Quantifying the quality of the Phillies 2011 offense

There is no simple way to quantify differences between offenses across seasons, but it is obvious this year's Phillies offense is not performing at a level comparable to the club's past three pennant winners.

BY Patrick Gordon - Managing Editor

Coming to terms with this assessment, the question becomes how exactly this year’s offense compares to those of the last three years. Using a series of sabermetric statistics and the concept of relativity, I’ve made an attempt to quantify that difference.

The categories used for comparative purposes are Isolated Slugging, Total Power Quotient, Base Runs and Hoban Effectiveness Quotient. Each of these categories offers a detailed view of how an offense is preforming and provides a more detailed figure than traditional simplistic statistics such as batting average and slugging percentage.

To those unfamiliar, I’ll define and explain each of the four sabermetrical categories.

Isolated Slugging (ISO), also known as Isolated Power, is a statistic commonly used to assess power. In its simplest form, Isolated Slugging simply removes singles from slugging percentage. The formula is slugging – batting average.

Total Power Quotient (TPQ) is similar to Isolated Slugging, but focuses simply on home runs, total bases, and RBIs. The formula is the total of home runs, total bases, and runs batted in divided by at-bats.  

Base Runs (BR-O) estimates the number of runs a team “should” have scored given their component offensive statistics. The formula, though simple ((A*B/(B+C)+D)), is a bit difficult to populate. For this study, refer to the first Base Runs formula of the three listed here.

Lastly, Hoban Effectiveness Quotient (HEQ) gives an overall value to an offense without favoring one type over another. For example, a team that relies on the home run will score similar to a team that generates runs via station-to-station baseball. The formula is ((TB+R+RBI+SB+(.5 X BB)).

All data came via and all figures were park adjusted.

I also applied the four formulas to the National League totals (minus the Phillies) and divided the league average by the Phillies number to come up with a relativity number. Keep in mind, the 2011 raw statistics are based on games played through June 27, so the numbers will appear smaller, however, since the National League average will also be based on games through June 27, the statistical results are legitimate and the relativity number can easily be compared across seasons.

To conserve space, I have not included the actual raw data in this article. However, if you click on this link you can see the Excel document with every calculation and statistic, including the Phillies totals and National League averages.

STAT        2011        2010        2009        2008
ISO            .950         1.07         1.29         1.21
TPQ           .979         1.06         1.12         1.05
HEQ           .983         1.05         1.10         1.09
BR-O         .968         1.06         1.11         1.03

I than took every relative number in each category and divided it by the best relative number in each category. For example, I took the .950 ISO from the 2011 Phillies and divided that by the 1.29 ISO from the 2009 club. The result was a percentage dictating how an offense stacked up against the best in each category.

STAT        2011        2010        2009        2008
ISO           74%         83%         100%        94%
TPQ          89%         95%         100%        98%
HEQ         87%         94%         100%        94%
BR-O        87%         95%         100%        93%

I than took the average of the percentages and ranked each offense.
1.        2009: 100%
2.        2008: 95%
3.        2010: 92%
4.        2011: 84%

Using the four sabermetrical categories outlined earlier, the 2011 offense is 16% worse than the 2009 lineup, which ranks as the best of the past three seasons in this study.

At some point this season I'll do a similar article comparing the 2011 pitching staff to those of the past three seasons, but in the meantime, this sabermetric study demonstrates how the current version of the Phillies lineup compares to previous pennant winners.

(Patrick is a freelance baseball writer and managing editor of the Philadelphia Baseball Review.)

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