In this post I pointed out 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.
At first base, the Phillies drew 56 fewer walks in 2012 than they had in 2007. In 2007, the 113 walks they drew at the position was second in the league. In 2012, the 57 walks they drew at the position was tenth.
Here’s how the plate appearances at first base broke down for the Phillies in 2012 and the walk rates of the players who got chances at the position:
|Player||% of PA||BB%|
|NL AVG 1B||-||9.3|
Of the four groups, only one, Wigginton, posted a walk rate about the league average of 9.3% while playing first base for the Phillies last year. He had some other issues, though, like being not real good offensively or defensively. And high walk rate or not, he ended the year having hit .235 and on-based .314.
All of the four players in the “Other” category were under the league average of 9.3% with the exception of Thome. He walked in 3 of his 13 plate appearances while playing first base for the Phillies in 2013, which is about 23.1%.
The walk rates for Thome and Wigginton aren’t likely to help the 2013 Phillies much. As much as we might want to see Mayberry or Ruf get some chances at first against lefties, Ryan Howard is likely to be the guy there just about every day he’s able to play. And his walk rate is never going back to where it was in 2006 and 2007.
Howard finished fourth in the NL in walks in both 2006 and 2007. In those two years combined, he got 1,352 plate appearances and walked in 215 (about 15.9%) of them.
Howard’s walk rate in those years benefited from an enormous rate of intentional walks. In 2012, he had 25 total walks in 292 plate appearances. In 2006 he was intentionally walked 37 times and in 2007 he was intentionally walked 35 times.
His 8.6% walk rate in 2012 was the worst it has been for any year in his career in which he got at least 50 plate appearances.
In this post from January I pointed out that Howard has been pretty miserable against left-handed pitching in four of the last five years. His walk rate against lefties has also taken a plunge.
Over the last seven years, his walk rate against right-handed pitching has stayed high. Not so against lefties, where his walk rate has dropped three straight years and wound up at a miserable 4.7% in 2012:
|Year||BB% vs L||BB% vs R|
2010 is the year of the last five in which Howard has been non-awful against left-handed pitching. His success that year had a lot more to do with the combination of good power and an average in the .260s against lefties than the walks he drew. In 2010, Howard hit 264/333/492 against lefties with 12 homers in 216 plate appearances. 2008 was probably second best — that year he delivered similar power against lefties and walked at a slightly lower rate, but hit just .224 again left-handed pitching. In five of the last six seasons, Howard has hit .225 or worse against lefties.
In 2010, his BABIP against left-handed pitching was .320. In 2011, Howard hit .224 against lefties despite a BABIP of .313 against them. In 2012 he was down to .173 against southpaws with a BABIP of .229. Granted, not being able to run at all probably hurt him some in 2012, but it’s tough to feel like things are going in the right direction for Howard, especially against lefties.
Ruiz feels bad about his suspension and wants to bring a championship back to Philadelphia.
Halladay suggests he doesn’t see himself pitching anywhere other than Philadelphia in the coming years in this article.