Still on walks and how far Phillie pitchers fell in 2013 coming off of four straight years in which they were either the best or second-best team in the league at preventing walks.
Here’s the percentage of batters Phillie pitchers walked in each of the last five seasons and the rank of that percentage relative to the rest of the NL:
|All PHI||8.1 (9)||6.7 (1)||6.7 (1)||6.8 (1)||7.8 (2)|
From 2009 to 2011, the percentage of batters that Phillie pitchers walked was best in the NL three times and second-best the other. In 2013, the NL shrunk from 16 teams to 15 and the 8.1% of batters faced by the Phils was ninth-best in the league.
Looking at the numbers above, the year of the five in which the Phils were most dominant in preventing walks relative to the rest of the NL was 2010. That year they walked 6.8% of the batters they faced in a year in which the average NL pitcher walked 8.6% of the batters they faced. The Phillies still had the best rate of preventing walks in each of the next two seasons, but not as dramatically as they had in 2010.
Over the last five seasons, the year in which the Phillies issued their lowest number of total walks was 2011. They walked 404 that year. In 2013, they walked, 506, 102 more than they had in 2011. 506 is about 125% of 404.
Here’s their numbers for percentage of batters walked by their starters in each of those years along with the same number for all NL starting pitchers:
|NL Avg SP||7.4||7.4||7.5||8.0||8.3|
In each of the five years, including 2013, the rate at which the Phillie starting pitchers walked batters was better than the NL average.
Notably also is that the percentage of batters walked for starting pitchers has trended down over the past three seasons. The Phillie starters walked a similar percentage of batters in 2009 and 2013, 6.5% in ’09 and 6.8% in ’13, but this was much more impressive in 2009 as the overall rate of walks issued by starters in the league was much higher.
Unlike the starters, the relievers have walked a higher percentage of batters than league average in recent years:
|NL Avg RP||8.7||9.4||9.5||9.7||10.5|
As with the starters, percentages of batters walked for the relievers are down in recent years in the NL. In each year 2010 through 2013, NL relievers combined to walk a lower percentage of batters in the season than they had the year before. Not so for the Phillies. In 2013, Phillie relievers walked 10.8% of the batters they faced, the highest mark for any of the five years, while the league average for relievers was 8.7%, the lowest mark of any of the five years for the league.
The 10.8% of batters that the Phillie relievers walked in 2013 is miserable — the worst mark for any NL bullpen for the season. Only one other team, the Cubs, saw their relievers walk more than 9.4% of the batters they faced. The Chicago bullpen walked about 10.2% of the batters they faced in 2013.
Over the last five years, the starters have been very good at preventing walks and the relievers haven’t. In 2013, the starters were close to league average at preventing walks and the relievers were hideous. From 2009 through 2012, the Phils starters were way better than league average at preventing walks while in 2013 they were just a little better. The relievers, on the the other hand, have been average or worse than average in each of the last five years and got a lot worse at preventing walks in 2013 than they had been in any of the past four seasons.
Halladay, Hamels and Lee have obviously been a huge part of that. In 2013, Halladay’s turn from a guy who pitched a ton of innings with a tiny walk rate to someone who walked many clearly hurt the team. Looking back at the last five years, I don’t think we want to forget Blanton or Moyer, either. In 2012, Blanton threw 133 1/3 innings for the Phils and walked just 18, giving him a rate of preventing walks for the year that was better than Halladay, Hamels or Lee. In 2010, Moyer walked just 4.4% of the batters he faced in his 111 2/3 innings, a rate just higher than the 3.0% of the hitters Halladay walked and way below the league average of 8.6%.
In 2013, the results were pretty ugly. The Phillies used 27 pitchers for the year. Here’s the list of players who threw a pitch for the Phils last year who walked a percentage of batters lower than the NL average:
Six players for the team with a walk rate better than league average by percentage of batters faced walked.
One of the six is non-pitcher John McDonald, who didn’t walk any of the three hitters he faced for the year.
Another, Raul Valdes, had a miserable year in which he threw to a 7.46 ERA, allowing seven home runs in his 35 innings while opponents hit .300 against him.
Kyle Kendrick dropped his walk rate below his career average. That’s the good news. The bad news is that he allowed way more hits than he had over the two previous years and righties posted a 318/359/453 line against him.
Twenty-one of 27 pitchers from 2013 walked a higher percentage of batters than the league average. Here they are:
Justin De Fratus
A couple of those guys, especially Antonio Bastardo and Jake Diekman, pitched a bunch of innings for the Phils and were good despite a higher than average walk rate. I think it’s safe to say they were the exception rather than the rule.
Roman Quinn, the 20-year-old shortstop prospect, has ruptured his right Achilles tendon and is out indefinitely.
This suggests the Rockies have interest in signing Ruiz.