Byrd On Pace For (Slightly) Historic Season – Phillies Nation

Byrd On Pace For (Slightly) Historic Season

Marlon+Byrd+Philadelphia+Phillies+v+Texas+Gey0d7AmFRKlIn this forgettable string of baseball games that we are calling the 2014 Phillies season, there is not a single thing we could look at and say “yeah, I’m going to remember this for years and years”. However, things aren’t all bad. The bullpen has been surprisingly strong, and a few hitters have been swinging the bat well–particularly the gentlemen that patrols right field for the Phils.

Marlon Byrd has been one of the most consistent offensive players on the Phillies in 2014, and he’s 36 years old.

Let’s go back to last November. GM Ruben Amaro Jr. signed Byrd to a 2-year contract, and, at the time received a load of criticism. The Phillies needed outfield help, and there were guys like Nelson Cruz still available.

He leads the team in home runs and slugging, and is 2nd on the team in OPS, doubles, and RBI.

He has missed just two(!) of 124 games this season. He’s slashing–at the time of writing this post–.270/.320/.473, has hit 22 home runs, and has 70 RBIs. By the end of the year, he’ll likely have somewhere around 28 home runs and 90 RBI.  A season with those numbers, at his age, would be among the best seasons all time for the Phillies.

The last time we saw something like this was in 2009 when Raul Ibanez had a monster season offensively. He hit 34 home runs and collected 93 RBI that year, when he was 37. Prior to that, we haven’t seen anything like this since Hall-Of-Famer Mike Schmidt had back-to-back years of 35+ home runs and 113+ RBI in 1986 and 1987. Beyond Ibanez and Schmidt, the only other player in Phils history to reach 28 home runs and 90 RBI at age 36 or older was Cy Williams in 1927.

That’s three players, one of which is an all-time great. If Byrd can manage to tally 6 more home runs and 20 more RBI in the final month and a half of the season, which should be easily attainable at his current pace, he’ll join them.  And if he does (or even if he doesn’t), it’ll go down as one of the few bright spots in an otherwise dreadful season for the Phillies.




  1. Dave

    August 18, 2014 at 8:29 am

    Just a point of correction…Mike Schmidt never drove in 133 runs in a season, let alone back to back. His highest total for RBI’s was 121.

    • Jonathan Nisula

      August 18, 2014 at 8:45 am

      Corrected. Meant to type 113, actually typed 133. Thanks!

  2. Chuck A.

    August 18, 2014 at 10:23 am

    • Jonathan Nisula

      August 18, 2014 at 11:52 am

      I think that’s a no-brainer. He’s younger, better, and makes less money.

    • George

      August 18, 2014 at 1:15 pm

      Please factor in defense when making comparisons. Cruz can’t field worth snot.

      • Jonathan Nisula

        August 18, 2014 at 5:38 pm

        I think the other factors outweigh his lack of defensive ability

      • schmenkman

        August 18, 2014 at 6:58 pm

        The two are tied in fWAR (2.3), and Byrd leads in rWAR, 3.4 to 2.9. And at the time Cruz was demanding a much bigger contract.

        Amaro would have had to risk waiting out the market on the chance that a good OF would still remain at the end who would take a below market contract,

  3. Joefa

    August 18, 2014 at 11:48 am

    One point that must be made: Byrd’s success has to be tempered with Rube’s inability to cash in on his season by trading him. More so than anyone else on the team Byrd was the guy that just had to go.

    Yes, he had turned out to be a solid investment and probably is having, aside from Cole, the best year on the team. It was astonishing that Rube could not find a deal for him. I suspect it won’t be any easier in the offseason either.

    The comparison to Ibanez is noteworthy as Inanez collapsed midway through his second year here. Even if Byrd keeps up this pace, which is doubtful, what good will it be to this sorry squad.

    • Vinnie

      August 18, 2014 at 1:56 pm

      Hi Joefa, I just looked back an Ibaniz’s stats, for 2012 and 2013, and if Byrd can do that, I just assume keep him (OPS of 761 and 793 respectively) Byrd is at 793 this year, which is comparable.

      I guess Byrd was traded (still can be), who would play in his place?

    • crow

      August 19, 2014 at 8:53 am

      *GM Ruben Amaro Jr. signed Byrd to a 2-year contract*

      And that fallacy above all is why Amaro couldn’t trade Byrd: because he was signed to a 3 year contract, not a 2 year contract. It’s just that in Amaro’s world, options that will only not vest if a player suffers major injury don’t count as contract years. Reference Papelbon J.’s de facto 5 year contract.

  4. Andrew from waldorf

    August 18, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    The team could still be in last place with me in right.
    Lefty catching and Chuck A. playing third.

    I gave up on a lot of the player analysis long ago.

    This is a dysfunctional organization and no single player can save that.

    Id like to have seen Ruben with a straight face telling Paplebum that the same group is going to contend next year,

    Id like to have what he is drinking or smoking.

    I give up on beating the Mets for the next few years.

    Need new ownership and a new front office.

  5. Jonathan Nisula

    August 18, 2014 at 7:20 pm

    Fair point, Schmenkman. I realize Hindsight is always 20/20–but if we are just going Byrd vs Cruz with all other factors what they are now (contracts, stats, etc), I’m taking Cruz.

    But the Byrd signing wasn’t a bad one at all, IMO. It’s unfortunate that the Phils couldn’t move him, but he’s definitely been a positive

  6. Lefty

    August 18, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    I can’t remember, wouldn’t Cruz have cost us our Aaron Nola pick?

    • schmenkman

      August 18, 2014 at 8:43 pm

      The first pick was protected (bottom 10 finish), so instead it would have cost them the 2nd round pick, Matt Imhof.

  7. Bruce

    August 19, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    We know the problems with the Phillies as we are reminded constantly by a few grousers here everyday. Their criticisms are not always based on facts, statistics or fair judgment. That is their mindset and pointless to get into any debate with them.

    Instead of dwelling on the negatives with this team, lets take to heart the PN writer suggestion, of pointing out some positives we see this season especially on individual accomplishments.
    Marlon Byrd’s great season is already covered by the PN writer’s column. By the way, Byrd’s 2014 season is not a fluke when compared to his stats last year.

    I remember earlier this season a few here who wanted to throw Ben Revere under the bus simply because they believed him to be a weak outfielder. I don’t read anything now from those same critics (smile). Sure, he made a few misguided directions in the outfield but he more than compensated with spectacular catches (which one can see on ESPN highlights) that prevented a run or two from scoring. A weak arm? Well, he does have two assists (smile). As a leadoff hitter, he is using all his weapons, making contact and spreading hits to all parts of the field and his speed (36 stoen bases; 3rd in the NL). He even has a chance to win the batting title (currently hitting .315; 2nd in the NL). A note: The Phillies haven’t had a batting champion since Hall of Famer Richie Ashburn hit .350 in 1958.

    I don’t understand the hate by a few on Papelbon. The potential Hall of Famer pitched to his 29th save in 32 attempts and reduced his era to 1.58 yesterday. What he does on the field is more important than anyone’s gripes about the closer’s personality.

    Finally, let us not forget Utley’s fine season and in my book, the comeback player of the season.

    • Wheez Kid

      August 20, 2014 at 3:48 pm

      Referring to the comment on HOF Richie Ashburn –
      Whitey was described as a Punch and Judy hitter with a inferior, weak arm in centerfield. He also was a prolific base stealer. These attributes seem awfully familiar today. Now if only Ben could draw a walk once in a while.

    • loupossehl

      August 20, 2014 at 5:51 pm

      Agree with you on Byrd, Revere and Papelbon. As to Byrd and Papelbon – if some other club wants them, make them really “pay” for them in terms of talented and younger players. If no deal that’s good for us, we should be in no rush to move them along as they’re big-time contributing … and look just fine in Phillies uniforms.

      As to Revere – I understand the shortcomings the audience here has mentioned. But, as Wheezkid has noted, he has such skill-set similarities to Ashburn who, among Phillies fans, is God-like. (And who I saw play … as a minor leaguer.) One has to be a Houdini-like contortionist to be “up” on Whitey and “down” on Revere. Like we’re so loaded with talent right now that we can sniff at a guy who has great wheels, is fearless, and may steal 45-50 bases and win a batting title. Sheesh!

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