Phils Roundup, May 2012: Lies, Damned Lies

Why the Phillies (21-20) may blow:

Oldest team batter age in the NL at 31.2, almost a full year older than the Dodgers (30.3). The Yankees (32.8) are the only older offense in baseball.

Second fewest walks drawn in the NL with 101 (the Pirates have drawn only 87; somehow the Padres are 1st with 152, led by Chase Headley’s 29, which is 29 more than Chase Utley has so far).

An exactly league average 93 OPS+. (The Pujols-less Cardinals lead the NL with a 122 OPS+, almost double Pujols’ 63 OPS+.)

Third oldest team pitcher age in the NL at 30.0 (somehow the Pirates and Mets are both older despite the potential to suck even worse).

Team ERA only 9th in the NL at 3.61 (the 2011 Phils led the league with a 3.02 ERA).

Tied for 5th in HR allowed with 43.

Why the Phillies may not blow:

Stolen base to caught stealing ratio of 34-6– even without Davey Lopes.

Third in the NL in batting average at .266 (though only 8th in OBP at .318 thanks to the poor walk ratio; 6th in SLG at .393, however).

Fewest walks allowed in the NL at 93, second most strikeouts at 349, best K/BB ratio at 3.49, third in WHIP with 1.191 (though only 7th in ERA+ at 107).

Also, the Phils defense has turned the 2nd most DP’s in the NL with 43 (St. Louis leads the league with 45), though when you allow more runners, you create more DP opportunities, so this is a mixed blessing.

As far as BABIP, neither the offense (.305) nor the pitching (.294) is too out of whack, though breaking down the offensive BABIPs, some Phils are due for a major regression:

Nix .394
Orr .385
Pierre .356
Ruiz .350
Mayberry .342
Wigginton .338

Unfortunately, some of these players (the top three names, for example) are borderline terrible, and because of timing (e.g. Juan Pierre is currently batting .327, meaning he may well be perceived as the .297 career hitter who helps a team rather than the .708 career OPS who hurts a team), will be given plenty of opportunity to hit their way back to normalcy. Somewhere a lucky full season translates into five years and $11M, a lucky half season could mean an extra 250-300 at bats, minimum. (Of course, an unlucky 280 at bats translates into something as well.)

The pitching BABIP breaks down as .289 for the starters and .299 for the relievers. Only Lee (.236 BABIP) is due for major regression; at the other extreme, Worley (.325) and Kyle Kendrick (.333 as a starter/.364 as a reliever) are due for improvement. Based on xFIP, Kyle Kendrick’s 5.96 ERA should actually be 4.88. On the other hand, that’s a $7.5M, two-year contract for a reliever with an ERA approaching 5. Kyle Kendrick is the Antichrist.

Statistics courtesy of baseball-reference.com and fangraphs.com.

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