Monday, April 24, 2006

We Need More Bobby Abreus

Bobby Abreu has come out firing this year, unlike last year. He has a 305 average, 442 OBP, and 576 slugging thus far, netting 4 doubles, 4 homers, and 3 steals. He also leads the team in runs (15), walks (16), and RBIs (15, with Chase Utley). He's also now walked in 10 straight games. The guy is simply getting it DONE, and he's doing it while also putting the ball in play a lot (9 Ks), if that matters to you.

Now, the entire team has a 256 collective average, 325 OBP and 439 slugging. The slugging is actually above last year's, but the OBP has dipped 23 points. This is where the offense is lacking. They're 15th in the NL in runs, 12th in OBP, 11th in walks, and 14th in pitches per plate appearance (3.64, compared to league-leading Milwaukee with 4.01). All these even take into account that Bobby Abreu himself counts towards these numbers, so imagine the numbers without Bobby. One other interesting stat is that the Phillies are 2nd in the league (and majors) in ground ball to flyball ratio (1.51). They are doing the 'little things' like hitting hte ball on the ground and not 'swinging for the fences'. Perhaps this team, littered with guys who can hit 30+ home runs a year, should start swinging for the fences.

The Phillies are simply hacking. They are 11th in the league in walks and 15th in strikeouts (93, compared to Atlanta's league-leading 148). Their lack of pitchers per plate apperance now makes much more sense when one sees these numbers. They are not running deep counts, at all. The main culprits are Jimmy Rollins (3.20), Aaron Rowand (3.16), David Bell (3.15), and Mike Lieberthal (2.93). The top and bottom of the lineup is simply dragging this offense down in regards to running counts and getting on base. One might ask, what about Aaron Rowand's output thus far, which has been good? Well, his OBP is 361 and his average 324, indicating a largelly average-heavy OBP. This is not good for the future, in my view, because if he has a slump at any time this year he will simply not be getting on base in any fashion. This average-heavy OBP has been Rowand's MO throughout his career, as well (285 avg, 338 OBP).

The middle 4 in the lineup are doing fine in regards to taking pitches,
So, what can be done?

1. Bring up Carlos Ruiz to take over some catching duties from Lieberthal and Sal Fasano. Ruiz is hitting 377 with a 410 OBP and slugging 689!!! in 17 games. Sure, his average will not be that high, but even his mediocre walk rate will be better than Lieberthal's, AND he is sporting some major power(4 doubles, 5 homers). He also actually has some speed, and is a good defensive catcher.

2. Play Abraham Nunez and Alex Gonzalez over David Bell. Bell isn't good anymore, in any sense of that word. Play these guys and if they fail, so be it. But the Phillies can't keep running David Bell out there and have assumed to have put their best lineup out there.

3. Drop Rowand to 6th in the lineup, and move everyone else up one. Putting Bobby Abreu in the 2 hole would be perfect, and this ensure that Ryan Howard is batting 5th. Lineup may or may not be important, but it helps a little that the best guys are getting the most atbats.

4. Tell Rollins to start taking some pitches. The hitting streak is over, stop swinging at high fastballs that you can't reach Jimmy.

5. Make Bobby Abreu a hitting coach when he retires, to help tutor younger players and minor leaguers.

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