The Phillies offense is off to a nice start in 2009, helping the team win with pitching, starting pitching especially, that has been very bad.
Ibanez and Utley are the guys with the really eye-opening numbers to start the season. The Phils have gotten offense from other places as well. Feliz has been very good early. Howard hasn’t hit the ball out of the yard as often as he does when he’s on a roll, but his numbers are solid as well. Not everyone has had a good April, though. Rollins has had some high-profile struggles. Forced into more regular action by the injury to Ruiz, Coste has also struggled with the bat.
There are eight Phillies who have gotten at least 45 plate appearances this season. The charts below compare their rates for hits, walks, strikeouts, extra-base hits and home runs for this season so far to their career numbers.
As an example of how to read the chart, Ibanez has 28 hits in 90 plate appearances on the season. He’s gotten a hit in about 31.1% of his plate appearances. Over his career he’s had 5,387 plate appearances and gotten 1,397 hits. That’s a hit about 25.9% of the time. Based on his career numbers we would have expected him to get 23.31 hits in his 90 plate appearances this season. He actually has gotten 28, which is 1.20 times as many as 23.31.
At the other end of the chart, Coste has seven hits in 46 plate appearances (15.2%) for the year and 180 hits in 697 plate appearances for his career (25.8%). So at his career level we would expect 11.87 hits rather than seven. Seven is 0.59 of 11.87.
Just three walks in 88 plate appearances for Rollins put him way below his career levels.
Feliz has set the bar pretty low for himself, but he’s walking more than twice as often in 2009 as he has over his career.
Low numbers are good in the case of strikeouts. Victorino has whiffed just five times so far in 2009 in 95 plate appearances (5.3% of the time). He struck out about 11% of his plate appearances last year and about 12.2% of them in 2007.
Utley’s extra-base hits numbers are down early in the season just because he hasn’t hit as many doubles as he usually does. He’s hit seven home runs, but just one double so far. That means his home run rate is way up and, for the time being, his rate of extra-base hits is down. I would be surprised if he doesn’t hit at least 40 doubles again in 2009, which would be the fourth-straight year for him (and he hit 39 in 2005).
The home run numbers are pretty fragile because so few of them are hit. Ibanez and Utley are both on pace to hit 56 for the year, for example, and that might not even happen.
Ibanez has been better than his career numbers in all five categories.
Victorino is better in everything except for hits, and his hit rate is virtually identical to what it has been for his career. He has 24 hits in 95 plate appearances for the year (a hit in 25.26% of his PA) and 453 of 1,791 (25.29% a tiny bit better, but very, very close) for his career.
Utley is up in everything except for extra-base hits.
Feliz is up in hits, walks and strikeouts, but down in extra-base hits and home runs.
Werth is better in walks, strikeouts and extra-base hits, but down in home runs and hits.
Coste has better rates for walks and extra-base hits, but his hits, strikeout and home run rates are all worse.
Howard has been better than his career numbers with hits and strikeouts, but worse with walks, extra-base hits and home runs.
Rollins is worse in all five categories.