Year in Review: Raul Ibanez – Phillies Nation
2009 Year in Review

Year in Review: Raul Ibanez

If you’ve been paying attention to Phillies Nation during this wild offseason, you’ll notice the Top 25 moments of the year put together to celebrate the fantastic season the Phillies had in 2009.  One of the players you’ll see a good amount of is Raul Ibanez.

In Year One of the Rauuuuuuul Experiment, the man became a cult hero amongst the masses here in Philly. His first half of the ’09 season was MVP-caliber, bringing along a no-nonsense approach to the game – something that had been lacking from Pat Burrell’s arsenal.  Left field was now in better hands defensively and offensively, and Phillies fans felt good about that.

Raul finished the first half with 22 home runs, 60 RBI, and a fan base that couldn’t get enough.  He flourished so quickly that he was voted as an All-Star starter for Charlie Manuel’s NL squad, garnering over four million votes.  Ibanez was recognized not just here in our area, but worldwide for his contributions on the field.

Push past the midsummer classic, and you’ll find a different Raul.  His second half numbers paled in comparison as he went from an Albert Pujols-level back to being a mere mortal.  Injuries ravaged his season from mid-June to mid-July, while sapping his power and stunting his hand-eye coordination at the plate. His second half: .232, 12, 33, in 64 games.  The rock-solid 37-year old had become just another 37-year old by seasons end.

The playoffs were more the same for Raul, as he failed to prove he was past the injuries, primed for a World Series run.  Instead, he put up a .239/2/13 line in 24 games, and suddenly the mighty had fallen.

Overall, when you look at the surface numbers, Raul Ibanez had as good a season as anyone could have imagined before coming over from Seattle. His .899 OPS lent stability to a strikeout-heavy lineup (although Raul did K 119 times).  His .552 slugging percentage ranked 8th best in the NL.

However, the Raul that reared his ugly head by the mid-way point was the one who battled like a champ through leg problems and suffered through a tumultuous second half.  When he could play, he gave solid defense and willed himself through.  But it was not enough as the Phillies superman had been felled by a kryptonite of sorts during the long, hot summer.

The man is still revered here for what he did early on, plus, it’s not like he’s going anywhere.  Raul is still the Phillies left fielder and they will look to him once again in 2010 for veteran leadership and a keen eye in the batters box.  As for ’09, it was the ultimate game of high-low for Raul, but one that Phillies fans will remember for many years.

2009 numbers: .272 avg., 34 HR, 93 RBI, .899 OPS, 119 K, 56 BB

Grade: 7.8/10 – Raul gets a 10 for his first half performance and about a five for his horrid second half.  All in all, a fantastic season for Ibanez, although it was broken apart by some injuries.



  1. Trent from AC

    December 10, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    I think this is pretty fair….but I woulda given the guy an 8….he worked his tail off all season and has proved to Philly to be a fan favorite just after 1 season…..RAUUUL is the man………

  2. Brooks

    December 10, 2009 at 5:33 pm

    This year will be telling don’t you think?
    Was the first half of last year an aberration? Can we expect a repeat performance? Can he stay healthy?
    Raul quickly became a favorite – a tired, unprepared pitching staff faltered terribly in the first few months of the season yet because of Raul (mostly), the Phils came out of April with a winning record – amazing!
    If we see a .280 average or better, between 25-30 hrs and 90 rbi or better, the Phils will continue to DOMINATE the NL.

  3. Pimples Galore

    December 10, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    Raul — hard worker, excellent player, outstanding example of a gentleman athlete. What’s not to like. I hope Father Time does not catch up to him and giving him as occasional rest would be advised. Let’s keep him happy, healthy and hitting.

  4. Brian of CO

    December 10, 2009 at 8:51 pm

    Kind of hard to disagree with the rating. He had an AWESOME first half and a poor 2nd half. I dont expect a repeat of either one honestly. I expect a player right in the middle honestly. I think his 2nd half was that bad because the injuries never really “healed”. Didnt he just have surgery? He’ll be back strong. I think his avg will be a consistent .280 – .290 avg.

  5. Manny

    December 10, 2009 at 9:57 pm


    Career year baby

  6. bfo_33

    December 11, 2009 at 6:42 am

    Depending on what other off season moves are made, guessing Vic in the 6 hole, Raul batting 7th. Assuming no significant injuries, also guessing he gets about 30 games off during the regular season. Both will conspire to drop his rbi ops a little in 2010. Not really sure when to sit him, since conventional wisdom would put him down against tough lefties, but his splits don’t really justify that. Assuming Mayberry is the 4th outfielder, his splits are lousy against righties, especially breaking ball pitchers.
    Hoping that the second half was the injuries, and not the start of a decline. Even with that, a big improvement over “the bat”. Much better defensively than I thought, good rating, hoping to see him go .290/30/90.

  7. mikemike

    December 11, 2009 at 8:02 am

    I really believe that is Raul doesnt hit it will be Michael Taylor time, unless he is traded for Halladay. If reports are true and to get Halladay they lose Happ, Blanton then who will be the fourth and fifth starter. Kendrick and smoltz or ????.I love the idea of Halladay but it doesnt guaranteed us a pennant and to lose happ and blanton to get him is a lot. just like the angels giving up saunders a 17 game winner for halladay how many more wins will halladay give y then saunders, plus saunder is younger, and by the way was a phillies draft choice they didnt sign.

  8. Don M

    December 11, 2009 at 11:39 am

    New Thread..

    This is from the article.. for all the people that want the Phillies to increase payroll to $150 M, etc. because “they are making tons of money” … we’ll they’re spending almost more than then they’re making, and the spending will keep going up, if only to pay their own players!!

    “Their attendance has risen 38 percent since 2006, climbing from 2.6 million — ninth in the league — to 3.6 million. Their payroll in those three years jumped 49 percent, from $88 million to $131 million and is likely to approach $140 million in 2010.”

  9. bfo_33

    December 11, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    Thanks for starting the new thread. I agree that the Phils should really be in the 125-130M range, 140 only if something falls in your lap. Where do you go next year? If the Phils stand pat, they win the division, barring a Mets-like injury plague (which is very possible – we haven’t had an extended injury to the core since 2006), and probably even make it to the World Series (if not, who in the NL – maybe Stl, but they need protection for Pujols, and don’t have the $$ to get Holiday back). The Phils could pull out a WS win (they weren’t that far off this year), but it would be a strectch.
    They need a RH power pitcher to get through the Yanks/Red Sox/Angels. So who do you move? The infield is set, not moving any of those guys (Rollin’s bat could be easily replaced, he’s on the downside offensively since his 2007 peak year, and while his range is sliding also, he’s still better than most, and there is no back-up). In the outfield, you could possibly replace Ibanez, but that is a big contract, very unlikely to get any bites. Werth is expensive, but worth every penny plus, probably the best righty bat East of Pujols – needed in this line-up. That leaves Victorino as trade bait, but he’s still pretty cheap – worth his salary.
    If we somehow get Halladay, Blanton has to go, and still probably have to move some salary. I can’t find it, so I think we are pretty much set, look a starter off the scrap heap.

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