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Phillies Stat Notes: Visiting the Nats

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The Phils look to gain some traction in DC, where the Nationals have suddenly turned sellers.

Summary

BsR = Fangraphs’ Baserunning Runs metric

The Phillies’ record has slipped to 5th in the NL, though they are still tied for the second wildcard spot in a tight race:

Standings

Atlanta was swept over the weekend by Colorado (who moved within 12 game of first in the West), but the Phillies failed to take advantage vs. the Mets and are now one game back.

The Nationals are 7 12 games out, and are apparently starting a fire sale, having moved Daniel Murphy (Cubs) and Matt Adams (Cards) already today.

Consider their predicament:

  • They have a better offense than the Phillies (more runs, much higher wRC+).
  • They have better run prevention than the Phillies (worse ERA/FIP but much better fielding).
  • They are 5 1/2 games better than the Phillies by pythag record (69-56 vs. 63-61), but 6 1/2 games *worse* by actual record.

Today’s moves were followed by a letter to the fans from Nats owner Mark Lerner.

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.

For the Phillies:

Offense: -9 runs (i.e. worse than average)
- Below average hitting: -18 runs
- Above average baserunning: +9 runs

Run prevention: +49 runs
- Well above average starting pitching: +58 runs
- Above average bullpen: +16 runs
- Awful fielding (-25)

The net total is that as a team they’ve been 39 runs better than average:

Batting

Compared to last year and to the Nationals

The Phils are solidly below average for the season, 11th in both scoring (4.31 runs per game), and overall overall hitting (91 wRC+). Their low batting average (.236, 13th) is supplemented by walks, but they haven’t been walking as much lately either. As a result, their OBP, which had been at or slightly better than average all season, is now also 11th.

*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 second in the NL in pitches per PA (4.03), just behind the Dodgers.

They are about average in taking the first pitch, but get to deep hitters’ counts at the third highest rate in the NL. They’re also the second most likely team to take a pitch in those counts.

They are dead last in both making contact (74.4% of their swings), and in the quality of contact when they do connect: they are last in both Hard-hit rate (29.9%), and Line drive rate (20.2%). (In LD% they’re actually tied for last with the Mets.)

It seems that they are caught looking at the third strike an awful lot, and this isn’t included below but they are 5th in the NL in the number of strikeouts looking. However in terms of strikeouts looking as a % of all their Ks, they are about average, ranking 10th in the NL.

The Phillies currently lead the NL in Fangraphs’ Baserunning Runs metric, which captures base stealing as well as baserunning in general. They’ve been one of the more conservative base stealing teams in the league, ranking next-to-last in attempts, but they’ve been excellent at getting extra bases while also making very few outs on the basepaths.

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.

Last week was an uncharacteristic one for the Phils, with a .260 average, but only a 3.6% walk rate.

Batting — Individual

Below are the Phillies hitters 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 had a good week last week, and Maikel Franco has been solid for several weeks now.

At the other end, Herrera, Hernandez, and Cabrera have all been scuffling:

Below is how each hitter’s OPS has progressed over time.

Raise your hand if you expected Franco and Williams to be 2nd and 3rd on this list before the season started:

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).

Hoskins has been very good in 3 of the last 4 weeks (and very bad in the 4th). The 0’s for Herrera the last two weeks capture his results pretty well. Williams and Franco have been solid for almost two months now:

Pitching

Phillies pitching leads the NL in WAR, and is now tied for 2nd in MLB (behind only the Astros).

They also lead the NL in WAR for starting pitchers, not surprisingly, and are 3rd in MLB (behind the Astros and Indians).

Phillies starters are 4th in the NL 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.

And of course, the various stats all agree that the Phillies’ fielding has been really bad for the season to date:

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.

Phillies starters lead the NL in Quality Starts with 64, three more than both Colorado and Pittsburgh.

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+).

Miscellaneous

Team HR Streaks

The Phillies have MLB’s longest HR streak of the season, 16 straight games from May 2nd to May 21st. The latest team to challenge that is the Cardinals, who begin today with 13 straight games.

The Phils’ streak is tied for second longest in franchise history, behind an 18-game streak by the 2008 team.

References

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