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Phillies Stat Notes: Average offenses face very good rotations in DC

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The Phillies continue to hold the 6th best record in the NL, and both their offense and run prevention have been about average — offense a little worse (9th in runs scored per game), run prevention a bit better (7th in runs allowed).

The run prevention ranking though disguises the fact that the pitching has been much better than average overall (the team FIP is 2nd in the NL), and especially so for the starting rotation. Their fielding meanwhile ranks at or near the bottom of the league no matter what stat you use.

Standings

The Phils are in third place in the NL East, 3 12 games behind the Braves, and 12 game back of the Nationals. The Nationals and Cubs would get the two wildcard spots if the season ended today with the Phillies again 12 game out.

Batting

Compared to last year, and to the Nationals

While both teams have had their ups and downs offensively, it’s remarkable how similar they are overall.

The Nationals are very slightly better in batting average, slugging percentage, ISO and home runs, and the teams have the same OBP.

In the end the Phils have scored slightly more runs: Nationals 4.25 (11th), Phillies 4.33 (9th).

The two teams not have only have the 5th and 6th records in the NL, they also have the 5th and 6th WAR totals (per fangraphs):

*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).

The Phillies continue leading the league in walking (10.3% of the time), but have the second highest strikeout rate (25.6%).

They are dead last in the NL in making contact (73.7% of their swings), hitting line drives (19.8%), and just making hard contact (30.1%).

At a time when there is less stealing in the game, the Phillies are among the less aggressive teams, ranking 13th in attempts and 11th in successful steals.

Overall however their baserunning is better than average, as shown by the fangraphs Base Running stat (BsR), which ranks 6th in the NL.

That’s partly due to making far fewer outs on the bases than any other team in the NL. These are outs from advancing on a fly ball, trying to take an extra base, or advance on a passed ball or wild pitch. It doesn’t include pickoffs or caught stealing.

The Nats are at the other end of that ranking:

And it’s not like the Phillies have been overly cautious. They are 3rd in the NL in bases taken on fly balls, passed balls, and wild pitches, and 2nd in those plays as a percentage of baserunners (the Bases Taken% stat above).

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 continues to hit very well, and now has been joined by a hot-again Odubel Herrera. Jorge Alfaro and Aaron Altherr are really the only ones struggling over the last week or so:

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.

The “3 H’s” are having a good week so far, especially Herrera:

Pitching

Phillies pitching leads the NL in WAR (per fangraphs). They also lead in WAR for starting pitching in particular, which is not a surprise.

Phillies starters are only 6th in ERA, but that’s largely because errors and fielding percentage are grossly inadequate measures of fielding, and so “earned” vs. “unearned” runs is a very flawed distinction. Based on FIP*, Phillies starters rank 2nd in the NL.

It’s interesting to note here that while the Phillies and Nationals have both been very good according to the their fielding-independent pitching metrics, ranking 1-2 in the NL for most of the year, the Nationals are doing a much better job of preventing runs: 3.60 per game (2nd), vs. the Phillies’ 4.22 (7th). The reason is apparent at the bottom of this table, where the Nationals’ fielding has been average or better, while that of the Phillies ranks at or near the bottom based on both traditional and advanced metrics:

*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+):

Runs vs. Average

The graph below shows Runs above average for each team in the NL, by each aspect of the game, as measured at Fangraphs.

So the Phillies for example have been well above average in starting pitching (+35), and slightly above average in both their bullpen (+3, despite recent troubles), and running the bases (+3).

They’ve been below average in fielding (-19), and less so in hitting (-5).

The net total is that as a team they’ve been 18 runs better than average:

Miscellaneous

Mitch Walding’s Start

If Walding’s career ended today for some reason, he will have made history:

Nailing down how unique Walding’s start is in MLB history among players who did eventually make contact is a bit tougher given the tools available, but the closest I could find was Domingo Santana: when he was called up in 2014, he mixed in some non-Ks among his first 7 at bats, but did strike out 14 times in his first 18 PAs.

On Base Streaks

Odubel Herrera has the longest on-base streak of the season so far (41 games, plus another 4 from the end of 2017), but it’s under attack, with three currently active streaks of 34, 31, and 28 games:

Odubel HR Streak

Herrera has homered in four straight games, and five of his last six.

He is the first center fielder in Phillies history to homer in 4 straight, and the first MLB center fielder since Yoenis Cespedes and Joc Pederson three years ago.

In fact only 11 center fielders in MLB history have had longer streaks, totaling 16 streaks of five games or more. Five of those 16 streaks were by Willie Mays, and two by Ken Griffey Jr, who , but it’s interesting to also see Babe Ruth on that list. Ruth homered in five straight games while he was filling in in CF during his great 1921 season when he was still relatively young and athletic.

Griffey’s 8-game streak in 1993 shares the all-time record with Dale Long (1956), and Don Mattingly (1987).

Team Home Run Streak

The Phillies still own 2018’s longest streak of games with at least one home run, with 16.

The current longest active streak belongs to the Yankees with 10, and the Phillies, Braves, and Angels are tied for second longest, having homered in their last 9 games.

(Not that that makes the Phils a great HR team, obviously, but when the homers have come for them, they’ve come in streaks).

Trivia

Austin Davis is the 2,046th player to wear a Phillies uniform, but the first to do so with “Austin” as either a first or last name.

Question:

Who was the 2,000th player in Phillies franchise history?

Hint: He made his debut in 2016. Before the start of the 2016 season, the franchise total stood at 1,979, so the team has churned through 67 (!) new players in those (almost) 2 and 12 seasons.

Answer will appear in the comments.

References

Phillies hitters (fangraphs)
Phillies pitchers (fangraphs)
Team hitting stats (fangraphs)
Team pitching stats (fangraphs)
Team stats (baseball-reference)

Poll

What graphic or section do you find most useful/(least useless):

This poll is closed

  • 17%
    Standings with stats
    (5 votes)
  • 3%
    Overall and offense comparison
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    Plate Discipline/etc. comparison
    (0 votes)
  • 3%
    Progress on key hitting stats
    (1 vote)
  • 28%
    OPS table with 30/14/7 day trend
    (8 votes)
  • 7%
    Cumulative OPS and wOBA lines
    (2 votes)
  • 10%
    Runs Created by week
    (3 votes)
  • 0%
    Pitching stats comparison
    (0 votes)
  • 17%
    Quality of starts
    (5 votes)
  • 10%
    Runs vs. Average
    (3 votes)
  • 0%
    Miscellaneous
    (0 votes)
28 votes total Vote Now