It should go without saying that the 2012 season has been a frustrating one for the Philadelphia Phillies and their fans.
The frustration started in spring training, when fans learned that Chase Utley and Ryan Howard would miss a majority of the first half of the season and just continued to mount from there. Injuries to several key players, including Roy Halladay, kept the fire burning.
The Phillies' play on the field suffered as a result, and the level of frustration came to a boiling point. After winning five consecutive National League East crowns, the Phillies have found themselves in the cellar looking up for most of the season.
In a season like this, it's hard to place the blame on a single player. However, it is a lot easier to decipher which players are frustrating fans the most, and that's exactly what this list will do.
This slideshow will rank the least frustrating player (No. 25) and move down the list to determine which player has been the most frustrating (No. 1) this season.
It's really hard for Carlos Ruiz to play any better this season.
The Phillies catcher is having a legitimate, MVP-caliber season and has picked up the club on his back and carried them through the first half of the season, leading the club in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS and is among the team's leaders in RBI and home runs.
There's been very little, if anything, to be frustrated over in regards to Ruiz.
It's hard to be frustrated with a guy that came into the organization on a non-guaranteed, minor league deal and has basically outplayed nearly all of his teammates through the first half of the season.
That man is, of course, Juan Pierre. The left fielder is among the team's leaders in batting average, on-base percentage and stolen bases, and has struck out the fewest times of any everyday player.
Not bad for a guy who had to scratch and claw his way onto the 25-man roster back in March.
Fans may still be a little peeved over Jonathan Papelbon's record-setting contract, but it is difficult to be frustrated with his performance this season.
Papelbon has converted each of his 17 save opportunities this season, and while he is struggling in non-save situations, I think Phillies fans will be satisfied as long as their closer slams the door in ninth-inning save opportunities, and Papelbon has done just that.
With Roy Halladay injured and Cliff Lee battling some kind of cosmic, negative baseball karma, the Phillies' best starting pitcher this season has been the homegrown lefty, Cole Hamels.
Hamels has cruised to 10 wins with a couple of weeks left prior to the All-Star break and hasn't showed any signs of slowing down. He's posted an ERA of 3.25 and a WHIP of 1.093—two of the best marks among Phillies starters.
He shouldn't have any problem winning 20 games this season.
Laynce Nix is another guy that came into the season with very low expectations and was way outproducing them before he was forced onto the disabled list with a pretty severe strain in his calf muscle.
The Phillies signed Nix to a two-year deal over the winter to provide some left-handed thunder off of the bench, but injuries forced him into more of an everyday role, and the outfielder/first baseman answered the call.
Before hitting the DL, Nix was posting an OPS of .979 with a pair of home runs.
A lot of fans came into the season expecting Vance Worley to regress in some way, shape or form following a surprising 2011 campaign, but the right-handed starter has done anything but. In fact, he's gotten better.
Though he missed some time with elbow soreness cause by a bone chip in his right arm, Worley has been impressive.
Even in the midst of a season where a couple of their big players have been banged up, the fact that Worley's stellar 141 ERA+ is the highest of any member of the club's starting rotation by at least 20 points is nothing short of impressive.
Antonio Bastardo has been the type of reliever that has the tendency to make you a little nervous at times with his control, but the results have been positive and the fans are pleased.
It was an interesting spring for the left-handed pitcher, who struggled with consistency both in the location and velocity of his fastball.
As the season has worn on, Bastardo seems to be growing stronger and stronger, and he has reemerged as the club's setup man in front of Jonathan Papelbon.
With Chase Utley and Ryan Howard on the shelf, a lot of people expected Hunter Pence to evolve into some kind of star this season, but those may have been unrealistic expectations.
Pence is an excellent player, but he's probably just below that "star" threshold, and while I have no doubt that he can cross that line, he hasn't done it yet in his career.
But if you take Pence for what he is—an excellent complementary player—then he's having a great season. He leads the team in home runs with 13 and is second to only Carlos Ruiz in OPS.
Coming into the season, there were no expectations for left-handed reliever Jake Diekman, so when he was called up to the MLB earlier this season, the only way his stock with the fans could go was up, and Diekman skyrocketed.
The power lefty has punched out hitters left and right since making his debut, striking out an impressive 16 batters in just 10.2 innings of work.
Sure, he's had his low points this season, but all relievers will. The main point here is that Diekman has shown flashes of potential that should keep him in the MLB bullpen for a long time in the future.
The numbers may not dictate it at times, but Brian Schneider is good at his job.
He's been a catcher in the MLB for a long time, and a good one in his prime. He knows how to handle a pitching staff and call a game and that made him invaluable to the Phillies front office, who passed over a chance to upgrade the backup catcher's position offensively to reunite with Schneider.
Schneider hasn't been great at the plate this season, but then again, no one expected him to be great. The fans understand that Schneider's job is defense first, offense second. Even still, he's posted a solid .675 OPS in limited playing time and hasn't killed them at the plate.
Ty Wigginton has been frustrating defensively, at least at third base, but I don't think that most fans expected him to be much better than what he has shown. His reputation has always been that he is a solid offensive contributor with a cinderblock glove.
So when the Phillies were forced to play him more regularly this season given injuries to guys like Ryan Howard and Placido Polanco, that part of his game was exposed.
But Wigginton has also been a solid offensive contributor for the club this season, and for pennies on the dollar, compared to what the rest of the team is earning.
It's frustrating any time an All-Star-caliber player goes down with a severe injury, and the fans are certainly frustrated that their team has struggled without the presence of Ryan Howard, but the real frustration carries over from last season.
There's no doubt that Howard's production has decreased over each of the last three seasons. Beginning in 2009, there have been some telling trends for the big first baseman who's game revolves around power. Both his slugging percentage and OPS have declined dramatically, and his home run totals have dropped from the mid 40s to low 30s quickly.
When Howard returns to the Phillies lineup this season, he'll certainly make an impact, but the kind of impact he makes is yet to be seen.
Roy Halladay enters every season as a potential Cy Young candidate, so it was certainly strange to watch him struggle in the early months of the season.
A report surfaced during spring training that suggested that the 2010 Cy Young Award winner could be dealing with some sort of injury, leading to a drop in his velocity and an inability to repeat his mechanics.
Though Halladay denied the report and insisted that he was fine, it only worsened throughout the regular season, culminating in a trip to the disabled list with a strained latissimus dorsi.
Halladay could have the biggest impact on the Phillies upon his return, but there is no doubt that his season up to this point has been a frustrating one for both him and the fans.
For a couple of seasons now, the "future" of the Phillies bullpen has consisted of a trio of young, right-handed relievers: Michael Schwimer, Justin De Fratus and Phillippe Aumont.
Now well into the 2012 season, Schwimer has been the only member of the three to pitch in the MLB in earnest (for a number of reasons,) but his stint has been a disappointment.
The tall right-handed reliever has struggled with the command of all of his pitches—a baseball tool that helped him through the minor league system and put him on the map.
Recently, he and catcher Carlos Ruiz have made adjustments to his game that seem to be having an effect, but only time will tell if Schwimer can right the ship and play a big role in the Phillies bullpen.
It was all rainbows and butterflies for Phillies fans this winter when they learned that the team would be reuniting with the slugger that put their franchise on the map back in 2003, Jim Thome.
But the rainbows and butterflies quickly faded to doom and gloom, as the club's first base experiment failed miserably and Thome struggled mightily as a pinch hitter, going 0-for-11 with seven strikeouts.
A trip back to the American League as the Phillies' designated hitter in interleague play seemed to alleviate some of those frustrations, however, as Thome went 12-for-36, hit four home runs and collected 14 RBI.
With that being said, the Phillies won't need a DH again this season unless they're able to reach the World Series, so Thome is either going to have to channel his inner pinch hitter or tirelessly frustrate the fanbase.
The last couple of seasons have been a struggle for Placido Polanco. While his defense has remained top notch at third base, his offense has been falling off of the radar with consistency.
When the Phillies made the decision to bring Polanco back aboard heading into 2010, he was passable for a third baseman. The Phillies employed Chase Utley at second base, and he provided plus power for that position. Polanco's glove and contact skills made him a worthwhile investment.
But without Utley and a continued drop in Polanco's offense, his flaws have been brought to light. The fans have been frustrated with his lack of power, lack of consistency and his fragility and inability to stay on the field.
Frustration can be like a chain of events, and there's an evident case to be observed in Shane Victorino.
For example, Victorino is admittedly frustrated with his contract situation, which has led to a poor performance on the field. The Phillies are frustrated with Victorino's poor performance and haven't been willing to meet his contract demands. The fans are frustrated with both situations, moving Victorino even further up the list.
It has been a rough season for the Phillies centerfielder, particularly from the left side of the plate, where he's hitting .228 and has posted an OPS of .627. But he hasn't been much better overall. His batting average of .252 and OPS of .722 are well below last year's marks.
The Phillies needed Victorino to be a big offensive player in light of their injuries, but he hasn't been able to provide that spark this season.
Right now, the only person who may be more frustrated with Chase Utley's situation than the fans is Chase Utley himself.
The Phillies second baseman arrived to camp this spring expecting to be ready to go by Opening Day after he was led to believe that he had a handle on his chronic knee condition. As the spring progressed, however, Utley was not comfortable playing and hasn't played since.
Fast-forward a couple of months, and Utley is finally ready to get back on the field in earnest. He is currently rehabbing with the Clearwater Threshers and will return to the MLB no later than July 2.
Any time a top prospect makes his MLB debut, there are going to be some lofty expectations. Despite the fact that a lot of people around the game were convinced that Phillies prospect Freddy Galvis wasn't quite ready for the MLB, their hands were tied and he made his debut.
Of course, he made his debut as a second baseman after spending the majority of his life playing shortstop. He was set to hold down the fort until Chase Utley was eligible to return from the disabled list.
Despite being lost at the plate from time to time, Galvis certainly showed a few glimpses of an exceptional player. His defense is second to none and he showed some extra base power.
With that being said, it was a struggle for Galvis at the plate, as he hit just .226 and posted an OPS of .617.
The frustration level rose to new heights when fans learned that Galvis was to be suspended for 50 games following a positive test for a banned substance—a majority of which will be served as he's on the disabled list with a Pars fracture of the vertebra.
You can read more about that here.
When Jimmy Rollins became a free agent last winter, most of the baseball world knew that he would eventually re-sign with the Phillies, and he did, for three years and $33 million with an easily obtainable vesting option for a fourth year.
Now, in hindsight, it seems as though the Phillies may have overpaid.
What was thought to be a fair deal for both sides at the time has not worked out for the Phillies this season, as Rollins has been bad at the plate for a majority of the year and has uncharacteristically let that poor performance seep over into the field at times.
Rollins has been better as of late, but for a man that is supposed to be this team's "vocal leader" and "spark plug," the fans are undoubtedly very frustrated with his performance.
After missing most of the 2011 season with arm issues, the person with the most to lose from a poor season out of Joe Blanton is Joe Blanton.
The right-handed starter's contract expires at the end of the season, and he will hit the market as a proven starter in a year where those are going to be hard to come by.
But the results have been less than impressive for Blanton. In 91 innings pitched, Blanton has already surrendered a league leading 17 home runs and has posted an ERA of 5.04.
The Phillies really needed him to step up in the absence of Roy Halladay, but Blanton has faltered, and there is no doubt that the fans are incredibly frustrated with his shaky performances.
If this slideshow were written on the final day of the Phillies' 2011 season, John Mayberry, Jr. would be on the other end of this list. He would be coming off of an impressive campaign where he stole playing time from Raul Ibanez and battled his way onto Charlie Manuel's nice list.
But it's not.
This slideshow is being written well into the 2012 season, and Mayberry has been incredibly frustrating. Outside of adding Juan Pierre on a minor league deal, the Phillies decided against adding a left fielder to replace Ibanez because Mayberry had played so well at the end of 2011.
Well, he lost it. Mayberry has posted an OPS of .694 and struck out 48 times—the third-highest mark on the team from a guy who hasn't played every day.
Mayberry's frustrating season and Shane Victorino's impending free agency may lead the Phillies to look for outfield help this offseason, if not sooner.
To say that the Phillies fans are "frustrated" with Chad Qualls would be a drastic understatement.
The Phillies scooped Qualls up off of the scrap pile late in the offseason and added him to the bullpen mix as insurance in the even that Jose Contreras was out for a lengthy time or their young bullpen faltered.
As it turns out, both situations came to fruition, but Qualls has been anything but insurance for either.
Qualls has posted an ERA of 4.23 in 30 appearances and has posted a WHIP of 1.446.
It seems as though Phillies fans have been frustrated with Kyle Kendrick ever since 2007 ended.
Well, it's now 2012, and nothing has changed. Kendrick has certainly evolved as a pitcher since his debut, becoming more of a long reliever/spot starter since then, but injuries to the starting rotation have forced him back into the role of a starting pitcher over each of the last two seasons.
Needless to say, Kendrick has been infuriating in that role. This season, he's posted an ERA of 5.29 in 63 innings pitched and has surrendered eight home runs and 37 earned runs.
Cliff Lee is in an awkward situation.
He hasn't pitched poorly this season. Lee has posted an ERA of 3.48, a WHIP of 1.120 and a SO/BB mark of 5.50. It's no secret that he hasn't gotten any help in the run support or defensive areas of the game either.
And yet it is impossible to overlook the fact that June will soon come to a close, and Lee is still without a single tally in the win column.
It's something that frustrates the fans beyond belief. There is no reason that a pitcher of Lee's caliber, making the kind of money that Lee makes, should be without a win this late in the season, even if the blame can not be placed entirely upon his shoulders.
He'll need to pick up a win soon, or the Phillies fans may riot.