Monday, July 03, 2006
1) Friday’s The Hardball Times article Phlop I think nicely sums up the Phillies woes, but I think it is a little incomplete. Yes, the Phillies pitching went AWOL in June, but notice a big factor in the collapse of the Phillies pitching:
Anyone notice or comment on the fact that Jon Lieber hasn’t pitched for the team in a month and that his departure for injury reasons coincided with the team’s horrific pitching performance? Admittedly, Lieber’s stats weren’t great when he left 4.57 FIP ERA, but I felt that Lieber was a badly under-rated pitcher and that he was about to improve his performance significantly.
2) Pitching problems aside, I noticed that John Brattain didn’t note that the Phillies have played terrible defense thus far this season. I keep waiting for the Phillies to improve on defense, but their .671 DER is second-worst in the NL, just better than Pittsburgh (.662).
3) The Phillies offense has been pretty much the same as it has been all season: the Phils have been scoring runs, but they haven’t hit well with runners in scoring position. Two Phillies have had rough months in June, however …
Aaron Rowand has had a terrible month, with a .202 GPA and a .110 ISO. I’ve complained that Rowand is too much of a free-swinger and that his inability to draw walks with any consistency leaves him prone to hot-and-cold streaks at the plate. Here is a great example of that: in the month of June, Rowand had the lowest pitches-per-plate appearance of any Phillie.
And Rowand had the worst runs created per 27 outs of any Phillie (2.37). Worse even than David Bell (2.60).
Speaking of whom … David Bell hasn’t been that much better. His GPA is an atrocious .205, and his ISO is a laughable .027 … In 95 plate appearances he mustered three extra-base hits and none were home runs.
Aside from Bell and Rowand, the Phillies continued to hit in June. Sure, Pat Burrell only had a batting average of .194, but his ISO for the month was a tremendous .306 and his OBP was .326 … Burrell’s ability to draw walks (.163 BB/PA) saved him even while he struggled a little at the plate. Burrell is still getting the job done.
Confused about what I’m talking about? Here are the stats I refer to defined:
ISO (Isolated Power): .SLG - .BA = .ISO. Measures a player’s raw power by subtracting singles from their slugging percentage.
OBP (On-Base Percentage): How often a player gets on base. (H + BB + HBP) / (Plate Appearances)
BB / PA (Walks per plate appearance): (BB / PA = .BB/PA Avg)
SLG (Slugging Percentage): Power at the plate. (Total Bases / At-Bats = Slugging Percentage)
GPA (Gross Productive Average): (1.8 * .OBP + .SLG) / 4 = .GPA. Invented by The Hardball Times Aaron Gleeman, GPA measures a players production by weighing his ability to get on base and hit with power. This is my preferred all-around stat.
Runs Created: A stat originally created by Bill James to measure a player’s total contribution to his team’s lineup. Here is the formula ESPN (where I get it from) uses: [(H + BB + HBP - CS - GIDP) times (Total bases + .26[BB - IBB + HBP] + .52[SH + SF + SB])] divided by (AB + BB + HBP + SH+ SF). ESPN’s version is out-of-date, however, I’d note. James adjusted RC after the 2004 season ended.
RC/27: Runs Created per 27 outs, essentially what a team of 9 of this player would score in a hypothetical game.
FIP – Fielding Independent Pitching: (13*HR+3*BB-2*K / IP) + League Factor Evaluates a pitching by how he would have done with an average defense behind him by keeping track of things that a pitcher can control (walks, strikeouts, home runs allowed) as opposed to things he cannot (hits allowed, runs allowed).
DER – Defense Efficiency Ratio: (Batters Faced – (Hits + Walks + Hit By Pitch + Strikeouts)) / (Batters Faced – (Home Runs, Walks + Hit By Pitch + Strikeouts)) How often fielders convert balls put into play into outs.
4) I figured that Chase Utley and Ryan Howard would represent the Phillies in the NL All Star game. I was rather surprised to see Tom Gordon make the cut. Good for him! Notice who isn’t closing for the NL? Billy Wagner. I’m mildly surprised that Bobby Abreu won’t be at the All Star game … Seriously, Matt Holliday over Abreu? I don’t see it.
5) Is the season really lost for the Phillies? I doubt it. I’ve said that the Phillies will probably need to win ninety games to make the playoffs. At the mid-point, that means that the Phillies will have to go 53-28 (.654) the rest of the season to make that happen. I concede that this is asking a lot, but I might be wrong. As of this morning the Cincinnati Reds were leading the NL wildcard race with a 44-38 (.537) record. If you extrapolate that over a 162 game season, then the Reds will finish with 87 wins. So my estimate of how many games the Phillies need to win might be way off. As of right now, even with their horrific record in their last twenty-two games (5-17), the Phillies are just six and a half games out of a playoff berth.
The Phillies have played badly, but they’ll have to play much worse to play themselves out of the playoffs.
That is NOT a challenge! More Wednesday. Tomorrow I am busy grilling and chillin’.