Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Mid-Season Report Card

As the Phillies start the second half of the season tonight against the Cincy Reds, let's take a look back on a somewhat disapointing first half. At 43-38 the Phils are leading a very weak NL East by a game and a half over the Florida Marlins but their .531 winning percentage is only 5th best in the NL. They are 17-23 at home, only better than Washington and Arizona - both last place teams. Their 26-15 road record is the best in the majors. Today we will look at the lineup and tomorrow the pitchers.

C – Carlos Ruiz, .236, 3 HR, 18 RBI: Chooch is having another rough year at the plate in 2009. His defense is as solid as ever, but he just can’t seem to get anything going with the bat. It’s pretty much a guaranteed double play every time he steps up with a man on first. Chooch manages games well and the pitching staff seems to respond to him – that’s the only reason he doesn’t get a lower grade. C-

1B – Ryan Howard: .252, 21 HR, 62 RBI, 96 K’s: It is hard to be disappointed in a guy, who is on track for 42 home runs and 124 RBI’s but his track record says we can. Though the two-time all-star is putting up good numbers, he is on track for his worst production of his career. Sorry, tough crowd. I fully expect him to go on one of his patented second half runs where he can single handedly win games over the course of a month or so. When all said and done, I would not be surprised to see him in the top 3 in the MVP vote but this is first half grades: C+

2B – Chase Utley: .310, 19 HR, 60 RBI: Has a truer statement ever been made then “Chase Utley, you are the man!” I don’t think so. Utley is having another stellar season, solidifying his position as the leading second basemen in the game. It’s hard to find fault in any area of his game this year. He’s the best. A+

3B – Pedro Feliz: .290, 5 HR, 40 RBI, 33 R: Pedro has been a pleasant surprise at the plate, batting average wise but not so much power wise. He is also a Gold Glove caliber glove – minus two memorable errors that ended up costing games. Great defender overall. If he can end up in the .275 range with 15-17 homers, I would be happy. Considering what I was expecting out of him offensively… B

SS – Jimmy Rollins: .224, 7 HR, 33 RBI, 11 SB: J-Roll has started to come on in the last week or so, but up to this point in the season he has been atrocious. He has struggled mightily to get on base in the first half of 2009, posting a meager .275 OBP and continuing his trend of not being very patient at the plate. His defense has been top notch as usual, but he has been frustrating to watch swing the bat. If he can keep the momentum of the last week going, the Phils will surely post more W’s in the second half of the season… D

LF – Raul Ibanez: .312, 22 HR, 59 RBI, 51 R: Raul has been much, much more than anybody hoped for. When he went down with his injury, he was neck and neck with Pujols for NL MVP. Known as a below average outfielder in Seattle’s big outfield, Ibanez has been more than adequate in the field and has been a significant upgrade over Pat Burrell. John Mayberry and Matt Stairs as a tandem have not done much to make us forget Raul, though Mayberry has shown flashes of power. Not surprisingly, the Phillies slump coincided with Ibanez injury. He is expected back Friday. A

CF – Shane Victorino: .306, 6 HR, 39 RBI, 13 SB, 60 R: Victo is having a solid year so far. The potential All-Star selection has been hovering around .300 the entire season and continues to cover tons of ground in center. Shane is currently on pace to break personal records in RBI’s, runs scored and hits. B+

RF – Jayson Werth: .264, 18 HR, 51 RBI, 57 R, 11 SB: Underrated outfielder is proving that he can in fact be an everyday player. Werth can still look bad against a tough right handed pitcher but makes up for it by killing lefties and playing above average outfield. Werth is on track to hover around the 100 mark on RBI’s, runs scored and walks. Solid first half. B

The Phillies have a team batting average of .260 (7th NL), scored 432 runs (1st), 116 HRs (1st), and also lead the league in slugging % at .452. The bats have been pretty good considering the terrible first half by the leadoff hitter. They can be scary good with a productive Rollins.


  1. C+ is VERY harsh for Howard. I know he's not having one of his best seasons, but I'd still give him a B or B+ because of the fear he's put in pitchers and the power that he's put up. Batting .252 in the first half is huge for Big Brown.

  2. It is due to his track record. 42 and 124 are great numbers but would be career lows. I can see B-, maybe B..maybe, but I think with the protection he's gotten behind him, he could have put up better numbers.

    Its clearly relative to what we expected out of him. He has slightly better numbers than Werth but Werth was a question mark coming in and Howard was a sure thing - that is why Werth got the better grade.