RISP Factor: A Key Element in Determining Philadelphia Phillies' Wins or Losses

Ryan WolcottContributor IIJanuary 6, 2011

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 29:  Raul Ibanez #29 of the Philadelphia Phillies scores a run in the second inning on an RBI double by Matt Stairs #12 past Jose Molina #26 of the New York Yankees in Game Two of the 2009 MLB World Series at Yankee Stadium on October 29, 2009 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Since the Washington Nationals signed Jayson Werth to a mega deal for $126 million over seven years in December, the Philadelphia Phllies lost Werth's ability to hit for power, which is a valuable asset to have in a player.  However, power is not necessarily what makes or breaks a team.  Many teams are very successful by playing small ball baseball or contact hitting.

A player does not need to swing for the fences every time he steps up to the plate.  Getting hits at the right time often determines when a team will win.  It is especially important for a team to get hits with runners in scoring position (RISP).  Although Werth was a dangerous offensive weapon when he was in Philadelphia, the Phillies will still be able to still have an explosive offense as long as they can continue to clutch hit with RISP.

In 2010, the Phillies had the best regular season record in baseball at 97-65.  The Phillies were largely able to win games when they were able to hit well with RISP.  In 2010, the Phillies batted .262 with runners in scoring position, with 371 hits in 1,415 attempts.

However, when the Phillies won a game, their batting average with runners in scoring position was .300, with 295 hits in 984 attempts.  In contrast, for the games that the Phillies lost, their batting average with runners in scoring position was only .176, with 76 hits in 431 attempts.  If the Phillies are able to have a high average in 2011 with runners in scoring position, they can be the same offensive team that they were last year.

The Phillies may no longer have as much power at the plate, but they do have a great potential to win games by playing small ball, which is also strengthened by the fact that the Phillies have four ace starting pitchers.  RISP is a key factor in determining if a team will win games, and if the Phillies can average the same or improve upon their 2010 RISP, the team will have great results in 2011.

By the way, it should be noted that although Werth is a good power hitter, his batting average with runners in scoring position for 2010 was 186. He certainly was not a key contributor to aiding the team's average with RISP.

Also, since I have recently been plugging Ben Francisco to be the full time starter, it is appropriate to note that Francisco batting average and on base percentage are at their peak with runners in scoring position. Francisco's batting average for 2010 was .268, and his on base percentage was .327. However, with runners in scoring positions, those percentages were increased to .306 and .386, respectively.