Complete Philadelphia Phillies 2013 Season Preview

Mark MillerCorrespondent IFebruary 17, 2013

PHILADELPHIA - JULY 21: Second baseman Chase Utley #26 of the Philadelphia Phillies is greeted by first baseman Ryan Howard #6 after hitting solo home run during a game against the San Francisco Giants at Citizens Bank Park on July 21, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
Hunter Martin/Getty Images

2012 Record: 81-81

Key Departures: RHP Josh Lindblom, RHP Jose Contreras, RHP Vance Worley, OF Juan Pierre, OF Nate Schierholtz, 1B Ty Wigginton, 3B Placido Polanco, C Brian Schneider

Key Arrivals: LHP John Lannan, RHP Chad Durbin, RHP Rodrigo Lopez, RHP Mike Adams, RHP Juan Cruz, RHP Aaron Cook, OF Ben Revere, OF Delmon Young, 3B Michael Young 

Projected Rotation

Cole Hamels (17-6, 3.05 ERA, 1.124 WHIP, 216 K in 2012)

Roy Halladay (11-8, 4.49 ERA, 1.222 WHIP, 132 K)

Cliff Lee (6-9, 3.16 ERA, 1.114 WHIP, 207 K)

Kyle Kendrick (11-12, 3.90 ERA, 1.274 WHIP, 116 K)

John Lannan (4-1, 4.13 ERA, 1.439 WHIP, 17 K—six starts)

Projected Starters

C: Carlos Ruiz (.325/.394/.540—2012 slash line)

1B: Ryan Howard (.219/.295/.423)

2B: Chase Utley (.256/.365/.429)

3B: Michael Young (.277/.312/.370)

SS: Jimmy Rollins (.250/.316/.427)

LF: Dominic Brown (.235/.316/.396)

CF: Ben Revere (.294/.333/.342)

RF: Delmon Young (.267/.296/.411)


Closer: Jonathan Papelbon (2.44 ERA, 1.057 WHIP, 38 SV in 2012)

Setup: Mike Adams (3.27 ERA, 1.395 WHIP)

Others: Antonio Bastardo, Jeremy Horst

Rotation Report

The 2012 season wasn't always kind to the Philadelphia Phillies starting rotation, with Roy Halladay struggling at times to stay on the mound and Cliff Lee seemingly never getting the run support needed to get the win.

They did get another great season from Cole Hamels, and in a move that took some of the guessing out of last year's trade deadline, they signed him to an extension that will keep him in a Phillies uniform for years to come.

Vance Worley won't be in the rotation this season after being sent to Minnesota in the trade that brought center fielder Ben Revere to town, but the addition of John Lannan could prove to be one of the most underrated moves of the offseason.

Lannan struggled to fit in with the Nationals last season, but with a wealth of talent and plenty to prove to his former team, we may see the lefty emerge as a star in the NL East.

Kyle Kendrick may still be known best in the baseball world for the time he was "traded" to a Japanese club, but he nevertheless represents a solid fifth starter who should do a fine job of bringing up the back end of the rotation.

Bullpen Report

One of the biggest signings the Phillies made last offseason was the deal that brought Jonathan Papelbon in as the team's closer to the tune of four years and $50 million.

He was solid once again in 2012, finishing a league-high 64 games while notching 38 saves, giving him at least 30 in each season since joining the league full-time in 2006.

Signing Mike Adams to a two-year, $12 million deal this winter gave the team one of the best setup pitchers in the division, something that should pave the way to Papelbon's continued dominance.

Adams has never made an All-Star Game appearance but has been a force wherever he's gone, including the 1.66 ERA he posted in more than 200 games with the San Diego Padres from 2008-2011.

Offense Report

One of the bright spots for Philadelphia last season was the play of catcher Carlos Ruiz, who batted a career high .325 in 114 games while appearing in his first All-Star Game.

He'll be missed early on as he awaits his suspension to end, but the team will hope that there are others ready to pick up the offensive slack.

One player they've counted on for years is slugger Ryan Howard, who has been a huge threat in the batter's box overall but struggled to return from injury last season and saw some of the lowest offensive numbers of his career.

Chase Utley had his own issues when it came to getting healthy enough for significant production, but he did manage to post a .365 on-base percentage and went deep 11 times despite missing half the season.

In the outfield, the Phillies will be missing Shane Victorino's productivity and the depth that Juan Pierre gave them, but the additions of Delmon Young and Ben Revere could pay off.

Young will have plenty of reason to perform, as he was forced to sign an incentive laden contract, and with Revere representing one of the speediest players in the league—both on the basepaths and in the field—he should have plenty of energy this season.

Pitching Stud: Roy Halladay

When you think about the Phillies pitching staff, it's hard to not think of Roy Halladay before all others.

The 15-year veteran has posted a 51-24 record since coming over from Toronto after the 2009 season.

He made just 25 starts last season, something that could concern the front office and fans alike as he continues to get up there in age, but Halladay has always been able to produce even when he's not at his best.

Keeping that in mind, the front of the rotation will continue to be in good hands if he can get back to a season like 2010 when he led the league with 21 wins en route to his second Cy Young award.

Hitting Stud: Ryan Howard

From 2006 through 2011, the Phillies had Ryan Howard producing an average of 44 home runs and 133 RBI per season, numbers that made him one of the best in the league during that span and the unquestioned offensive leader in Philly.

2012 was an entirely different story for Howard, as he appeared in only 71 games and batted .219, 52 points lower than his career average.

He's only 33 years old and should be able to return to form if healthy, something the Phillies definitely need if they hope to contend in the tough NL East.

X-Factor: Ben Revere

Free-agent names like B.J. Upton and Michael Bourn were likely candidates to fit in as the center fielder of the future for the Philadelphia Phillies, but in the end, the team opted to pull off a trade to get their guy.

As mentioned earlier, Revere came to Philadelphia via the trade that moved Vance Worley and Trevor May.

Revere will be under team control through 2017, and while he possesses a great deal of speed on the basepaths, there isn't any pop in his bat (zero home runs in 989 at-bats), and his arm strength and accuracy are subpar.

The Phillies let plenty of potential slip out of their grasp in settling for Revere in lieu of some of the bigger name options, but Revere is coming off a great first full season in 2012, and if he can continue on the trajectory he set for himself, fans in Philly won't regret not seeing Upton or Bourn in Citizens Bank Park.

Top Prospect: Jesse Biddle

Jesse Biddle probably won't be seeing a major league diamond full-time until 2014, but if his minor league exploits are any indication, he'll be worth the wait.

He's been one of the best pitchers in each league he's thrown for, and with his strikeouts on the rise and walks on the decline, the 60th-best prospect in the league has the makings of a pitcher who could fit in on a rotation with a reputation for doing big things.

What Will the Phillies Do Well?

When you look at the makeup of the Phillies roster, it's obvious to say that the team will once again have a well above-average starting rotation.

When you have three starting pitchers who would be aces on most other rosters, you know you've got the right stuff.

The rotation wasn't at their best in 2012 but still managed to post more quality starts than all but one team and had a team WHIP in the top five in the league.

What Will the Phillies Not Do Well?

I'm not necessarily saying that the Phillies won't see enough production from their outfielders, but they definitely represent the biggest question mark.

As mentioned, Revere and Young could be a big positive for the team, but Revere doesn't have enough major league experience to give the team confidence that they've got a solid everyday center fielder.

With Young, you've got a former No. 1 overall pick who has had his share of struggles off the field, something he would most certainly like to keep in his past as he joins his fourth major league roster.

If he can focus on baseball and put pride and distractions in his blinders, he should be able to show the offensive power that he had at times in Detroit, but the fact that a 27-year-old with his talent was forced to sign for only $750,000 is somewhat alarming.

Final Thoughts

In a 2012 predictions piece that I wrote in December 2011, my pick to take home the World Series title was the Philadelphia Phillies.

With a .500 record and no playoff appearance for the Phillies last season, the prediction proved to be way, way off.

I'm not going to go as far as to say that Philadelphia has what it takes to make it to the Fall Classic in 2013, but I definitely think they can be a legitimate playoff contender.

There is plenty of talent to contend with in the NL East with the Braves and Nationals both stockpiling talent for long-term contention, but even without any "big" moves this winter, the Phillies can't be ignored in the division.

Projected Record: 92-70


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