Saturday, August 23, 2014
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Hunter Pence rallies Giants, and other thoughts

Philadelphia is reduced to watching its former players -- Hunter Pence, Scott Rolen, Kyle Lohse, Jayson Werth, Brandon Moss, Ryan Vogelsong, Quintin Berry, so on and so forth -- and Tuesday's action in Cincinnati featured them.

Hunter Pence rallies Giants, and other thoughts

Hunter Pence is hitting just .214 since being traded to the Giants. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Hunter Pence is hitting just .214 since being traded to the Giants. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Philadelphia is reduced to watching its former players -- Hunter Pence, Scott Rolen, Kyle Lohse, Jayson Werth, Brandon Moss, Ryan Vogelsong, Quintin Berry, so on and so forth -- and Tuesday's action in Cincinnati featured them. 

Hunter Pence delivered a motivational dugout speech before Game 3 against the Reds, overcame cramping in his calf, and stroked a key single in a deciding 10th-inning rally to stave off elimination. (Rolen's error in the 10th sealed it.) 

Good game, let's go survive?

So that got me thinking. The spotlight is on Pence, the quirky outfielder Phillies fans once thought would become a cornerstone at Citizens Bank Park. 

In 2012, his age 29 season, he posted these numbers (BA/OBP/SLG): .253/.319/.425 in 688 plate appearances.

In 699 plate appearances, Jimmy Rollins went .250/.316/.427.

Now that had me thinking. Pence will earn approximately $14 million in 2013 to play a corner outfield position. Rollins will make $11 million in 2013 and 2014 with a $5 million guarantee in 2015. He plays shortstop, the most premium of defensive positions, and he plays it quite well. He'll be 34 in 2013.

A reader asked me on Twitter if this meant i thought Rollins should bat lower because he managed a higher slugging percentage than Pence. It's a reasonable idea, one posed to Charlie Manuel at length late in the season. The manager resisted the idea, citing Rollins' numbers when not leading off, but issued one caveat: If the Phillies aquire a true leadoff man, Rollins could move.

For what it's worth, Rollins has only ever batted fifth nine times (.344/.405/.625) and sixth 30 times (.344/.364/.456). In each of the last two seasons, he has started April as Manuel's No. 3 hitter. His numbers there (.241/.253/.243) in 86 games are probably what Manuel was referencing. 

A few more numbers:

ROLLINS 2012: .250/.316/.427
AVG NL SS 2012: .259/.313/.387
AVG NL BAT FIRST 2012: .257/.319/.382

PENCE 2012: .253/.319/.425
AVG NL RF 2012: .260/.329/.439
AVG NL BAT FIFTH 2012: .258/.326/.430

Food for thought before a Wednesday postseason quadrupleheader.


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Matt Gelb Inquirer Staff Writer
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