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2015 pace


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It’s been 22 seasons since the Phillies did not have a single outfielder reach double digits in home runs. In 1992, Ruben Amaro notched the most starting nods in an outfield that failed to produce a double-digit dinger guy and mustered up a meager 34 bombs.

Now, Amaro is the architect. And he’s built an outfield with less power than an Amish settlement. But it’s not just bad… it’s potentially historically bad.

In April, a blog post on The Outside Corner asked if the Phillies had the worst outfield in Major League history, noting that their outfield home run totals and production had been on a steep decline since 2009. The post eventually concluded, however, that despite Amaro’s best attempts, the Phils probably wouldn’t crack the list of weakest outfields of all-time.

Well, will they?

A third of the way through the 2015 season and teetering on pace for 100 losses (on pace for 99 after an exciting comeback win on a walkoff error on Wednesday), the Phillies have just five home runs from their outfield. Frenchy (4/8), Frenchy (4/14), Ruf (4/30), Odubel (5/11), Frenchy (5/16). That’s it! (Ruf has three homers but the other two came as a pinch hitter and first baseman).

In the short history of Citizens Bank Park, the Phillies have never had an outfield this powerless. See the graph. The current incarnation is on pace to blast (“blast”?) 15 home runs. That’s down from last year’s Marlon Byrd driven 41. Beyond the last two years, the number never dipped below 50 at CBP.

Keep reading– it gets worse.

But it’s not just Phillies history they’re chasing. Using Baseball Reference’s Play Index, if the Phillies triplicate their first 54 games and finish with 15 home runs, the outfield will produce the least home runs of any team to play a full season since 1973. While less home runs than the ’76 White Sox outfield (17) is pitiful, the Phillies might even challenge the ’81 Twins outfield, which managed just 13 home runs in their strike shortened season. Look how bad it is:

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This group of Phillies outfielders — the group Dom Brown isn’t good enough to be a part of — is headed toward a terrible 72 OPS+. None of the other teams with outfields that totaled less than 20 home runs in a season have been that poor offensively.

This is yet another example of Amaro’s ineptitude. Even bad teams with mediocre GMs find a way to get some power out of their outfield (especially from corner outfielders). Unfortunately, the former outfielder-turned-executive has found a way for his team to decline in this area year after year, and has now constructed one of the weakest outfields in modern history. Thanks, Rube.

Editor’s note: The shirt is now available in heather red, and it’s awesome:

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