Back to Utley and Pence soon, but I did just need to take a minute to stop and point out that the Phillies third basemen didn’t hit for much power in 2011. Really they didn’t.
Using slugging percentage minus average as the formula for Isolated Power, the Phils were 16th in the 16-team NL in the category. Phillie third basemen combined to hit .266 for the year and slug .342, which gives them an .076 Isolated Power. Here’s how that stacks up with the rest of the NL for last year:
The Phils just barely out-feebled the Fish, who were pretty atrocious at generating power at 3B theirownselves. During the ’11 season, the Phils third baseman hit for a solid enough average, .266 compared to the positional average of .257, but slugged just .342 — .045 lower than the positional average of .387.
So they were bad. But how bad? When was the last time that an NL team saw their 3B combine to put up an Isolated Power mark of .076 or worse? It’s been a while. Here’s what the Phillies, as well as the team in the NL with the worst mark in the category for the year, have done over the last eight seasons:
|Worst Team ISO 3B||ISO by 3B||PHI ISO 3B||PHI Rank|
So, in three of the last eight years, the Phillie third baseman have had the worst isolated power in the NL. The last time an NL team saw their 3B put up a worse Isolated Power number than the Phillies did 2011 was the 2004 San Diego Padres. Sean Burroughs led the charge for the Padres at third that year and hit nearly .300 for the season, but with very little power and just two home runs (one of which came as a pinch-hitter and not a third baseman) over 564 plate appearances, posting a 298/348/365 line (and an isolated power mark of .067). In the defense on Burroughs, some of the damage at third was done by Rich Aurilia, Jeff Cirillo, Ramon Vasquez and Dave Hansen. That group combined to hit for no power as well, but hit just .211 over 166 at-bats while doing so.
The list above is rather ugly for the Phils. In terms of power at the position, the Phils best mark over the past eight seasons came in 2004. David Bell had the best year of his career for the Phils in 2004, hitting 291/363/458 over 603 plate appearances. That was good enough for a career best OPS+ of 107 for Bell.
Back with the 2011 Phillies, the problems with their power aren’t just about hitting home runs. Phillie third basemen hit eight in 2011, which isn’t a lot, but still better than two other NL teams (Florida and San Diego). The problem was doubles — the ’11 Phillies got just 18 doubles from their third basemen combined.
Including the 2011 Phillie team, over the last 15 years there have only been three teams that got less than 20 doubles from their third baseman in a season and only one team saw their third basemen deliver less than 18 doubles. The 3B for the 2002 Padres doubled 18 times, tying the Phillies mark from 2011. The 3B for the 1997 Dodgers hit just 17 doubles, but smoked 31 home runs at the position. Todd Zeile got all but ten of the plate appearances for the team at the position for the year, hitting 17 doubles and 31 bombs. The ’02 Padres were just bad at the position, with Burroughs (again) and Phil Nevin doing most of the damage.