Despite being overshadowed by other big name free agent signings this off-season, the Philadelphia Phillies’ decision to bring veteran right fielder Marlon Byrd could prove to be one of the better signings. Byrd signed a $16 million, two-year deal with a 2016 vesting option.
Byrd had career highs in home runs with 24 and RBIs with 88. He also showed that he could play above-average defense. Most importantly Byrd had his first taste of postseason baseball after 12 seasons in the major leagues.
A deeper look into an advance statistic shows the true value of Byrd. He can potentially be an x-factor for the Phillies’ lineup that desperately needs protection for some of their aging stars. The statistic wRC+(weighted runs created plus) essentially takes basic offensive statistics and breaks them down to how many runs a particular player created, then measures them against the rest of the players as well as adjusting for ballpark factors. A player with a wRC+ score of 100 is considered average. In 2013, Byrd had a wRC+ of 136, which ranked him No.21 in baseball and ahead of players such as Buster Posey, Carlos Beltran, Adrian Gonzalez and Adam Jones.
What does this mean? This means that based on the average of all the MLB players last year Marlon Byrd was able to generate runs at a very productive rate. This is also impressive considering he played 117 of his 147 games with the New York Mets and the rest with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Barring an injury Byrd can be a very productive hitter for the Phillies in 2014.