October 03, 2016
The Phillies were not the worst team in baseball, as many had predicted they would be when the 2016 season began six months ago. They were the eighth worst, and will pick 8th in next June’s amateur draft.
But they did have baseball’s worst offense in 2016. And it wasn’t really close.
The Phillies scored 610 runs this season, 39 fewer than the next closest team (the last place Atlanta Braves).
So it’s not at all surprising that the Phillies announced on Monday morning that hitting coach Steve Henderson will not have his contract renewed for the 2017 season.
The 63-year-old Henderson spent the last four seasons as the team’s hitting coach. In each of his four seasons at the helm, the Phillies offense finished in the bottom third of all of baseball in on-base percentage and runs scored.
While Henderson was fired, the rest of manager Pete Mackanin’s coaching staff have been asked to return in 2017, a staff that includes bench coach Larry Bowa, pitching coach Bob McClure, third base coach Juan Samuel, first base coach Mickey Morandini, catching coach John McLaren, and bullpen coach Rick Kranitz.
Obviously Henderson alone was not going to be able to take a team average to below-average big league hitters and turn them into the ’27 Yankees, but when teams fail for more than a couple of years, someone is going to take the fall.
The Phillies scored three runs or fewer in almost half of their games in 2016: 79 times in 162 games. They scored one run or fewer in 34 games (21 percent of their schedule).
The Phillies ranked last in baseball in runs (610), hitting (.240), extra-base hits (427), OPS (.685), and total bases (2,090). They finished second-to-last in OBP (.301), slugging percentage (.685), and walks (424).
Among the 12 players who had at least 200 plate appearances with the Phillies in 2016, only four had an on-base percentage better than .310: Cesar Hernandez (.371), Odubel Herrera (.361), and utility man Andres Blanco (.316).