Question of the day is if we would all be happy if Polanco hits .300 this year with all singles. There’s exactly zero percent chance that’s going to happen of course, but the answer of the day is no.

If you’re looking for a real player who hit .300 last year with all of his hits going for singles, you’re probably not going to be able to get much closer than Luis Castillo. Castillo hit .302 in 2009 with just 16 extra-base hits for the season. Here’s what his numbers look like:


Luis Castillo, 2009
PA XBH AVG OBP SLG OPS
580 16 .302 .387 .346 .732

So Castillo put up a nifty .387 on-base percentage, but thanks to slugging .346 for the year his OPS was just .732. The average NL team got a .741 OPS from their second baseman in 2009, so, by OPS, Castillo wasn’t an especially good offensive player as a second baseman despite hitting .302.

It would be worse than that for Polanco, who walks less than Castillo did in 2009. In ’09, Castillo walked in 69 of 580 plate appearances. That’s about 11.9%. In his career, Polanco has walked 314 times in 6,017 plate appearances. That’s just 5.2%. Here’s what Polanco’s numbers look like if he hits .300 with all singles but gets walks, hit by pitch and sacrifices at his career levels over the 580 plate appearances that Castillo got in 2009:


Polanco, never happened
PA XBH AVG OBP SLG OPS
580 0 .300 .341 .300 .642

Imaginary Polanco goes 160-for-533 with 30 walks, seven hit by pitches and ten sacrifices. Much worse walk rate plus worse rate of getting extra-base hits make things worse overall. The non-existent Polanco year in which he hit .300 he puts up a miserable .642 OPS, which isn’t good enough to play anywhere. .741 was the average OPS by team for second baseman in the NL last year, but third basemen have to hit a little more — the average OPS by team for third basemen in the NL was up to .752.

So, by OPS, if Polanco were literally to hit all singles and wanted to put up the .752 OPS of an average third baseman while getting walks, hit by pitches and sacrifices at his career levels, here’s what he would need to do:


Polanco, never happened
PA XBH AVG OBP SLG OPS
580 0 .358 .395 .358 .753

If he walked, got hit by pitches and registered sacrifices at his career levels, Polanco would need to hit .358 to post an OPS that was about the same as an average NL third baseman from 2009 if every hit he got was a single.

That’s not going to happen, of course. For his career, Polanco has registered doubles in about 4.6% of his PA, triples in about 0.5% and home runs in about 1.5%. Based on those numbers, over Castillo’s 580 plate appearances we would expect Polanco to put up 27 doubles, three triples and nine home runs.

And if he did that while registering walks etc over 580 plate appearances, he would need to hit a mere .300 to post an OPS that bettered the NL average third base mark in 2009:


Polanco, never happened
PA XBH AVG OBP SLG OPS
580 39 .300 .341 .413 .754

He’s 160-for-533 now, still with the 30 walks and the 39 extra-base hits described above. I think that the answer is not that if Polanco hits .300 with all singles we should be satisfied with his work as an offensive player as a third baseman, but that if he is going to continue to register walks and extra-base hits at his career levels he can be an average third baseman by OPS if he hits .300.

Hamels and Domonic Brown both had big days yesterday as the Phils topped the Tigers 6-1. Hamels allowed an unearned run on two singles over five innings. Brown hit a pair of home runs, one off of Justin Verlander and the other off of Phil Coke, and went 3-for-3 with a walk and four RBI on the day. Bastardo, Madson and Baez all pitched in the game after Hamels and combined to allow one walk over three innings. Bastardo struck out two in a perfect eighth. Howard hit a two-run shot, his first of the spring, to account for the Phillies runs that weren’t driven in by Brown.

Brown was sent to minor league camp after the game.

The article linked above also says that Polanco hopes to play Friday and that Romero will face live batters today.

Lidge is working on holding runners on and, hopefully, remembering to cover third base.