Phillies: Comparing the Outfield vs. the NL East
With McCutchen, Haseley and Harper expected to start again this season, how does the Philadelphia Phillies outfield stack up against their division?
The Philadelphia Phillies enter the 2020 season with the same look to the starting outfield, projected to be Andrew McCutchen, Adam Haseley and Bryce Harper.
With the possibility of a tight division race, how does the Phillies outfield stack up against their National League East counterparts?
Today, I’ll be comparing the projected starting outfielders, according to MLB.com.
Of course, spring training is just getting underway and things can change.
In left field, McCutchen’s counterparts are Marcell Ozuna of the Atlanta Braves, J.D. Davis of the New York Mets, Juan Soto of the Washington Nationals and Corey Dickerson of the Miami Marlins.
In 2019, McCutchen was limited to 59 games, so naturally his hitting numbers are much lower than his competition.
When it comes to percentages, he was fourth in batting average (0.256) but second in OBP (0.378). He was also third in WAR (1.4) behind Soto and Ozuna.
In center field, Haseley’s counterparts are Ender Inciarte of the Braves, Brandon Nimmo of the Mets, Victor Robles of the Nationals and Lewis Brinson of the Marlins.
Robles posted the best hitting numbers by a large margin, but also played in more than double the number of games than any of the other projected starters.
Haseley held his ground though, despite it being his rookie season.
He was second in hits (59) and doubles (14), third in HR (five – tie) and RBI (26) and had the best batting average (0.266). He was also second in WAR with 1.7.
Despite holding the best batting average, he was fourth in on-base percentage with 0.324.
In right field, Harper’s counterparts are Ronald Acuna Jr. of the Braves, Michael Conforto of the Mets, Adam Eaton of the Nationals and Brian Anderson of the Marlins.
Although he did not make the waves that fans had hoped for, the Phillies prized off-season pickup did well compared with his fellow right fielders.
Harper led the group in doubles (36), RBI (114), walks (99) and OBP (0.372). He was second in HR (35) and OPS (0.882), but was behind in batting average, ranked fourth (0.260).
So, what does all this mean?
The Phillies outfield still held its ground, despite watching the Braves win the division and the Nationals win the World Series, with the likes of Acuna, Soto and Robles.
Philly’s outfield should still be considered a threat on the offensive and defensive end, especially with McCutchen returning from injury.
They also have the most combined experience amongst their division.
McCutchen, Haseley and Harper (yes, mainly McCutchen and Harper) combine for 20 seasons of major league experience, compared to 15 for the Braves’ outfield, 13 for both the Nationals and Marlins and 12 for the Mets.
This wealth of experience gives them the advantage in combined career hitting totals, which includes 457 HR and 1,480 RBI.
Comparing career hitting totals by position would be skewed, with McCutchen and Harper having played in the most games by far and Haseley having played in the least.
But, what about career percentages?
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In left field, McCutchen’s .286 batting average is tied with Dickerson and just behind Soto’s .287. He also ranks second to Soto in OBP (.378) and OPS (.858).
In center field, Haseley’s .266 batting average is second to Inciarte’s .286. However, he ranks fourth in OBP (.324) and OPS (.720), while placing third in slugging (.396).
And in right field, Harper is second in batting average (.276) behind Acuna and Eaton (.285). He’s also second in slugging (.512) but is better than his division counterparts in OBP (.385) and is tied with Acuna for the best OPS (.897).
These stats show that the division has some talented outfielders and that the top teams are close when it comes to their players’ resumes.
With the extra experience they bring to the table, the Phillies outfield could be viewed as having the leg up for this season.
Year number two for Harper and McCutchen in Philadelphia and Haseley’s second season in the majors means they’ve also had time to settle in.
The trio stacks up well against their division counterparts and could play a large role in the offensive success of the team.
It’s been nearly a decade since the Phillies last won their division, made the playoffs and finished with a winning record. Perhaps McCutchen, Haseley and Harper can help the 2020 team do just that.