Philadelphia Phillies: Winners and Losers from 1st Month of Action
With the the 2013 MLB season's first month of six practically in the books, the scope of contenders and pretenders is already starting to form. For some middling teams sitting around the .500 mark, like the Philadelphia Phillies, things may not be as clear-cut.
One thing's for sure, though: Some parts of the Phillies have been good if not great, while others have been bad if not atrocious.
The Phillies aren't exactly winners or losers right now—they're both. So why not take into account what they have to offer from both sides of the spectrum?
Here are the Phillies' biggest winners and losers after the season's first month of play.
*All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com.
Winner: Chase Utley
What an April it has been for Chase Utley.
After cracking the Opening Day roster for the first time since the 2010 season, Utley started off 2013 with a bang and really hasn't looked back. He's played in a league-leading 26 games, and he has already slugged four home runs and has 18 RBI to his credit. Comeback Player of the Year, perhaps?
Utley's also hitting for an extremely consistent average, batting .295 with a formidable .845 OPS to boot. He's also got four doubles and two triples. All told, Utley's been outstanding.
What has been a bit worrisome on Utley's part, though, is his defense. Already with five miscues on the season, Utley's among the league leaders in errors to date. It's not exactly a point of pride, but as long as Utley's on the field, it's forgivable to an extent.
If Utley can continue to stay healthy and swing the bat like he has, he could be in line for a multi-year contract at season's end. Hopefully it will be from the Phillies, assuming they're interested in keeping their second baseman a Phillie for life.
Losers: Erik Kratz and Humberto Quintero
All joking aside, what pens Kratz and Quintero as losers here is really their situation. They were the starting and backup catcher, respectively, and each has lost his job in some way.
Due to Carlos Ruiz's 25-game suspension for Adderall use, Kratz made the roster as the Opening Day catcher. Admittedly, he wasn't spectacular, batting just .191 with a .531 OPS. While Kratz did slug two home runs, he's unfortunately an all-around loser in April.
However, Quintero performed quite well in his limited action but was selected as the sacrificial lamb for Ruiz's reinstatement on Sunday, April 28. Although he played in only seven games before being designated for assignment, Quintero batted .250 with a .686 OPS and two doubles.
The good news is that the Phillies do want to keep him in their organization, and he's accepted his assignment—assuming no other team claims him off waivers. But with a catcher with veteran experience like Quintero, it's never a safe bet that he'll stay.
If he does, he provides a great go-to option in the event of an injury and also serves as a solid veteran presence for the minor leaguers—both pitchers and catchers.
It is the catchers who opened the season who are the losers for now, but it's not like their "replacement" is much of a winner himself. More on that later.
Winner: Michael Young
Record aside, Michael Young has got to be loving that trade right now.
After accepting his trade to Philadelphia in the offseason, Young's status was up in the air. Sure, a certain level of production was expected from the Phillies' new third baseman, but would Young live up to the hype?
So far, he's done nothing short of that. In 26 games—also tied for the league lead—Young's batting an incredible .352 with an .850 OPS partially comprised of a .418 OBP. He's also hit a home run, has six RBI, two doubles and one triple. Simply put, Young's hot, and he's not cooling down.
The biggest concern Phillies fans and brass alike had about Young was his defensive ability at third base. Despite a Gold Glove from his shortstop days, Young has never been known for his defensive aptitude.
Surprisingly enough, Young has only one error at the hot corner thus far, which is hopefully a sign that his trend of defensive capability will continue.
As an upcoming free agent, Young's doing all the right things to boost his value for the 2013-14 offseason. Whether or not the Phillies re-sign him, his increase in value can only be to their advantage.
Losers: Pitching and Carlos Ruiz
For the sake of brevity, I'm going to combine these two entities into one slide.
Pitching means collective pitching. You can never have enough of it. But for the Phillies, very few of their options have been paying dividends.
Cole Hamels just earned his first win of the season on Sunday against the Mets. Cliff Lee has faltered slightly after a strong start. John Lannan is on the DL.
Of the starting rotation and bullpen, the latter has been the worse of the two. Chad Durbin has been atrocious, and Jeremy Horst has been wildly inconsistent. Raul Valdes has looked inadequate, and Mike Adams has had an unfortunate bump or two in the road.
While there are some positives which I'll cover later, there have been more negatives. Add in the fact that the pitchers were without catcher Carlos Ruiz's guidance and game-calling for the majority of the first month of the season, and you've got quite the messy situation on your hands.
Ruiz certainly didn't benefit from missing the first month of the 2013 season, both offensively and behind the plate. Here's hoping that his return will right the ship, both for himself and the Phillies' pitching staff.
Winners: Jonathan Pettibone, Kyle Kendrick and Yes, Even Roy Halladay
Like I said, not all of the Phillies' pitchers have been unsuccessful.
Jonathan Pettibone is a winner alone for benefiting from John Lannan's DL situation. However, after earning his first major league win against the New York Mets on Saturday, Pettibone's flying sky high right now.
Kyle Kendrick has been as inconsistent as they come during his Phillies tenure. Like Pettibone, though, Kendrick's riding a hot streak of sorts. That hot streak recently culminated in his second career complete game shutout, which came against the Mets in Game 1 of the three-game set on Friday.
As a result, he lowered his ERA to a respectable 2.41 along with a 2-1 record and 1.10 WHIP. And while his 24 strikeouts in 33.1 innings isn't great, it's plausible.
Roy Halladay hasn't been inconsistent; he's largely just been bad since the beginning of the 2012 season.
Since his second start, though, Doc's gotten himself back in tune, and he's lowered his once-abysmal ERA down to a less horrifying 5.08. While his win-loss record stands at 2-2—the two wins came in more recent starts—his strikeout ratio (28 K in 28.1 IP) has proved to be sufficient.
If these three pitchers can keep things up along with a rebounding Hamels and a hopefully resurgent Lee, things might turn up for a good stretch of time and propel the Phillies into contention once more.
Losers: Ben Revere
There's certainly an argument to be made for most anyone else on the Phillies who's underperformed. Even Ryan Howard isn't the biggest of the losers, which, in my opinion, is only warranted from his satisfactory .286 average.
But to me, if there's anyone on the Phillies who's a loser for the month of April, it's Ben Revere.
Although the starting center field job was essentially handed to him, Revere did have a bit to prove coming into the 2013 season. First, he had to prove that he was leadoff hitter material, meaning he'd take walks, lower his strikeout rate and most importantly, get on base. Revere has done none of these things.
On the season, Revere's OBP is .242. His walk rate is 4.3 percent, down from 5.2 percent in 2012. And his strikeout rate is way up to 15.3 percent from 9.8 percent in 2013.
In layman's terms, there has been little to no success from Revere. He's stolen five bases but has also been caught twice. He's hitting .207 and the only extra base hit he has is a triple—not that that's the worst thing for a hitter of his supposed type.
Revere had every opportunity to win the leadoff job, and it's since been relegated to Jimmy Rollins, who's been marginally better.
The only bright spot for Revere has been his defense, but he did commit his first error in over a season last week. Is it just taking Revere longer to adapt to National League play, or is this the start of a trend bound to continue?
Revere will get all the time he needs to adjust thanks to the amount at which the Phillies valued him in their trade with the Minnesota Twins.
The bigger question is whether or not Revere will be able to adapt. And while he's certainly capable, he's yet to show that ability through the first month of the season.