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Phillies Stat Notes: Odubel vs. Choo, Nola’s torrid pace

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Herrera’s 45-game streak may be surpassed this weekend

The Phillies have moved up a spot and now have the 4th best record in the NL (47-37), better than the West-leading Dodgers (47-39).

The rankings summary below now also includes the Fangraphs Baserunning Runs measure (BsR), which ranks them as one of the best teams in the league in running the bases. They haven’t stolen much, but they’ve been extremely efficient at taking extra bases on fly balls/passed balls/etc. while rarely getting caught, having made by far the fewest outs on the bases in MLB this season.

Standings

With Atlanta losing last night, the Phils are now only one game out of first place in the NL East. They currently hold the second wild card spot, one game ahead of the Dodgers and Diamondbacks.

This table now includes FIP in the pitching stats, and two advanced fielding metrics: Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) from baseball reference, and Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) from fangraphs. Not surprisingly, the Phillies are dead last in both:

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 (+40), and slightly above average in both their bullpen (+3, despite a terrible June), and running the bases (+5). Their batting has been slightly below average (-6).

The only major aspect that they’ve been well below average in is fielding (-21).

The net total is that as a team they’ve been 21 runs better than average:

As for the Pirates, consistent with being The World’s Least Interesting Team, they are a bit below average in every category.

Batting

Compared to last year, and to the Pirates

The Phillies continue to supplement a near-worst batting average (.233, 13th), with a high walk rate to end up with a respectable OBP (.318, 6th).

It’s interesting to note here that an additional 0.03 runs per game (i.e. a total of three runs over the first 84 games) would have put the Phillies in a tie for the 6th highest scoring team in the league.

On the other hand, it’s worth noting that while the Phillies have the 4th best record vs. the Pirates 11th, based on run differential (and Pythagorean projection) the two teams rank 8th and 9th:

*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 are back in the lead in pitches per PA (4.06), and they continue leading the league in walking (10.3% of the time), but have the second highest strikeout rate (25.4%).

They are dead last in both making contact (73.8% of their swings), and in the quality of contact (Hard-hit rate, and Line Drive rate).

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.

Odubel Herrera’s current slump is now two-plus weeks long, and Cesar Hernandez’ OPS over the last month has dipped into the .600s.

On the positive side, Hoskins and Santana (and even Nick Williams) remain very solid. Andrew Knapp has been hot for a month now (though only 44 PAs), to raise his OPS from .441 and surpass Jorge Alfaro.

Below is how each hitter’s OPS and wOBA have progressed over time.

These graphs are very busy — start with the names to see how they currently rank, and then follow each line to the left to see how they got there.

The Runs Created stat, which has gone through various iterations, starting with Bill James in the 1980s, takes all of a hitter’s stats and estimates how many runs they should translate to. Fangraphs calculates a version of that called weighted Runs Created (wRC) which is a counting stat version of wOBA.

The table below shows wRC for 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.

Pitching

Phillies pitching leads the NL in WAR (per fangraphs). They also lead in WAR for starting pitching in particular.

Phillies starters are up to 4th in ERA, though that’s still likely lower than it should be because errors (and unearned runs) don’t adequately capture the impact of bad fielding. Based on FIP*, Phillies starters rank 2nd in the NL.

By the way, how often do you see a set of different stats agree so unanimously as with regards to the Phillies’ defense:

*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, 3 or less ER)
“bad” is any start with more ER than innings pitched, and
“other” is all the rest.

The Phillies have gotten a Quality Start in 50% of their games (42 of 84), tied with the Nationals (43 of 86) for the highest percentage in the National League.

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+).

Aaron Nola continues to steamroll the opposition. His 5.3 rWAR (bWAR if you like) leads all MLB pitchers:

Aaron Nola 5.3
Jacob deGrom 5.0
Luis Severino 4.9
Chris Sale 4.8
Max Scherzer 4.5

That 5.3 through 84 games puts him on pace for 10.2 for the season. That’s a crazy pace, and very unlikely to continue all season long, but if it did it would be only the 2nd season of 10+ rWAR by a pitcher in the last 16 years (the other being Zack Greinke’s Cy Young season in 2009).

The last Phillie to compile 10 rWAR? Steve Carlton in 1980, and before that in 1972. Those are the only two 10-rWAR seasons by Phillies pitchers in the last 100 years (since Grover Cleveland Alexander in 1915-16).

For more on Nola’s awesomeness, I recommend also checking out Reuben Frank’s 10 random Aaron Nola stats.

Zach Eflin has now strung together six starts in which he gave up 2 runs or less, compiling a 1.91 ERA (only Aaron Nola has had a better six-game stretch, with a 1.80 ERA in April-early May).

Miscellaneous

On Base Streaks

Shin-Soo Choo’s on base streak is now up to 44 games, and has surpassed Odubel Herrera’s 41-game streak at the start of the season as the year’s longest.

Odubel’s streak started with 4 games at the end of 2017 for 45 games total, and that is still the longest streak of the past two years, but Choo can tie that tonight:

References

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