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Phils Offense Needs Better Swings At The Plate

Posted by Jonathan Nisula, Fri, May 03, 2013 08:00 AM | Comments: 9
Analysis, Opinion, Posts

Bad swings are killing the Phillies in 2013. (PHOTO: AP)

Bad swings are killing the Phillies in 2013. (PHOTO: AP)

The Phillies offense is clearly struggling this year. As a team, they are 8th in the NL in average, 12th in OBP, 10th in SLG, and 13th in OPS. The more in depth you go, the worse the stats get. I was looking for the root of the offensive woes when I came across their strikeout-to-walk ratio. I knew that they weren’t drawing many walks and were striking out a lot, but when you put them together, only the Cubs in the NL have a worse ratio.

However, the Phillies are about league average in pitches seen per plate appearance (P/PA). So they are seeing a decent amount of pitches, but do not have the walks to show for it. So what is happening with those pitches?

The Phils make contact with the ball (in any capacity) on about 77% of their swings, which is slightly below league average. But there’s a twist: they are fourth in the NL in the percentage of plate appearances that result in balls put into play. Their BABIP is at 6th.

This means that the balls that they put into play are resulting in more outs than other teams. Sure, this could be a case of  a tiny bit of “bad luck”, but when we see guys like Ben Revere ground out to second over and over again, and guys like Michael Young grounding into double play after double play, we begin to think otherwise.

So what’s the solution? Making better swings. They are seeing enough pitches, but they swing and miss too much, and when they make contact, it results in an out more often than it should. If they can make better swings, they’d make better contact more often. Their strikeout percent would go down, and it would put more pressure on opposing teams’ defense.

The Rockies have the NL’s best OPS and wOBA so far this year. They see about the same amount of pitches the Phillies do, but make contact more often, which results in the NL’s best batting average. They do more with the pitches they see with better swings. But is that possible with the Phillies? I think so. Definitely not best in the NL, but I think the Phillies’ bats still have some life in them. I think Ryan Howard, Domonic Brown, and Ben Revere will all improve over the course of the season, and if Delmon Young can produce as well, I think we’ll see better at-bats and more “oomph” from the offense.

Avatar of Jonathan Nisula

About Jonathan Nisula

Jonathan Nisula has written 198 articles on Phillies Nation.

Just a regular guy writing his thoughts for Phillies Nation. Grew up in Yardley, PA and current student.

 
 
  • Posts: 0 jake

    I think this article would be improved with some “spray” charts comparing where the phillies batted balls end up vis-a-vis league average.

    I’d also like to know a deeper breakdown by type of pitch but into play. I suspect the real root of the Phillies batted ball outs comes with breaking stuff. Rollins, Howard (ESP), Mayberry, Brown, Kratz and the scrubs are realyl bad breaking ball hitters. They seem to be very off balance with breaking stuff. The league figured out this out in 2010 and the bats slowed down a bit. Combined that makes it seem like the Phillies just cannot get to breaking stuff. They dont’ stay back and go the other way with it well. So add the spray chart and the BABIP for types of pitches and lets see where thsi goes.

     
  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    I agree Jon. So what would you suggest?

    I would submit that in order for our hitters to get better swings that we need to getter better hitters. Asking any hitter to make “better swings” is like asking a girl to get “better looking” or telling a short person to “be taller”. Don’t you think these guys are making the best swings that they can? Are they being careless?

    No. I think the problem is that these are just not very good hitters. Revere is a joke. Revere would bat .000 for the rest of the year if teams just brought their 1B and 3B in to about 25 feet from homeplate, SS and 2B in about 20 feet, and all the outfielders in to the lip of the OF. he won’t get another hit.

    Our guys don’t walk and they swing at crap. The only way to accomplish this goal of better swings is to get better players. Time spent on talking about this subject is like yelling at the rain. IMO.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 Jonathan

    Dipsy, I agree that they need better hitters, but I was trying to be realistic. For the most part, this is what they have. I *do* think that Howard and even Revere will bounce back in the 2nd half tho.

     
    • Posts: 0 Mike C

      Not sure what games you are watching that would make you think Howard will be any better at the plate than he has been all season and last. He continues to struggle with the same stuff they threw at him last year (low and away) and now they have also began to jam him inside. Neither of which he is able to react to on a consistant basis. I do however have some hope for Revere coming on a little later, but I have to agree with Dipsy on this one, bad hitters => bad output.

       
      • Posts: 0 Jonathan

        He’s turned into a mistake hitter. If he disciplines himself more at the plate, the more mistakes he will see.

         
  • Posts: 1 Richmanpoorman

    Avatar of Richmanpoorman

    I respect the article and I agree they have plenty of bad at bats, but are you putting Ryan Howard in the same sentence with Dom Brown and Ben Revere for a reason?? I think a lot of the their offensive issues have been because they don’t have a true lead off hitter, which we thought we were going to get with Revere and like you I believe we will get a whole lot more out of him. But in a year when Ryan Howard, Chase Utley Michael Young are all hitting with a better avg than each were expected to respectively and with underrated power (howard and Utley) there is a fundamental flaw. Also If Ryan Howard is giving you a .277 avg and 17 rbi’s on May 3, I don’t know how much of an improvement your going to get (power #’s will improve), especially in a town that doesn’t appreciate him. I know he has a reputation of hitting when it doesn’t matter, which is common in pure power hitters but if you watch the games this year plenty of those doubles were hit early in games with no score, it’s not his fault that between rollins and revere they share a combined abysmal OBP of .545. I’m a Howard advocate, but I don’t need a high avg, just RBI’s.

     
    • Posts: 0 schmenkman

      “I know he has a reputation of hitting when it doesn’t matter,” — I don’t think he has that reputation among most fans, and of course, he shouldn’t.

      But I think we can and should expect more than what we’ve seen in the first month-plus. If he could continue what he’s done in the 11 games since returning to the lineup he would end up with a very good year.

       
  • Posts: 0 Wade Foraker

    My personal opinion is that the Phillies swing is directly correlated to the batting coach. The batting coach tweaks swings. He looks at the way a batter swings and gives them ideas on how HE thinks they can improve. The only problem is that these tweaks aren’t working. You ever wonder why we acquire people that hit well and all of a sudden they seem to be hitting the ball differently? It’s the batting coach plain and simple. I also notice that Phillies hitters crowd the plate which really only works for tall, quick swinging hitters like Utley. I watched the game the other day and I saw the Marlins pitcher strike everyone out by pitching on the inside of the plate. I think these hitting problems would go away if the batting coach gave them a different approach, I just think he is stuck in a certain way of doing things and we should consider possibly getting someone else.

     
    • Posts: 0 schmenkman

      Wade, who is it that has come here and then hit worse?

       
 
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