After a year of misery in the football world, a flounder in the basketball scene, and a disappointing sample of hockey so far, it is really nice to see our boys in Clearwater ready to get back to the grind. In years past there have always been questions injury recover when spring training has started, making this year a little different as those stories seem to have finally elapsed, making way for discussions about age and production. This has been a different offseason compared to previous years. Ruben Amaro decided to make moves out of necessity, instead of the big splash we have all come to expect, which in turn may not have been as popular, but was definitely warranted. The Phillies have opened their pockets for many players still on this team and I think they finally have said now is the time we expect them to live up to those monster contracts. Obviously, if guys like Cliff Lee, Ryan Howard, and Chase Utley, do not perform to what they are being paid, it makes it virtually impossible for this team to succeed this year. I understand we need contributions from other members on the roster, but when you pay $70 million a year to 3 players, you would definitely hope they would equate to some wins. Consequently, I am sure Phillies management is thinking along the same lines, just not stating it publicly.
In the following days I will try to breakdown each position area to give my viewpoint and to also look for opinions to see what everyone else thinks too. There are many intriguing roster storylines that will be playing out all spring and probably go on well into the season. Looking over our outfield for this year, we have only 1 proven outfielder, in Ben Revere, who we traded for in the offseason and penciled in as our starting Center fielder. Ben is an exciting players, that has an opportunity to dazzle fans with his speed and his glove. The only question is will he be an adequate hitter for this lineup and will he walk enough to be an active runner on the base paths. Last season he hit .294 and walked only 29 times in 511 AB’s. The average is a definite plus, but he will definitely have to walk more to be an ultimate contributor to this team.
Now onto the most interesting storyline of the Phillies over the last few years, Dominic Brown. Dominic is well-known for being the untouchable piece of the Phillies farm system, that had hindered many possible deals in years past. He was our #1 prospect in the minors and was ranked as high as #4 in all of baseball in 2010. The question is what happened to this kid. When Dominic has been given opportunity to showcase his skills, he has befuddled everyone, including the organization, by looking lost in every facet of the game. Ruben Amaro was a guest this year on 97.5 the fanatic and was quoted as saying, ” Dominic Brown is going to have to show us he is part of our plans going forward this year, or it will be time to give up on his promise. ” I think that definitely says it all and hopefully it gives Dom the incentive to put it all together. We shall this year if he’s an ultimate bust or a player who just needed time to develop.
Next up, another intriguing player, maybe even more than Dominic Brown, it’s the infamous Darin Ruf. Darin Ruf has been compared to players like Greg Luzinski to Pat Burrell. He has been a late bloomer at age 26, and the phillies hope that his minor league power can equate to a successful transition to the majors. Darin hit 38 home runs in AA last year and was promoted to the big leagues late in the year, but given only 12 games to sample what he could do. He dit hit 3 home runs, showing he definitely has some pop, but the challenging part will be if it can last a whole season, especially once the teams get film on how to approach him at the plate. We all remember Pat Burrell wasnt the best Left fielder, but he served as an adequate protector of Ryan Howard in the lineup, which I think is all the phillies hope Darin can do. After these 3, we have Lance Nyx, a 30-year-old journeyman who has shown the inability to stay healthy, but can provide some pop off the bench; John Mayberry Jr., a 29-year-old project that serves multiple positions, but cannot remain consistent enough to be an everyday player; and lastly Delmon Young, a player with all the talent in the world, but off the field issues have kept in from producing at his full capabilities. If you were to ask me out of those 3 who would produce the most, I would have to say Delmon Young. I am not saying he’s a lock to produce by any means, but he’s definitely capable of putting together a respectable season if his head remains straight. This covers the outfielders, stay tuned in the following days as I break down the other positions………
BY: Tony Cutillo ( @TCutillo23 )
- Ben Revere winning over Phillies teammates and fans (bnd.com)
- Delmon Young Signs One-Year, $750,000 Deal (zozone.mlblogs.com)
- More Hatred for Brown (thebaseballhaven.mlblogs.com)