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

The Philadelphia Phillies rebounded from a tough April to win 16 games in May, moving several games over .500. The Phillies are still in last place, which is more a testament to the strength of the NL East as a whole than the weakness of the Phillies.

The Phillies – a team well-known for its offensive struggles this season – led all major league teams in hits (293) for the month of May, batting at a .282 clip with a .437 slugging percentage. As a team, the Phillies had the third-highest offensive WAR (7.6) for the month, just behind the Los Angeles Dodgers (7.8) and St. Louis Cardinals (8.1).

Carlos Ruiz: After his stellar month of May, Carlos Ruiz has put his name in serious MVP consideration. He batted .418 during the calendar month with a .484 on-base percentage and .696 slugging percentage; his batting average ranked second in the game and his on-base percentage was a point ahead of Joey Votto for first. Ruiz slugged five home runs, drove in 21, scored 16, and finished fifth among all major league players in total WAR for the month, registering 1.9 wins above replacement. In comparison, Ruiz had a WAR of just 0.8 for the entire season in 2008 when the Phillies won the World Series. Ruiz also filled in admirably in the cleanup spot, where he has been needed with Ryan Howard rehabbing from a torn Achilles tendon and Hunter Pence struggling in the role. Grade: A+

Ty Wigginton: After hitting .322 in April while filling in for Ryan Howard, Ty Wigginton dropped to just .218 in May. Wigginton scored 15 runs and drove in 16, which are fine totals, but those are more because the Phillies had to bat him cleanup than his prowess as a hitter. Wigginton struck out an absurd 26.9 percent of the time and played so-so defense. Grade: C-

Freddy Galvis: Freddy Galvis had a pretty good May, especially considering he’s a 22-year old rookie filling in at a position he doesn’t play on a team expected to contend for the World Series. Galvis batted .255 with nine doubles, putting up a .422 slugging percentage. He is extremely consistent with the glove and has future Gold Glover written all over him. Galvis rated 10th among qualifying second basemen in WAR (0.5) for the month. Grade: B

Jimmy Rollins: Jimmy Rollins spent most of May making Phillies fans regret the fact that he was given a three-year contract extension with an option for a fourth year. Rollins batted just .241/.302/.336, numbers that have become almost the norm for him at this point in his career. He runs the bases very well and fields his position admirably, but he’s no longer even one of the better shortstops in the game. Grade: C

Placido Polanco: Placido Polanco played much better in May than he did in April, hitting .293 after batting just .250 in April. Polanco plays extremely underrated defense, but the problem is that he rarely walks and he has little to no power, so his .691 OPS rated just 16th of 21 qualifying third basemen in May. Polanco is what he is – he’s a good contact hitter who doesn’t offer much in terms of plate discipline or power, but he’s a veteran player and a terrific fielder. Grade: C+

Juan Pierre: The Phillies got a real steal in Juan Pierre, who had another terrific outing in May from Pierre. He batted .329 with 26 hits, often batting in the top two spots in the lineup. What’s frustrating about Pierre is that despite his speed, he’s a terrible baserunner and he has an awful throwing arm in left field, so he didn’t get many points for anything but his hitting. Grade: B

Shane Victorino: Shane Victorino played much better in May, hitting .267/.348/.431 with 19 RBIs. He’s batted all over the lineup – hitting leadoff, second, third, fourth, and fifth. Victorino is an underrated defender who gets to every ball in center field and he is a terrific base runner. He was the second-best Phillie behind Ruiz among offensive players for the month, and rated ninth among center fielders. Grade: B

Hunter Pence: Hunter Pence really came into his own as a power hitter in the month of May, hitting eight home runs and posting a .548 slugging percentage. He led all right fielders in runs scored (24) for the calendar month and he drove in 18 as well. Grade: B+

Brian Schneider: The Phillies re-signed Brian Schneider simply because he’s very knowledgeable in handling the pitching staff. Getting the .314 batting average they got out of him in May was very rewarding, and Schneider also slugged .571 with it, adding two home runs in just 37 plate appearances. Grade: A

Erik Kratz: Erik Kratz, the Telford, PA native batted just four times in the month, but hit his first major league home run. That gives him a 1.000 slugging percentage for May, a pretty good mark for a career Triple-A player. Grade: B

John Mayberry, Jr: John Mayberry, Jr. had a solid enough May after his absolutely dreadful April. He batted .270/.329/.419 with two home runs, and what adds to his ability is his versatility in the field, as he can play all three outfield positions. Grade: C+

Laynce Nix: I actually forgot that Laynce Nix had played at all in May before being sidelined with his injury, but he had 17 plate appearances and he did quite well, posting a .412 batting average and .706 slugging percentage. He homered once, drove in five, and registered 0.3 WAR. Grade: B+

Mike Fontenot: Mike Fontenot was one of a handful of backups on the Phillies to enjoy a stellar month of May at the plate. He batted .429 in 24 plate appearances, reaching base in half of his trips to the plate. Fontenot can technically play anywhere in the infield, although he’s not ideal defensively. Still, if he can be a reliable bat off the bench, he may end the Michael Martinez Era in Philly. Grade: A

Pete Orr: The strange case of Pete Orr: He hit .300 in the month of May in 21 plate appearances but was the only member of the offense to register a negative WAR, due primarily to his poor defense and his subpar base running abilities. Grade: B-

Hector Luna: Hector Luna was another backup that had a strong month at the plate, hitting .350 with a .381 on-base percentage and a .550 slugging percentage in 21 plate appearances. Luna can play almost anywhere in the field, which makes him a pretty underrated member of the team. Grade: A