Over the next few weeks, Phillies Nation will break down each player on the Phillies roster and grade their 2009 season on a very unofficial 1-10 scale. The players will be chosen in no particular order.
The numbers don’t lie: .323, .302, .295, .290, .275, .267, .266.
Each figure represents Pedro Feliz’s batting average on the final day of the month. The Phils third baseman started off smoking hot, and emitted that heat through the month of May. For two months, he was perhaps the most solid batter in the order.
Then things clearly went south. Feliz came back to earth and his average by the end of the season was at .266 – basically on par with his career numbers. As the season wound down, so did Feliz. Maybe it was his age (34), or his duties playing a tough position. Whatever the case, it was a steady decline.
When swinging the stick, his numbers were decent. In 158 games, Feliz hit 12 home runs and knocked in 82 runs. A telling stat was his ability to come through with runners in scoring position. Feliz managed a team best .336 average in that situation, a testament more so to the offense as a whole than his aptitude with the bat. Pedro 7th position in the order clearly paid dividends, as he benefited nicely hitting behind Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth, and Raul Ibanez.
Defensively, Feliz has been a rock at one of the most important positions on the diamond. Many believe him to be near the top of his position when it comes to flashing the leather. However, his numbers would prove otherwise.
The basics stats on defense show Feliz to be very good in comparison to other NL 3B’s. His 15 errors in 1364 innings are fine and his 35 double plays turned were tops in the league. But if you go by The Fielding Bible, you’ll notice that Feliz is not among the leaderboard when it comes to plus/minus, a statistic which represents the number of plays a player made above or below the number that an average fielder would make.
Factoring in plus/minus, Pedro Feliz was above average at +5. That wasn’t even close to the guys at the top of the list, like Chone Figgins (+40), Ryan Zimmerman (+28), Adrian Beltre (+27), and Scott Rolen (+21). His defensive zone rating is also average compared to those at his position. While Feliz certainly did make a real difference offensively for half of the season and was a solid defender throughout, he clearly regressed from start to finish on both sides of the ball.
Ruben Amaro may have noticed the trend and therefore decided to decline his option for the 2010 season. That does not mean Feliz will not be back, but Amaro is making it clear he is worth less than the $5.5 million he was owed. Two of those gentlemen at the top of the list, Figgins and Beltre, are available through free agency. Could one be next at the hot corner here in Philly?
It was a productive season for Pedro Feliz. The postseason was clearly a different story, as Pete Happy managed just nine hits in 54 at-bats in the playoffs, consistently killing rallies in October. He is on the downside of what has been a serviceable career and it appears his time here in red pinstripes is over.
2009 numbers: 158 games, .266 avg., 12 HR, 82 RBI, 62 R, .694 OPS, .336 BA/RISP
GRADE: 5/10 – Feliz was average, plain and simple. His defense was surely solid, but his bat, compared to other corner infielders (power positions) was well below the league average.
Pat Gallen can be reached via email at Pat@Philliesnation.com