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Phillies Stat Notes: Too lucky for their own good

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The Phillies still have the 4th worst record in MLB, but according to their run differential they've been a bit lucky and should really be expected to have the very worst record (and therefore the #1 overall 2016 pick).

Cole Hamels: 2 wins away from 5th all-time in Phillies franchse history.
Cole Hamels: 2 wins away from 5th all-time in Phillies franchse history.
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

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If the season were to end today, the Phillies would have the 4th overall pick in the 2016 draft.

At 19-30, they are 2.5 games ahead of the team with the worst record (Milwaukee, 16-32).

MLB Standings

The Phillies return today to begin a nine-game homestand at CBP, where they actually have a winning record despite being outscored 84 to 71:

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They still have the worst run differential in MLB (-64), as well as the worst pythagorean projection, at 17-32. So only some "lucky" timing in when they've scored their runs is keeping them from their claim to the #1 overall pick in 2016.

It's kind of amazing that they can't even get to last place in their own division:

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NL Standings and Key Stats

The Phillies will have faced the Rockies seven times in the space of two weeks to take care of the entire season series.

I miss the days when the schedule was more balanced, i.e. pre-1994, with 18 games vs. teams in your own division, and 12 against teams in the (one) other division.

Now it's 19 against each team in your own division (total of 76), and only about 6 1/2 on average against the rest of the NL (total of 66), with the remaining 20 left for interleague play.

A more balanced schedule might look something like this:

13 against each team in own division (52)
9 against each team in the other two divisions (90)
4 against each of 5 AL teams (20)

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Phillies Stats vs. last year, and vs. the Rockies

Hitting

There are now comments off to the right in the table below.

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Fangraphs team hitting stats

Pitching

Colorado is dead last in runs allowed, ERA, and FIP. However when adjusting for their home park, they are obviously not quite as bad: ERA- is 11th in the NL, and FIP- is 9th.

xFIP-, which also adjusts HR/FB to the league average, is last though, because as bad as their pitching has been, that's in spite of a relatively low 9.3% HR/FB rate.

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Fangraphs team pitching stats

Phillies Hitters

Ben Revere's power

Revere is hitting for more power this year, with 22% of hits going for extra bases. That's compared to a consistent 12-13% in his first four years in the league:

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If he can keep that up, AND get his average back up to .300, that would be an improvement over his past performance at the plate.

Chase Utley's comeback

Through May 8 (26 G, 103 PA, .079 BABIP)... .099/.175/.198 (.373 OPS)
Since May 9 (18 G, 66 PA, .396 BABIP)........... .328/.409/.466 (.875 OPS)


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Below is how the season-to-date OPS has progressed for several hitters this year, along with the team's runs per game:

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Fangraphs hitting stats

Phillies Pitchers

The table below compares Phils pitchers' stats, and uses FIP and xFIP to explain where they differ from the NL average for starting pitchers.

For example for Aaron Harang:
- xFIP assumes a league-average rate of fly balls leaving the yard, and so is essentially based on walks and strikeouts, and by that measure alone Harang has allowed 3 more runs than the league average starter.
- FIP (unlike xFIP) uses the actual home runs allowed by the pitcher, and since Harang has allowed only two all year (an unsustainably low 2.3% HR/FB rate), his FIP translates to 9 fewer runs allowed than an average pitcher. And since we've already established that he's 3 over based on walks and K's, he must therefore be 12 under the average in runs allowed due to home runs.
- ERA captures the rest of the activity, due to BABIP/fielding, the timing of hits, his success at stranding runners, etc. And since Harang's ERA is well below his FIP, these other factors have allowed him to allow another 7 runs fewer than league average, beyond what FIP alone can explain.

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Milestones

Chase Utley

- On Wednesday Utley moved into 8th place in games played for the franchise with 1,522, passing Sherry Magee (1,521), and Willie Puddin' Head Jones (1520).

- He needs two more walks to move into a 10th place tie with Von Hayes, at 619.

- His next HBP will tie 19th century outfielder Curt Welch for 13th all-time.

Cole Hamels

- Hamels needs two more wins to tie Curt Simmons for 5th most in franchise history:

Steve Carlton - 241
Robin Roberts - 234
Pete Alexander - 190
Chris Short - 132
Curt Simmons - 115
Cole Hamels - 113

Always-a-Phillie Jimmy Rollins

- On Wednesday Rollins got career hit #2,341, passing Barry Larkin for 12th most all-time among shortstops (i.e. players with at least 2/3 of their games at SS). Next is Alan Trammell at 2,365.

- Rollins has now been caught stealing 99 times, and will soon become the 125th player in history to have beeen caught 100+. Of the other 124, only THREE had more stolen bases at their 100th CS than Rollins' 458:

Tim Raines (612)
Willie Wilson (512)
Vince Coleman (486)

Rollins has been one of the most successful base stealers in history -- to put it another way, of the 44 players with 500+ stolen base attempts since 1951 (when CS started being tracked regularly), only three have a higher SB success rate than Rollins.

- He's also about to reach MLB's all-time top 100 in extra base hits, needing four more to tie Orlando Cepeda at 823.

- He's already 4th all-time in extra base hits among shortstops (i.e. players who spent at least 2/3 of their careers at short).