Thursday, March 12, 2009

30 Clubs In 30 Days: Philadelphia Phillies

Originally Published At:

Today, we move from Washington to the top, where we take a look at the World Series champion Philadelphia Phillies, our next team in 30 clubs in 30 days.

The Phillies once again ousted the Mets to win the NL East, going 92-70 on the year, while putting up an impressive 17-8 September record, with an even more impressive 11-3 postseason record that included the Phillies first World Series title since 1980, and only the second championship in their history.

The Phillies offense was strong last year, scoring an NL second 799 runs. Though they only hit .255 as a team. this team could hit the long ball, hitting an NL best 214 HR’s last year. This team also was very good on the base paths, stealing 136 bases last year.

Chase Utley (.292 AVG, .380 OBP, 113 Runs, 41 Doubles, 33 HR, 104 RBI) had another solid year, even while he was hurt. Makes you think how much better his numbers would’ve been had he been healthy. Ryan Howard (.251 AVG, 48 HR, 146 RBI) showed his power, making sure that Utley, Jimmy Rollins (.277 AVG, 38 Doubles, 11 HR, 47 SB), and Shane Victorino (.293 AVG, 102 Runs, 14 HR, 36 SB), scored. Pat Burrell (.250 AVG, 33 HR, 33 Doubles, 86 RBI) and Jason Werth (.273 AVG, 24 HR, 67 RBI, 20 SB) also posted solid seasons.

The thing that carried the Phillies though last year to a title was their pitching. Philadelphia’s staff posted a solid 3.88 ERA, with teams only hitting .260 off of them. Though their starters were good, the bullpen was one of the best in baseball, posting an NL best 3.22 ERA while hitters only hit .251 off of them and only walked 533 batters. They were a little prone to good base runners, giving up 109 stolen bases.

Cole Hamels (14-10, 3.09 ERA, 196 K’s, 1.06 WHIP, 53 BB’s) proved that he is one of the best starters in the game, especially with the impressive postseason he had. Jamie Moyer (16-7, 3.71 ERA, 62 BB’s) proved to still be effective in his old age. Brett Myers (10-13, 4.55 ERA, 163 K’s) did slip a little though from his previous years.

This bullpen was great though. Brad Lidge (1.95 ERA, 41 SV’s, 92 K’s in 69.1 IP) was lights out. Chad Durbin (2.87 ERA, 17 Holds in 87.2 IP) and Ryan Madson (3.05 ERA, 1.23 WHIP in 82.2 IP) were very effective and consistent. J.C Romero (2.75 ERA, 52 K’s in 59 IP) was a solid set-up man, and Scott Erye (1.88 ERA, 18 K’s in 14.1 IP) was a nice trade deadline pickup.

The Phillies didn’t make many moves this off-season. Lets take a look:

Key Additions:
Raul Ibanez, OF (.293 BA, 43 Doubles, 23 HR, 110 RBI with Mariners)
Chan Ho Park, P (4-4, 3.40 ERA, 79 K’s in 95.1 IP with Dodgers)

Key Losses:
Pat Burrell, OF (.250 AVG, 33 HR, 33 Doubles, 86 RBI)
Tom Gordon, RP (5.16 ERA, 26 K’s in 29.2 IP)
Adam Eaton, SP (4-8, 5.80 ERA, 57 K’s in 107.1 IP)

The main switch here is that Pat Burrell is gone and Raul Ibanez is in. Though Burrell does have a bit more power, we should see a better, more consistent bat in LF this year. Ibanez should post a better average than Burrell, providing a solid, consistent bat in the 5th spot in the lineup.

Chan Ho Park should be a nice addition, and if he doesn’t win the fifth starter job, then you can expect to see him in the bullpen until J.C. Romero is back from his 50 game suspension for taking banned supplements.

Lets take look at the pitching staff:

Cole Hamels (14-10, 3.09 ERA, 196 K’s, 1.06 WHIP, 53 BB’s)
Brett Myers (10-13, 4.55 ERA, 163 K’s)
Jaime Moyer (16-7, 3.71 ERA, 62 BB’s)
Joe Blanton (4-0, 4.20 ERA, 49 K’s in 70.2 IP)

#5 Starter Spot:
J.A. Haap (1-0, 3.69 ERA, 26 K’s in 31.2 IP)
Chan Ho Park (4-4, 3.40 ERA, 79 K’s in 95.1 IP with Dodgers)
Kyle Kendrick (11-9, 5.49 ERA, 1.61 WHIP in 155.2 IP)

Brad Lidge, CL (1.95 ERA, 41 SV’s, 92 K’s in 69.1 IP)
Ryan Madson, SU (3.05 ERA, 1.23 WHIP in 82.2 IP)
J.C Romero, SU/RP (2.75 ERA, 52 K’s in 59 IP)
Chad Durbin, RP (2.87 ERA, 17 Holds in 87.2 IP)
Scott Erye, RP (1.88 ERA, 18 K’s in 14.1 IP)
Clay Condrey, RP (3.26 ERA, 34 K’s in 69 IP)

This, on paper should be a solid pitching staff, and there is no reason that the bullpen can't do what it did last year. The loss of J.C. Romero due to his suspension will be a hurdle to overcome, but the depth of Philadelphia’s bullpen should last them the 50 games he is out.

The key will be the starting pitching. We know what will get from Cole Hamels, but can Jamie Moyer really put up another 16 wins? We’ll see. People can hit his fastball, as opponents hit .318 when he threw his fastball. They only hit .252 on his sliders and .258 against his change ups. If he can be consistent with his off-speed stuff and pitch lots of strikes, then he at the very least should be consistent this year.

Another question is will Brett Myers return to the pitcher he was a few years ago. He has the stuff to be a good starter, but he needs to be effective with his fastball as opponents hit .323 on his fastball, and less than .226 on his other pitches. We’ll see if he can command that pitch this year.

Expect Joe Blanton to be effective, as he should be more comfortable in his first full year with Philadelphia. As far as the number five starter goes, the Phillies want Haap to win the job and looks like the front runner so far. Whoever doesn’t win the job will probably be in the bullpen, at least until Romero gets back.

Lets switch gears, from the pitching to the lineup:

Jimmy Rollins, SS (.277 AVG, 38 Doubles, 11 HR, 47 SB)
Shane Victorino, CF (.293 AVG, 102 Runs, 14 HR, 36 SB)
Chase Utley, 2B (.292 AVG, .380 OBP, 113 Runs, 41 Doubles, 33 HR, 104 RBI)
Ryan Howard, 1B (.251 AVG, 48 HR, 146 RBI)
Raul Ibanez, LF (.293 BA, 43 Doubles, 23 HR, 110 RBI with Mariners)
Jason Werth, RF (.273 AVG, 24 HR, 67 RBI, 20 SB)
Pedro Feliz, 3B (.249 AVG, 14 HR, 58 RBI)
Carlos Ruiz, C (.219 AVG, .320 OBP, 31 RBI in 320 AB’s)

Chris Coste, C (.263 AVG, 9 HR, 36 RBI in 274 AB’s)
Eric Bruntlett, INF (.217 AVG, 37 Runs, 9 SB in 212 AB’s)
Gregg Dobbs, 1B/3B (.301 AVG, 9 HR, 40 RBI in 226 AB’s)
Geoff Jenkins, OF (.246 AVG, 9 HR, 29 RBI in 293 AB’s)
Matt Stairs, 1B/OF (.252, 13 HR, 49 RBI in 337 AB’s)

This is a very good lineup. Pat Burrell is a good hitter, but Raul Ibanez should be a solidifier in the 5 spot. He hits for a better average than Burrell, which should produce more runs for a lineup that is already very good. This also allows Shane Victorino to be settled in the 2 spot.

Pedro Feliz is penciled in as the starter at 3rd right now, but expect more of a platoon between Feliz and Gregg Dobbs at 3rd. Feliz will get more starts against left handed pitching, as he hit .288 last year against lefties. Though against righties, he only hit .231, so expect Dobbs to get more at bats against righties, as he hit .309 against right handers last year.

Expect your main pinch hitters to be Matt Stairs and Geoff Jenkins. These guys will most likely be your DH’s at AL parks.


Philadelphia comes into ’09 looking to repeat as World Series champs, and they do have the talent to do it. They have a good offense, and the addition of Raul Ibanez should only make this offense better. They also have a good bullpen, and as long as Brad Lidge continues to be a constant at the back end of the bullpen, nothing should change that.

The key will be the starting pitching of the Phillies. Cole Hamels is a constant, and Jamie Moyer provides great leadership for the staff. Brett Myers should be better this year, but that depends on the trust that he has in his fastball. If the starting pitching is good, there’s no reason that this team can’t get back to the playoffs.

Because of the depth of their bullpen and the offense that they have, they will be toe to toe again with the Mets. I think the Mets are out to prove something this year, and won’t take anything lightly this year as their focus is simple: get to the playoffs.

Expect a close NL East race again, but for the Mets to squeak it out. The Mets just have something more to play for this year, and that will show this year. The Phillies will be in the playoff race though, and if any team has the best chance to win the wild card, its this team. I don’t think that they’ll win the division, but I do think that they’ll have a great shot of getting back to the playoffs via the wild card.

Finish - 2nd in the NL East, most likely to win Wild Card

Next, we go down to Florida, where the Marlins are here to show that they are for real and can compete.

Related Posts by Categories

Buy MLB Merchandise at our online MLB Shop