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Hitting Trends: Lefties And Power Arms

The Phillies offense this year has two very startling trends, at least to my eye: Poor hitting against lefties and poor hitting against big power arms.

I checked statistics on these trends to see if they were, in fact, trends:

Phillies vs. LHP: 493 PA, . 235 AVG, .317 OBP, .438 SLG
Phillies vs. RHP: 1025 PA, .257 AVG, .329 OBP, .426 SLG

Looks like while the Phils don’t “hit” lefties as well as righties, they actually get better results when they do hit them.

Who are the main clubbers against lefties?

Pedro Feliz: 48 PA, .273 AVG, .333 OBP, .545 SLG
Eric Bruntlett: 37 PA, .265 AVG, .324 OBP, .412 SLG
Pat Burrell: 48 PA, .278 AVG, .458 OBP, .472 SLG
Jayson Werth: 49 PA, .302 AVG, .388 OBP, .651 SLG
Chris Coste: 16 PA, .308 AVG, .438 OBP, .385 SLG

Yeah, Werth gets it done against lefties. Not so much against righties (.667 OPS). Who doesn’t get it done against lefties? Obviously Ryan Howard (.148 AVG, .519 OPS), Carlos Ruiz (.190 AVG, .608 OPS), Geoff Jenkins (.083 AVG, .167 OPS).

Against the Braves this week the Phils are facing three left-handed pitchers. It might be worth the idea to field a lineup of Rollins/Victorino/Utley/Burrell/Werth/Feliz/Coste/Bruntlett at least for one of those games.

Then came the second trend, power vs. finesse:

Phillies vs. power arms: 596 PA, .228 AVG, .316 OBP, .413 SLG
Phillies vs. finesse arms: 543 PA, .280 AVG, .324 OBP, .488 SLG

Clearly the Phils knock around finesse pitchers. Guys who don’t have great stuff but try to locate balls are usually targets prime for assault, but guys who can get the fastball up there and use an effective breaking pitch will beat the Phils. In short, Cole Hamels would kill us, Kyle Kendrick would be killed.

After more investigating, I found Howard’s real achilles heel:

Ryan Howard vs. power: 66 PA, .119 AVG, .551 OPS
Ryan Howard vs. finesse: 52 PA, .302 AVG, .850 OPS

Interesting, eh? Seems Howard has bad timing with the big fastball, putting him down in counts and setting up breaking balls that kill him. Maybe it’s the same problem that ailed Burrell a few years ago.

Who can hit power?

Burrell vs. power: 69 PA, .300 AVG, 1.078 OPS
Utley vs. power: 68 PA, .295 AVG, .925 OPS
Jenkins vs. power: 39 PA, .324 AVG, .793 OPS
Greg Dobbs vs. power: 15 PA, .615 AVG, 1.667 OPS
Coste vs. power: 27 PA, .261 AVG, 1.066 OPS
Ruiz vs. power: 37 PA, .281 AVG, .785 OPS

When facing a big hurling pitcher, maybe it’s worth throwing out there a Rollins/Victorino/Utley/Burrell/Jenkins/Dobbs/Feliz/Coste lineup?

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