If it seems the Phillies’ hitters have been less patient at the plate in recent years, that’s because they have. First, I’ll present the plate discipline indicators, as defined by FanGraphs.com. Then, I’ll show you a chart of 2013 National League averages for these indicators compared to how the 2013 Phillies stack up against the NL averages. Finally, I’ll illustrate how the Phils’ plate discipline has been a downward spiral.
O-Swing%: The percentage of pitches a batter swings at outside the strike zone.
Z-Swing%: The percentage of pitches a batter swings at inside the strike zone.
Swing%: The overall percentage of pitches a batter swings at.
O-Contact%: The percentage of pitches a batter makes contact with outside the strike zone when swinging the bat.
Z-Contact%: The percentage of pitches a batter makes contact with inside the strike zone when swinging the bat.
Contact%: The overall percentage of a batter makes contact with when swinging the bat.
Zone%: The overall percentage of pitches a batter sees inside the strike zone.
F-Strike%: The percentage of first pitch strikes.
SwStr%: The percentage of total pitches a batter swings and misses on.
2013 NL Team Plate Discipline
Philadelphia Phillies – percentages in red indicate above NL average; percentages in blue indicate below NL average
NL Rankings and What It All Means
O-Swing = 5th highest in NL (suggests they swing at more pitches than they should out of the strike zone)
Z-Swing = 9th highest in NL (suggests they swing at the right amount of pitches within strike zone)
Swing % = 7th highest in NL (suggests they swing at right amount of pitches overall)
O-Contact = 2nd lowest in NL (suggests they don’t foul off enough pitches when behind in the count)
Z-Contact = 4th highest in NL (suggests they make enough contact on pitches within K zone)
Contact % = 3rd lowest in NL (suggests O-Contact % is dragging the overall Contact % down)
Zone % = T-8th highest in NL (suggests Phils see more pitches outside the K zone due to low O-Contact %)
F-Strike = 6th highest in NL (suggests opp. pitchers try to get ahead in the count before throwing “slop”)
SwStr = 3rd highest in NL (suggests the Phils, as a team, swing too frequently out of the strike zone and don’t make enough contact when they do. As a result, the Phils are 4th in the league in Ks and tied for 12th in the league in drawing walks)
This terminology and these numbers may seem overwhelming for you and I can totally understand why. So here’s what you can take away from the above data: since the franchise’s single-season record of 102 wins in 2011, the team has swung at the same percentage of pitches outside the strike zone but made progressively less contact on said pitches. The attached graphic to the left illustrates this point.
Here are some other interesting Phillies’ batting statistics in 2013 (through games played on April 28th):
Phils’ Situational Hitting
• 117 hits in 493 AB with bases empty (.237) – 11th in the NL
• 91 hits in 334 AB with runners on base (.272) – 4th in the NL
• 54 hits in 201 AB with runners in scoring position (.269) – 6th in the NL
Grounding Into Double Plays
• The Phillies have grounded into 22 double plays, 2nd most in the National League
What do you think? If the team’s plate discipline improves, do the Phillies have a better chance of making the playoffs? Leave a comment below.