The Phillies have the 4th best record in the NL so far, and while they rank higher in scoring runs (3rd) than in allowing them (7th), both of those rankings are skewed somewhat by the two blowouts they’ve been involved in (losing 15-2 to Atlanta, and beating the Marlins 20-1).
The Phils head to Atlanta leading the Braves by one game in the standings. By either runs per game (5.86), or wRC+ (119), the Braves have had the best offense in the NL so far in the early going.
The Phils are or near the top in many of the plate discipline stats. They are 3rd in the NL in getting into hitters’ counts, and when they do get into those 2-0/3-0/3-1 counts, they are more likely to take the next pitch than any team in the NL.
The Braves on the other hand are not apt to take the first pitch, and don’t see many pitches, but when they get ahead in the count they do tend to take a pitch and try to get on via a walk, and so their BB% is among the best in the league. The Braves have also done a good job of keeping their strikeouts low.
Both the Phillies and Braves are likely facing some regression in their Batting Average on Balls in Play:
- The Phils’ .282 is 13th lowest in the NL. Of the 123 full team seasons since 2010, only 8 have finished with BABIPs below .285.
- Likewise with the Braves’ .318 BABIP, which is the highest in the league — of those 123 seasons, only 9 have finished higher than .315.
More notes in the table below.
There’s a lot going on in this table (and the one below on pitching stats), but a quick glance at the color coding can give an overall summary: for example all the green next to the 2017 Phillies plate discipline stats shows that this year’s team has been much better in that area than they were last year. And the orange/red next to the Braves offensive stats shows the Phillies have been worse than the Braves on those:
As a refresher, the ERA estimator FIP (Fielding-independing pitching) is based only on the stats that are considered to be most controllable by pitchers: strikeouts, walks, and home runs.
xFIP takes that one step further by also assuming that home runs are only controllable by a pitcher to the extent to which they allow fly balls to be hit, and adjusts their HRs the league-average rate of HRs per Fly Balls.
With that out of the way, Phillies starters lead the NL in FIP.