Tag: third base

Phils may be hoping for a little less consistency from Feliz in ’09

There was some hope coming into to 2008 that the combination of hitting in Citizens Bank Park and joining a high-powered Phillies lineup would help Pedro Feliz’s offensive production. Here’s what he did at home last year compared to his career numbers excluding what he did at home last year:

  PA AVG OBP SLG OPS
2008 @ home 233 260 304 409 714
Rest of
career
3257 251 289 430 719

He was a little worse than his career numbers overall, hitting for a slightly higher average and getting on base a little more, but with a lower slugging percentage.

Here’s another way to look at it, taking the percentages of his plate appearances that resulted in hits, walks, extra-base hits or strikeouts:

  H BB XHB K
2008 @ home 24.0 6.0 6.9 10.3
Rest of
career
23.5 5.2 9.0 16.3

Again, this suggests that he got hits and drew walks at a slightly higher rate than he has over his career and also delivered fewer extra-base hits. It also suggests that he struck out at a lower rate at home in 2008 than he has over his career.

Feliz was a little better overall at home than on the road in 2008, hitting 260/304/409 at home and 238/300/395 on the road.

Finally, we know Feliz has had serious back problems that kept him off the field for about a month between the end of July and mid-August last season. It’s difficult to know how much they were a factor for him last year. His numbers at the end of the season over the last four years have been remarkably consistent, however. He played the 2005, 2006 and 2007 seasons with the Giants and ended those years with an OPS of .717 in 2005, .709 in 2006 and .708 in 2007. In 2008 with the Phillies his OPS for the year was .705. Over the last four seasons the range on his batting average at the end of the year has been .244-.253, on-base percentage .281-.302 and slugging .402-.428. So he has been very consistent. It could, of course, be that he got a huge boost from playing at Citizens Bank Park that was offset by the back injury, but either way his numbers at the end of the year wound up almost exactly where they have been.

Four years, $60 million was apparently enough for the Braves to get Derek Lowe.

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Third things first

The Phillies’ effort to try to find offensive production at third base through the process of elimination continues. So do the lackluster results. Here’s what Phillies hitters playing third base have done over the past four years compared to the rest of the NL and the rest of MLB, using OPS as the measure:


Year

OPS

OPS Rank NL

OPS Rank MLB

2008

.695

15

27

2007

.688

16

27

2006

.684

15

29

2005

.695

13

25

If you’re looking for a bright side, at least things aren’t getting worse.

In 2008, Phillies third basemen hit 245/295/400. The .295 on-base percentage that they posted was the worst in all of baseball.

A .695 OPS for the Phillies third basemen seems like it should be impossible. Feliz and Dobbs got most of the time there and Feliz put up a .705 OPS for the year and Dobbs an .824 OPS for the year. Part of the answer to that one is that they got to .705 and .824 by having fantastic years as pinch-hitters (although Dobbs, as you’ll see below, actually posted a better OPS while playing third than he did overall). Most fans know that Dobbs was great as a pinch-hitter in ’08, he went 22-for-62 (355/388/532). In many fewer chances, though, so was Feliz. Feliz went 7-for-16 as a pinch-hitter, putting up a 438/471/688 line.

Dobbs’ numbers dropped overall because he went 4-for-22 with three singles and a double when he wasn’t at third or pinch-hitting.

Anyhow, despite the great numbers as pinch-hitters, it seems like Feliz must be mostly to blame for the .695 OPS for the group. And he is, with an assist to Bruntlett, who was terrible with the bat while playing third in 2008. Here’s the guys that got the at-bats for the Phils while playing third in ’08 and what they did:


Player

AB

AVG/OBP/SLG

OPS

Pedro Feliz

408

243/296/392

.689

Greg Dobbs

142

296/322/514

.836

Eric Bruntlett

48

146/241/167

.407

Mike Cervenak
4
000/000/000

.000

Carlos Ruiz also went 0-for-1 as a 3B for the Phils in ’08, but it’s clear that Feliz and his .296 on-base percentage did much of the damage.

Feliz did out-OPS Abraham Nunez as a third baseman in 2008 compared to what Nunez did for the Phils in ’07. But not by a whole lot. In 2007, Nunez got 212 at-bats for the Phils at 3B and hit 255/342/311 (.653 OPS). Notably, however, Nunez did hit for a higher batting average and got on base more. Nunez didn’t exactly set the bar at unreachable levels in terms of getting extra-base hits. In 2007, he had 11, ten doubles and a triple, in 243 plate appearances as a third baseman for the Phils (he got an extra-base hit in about 4.5% of his plate appearances). Feliz had 33 extra-base hits, 18 doubles, two triples and 11 home runs, in 445 plate appearances as a 3B for the Phils in ’08. That’s an extra-base hit in about 7.4% of his plate appearances.

This suggests the Braves have offered Derek Lowe four years, $60 million. If the Mets and Braves are going to be in a bidding war it might as well be over who gets to sign Derek Lowe to a long contract.

Gabe Kapler agreed to a one-year deal with the Rays. Nomar is apparently busy playing soccer. This says that Gariciaparra has “compartment syndrome” in his calf and suggests it would require him to undergo painful therapy to break up scar tissue if he continues to play.

Chan Ho Park will not pitch for South Korea in the World Baseball Classic.

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