What Can the Phillies Do? Hope, Pray for Improvement

Ryne SandbergI wrote yesterday about how the Phillies’ only option to save their season is crossing their fingers and hoping for the best.

There isn’t much more they can do beyond that. They have the third-highest payroll in baseball, so it isn’t like they haven’t spent money. They have a roster loaded with former All-Stars, MVPs, Cy Youngs and World Series champions, so it isn’t like they have a roster full of nobodys. But things are not going well. Only the lowly Diamondbacks and Astros have been outscored more than the Phillies this season, and run differential tells the story. No team has made the postseason with a negative run differential since the 2007 Diamondbacks (minus-20) won the National League West.

The only reason the Phillies are 17-21 and not worse is because their aging core is playing well:

  • Chase Utley‘s .973 OPS is the eighth highest out of 179 qualifying players in Major League Baseball.
  • Marlon Byrd‘s .819 OPS is 18th out of 76 outfielders.
  • Jimmy Rollins‘ .796 OPS is fifth out of 25 shortstops.
  • Carlos Ruiz‘s .797 OPS is ninth out of 25 catchers.
  • Ryan Howard‘s .776 OPS overall is well below his career average (.902), but he is on pace for 30 home runs and 93 RBIs.

The Phillies are getting some of the worst production in baseball in left field, center field and third base, where they are counting on players no older than 26. Domonic Brown‘s .591 OPS is 71st and Ben Revere‘s .602 OPS is 70th among 76 outfielders. Cody Asche‘s .684 OPS is 17th out of 23 third basemen. The Phillies’ young relievers also haven’t delivered. When 44 percent of a lineup (third base, left field, center field and pitcher) is a routine out and almost everybody in the bullpen is struggling it is impossible to get on a roll.

Random thoughts: It’s time to drop Revere and his .284 on-base percentage from the top of the lineup. Yes, Revere has fantastic speed, but Ryne Sandberg is giving one of the least productive hitters in baseball more opportunities to hit than any other hitter in his lineup. Remember, each spot a hitter drops in the lineup represents 15 to 20 fewer plate appearances per season. So by having Revere hit first and Ruiz (.385 OBP) hit seventh, he is giving Revere about 100 more plate appearances over the course of a season than Ruiz, who gets on base at a good clip. … I would say Sandberg should platoon Brown and John Mayberry Jr. in left field, but Brown’s splits are flipped. He has a .511 OPS against right-handers, but a .790 OPS against left-handers. Meanwhile, Mayberry has an .808 OPS against lefties, but a .154 OPS against righties. I would even say Mayberry should play a little more in center, considering Revere’s arm and route running doesn’t make him indispensable defensively, but Revere’s splits are flipped like Brown’s. Revere has a .466 OPS against righties and an .837 OPS against lefties. … If Darin Ruf plays well in Triple-A perhaps he should be up soon. The Phillies have to try something in the outfield.

6 Comments

You are spot on about Revere. He’s killing us in the leadoff spot. A couple off-seasons ago all anyone could talk about was getting a right handed power bat in the outfield. And we got…Revere…a lefty who still has yet to hit a HR in the majors. What is his value, exactly? Speed? That doesn’t mean much if you can’t get on base.

I agree, the “core” guys are (Ryan, meh) are doing OK so far. But I’ve seen enough of Mayberry and Revere. Realistically, this team is barely a .500 team by seasons end, so let’s clear the bench & bullpen of the “never will be’s” and bring up the kids. And don’t let Amaro make any deals…he should be a dead man walking and has proven beyond a doubt he and his staff can neither evaluate talent or make fruitful trades. I’d rather blow it up, knowing we have a few rough years in front of us and watch kids develop or struggle, than watch this drek all summer.
Either way, until Amaro is fired, I’m boycotting the stadium, gave up my ticket packages because it’s the only way to get the owners attention. Hoping Monty goes as well, he’s now reached his level of incompetence.

In other words…they can do nothing. The shame of it is that the vets are all finally having a good year (in the same year), but they are surrounded by a bunch of young guys feeling their way that may actually turn out to be good (like Ashe) and younger guys that probably just don’t have what it takes (Revere, Galvis, most of the bullpen). Sad, but this year, like last year, was over before it started. They better do well in the draft this year…..

Rollins to lead off spot, Ruiz 2nd… get some pitchers in the bullpen who can strand base-runners… other teams have more consistent bullpens although I’m not sure of the statistics… How many games have the Phils lost after the starter leaves… Kendrick comes to mind, yet he has not been very consistent…

to many players are inconsistent… Ruiz, Rollins, and Utley…sometimes Byrd seem to be the ones who are most reliable and might get that clutch hit… when others come up, sometimes I just turn the station and hope something good might have happened…

Wishing there is more of a team spirit and camaraderie like in days gone by with certain teams… but that cannot be forced…it’s either there or not it seems…

I am sorry, Zo, but you are just a real Debbie Downer… Maybe you should trade beats with another city. It’s only mid-May and I am already tired of your schtick…

I guess Howard is on pace for an okay season if he were making $10 million. But the fact that he is making $25 mill and still leaves too many RBI chances unfulfilled while hitting .230 is what frustrates fans and leads to people being angry at him. For that kind of money you have a right to expect superstar stats, not the pedestrian variety Ryan puts up. Not to mention he is still a total liability against lefties. This entire team is poorly constructed which can only fall on one man, Ruben Amaro. Terrie team for third straight year.

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