The Phillies season, despite what you may think, has gone about as expected…
Without Ryan Howard and Chase Utley, the offense has been inconsistent (yet, still 7th in the NL in R/G).
The starters, for the most part, have been excellent, with a combined 2.90 ERA in 260.2 IP.
The bullpen, which was a question mark after Papelbon, has been flat out bad. With non-Papelbon relievers sporting a whopping 5.97 ERA with 8 losses. For all the focus on the offense, it’s the bullpen that has us where we are today.
Since I’ve not posted on the Phillies since the season started, I’m going to do a full rundown of the team, ranked by WAR, and any comments I have on the player…
1. Carlos Ruiz, C, 1.9 WAR
Ruiz has been MVP-worthy through the first quarter of the year. There aren’t enough superlatives to describe the way he is playing. His 1.024 OPS is outrageous, his 7 HR are already 2 away from a career high and the only players in the NL with higher WAR’s at the moment are David Wright, Joey Votto and Michael Bourn. Truly an amazing start.
2. Cole Hamels, SP, 1.6 WAR
He’s going to get some contract, huh? Despite our hitting problems, I would still give him a 6 year, $120 million deal. He would be younger than Roy Halladay is now at the end of that deal and his left-handed-ness and incredible change-up give him a great chance of being elite for several more years. I will be devastated if we don’t re-sign him while watching Howard earn $25 million and Papelbon earn $13 million.
3. Cliff Lee, SP, 1.5 WAR
Would be higher if he hadn’t missed a couple stars. 1.95 ERA and 0.76 WHIP and 0 wins. It’s almost like that is a dumb statistic.
4. Roy Halladay, SP, 1.1 WAR
Thus far, he’s still a top-10 pitcher in the league, but it looks like he may have taken a step back from his “best” in the league title. Velocity is a little down, as is his K/9 rate, but he has enough movement to overcome that. Still on pace for 250+ innings.
5. Juan Pierre, OF, 0.9 WAR
Not going to lie. I wanted no part of Juan Pierre in the starting line-up. He’s a singles hitter who gets thrown out on the base-paths a ton and has the worst outfield arm in baseball. All that being said, if he hits .343 the whole year and gets on-base almost 40% of the time, that doesn’t matter. Considering he’s had one season over .300 in the last 7 years, and that was .308, I think he’s due for a fall back to earth at some point.
6. Joe Blanton, SP, 0.7 WAR
Somebody wants a contract, huh? I thought Blanton could return to form this year, but “form” was a 4.20 ERA, not sub-3. Blanton is walking less hitters and giving up fewer HR’s than he has in his entire career. Hopefully he can keep it up. You wonder if he could be moved for a bat at some point this season.
7. Vance Worley, SP, 0.7 WAR
The most pleasant surprise of the year for me. His 45 K’s in 44 IP are amazing to me. He was never a strike out guy in the minors, but seems to have perfected the backwards K. Hopefully his arm soreness isn’t serious.
8. Placido Polanco, 3B, 0.5 WAR
This number is helped by his still-excellent defense and his .347 BA in his last 19 games.
9. Antonio Bastardo, RP, 0.5 WAR
Not throwing as hard or well as last year, but still sporting a 1.50 ERA and 10.5 K/9.
10. Shane Victorino, OF, 0.5 WAR
Very disappointing with the bat so far, but I think he will pull it together. Love the 12 early steals though.
11. Laynce Nix, OF, 0.4 WAR
Our hottest hitter when he went down. Has a .979 OPS on the season.
12. Jonathan Papelbon, RP, 0.4 WAR
Overpaid or not, he’s done his job. 18 K’s in 15.1 IP despite a noticeable drop in velocity from last year.
13. Brian Schneider, C, 0.1 WAR
Getting into the “don’t play that much, so we’ll be around 0.0″ group here.
14. Hector Luna, Util, 0.1 WAR
Spring training hero hit a grand slam in his first Phillies AB.
15. Mike Fontenot, Util 0.1 WAR
He’s 2 for 3. He’s still not very good, sorry…
16. Raul Valdes, RP, 0.0 WAR
Showed off his 88mph heater, but still struck out 2 in his one appearance. I don’t see him as a bullpen answer.
17. Hunter Pence, OF, 0.0 WAR
History told us Pence would come down to earth a little, but maybe not THIS much. He’s gotten some clutch hits, but his fielding has been horrendous and his OBP hovering around .300. The Phillies might have an interesting decision with him next year as he could make upwards of $12 million in arbitration.
18. David Herndon, RP, 0.0 WAR
Did his thing where he gives up a ton of hits, then got hurt.
19. Pete Orr, Util, -0.1 WAR
Getting into worse-than-replacement territory here. And Pete Orr more-or-less defines “replacement player.”
20. Freddy Galvis, 2B, -0.1 WAR
A defensive prodigy, Galvis really needs to only hit about .250 to be valuable. Right now he’s hitting .233 with a .270 OBP, but has delivered some timely hits. Watching his glove has been one of the highlights of the season for me.
21. Chad Qualls, RP, -0.1 WAR
Looked great early on, then fell off a cliff. I feel like his arm is in decent shape, but his location is not. I think he’s fixable, but right now it’s looks like Bastardo is back in the 8th and we could really use someone to step up in the 7th.
22. Erik Kratz, C, -0.1 WAR
23. Jim Thome, 1B, -0.1 WAR
Big time disappointment before going down with injury. Looks done, but I’m not counting him out yet. Just give me ONE more HR in a Phillies’ uni!
24. Joe Savery, RP, -0.1 WAR
Gotten hurt by the HR. A 1.00 WHIP in 8 IP, but 2 HR given up. Doesn’t seem to throw quite hard enough or have quite enough movement on pitches to be successful. I’m not completely writing him off though.
25. John Mayberry, OF, -0.2 WAR
Sorry, but I was expecting this one. Thousands of minor league ABs said last year was a fluke, and it certainly looks that way. His .574 OPS is the worst on the team among qualified hitters.
26. Brian Sanches, RP, -0.3 WAR
Part of the parade of mediocre relievers that had Twitter losing it’s mind. Allowed 11 base-runners in 4 innings. Hopefully we’ve seen the last of him this year.
27. Michael Stutes, RP, -0.3 WAR
Was he just another flash in the pan last year? Could his arm only handle one MLB season? 11 base-runners in 5.2 IP before injury.
28. Ty Wigginton, 3B, -0.4 WAR
On his bat alone, he be up a little bit, but his advanced defensive metrics aren’t very friendly. 2nd worst on the team to Pence.
29. Mike Schwimer, RP, -0.4 WAR
Despite his great minor league numbers, he has not looked good in the majors. I feel like if he settled in, he would improve, but I’m not sure he will get that chance.
30. Jimmy Rollins, SS, -0.5 WAR
Not looking good Jimmy. Both hitting and fielding metrics are down. He’s really got to get on a hot streak. I think he will, but the question is whether he reverts back this after it’s over. Should probably be hitting 7th right now.
31. Jake Diekman, RP, -0.5 WAR
OMG DIEKMAN IS AWESOME! OMG HE ACTUALLY SUCKS! If this kid can ever learn to locate, he could be great. That’s a big IF though.
32. Jose Contreras, RP, -0.6 WAR
Seems done. 8 ER in 9 IP so far this year.
33. Kyle Kendrick, P, -0.7 WAR
He’s been as bad as the other pitchers, the only difference is that he’s been allowed to pitch 25.2 innings so far. Hopefully his last start will get him on track, but prior to that he’d given up 31 hits in 19.2 innings. It’s hard to explain how bad that is.
So there it is, the 33 players the Phillies have thrown out there. Let’s group it up a little bit…
Starting Pitching: 5.3 WAR
Relief Pitching: -2.1 WAR
Hitting: 3.1 WAR
Fielding: -0.2 WAR
Total: 6.1 WAR
So, essentially, without our starting pitching, we’d be in the neighborhood of 15-24.
With average relievers, we’d be in the neighborhood of 22-17.
I still think the Phillies are in good shape. The bats have lit up a little bit and I expect Rollins, Victorino and Pence to all hit a little better as we move forward. I think Utley and Howard will provide at least some upgrade when they return and I think someone in the bullpen will step up behind Paps and Bastardo.
Right now, my real concern is the future. Our farm system has exactly zero MLB ready position prospects, and it’s simply not possible to fill a championship roster with all large contracts. You need guys in those first 1-5 years of their MLB career’s to fill in the gaps, and that is looking like a problem right now. The hope is that Domonic Brown would be one of those guys, and I still think he can be, but he just can’t stay healthy. I’m not sure what the answer is for 2013 and beyond, but the Phils need to figure it out sooner rather than later.