Milwaukee has the best record in the NL at 41-27, and they’ve gotten there with very average offense (slightly better than the Phillies), but also one of the better pitching staffs in the league. Which is to say an average-at-best starting rotation, backed by a shutdown bullpen.
Compared to last year, and to the Brewers
The Phillies’ offense has had its ups and downs, and overall so far it’s slightly below average (10th in wRC+), while the Brewers have been slightly above average (7th in wRC+).
Phillies pitchers are 2nd in the NL in WAR (per fangraphs, which bases pitcher WAR on FIP). Non-pitcher WAR, including baserunning and fielding, ranks 11th, about the same as last year.
*ISO, short for Isolated power, is the difference between batting average and slugging percentage, and essentially measures the average extra bases per at bat (1 for a double, 2 for a triple, 3 for a HR).
Phillies continue leading the league in walking (10.1% of the time), but their pitches per PA have dipped to 2nd, behind the Dodgers (4.06).
However they also lead the league in striking out, and (not surprisingly) are last in making contact, but also in their quality of contact, ranking dead last in both Line Drive rate (19.1%), and in Hard-hit rate (29.5%).
Progress over time
The graphs below show how some key stats have progressed. On the left is the weekly performance (with a dotted line showing the NL average for each one), and on the right is the cumulative season-to-date number. Batting Average and BB% together drive a team’s On Base Percentage, and Batting Average and ISO combine to form Slugging Percentage.
Batting — Individual
Below are the Phillies ranked by OPS, along with how they compare to the MLB average OPS at their position. To the right are their OPS over the last 30, 14, and 7 days.
Rhys Hoskins seems to be out of his slump since returning after his broken jaw, while Odubel continues to be mired in his.
J.P. Crawford has been better since coming off the DL, and now has an .820 OPS since April 10th (70 PAs).
Below is how each Phillie hitter’s OPS and wOBA have progressed over time.
These graphs are very busy — I suggest starting with the names to see how they currently rank, and then follow each line to the left to see how they got there (tough for the colorblind though).
There is a stat called Runs Created, which has gone through various iterations, starting with Bill James in the 1980s. Fangraphs calculates a version of that called weighted Runs Created (wRC) which is a counting stat version of wOBA.
The table below shows wRC by each Phillie, by week (the first is more like a week and a half).
It quantifies the ups and downs we’ve seen: the hot starts by Hoskins, Hernandez, and Herrera, the occasional good week from Franco, and the strong hitting from Santana since May 1st:
It was mentioned earlier that Phillies pitching is 2nd in the NL in WAR (per fangraphs).
*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 to the league-average rate of HRs per Fly Balls.
Pitching - Individual
Below is a high-level break down of each starter’s games: QS is the typical definition (6+ IP, or less ER), “bad” is any start with more ER than innings pitched, and “other” is all the rest:
And below are each pitcher’s games, with the Game Score for each one on the right (highlighted green if in the 60-79 range, dark green if 80+):
No balls shall enter the field of play
TTO, or the Three True Outcomes, refer walks, Ks, and home runs, the three outcomes for an at bat which don’t involve fielders.
The Phillies continue to be the most TTO team in the NL:
They’ve homered in 2.8% of their plate appearances, which is about average, but they’ve walked 14% more than the average NL team, and they’ve also struck out 14% more than.
So they’ve had a TTO outcome in 38.8% of their plate appearances, 13% more often than than the average team.
Games with more Ks than Hits
The Phils have had 42 games this year with more Ks (at the plate) than hits, tied for most in MLB. So with 42 in 66 games, they are on pace for 103 for the year.
The Phillies may in fact set a new record this year, but it would likely be a record that won’t stand for very long in today’s game.
Steve Braun’s Last Days as a .300 Hitter
Below is Braun’s career line from baseball reference. He has only hit .300 once in the last six seasons, but thanks to his early success he’s still clinging to a .300 career batting average. However he is only an 0 for 12 away from losing that distinction, most likely forever. It’s going to happen some day soon, and it would be great if the Phillies did it.
As a bonus, that would also drop his career OPS out of the .900s.