Phillies Mid Season Review: Offense

In our Midseason Review, we will grade out the entire Phillies team by position with each Phillies Nation blogger gives you his/her take on the season thus far. Here’s how we grade out the Phils offense:

Starting Nine

Jimmy Rollins:

Since he missed most of the season due to injury, it’s hard to put a grade on Rollins.  Before he was first placed on the disabled list, he showed tremendous patience at the plate.  However, after his second return, all his numbers dipped off.  The injured calf is mainly to blame, but Rollins is a player who is capable of stealing many bases; he only has two this season.  The Phillies are a much better team when Rollins is healthy; they need him to be the spark plug. (Grade: C+) – Amanda Orr

It’s hard to get a beat on Jimmy, mainly because he’s played so relatively little. The defense is obviously still there and isn’t showing any signs of fading, but the bat is definitely not what it was to start the first week or so of the season. The infield fly balls that made 2009 so frustrating have started coming back en masse. What’s critically important now is Jimmy’s health through the end of the season; if his leg won’t leave him alone, 2011 may not be an enjoyable a ride. (Grade: C+)Paul Boye

Placido Polanco:

Despite losing at-bats due to his injury, Polanco remains near the league leaders in average (.318).  He’s not going to hit for power, but his slugging percentage is up from where it was at this point last year (.386 midway through ’09, .433 midway through ’10).  Defensively, he has adjusted fine from second to third.  The Phillies have gotten what they expected from Polanco. It’s just a shame he’s hurt. (Grade: B+) – AO

I was all aboard the Adrian Beltre train this past offseason, and his performance in Boston so far this year hasn’t exactly made me forget that he was a viable alternative to Polanco. That said, what Polly has given the Phillies has been better than I anticipated, not so much offensively but certainly defensively. He’s got good figures in UZR this half season, and considering he hadn’t played the position with any regularity since 2002, I call that better than a plus. Sure, Beltre may have still been the better option (not backing down), but Polly ain’t got me singin’ the blues. (Grade: A-) PB

Chase Utley:

He’s the best second baseman in baseball, but he’s having a down year — for Chase Utley.  His month long slump put a toll on his stats.  He’s batting .277; he’s usually around the .290 mark.  He’s slugging .466; he’s usually over .500. His OPS is .849; it’s usually over .900.  It just shows how spoiled we are to watch a player like Chase.  His “down year” is above average for most players.  It hurts that he’ll be out so long.  (Grade: B+) – AO

His month-long slump was terribly odd, even though we’ve all become accustomed to the Phils slumping as team whenever they do hit the skids. His slugging is down, as Amanda mentioned, but that .466 mark he has is still fifth among NL second basemen. His .383 OBP leads the Senior Circuit (he has more walks, 40, than strikeouts, 37). And that’s in spite of a .177/.298/.250 stretch over 27 games from May into June. Look, the guy is still damn good. He is getting older and will eventually start to slow down, but assuming he doesn’t rush back from this thumb injury, he’ll pick up where he left off. He still plays superior defense, and that helps keep his grade high despite the long slump and injury. (Grade: B+) – PB

Ryan Howard:

His batting average is way up.  His strikeout numbers are way down, but so are his power numbers.  Decide which Ryan Howard you like more: the one that will hit tons of home runs but strike out quite a bit, or the one that will hit for average, strike out less, but will also hit less home runs? You decide.  He’s having a very good season, but I’d still like to see a bigger power display from him. (Grade: B+) – AO

I think people will have a hard time taking whatever I say about Howard as unbiased, as I have a long, colored history of railing against the man. I will say that there are a few things I do like about his season thus far: contact is up, K rate is down, performance against lefties is improved and anything in the field that doesn’t involve a throw to second base looks pretty good. On the other hand, Howard’s power is looking almost average among first basemen and he isn’t getting on base at a clip worthy of his enormous extension. Relative to other first basemen, Howard isn’t elite this year. But we have the late summer yet to come. (Grade: B)PB

Jayson Werth

Werth has had his ups and downs, but he has put together a solid year at the plate. A line of .286 AVG/ .371 OBP/ .531 SLG/ .902 OPS isn’t too shabby.  He has 26 doubles midway through 2010; that was his total for ALL of last year. He has slumped, however when he is hot, he’s on fire. (Grade: A) – AO

Jayson is another toughie to get a read on. His extra-base hit tear early this season was unbelievable, but during his down time he looks an awful lot like the worst of Pat Burrell. Like Burrell, Werth has a great eye and good patience at the dish, but when he scuffles a little, he has a hard time making good contact on even the most pedestrian fastballs, and he’s made a few puzzling gaffes on D. Still, dude’s having a really nice year and is still in line to be at the top of the OF free agent class this winter, along with Rays LF Carl Crawford. (Grade: A-)PB

Raul Ibanez

There have been a lot less “RAAUUUUUUUL” chants this year.  Last season was one of Raul’s better seasons, but this year he can’t even come close to the numbers he put up with Seattle and Kansas City. (Grade: D+) – AO

He’s 38. He’s owed $11.5M next season, when he’ll be 39. He’s hitting .245 and slugging .401, and not exactly showing signs of improving. Hoo-boy. (Grade: D)PB

Shane Victorino

I like that Victorino is attempting to steal.  It seems like he is only Phillie that is attempting to.  His slugging percentage is about where it usually is (.446), but his average (.252) and on-base percentage (.322) are lower than normal.  The Phillies need him on base. (Grade: C+) – AO

Shane’s a nice player. He’s not a star, just a solid regular with enough speed to play a pretty good center field. His extension seems to be a pretty fair evaluation of his talent, given what he’s provided the Phils. While his homers are up a bit, he’s just not getting on base at a rate that I like; .322 is subpar, especially if he’s to hit high in the order again, setting up Howard and Werth. (Grade: C)PB

Carlos Ruiz

Chooch was having one of his better years at the plate before suffering an injury.  The backstop is known more for his catching abilities, and has done a tremendous job defensively behind the plate, from calling the game to making game-saving plays. (Grade: C+) – AO

Another player whose numbers took a serious tumble as a result of a prolonged slump. Chooch was killing it for a while, and still has numbers well above his career averages in average and OBP, but probably won’t keep those rates up when he returns from the DL. He’s another guy the Phils need to have healthy, and if he can produce at a level anywhere near his current season totals from now through the fall, he’ll be a big boost. (Grade: B+)PB


During the offseason, Ruben Amaro gave the bench a whole new look, hoping to improve on 2009.  Many of those bench players have turned into “everyday” players, thanks to numerous injuries.  Charlie Manuel always says that he needs to give his bench players at-bats for them to do well.  Players like Wilson Valdez and Juan Castro have done a decent job filling in for hurt players.  However, when guys are called off the bench to pinch hit, like Ben Franciso, it usually doesn’t end up in any sort of production.  Filling in nicely, yes.  Pinch hitting, not so much. (Grade: D+) -AO

It started out as well-below average, and currently sits at something still a few staircases short of mediocre. Wilson Valdez has actually been a decent replacement at second and third, BenFran has been better lately, and…well, that’s pretty much it. The bench is still pretty bad, something that’s painfully obvious this season with all of their injury issues. Is anyone else still not convinced that Dobbs’s 2008 was a result of some seriously effective deal with the devil? It’s ridiculous how far ahead that season stands from the past two. The onlythings that save this grade from failure is Dobbs showing a little life and Valdez doing good things when he isn’t grounding into double plays. (Grade: D-)PB

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