Philadelphia Phillies: Plugging a Lineup Hole

Franco Will Need Help to Score More Easily. Photo by Bill Streicher – USA TODAY Sports.

While rumors fly amid speculation and wishful thinking, the front office has filled an outfield corner and an important slot in the batting order if the bounce-back candidate for the Philadelphia Phillies is more productive.

An Indirect Hit: 

In every targeted endeavor, you eyeball your plans like a marksman and your success will depend on your accuracy.

During the Thanksgiving weekend, general manager Matt Klentak is relaxing before the Winter Meetings in two weeks. He could go with the 25-man roster or make an improvement if a deal is at hand. Barring, however, injuries and any changes, fans anticipate shortcomings in the Phils’ offense.

With his comeback gambles, Klentak notched a 50 percent mark last summer: Jeremy Hellickson rebounded, and Charlie Morton was off to a good start before his campaign-ending injury in April. This year, Pat Neshek and Howie Kendrick at $6.5 million and $10 million respectively are the pickups for a total of $16.5 million. This compares to the $16 million last season for Hellickson and Morton at $7 million and $9 million respectively, including Morton’s $1 million buyout. Revealing pattern, no?

If you listen carefully, you can almost hear new hitting coach Matt Stairs joking and haggling with Mickey Morandini, the coach at first base, for the number 12 they both wore and Morandini currently has. Additionally, Stairs often displayed his grasp of hitting mechanics in the broadcast booth, but will his help translate to improvement on the field during 2017? That stated, you can picture Stairs and manager Pete Mackanin making mental notes regarding the progress of their front-of-the-lineup regulars: Cesar Hernandez, Roman Quinn and Odubel Herrera. But Stairs and Mackanin will also powwow regarding the pop hitting seventh and eighth in the order with Cameron Rupp and Freddy Galvis.

Chatting behind the batting cage will be Klentak and Mackanin, and you can imagine their watchful eyes. They already know Stairs will work with Maikel Franco on his plate discipline and also realize Tommy Joseph will face more right-handed pitching. Klentak and Mackanin will also have the best view of batting practice for Kendrick and discuss the open hole he’ll fill.

IN OTHER WORDS: 

 “To obtain success, you must get the most out of your ability and to do that you must work on your weaknesses.” – Joseph Morgan

When you consider that the expiration of the CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) might delay all transactions during a short lockout beginning on December 1, the red pinstripes will probably have an unchanged offense. Ideally, the organization would prefer a consistent hitter batting fifth between Franco and Joseph, but Herrera, Galvis and Rupp aren’t the solution. But if the Phillies could fill the five hole with a .290 hitter, Franco would get better pitches, and this player could also benefit with the threat of Joseph’s power behind him in the order.

Three different examples:

  • 2013: 122 Gms., 513 PA, a .297 Avg., 13 HR, 54 RBI, a .775 OPS and a 2.6 WAR.
  • 2014: 157 Gms., 674 PA, a .293 Avg., 7 HR, 75 RBI, a .744 OPS and a 4.6 WAR.
  • 2015: 117 Gms., 495 PA, a .295 Avg., 9 HR, 54 RBI, a .746 OPS and a 2.2 WAR.

If the Phils could get one of the above productive campaigns, would this player temporarily patch the five slot until an MiLB outfielder could be ready in August or 2018? Yes, but who had these numbers and would bat fifth? Kendrick.

Kendrick’s Offense Will Be an Important Contribution Toward a Successful 2017. Photo by Richard Mackson – USA TODAY Sports.

The Numerical Bible:

This review is not a sabermetrics article, which means no heavy statistical analysis. But because some readers rely on stats, this is only a reference: no reason to articulate the importance of these numbers.

These numbers do not include any postseason activity.

Kendrick’s stats:

  • 2013: 122 Gms., 513 PA, a .297 Avg., a .335 OBP, a .439 SLG, a .142 ISO, a .340 BABIP, 13 HR, 54 RBI, a .775 OPS, a 2.6 WAR, 6 SB, 3 CS and a 4.4 Spd.
  • 2014: 157 Gms., 674 PA, a .293 Avg., a .347 OBP, a .397 SLG, a .104 ISO, a .347 BABIP, 7 HR, 75 RBI, a .744 OPS, a 4.6 WAR, 14 SB, 5 CS and a 5.2 Spd.
  • 2015: 117 Gms., 495 PA, a .295 Avg., a .336 OBP, a .409 SLG, a .114 ISO, a .342 BABIP, 9 HR, 54 RBI, a .746 OPS, a 2.2 WAR, 6 SB, 2 CS and a 4.3 Spd.

Hitting stats:

  • Hernandez, 26.5: 155 Gms., 622 PA, a .294 Avg., a .371 OBP, a .393 SLG, a .099 ISO, a .363 BABIP, 6 HR, 39 RBI, a .764 OPS, a 4.4 WAR, 17 SB, 13 CS and a 5.7 Spd.
  • Quinn, 23.5: 15 Gms., 69 PA, a .263 Avg., a .373 OBP, a .333 SLG, a .070 ISO, a .395 BABIP, 0 HR, 6 RBI, a .706 OPS, a 0.4 WAR, 5 SB, 1 CS and a 6.0 Spd.
  • Herrera, almost 25: 159 Gms., 656 PA, a .286 Avg., a .361 OBP, a .420 SLG, a .134 ISO, a .349 BABIP, 15 HR, 49 RBI, a .781 OPS, a 4.0 WAR, 25 SB, 7 CS and a 6.3 Spd.
  • Franco, 24: 152 Gms., 630 PA, a .255 Avg., a .306 OBP, a .427 SLG, a .172 ISO, a .271 BABIP, 25 HR, 88 RBI, a .733 OPS and a 1.4 WAR.
  • Kendrick, 33.5: 146 Gms., 543 PA, a .255 Avg., a .326 OBP, a .366 SLG, a .111 ISO, a .301 BABIP, 8 HR, 40 RBI, a .691 OPS, a 0.9 WAR, 10 SB, 2 CS and a 4.8 Spd.
  • Joseph, 25.5: 107 Gms., 347 PA, a .257 Avg., a .308 OBP, a .505 SLG, a .248 ISO, a .267 BABIP, 21 HR, 47 RBI, an .813 OPS and a 0.9 WAR.
  • Rupp, 28: 105 Gms., 419 PA, a .252 Avg., a .303 OBP, a .447 SLG, a .195 ISO, a .315 BABIP, 16 HR, 54 RBI, a .750 OPS and a 1.6 WAR.
  • Galvis, 27: 158 Gms., 624 PA, a .241 Avg., a .274 OBP, a .399 SLG, a .158 ISO, a .280 BABIP, 20 HR, 67 RBI, a .673 OPS and a 2.4 WAR.

This article originally appeared on