A few weeks ago, the pitching staff for the Phillies was analyzed. Yet again, the pitching is the strength of this team. But, like always, this team will live and die by its ability to hit the baseball. In the offseason the Phillies added Michael Young and Ben Revere, and will have a completely different outfield this year, including two players getting their first real shot in the MLB. I think the Phillies lineup is average, but it has the potential to be very good. It all rides on the health of the “core”. Is Utley healthy, is Howard healthy? Let’s hope so. Here is a breakdown by position of our 2013 Phillies:
Carlos Ruiz is suspended for the first month of the season, leaving the catching duties to Erik Kratz. Kratz proved last year he can be a more than adequate replacement behind the plate, showing pop and a good control for the game. This is the strongest catching duo the Phillies have had for years. Once Chooch comes back, expect him to return to the norm of .280-.300 batting average and continuing to be one of the best back-stops in the game.
For me, Howard is the biggest question mark for this team. He could hit .240 with 25 HRs and I wouldn’t be surprised. He could also hit .280 with 40 HRs and I wouldn’t be surprised. It all depends on his health and his ability to be PATIENT, both will determine his fate as a Philly. If he does not perform and the Phillies are sellers, I think he could be moved to the AL at the deadline this year, unfortunately.
If you haven’t seen pictures of Utley at spring training, he looks the best he’s looked since he has been a Phillie, reason being he has been working out consistently all off-season, whereas he used to take off a long time. I think Utley can return to a shell of what he used to be. Expect .275 17 HR 75 RBI, and a ton of hustle plays that we all know and love.
Michael Young is a career number 2 hitter, and a career .300 hitter. Although he is in the twilight of his career, he is just like Utley, a guy who is willing to work hard to be the best he can be. I think Young will have a very good season for the Phillies, IF Charlie lets him hit second, behind Ben Revere. Knowing Charlie, he will have Rollins leadoff, which we all know has been a bad idea for the last 3 years. If Young hits behind Ben Revere and in front of Chase Utley, he can easily hit .290 and spread the ball around to advance runners.
As you guys may very well know, I am not the biggest Jimmy Rollins fan, but only because he continues to lead off and have a horrific approach at the plate. If Rollins is moved down in the order, to 5th or 6th, he can be a very good asset to this lineup. It doesn’t get much better in the field, but there are countless hitters I would rather have leading off around the MLB than Jimmy Rollins. Expect .245 20 HR 65 RBI
I fully expect Darin Ruf to win the job in spring training and be the full-time left fielder for the Phillies. To all who say he is too slow to play LF, the Phillies won World Series with Pat Burrell and Greg Luzinski as the left fielder. I have high expectations for Ruf, as he has been an above average power hitter everywhere he has gone. I expect him to hit .260 with 25 HRs and 90 RBI.
I may have been the minority, but I thought the Worley/May for Revere swap was a great trade. I think Worley has hit his ceiling, and will regress, as his WHIP was always very high compared to his ERA. That luck runs out. Also, I think Trevor May will only be a bullpen arm in the majors. Ben Revere is a good, cheap young player who is under control for the next few years. Revere, although lacking power, is a guy who just gets on base. He has barely gotten any doubles or triples, but always gets singles. That is the definition of a pure leadoff hitter. Revere has better speed and is a better center fielder than Victorino, so that should tell you all you need to know about him. Expect Revere to hit .285 or higher and if Charlie bats him leadoff, he will easily score 100 runs.
Delmon Young is out for the first month of the season due to injury, and the Phillies want to see what Dom Brown has to offer. A perfect storm isn’t it? Dom Brown will need to perform well in the first month to keep his starting job, which to me is unfair. I think a player needs to be a regular for 400 ABs before you can truly gauge what he can offer. I think Brown wins the job and is a decent player for the Phillies. Expect .260 17 HR 75 HR from him, but with shaky play in RF.
All in all, this is not the best lineup the Phillies have ever had, but it has the potential to get the job done, especially with this pitching staff.Tags: Ben Revere, Carlos Ruiz, Chase Utley, Darin Ruf, Delmon Young, Domonic Brown, Erik Kratz, Jimmy Rollins, Michael Young, MLB, Philadelphia Phillies, Ryan Howard