One more thing about walks and then they’ll never be mentioned in this space again. Er, not for a while. End of the week at least.

Okay, two things.

Thing one. Last year, Hamels had a walk rate that was worse than Halladay, Moyer, Blanton, Oswalt, Kendrick or Lee. But was it bad? The NL average was 3.32 walks per nine innings and Hamels walked 2.63 per nine. There were 39 NL pitchers who made at least 30 starts in 2010. Of those 39, Hamels’ walk rate was 14th-best.

BB/9 Rank BB/9 for Group
Roy Halladay
Ted Lilly
Adam Wainwright
Hiroki Kuroda
Roy Oswalt
Jason Hammel
Chris Carpenter
Mat Latos
Kyle Kendrick
Matt Cain
Bronson Arroyo
Tommy Hanson
Rodrigo Lopez
Cole Hamels
Brett Myers
Johnny Cueto
Livan Hernandez
Derek Lowe
Tim Hudson
Randy Wells
Mike Pelfrey
Paul Maholm
Chris Volstad
Wandy Rodriguez
Jonathon Niese
Tim Lincecum
Anibal Sanchez
Chad Billingsley
Ian Kennedy
Dave Bush
Clayton Richard
Clayton Kershaw
Ryan Dempster
Randy Wolf
Yovani Gallardo
Ubaldo Jimenez
Barry Zito
Jon Garland
Jonathan Sanchez
1.08
2.04
2.19
2.20
2.34
2.38
2.41
2.44
2.44
2.46
2.46
2.49
2.52
2.63
2.66
2.71
2.72
2.83
2.91
2.92
3.00
3.01
3.09
3.14
3.21
3.22
3.23
3.24
3.25
3.36
3.48
3.57
3.59
3.63
3.65
3.74
3.79
3.92
4.47
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39

So while Hamels saw his walk rate go in the wrong direction last year, and while it’s higher than the other guys we’re likely to see starting for the Phils in 2011, it’s not exactly awful.

Thing two.

Here’s the average walk rate for NL teams over the past four years, the walk rate for the Phillies over the last year and the Phillies rate over the average:

NL BB/9 PHI BB/9 PHI/NL
2007 3.34 3.44 1.03
2008 3.45 3.31 0.96
2009 3.52 3.02 0.86
2010 3.32 2.57 0.77

So, not only have the Phillies decreased their walks per nine innings in each of the last three seasons, in each of those seasons the gap between the Phils and the rest of the NL has widened compared to the previous year. Also of note is that in 2008 and 2009, the walk rate went up for the league, but down for the Phillies.

Here’s the spring training schedule for the Phils.

This piece on “Phillies players under the radar” discusses Ben Francisco in right, saying “Suggesting that Francisco needs to platoon in rightfield with a Domonic Brown, a guy who can’t play the position and who managed 13 hits in spot play last season, is insulting. Brown is a raw talent who needs polish. Francisco is a major league baseball player.”