I love my Phillies, but uncertainty weighs heavily this season. After a 3rd-place finish in the National League East last year, the hope is they can bounce back this year and reach the playoffs, but they have a long road ahead of them.
The starting lineup is not firm based on a number of factors:
1. Health – Both Chase Utley and Ryan Howard are coming off years in which they did not start the season due to injury. Although both will start the season this year, it is unknown how they will fare down the stretch.
2. Uncertainly in the Outfield – Outfield positions are not set and will depend upon opposing pitcher and defensive performance, especially at the corners.
3. Suspension – Carlos Ruiz’s 25-game suspension will force the backup catchers Kratz and Valle to start the season. After the suspension is over, Ruiz will be placed back in the lineup, but it is uncertain if Ruiz’s strong performance from last year will carry over into this season.
My projected lineup for the Phillies for start of the 2013 season:
1. Jimmy Rollins, SS:
156 games played in 2012
Ended 2012 with a .250 average, 23 HR, 68 RBIs and 102 runs scored.
Rollins has to be mindful of swinging at the first pitch, and once on base he needs to continue to put the heat on with steals. Last season he successfully stole 30 bases and was caught 5 times.
2. Michael Young, 3B:
156 games played in 2012 with Texas Rangers
Ended 2012 with a .277 average, 8 HR, 67 RBIs and 79 runs scored.
The Rangers’ all-time leader in games, at-bats, runs, hits, doubles and triples. Didn’t have his best offensive season in 2012 but ended the year strong and is expected to have a better offensive season in 2013.
3. Chase Utley, 2B:
83 games played in 2012
Ended 2012 with a .256 average, 11 HR, 45 RBIs and 48 runs scored.
Strength is using his compact swing and his body to get on base (he’s been hit 151 times by a pitch in his career). The question will be if his knees can withstand a full season.
4. Ryan Howard, 1B:
71 games played in 2012
Ended 2012 with a .219 average, 14 HR, 56 RBIs and 28 runs scored.
Strength is home run ability, when he can connect. 300 career total HRs, but 1306 strikeouts in his career, with 99 of those occurring in 2012.
5. Erik Kratz, C:
50 games played in majors in 2012
Ended 2012 with a .248 average, 9 HR, 26 RBIs and 14 runs scored.
Good backup for Ruiz, but unfortunately doesn’t put up the same offensive numbers.
6. Ben Revere, CF:
124 games played in 2012 with Minnesota Twins
Ended 2012 with a .294 average, 0 HR, 32 RBIs and 70 runs scored.
His 40 stolen bases last year is what the Phillies need in order to garner the extra runs they’ll need to be in contention.
7. Darin Ruf, LF:
12 games played in the majors in 2012
Ended 2012 with a .333 average, 3 HR, 10 RBIs and 4 runs scored.
Ruf is the power hitter the Phillies need, but not unlike other power hitters (such as Howard) when you swing for the fences you tend to strike out a lot. Last year in the minors he struck out 102 times in 489 at bats.
8. Domonic Brown, RF:
56 games played in majors in 2012
Ended 2012 with a .235 average, 5 HR, 26 RBIs and 21 runs scored.
Dominic will need to step up his game, both offensively and defensively, if he wants to claim a regular spot in the outfield this season.
Dawn was born and raised in the outskirts of Philadelphia. An avid Phillies fan, she looks forward to attending games at Citizens Bank Park each year – especially those that occur at the end of October (for obvious reasons).