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Dr. Strangeglove

Examining “Should of Kept”

This is FanSince09. You may have seen him on the comment boards of various Phillies blogs (including this one), or on Twitter. He’s been a vocal critic of the trade that sent J.A. Happ to Houston for Roy Oswalt and argues that Cole Hamels (or “Coal Hammels” as FanSince09 prefers to put it) should have gone to Houston instead.

But his greatest contribution to Phillies internet culture has been the introduction of “should of kept.” FanSince09’s disregard for usage rules or inability to distinguish “of” and “have” has caught on like wildfire. For instance, whenever Cole Hamels screws up, the response would be “should of kept J.A. Happ.” Whenever Chase Utley strikes out, “Should of kept Marlon Anderson,” and so on. It’s become so popular that there’s already a backlash against it. But before this meme becomes completely passe (and I fear I may be too late), I’d like to address the underlying question behind FanSince09 and his catchprase: Should the Phillies of kept J.A. Happ? Should the Phillies of kept everyone? Let’s compare, then, the current team on the field for the Phillies to the best possible team of active players drafted by the Phillies, assuming, for the sake of argument, that everyone is healthy. Results after the jump.A couple rules before getting into the nitty-gritty. First, if we’re dealing in terms of “should of kept,” let’s assume that means the Phillies “should of kept” everyone. That means we’re pitting the current 25-man Phillies roster (or what that roster would look like if, again, no one was hurt) against the best 25-man team that could be created from players that the Phillies drafted (including players who did not sign with the team) or signed as international free agents. So, unfortunately, that means not “should of kept” Bobby Abreu or Gio Gonzalez.

Position 2011 Phillies “Should of Kept” Phillies
C Carlos Ruiz Carlos Ruiz
1B Ryan Howard Ryan Howard
2B Chase Utley Chase Utley
3B Placido Polanco Scott Rolen
SS Jimmy Rollins Jimmy Rollins
LF Raul Ibanez Pat Burrell
CF Shane Victorino Marlon Byrd
RF Ben Francisco Michael Bourn
4OF John Mayberry J.D. Drew*
5OF Ross Gload Domonic Brown
IF Pete Orr Casey Blake*
IF Wilson Valdez Nick Punto
C2 Brian Schneider Jason Jaramillo
SP Roy Halladay Cole Hamels
SP Cliff Lee Gavin Floyd
SP Roy Oswalt Brett Myers
SP Cole Hamels Randy Wolf
SP Joe Blanton Kyle Drabek
RP Kyle Kendrick Sergio Escalona
RP Michael Stutes Vance Worley
RP J.C. Romero Antonio Bastardo
RP Danys Baez Taylor Buchholz
RP Antonio Bastardo Josh Outman
RP Ryan Madson Ryan Madson
RP Brad Lidge Kameron Loe*

*Drafted by the Phillies but not signed.

There are obviously some similarities between the two teams: Ruiz, Howard, Utley, Rollins, Hamels, Madoson, and Bastardo feature in both teams. The rest of the “Should Of Kept” team is littered with unsigned draft picks, prospects who were traded for top-level starting pitching, Scott Rolen, and members of the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs who would be part of the team if the Phillies hadn’t assembled the top team on in the National League over the past five years.

The major advantage the “Should of Kept” team has over the current Phillies is offense; Placido Polanco is on fire right now, but Scott Rolen is still the better all-around third-baseman, and the Burrell/Byrd/Bourn/Drew outfield beats the Ibanez/Victorino/Francisco/Mayberry outfield in just about every meaningful offensive and defensive category. However, the difference between the two teams in quality lies with starting pitching, which has benefited (sometimes directly, sometimes not) at the expense of the offense.

On the other hand, while a rotation of Hamels, Floyd, Myers, Drabek, and Wolf isn’t bad, it’s not exactly Four Aces and a Joe. Looking at the two teams side-by-side, it’s hard say the the Phillies “should of kept” their original amateur acquisitions.

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