Photo Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Phillie Killers, guys with a special place in their heart for breaking yours. We know them when we see them, and we hate them so, so much. I’m looking at you, Lucas Duda, Phillie Killer in the making. But how can we actually tell who the real Phillie Killers are and who had just a couple of lucky games? Thanks to Baseball Reference and their extensive statistical database (and relatively simple smart search), I figured it out.
For the sake of pure offensive production vs. the Phils, we’re looking at OPS. At first, I took the OPS for a player’s career vs. the OPS he has vs. the Phillies to see who had the biggest differential, with a minimum of 30 at-bats against the Phils, from 1995 to present (just to keep things fresh). I quickly upped the minimum at-bats to 75 to cut out outliers that owe much of their differential to just a few games (Jason Giambi – .648 differential), small sample size villains (Deion Sanders – .279 and Joe Carter – .399), and what the hell slots (Livan Hernandez – .268).
So who is public enemy number one? In true Phillie Killer style, it was a relative no-name– former Devil Ray, Red Sock, and Astro (among others) Julio Lugo. Yes, Julio Lugo. Lugo’s career OPS was .725. Against the Phillies, it jumped up to 1.192 in 91 at-bats. That’s higher than Barry Bonds’ career total OPS of 1.149. But Bonds was no slouch against the Phils. Disregarding differential, Bonds’ 1.232 OPS against the Phils from 1995 to 2007 puts him atop the list, followed by Vladimir Guerrero, Lugo, and Mark McGwire. But when you factor in differential — basically how much better they were specifically against the Phils — Bonds drops to 105th, Guerrero to 18th, and McGwire to 96th.
Using a more basic stat, like runs produced (runs + RBI – HR), you see the usual suspects. From 1995 to 2015, the top run producers against the Phillies were division rivals (due to the volume of at-bats), but the top spot belongs to Chipper Jones (269 runs, 9.7% of his career total). Following Larry is David Wright (186, 11.5%), Andruw Jones (177, 9.9%), Mike Piazza (166, 10.5%), and Jose Reyes (147, 10.9%). Juan Lagares, the Mets outfielder with less than 850 career at-bats, has produced 32 runs against the Phillies, which is 20.3% of his career total. Put him on your list.
Using OPS, what does the list of the top 25 Phillie Killers look like? Familiar, as it features some former Phils and even the manager: Continue reading