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Blog Entry

Spring primer: Philadelphia Phillies

Posted on: March 2, 2012 9:41 pm
 


By Matt Snyder


The 2011 Phillies sported an MLB-best 102-60 regular-season record, but then lost a heartbreaking Game 5 in the NLDS, 1-0, to the eventual World Champion Cardinals. Rubbing salt in the wound was slugger Ryan Howard tearing his Achilles tendon on the final out of Game 5. He's expected to miss around two months. With him missing time, the Phillies aging stars a year older and a much tougher division in 2012, is the window of opportunity for another World Series title starting to close with this nucleus? It's certainly not closed, but it may be headed that way.

Major additions: RHP Jonathan Papelbon, OF/IF Laynce Nix, IF Ty Wigginton, 1B Jim Thome
Major departures: OF Faul Ibanez, RHP Ryan Madson, RHP Roy Oswalt, RHP Brad Lidge, OF Ben Francisco

Probable lineup
1. Jimmy Rollins, SS
2. Shane Victorino, CF
3. Chase Utley, 2B
4. Hunter Pence, RF
5. Jim Thome/Ty Wigginton/Laynce Nix, 1B
6. John Mayberry, LF
7. Placido Polanco, 3B
8. Carlos Ruiz, C

Ryan Howard will obviously man 1B and slide in the lineup at cleanup when he's ready to take the field, but it doesn't sound like that's happening until late May, if not later.

Probable rotation
1. Roy Halladay
2. Cliff Lee
3. Cole Hamels
4. Vance Worley
5. Joe Blanton

Kyle Kendrick waiting in the wings if someone goes down.

Back-end bullpen
Closer: Jonathan Papelbon
Set-up: Antonio Bastardo

Important bench players

C Brian Schneider, OF Juan Pierre and whoever isn't starting at 1B (see lineup above)

Prospect to watch
Domonic Brown isn't a prospect anymore and much of the Phillies top prospects are in the lower-levels of the minors, so it's slim pickings here -- as to be expected with an elite, veteran club. I'll go with Phillipe Aumont, a relief pitcher headed for Triple-A. The 23-year-old had a 3.18 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 22 2/3 innings once he was promoted to Triple-A last season. Control was an issue, as he walked 14 guys, leading to a 1.54 WHIP, but he certainly has the strikeout capability to contribute to the bullpen later in the season if he gets things figured out. Considering the Phillies are counting on the likes of Jose Contreras, Chad Qualls and Dontrelle Willis in the bullpen, the chances an injury or underperformance open up a spot in the 'pen after a few months are pretty good.

Fantasy bust: Hunter Pence
"Before you hop aboard the hype train and ride it all the way to crazy town, you might want to remind yourself that theonly aspect of his game that changed for the better last year was his batting average. He didn't gain any power. He didn't walk more or strike out less. He didn't fundamentally change as a player. He simply got better results, putting together a .361 BABIP instead of his usual .305 or so. It wouldn't be the first time. He had a .377 BABIP as a rookie in 2007, when he hit .322. But the peripherals suggested it was too good to be true then, and they do now as well. Pence is an asset in Fantasy because of his job security and 20-homer power, but he's a .280 hitter who can't take a walk." - Scott White [Full Phillies fantasy team preview]

Fantasy sleeper: John Mayberry
"General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has made the comparison. Manager Charlie Manuel has made the comparison. It's Mayberry's identity now: the next Jayson Werth. For the Fantasy owners who have played long enough to remember when Werth rose from obscurity to put together a 20-20 season in 2008, that's cause for celebration. But is it a reasonable expectation? Hey, Mayberry is more of a certainty now than Werth was then, having hit 15 homers in 267 at-bats last year. Like Werth, he's a former first-round pick who, like Werth, didn't begin to meet his potential until his late 20s. And like Werth, he happens to be in the right place at the right time to take advantage." - Scott White [Full Phillies fantasy team preview]

Optimistic outlook
World Series champs. By now, anything less is a disappointment for a group with so much talent and postseason experience.

Pessimistic outlook
The offense badly struggles without Howard -- who falls behind in his rehab and misses three months -- with age declines limiting production from the likes of Utley, Rollins and Polanco. Worley comes back to Earth after his insane 2011 season and Blanton continues to struggle with injuries. Even with all that, the Phillies would still be good enough to be a playoff contender, even in the mighty NL East, due to the new two-wild-card playoff format. It's hard to envision enough things going wrong to have them finish below the Braves, Marlins and Nationals. Maybe two of the three -- in a worst-case scenario -- but not all three.

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Comments

Since: Nov 18, 2006
Posted on: March 29, 2012 5:46 pm
 

Spring primer: Philadelphia Phillies

got tix for tuesday game @ park. any idea who pitching? we playing the buckos



Since: Jun 25, 2010
Posted on: March 5, 2012 11:31 am
 

Spring primer: Philadelphia Phillies

Hey invincible turn the CAPS LOCK off if you want wome one to read your post. No one will read ALLCAPS. It's just horrible to try to get through.



Since: Dec 7, 2006
Posted on: March 4, 2012 8:41 am
 

Spring primer: Philadelphia Phillies

When you have Halladay and Lee as your #1 and #2, then Hamels is a solid #3. I don't know what the problem is in saying that. The Phillies are a solid team, but they have holes and are not world beaters. The last 2 seasons prove that. They have to hope they have no more injuries if they want to compete.



Since: Aug 31, 2006
Posted on: March 4, 2012 1:45 am
 

Spring primer: Philadelphia Phillies

CLARIFICATION= WIGGY SHOULD PLAY THIRD BASE WHEN HOWARD COMES BACK..SO I PLAY HIM ATLEAST WHEN OUR 4 AND 5 GO. WE  NEED THE BAT BAD AND I GOTTA TELL YA THIS GUY SWINGS A BIG BAT FOR SUCH A SMALL PARK. YOU WATCH.........THE CUT. 



Since: Aug 31, 2006
Posted on: March 4, 2012 12:52 am
 

Spring primer: Philadelphia Phillies

Well, I DON'T KNOW WHERE THE GUY BELOW CAME FROM BUT SOME OF YOUR COMMENTS R WAY OFF=GRANTED THIS TEAM NEEDS SOME FIXIN OFFENSIVELY FOR THE FUTURE. THE ONLY THING I AM SHELL SHOCKED OVER AND PISSED IS THAT 40 YR. OLD POLANCO IS STILL AT THIRD. IT  JUST SHOWS HOW POOR OUR FARM SYSTEM IS. EVERY YEAR ITS THE SAME THING=NO YOUNG POSITION PLAYERS ANYWHERE TO BE FOUND. I MEAN POLANCO IS OUR THIRD BASEMAN AND U COMBINE THAT WITH HOWARD OUT AND WHERE R THE POWER CORNER HOMERS COMING FROM. WIGGINTON MUST PLAY 70% of the TIME AGAINST RIGHTHANDED PITCHING THEN I WOULD PLAY HIM AT THIRD WHEN OUR #4/5 PITCHERS GO. AS FOR HAMELS BEING A GOOD #3 STARTER-R U DRUNK? HE WAS A TOP 5 PITCHER LAST SEASON=IN ALL OF BASEBALL MY FRIEND. GO PHILS!!!



Since: Dec 7, 2006
Posted on: March 3, 2012 3:41 pm
 

Spring primer: Philadelphia Phillies

You know, if you give this lineup a second look, even with Ryan Howard they aren't as fearsome as they should be. They're good but not all that scary, like they will demolish everyone. The top 2 pitchers are great, and Hamels has matured into a fine #3, but then 4 & 5 don't impress me at all. The closer is very good (not great), but the rest of the bullpen is a big question mark.

I love Jim Thome, but they can't have him playing first base. it won't work. And I mean his offense as well as defense, he isn't the same hitter as he was in 2005. Wigginton might work better, but not much. Nix is the worst of the three, and I don't know what he adds to the club as a whole. Same with Juan Pierre, who will give you nothing. There is no bench at all on this team, they better hope there are no more injuries.

I do think the Phillies have enough to win the NL East even without Ryan Howard. But I don't see this as a WS winning team. Then again I don't know who is.



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