Philadelphia Phillies Finish Month of April: Grading the Offense, Player By Player

By Cody Swartz

Following a series sweep of the Chicago Cubs, the Philadelphia Phillies are 11-12 and mired in fourth place in the NL East. It’s nowhere near last year’s April of 18 wins and the offense has been a major problem. As a team, the Phillies are hitting just .247/.293/.347 with 14 home runs with an offense that ranks near the bottom of the league in terms of runs scored.

Carlos Ruiz: Carlos Ruiz is hitting at a .313 clip although his walks are surprisingly low and his on-base percentage of .343 is 13 points less than his lifetime mark. He has three home runs with 10 RBIs which gives him an impressive .516 slugging percentage. Ruiz is typically fine behind the plate, and with the offense at an all-time worst, it might be time for the Phillies to see about hitting Ruiz in the two spot in the lineup. Grade: A

Ty Wigginton: Ty Wigginton has done a phenomenal job filling in for Ryan Howard, as evidenced by his .322/.379/.475 statline plus a pair of home runs. It’s not the RBI total Howard would have had, as Howard has 27 last April, and Wigginton has just eight this month, but Phillies fans have to be very pleased with the way Wigginton is filling in for Howard. Grade: A

Freddy Galvis: Freddy Galvis is exactly what was advertised – he’s a subpar offensive player with exceptional defensive skills that should win him a Gold Glove if he ever starts for a full season. Galvis is hitting just .191 with a .519 OPS that is more in the Michael Martinez range, but he is so impressive defensively that Fan Graphs actually rates him as having contributed 0.3 wins above a replacement player this season, fourth best among any Phillies hitter. Grade: C

Jimmy Rollins: Jimmy Rollins hasn’t parlayed his new contract into success on the field yet, as he is batting just .235 with a .271 slugging percentage. He is doing well defensively, as he always does, but Rollins needs to step up his offensive numbers this season. He hasn’t been hitting in the leadoff spot as much as one would expect, and he is playing like a 33-year old shortstop. Grade: D

Placido Polanco: The Phillies tried to trade Placido Polanco this offseason but couldn’t find a suitor, and now they are living with the consequences. Polanco is hitting .250 with a .292 slugging percentage, no home runs, and no stolen bases. He has driven in four runs, and that’s not good news for a player that has the fourth-most at-bats on the team. Like Rollins and Galvis, it’s fortunate that Polanco is a stud defensively. Grade: D

Juan Pierre: Juan Pierre began spring training as a possible candidate to make the 25-man roster, and now he is the starting left fielder on a team with championship aspirations. Pierre has taken the job from John Mayberry, Jr., both because Pierre has done so well and because Mayberry has done so poorly. Pierre is hitting at a .318 clip. He rarely strikes out and he’s doing an admirable job in place of Mayberry. Grade: B

Shane Victorino: Shane Victorino is playing for a new contract this season, and he’s not helping his case with a .228/.276/.380 statline through the month of April. He does lead the team with four home runs and 12 runs scored, plus seven stolen bases, and he’s phenomenal defensively, so he does end up as the second-best overall offensive player on the Phillies, according to Fan Graphs’ WAR. Grade: C+

Hunter Pence: I expected a dropoff in production from Placido Polanco, John Mayberry, Jr., and maybe Jimmy Rollins. But Hunter Pence’s dismal April has frustrated me the most. I predicted a .300 batting average, 35 home runs, and a top-10 MVP finish from Pence. Currently he is hitting .253 with three home runs and 12 RBIs, power numbers that put him near the team leaders, but that doesn’t mean he is having a good season. Pence has an on-base percentage below .300, his slugging percentage is at just .391, and he has an awful walk to strikeout ratio. Grade: D

Brian Schneider: I was surprised that the Phillies re-signed Brian Schneider, especially after the way he performed offensively last season. He is batting .222 with one walk in 19 plate appearances; that’s pretty much what I expected from Schneider. He’s not being paid for his offensive numbers, which is why I would like to see the Phillies give Erik Kratz from Triple-A a try, but Schneider is very stout at handling the pitchers behind the plate. Grade: C

John Mayberry, Jr: It’s time for the Phillies to consider moving on from the John Mayberry, Jr. Era. He is batting .204 and he has more at-bats than anyone in baseball (other than Nyjer Morgan) without a walk. Mayberry has no home runs, he has driven in just two runs, and he is striking out in over one-third of his plate appearances. What is most shocking is that Mayberry has a .313 BABIP, which means he is actually getting a little lucky when he does put the ball into play. Between the strikeouts, the pop ups, and the lack of home runs, Mayberry has been a major disappointment. Grade: F

Jim Thome: Well, this has been an awkward month for Jim Thome. The Phillies re-signed the former slugger and expectations were that Jim Thome could be a dangerous pinch hitter off the bench, a la Matt Stairs from 2008. Thome is batting just .111 with an identical slugging percentage, and he has struck out nearly half the time he has stepped up to the plate. It may be time for the Phillies to cut ties with Thome soon. Grade: F

Pete Orr: The Phillies didn’t expect Pete Orr to be a part of the 25-man big league roster this April, but the injury to Michael Martinez pushed Orr onto the major league squad. Orr is hitting .286 with a .476 slugging percentage in 22 plate appearances, and he’s done well with the glove. Grade: B+

Laynce Nix: Like Ty Wigginton, Laynce Nix has been a very pleasant surprise for the Phillies. He is batting .276/.382/.517 with five runs scored and six RBIs in 34 plate appearances. He has filled in at both first base and left field, and although his numbers will assuredly drop, Nix has been a fantastic addition to the Howard-less Phillies. Grade: A-

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