Earlier this week I mentioned the Marlins infield and the astonishing 29 home runs they got from four different infielders. Between all the hype given to Utley and Howard and Reyes and Wright, you might think the Mets or the Phillies have the best infield in the division. But, in 2008 at least, they didn’t. Arguably, the Marlins didn’t either.

If you look at the players from each team who got the most at-bats at each of the four infield positions in 2008, add up what they did and compare the total OPS for the five NL East teams, here’s how things look:

The Braves:


Player

AB

HR

BB

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS
M
Teixerira

381

20

65

.283

.390

.512

.902
K
Johnson

547

12

52

.287

.349

.446

.795
C
Jones

439

22

90

.364

.470

.574

1.044
Y
Escobar

514

10

59

.288

.366

.401

.766

Total

1881
64
266

.305

.392

.477

.869

The Marlins:


Player

AB

HR

BB

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS
M
Jacobs

477

32

36

.247

.299

.514

.812
D
Uggla

531

32

77

.260

.360

.514

.874
J
Cantu

628

29

40

.277

.327

.481

.808
H
Ramirez

589

33

92

.301

.400

.540

.940

Total

2225

126

245

.273

.349

.511

.861

The Mets:


Player

AB

HR

BB

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS
C
Delgado

598

38

72

.271

.353

.518

.871
L
Castillo

298
3
50

.245

.355

.305

.660
D
Wright

626

33

94

.302

.390

.534

.924
J
Reyes

668

16

66

.297

.358

.475

.833

Total

2210
90
282

.284

.365

.481

.846

The Phillies:


Player

AB

HR

BB

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS
R
Howard

610

48

81

.251

.339

.543

.881
C
Utley

607

33

64

.292

.380

.535

.915
P
Feliz

425

14

33

.249

.302

.402

.705
J
Rollins

556

11

58

.277

.349

.437

.786

Total

2198

106

236

.268

.346

.487

.833

And the Nats:


Player

AB

HR

BB

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS
A
Boone

232
6
18

.241

.299

.384

.683
F
Lopez

325
2
32

.234

.305

.314

.619
R
Zimmerman

428

14

31

.283

.333

.442

.774
C
Guzman

579
9
23

.316

.345

.440

.786

Total

1564
31
104

.279

.326

.406

.732

The Marlins gave a higher percentage of their defensive innings at the four infield positions to the players listed above than the Braves did. So if you compare what all players did while playing defensively at each of the infield positions (and not just the player who appeared their the most often), the Marlins wound up with a better OPS for the season:

Florida

Player

AB

HR

BB

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS

All 1B

640

40

44

.253

.304

.506

.811

All 2B

602

33

78

.259

.351

.497

.848

All 3B

651

23

46

.270

.324

.438

.761

All SS

643

34

93

.303

.396

.530

.926

Total

2536

130

261

.272

.344

.493

.837

Atlanta

Player

AB

HR

BB

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS

All 1B

616

24

93

.279

.378

.458

.836

All 2B

643

11

61

.288

.350

.440

.790

All 3B

623

24

96

.345

.431

.530

.961

All SS

656

11

65

.273

.343

.387

.730

Total

2538
70
315

.296

.376

.453

.828

If you’re wondering how Kelly Johnson can hit 12 home runs and the Braves’ second basemen combine to hit 11, it’s because Johnson hit one as a pinch-hitter and all other players who played second base for Atlanta in ’08 combined to hit zero.

Eric Hinske recalls facing Brad Lidge with the World Series on the line in this article. The same article also suggests that Mike Zagurski could be ready to join a minor league team in mid-April and Scott Mathieson around mid-August.

Pat the Bat will take the bus to face the Phils on Saturday.

The Phils played their first spring training game yesterday and got bombed by the Pirates, 8-2. Joe Bisenius and Scott Nestor combined to pitch two innings and allow seven runs, three of which came on a three-run homer by Shelby Ford off of Bisenius with two outs in the fourth. Mike Koplove is a guy fans should be watching — he struck out two in a perfect eighth. I think Koplove is a long shot to make the team out of spring training, but one scenario where it would be possible is if Park won the fifth starter job and Koplove took Park’s spot in the pen.

Offensively, Jeremy Slayden went 2-for-2 with a double, which was the only extra-base hit of the game for the Phils. If he was right-handed people would be getting rightfully geeked up. He’s not. Ibanez 1-for-2 with an RBI. Marcus Giles 0-for-2 and struck out twice. Jenkins was 1-for-1 with a walk — if you’re looking for places the Phillies can get better in 2009, one is by getting more offense out of Jenkins.

The Phils play Toronto today. JA Happ and Carlos Carrasco are among the Phillies scheduled to pitch.

Jason Donald will play third in today’s game, according to Todd Zolecki’s blog. If Utley is healthy, I think the Phillies would have to believe Donald can play third base for him to have much of a chance to make the opening day roster.

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