Looking at walk rate today (based on the percentage of their plate appearances in which a player drew a walk) for the 13 Phillies batters that got at least 100 plate appearances with the team in 2008.

There were some surprises there for me. The biggest was that Ruiz drew walks at a rate slightly higher than Ryan Howard in 2008. If you’re gonna hit .219 and slug .300, you need to find your ray of light somewhere. Here it is:

Player PA BB % of PA
Pat Burrell 645 102 15.81
Jayson Werth 482 57 11.83
Carlos Ruiz 373 44 11.80
Ryan Howard 700 81 11.57
Jimmy Rollins 625 58 9.28
Chase Utley 707 64 9.05
Eric Bruntlett 238 21 8.82
So Taguchi 103 8 7.77
Geoff Jenkins 322 24 7.45
Shane Victorino 627 45 7.18
Pedro Feliz 463 33 7.13
Chris Coste 305 16 5.25
Greg Dobbs 240 11 4.58

The walk rate for Ruiz was the biggest surprise to me. He does have the advantage of hitting eighth in front of the pitcher, but his walk rate still is better than average eight hitters in the NL. In 2008, the average NL team’s eight hitters got 643 plate appearances and drew 58 walks, about 9% of their plate appearances.

Ruiz also walked more regularly than all Phillies eight hitters (including himself) combined — in 2008, Phillies eight hitters walked 60 times in 649 plate appearances, about 9.2% of the time. Ruiz got 316 plate appearances as a number eight hitter in ’08 and drew 40 walks, which is about 12.7% of his plate appearances. All other Phillies hitters batting in the eight-hole combined to walk 20 times in 333 plate appearances. That’s about 6.0% of the time.

Besides Ruiz, Coste was the guy who saw the most time hitting eighth for the Phils, and he hardly walked at all in front of the pitcher. Coste drew just six walks in 192 plate appearances as an eight-hitter last year. That’s about 3.1% of the time, which is really low.

I also would have guessed that Utley would have been ahead of Rollins. Not so much. Utley out on-based Rollins .380 to .349, but not because he walked more regularly. He hit his way on base more, hitting .292 to .277 for Rollins, and also added about 25 points to his on-base percentage by getting hit by pitch an amazing 27 times.

Dobbs actually walked at a rate lower than all of the Phillies pitchers combined. Phillies pitchers combined to draw 18 walks in 365 plate appearances for the year, which is about 4.93% of their plate appearances.

The Phillies invited nine more players to spring training, including Marcus Giles, Jason Donald and Gary Majewski. Also invited was 26-year-old left-handed hitting outfielder Jeremy Slayden, who hit 298/377/480 at Double-A Reading for the Phils in 2008.

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