The most recent post suggested that there are two positions where the total number of walks the Phillies drew in 2012, when they were terrible at drawing walks overall, was better than it was in 2007, when the Phillies were very good at drawing walks. One was center field and the other was shortstop.
Shortstop for the Phils is all about Jimmy Rollins and has been for years. He got about 95% of the team’s plate appearances as a shortstop in 2012 and just over 99% in 2007. For years we had been pleading with Jimmy Rollins to improve his walk rate. Not sure everybody noticed, but he did.
Through the end of the 2009 season, J-Roll had one year in his career in which he walked in 8% or more of his plate appearances (9.3% in 2008). Over the last three years his lowest walk rate is 8.9%. Here are his career numbers through 2009 and for 2010-2012:
From 2003 to 2007, the Phillies were either first or second in the NL in walk rate in every season. Rollins was the everyday guy at shortstop, walking in the same 7.2% of his plate appearances as his career mark for walk rate going into 2010.
So even when the Phillies were an elite walking team, they didn’t draw a ton of walks at the position. They’re no longer an elite group of walkers, but they are getting more walks from short because Rollins has improved his rate.
Center field is the other position where the Phils drew more walks in 2012 than they did in 2007. Again, the issue there is that their walk rate in center was pretty low in 2007. Rowand was miserable at drawing walks in 2006, walking in just about 4.1% of his plate appearances in center. He got better in ’07, getting the vast majority of the PA at the position and walking in about 6.9% of his chances to help get the team’s rate up to 7.0%. Led by Victorino, the team has been in the 8% range over the past four years and were at 8.5% in 2012. Victorino walked in just 8.1% of his PA with the Phils in ’12, his worst mark since 2008, but the Phils got up to 8.5% at the position with some unexpected help from Mayberry. You probably don’t think of Mayberry as a walk machine, but he walked in about 9.7% of his 227 plate appearances as a center fielder in 2012.
Delmon Young is coming off of surgery on his right ankle. Amaro suggests that he might not be able to play in games competitively until the middle of March in this article. The same article suggests that Valdes and Stutes could both be near 100%.