Phillies: Evaluating their offense under Charlie Manuel
What, if any, impact has Charlie Manuel had on the Phillies offense?
On August 13, the Phillies announced their intentions to replace hitting coach John Mallee with fan-favorite former manager Charlie Manuel.
Despite the incredible hype in the first few days, the spirit has diminished. Regardless, the team’s performance at the plate has changed since Manuel returned to the bench.
The date splits are as follows: Before Charlie (through August 12), and since hiring (August 13 – present).
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While I could analyze the scenario through totals, it would be better to present numbers through more advanced measures.
The most notable differences lie in OPS, BABIP, and wRC+. Their OPS has jumped from 0.738 to 0.833. BABIP, or Batting Average on Balls In Play, has risen from 0.291 to 0.343. wRC+, or Weighted-runs-created+, measures the overall contribution of the offense relative to the league average of 100. That number has jumped from 90 (10 percent worse than average league offense) to 113.
The hard-hit rate has jumped nearly five percent, from 37.8 percent to 42.5 percent. The pull rate has declined by 6.1 percent.
These jumps are an eye-opener. Keep in mind, though, the Phillies had three games in the last two and a half weeks in which they twice scored 11 runs and another where they managed 12 runs.
That has a significant effect on the smaller sample size.
Other advanced measures indicate a decline. Walk rate has declined by 0.4 percent and strikeout rate has risen by 1.5 percent, for a BB/K ratio change from 0.42 to 0.38.
Philadelphia has hit 149 home runs before Charlie, for 1.26 home runs per game. Since his hiring, the team has hit 20 home runs for 1.25 home runs per game.
How about the individual players? Here are their batting averages for before and after Charlie’s hiring:
- Bryce Harper: .250/.314
- Rhys Hoskins: .245/.189 (.250 in his last 10 games)
- Jean Segura: .281/.323
- Scott Kingery: .275/.268
- J.T. Realmuto: .272/.299
- Cesar Hernandez: .283/.305
So, Charlie’s presence can be correlated to increased run production. But as fans, we must recognize that there are multiple parts to the whole.
Philadelphia has gone 9-7 since August 13, and the pitching numbers have been similar to those throughout the season. But other teams are pulling away, as the Phils have lost 1.5 games in the Wild Card race as the Nationals and Cubs firm their ground on the one-game play-in.
To summarize, Charlie Manuel’s presence has helped the Phils produce more runs. But the team has had three games with double-digit runs scored that skew those numbers significantly. The rest of the team’s performance has not complimented the offense enough to keep ground with playoff teams, and their playoff chances are shrinking.
Will this club dig deep and find something special to fuel a run for the wild card? That remains to be seen, but one thing is clear: September is here, and it will go by quickly.