Quick — when Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Pedro Feliz, Raul Ibanez and Jayson Werth came to the plate in 2009, who was the most likely to get a hit?

Wrong. Okay, I’m guessing. But if you answered Pedro Feliz you’re way better at this than I am. Feliz got hits in a higher percentage of his plate appearances than anyone in that group. Chase Utley, I hear you cry? Nope. Utley hit .282 and on-based .397 in 2009, but got hits in 161 of 687 (or 23.4%) of his plate appearances. Feliz hit .266 and on-based .308, but got hits in 154 of 625 plate appearances (24.6%). Utley has a way higher batting average because of what happened in the pair’s plate appearances that weren’t a hit and how many of them counted as at-bats and were used to calculate batting average.

For the eight Phillies regulars, here’s the rate at which they had hits, walks, doubles and triples, extra-base hits and home runs per 100 plate appearances this season:

  H/100 BB/100 (2B+3B)/100 HR/100 XBH/100
Howard 24.5 10.7 5.8 6.4 12.2
Utley 23.4 12.8 4.7 4.5 9.2
Feliz 24.6 5.6 5.1 1.9 7.0
Rollins 23.2 6.1 6.6 2.9 9.5
Ibanez 24.1 9.9 6.2 6.0 12.2
Victorino 26.1 8.6 7.5 1.4 8.9
Werth 22.6 13.5 4.0 5.3 9.3
Ruiz 21.6 12.4 7.1 2.4 9.5

Victorino is the only guy of the group who got hits more regularly than Feliz. Utley, Werth and Ruiz all had monster walk rates. Howard, Utley, Ibanez and Werth all delivered more than 30 home runs, but it was Howard and Ibanez who had the best home run rate of that group. It doesn’t seem like it should be possible that Ruiz had a better rate of getting extra-base hits than Utley or Werth, but he did. Ruiz had 36 extra-base hits in 379 plate appearances (one every 10.52 plate appearances) while Utley had 63 in 687 (one every 10.90) and Werth 63 in 676 (one every 10.73).

Had Ruiz gotten the 703 plate appearances that Howard got and continued to deliver extra-base hits at the same rate he had over his 379 plate appearances for the season, he would have hit 48 doubles, two triples and 17 home runs. Houston’s Miguel Tejada led the NL in doubles in 2009 with 46 (Rollins was fourth with 43).

Here’s what the same eight players did in 2008, remembering that Ibanez played for Seattle:

  H/100 BB/100 (2B+3B)/100 HR/100 XBH/100
Howard 21.9 11.6 4.3 6.9 11.1
Utley 25.0 9.1 6.4 4.7 11.0
Feliz 22.9 7.1 4.5 3.0 7.6
Rollins 24.6 9.3 7.5 1.8 9.3
Ibanez 26.3 9.1 6.5 3.3 9.8
Victorino 26.6 7.2 6.1 2.2 8.3
Werth 23.7 11.8 3.9 5.0 8.9
Ruiz 18.8 11.8 3.8 1.1 4.8

Finally, for each of the eight players the chart below compares their rate for 2009 to their rate for 2008. If the number is over one the cell is green and it means they were better in that area, if it’s under one and red it means they were worse. A “1.14″ means that they got 114% of whatever the category reported was in 2009 compared to their rate for 2008.

  H/100 BB/100 (2B+3B)/100 HR/100 XBH/100
Howard
1.12

0.92

1.36

0.93

1.10
Utley
0.94

1.42

0.73

0.97

0.83
Feliz
1.08

0.79

1.13

0.63

0.93
Rollins
0.94

0.65

0.88

1.65

1.03
Ibanez
0.91

1.09

0.95

1.85

1.25
Victorino
0.98

1.20

1.24

0.65

1.08
Werth
0.96

1.14

1.01

1.07

1.04
Ruiz
1.15

1.05

1.90

2.21

1.97

So, for example, the chart means that in 2009 Howard’s hit rate per 100 plate appearances was 112% of what it was in 2008. His walk rate was 92%, his rate of hitting doubles and triples 136%, his home run rate 93% and his rate of extra-base hits overall up 110%.

Important to note is that there are five categories and three of them, the three rightmost, all have to do with extra-base hits.

Utley’s walk rate in 2009 was way up compared to 2008, but the other categories were all down. He had 20 fewer plate appearances in 2008 than he did in 20099, but in ’08 he hit 13 more doubles, two more home runs and walked 24 fewer times.

Feliz had the worst walk rate on the team in 2008 and it got worse in 2009. In 162 more plate appearances in 2009, he hit two fewer home runs. He hit about 63% of the home runs per 100 plate appearances in ’09 that he did in 2008. That’s the worst mark for any of the players in any category (although Rollins’ walks and Victorino’s home runs are close).

Rollins was way down in walks and down in hits. He hit 21 homers after hitting just 11 in ’08.

Ibanez’s home run rate shot way up as he hit 34 in 2009 in 565 plate appearances after hitting 23 in 707 plate appearances for the Mariners in ’08. He did rip 43 doubles for Seattle in ’08, so that rate was down, and his batting average dropped twenty-one points.

Home runs were down for Victorino, but he led the NL in triples with thirteen.

Werth had a big jump in his walk rate and hit for more power.

Ruiz was the only player who was up in all five areas. He more than doubled his home run rate, the biggest increase for any player in any category in the group.

The NL Rookie of the Year will be announced today.