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Philadelphia Phillies: Grading the Offense Player By Player for August

The Philadelphia Phillies entered the month of August with just a glimmer of hope that they could still fight their way back into the National League playoff race.

By going 17-12, though, the Phillies are still eight games back of the St. Louis Cardinals in the hunt for the final NL wild card spot and they will need a truly spectacular September to be still playing October ball.

Erik Kratz: Because of the injury that forced Carlos Ruiz to miss nearly the entire month, Kratz gets graded as the starter. Not only does he grade well as a backup subbing in as a starter, he grades well if he were a starter regularly. Kratz accounted for 0.7 WAR in the month of August, a figure that prorates to 4.2 for the season, a number that would make him tied for the sixth-best catcher from last year and tied for the third-best in the National League. Kratz batted .270 with five home runs and 12 RBIs that gave him a .527 slugging percentage and he saved the Phillies some runs with his good defense at the plate, particularly the block he had in last night’s game. Grade: A

Ryan Howard: Howard never rates well according to sites like FanGraphs because he can’t run the bases well an doesn’t play good defense, plus he finished with a WAR of -0.2 for the month of August that made him the website’s second-worst National League Player for the month. Howard did hit six home runs and drive in an incredible 25 runs (tied for fifth-best in the game), but some of his other numbers, like a .314 on-base percentage and a .472 slugging percentage (.786 OPS), just aren’t up to par with his standards. He struck out in 38.1 percent of his plate appearances, the single worst total in the game, and it’s not as if he walked enough (8.5 percent) to make up for it. Grade: C

Chase Utley: Utley seems to have returned to elite form as he played outstanding baseball for the month of August in all categories. He posted an .833 OPS, hitting four home runs, driving in 12 runs, scoring 15 and stealing three bases. He played tremendous defense and added 1.2 wins to the Phillies’ totals strictly with his performance. Grade: A-

Jimmy Rollins: Rollins had a good month in many aspects and a bad month in many aspects. The good: he hit five home runs, stole seven bases, scored 19 runs, and drove in 13. He plays Gold Glove defense, runs the bases well, and still ranks among the top 10 shortstops in the major leagues. The bad: he batted just .213, he walked little enough that he had a .283 on-base percentage, and he was called out twice for not hustling. Grade: B

Kevin Frandsen: Say goodbye to the days of Placido Polanco as the Phillies’ starting third baseman. Kevin Frandsen is playing with no goal of giving the job up: he batted .352 for the month of August, made his fair share of strong plays on defense and rated as the second-best overall player for the month (0.9 WAR). Frandsen has so little power that it’s almost like he’s a clone of Polanco (he hit just three doubles and no home runs all month), but the Phillies have to be pleased with the way he has been playing so far. Grade: A

Juan Pierre: Pierre’s batting average dropped off in August as expected (how long did we really expect him to hit .300?), and the problem with a singles hitter like Pierre is that when his batting averages goes, there’s nothing else about his game to complement it. Sure, he can still run well, but he has absolutely no power (.302 on-base percentage, .595 OPS), he can’t throw and he has no patience at the plate. Pierre posted a WAR of -0.1 for the month. Grade: D

John Mayberry, Jr: The Phillies really don’t have a starting center fielder anymore. Sometimes it’s Domonic Brown, other times it’s Mayberry, Laynce Nix or Michael Martinez. I’m waiting for the Phillies to just put Howard out in center field for a day. Mayberry played pretty well in August, though, hitting .290/.343/.435 with a .778 OPS, five home runs, 12 runs scored and 13 RBIs. He doesn’t walk as much as he should, but he cut down on his strikeouts this past month, and he can play all three outfield positions (and first base), which should count for something. Grade: B-

Domonic Brown: Brown doesn’t really have a set defensive position, which is more because he’s a liability than the fact that the other positions are set. Brown is playing regularly as the Phillies attempt to find out if he’s any good still – he hit .247 with one home run and no stolen bases while rating as a -0.1 WAR. Grade: D

Carlos Ruiz: I actually forgot Ruiz played in August. He had four at-bats and went 0-for-4 before going on the DL. He gets a pass because he was hurt. Grade: C

Brian Schneider: Fortunately, the Phillies have been getting a strong performance from Kratz because Schneider is probably all but done as an effective major league player. He hit just .200 with a .573 OPS in 22 plate appearances, playing only when Kratz needed a day off. Grade: D

Steve Lerud: Who? Oh yeah, the guy from Double-A or whatever. He went 0-for-4 with a strikeout, but what did you expect? Grade: F

Ty Wigginton: Wigginton surprised me with a decent August after a subpar year both offensively and defensively. He batted .308 with a .829 OPS, which isn’t too bad for a backup first baseman and corner outfielder. Grade: B

Laynce Nix: Laynce Nix had your typical boring month by a reserve first baseman/corner outfielder. He hit .200 with a .623 OPS in 47 plate appearances, contributing just one home run, two RBIs, no stolen bases and so-so defense. Grade: D

Hector Luna: 0-for-5 with a strikeout. Unproductive. Grade: F

Michael Martinez: I don’t even want to write about Martinez. He went 3-for-26 at the plate with a .379 OPS. That’s all you need to know. Grade: F

Placido Polanco: As a backup, Polanco played OK, actually. He batted .333 and even though he had no power, .333 is .333. He plays great defense and he’s a terrific backup – just not an everyday starter by any means. Grade: B+