Monday, July 12, 2004
Thome: .346 / .364 / 9.16
Abreu: .340 / .263 / 10.00
Burrell: .297 / .206 / 6.84
Bell: .281 / .202 / 5.91
Lieberthal: .255 / .183 / 4.69
Rollins: .244 / .108 / 4.71
Polanco: .240 / .104 / 4.03
Ledee: .327 / .259 / 8.39
Micheals: .284 / .105 / 6.30
Glanville: .174 / .043 / 1.77
Utley: .257 / .227 / 5.05
Pratt: .209 / .041 / 2.47
Byrd: .209 / .079 / 2.84
What the stats mean:
GPA (Gross Productive Average): (1.8 * .OBP + .SLG) / 4 = .GPA
ISO (Isolated Power): .SLG - .BA = .ISO
RC/27 (Runs Created per 27 Outs): ESPN’s formula for Runs Created is simply too complex for me to replicate easily here. This is their stat based on what a hypothetical team of nine of the same player would score.
Analysis: You certainly can’t argue with the performances that Bell, Burrell, Abreu and Thome have put in, but those are the team's sole bright spots.
Thome is a potential MVP candidate who avoided his usual April slump and came out of the gate strong. He’s is leading the NL in home runs with 28 and he’s tied with Pat Burrell for third in RBIs with 61. In short, he’s having something close to a career year. I think that he should end ’04 with 55 or so home runs and 110-115 RBIs.
Pat Burrell is an interesting case: after a terrific ’02 hinted at so much promise, we were all dumbfounded when he crashed so spectacularly in ’03. Compare:
GPA / ISO
’02: .305 / .263
’03: .240 / .195
’04: .297 / .206
What has impressed me about Pat Burrell this season has been that he has turned into such a consistent performer. His power numbers suggest that the power he showed in ’02 was a bit of a fluke: he’ll never achieve Thome’s slugging numbers (in retrospect, 2003 pre-season comparisons of Burrell and Thome to Mike Schmidt and Bull Luzinski were over-stated), but he’ll be a consistent performer and an RBI machine.
Bell, like Burrell, had a nightmarish ’03, but has bounced back nicely in ’04:
’03: .202 / .088
’04: .281 / .202
As for Bobby Abreu, Phils bloggers are split on his performance. Some feel that Abreu dogs it on the field and doesn’t play to his full potential, others respect the fact that he draws so many walks and controls the strike-zone so well. I tend to be in the latter camp: Abreu is, simply put, terrific. The Phils most consistent performer, its top threat to get on base and create runs, Abreu is the glue that holds the Phillies offense together.
As for the rest of the team, I think we were all bitterly disappointed with Marlon Byrd’s performance in ’04, especially after he did so well in the second-half of ’03. Jimmy Rollins has been a disappointment too: despite lowering his strikeouts and improving his BA, Rollins just isn’t drawing that many walks (his ’03 GPA is basically the same as his ’04: .241). It is difficult to judge Placido Polanco on the grounds that he was injured at the start of the year and has come on some. The Phils simply don’t have much in the way of threats at the top of the order.
Chase Utley had a somewhat impressive debut back in May but tailed off once his inability to draw walks caught up to him. I think he’s going to be very good at second base in ’05 and could probably hack it now if the Phils decide to deal Polanco. The rest of the Phils bench is so-so: Ledee and Michaels have played well when they’ve played, but the Phils decision to bring back Doug Glanville simply looks baffling.
The Phils offense has played well in ’04, but with some caveats: the Phils are third in runs scored, they are drawing walks at an impressive clip (second in OBP to the Giants), and they are hitting the ball well (fourth in slugging). Now much of this is due to Citizens and how much is due to the Phils abilities? A little park and a little talent, I suspect: with legit OBP machines ahead of Burrell and Thome and Abreu, the Phils could be scoring runs in bushels, but they aren’t. The fact that Thome has just sixty-one RBIs despite hitting 28 home runs is a little ridiculous: too many solo shots. As a result, I’d have to say that the Phils are too streaky to have a real shot at going to the World Series. This is a team that can explode for 17 runs against the Expos and then get shutout by the Braves very easily because they don’t put people on ahead of the sluggers. Before the trading deadline the Phils need to think about obtaining a legit on-base threat, preferably one that plays centerfield or shortstop.
On the plus side, the Phils ’04 performance is a welcome change for their nightmarish ’03 when the team seemed to be little more than Jim Thome crushing the ball. While the Phils look better at the plate they simply aren’t producing runs consistently.
Tomorrow I’ll try and vent about the Phils pitching…
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