Pence could be the right guy for the Phillies

July, 30, 2011
7/30/11
1:45
AM ET
Hunter Pence
Pence
The Philadelphia Phillies acquired All-Star rightfielder Hunter Pence from the Houston Astros on Friday for three minor leaguers and a fourth player to be named. Entering Friday, Phillies right fielders ranked 20th or worse in batting average, slugging percentage and fielding percentage.

Manager Charlie Manuel and GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. made it sound as though Pence will be playing right field in place of Domonic Brown and that Raul Ibanez would remain in left.

How he helps the Phillies
Entering Friday, Pence was hitting 72 points higher and slugging 74 points higher than Phillies right fielders. He also hits from the right side of the plate and the Phillies as a team have struggled against lefties this season.

Pence also had four Defensive Runs Saved through Thursday, better than Brown (-3) in right field and far better than Ibanez (-15) in left field.

In fact, among qualified major league outfielders, Ibanez has the fewest Defensive Runs Saved this season.

How he doesn’t help the Phillies
Pence is hitting .308 this season but he's been helped by an extraordinarily high Batting Average on Balls in Play (BABIP). League average BABIP is generally around .300 and his BABIP over the previous three seasons had not been higher since .308.

The only season Pence has hit higher than .282 came in his rookie year when his BABIP was .377. Since he's done it before -- albeit in 108 games -- it's not as if it came out of nowhere, but in his three full seasons, he was right around the league average.

He's slugging .471 but only eight percent of his flyballs are home runs and his Isolated Power (ISO) -- a player's slugging percentage minus batting average -- is just .163 this season; both figures are by far the lowest of his career.

In fact, after posting a .217 mark during his rookie year, Pence’s ISO has decreased every season.

He’s been playing worse as this season has gone on. He’s got just three home runs since the beginning of June and is hitting .186 with no homers and just two RBI over his past 13 games.

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