Fingers crossed. I’m especially excited about what they might do with the punting game.
The last couple of posts have been about declining WAR amongst the Phillie pitchers, but things aren’t going particularly swimmingly on the hitting side, either. Looking at the non-pitchers, Carlos Ruiz, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins have been the core of the hitters over the past seven years and all four are likely to impact the 2014 Phillies as well.
The news when it comes to the hitting core of the Phils isn’t good for two big reasons. The first is that the combined WAR produced by that core group of players is a) bad and b) getting worse. The second is that the total WAR accumulated by Phillie hitters other than that group of four is also a) bad (really atrocious in 2013) and b) getting worse.
Here are the WAR numbers for each of those four players, the four as a group and for the rest of Phillie hitters over the last seven seasons as calculated by Baseball-Reference:
|Total for 4||18.8||16.2||16.4||13.3||10.1||8.8||6.0|
|Rest of PHI hitters||14.4||12.6||12.6||10.2||5.9||8.1||-2.4|
|Top 3 other hitters||Rowand 5.1||Victorino 4.3||Werth 4.5||Werth 5.8||Victorino 5.4||Pierre 2.0||Brown 2.5|
|Victorino 3.3||Werth 3.7||Victorino 3.7||Polanco 3.2||Pence 2.2||Victorino 1.5||Revere 0.8|
|Werth 3.0||Burrell 2.3||Ibanez 2.9||Victorino 3.1||Polanco 1.9||Kratz 1.4||Frandsen 0.5|
The total bWAR for the group of Ruiz, Howard, Utley and Rollins topped out at 18.8 in 2007. In 2013 it was down for the fourth year in a row and was at 6.0.
Ruiz has had two years in which he posted a bWAR better than 2.8 — 2010 and 2012. In 2013 he was at 1.7 after averaging about 3.3 over the past three seasons.
Howard has had a bWAR of three of better once in the last seven seasons. Less than two in five of the last six years.
Utley has been in the threes in bWAR for three straight years, which is nice, but a drop from ’07 to ’09 when his bWAR range was 7.8 to 9.0 over a three-year span. From 2005 through 2009 he was over seven for five straight seasons.
Rollins hasn’t topped 2.5 in any of the last five years. From 2004 to 2008 he was in the range of 4.6 to 6.1 for five seasons in a row.
The other big problem for the Phils is that the guys other than the core four have been getting worse. A lot worse. Gone are Jayson Werth and Shane Victorino. Placido Polanco was one of the team’s top position players in 2010 and again in 2011. Domonic Brown had a nice year for the Phils in 2013, but the second best hitter outside of the big four for the Phils was Ben Revere. Revere’s bWAR of 0.8 was worse than the bWAR of the third-best non-Ruiz/Howard/Utley/Rollins hitter on the team in the past six years.