How does the 2012 Phillies roster compare to last season? On paper, are the Phillies better, worse, or about the same as last year? To find our answer, I removed the stats of the players who left and replaced them with the new players. Lets line up the rosters side by side and see how the numbers compare.
For the starting rotation, all we need to do is remove Roy Oswalt and replace his spot with Joe Blanton. Since Blanton was injured most of the season, I used his 2010 stats rather than last season. In the chart below, the first line shows the actual totals from 2011 and the second line shows the totals when we replace Oswalt with Blanton.
As you can see, without Oswalt the overall starters' ERA increases only slightly from 2.89 to 3.10.
This offseason, the Phillies lost Madson, Lidge, Romero, and Baez (remember him?) and added Papelbon, Qualls, Willis, and Contreras hopefully for a full season. For the most part I just plugged in their actual stats, but I prorated their numbers in cases like Dontrelle Willis, since he is moving from the starting rotation to the bullpen.
The Phillies bullpen looks about the same, with the ERA increasing just a few points, from 3.43 to 3.58.
Phillies overall pitching
Here's what we get when we combing the bullpen and the starters.
We can see that on paper the Phillies pitching staff is slightly worse than last season, with an ERA increase of 17 points. As a point of reference, that would have dropped the Phillies to first in the NL to a close second to the Giants.
Left and Right Field
Since we are really only evaluating the offseason changes, I ignored any of the post ions that haven't changed. Obviously injuries to Utley, Howard, and Polanco will have an effect on the team, but that's a discussion for another day. In this case, the only positions with significant changes are left field and right field.
In left field, John Mayberry and Laynce Nix are expected to replace Raul Ibanez. Since they will mostly split the time, I gave half the at-bats to Mayberry, half to Nix, and prorated for Ibanez's number of plate appearances.
Right field was filled last season with a combination of Mayberry, Brown, Francisco, and Pence, so I prorated their totals based on Hunter Pence's total number of at-bats last season. For 2012, I just plugged in Pence's total stats from last season.
Here's how the numbers compare for left and right field:
The numbers in left and right are closer than you might think. The average is 15 points higher and they have 8 more homers, but the RBI totals are basically the same.
The Phillies bench will look drastically different in 2012, as they replaced Francisco, Gload, and Valdez with Wigginton, Nix, and Thome. In order to compare benches, I prorated their statistics according to an estimated number of plate appearances to equal the PA's last season.
The bench was a big focus over the offseason and it shows, with 7 more HR, 11 more RBI, and a 17 point higher batting average.
Phillies overall hitting
When we look at the effect on the entire offense, it equates to an upgrade of 13 HR, 19 RBIs, and 28 more points in average. Just how much is that? It would improve the Phillies from 9th to 5th in the NL in batting average and 8th to 5th in home runs. And get this: On paper it would move the Phillies from 5th in RBIs to 2nd.
What can we learn from all of this? What we learn is that on paper, the Phillies upgraded slightly in their offense and downgraded slightly in their pitching. Last season the Phillies ranked first in team ERA and 5th in RBI. This year, they would rank second in pitching and second in hitting. All in all, I consider that an upgrade.