No, you don’t understand: we really, really want a pitcher and not a belly-itcher

Here are the combined WAR, oWAR and dWAR for the non-pitchers for the Phillies over the past ten years as calculated by Baseball-Reference:

2012 15.0 14.0 1.0
2011 14.2 19.9 -5.4
2010 21.3 21.8 -0.6
2009 26.3 24.6 2.0
2008 27.3 20.3 7.0
2007 31.1 27.3 3.7
2006 20.0 21.6 -2.1
2005 27.7 18.8 8.9
2004 22.1 20.8 1.4
2003 25.8 24.0 2.1

So that’s bad, generally, although overall WAR for the non-pitchers actually improved from 2011 to 2012. Coming into the season, it had been down from the previous year for four straight seasons.

It was up in 2012 despite the fact that the oWAR for the team was worse than 2011 (14.0 in ’12 compared to 19.9 in ’11). It was the dWAR that improved dramatically, going from -5.4 in 2011 to 1.0 in 2012.

That’s where the good news ends, though. In both 2011 and 2012, the combined WAR for the non-pitchers was less than half of what it was in 2007. In 2007, the Phils were first in the NL in oWAR and second in dWAR.

In 2008, the team’s dWAR was 7.0, which was best in the NL. By 2010, the defense had slipped a lot and was down to -0.6. Howard put up a -2.3 dWAR that year and ugliness from Ibanez (-2.0) and Werth (-1.2) contributed as well. By 2011 the problem was even more dramatic as the team’s dWAR of -5.4 was third worst among the 16 NL teams. Again, Ibanez (-3.1) and Howard (-2.4) led the anti-charge, joined by Francisco (-1.3) and Brown (-1.2).

This Phils bounced back some in 2012. Ibanez and Francisco left. Brown got a little better. Howard played less and posted a dWAR of just -1, which was his best mark since 2005 (although Wigginton and Nix didn’t help much filling in for him at first). Freddy Galvis was solid defensively when he played.

The oWAR for the last ten seasons peaked in 2007 at 27.3. The Phillies led the NL in runs scored that year with 892. Their oWAR of 27.3 led the league and it wasn’t real close. The Mets were second at 22.7. Utley (5.9), Rollins (5.5), Rowand (4.5), Howard (3.2) and Burrell (3.0) all put up an oWAR of three or better that season.

The oWAR of 14.0 for the Phillies in 2012 was the lowest it has been since 2000, when the team’s oWAR for the year was an NL-worst 6.7. That was remarkable in that the Phillies had two players with an oWAR of 3.6 or better for the season — Abreu at 4.6 and Rolen at 3.6. The Phillies had ten players that year who got at least 100 plate appearances and put up a negative oWAR.

Catch! Rising Star

Point for today is that Domonic Brown has been an atrocious defensive outfielder over the past two seasons. In 2010 his UZR/150 was -37.9 and in ’11 it was -26.0. How bad is that? In 2011 there were 62 NL players who played at least 450 innings as an outfielder — Brown’s -26.0 was the worst mark of those 62. In 2010 he only played he only played 112 defensive innings, but his UZR/150 of -37.9 was 185th-best of the 192 players across both leagues who played at least 100 innings in the outfield.

FanGraphs has UZR data starting in 2002. Among Phillie outfielders who played at least 100 innings in each of the last ten seasons, here’s who posted the best and worst UZR/150 and the number of innings they played that year:

Year Best UZR/150 Innings Worst UZR/150 Innings
2011 Mayberry 9.4 474 1/3 Brown -26.0 451
2010 Victorino 2.8 1265 1/3 Brown -37.9 112
2009 Francisco 12.6 181 1/3 Mayberry -22.6 127
2008 Werth 28.5 966 Burrell -12.3 1198 1/3
2007 Werth 30.5 575 2/3 Burrell -29.6 1028 1/3
2006 C Roberson 24.6 103 2/3 Abreu -16.9 848
2005 J Michaels 32.8 635 1/3 E Chavez -8.9 185
2004 R Ledee 51.1 175 1/3 M Byrd -18.4 753 1/3
2003 J Michaels 25.4 179 2/3 R Ledee -19.0 491
2002 D Glanville 8.7 891 1/3 R Ledee -21.5 371 2/3

And you thought you might go your whole day without thinking about Chris Roberson or Ricky Ledee even once, didn’t you?

In 2007, Pat Burrell put up an UZR/150 of -29.6 while stumbling about in left field for the Phils. That’s the only outfielder for the team, though, that played 100 innings in the outfield in a season over the past ten years and posted a mark worse than the -26.0 that Brown put up over 451 innings in 2011. No outfielder on the team over the past ten seasons has played at least 100 innings for the Phils with an UZR/150 worse than his -37.9 in 2010.

Over the last ten years combined, the Phillies have 15 players who played at least 500 innings in the outfield. Of those, Brown’s combined UZR/150 of -27.8 is fifteenth. By a lot. Ricky Ledee has the second-worst mark at -8.8.

Notably, Burrell, the poster boy for awful defensive outfielders in recent Phillie history, has an UZR/150 of -8.0 over 8,140 innings as an outfielder with the Phils since the start of 2002, considerably better than Brown, but also better than Ibanez (-8.6) or Ledee (-8.8) and the same as Francisco (-8.0). Unlike Brown, whose defensive numbers early in his career have been hideous, Burrell’s defensive numbers weren’t awful early in his career but got bad when he got older. From 2002 to 2004, his age 25, 26 and 27 seasons, Burrell played 3,629 2/3 innings in the outfield for the Phils with an UZR/150 of -0.1.

Ibanez, while we’re on the subject, also had a terrible UZR/150 of -21.8 while playing left field for the Phillies in 2011 (topped in defensive feebleness on the list above only by Brown (twice), Burrell in 2007 and Mayberry in 2009, although Mayberry did a whole lot less damage being terrible in 127 innings in 2009 than Ibanez did in 1,196 2/3 in 2011).

Since the start of 2002, there are 242 NL players that have played at least 500 innings in the outfield. Brown’s combined UZR/150 of -27.8 tops only one of them (Lucas Duda of the Mets).

The Phils traded Wilson Valdez to the Reds for 26-year-old left-handed reliever Jeremy Horst. In the linked article, Amaro mentions Michael Martinez and Freddy Galvis as players who give the Phils utility depth, but also suggests that Galvis will start the year at Triple-A. Valdez should be pretty replaceable, but trying to replace him with Michael Martinez sure seems like a move that would make the Phillies worse. The article also mentions Pete Orr, Kevin Frandsen and Hector Luna as options.

The Valdez era ends with Valdez having hit 254/300/351 in 663 plate appearances with the Phils in 2010 and 2011 combined. Valdez got at least 300 plate appearances with the teams in each of those years. Prior to coming to the Phillies, he had never gotten 150 plate appearances in a season.

On October 6, 2010, Valdez started at third for the Phils in game one of the NLDS against the the Reds, which was somehow overshadowed by Halladay throwing a no-hitter. On October 23 of the same year, he was the pinch-runner at second for Polanco when Brian Wilson struck Howard out looking to end game six of the NLCS with the Giants having topped the Phillies 3-2 to take the series.

Three Phillie pitchers made’s list of the top 100 pitching prospects. Righty Trevor May was 54th, lefty Jesse Biddle 78th and righty Brody Colvin 80th.

I think this says that Larry Bowa will be shocked if the Phillies don’t go to the World Series. Hoping for the best, but I will not be shocked if the Phils don’t go to the World Series.

This suggests that Brad Lidge and the Nats have agreed to a deal.

Slow motion eleven

The Phillies have lost eight of their last eleven games. Who’s to blame? If you’ve been watching it’s not hard to guess it’s the offense:

  Runs per
allowed per game
First 98
5.48 4.63
Last 11 games 2.91 4.64

If the Phillies scored 2.91 runs per game over 162 games they would score about 471 in a season. The Padres have the worst offense in the NL this season. They are on pace to scored about 605 runs.

A starting pitcher has to pitch pretty well for your team to win when you hit like that. In the three games in the slump the Phils have won they got two complete games (one from Happ and one from Lee). Lee allowed a run over seven innings in the other game they won.

The rate at which the Phillies have allowed runs overall in the streak is almost identical to their rate of allowing runs for the year. That’s a little curious given that the starters have pitched deeper into games with a better ERA, a better ratio and the relievers are allowing significantly fewer runs per game:

First 98 4.63 1.36 5.87 3.06 1.57
Last 11 3.91 1.35 6.27 3.27 1.36

That chart shows that the ERA for the starting pitchers is better in the 11 games than it was in the first 98, but the starting pitchers have allowed more runs per game. That’s because the defense has been atrocious in the slump. In the last 11 games the starting pitchers have been charged with six unearned runs. In the first 98 games of the year they were charged with four.

The relief pitching has actually been pretty good in the slump. The bullpen has allowed 15 runs in the 11 games, but nine of the runs were allowed by Lopez and Lidge in Sunday’s game. The relief pitchers have allowed fewer runs per game during the streak than in the first 98 games — they are also pitching fewer innings, though, since the starters are pitching more. The improvement in the runs per game allowed by the relievers is a little more dramatic than the difference in the number of innings pitched by the starters. The starters have thrown about 107% more innings per game, but the relievers are allowing about 87% of the runs per game they allowed in the first 98 games of the year.

The Phillies activated Chad Durbin and sent Rodrigo Lopez down.

Bout of range

Like Ibanez, Victorino and Werth have both made more plays in the outfield so far in 2009 than they did in 2008. Victorino has made putouts in center at a slightly higher rate while Werth has made putouts in right at a much higher rate (all numbers for this post do not include last night’s game):

Victorino ’09 267.0 74 1 0 .277
Victorino ’08 1195.3 314 7 2 .263
Werth ’09 249.0 70 2 0 .281
Werth ’08 661.3 143 7 0 .216

You would certainly expect that Victorino, the center fielder, would be making putouts at a higher rate than Werth has as a right fielder. That has not been the case through the first 30 games, though. Werth’s rate has been higher.

When you compare the team’s range factor per nine innings at each of the positions to the rest of the league, the Phils are improved at both but below average at center field for 2009 and above average for right field for 2009. In 2008, they were below league average at both positions:

  2008 2009
PHI CF 2.47 2.55
NL AVG CF 2.65 2.78
PHI RF 2.05 2.62
NL AVG RF 2.13 2.15

So the Phillies have been below the average in center field in both 2008 and 2009, .18 lower in ’08 and .23 lower in the first 30 games of ’09. In right field they were .08 lower in ’08, but are well (.47) above the average rate for the league in 2009.

The curious thing about this is that the amount of plays that Victorino, a guy most Phillies fans at least consider to be an excellent defensive center fielder, isn’t especially impressive. This may have something to do with Citizens Bank Park, the Phillies pitchers, trying to shade towards left to help Burrell out or other factors, but it’s made more curious by the fact that Werth got to far more balls per inning while he was playing center field in 2008 than Victorino did (and got to them at a rate that exceeded league averages for the position). Werth made 73 putouts in 233 1/3 innings for the Phils in center in 2008, which is .313 per inning and much higher than Victorino’s rate of .263 per inning (314 in 1,195 1/3 innings).

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