Monday, April 30, 2018

Offensive Struggles

OPS By Position:
Pitcher - .354 (5th)
Catcher - .551 (25th tied)
First Base - .587 (27th)
Second Base - .817 (11th)
Shortstop - .702 (17th)
Third Base - .697 (24th)
Left Field - 1.037 (2nd)
Center Field - .865 (5th)
Right Field - .564 (27th)
Designated Hitter - .516 (23rd, which is last in this case)
Pinch Hitter - .455 (22nd)
Only 3 positions on the diamond are getting above average production, thanks to Rhys Hoskins, Odubel Herrera, and Cesar Hernandez. I'm tired of hearing about how unlucky Carlos Santana has been. Put up or shut up! I'm tired of hearing about Jorge Alfaro and JP Crawford's potential. The offense has been dreadful. They've struck out 275 times in 27 games, which is 2nd worst in all of baseball. I don't want to hear about all the pitches they're seeing. Seeing a bunch of pitches doesn't mean shit unless that also equals scoring runs. Sure, they're taking walks (119, 3rd best in MLB), but walks typically don't score runs unless base hits follow them. Their .232 batting average and .695 OPS are pitiful. They have no power. Hoskins is having an amazing year, but really isn't hitting homers.

I truly don't understand the Santana signing. It pushed Hoskins to left field, where he is clearly deficient defensively. It's not like Santana is some stud either. He routinely puts up good, but not great offensive seasons, and perhaps his age downturn is coming sooner rather than later. Last season he only hit 23 homeruns, and I say "only", because everyone was cranking the longball last year, but he only managed 23 at a power premium position. His 23 homers in 2017 ranked him tied for 21st in MLB for first baseman and his OPS of .818 only ranked 15th, so it's not like the Lord of Walks is fantastic. And don't get me started on his overrated defense. He had one decent season defensively, and that was last year. For his career he owns a -5.2 dWAR. Don't forget the Phillies surrendered a high draft pick to sign him too! I don't hate Santana, but I don't exactly like him either. I just don't understand the point of him on this team.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

This is a Problem...

The start to the Phillies 2018 season could be deemed as a success, as the Phillies have a winning record of 14-8 and the pitching has been largely effective. However, dive into the numbers a bit, and a problem is pretty evident...
1. They aren't beating good teams. They've beat up on the Marlins, Reds, Rays, and Pirates, which are all teams that were expected to be poor this year. They've gotten their asses handed to them by the Braves, Mets, and Diamondbacks. The Mets and Dbacks are decent, and the Braves have surprised so far.

2. They can't hit! Their team batting average of .229 ranks 21st in MLB. I understand that hits aren't everything, because walks are nice too, but their OPS of .692 ain't cutting it either with a matching 21st MLB ranking. They have struck out 227 times, which is tied for 4th worst in baseball. They average 10.3 Ks per game. Alfaro has struck out in half of his plate appearances!

3. Their defense is bad. Hoskins is playing out of position, and it's obvious, albeit not his fault. Crawford, who has always been lauded for his defense, seems to have the yips (can't make his throws without skipping it or pulling the 1st baseman off the bag). The catching duo of Knapp & Alfaro have committed 6 errors between them. Santana seems overrated all-around, as I've not seen anything special with the bat nor glove.

Maybe I'm just being a typical Negadelphia (negative Philly sports fan), but I think if those areas of concern aren't fixed soon, then the Phillies record will reflect it come mid-summer. And by "reflect" I mean losing...sorry to burst your bubble.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Sunday Nuggets

*The Phillies are sporting a sparkling 3.09 ERA as a team, which ranks 5th in MLB and 2nd in NL. Starters - 3.02 ERA and Relievers - 3.34. Matching their 5th place ranking for ERA is their WHIP coming in at 1.15. They've also allowed the least amount of homeruns in baseball (11, tied with the BoSox).
Image result for phillies
*As fantastic as the pitching staff has been, the 1st inning is proving difficult, as opponents have scored 13 runs in the 20 1st innings and are batting .321/.909.

*As disastrous as the 1st inning has been, the 7th is a polar opposite. They've allowed merely 1 7th inning run all season. Damn!

*Mr. Computer (aka - Kapler) seems to be settling in with his bullpen usage. He been allowing the starting pitchers to actually pitch when they're doing well and has been mixing and matching relievers effectively. As a first year manager, he is learning. It does seems he is actually learning, which was what I was afraid he wouldn't do.

*Mixing and matching with the bullpen isn't the only task at hand for Kapler, as he needs to find playing time for 2 extra players. Thus far, I feel he's adequately given Williams, Altherr, Kingery, Crawford, and Franco time. None of that group are lighting the world on fire, pressing Kapler's hand to play them more, so the time share plan is working.

*The Phillies 108 runs ranks them 8th in MLB. That's good. The Phillies 93 walks has them ranked 2nd. Also good. The Phillies .231 batting average is tied for 20th...not good. Their OPS of .701 ranks them 19th. They need to start getting more hits. Too many low batting averages. The main culprits being - Williams, Crawford, Knapp, Alfaro, Santana, and Altherr. That group is batting .172 (51-297).

*Something that might help the batting averages is putting the ball in play more often. The Phillies have struck out 199 times, ranking 7th worst in baseball. They average 10 strikeouts per game.

*Once Santana's hard contact finally starts falling for some hits, the top 4 of the lineup are fearsome (Cesar, Santana, Odubel & Hoskins).

*The National League's batting average leader, Ryan Flaherty (.362), was cut at the end of Spring Training by the Phillies.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Progress report: The first tenth of the season

We're a tenth of the way into the season Well, .09876 percent of the season is in the books. Anyway, let's take a look at how each player has done so far in 2017.