The Philadelphia Phillies have been perennial World Series contenders since Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley were in their first years in the Majors. The Phillies have spent a king’s ransom on pitching, yet the rest of the lineup have aged poorly. Could Philadelphia become sellers at the trade deadline this season?
Will Philly regret signing Cole Hamels to a superstar contract when he is the team’s third best starter?
Here is the 2013 MLB season preview for the Philadelphia Phillies.
2012 Win/Loss Record: 81-81
Key Additions: OF Delmon Young, P Mike Adams, INF Michael Young, OF Ben Revere, P John Lannan, P Aaron Cook, OF Joe Mather, OF Yuniesky Betancourt, P Rodrigo Lopez
Key Losses: OF Juan Pierre, OF Nate Schierholtz, 2B Placido Polanco, 1B Ty Wigginton, P Jose Contreras, P Michael Schwimer
Interleague Schedule: AL Central + Boston Red Sox
Projected Starters: Carlos Ruiz (Erik Kratz during suspension), Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Michael Young, Jimmy Rollins, Dominic Brown, Ben Revere, Delmon Young
Projected Starting Rotation: Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, John Lanna, Kyle Kendrick
Closer: Jonathan Papelbon
Fantasy Sleeper: 1B/OF Darin Ruf – Ruf might be my favorite sleeper pick all season. At Double-A last season, the 26-year old hit a whopping 20 homers in the month of August. He was then brought up to the Majors and hit 11 for 33. Since he’s blocked at first base, he will be fighting for at-bats in left field. The once-heralded Dominic Brown currently holds the job. John Mayberry Jr. is ahead of Ruf in the depth chart, but I like the odds of him getting at-bats somewhere.
Team Analysis: 2012 was a lost season for the Phillies. Any knowledgeable baseball expert would have called it after Ryan Howard injured his Achilles’ tendon in the previous year’s NLDS. The Phillies became sellers at last year’s trade deadline. They shipped Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino out West. The team starts this season without a few familiar faces and starting catcher Carlos Ruiz has to serve a 25-game suspension. Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins will need to produce like it is 2009. If they had a better offense, their pitching would put them into the playoffs. Two of the best pitchers in the Majors (Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay) will still keep them in most games. The pitcher I’m most worried about is Cole Hamels. He was 17-6 last season, but he has not looked good early in Spring Training. After all that’s been said, I still think the Phillies will be over .500. The NL East is one of the best division in all of baseball, but there are still some really bad teams in the National League. The Phillies will beat on them enough to hover around .500. I believe the championship window is starting to close. If the team doesn’t see a championship team this season, I expect one of their top starters will be dealt for prospects.
Sportsbook.ag’s 2013 Wins Over/Under Line: 84.0 (Prediction: OVER)
2013 Projected Win/Loss Record: 85-77 (3rd in NL East)