As of the writing of this paragraph, the Phillies have played 43 games of the marathon 162 game schedule. This is essentially a quarter of the season. It's a good point to reflect, pontificate, and otherwise bask in the day-to-day operation of the baseball season.
Let's tier it up.
The Superstar Level
1) Chase Utley: Quite possibly the best player the Phillies have had since the days of Mike Schmidt in terms of all-around play. He is 4th in the NL in OPS (1.016) with 10 HR, 23 RBI and usually stellar play at 2B.
2) Jayson Werth: The beard gives powers which we have not foreseen. He is 2nd in the NL in OPS with 9 HR and 33 RBI.
3) Roy Halladay; He's 6-3 with a 2.22 ERA and 1.1 WHIP. He also likes to throw all the innings.
The All-Star Caliber Level
1) Ryan Howard: Hitting for average (.296) with some power (.473 SLG). Huh?? When did he become a rich man's Lyle Overbay? Still has a presence.
2) Carlos Ruiz: Before his shoulder injury, he was an on-base machine (.423 OBP). Also, they need him to control the running game.
3) Placido Polanco: This guy's contact skills are amazing. I also am encouraged by his fielding at 3B after the position conversion.
4) Jose Contreras: He has a 686 ERA+ and 20/2 K/BB ratio in 14 innings. Welcome, closer.
The Scrappy Level
1) Cole Hamels: The worry right now is the 1.39 WHIP; one still doesn't know which Hamels will appear for a given start.
2) Jamie Moyer; Essentially has had 3 or 4 bad innings all season. His 30/11 K/BB ratio and 1.1 WHP are great.
3)Shane Victorino: Filled in admirably for Rollins in the leadoff spot; has shown a lot of power (.463 SLG) and little patience (.309 OBP). Better suited for lower in the order.
4) Chad Durbin: The bullpen workhorse with 21 innings and 0.98 WHIP.
5) Raul Ibanez: He's borderline serviceable at this point. He has a hot streak still in him; I can sense it. Has had trouble catching up to fastballs.
The Guys Who Need a Push Level
1) Bullpen: Madson? disaster. Lidge? injured. Baez? wild. Herndon? inexperienced.
2) Bench: Schneider? Gload? Francisco? Dobbs? Castro? Valdez? Can any of these guys remember to hit? Highest OPS among them is .690. Not good
3)Kyle Kendrick: 4.0 K/9 is a not a good ratio; nor is the 3.1 BB/9 ratio. The sinkerball needs to well...sink more.
The Injury Train
1) Jimmy Rollins: Get well soon.
2) Joe Blanton: Does not have the same sing-and-miss stuff as last year.
3)Brad Lidge and Ryan Madson: Someone needs to get well to lend the bullpen some depth.
What to Expect and Where They're Going
Well, I'm not going to count the Mets series in this purview.....
The Phillies have a solid core of star and superstar players on both offense and defense. They need players to perform up to their historical norms (Howard, Ibanez, Polanco) to continue these winning ways. Werth and Utley have become elite players.
Halladay has been a revelation, though his heavy workload is worrisome. The rest of the starting rotation is balanced, but has no other potential dominant force at this point in time (until Hamels masters the cutter).
The bench is extremely poor at this point. No one is contributing anything positive. This is worrisome in the long run. The bullpen is also in shambles, though there could be reinforcements through a trade (Bobby Jenks?) or the minors (Scott Mathieson?). Brad Lidge becoming a mediocre pitcher would also help (after last year's experience).
Also, the energy must return. Whether it's Rollins who was providing it before or some unknown source. Everybody just seems so....stoic. Anyway, here's to a successful next quarter of 2010.