In recent posts I’ve suggested that the sluggishness of the offense had to do with the problems the team had hitting right-handed pitching this season. You can also look at it as a problem with the offensive production in the infield.

As I mentioned before, the Phillies catchers, led by Carlos Ruiz, were very good offensively last year as the Phils posted the second-best OPS at the position overall.

So the problem isn’t with the catchers.

It’s not in the outfield, either. It might be in 2011 if Werth leaves, but it wasn’t in 2010.

That doesn’t leave a whole lot left.

The table below shows what the players playing at the four infield positions, first, second, third and short, combined to do in 2010 compared the players at the same positions for the other NL teams. The teams are ordered by OPS.


2B 3B HR RBI BA OBP SLG OPS
Cincinnati 163 10 89 352 0.287 0.355 0.462 0.817
Florida 145 11 87 378 0.277 0.347 0.448 0.795
Arizona 136 23 102 339 0.254 0.332 0.450 0.781
Milwaukee 120 16 88 327 0.263 0.349 0.428 0.777
Washington 128 12 85 315 0.272 0.339 0.436 0.776
Colorado 116 13 74 336 0.271 0.350 0.420 0.771
Atlanta 145 9 67 334 0.275 0.349 0.419 0.768
San Francisco 135 13 66 307 0.274 0.334 0.418 0.752
Philadelphia 115 15 72 340 0.268 0.336 0.410 0.745
NY Mets 129 20 64 290 0.257 0.329 0.405 0.734
St. Louis 114 9 63 301 0.264 0.336 0.396 0.732
San Diego 114 8 63 292 0.267 0.336 0.393 0.730
Chicago Cubs 127 13 55 271 0.269 0.325 0.395 0.720
LA Dodgers 133 16 41 273 0.263 0.336 0.382 0.718
Pittsburgh 135 11 60 274 0.246 0.303 0.386 0.688
Houston 118 10 42 273 0.254 0.313 0.364 0.677

By OPS, the Phillies’s infielders were ninth-best offensively in the NL in 2010. The Phils were in the middle of the pack or worse in average (eighth), on-base percentage (tenth) and slugging (ninth) by their infielders. Only the Cardinals and Padres saw their infielders hit fewer doubles than the Phils this season.

Ninth-best offensively in the league isn’t what the Phillies are looking for. Wilson Valdez’s 363 plate appearances on the year (353 of which came as an infielder) are part of the problem, but not all of it. The team is built around the very reasonable belief that Utley and Howard are elite offensive players and they weren’t in 2010.

The outfielders, on the other hand, were just fine.


2B 3B HR RBI BA OBP SLG OPS
St. Louis 128 9 71 265 0.288 0.358 0.478 0.835
Colorado 106 32 71 261 0.283 0.348 0.481 0.828
Philadelphia 120 17 70 274 0.277 0.351 0.470 0.821
Milwaukee 124 12 70 273 0.280 0.337 0.463 0.800
Chicago Cubs 122 12 67 253 0.266 0.334 0.450 0.784
Cincinnati 84 16 72 257 0.265 0.332 0.445 0.777
LA Dodgers 102 13 66 255 0.266 0.327 0.437 0.765
San Francisco 111 14 68 235 0.253 0.328 0.437 0.764
Pittsburgh 104 13 42 194 0.273 0.339 0.411 0.750
Arizona 106 9 54 232 0.259 0.333 0.416 0.749
Florida 100 18 49 201 0.260 0.329 0.410 0.739
Atlanta 103 13 40 208 0.250 0.338 0.389 0.728
Washington 72 17 52 197 0.244 0.329 0.390 0.720
NY Mets 92 19 41 222 0.258 0.324 0.395 0.718
Houston 93 12 51 217 0.261 0.317 0.401 0.718
San Diego 70 13 44 207 0.232 0.316 0.362 0.678

By OPS, the guys playing the outfield positions were third-best in the NL last season. Only two NL teams got more home runs from their outfielders and the Reds and the Rockies both hit just one more than the 70 for the Phils. The Phillies got 274 RBI from their guys playing the outfield, which was the most in the league. Only the Cards had a better on-base percentage.

It wasn’t too long ago that the Phils were among the best offensive teams in both the infield and the outfield.

Here, for example, is how the numbers looked for the infielders in 2007:


2B 3B HR RBI BA OBP SLG OPS
Florida 180 18 114 381 0.290 0.361 0.505 0.866
Milwaukee 133 18 134 382 0.274 0.357 0.503 0.861
Philadelphia 156 28 112 418 0.287 0.363 0.497 0.860
Atlanta 162 17 91 359 0.295 0.368 0.478 0.846
NY Mets 140 16 86 336 0.285 0.365 0.454 0.818
Colorado 150 16 74 375 0.289 0.368 0.447 0.815
Cincinnati 150 13 86 353 0.288 0.347 0.457 0.804
Chicago Cubs 157 14 65 326 0.289 0.355 0.440 0.795
Arizona 137 22 70 317 0.267 0.345 0.427 0.772
Washington 156 20 61 296 0.279 0.340 0.424 0.764
St. Louis 126 7 55 269 0.284 0.352 0.408 0.760
San Diego 159 12 91 349 0.259 0.320 0.438 0.758
Pittsburgh 173 14 55 320 0.278 0.334 0.422 0.757
LA Dodgers 127 13 62 344 0.276 0.338 0.410 0.748
Houston 130 10 70 303 0.266 0.339 0.407 0.746
San Francisco 128 13 52 290 0.249 0.310 0.374 0.684

So, by OPS, in 2010 there were only seven teams that got less production from their infield. As recently as 2007, there were only two teams that got more, and the two that did, the Brewers and the Fish, only did so by a tiny margin. Back in 2007, the guys playing the infield for the Phils combined to hit 112 home runs and drive in a league-high 418 runs. In 2010, Phillies infielders combined to hit 72 home runs and drove in 340 runs.

The outfielders were also slightly better relative to the rest of the league, but the difference wasn’t nearly as dramatic. Here’s what the outfield numbers for 2007 look like:


2B 3B HR RBI BA OBP SLG OPS
Colorado 117 14 81 330 0.309 0.379 0.508 0.887
Philadelphia 113 11 76 277 0.290 0.379 0.480 0.859
Cincinnati 94 10 91 276 0.277 0.364 0.482 0.845
Houston 125 16 80 302 0.283 0.346 0.490 0.836
NY Mets 108 7 67 281 0.288 0.347 0.460 0.806
Chicago Cubs 129 13 62 258 0.285 0.341 0.461 0.802
San Francisco 97 18 50 200 0.277 0.367 0.429 0.796
Milwaukee 125 15 70 268 0.268 0.327 0.462 0.789
Florida 110 10 57 241 0.267 0.343 0.430 0.773
St. Louis 102 6 68 284 0.271 0.333 0.438 0.771
Pittsburgh 102 14 65 243 0.264 0.335 0.436 0.771
San Diego 99 15 68 234 0.254 0.339 0.429 0.769
LA Dodgers 96 17 35 211 0.293 0.348 0.415 0.763
Atlanta 108 10 59 276 0.269 0.332 0.430 0.762
Arizona 102 16 62 213 0.249 0.316 0.420 0.736
Washington 109 7 46 219 0.256 0.332 0.400 0.732

The Phillies claimed 22-year-old infielder Carlos Rivero off of waivers from the Indians. Rivero has played shortstop almost exclusively in the minors and put up a 255/315/361 line over 2,156 plate appearances.