The 2012 Philadelphia Phillies had their worst record (37-50) at the All-Star break since the 1997 Phillies. What many fans don't realize is that without Shane Victorino, Hunter Pence and Joe Blanton, the Phillies were able to finish the season with a record of 44-31, which correlates to a .586 winning percentage.
During the Phillies' second half, they also saw Vance Worley hit the disabled list in late August and Roy Halladay pitch as a shell of what he has been for the Phillies in the past.
Chase Utley and Ryan Howard were both back in the everyday lineup, but everyone watching them knew they were not playing close to 100 percent, leaving even more room for the team to improve in 2013.
On a positive note, one player who helped the Phillies turn it around in the second half was Kyle Kendrick. When Kendrick became a fixture in the starting rotation in August, he finished the month with a record of 4-1 and a 2.95 ERA. He completed the season with a career-high 116 strikeouts.
The second half of 2012 also gave us a small glimpse into Darin Ruf, who could potentially take the reins in left field and bring the 2013 Phillies a much-needed power bat from the right side. In Ruf's 33 major league at-bats he hit .333 with three home runs, 10 RBI and an OPS of 1.079.
So what does all this mean?
If the Phillies can play the type of quality baseball they played in the second half of 2012 throughout the entire 2013 season, get their core players healthy and receive solid contributions from the recently acquired Ben Revere and Michael Young, not only can they compete for a playoff berth in 2013, but they can challenge the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals to retake the NL East title.
With their holes at third base and center field filled—at a very cheap rate I might add—the Phillies should have enough cash to go after a quality corner outfielder or starting pitcher and still bring in some bullpen help.
Revere is said to play excellent defense and brings a true leadoff hitter to Philadelphia. He has the potential to swipe more than 40 bags and hit .300 in a season. Plus, he will turn just 25 in May, giving the Phillies some much-needed youth. The Phillies' starting outfield in 2013 could potentially not have one player over the age of 26 when the season begins in April with Ruf, Domonic Brown and Revere.
Bringing Michael Young in to play third base is huge for the Phillies. He is a career .300 hitter who has won a Gold Glove and is a true veteran. Young played games and first base, second base, third base and shortstop in 2012. He also gives the Phillies some right-handed balance to a lefty-heavy lineup.
The Phillies will also be looking to add some starting pitching depth with the departure of Vance Worley in the Ben Revere deal. A guy like Kyle Lohse would look great in a Phillies uniform.
2013 is beginning to look very promising for Phillies fans. With one or two more moves the Phillies should have the depth to seriously contend for a title in 2013.
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