In this post I pointed out that the Phillies were 15th in the NL in walk rate in 2012 and had been first in the league as recently as 2007. In ’07, Phillie hitters drew 641 walks, which is 187 more than the 454 they drew last year.
That’s far from the only reason that they’re no longer an elite offensive team. But it’s also far from being a non-factor.
So where did all those walks go?
Here’s a look at the number of walks by position for 2007 and 2012:
There are two positions, shortstop and center field, where the Phillies drew more walks in 2012 than they did in 2007. At each of the other positions, they drew fewer walks in 2012 than they had in 2007.
In looking at those numbers, it’s important to be aware that there were fewer walks in 2012 than in 2007 across the league. In ’07, NL teams combined to walk 8,576 times in 2,594 games or about 3.31 times per game. In 2012, they walked 7,813 times in 2,592 games or 3.01 times per game. So, on average, the difference was about .3 walks per game, which would be about 49 walks over 162 games. That’s still a whole lot less than the difference of 187 between the ’12 and ’07 Phillies.
Here’s how the numbers look by position if you sort them low to high on ’12 walks as a percentage of ’07 walks:
|Position||’07||’12||’07-’12||’12 as % of ’07|
Finally, using the table directly above, I think you can divide the ten positions into four categories:
|More BB in ’12 than ’07||SS, CF|
|About the same||2B, RF, DH/PH, P|
|A lot worse||1B, LF|
Remember — there was a difference of 187 total walks between 2007, when the Phillies had the best walk rate in the NL, and 2012, when they had the 15th-best walk rate. The first base and left field positions combined walked 141 fewer times in 2012 than they had in 2007.