December 28 2006

The Phillies are good at avoiding the twin-killing.  Only three teams in all of baseball hit into fewer than the 115 the Phillies did in '06.  The 115 double-plays was up slightly from 107 in 2005, but off the pace of 2004 when they hit into 123.  Even in 2004, the 123 double-plays the Phillies hit into still put them in the bottom half of the NL, they tied with the Braves for ninth that season.

During the 2005 season, David Bell bounced into an ugly 24 double-plays, which was the second-most in the National League.  The Phillies traded him away before he could lead the team this year, and the Phils crowned a new champ as Aaron Rowand hit into 13. 

Here's a look at the players that hit into the most double-plays while playing for the Phils in '06:


Player GDP PA PA per GDP
Rowand 13 445 34.2
Rollins 12 758 63.2
Bell 11 365 33.2
Burrell 11 567 51.5
Utley 9 739 82.1

Rowand seems like an odd guy to lead the team given his speed, but he probably doesn't get much help from having slower guys on base when he comes to the plate.  Without looking at the numbers my guess would have been Bell followed by Burrell or Howard.  Rowand grounds into his shared of DP's, however, in '05 he hit into 17, which just kept him out of the top ten in the American League.

The guys on the Phillies who make the most outs on the ground aren't necessarily the ones who hit into the double-plays:


Player GO GDP GO per GDP
Rollins 204 12 17.0
Utley 133 9 14.8
Nunez 126 7 18.0
Howard 124 7 17.7
Victorino 118 5 23.6

And much of that seems to make sense.  Rollins, Victorino and Utley all have good speed.  Rollins gets the advantage of hitting leadoff that nobody else does, guaranteeing him at least one plate appearance per game where there is no possibility to hit into a double-play.  Both Victorino and Utley are fast and get to hit often with fast guys on base ahead of them.  The success Nunez had last year avoiding the double-play makes less sense to me, and Howard's avoidance of the twin-killing as a slow guy who hits the ball on the ground a lot is downright perplexing.

The Phillies did have their share of double-play inducing oafs as well.  Pat Burrell made just 75 outs on the ground and hit into 11 double-plays, or about once every 6.8 times he made a ground out.  Chris Coste hit into six double-plays in the 48 times he made an out on the ground, or once every eight ground outs.  Those guys, I expect, are hit by the triple-whammy:  they're slow, they have slow guys ahead of them on the bases and they probably just got a little bit of bad luck as well.

Anybody getting worried about the Phillies' bullpen?  Here's the list of remaining free agents as of Tuesday night.

Some speculate Seattle lefty George Sherrill may be available in a trade.  The 29-year-old Sherrill threw to a 4.28 ERA last season but struck out 42 in 40 innings.

Those of you who have yet to come across the group blog Stain Club may want to check it out.  They bring a Phillies sports focus not to mention an amusing link yesterday to some of the most ridiculous quotes of 2006.

Several of the baseball annuals are out now or will be soon:


Book When
Bill James Handbook Now
Hardball Times Baseball Annual Now
Baseball America Almanac Early January
Ron Shandler's Baseball Forecaster Early January
Baseball Register Early January
Baseball America Prospect Handbook Late January
Baseball Prospectus Mid February

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