CATCHER: Carlos Ruiz is coming off his first season as the Phillies catcher and is quickly becoming a favorite of the Phillies hurlers. In particular, Chooch (as he’s affectionately known) can manage Brad Lidge and his devastating slider. He played only only 117 games in the 2008 season but had one of the most memorable moments with his walkoff nubber in Game 3 of the 2008 World Series.
FIRST BASE: The heart that powers the Phillies lineup is undoubtedly first baseman Ryan Howard. In 2008, Ryno smashed 48 homers and drove in 146 runs, though he did strike out 199 times which led to a slash line of .251/.339/.543.
SECOND BASE: If Ryan Howard is the heart of the Phillies, then Chase Utley is the soul. The consummate baseball player and one of best second basemen of all-time hit 33 home runs in 2008 and drove in over 100. He numbers across the board were strong – .292/.380/.535 – even his HBPs which amounted to 27.
SHORTSTOP: At short is the feisty Jimmy Rollins who, like Mickey Cochrane, is coming off an MVP year the season prior. JRoll missed a few games in 2008 due to injury so his numbers regressed some but he still provided plenty of spark, swiping 47 bases. His on base percentage of .349 was a career high. He also won a Gold Glove, validating what people already knew – his defense is second-to-none.
THIRD BASE: Since Scott Rolen‘s departure in 2002, the Phillies have struggled to find a long-term replacement at third base. This year’s selection is the soft-hitting Pedro Feliz who was acquired before the season from San Francisco. Although he hit just .249, he did occasionally provide some pop from the bottom of the lineup racking up 14 home runs and 19 doubles in 133 games.
LEFT FIELD: The 2008 season was the last of nine Pat the Bat spent roaming left field (and the Irish Pub on Walnut St.). Certainly a fan favorite, Pat Burrell contributed to the World Series run with a career high 33 home runs this season. His 33 doubles and 102 walks helped to buoy a .367 OBP. Also, important to note, Burrell stayed healthy all season playing in 157 games which tied a career high.
CENTER FIELD: A native of the 50th state, Flyin’ Hawaiian Shane Victorino plays center field and scurries around the bases with reckless abandon. He won his first of 3 consecutive Gold Gloves in 2008 and finished the season a 293/.352/.447 line. His grand slam in Game 2 of the NLDS off C.C. Sabathia reached legendary status almost instantaneously.
RIGHT FIELD: The man behind the beard in right field is Jayson Werth who is really coming into his own. Werth began the season platooning with Geoff Jenkins in right field, but soon found himself playing every day in the early part of the season while regular center fielder Shane Victorino was on the disabled list. For the season, he led the majors in home runs against left-handed pitchers, with 16