Sunday, November 25, 2012

Philadephia Phillies Season 21 Outlook

Season 20
Won/Loss (place in division) & Playoffs:  73-89 (4th), missed playoffs
Offense:  770 runs (5th)
Pitching:  4.81 ERA (15th)

Major ChangesFA Departures:  SP Luis Cruz, C Pedro Caballero, SP Ross Lamb, RP Arthur Howell, RP Eduardo Rosario

FA Signees:  OF R.J. Henry, 2B Bob Diaz, RP Pete Isringhausen, C Cory Lindblom, SP Chico Nunez, SP Jumbo Mateo
Season 21 Outlook
:  The Phils feature 3 of the best at their positions in Major Leagues: 1B Tsuyoshi Tabaka (All-Star and Silver Slugger last 2 seasons, MVP Season 19), 2B Donovan O'Rourke (averaged 35 HR's, 102 RBI last 5 seasons), and SS Hector Bennett (Silver Slugger all 3 seasons).  Add in returning FA's David Serra and Miguel Javier plus newcomer Cory Lindblom, and the offense is assured of putting up runs.

Pitching was the problem last year, and it remains a question mark.  Cristobal Duran is a legit ace, but the rest of the rotation is a tossup.  Norm Long just isn't what he was a couple of years ago, but could snap back with one more good season.  Jumbo Mateo can be very good or very bad in a given year...Chico Nunez had a brilliant 3-season stretch (Seasons 14-16), but has been mostly bad since.  Ruben DeLeon has been more predictable and is adequate as a back-of-the-rotation guy.

The 'pen was a total mystery last year.  Al Sierra (career ERA 3.64) ballooned to 5.08 last year.  Einar Duran didn't work out...Gregory May was well above his career ERA.  Pete Isringhausen will help, and I expect an overall bounce-back season from this group.

Nice job retooling by Philly.  This is the kind of team that can compete IF a few things happen:
    1.  They get the usual All-Star (or better) seasons from Tabaka, O'Rourke and Bennett (Likely);
    2.  They squeeze 1 more big season out of 2 of Serra, Javier and Lindblom (Could Happen);
    3.  The rotation's "unpredictables" (Mateo and Nunez) both break below 4.00 ERA (???);
    4.  They get sub-4.00 ERA seasons from 2 of their 4 primary short relievers (Likely)

OK, that's a lot of IF's in a tough division, but it sure would be entertaining if they could get to 95 wins, no?

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