The last post suggested that the outfield defense for the Phillies has gotten really bad over the last three years, at least as measured by FanGraph’s UZR/150. Offensively, the Phillies have been really good in the outfield compared to the rest of baseball in recent years, at least until 2012, when things took a hard turn in the wrong direction. Here’s the wOBA for Phillie outfielders over the last eight years as calculated by FanGraphs as well as the rank of that mark among teams across both leagues:
So, coming into 2012, in six of the last seven seasons, Phillie outfielders had combined to be in the top five among all MLB teams in wOBA. This year they finished in a three-way tie for 18th with the Cubs and Padres.
The Phillies led the league in wOBA for outfielders in 2005 and again in 2007. Abreu led the way in ’05, posting a wOBA of .379 over 719 plate appearances. Burrell was also very good offensively at .384 over his 669 plate appearances. Jason Michaels (.362 over 343) and Kenny Lofton (.359 over 406) were each surpisingly effective offensively that year. Burrell led the way in ’07, putting up a FanGraphs calculated wOBA of .392 in 684 plate appearances. Rowand was fantastic that year as well — .384 over 598 plate appearances. Werth got just 302 plate appearances with the Phillies, but put up an impressive .382 wOBA mark with the team.
Since 2007, the Phillies haven’t led all of baseball in the category. They had been in the top five of MLB teams in three of the past four years coming in to 2012.
In 2012, Hunter Pence was the only outfielder for the Phillies to get at least 50 plate appearances and put up a wOBA better than .320. Here’s how the outfielders looked from top to bottom for 2012 wOBA:
Mayberry has to take a lot of the blame for dragging down the wOBA for the group in 2012. His wOBA of .303 was 137th of 171 players across both leagues with at least 450 plate appearances and way off of his 2011 pace of .368. In 183 more plate appearances than he had in ’11, Mayberry homered one less time.
Domonic Brown didn’t fare much better at .309. He did get a lot less chances to do much damage, though, with just 212 plate appearances. He wound up with numbers a little bit worse than his 2011 stats, in just about the same number of at-bats (210 plate appearances in 2011 and 212 in 2012). He’s hitting .196 against lefties for his career, which is going to be a problem if the Phillies want to play him every day.
Like Mayberry, Victorino got a ton of plate appearances for the Phillies and was pretty bad with the bat, putting up a wOBA of .317, which was a huge drop from his .368 mark in 2011 and well below career mark of .338. Between 2008 and 2011, Vicotorino was above .350 in three different seasons. Mayberry and Victorino posted the same .368 wOBA in 2011 and both were awful offensively for the Phillies in 2012.
Pierre’s .320 was his second-best mark since the end of his 2004 season with the Marlins. He ended the year just above his career mark of .317. In his 13-year career, he’s posted an OPS+ better than 100 just twice. 2012 with the Phillies wasn’t one of those times as he finished at 95. He didn’t get a lot of chances against lefties, just 69 plate appearances for the year, but the ones he got didn’t go very well as he went 12-for-63 (.190) with 12 singles and one walk.
Pence’s .340 was off his career mark of .352 and he ended the year overall at .323 after hitting .219 for the Giants in 248 plate appearances. .323 was the worst wOBA of his career.
So. The Phillies were bad. They had five outfielders get at least 200 plate appearances in 2012 and three of them (Victorino, Pence, Pierre) are gone. Of the other two, one, Mayberry, was terrible last year offensively and the other, Brown, has been bad offensively for two years straight. Ruf is certainly a big unknown with upside in terms of what he can do offensively, but the other two guys, lefties Nix and Schierholtz, aren’t. Schierholtz’s career wOBA of .315 isn’t likely to lead the Phillies much of anywhere and I’m not sure you want to put that many eggs in Nix’s career .307 basket either.
This suggests Torii Hunter has reached a two-year, $26 million agreement with the Tigers.