Philadelphia Phillies: All 25 Players' Odds of Being 2012 All-Stars

Greg PintoCorrespondent IMarch 14, 2012

Philadelphia Phillies: All 25 Players' Odds of Being 2012 All-Stars

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    People often say that the Philadelphia Phillies field a team of All-Stars.

    Of course, that is normally a backhanded statement about the state of the club's spending and payroll, and about how easy it is for the Phillies to pay for All-Star caliber players, but at its core, that's a true statement. The Phillies do field a team full of players with All-Star experience.

    Every one of the Phillies' everyday players outside of catcher and left field have been to the All-Star Game, and there is an argument to be made that Carlos Ruiz should have been there at least once.

    Three starting pitchers of the Phillies' five-man rotation have been to the All-Star Game, and new closer Jonathan Papelbon has been there four times.

    The Phillies' two biggest contributors off of the bench this season against right-handed and left-handed pitching, Jim Thome and Ty Wigginton, respectively, have each been to the All-Star Game at least once.

    So when people say that the Phillies can field an All-Star team, it's true. Though they may indeed have a bloated payroll, 12 of the 25 players on their active roster have been to the Midsummer Classic. With that kind of roster, you expect the Phillies to send plenty of players to Kansas City this summer to represent the National League, but who will they be?

    Well, it's time to find out.

    This slide show will look at each Phillie's chances of making an All-Star appearance this summer. To do so, we will break down the case for or against each player and assign a percentage chance to represent the possibility (or probability) of All-Star representation.

    For news, rumors, analysis, and game recaps during spring training, check out Greg's blog: The Phillies Phactor!

Jose Contreras

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    Chance He's An All-Star: 0%

    I don't normally like to mark things down at "0%" because of the corny cliche that states "anything is possible," but there are a few cases in this slideshow where I feel that is an accurate percentage change, for obvious reasons. 

    Jose Contreras is one of the easy ones.

    After missing nearly all of last season with an arm issue and undergoing exploratory surgery over the off-season, Contreras should be ready for Opening Day, but the Phillies will likely take it slow with him. With Antonio Bastardo emerging as the club's set-up man and Chad Qualls an emergency Plan B, expect to see Contreras in a more reduced role.

Kyle Kendrick

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    Chance He's an All-Star: 0%

    Phillies' officials have raved about Kyle Kendrick this spring, and that is certainly a good sign.

    The development of his cutter has helped him to retire left-handed batters more efficiently early in the spring, and lefties have always been Kendrick's Achilles heel.

    With that being said, however, there is no chance he becomes an All-Star. First and foremost, long relievers don't make the All-Star team. Of course, there is a small chance that the Phillies deal Joe Blanton and Kendrick winds up in the starting rotating.

    In that case, feel free to up the ante to 1%, but not a decimal place higher.

Michael Martinez

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    Chance He's an All-Star: 0%

    Seeing as how there won't be a planetary alignment until December of this year and Global Warming has kept hell from freezing over, there is still 0% chance that Michael Martinez, if he is even on the roster, will be an All-Star in 2012.

    Moving on.

Chad Qualls

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    Chance He's an All-Star: 0%

    Chad Qualls was a great pickup for the Phillies late in the off-season. Given Jose Contreras' questionable health and the way the bullpen looked like a scene out of an episode of M.A.S.H last season, he provides another layer of depth that a lot of the Phillies' younger prospects can't provide just yet.

    But that's the thing. Qualls is more of a Plan B than anything.

    The back-end of the bullpen currently projects as a trio of Jonathan Papelbon, Antonio Bastardo, and Contreras, and unless one of those three go down, Qualls will find himself pitching closer to the middle innings, and with the Phillies' starting staff, they don't come around for the bullpen very often.

    You don't make the All-Star team that way.

Brian Schneider

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    Chance He's an All-Star: 0%

    Brian Schneider probably has a better chance of making the All-Star Game than any other player in this "0%" group, if that makes any sense at all.

    From a positional standpoint, if Carlos Ruiz were to miss a significant amount of time and Brian Schneider were to find the Fountain of Youth, then by no small miracle could he have a shot at the All-Star Game.

    Considering that none of that is likely to happen, we'll keep his chances at a comfortable 0%.

Mike Stutes

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    Chance He's an All-Star: 0%

    Out of this group with virtually no chance to make an All-Star appearance, Mike Stutes may just have the highest upside, but even with that being the case, it would still be next to impossible for someone to make an appearance from this spot.

    After all, we're not even sure if Stutes will be pitching out of the Phillies' bullpen on Opening Day. The battle for that final bullpen spot has been an absolute free for all and it's still anyone's game.

Dontrelle Willis

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    Chance He's an All-Star: 0%

    Speaking of guys with no guarantee that they'll be heading north for Opening Day, how about Dontrelle Willis?

    Considered one of the off-season's better deals for the Phillies, who plan to convert him into a left-handed specialist, many believe that he has a great chance of making the club as the team's second lefty, but his future may have taken a drastic turn earlier this spring.

    After telling pitching coach Rich Dubee that he was good to go, Willis got shelled in a Grapefruit League game and blamed the results on arm soreness. Needless to say, Dubee was not thrilled.

    With other lefties like Jake Diekman, Joe Savery, and Raul Valdes having more impressive springs, there is certainly no guarantee that Willis breaks camp with the club.

    None of those guys are going to be All-Stars regardless.

Antonio Bastardo

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    Chance He's an All-Star: 5%

    It's really sad that I can't bring myself to put Antonio Bastardo's chances any higher than that.

    Unless Jonathan Papelbon goes down with an injury early in the season, it is next to impossible for Bastardo to make the All-Star team. We saw that first hand last season.

    Bastardo was one of the most dominant set-up men in the National League after Brad Lidge and Jose Contreras hit the disabled list, and though his numbers were extremely impressive, he was left in Ryan Madson's shadow and received no consideration.

    It's not impossible, but right next to it.

Joe Blanton

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    Chance He's an All-Star: 5%

    At the end of the day, Joe Blanton is a fifth starter.

    Sure, the first three guys in the Phillies' starting rotation could be number ones on most teams, and Vance Worley is entering just his second season, but none of that matters. Blanton is penciled into the rotation in that last spot, and if all goes well health wise, he'll probably make the fewest starts.

    So what does he have to do to make the All-Star team? Sacrificing his first born child may be a bit extreme, but I don't see many other options. He hasn't won more than 10 games since 2009 and hasn't posted an ERA below four since 2007.

    The only reason his chance is at 5% is because I feel as though he's going to have a strong season, be it with the Phillies or elsewhere.

Laynce Nix

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    Chance He's an All-Star: 5%

    Laynce Nix is going to receive a fair amount of at-bats with the Phillies, particularly during the early part of the season while Ryan Howard is on the disabled list, the most of which will come as part of a platoon in left field with John Mayberry Jr.

    Though highly improbable, I suppose the possibility exists that, as is the case with all platoons, one player could outplay the other into an everyday role, but with Nix's inability to hit left-handed pitching, that doesn't seem very likely.

    What's more likely is that Nix is a solid part-time player.

Jim Thome

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    Chance He's an All-Star: 10%

    With the All-Star Game being played in Kansas City this year, it won't seem so strange watching a designated hitter in the All-Star Game, and Jim Thome is the most storied DH the NL has to offer.

    Wait, what's that you say? Thome is going to try and play first base again in 2012? Did the Phillies get that message?

    All joking aside, Thome is working hard this spring to play some first base during the regular season while Ryan Howard is on the disabled list, but it certainly won't be a common sight. The future Hall of Famer is expected to make just a couple of starts a month,  far from enough to warrant All-Star consideration.

Ty Wigginton

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    Chance He's an All-Star: 10%

    Believe it or not, Ty Wigginton has been to the All-Star Game once in his career.

    Yes, I'm serious.

    Granted, that single All-Star appearance came during the 2010 season as a member of the Baltimore Orioles, and Wigginton only made the roster because each team must be represented and the O's legitimately didn't have anyone better to offer, but that's not something Wigginton likes to tell people.

    Wigginton gets a bit of a higher percentage than most of the other bench players because he is expected to play all over the diamond for Charlie Manuel, particularly at third base to rest Placido Polanco. With that being said, don't expect Wigginton to make the cut.

Vance Worley

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    Chance He's an All-Star: 15%

    If you're looking for an underdog to make the All-Star Game, how about Vance Worley?

    After coming into camp penciled in as the Phillies' fourth starter, Worley was touched up a bit in his first Grapefruit League appearance, forcing writers to ask him how he felt about the dreaded "sophomore slump."

    He doesn't like it. In fact, he was kind of ticked off that the writers asked him about it. So how did he respond?

    Well, all Worley did in his second Grapefruit League start was toss four perfect innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates, striking out eight Buccos.

    Worley will be climbing a steep mountain all season long as far as those questions about regression are concerned, but if anyone can reach the top, it's probably the "Vanimal."

Ryan Howard

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    Chance He's an All-Star: 30%

    Ryan Howard's chance at making the All-Star Game is clearly two-fold: How much time will he miss and how effective will he be once he does make his return?

    Neither question has a clear-cut answer.

    At times during the spring, it looked as though Howard was way ahead of schedule, that is, until he was forced to receive treatment for an infection and relegated to a walking boot once again. While May remains the likely return date for Howard, no one can be sure, and is that enough time for Howard to plead his case for the All-Star Game?

    Of course, no one really knows just how effective Howard can be after returning from such a serious injury either.

    The only thing Howard really has going for him is the fact that Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder are in the American League now.

Carlos Ruiz

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    Chance He'll be an All-Star: 50%

    I pegged Carlos Ruiz's chances at being an All-Star right down the middle because the truth is this: I'm not sure why the man hasn't represented the National League yet.

    Easily the second best defensive catcher in the NL behind Yadier Molina of the St. Louis Cardinals, Ruiz's offense has never been the name of the game, but it certainly hasn't hurt the Phillies either. Yet it seems like every season he gets left out of the game in favor of Molina and Brian McCann.

    Maybe this is the year for "Chooch," but then again, maybe it's not.

    Who knows?

John Mayberry Jr.

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    Chance He'll be an All-Star: 60%

    John Mayberry Jr. is a bit of a dark-horse candidate on this Phillies roster.

    Though he logged less than 300 at-bats last season, Mayberry managed to open plenty of eyes by posting an OPS of .854 and slugging 15 home runs. With the departure of Raul Ibanez, Mayberry is penciled in as the team's primary left fielder, but will split some of the playing time with left-handed power threat Laynce Nix.

    Of course, Mayberry certainly has the potential to play everyday, and Charlie Manuel is a big enough supporter that we just may see that happen.

    In that event, I think Mayberry will surprise a few people and receive a fair amount of consideration, ultimately coming up short.

Jimmy Rollins

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    Chance He's an All-Star: 65%

    Surprisingly enough, Jimmy Rollins hasn't been to the All-Star Game since 2005.

    He won the National League MVP Award in 2007.

    So although he had a solid season at the plate in 2011, I'm really not confident that Rollins has a legitimate shot at making the All-Star Game, despite the support from the strong Philadelphia fan base. At this point in his career, Rollins is a guy who certainly isn't going to hurt you at the plate, but his greatest strength is defense.

    Fans want to see offense.

    With that being said, however, the biggest threat to Rollins' All-Star chances is the rising talent level of National League shortstops. With Troy Tulowitzki at the top, Rollins has his work cut out for him, to beat out guys like Starlin Castro and Jose Reyes as well.

Placido Polanco

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    Chance He's an All-Star: 70%

    What's left in the tank for Placido Polanco?

    How can an aging third baseman with no power possibly make the All-Star Game? Well, Polanco did it in 2011 on the back of just one strong month. It just goes to show how supportive the Phillies' fan base can be. The real question is whether or not he can do it again in 2012.

    Here's his case:

    We've all heard about Polanco's nagging injuries throughout the 2011 season and about how he has come into Spring Training feeling completely healthy. When Polanco is healthy, he is one of the best contact hitters in all of baseball, and that is certainly something of value.

    He really made a name for himself last season by playing stellar defense at the hot corner—statistically and visually one of the best third basemen in the National League.

    The addition of Ty Wigginton will help Charlie Manuel keep Polanco healthy and rested, and if that happens, a productive Polanco has a legitimate shot at the All-Star Game, thanks in large part to question marks surrounding third basemen around the NL.

    How will Hanley Ramirez fare in his move to third base?

    Can players like David Wright, Ryan Zimmerman, Aramis Ramirez, Scott Rolen, Chipper Jones, and Pablo Sandoval stay healthy?

    It almost seems like whoever is healthiest has the potential to get the nod.

Hunter Pence

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    Chance He's an All-Star: 85%

    Hunter Pence was practically a shoo-in to last season's All-Star Game as the lone representative of the lowly Houston Astros, but this season, with several Phillies likely to make the cut, Pence is going to have to earn it.

    No problem.

    With Ryan Howard on the disabled list to begin the season and for who knows how long thereafter, someone is going to pick up the slack in the middle of the order, and a lot of that pressure will fall on Pence.

    No problem.

    Prepared to spend his first full season in Philadelphia, I think there are a lot of people who expect the right fielder to take his game to the next level this season, and he is certainly capable of that. In just half a season with the Phillies, Pence's power numbers surged and his popularity soared.

    Don't get it twisted: Pence has his work cut out for him in the NL. There are plenty of talented outfielders. Can he make the cut?

    No problem.

Chase Utley

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    Chance He's an All-Star: 85%

    Realistically, the only question surrounding Chase Utley and the All-Star Game is whether or not the man is healthy, because if he is on the field on Opening Day and right up through mid-season, the chance of him representing the National League dramatically increases.

    Why, you ask?

    The answer is pretty simple: No second baseman in the National League gets more fan support than Utley. Last season, he opened the season on the disabled list and still led all second basemen in voting for a large part of the season.

    So what happens if Utley is on the field and playing up to his potential?

    He's an All-Star. No bones about it.

Jonathan Papelbon

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    Chance He's an All-Star: 90%

    Ready for a bold proclamation? Jonathan Papelbon is the best closer in the National League.

    In fact, I don't think it is all that close. Papelbon's biggest challenger for that claim may be none other than division rival and rising superstar Craig Kimbrel of the Atlanta Braves, but how will he fare after the dramatic end to the 2011 season, at the hands of the Phillies, no less?

    The rest of the NL is a myriad of closers with great potential, but none with the track record that Papelbon possesses.

    What that means in relation to this slideshow is that Papelbon, if he pitches to his potential, should have no problem making the All-Star team. He is making a transition from the AL East to the NL East—a move that has improved statistics of pitchers across the board in the past.

    He'll get plenty of opportunities. The Phillies are a pitching heavy ball club that will play a number of close games.

    Can he make the most of those opportunities? I think so, with ease.

Shane Victorino

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    Chance He's an All-Star: 90%

    Shane Victorino is the only player in the short history of its existence to be selected to the All-Star Game twice by means of the "Final Vote." Will this be the year he gets in without having to look over his shoulder? There are plenty of reasons to believe so.

    The most obvious reason is that Victorino put a lot of those "underrated" tags behind him last season when he emerged in the national spotlight as one of the game's best two-way players. He posted an OPS of .847, slugged 17 home runs, and posted a UZR/150 of 5.7, helping him to a WAR of 5.9.

    Can he sustain those numbers in 2012?

    Well, there aren't many obvious signs of regression that would suggest that he can't. If anything, Victorino may have a little extra motivation heading into the regular season, what with being in a contract year and expressing a strong desire to remain in Philadelphia.

    With Matt Kemp and Andrew McCutchen patrolling center field in the NL, it won't be easy.

Cole Hamels

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    Chance He's an All-Star: 93%

    The biggest knock against Cole Hamels' case for the All-Star Game is the simple fact that he is third on that starting pitching depth chart for the Phillies. The again, that's not really a knock at all, is it? That was proven last season when the lefty was selected to represent the NL alongside of teammates Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee.

    Why should 2012 be any different?

    In 2011, Hamels had the best season of his career, despite pitching with bone chips in his left elbow. The addition of a cutter and one of, if not the best, change-ups in all of baseball have propelled Hamels' to the next level of elite starting pitchers.

    He's one of the best lefties in the NL pitching in a contract year. There is really little reason to believe that he won't be there.

Cliff Lee

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    Chance He's an All-Star: 95%

    Ever since the Phillies decided to bring Cliff Lee back to Philadelphia, the most common argument against the starting rotation's success has been its age. To that end, let me pose a question: How has the age of Cliff Lee effected his performance?

    He has gotten better.

    While the "wear and tear" argument certainly holds some weight, as long as Lee is healthy, he is going to be productive. He is a pitcher, not a thrower. He has command of all of his pitches and is using them more effectively with each passing season. In 2011, he posted the best strikeout rates of his career during his age 33 season, with zero signs of regression for 2012.

Roy Halladay

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    Chance He's an All-Star: 99%

    Roy Halladay is the best starting pitcher in the National League.

    Los Angeles Dodgers' starter Clayton Kershaw is pushing his way up the ladder, but he still has quite a way to go before knocking Halladay off the top. You can use the whole "age" argument again, but age is just a number for "Doc," who at 35-years-old is one of the most well-conditioned athletes in all of sports.

    I'll simplify the argument though: As long as health permits, what is the argument against Halladay being named an All-Star?

    Yeah, I couldn't think of one either.

So Who Represents the Phillies in Kansas City?

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    The All-Star Game is such a fickle entity. 

    The fact that fan-voting determines the starting lineups certainly throws a wrench into the game-plan of analyzing each player's chances from a statistical standpoint, and the fact that each team must be represented, often awarding a roster spot to an undeserving player, complicates things even further.

    All in all, the fans do a pretty good job of awarding deserving players with starting nods (but certainly not all of the time.) From a Phillies' perspective, the question is how many players will they send? They are in a position to put a stranglehold on the National League in the same manner the New York Yankees do in the American League.

    But who goes?

    A lot of Phillies have great chances at making an All-Star appearance,  but here are the guys I'm banking on:

    - Roy Halladay

    - Cliff Lee

    - Cole Hamels

    - Jonathan Papelbon

    - Shane Victorino

    - Chase Utley

    On the Periphery:

    - Hunter Pence (Perhaps via the Final Vote?)