Phillies Fans Shouldn’t Worry about Age and Outfield

Ben Revere will be the Center Fielder this year for the Philadelphia Phillies.Baseball is fast approaching and with the way the Flyers have started many fans are getting antsy. There are, of course, major concerns with the way the Phillies roster stands right now. For a while there have been comments and stories put out about the outfield and the overall average age of the line-up, which seems nearly ancient. However, it is not time to fret Phillies fans. It is not nearly as bad as it may seem and you can’t really know what to expect until they hit the field opening day.

Ruben Amaro, Jr. did not get Justin Upton, who has been dealt to rival Atlanta Braves. Aside from getting the solid but not superstar Ben Revere and the overweight Delmon Young, Amaro made no big moves to help out the outfield. Despite concerns about his fielding ability, Young is a solid hitter. Even though his batting average has taken a slight dip the last year or two, he still has a career batting average of .284. He also adds a right-handed bat to the line-up, helping to replace right handed hitting Hunter Pence. Not to mention they will only be paying him 750,000 dollars. I do not know about you, but I will take that deal.

I do not feel like I even need to get into how good of a pick up I think Revere was. I touched on it in an earlier post I did on the Phillies outfield, but Revere gives the Phillies something they have been lacking; a solid leadoff hitter. Something Jimmy Rollins is not. I love Rollins as a player. He is dedicated and has a whole lot of talent and heart. He works hard and gives it his all, but is not a true leadoff man. Last season he struck out 96 times and only hit .250, with 25 home runs. He swings for the fences and never really settled into the roll. Revere, who hit .294 last season, only struck out 54 times and stole 40 bases. Also I should mention that the outfield is the youngest part of the Phillies line-up.

Having an outfield with an average age of about 27 does not seem super young, but when compared to the infield’s average age of 34 its does. But is 34 really that old? Not when you think of 50-year-old pitcher Jamie Moyer still pitching in the 2012 season. In fact, the Phillies really are not as pre-historic as many think. The oldest player in their line up is newly acquired 36-year-old Michael Young. Obviously you do not wish for your corner infielder to be up there in age, but I’d rather have Michael Young now than the chronic back problem ridden David Bell.

Chase Utley’s all-star quality may be fading quickly, but you cannot really judge him or Ryan Howard until you see them back healthy and playing for the majority of the season, hopefully from start to finish. As far as Rollins is concerned, you will get what you get with him. He will play the best he can, but will continue to decline. I was not thrilled when they re-signed him to begin with.

Age is something to look at when you have a sport like baseball that plays 162 games. But the great thing about baseball is some players can sit out and teams can still win. Line-ups are done based on match ups, which allows for some players to sit out a game here and there. If there is a time to worry and attack Amaro, it will be after the All Star break when we can really see what kind of affect the age really has on the team.

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Matthew Regan

Matthew Regan was born and raised in Philadelphia. Naturally he grew up as a fan and has endured through all the troubles and bright spots that came along with being a Philly fan. Although he tends to have a different view than others he is always an interesting read. You can follow him on twitter at @MattRegan5


2 Responses

  1. Pete O. says:

    Age is overemphasized in a lot of sports, but particularly in baseball. So many young players had big years last year that it was easy to overlook how well some older guys were playing. Adam LaRoche had a career year for the Nationals at 34, Soriano had 108 RBIs for the Cubs at 37, and Jeter was among the AL batting leaders at 38. If Howard and Utley can shake off the injuries, I see no reason why they shouldn’t be productive this year. I am less sure about Rollins, but the Revere acquisition should push him down in the lineup and give him a chance to drive in more runs. Plus, he is still a good leader in the clubhouse and hits a decent number of home runs.

    On another note, I love the Delmon Young signing. An outfielder that plays sub-par defense, has a solid bat, and is incredibly clutch in big games? He reminds me of Pat the Bat. I’ll take a few errors this year if he can hit the ball well and avoid off the field issues. He killed the ball in the playoffs last year. He might be overweight, but they called his 290 pound older brother Dmitri “Da Meat Hook” and he still was a solid pro. The contract has a low base salary with a ton of performance incentives, I think it’s a great acquisition and definitely improves the outfield situation. If anyone out of the Mayberry/Nix/Ruf/Brown group can show some pop in spring training, I think the outfield goes from a very clear weakness to underrated and potentially solid.

  2. mark r says:

    Young has the potential to have a good year and he did not cost much. His strike outs and runs batted in numbers make him suspect ,when you consider the players that batted around him. I think Amaro is just trying to have a bunch of players and let the best players win the outfield positions.No matter what age if you hit you play if not you will sit.