idea it always feels necessary to add that Rollins has had one of the highest stealing success rates in history:

- 9th highest among the 147 players with 300+ attempts
- 4th highest among the 44 with 500+

  • He also got his 800th (and 801st) extra base hits, becoming...
    - the 2nd Phillie with 800+, joining Mike Schmidt (1015)
    - and the 5th shortstop in baseball history with that many, joining Ripken (1078), Wagner (996), Jeter (859), and Cronin (803).
  • On Saturday Rollins stole his 450 (and 451st) base, joining this exclusive club of players with 800 extra base hits and 450 stolen bases:

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  • Two more home runs (18 total) will tie Rollins with Cy Williams for 8th most home runs in Phils history, at 217. Cy Williams (not Ted) was the original target of the "Williams Shift" that Howard knows so well.
  • Rollins also needs two RBI (54 for the year) to tie Sherry Magee for 7th in Phillies history, at 886.

Chase Utley

Utley is about to move into the top 10 in Phils history in both at bats and plate appearances:

  • Three more PAs (551 on the year) will tie him with Granny Hamner for 10th on the Phils list, with 6222. Eighteen more (566 total) will tie Willie Puddin' Head Jones for 9th, at 6237.
  • He needs 23 At Bats (509 total) to tie Jones for 10th in that category.
  • He also needs seven more hits (143 for the year) to tie Cy Williams for 9th in Phils history, at 1553.
  • Utley passed Kid Elberfeld for 17th most all-time in HBPs, and is now at 166. Derek Jeter is 16th (168), and Alex Rodriguez15th (169). Elberfeld was a turn of the century infielder who first came up with the Phillies (his SABR bio).

Ryan Howard
  • Howard recently passed Cy Williams for 8th most total bases in Phillies history, and is now at 2544.
  • His next walk (55th this year) will tie Ed Delahanty for 8th on the Phils list, at 643.
  • His next extra base hit (35th) will tie Bobby Abreu for 7th in Phils history, with 585.

Jonathan Papelbon

  • Papelbon's next save (32nd on the year) will tie Rick Aquilera for 18th all-time, at 318.
  • The one after that (33rd) will be his 100th for the Phils (making him the 5th Phil with 100+), and will tie Todd Jones for 17th all time at 319.

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For reference:

Phillies All-time hitting leaders
Phillies All-time pitching leaders

MLB All-time hitting leaders
MLB All-time pitching leaders