Phillies Walk Rates Thus Far

1 Jun

Everyone loves a good walk.  It shows discipline on the hitter’s part, and gets a guy on base for the men behind to slug him home.  Many a team has used it to their advtange.  But how are the Phillies working those walks after two months of baseball? Let’s find out:

Starting Lineup

Carlos Ruiz   .190
Chase Utley  .175
Jayson Werth  .121
Pedro Feliz  .105
Ryan Howard   .104
Raul Ibanez  .101
Shane Victorino  .078
Jimmy Rollins   .057

Bench

Matt Stairs  .281
Greg Dobbs  .158
Chris Coste   .143
Eric Bruntlett .086
John Mayberry  .000 (9 at bats)
So, what to take from these numbers?  The bench has been good at taking pitches, which helps. One thing that surprised me in a negative way was Ryan Howard’s number.  I expected Victorino and Rollins to be hacking  a bit, as both of their careers have showed they like to hack it up there.  However, Howard’s previous walk rates were much higher:

2005 – .106
2006 – .186
2007 – .202
2008 – .133

2006 and 2007 were off the charts.  Big power hitters like Howard are going to be pitched around, and he obviously knew that as he waited on his pitch to hit.  However, further inspection of the numbers shows something interesting.  He was intentionally walked 37 times in 2006 and 35 times in 2007.  Let’s take out the intentional walks, where teams put him on first because they became so scared of his prodigous power hitting:

2005 – .080
2006 – .122
2007 – .136
2008 – .105
2009 – .099

This puts things in much better perspective.  His walk rate seems to have stabilized in the past season around 1 walk for every 10 at bats.  That’s about what is expected of a normal hitter, except Howard isn’t a normal hitter.  He’s a bomber, and should probably approach his at bats as such.  It’s hard to complain about his power hitting, but I feel as though he could return to his legendary status in 2006 if he would just be more selective.

Anyway, another surprise was Carlos Ruiz, who’s never been known as a guy to take a pitch.  He had himself a career month in May (969 OPS) and let’s all hope it continues.  One guy who’s really developed is Chase Utley, whose on base percentage is a slick .430 thus far this year.  He’s gotten hit by 11 pitches, walked 28 times, and is seventh in the National League in OBP.   The team has been pretty good at getting on base, and this should likely continue.  It bodes well for their offense continuing to produce runs.  Walks and homers, walks and homers.

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