For the Philadelphia Phillies, the first week of spring training provided a taste of what fans will see this season, a benchmark for which to judge rookies, realistic expectations for returning players and of course, a chance to see the team take the field for the first time in months.
While many consider spring games to be meaningless, they do enable teams the opportunity to evaluate their current personnel alongside the minor league talent that might soon join them. For the Phillies, this has definitely been a big part of the spring equation as guys like Tommy Joseph, Cody Asche and Ender Inciarte have all gotten their chance to impress this spring.
In addition, position battles are often decided based on spring performances. This off season, the Phillies have two, notably the corner outfield spots and the remaining roles in the bullpen. With a strong start, Domonic Brown has charged ahead in the race for starting right fielder while guys like Rodrigo Lopez have started strong en route to earning a possible bullpen spot.
Then there are the lingering injury questions that only a nine inning baseball game, not baseball activities, can provide. So far so good for Ryan Howard as he has charged ahead as the team's best spring performer. The jury is still out on Chase Utley, who has received minimal playing time as he handles his knee problems.
Overall, it has been a fun first week, with a handful of noted performances that could speak for a positive start to the 2013 season.
Here are the top ten early spring performers as well as one honorable mention after the team's first week of games.