Phillies Position Analysis: 3rd Base

Previous Analysis: C, 1B, 2B, SS

Opening Day Starter (2003-2008)

2008- Pedro Feliz
2007- Wes Helms
2006- Abraham Nunez
2005- David Bell
2004- David Bell
2003- David Bell

2007 Recap

The Phillies shortcomings at 3rd base have been a hot point for the last several years. Last year, the Phillies got the least production from 3rd base of any team in the NL. Since they made up for it by having elite production from their middle infield positions, all our 3rd basemen had to do was play solid defense, but unfortunately, they weren’t very good at that either. As a threesome, Abraham Nunez, Wes Helms and Greg Dobbs had less HR than Shane Victorino (11) and a lower OPS (.688) than four PITCHERS (Micah Owings, Dontrelle Willis, Kip Wells and Yovani Gallardo).

What We Need in ’08:

You can read my initial reaction the the signing of Pedro Feliz here. What I would like to see from Feliz this year is about 25 HR, 80 RBI, below 80 strikeouts, a good average with runners in scoring position, and most importantly, some really good defense at the hot corner helping our starting pitchers.

3B of the future? Ever since Scott Rolen left, we have been waiting for another young promising 3rd baseman to come up through our farm system. We drafted Mike Constanzo hoping he might be that player, but for all his power potential, he struck out a lot, was a poor fielder and was subsequently traded to the Astros in the Brad Lidge deal. Right now, the only possible 3rd base prospect in our system is an 18-year old we drafted last year that has a long way to go, Travis Mattair.

NL East 3B Rankings

  1. David Wright, Mets
  2. Chipper Jones, Braves
  3. Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals
  4. Pedro Feliz, Phillies
  5. Jorge Cantu, Marlins

Top 3 3B for MLB in ’08

  1. Alex Rodriguez, Yankees
  2. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
  3. Wright, Mets

Top 3 3B 25 and under in ’08

  1. Cabrera, Tigers, 25
  2. Wright, Mets, 25
  3. Zimmerman, Nationals, 23

Best Season Ever by a Phillies (or any) 3B: Mike Schmidt, 1980 (.286 AVG, 48 HR, 121 RBI, .380 OBP, .624 SLG%, 1.004 OPS)

OK, so one could definitely argue that Alex Rodriguez’ 2007 season was the greatest ever for a 3B, but you have to look at these seasons within the context of when they were played. There are 11 main statistical offensive categories (Runs, Hits, HR, RBI, Extra-Base Hits, Stolen Bases, BA, OBP%, SLG%, OPS, Total Bases). Both 2007 A-Rod and 1980 Schmidt led their respective leagues in 6 (and both were top-5 in 8). However, the distance between Schmidt and the rest of the pack was greater than A-Rod and the rest of the pack. They both led the league in HR, RBI, SLG, OPS and TB. Below is a chart of the distance between them and the 2nd place finisher in the league.

 

Distance From 2nd Place in…

 

HR

RBI

Total Bases

SLG%

OPS

Rodriguez, 2007

8

17

22

.018

.001

Schmidt, 1980

13

12

45

.095

.102

As you can see, Schmidt was further away from the rest of the competition than A-Rod was, particularly in terms of SLG% and OPS. In the other category he led the league in, extra-base hits, he had 16 more than anyone else, the 19th highest differential ever. You can certainly make the case for A-Rod of 2007 (his run total was ridiculous), but given that Schmidt also was a better defensive player, and unlike A-Rod, took home the World Championship, I got to give it to Michael Jack.

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2 Responses

  1. Let me get this straight: Mike Schmidt was more dominant in 1980 then ARod was in 2007, and therefore owns the greatest season ever by a 3B. Riddle me this:

    1980 Mike Schmidt (.286 AVG, 121 RBI, .380 OBP, .624 SLG%, 1.004 OPS)

    1980 George Brett (.390 AVG, 118 RBI, .454 OBP, .664 SLG%, 1.118)

    There’s blowing your competition out of the water, and then there’s comparing Mike Schmidt to his competition (or lake thereof) in 1980. Stochastic domination defined.

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