Phillies 2008 Infield

Saturday, February 9, 2008 ·

Throughout the next few weeks, I plan to outline the Philadelphia roster. First, I plan to outline the infield for you. All salary information will come from Cot's Baseball Contracts. All fielding stats are 2007 #s. All batting stats are 162 game averages.

Some things you may need to know:
Range Factor - (PO + A) divided by innings
Zone Rating - The percentage of balls fielded by a player in his typical defensive "zone," as measured by Stats Inc.
CERA - Catcher's Earned Run Average. Earned-run average of club's pitchers with a particular catcher behind the plate

Starter - Carlos Ruiz (0.38 Million [2007]) - .997 FPct, 7.32 Range Factor, 5 passed balls, threw out 26 of 83 runners, 4.62 Catcher ERA/.260 avg/.336 obp/.738 ops, 54 R, 10 HR, 73 RBI, 7 SB, 65 Ks
Bench - Chris Coste (0.385 Million [2007]) - 1.000 FPct, 6.27 RF, 2 PB, threw out 6 of 21 runners, 4.93 Catcher ERA/.301, .351, .822, 57 R, 17 HR, 71 RBI, 73 Ks

- Carlos Ruiz made the All-Rookie Team as a catcher in a very thin class. Carlos Ruiz was very good defensively and has one of the better arms in the league. Coste provides a better bat, but the game he calls is not the greatest.

1st Baseman
Starter - Ryan Howard (TBA)
- .991 FPct, 12 errors, 9.38 RF, .802 Zone Rating/
.291/.397/1.007, 101 R, 51 HR, 139 RBI, 195 Ks
Bench - Wes Helms (2.15 M) - .990 FPct, 1 error, 8.50 RF, .667 Zone Rating/.265, .326, .761, 42 R, 13 HR, 56 RBI, 96 Ks
Bench - Greg Dobbs (0.385 [2007]) - 1.00 FPct, 9.95 RF, .857 Zone Rating/ .266/.314/.724, 41 R, 8 HR, 58 RBI, 3 SB, 74 Ks

- It should not be news to you that Ryan Howard is an awful defensive first baseman. Many of his errors come from errant throws. He'll make some nice plays here and there, but you should not expect anything special. Wes Helms will most likely be designated for assignment or traded by the time opening day comes around. Greg Dobbs is an upgrade defensively over Howard, but not much. Howard's bat generally makes up for his horrific defense.

2nd Basemen
Starter - Chase Utley
(7.5 M) - .985 FPct, 10 E, 5.10 RF, .874 ZR/ .300/.374/.897 106 R, 27 HR, 109 RBI, 13 SB, 100 Ks
Bench - Eric Bruntlett (0.600 M) - Numbers as SS: .961 FPct, 7 E, 4.41 RF, .822 ZR/His offensive numbers are not worth talking about. He is that bad.

- Put it this way, if Utley goes down with injury again, expect the Phillies to make another move like they did last year for Iguchi. Bruntlett by no means is a viable long-term replacement. He is an above-average fielder, however and could provide Utley, whom never wants a rest, some possible needed rest. Utley, himself, is one of the best, if not the best defensive second baseman in baseball. Utley is also one of the best all-around hitters in baseball.

Starter - Jimmy Rollins (7.0 M)
- .985 FPct, 11 E, 4.41 RF, .824 ZR/ .277/.331/.772 112 R, 17 HR, 71 RBI, 36 SB, 93 Ks
Bench - Eric Bruntlett - See Above

- Jimmy Rollins is coming off an arguable gold glove year. Personally, I think Tulowitzki should have won it and would have if he were not a rookie, but the hype was all about Rollins. Rollins is an above-average short stop. His range is not the absolute best, but he has a very strong arm and makes some fantastic plays. Bruntlett has very similar numbers as Rollins at the short stop position. As a hitter, Rollins has become a great all-around batter and his only stat, I'd like to see improve is his on base percentage. I wouldn't mind sacrificing some home runs to see him get on base more. Beggars cannot be choosers and I'll take anything relatively close to last year.

Third Baseman
Starter - Pedro Feliz (4.25 M)
- .973 FPct, 11 E, 2.97 RF, .852 ZR/ .252/.288/.721 64 R, 20 HR, 77 RBI, 93 Ks
Bench - Greg Dobbs - .945 FPct, 7 E, 2.61 RF, .718 ZR/ See Above
Bench - Wes Helms - .932 FPct, 9 E, 2.53 RF, .761 ZR/ See Above

The addition of Pedro Feliz has given the Phillies one of the best, if not the best defensive third baseman in baseball. Feliz's big knock however is his terrible on base percentage. When Wes Helms finds first base more than you, you know you have a problem. He needs to develop more plate patience, but it seems too be a little too late in his career for that to happen. Feliz does have some home run pop and he should add a few in the home park, but who knows. For some reason Wes Helms couldn't. Last year, the Phillies had twice as many errors by their third baseman as they had home runs. Greg Dobbs will get some opportunities against right-handed pitching, but it is nice to know there likely will not be that much of a platoon this year.

Overall, the Phillies have a pretty good defensive infield and I would consider them one of the best in the majors. Last year, they were the 5th best defensive infield and their overall numbers should improve.

Offensively, the Phillies may have the best power numbers by an infield and the best all-around offensive numbers. If Feliz even slightly improves his offensive numbers, watch out. Also, I expect some big improvement offensively from Carlos Ruiz this year.


Anonymous said...
February 10, 2008 at 1:46 PM  

Good job....we are basically on the same page with our thoughts....the potential is here for this infield to do something special....can't wait to hear your thoughts on the other positions....also on Wes Helms i really don't see him getting traded(cause who would want him)so he will probably be released unless someone goes down in spring training.....

John Russo said...
February 10, 2008 at 4:17 PM  

Yea no one is gonna trade prospects for Helms. The infield is the strongest it's been since the late 70's-early 80's w/ Rose, Trillo, Bowa, and Schmidt. Offensively, we need to cut down on strike outs and up the averages of Howard and Ruiz. Power is not a problem and neither will the gloves. Can't wait to see the interesting outfield situation we have.

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