Phillies

Phillies are out here running the bases like it's 2007

Phillies

The Phillies are a team built to score runs via the dinger, but what's made this offense so potent through one month is the different ways it's found to score.

The Phillies have been the best baserunning team in the majors this season, according to Fangraphs, with 4.5 runs added just via their baserunning. The team they face this week, the Nationals, are last in the majors at minus-7.1.

In Tuesday's series opener in D.C., Roman Quinn manufactured an insurance run by himself. He led off the seventh inning with a bunt single, stole second, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a groundball to the shortstop with the infield in. He has graded out as the fastest player in MLB this season, and that inning was a perfect example of the value of speed.

It's not just that Quinn is fast, either. His slides are excellent. The throw in that seventh inning Tuesday beat him but Quinn was able to evade the tag.

“It’s as good as I’ve seen,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said of Quinn’s speed.

“I’ve seen some very fast players. One of the guys that comes to mind is when I was playing in Colorado, I saw Deion Sanders hit an inside-the-park home run and I think he could’ve gotten back to second base. I’ve seen some guys with great speed but (Quinn’s) measures against anyone’s. 

“You think about him scoring on that ground ball. I think (Andrew McCutchen) was shocked. He offers a dimension that creates havoc and creates a lot of problems for defenses and I love having it.”

 

The Phillies ranked third in Fangraphs' baserunning stat last season, too, and it's no coincidence that they've improved in that aspect with Bryce Harper and J.T. Realmuto. Harper has been a madman on the basepaths since he got here, legging out doubles and swiping bags. He's 19 for 22 stealing bases as a Phillie. Realmuto is the fastest catcher in baseball. (Scott Kingery also grades out as the fastest second baseman in the majors.)

The Phillies haven't ran the bases this well since the days of Davey Lopes coaching first base. In the four years Lopes was their first base coach (2007-10), the Phillies were 500 for 593 stealing bases, a historic success rate of 84.3%. The league average tends to hover around 72%.

This season, the Phillies are tops in the majors in stolen base percentage at 88.9%. They've gone 16 for 18. Only six teams have more stolen bases, and four of those six teams have played at least five more games than the Phillies.

The Phillies have been a prolific offense by 2020 standards. Beyond their top-ranked baserunning and stolen base percentage, they rank second in MLB in runs per game, seventh in home run rate, they have the fourth-lowest strikeout rate and they've even had success with runners in scoring position. They have an .852 OPS with runners in scoring position, seventh-best in the majors, and have slugged 50 points higher in those situations than the league average