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Monday, October 17, 2005

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The first stat could be misleading as it would be more important to looks at pitches / plate appearances both with no runners and with runners on base. In total they come out to 3.8 pitches per appearance. Off the top of my head not sure where it ranks, but it is probably near the top of the NL, however I wonder what it was w/RISP, as well as on an individual standpoint for the Bell/Liberthatl black hole.

Offence was never the problem, pitching and fielding were the problem spots.

philadelphia's 3.84 P/PA is tied for second in the NL with LA, behind cincinnati. bell saw 3.6 P/PA, 0.8 behind abreu (first in the NL), same as jeff kent, aramis ramirez, and others. lieberthal saw 3.4, same as rollins.

Thanks, ae and dude. That's a more specific number. Still surprising.

One of everyone's favorite Phillies myths is that they strikeout too much. Well, their 1083 strikeouts ranked 9th in the NL in 2005. And just to show how little strikeouts affect offense, Cincinnati led the NL in runs scored (820) and strikeouts (1303), while Philadelphia scored 13 fewer runs despite having 220 fewer strikeouts. Hopefully, the myth that runs scored are inversely proportional to strikeouts will fall out of fashion.

Again, I dont think you can take this number by itself and come to valid conclusions. We would need to know what the numbers were w/RISP. I would disagree with the statement that strikeouts have little effect on offense. Just because the Reds led the NL in SO's and R's doesnt really prove it. What about Runs they COULDVE had? And how many of those runs came in blowouts?

Also, it is interesting, but not suprising that J-Roll only saw 3.4 pitches per ab. It would really be interesting to see what it was compared to 'typical' leadoff hitters...or hell cmpared to Lofton.

Am I the only one that is impressed that they led the league in plate appearances, OBP, but yet had an incredibly low number of DP's even with the league leader in DP's on the team?

It is pretty amazing, isn't it? One reason could be Phillies hitters aren't giving opposing fielders much of a chance to turn two. 1.23 G/F is third lowest in the NL, according to Hardball Times. Burrell, Lieberthal, Utley, for example, are some of the biggest fly ball hitters among regulars in the National League.

Another good reason is they have excellent speed with Rollins, Lofton, Utley and Abreu, with Utley having a high strikeout or fly ball probability. Abreu will walk. Burrell will walk, strike out or hit a fly ball. Someone has to hit a DP ball, and that's Bell. Lieberthal comes to bat with no men on, or hits a fly ball anyway. Pitcher will strike out - 133 times this year was third in NL.

lofton saw 3.6 P/PA, same as bell (and polanco, FWIW). michaels saw 4.1, victorino saw 3.6. some other notable leadoff men that i can think of:

Wilkerson (Nats) 4.2
Eckstein (Cards) 4.0
Furcal (Braves) 3.8
Pierre (Marlins) 3.7
Clark (Brewers) 3.6
Taveras (Astros) 3.5

wilkerson is an obvious outlier, with the 5th best P/PA in the league, but he's a very untraditional leadoff hitter, to say the least.

regarding RISP, it's interesting to note that one of the worst of the phillies based on BA/RISP is the clutch (or should that be "clutch?") ryan howard: .241 is lower than every phillie offensive player save for thome, chavez, and offerman. that's right: lower than both bell and lieberthal.

not that i'm arguing that bell or lieberthal was more "clutch" than howard. but i think the whole RISP stat is misleading and not a particularly reliable statistic.

The low total could have a little to do with the number of southpaws that came in to face Howard late with RISP.

A word on solo homers. They don't get the credit they should, especially ones that happen early in games.

I remember a couple of games this season when Howard got the Phils on the board first with a home run or RBI in the third or fourth, which is neither a late situation nor an RISP situation, yet it was important.

Just ask Tom Goodman, who called me five or six times to make sure I saw Howard blast it 400 feet to the opposite field, usually in the second, third or fourth inning (just in time for Goodman to see it, before he hits the sack around 9 p.m.).

To me, that leads to the "clutch" perception almost as much as the late game heroics - when a hitter puts his team on the scoreboard first.

Great work on the stats and I really appreciate it but the most glaring stat to me over the past 12 years is:
PLAYOFF APPEARANCES: 0!!! I love the Phillies and I will always be behind them but it doesnt matter where they match up with the rest of the league when they dont make the playoffs!!

These numbers are pretty fascinating. I'm hoping that you are planning a similar treatment for pitching.

On defense, there was an article in the Wall Street Journal this weekend that compared the defense of the final four playoff contenders and I was surprised to see the Phils at number five for the metric they used (defensive efficiency – percentage of times a batted ball is turned into an out by a team’s fielders, not including home runs). I think the article is behind a pay wall but they say they got the numbers from Baseball Prospectus.

The final four playoff teams are in the top ten in defensive efficiency. Here are the top ten as reported by the WSJ (with defensive efficiency):

A’s (0.715)
ChiSox (0.713)
Indians (0.710)
Astros (0.706)
Phils (0.705)
Cards (0.704)
Twins (0.703)
Mariners (0.702)
Angels (0.702)
Blue Jays (0.701)

The article talks about the ChiSox trading away power for defense (with some of the moves you talked about on this site).

One of the things about this list that really struck me was the number of “Moneyball” teams. The A’s, the Indians, and the Blue Jays are all there. I know in the book they mentioned that D was the next frontier (if I am remembering correctly) but it looks to me like the future is now.

Sorry, meant to post the above as "tc" so as not be confused with the more prolific "Toms" around these parts.

I just awakened to read your comments, Jason, and agree completely about getting on the board first. I'd love to see historical stats on that one, i.e, how often does the team scoring first win.

tc: Great comments, whatever alias you use. It's intereting to see where the Phils rank given few of their starters would ever be confused with Gold Glovers. But overall they catch the ball well. The White Sox don't really have that many starters who would win a GG either, but they know how to make plays.

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