I thought it might be nice to take a break from hoping for the Phils to get new players to hope briefly that some of the players they do have put up better numbers next year. In that spirit I would like to offer a personal plea to Carlos Ruiz: For the love of all things sacred, please, please, please stop swinging at the first pitch.

Ruiz often swings at the first pitch and, at least this season, his results when he does are just miserable. Ruiz was 7-for-50 (.140) with a .220 slugging percentage when his plate appearance ended on the first pitch. He posted a .393 OPS in those 55 plate appearances. In his 191 plate appearances when he got behind in the count 0-1 he hit 267/300/400 (a .700 OPS). In the 183 plate appearances he took ball one and got ahead 1-0 he posted an .880 OPS.

If you’re going to compare the OPS on the first pitch to the plate appearance to the OPS overall, it’s critical to remember that you can’t walk on the first pitch of the plate appearance (thus improving your on-base percentage and OPS). That said, Ruiz’s numbers were still miserable. He walked 42 times this season and posted a 259/340/396 line overall — if he hadn’t walked once all year his line would have been 259/267/396. That’s still a .663 OPS, significantly better than the .393 in his plate appearances that ended after one pitch.

For the 11 Phillies that got at least 200 plate appearances this season, here’s a look at their overall OPS, the number of plate appearances they had that ended in one pitch, the percentage of plate appearances that represented, their OPS in one-pitch plate appearances and the difference between that and their OPS overall.




1p PA

% 1 p

1p OPS

Rollins 778 875 65 8.4 815 -60
Rowand 684 889 83 12.1 808 -81
Utley 613 976 45 7.3 990 14
Howard 648 976 57 8.8 1364 388
Burrell 598 902 65 10.9 1114 212
Victorino 510 770 51 10.0 1043 273
Ruiz 429 735 55 12.8 393 -342
Dobbs 358 780 44 12.3 682 -98
Helms 308 665 36 11.7 593 -72
Werth 304 863 11 3.6 819 -44
Nunez 287 600 51 17.8 680 80

In the chart above, 1p PA is the number of plate appearances that ended on the first pitch, % 1 p is the percent of the player’s plate appearances that ended in one pitch, 1p OPS is the player’s OPS in his plate appearances that ended in one pitch and OPS DIF is the difference between his OPS on plate appearances that ended on the first pitch and his overall OPS. For example, the chart suggests that J-Roll got 778 plate appearances last year overall in which he posted an .875 OPS. Of those plate appearances, 65, or 8.4%, ended after one pitch and in those 65 plate appearances he posted an .815 OPS, which is .060 lower than his overall OPS for the season.

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