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An Anarcho Syndicalist Commune: A Genealogy of Phillies Offensive Leaders

For much of the season, the Phillies have been a poor offensive team. This has allowed some unlikely heroes to rise to the top of the (s)crap heap.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Phillies have not exactly been an offensive juggernaut in 2015. On the season they are 27th out of 30 teams in wRC+ and 26th in OPS. If you're into pure run scoring, the answer is the same: the Phillies are one of the worst offensive teams in baseball, ranking 26th in runs scored.

Teams with the level of offensive ineptitude the Phillies have displayed this year typically lack a transcendent offensive player and the Phillies certainly fit that bill. Like Dennis' anarcho-syndicalist commune in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, they take it in turns to act as a sort of executive officer for the week. But all the decisions of that officer have to be ratified at a special bi-weekly meeting by a simple majority in the case of purely internal affairs but by a two-thirds majority in the case of more serious matters.

We'll look at those executive officers, but not quite on the granular level of the week. We will highlight the Phillies leader in wRC+, a catch-all offensive statistic that attempts to quantify a player's total contribution to run-scoring, for each month. We'll use 50 PA as the monthly minimum to qualify. Buckle your seatbelts because this is quite a cast of characters.


Executive Officer: Freddy Galvis--132 wRC+

Freddy Galvis got off to a torrid start to the year and was one of the most valuable players in baseball in the month of April by adding some offensive spark to his stellar defensive reputation. He quite literally was swinging a big bat in the month as he experimented with an oversized bat in Spring Training and brought it north to start the season. It looked silly, but it got the job done for Freddy. He only struck out 6.1% of the time and some speculated that the increase in bat surface area was allowing him to make contact with some more baseballs. (Note: I'm not sure any serious people speculated anything of this sort)

24 of his 27 hits on the month were singles and he was running a .371 BABIP, so surely this was unsustainable, but it was fun while it lasted and made the post Jimmy Rollins days a little bit easier.


Executive Officer: Ryan Howard--132 wRC+

"Peak Ryan Howard is back!" talk radio hosts and callers alike shouted over the airwaves. After seemingly the 10th consecutive offseason of weight loss, Howard had finally rediscovered the power that abandoned him nearly a half decade prior. With family disputes behind him, the rightful 2008 MVP was surely back in form.

The dingers flew out of the yard as Howard hit 6 home runs and carried .270 ISO for the month. Sure, he struck out 30% of the time, but that's just the way the game has evolved of late. Surely this was here to stay.

The Graveyard of Previous Executive Officers: Freddy Galvis, 58 wRC+.


Executive Officer: Maikel Franco--184 wRC+

Maikel Franco was called up from AAA and immediately was nearly twice as good as the average hitter. His 8 home runs on the month carried him to a .296 June ISO. If you thought Ryan Howard was slugging in May, Maikel Franco was basically Barry Bonds in June with a .352/.391/.648 line on the month.

Franco was good, he was going to be our All-Star as a rookie. He was better than that bum Scott Rolen. I mean, just look at those barehanded plays he was making!

At the very least, this Franco was a refreshing reassurance after a disappointing September last season. Not only were his results better, but he seemed more comfortable at the plate. He was striking out less and walking more than he did in 2014. Hail Franco!

The Graveyard of Previous Executive Officers: Freddy Galvis, 33 wRC+; Ryan Howard, 66 wRC+.


Executive Officer: Odubel Herrera--166 wRC+

Shades of SHANF! Rule 5 draft pick Odubel Herrera had taken to centerfield and had finally figured it out offensively and defensively. He saved Cole Hamels' no-hitter in the middle of the month with two spectacular catches. Never mind that they had to be spectacular only because Herrera took god-awful routes to get to them: This guy was the future.

Power had never been Odubel's strong suit as nominative determinism limited his power to "doubles power." But in July, Odubel expanded his horizons to the green pastures on the other side of the outfield fence. He his two dingers in 73 July plate appearances after hitting that many in 238 plate appearances prior to July. He contemplated legally changing his name to Odinger, but the beat writers, beholden to the AP style guideline that ban the use of "dinger" and its derivations, convinced him not to do it.

The Graveyard of Previous Executive Officers: Maikel Franco, 102 wRC+; Ryan Howard, 115 wRC+; Freddy Galvis, 116 wRC+.


Executive Officer: Cameron Rupp--183 wRC+

August is not quite over, but we're going to go ahead and declare a winner for the purposes of this study. In what has become essentially a 50-50 timeshare at the catcher position between Rupp and Carlos Ruiz, the former has emerged as the better catcher by most accounts. In August, he has hit five home runs, which is five more than Carlos Ruiz has hit. He's running a .362 ISO which would rank 9th among qualified batters on the season.

Is this sustainable? Of course not. A .333 BABIP for a catcher is hard to sustain, but, like those of all the executive officers that have come before him, the unsustainability of his reign has been entertaining to watch.

Catcher is all of a sudden a position of some strength in the Phillies minor league system with the arrival of Jorge Alfaro, the emergence of Andrew Knapp, and the continued defensive prowess of Deivi Grullon. Rupp's ascendancy to the title of executive officer for the month of August might just buy him a couple months next year to hold off Alfaro or Knapp.

The Graveyard of Previous Executive Officers: Freddy Galvis, 74 wRC+; Ryan Howard, 116 wRC+; Odubel Herrera, 133 wRC+; Maikel Franco, 139 wRC+ (41 PA).

Who will be the executive officer for the last month of the season? Will we have our first instance of a second term officer or will the door to the office continue to revolve? Burning questions such as these hang over the last month of the season for these Phillies.