MLB Betting Thoughts: What’s Happened to the Philadelphia Phillies?

Posted by Mila Anderson on June 26, 2015 in

Coming into the 2015 MLB betting season, just about everybody knew not to expect much from the Phillies, because this would be a rebuilding year. Their dynasty in the National League East has left a remnant of aging players who have costly contracts to pay off. However, this year the Phils have been even worse than people had thought, as some of the veterans are playing as well as they can to become trade bait while others are simply holding the bench in place until the next generation of players shows up to bring the 1980 and 2008 world champions back into contentions.

So just how did things get this way? Here are some ways to understand just why the team is this awful at this point in the season.

MLB Betting Thoughts: What’s Happened to the Philadelphia Phillies?



Ten players have had more value than the whole team. If you add up the Wins Above Replacement (WAR) metric for all of the batters and pitchers, you get a measly 3.1. However, the offense alone has been 0.0. This means that you could scour the waiver wire and bring in eight guys, and they would do about as well as the Phillies have. In comparison, Bryce Harper’s WAR is 4.9 – more than all the Phillies put together. There are seven other position players and two pitchers who also contribute more wins above replacement than the combined Phillies squad.

The Phillies are winning at losing. If you follow the HACKING MASS competition that Baseball Prospectus runs each year, you know that it’s a challenge in which players choose the worst possible rosters from the Major League Baseball squads. The leader so far in 2015 is called “Just Take the Phillies” which is what that team owner did. And they’re in first.

The best player at getting on base does it once out of three times. In 2015, no one on the Phillies has an on-base percentage than pitcher Kevin Correia. His on-base percentage (and batting average) is .333, as he has gone 1-for-3. The next best player on the Phillies in terms of on-base percentage is backup infielder Cesar Hernandez (.328). All of the regulars have an OBP that is below the league average of .318.

They are dead last in home runs and runs per game. Citizens Bank Park is a terrific park for hitters. Ryan Howard has hit some home runs, as has rookie Maikel Franco. However, everyone else has been dreadful.

Two of the three least productive players in MLB are Phillies. The biggest surprise here is that Jeff Francoeur isn’t either one, and he’s usually down at the bottom of the WAR numbers. Chase Utley – historically a solid player – should bounce back, but he is at -1 right now. Cody Asche is sitting at 1.2. The bad news about Utley is that he has a $15 million option on his contract that vests if he reaches 500 plate appearances, and he’s on pace to have more than 600.

Two out of every five games have featured Phillie starting pitchers with ERAs over 6.00. David Buchanan, Severino and Jerome Williams have started 41 percent of the Phillies’ games, and their most recent ERAs are 8.76, 8.69 and 6.43, respectively.

If there’s any good news, it’s that the Phillies are headed for the #1 overall pick in the 2016 draft. Teams such as the Pirates, Royals and Astros have recently shown that it’s possible to rebuild through the draft and restocking the minor league system. That should be the focus in Philadelphia as well.

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