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Jenkins’ Addition: How The Outfield Rates

This week, the Phils made their second splash (a moderate splash, if we’re thinking in Pat Gillick’s terms), signing free agent outfielder Geoff Jenkins for $13MM over two years.  I have to be at least positive about the deal, since the Phils made up about 60 percent of Rowand’s loss.  The other 40 percent isn’t necessary for this offense, but it would be helpful.

Put it this way — Geoff Jenkins probably won’t have Rowand’s 2007.  Heck, Rowand probably wont have his 2007 again.  That means the 2008 Phillies outfield, sorry to say folks, could be absolutely average.

But that isn’t a bad thing!

I culled through the last 10 Phillies outfields to determine how the 2008 version could stack up.  The most-played five players were considered:

2007 — Pat Burrell/Aaron Rowand/Shane Victorino/Jayson Werth/Michael Bourn
Burrell’s OBP and power numbers were as good as his best years despite a slow start.  Rowand had an All Star season.  Victorino was a tad above average, thanks to speed numbers.  Werth was platoon worthy.  And Bourn was a fine bench player; a consummate speed guy.  Defensively, besides Burrell, a pretty strong group.
TOTAL STATS: .299 AVG / 78 HR / 287 RBI / 332 R / 68 SB
Rating: 8.5 Bobby Abreus

2006 – Pat Burrell/Aaron Rowand/Bobby Abreu/Shane Victorino/David Dellucci
A repeat performance for Burrell, almost frighteningly, but with a bit lower OBP.  Rowand was injured for a good portion of the year, putting up average numbers.  Abreu had a real stinker season for him.  Victorino wasn’t quite ready and barely stole a base.  Dellucci had a fine bench season, probably a little better of a year than Werth in ’07.  Spotty defense all across.
TOTAL STATS: .273 AVG / 68 HR / 292 RBI / 311 R / 35 SB
Rating: 6.5 Ron Gants

2005 – Pat Burrell/Kenny Lofton/Bobby Abreu/Jason Michaels/Endy Chavez

Probably Burrell’s best season, knocking in 117 RBI.  Lofton was a stalwart in a semi-platoon with Michaels, hitting a lot of singles and stealing 22 bags.  This was the year Abreu started like a Man on Fire, but the power dropped out in the second half.  Michaels was a good singles hitter.  Chavez, while a good defender, provided nothing offensively.  Defensively, an average-to-poor group.
TOTAL STATS: .292 AVG / 62 HR / 296 RBI / 320 R / 58 SB
Rating: 7.5 Doug Glanvilles

2004 – Pat Burrell/Marlon Byrd/Bobby Abreu/Jason Michaels/Doug Glanville

Burrell was below average, one year removed from his really crap year.  Byrd was just really crap.  Abreu had his last great season, a 30×40 campaign as team MVP.  Michaels had another fine bench year.  Glanville’s second tour of duty with the pinstripes was close to a zero.  A strong defensive group, as Burrell was still passable and Byrd provided much better arm strength than Lofton in ’05.
TOTAL STATS: .256 AVG / 71 HR / 276 RBI / 297 R / 54 SB
Rating: 5 Jason Michaels

2003 – Pat Burrell/Marlon Byrd/Bobby Abreu/Ricky Ledee/Jason Michaels
Now we’re getting into the good stuff. Burrell was atrocious, a real WTF for all Phillies fans.  Byrd actually had a pretty average season.  Abreu was again fantastic with a .409 OBP.  Ledee packed some real power off the bench.  Michaels, meanwhile, wasn’t quite there yet, though he did come through with some nice hitting.  And it was a pretty average group, defensively.
TOTAL STATS: .271 AVG / 66 HR / 273 RBI / 299 R / 33 SB
Rating: 5.5 Jayson Werths

2002 – Pat Burrell/Doug Glanville/Bobby Abreu/Ricky Ledee/Jason Michaels

This is right there with 2005 as Burrell’s best season, as he hit 37 bombs, knocking in 116 and hitting a very strong 146 OPS+.  Okay, this is his best season.  It wasn’t Glanville’s best season, however, though 19 steals help his cause a little.  Abreu had a fine year, hitting .308 with a .413 OBP. 2002 Ledee wasn’t 2003 Ledee, sadly.  And Michaels was just plain mediocre.  They were average defensively, though Glanville was awesome.
TOTAL STATS: .275 AVG / 73 HR / 264 RBI / 296 R / 53 SB
Rating: 6.5 Ron Gants

2001 – Pat Burrell/Doug Glanville/Bobby Abreu/Brian Hunter/Eric Valent

It was really the starting three, with Hunter pinch hitting and giving little rests.  It was a typical Burrell season (27 HR, .258, 162 K) for his first full year.  Glanville came down a peg from 2000, put put up respectable numbers similar to Vic in ’07.  Abreu had his first 30/30 year, hitting 31 HR and swiping 36 bases, so obviously, it was a good year.  Hunter could’ve been better off the bench, but added 14 stolen bags.  Valent was the most-played of the slew of one-off guys who got a few innings out there (Rob Ducey, Turner Ward, Reggie Taylor), and a .098 AVG means he didn’t make the most of it.  It was Burrell’s best defensive year, as he rifled 18 assists. Abreu added 11; both, however, made countless errors.
TOTAL STATS: .266 AVG / 74 HR / 271 RBI / 287 R / 80 SB
Rating: 7 Gregg Jefferies’

2000 – Ron Gant/Doug Glanville/Bobby Abreu/Kevin Sefcik/Pat Burrell
Burrell was a rookie, but for those keeping score, he split time between first base and left field. I  put him in anyway. Gant improved on his 1999 HR output, notching a respectable 20.  But then he gave us just 38 RBI.  Yes — 38.  Glanville was good, stealing 32 bases, but it wasn’t quite 1999.  Abreu hit .316 while swiping 28, but he wasn’t at star level just yet.  Sefcik was plain poor.  Burrell was limited at left, and had a limited, average season.  Abreu was actually good defensively this year, and overall they were solid enough.
TOTAL STATS: .270 AVG / 71 HR / 258 RBI / 318 R / 68 SB
Rating: 6 Marlon Byrds

1999 – Ron Gant/Doug Glanville/Bobby Abreu/Kevin Sefcik/Rob Ducey
This was Year One of the Ron Gant experiment, which yielded average numbers (17 HR, 77 RBI, .260 AVG).  Glanville, however, was ridiculous, hitting .325 (204 hits!) with 34 steals, 11 homers and 73 ribbies in a career year.  What a leadoff man!  Abreu had a .335 year, not yet reaching his maximum power potential.  Sefcik was nothing to write about.  Then there was Ducey (remember him?), who was a servicable bench man.  Again, a good defensive year for Abreu.  The rest were average.  But offensively, a great season.
TOTAL STATS: .300 AVG / 57 HR / 287 RBI / 383 R / 85 SB
Rating: 8.5 Bobby Abreus

1998 – Gregg Jefferies/Doug Glanville/Bobby Abreu/Kevin Sefcik/Ruben Amaro

Hey, it’s the Jefferies era!  The Phils didn’t pay him big bucks to notch a .331 OBP. A below-average year for big GJ.  Glanville was very good, hinting at his gigantic ’99.  It was Abreu’s first year with the Phils, and he answered with a .317 clip, but struck out a bunch.  Sefcik was a strong singles hitter.  And Mr. Asst. GM showed us why he belonged in the front office (well, that’s debatable too), with a .187 AVG.  But probably the best defense the outfield has had in the last 10 years — strong arms, only one error-prone guy (Abreu).
TOTAL STATS: .289 AVG / 37 HR / 201 RBI / 273 R / 57 SB
Rating: 5 Jason Michaels

Now, I’ll take a predicted gander at the 2008 outfield.

2008 – Pat Burrell/Shane Victorino/Jasyon Werth/Geoff Jenkins/Chris Snelling

I’d guess Burrell may regress slightly from 2006 and 2007, which isn’t too bad.  Victorino should stay close to his 2007 numbers, and hey, maybe he touches the 1999 Glanville marks as a ceiling.  Werth could get better, but I wouldn’t bet on it.  With Jenkins, hopefully, I expect Ron Gant’s 1999 numbers.  And Snelling looks like a Michaels-level player; however, Gillick’s last two waiver-quality outfield pickups (Werth, Dellucci) were winners, so I’m looking optimistically.
Predicted Rating: 7 Gregg Jefferies’

Conclusion: Doug Glanville was pretty damn good for a few years!

Aside from that, last season’s team had probably the best Phillies outfield since easily 1999 and maybe the 1960s.  Most of these outfields were average or slightly above.  If the 2008 outfield is as good as I predict, we have nothing to worry about.  Why?  Because the pre-2007 teams didn’t have three superstar infielders.  That’s why.  The Phils can get away with an average outfield. An above-average outfield is gravy — which is what I expect for this team.

So let’s not worry too much about losing Rowand and gaining Jenkins.  Looking at the past, it’s not such a bad move.

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