Whether you like the Feliz addition or not, one thing that’s for sure is it could mean some quick at-bats at the bottom of the order. Feliz and Ruiz both are extremely aggressive early in the count and it looks like we could see a lot of them hitting seventh and eighth for the Phils in ’08. If you want to catch the Phillies at-bats it sure looks like the third inning is going to be no time to go for a falafel.

You may remember from a post last month that I think Ruiz would be a lot better off if he didn’t put the ball in play so much on the first pitch of his at-bats.

The same may not be true for Feliz. I added his numbers for 2007 and his career to the chart below — using OPS as the measure he does far better overall as a hitter when he puts the ball in play on the first pitch.

Partly that’s because he is just about helpless if he gets behind 0-1. Over his career, Feliz has gotten behind 0-1 in 1,397 of his plate appearances. In those 1,397 plate appearances he’s gone on to hit 215/231/364 (a .595 OPS). And when he puts the ball in play on the first pitch, he’s been much better:


Player

PA

OPS

1p PA

% 1 p

1p OPS

OPS DIF
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
Feliz ’07 590 708 98 16.6 930 222
Feliz Career 3027 721 547 18.1 898 177

Again, 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. For everyone except Feliz that charts shows their numbers from 2007 (for Feliz it shows his ’07 numbers and career numbers).

Feliz puts the ball in play a ton on the first pitch, more than any Phillies’ regular. Unlike Ruiz, though, when he does he has better results.

On the Somebody-Cue-Chicken-Little front, as you may have heard, the Mets are about to get the best pitcher in baseball, 28-year-old lefty Johan Santana. The addition will surely make New York the favorites to win the NL East and, in the eyes of many, the National League. That’s kind of a hard one to put a positive spin on, but the Phils were never really suited for the role of front-runner anyway. Should be fun to watch and if nothing else you’re going to get to see one of the best ever pitching in games that really matter to Phillies fans. No word yet about whether Paul Lo Duca wants us to wait and see if it’s the Nationals dancing around when it’s all over, but check back often.

Rob Neyer mentioned Philliesflow in a post yesterday about the Pedro Feliz addition. You have to be an ESPN Insider to read the whole post, but if you are you can read it here.