Originally Posted by TheNext44
I wonder if his new found patience at the plate (which started in spring training, so I don't think it's a fluke) is the reason why his BA is so low?
Phillips in his career thrived on hitting the first fastball he sees. Now, it seems he is going deeper into the count, and hitting with two strikes more often, and considering he is a terrible two strike hitter, in fact, he's not even that good of a one strike hitter, I wonder if he would be better off going back to his old self?
I have no idea if the data supports this theory, just thought I'd throw it out.
I don't think it has much relevance, but the data does support your observations about his approach.
He has a career-best rate going this year of not swinging at pitches outside the strike zone, according to Fangraphs. Further, he's got a career-best contact percentage going and is swinging at 5% fewer pitches than any season in his career.
He's walking 10.3% of the time thus far, which if that kept up would also be a career-high.
Really, for as much as Jay Bruce has been a bit snake-bitten, Phillips is also suffering from the .226 BABIP as mentioned. Now, Phillips only has a 15.6% line drive rate - which definitely is not very good. His xBABIP is .268 by one formula. Essentially, he should have 2-3 more hits than he has. His average would be just shy of .250 with three additional hits added.
So he's been a little unlucky, though it seems he's not hitting the ball hard enough for those balls to drop. If he gets back closer to about 19% line drive rate, he should be back around .270-.280 when it's all said and done.