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Michael/Male/26-30. Lives in United States/Pennsylvania/Wexford/Christopher Wren, speaks English. Spends 20% of daytime online. Uses a Fast (128k-512k) connection. And likes baseball /politics.
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United States, Pennsylvania, Wexford, Christopher Wren, English, Michael, Male, 26-30, baseball , politics.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

What's Wrong With the Phillies, Part II 

As I said yesterday the Phillies have a lot of problems at the plate, namely the fact that two of their bigger bats- David Bell and Jim Thome -seem to have aged overnight and the team is keeping their second-best hitter- Chase Utley -on the bench every other day. The team has another, larger, problem however:

The team is playing sub-standard defense.

It surprises Phillies fans to know how good the team has been defensively these last several years. The Phillies have been one of the top five teams in the MLB in Zone Rating (ZR) and Probablistic Model of Range (PMR) the last few years. This team was third last year in Defense Efficiency Ratio (DER), i.e., they were the third-best NL in converting balls put into play into outs. This year the team got off to a slow start but dramatically improved. At the moment they are 5th in the NL in DER:

DER:
1. Milwaukee: .724
2. Florida: .719
3. Atlanta: .713
4. Pittsburgh: .711
5. Philadelphia: .704
6. Washington: .703
7. New York: .700
8. Los Angeles: .698
9. San Francisco: .698
10. St. Louis: .694
11. Houston: .693
12. Arizona: .691
13. San Diego: .687
14. Cincinnati: .679
15. Colorado: .675
16. Chicago: .674
NL average: .698

That's pretty good but I don't think that the Phillies individual performers are doing well:

Jim Thome is fifteenth of sixteen regular NL first basemen in Zone Rating. Jimmy Rollins is eighth of 14 regular NL SS's. Placido Polanco would rank first amongst NL 2B's, but Utley would be ninth of fourteen. Pat Burrell, Kenny Lofton and Bobby Abreu are fairly middle of the pack in the outfield (though Abreu ranks as one of the NL's worst RF's.) The Phillies sole defensive standout is David Bell: third of thirteen NL's 3B's, better than Scott Rolen (.847 to .837).

I don't have team stats on ZR, but I suspect the Phillies are pretty middle of the pack. The mediocrity is hurting the Phillies pitching. Cory Lidle, for example, is pitching very well. He isn't giving up many walks or home runs. He's outpitching his actual ERA by nearly a run (4.11 ERA v. 3.27 FIP), but the Phillies have been mediocre fielding-wise. Tim Worrell is pitching poorly, but part of it is the Phillies awful D behind him: .537 DER.

I hope that the Phillies D will improve, but we'll see.

(Sorry it took until noon for today's post but I had to be in court this morning...)

Comments:
The fact that the Phillies team DER is 5th in the NL seems to contradict your argument that they're playing sub-standard defense. Regardless of how individual players are doing, the team's DER is above average. It could certainly be better, but it doesn't look as if defense is what's making the Phils a bad team thus far.
 
They are playing better: my point was that they were near the bottom in DER a week ago or so, which means that they've stepped things up dramatically of late. They need to play consistently.
 
They are playing better: my point was that they were near the bottom in DER a week ago or so, which means that they've stepped things up dramatically of late. They need to play consistently.
 
Nice to see the comments are back up and working. The Phils need to get the bats going. Having trouble manufacturing runs once again. The last few games, all of the runs have been coming off homeruns.
 
The way Manuel is moving everyone around defensively, it's a miracle that the defense isn't worse. And although I have no real data to back it up, it seems that recently the Phillies starters haven't really been allowing too many hard hit balls. Lot's of routine outs that any defense should be able to handle.
George S
 
"Tim Worrell is pitching poorly, but part of it is the Phillies awful D behind him: .537 DER"

The D behind Worrell doesn't even matter. He gives up HRs! You can't defend against that. Once the game has been blown, does it matter how the D plays?
 
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