Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Philadelphia Philles Preview

The Phillies finally lived up to their offensive potential last year and took their explosive line-up to the playoffs last year after passing the meltdown Mets late in the season.  Unfortunately, the NL's highest scoring team ran into the red hot Rockies and were swept in an embarrassing display.  Luckily for Phils Phans, they return almost entirely intact from their NL East division title looking for another potent season.  

Key Additions
Brad Lidge RP
Pedro Feliz 3B
Geoff Jenkins OF
Key Losses
Aaron Rowand OF
Tad Iguchi 2B
Michael Bourn OF
Antonio Alfonseca RP

Projected Line-up
1) Jimmy Rollins SS
2) Shane Victorino CF
3) Chase Utley 2B
4) Ryan Howard 1B
5) Pat Burrell LF
6) Geoff Jenkins RF
7) Pedro Feliz 3B
8) Carlos Ruiz C

Offensive Grade: A-...The top 5 in this line-up stack up with the elite offenses in baseball this year.  Rollins is a top 3 SS, Utley is the clear-cut best 2nd baseman, and Howard is a top 3 1st baseman. 
 Don't forget about the flyin' Hawaiian, Victorino.  He stole 37 bases last year even though he missed nearly a month.  Couple Shane and Jimmy together and the Phils are going to steal a huge amount of bases this season.  Citizen's Bank Ballpark is a big time hitter's park and even with Johan in the NL East, the Phillies are going to be blasting off on the rest of the pitchers in their division on the regular.  It wouldn't surprise me to see Philadelphia top the National League in runs again this year.

Projected Rotation
Brett Myers
Cole Hamels
Kyle Kendrick
Jamie Moyer
Adam Eaton
CL Brad Lidge (Tom Gordon will be the Fill-in Closer while Lidge is on the DL)

Pitching Grade: C+...First of all, I want to state that it's bogus that Myers is getting the opening day start.  Hamels is the stud on this team and he earned the start with his performance last season.  Now that that's out of the way, it's clear that this is a very thin rotation.  Eaton and Moyer are injury prone (let's not even get started on the Closer situation) and if either of them go down, there will be an enormous amount of pressure on Myers and Hamels to pick up the slack (they'll already be under the microscope as it is in the harsh Philadelphia Media Market).  That said, Myers and Hamels are one of the best Pitching Duos in the NL.  Myers has had a number of excellent starts to the year in the past, but it seems like he can't put it together for a full season.  If he does, Brett could flirt with 15+ wins.  Hamels is one of the best young pitching talents in baseball and if he can get his control on track he could be in line for a Cy Young or two down the road.  The flame throwing strikeout artist could have a big breakout year in 2008 after a decent '07.  If he does, it won't matter as much if the rest of the rotation isn't up to par.  His wife is also hot as hell.

2008 Outlook
The combination of a stellar offense and an elite pitcher seems to be a formula for success in baseball and that should bode well for the Phillies.  The NL East is going to be a tough division as it is every year, so Philadelphia isn't going to just waltz into the playoffs, but they should be right in the mix for the division crown.  The Phils really need to avoid the injury bug this year and if they can, a deep playoff run is well within reach.  Considering the fact that this team's best players are all in or around their primes this squad is one of a handful in baseball that has a legit shot at a World Series Championship.  Expect a big season in Philly.
Projected '08 Record: 92-70


Young Por 'que said...

Didn't Kendrick get traded to Japan for the rights to Takeru Kobayashi???

Young Por 'que said...

Ok, that was a joke. Geez