This July has been one of the strangest months in recent history for the Philadelphia Phillies.
It's involved one of the team's best stretches all season—and also its worst. At the beginning of July, the Phillies went 9-4 leading up to the All-Star break, including a 10-game stretch that saw them go 7-3. However, the Phillies have mustered just two wins since play resumed and have lost eight straight, resulting in their ugly 11-12 record this month.
Heading into the final day of the month, heavier thoughts weigh down the minds of Phillies players, fans and front-office members.
Yes, it's that time of year again: the MLB trade deadline.
By 4 p.m. ET July 31, the team could look relatively similar to how it looked when you woke up that morning—or it could look incredibly different. Players like Michael Young, Cliff Lee and Jonathan Papelbon could find themselves packing their bags.
Meantime, until news of trades (or lack thereof) comes through, here's something to take your mind off the deadline. Here are grades for the Phillies in the month of July.
These are the Phillies who just didn't play enough to earn fair grades:
Brown was solid until his concussion, hitting .257 with a .765 OPS, three home runs and 12 RBI. His RBI total led the team in July until Michael Young belted a two-run homer Tuesday night. Brown's first All-Star nod would have helped his cause, too.
Kratz returned from the disabled list earlier this month after missing most of June and some of July due to a torn meniscus in his knee and consequent surgery. He was welcomed back with open arms, as the Phillies' catcher situation isn't ideal, with a struggling Carlos Ruiz and Humberto Quintero no longer in the organization.
Howard hit the DL after playing only four games in July. He's out with a torn meniscus in his knee. After surgery, the earliest he'll be back is late next month.
Martinez was called up in place of Quintero but hasn't received enough action to qualify for a grade. It's not like he'd get anything close to an A anyway.
Quintero did well in the four games he played for the Phillies this month, but they designated him for assignment when they called up Martinez, and he's now with the Seattle Mariners.
Revere was on fire and continuing his hot hitting ways, but a foul ball off his foot just before the All-Star break rendered him both unable to play and unable to be graded.
Savery made only three appearances before hitting the DL with left elbow stiffness. It's unclear when he'll return.
Susdorf deserves congratulations for being called up and making his major league debut, but after just three games with one hit he was designated for assignment in favor of Cody Asche.
Phillies who aren't passing after July play are as follows:
Not only was Aumont awful in his limited time up in July, posting an 11.57 ERA and 2.57 WHIP in just 2.1 innings pitched, but he was demoted soon after. According to pitching coach Rich Dubee via Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer, he's got a lot of work to do before he gets back to the majors.
Since being acquired from the Cleveland Indians at the end of June, McDonald has done little to impress in a Phillies uniform. He's batted just .111 with a .111 OBP and .111 SLG in 12 games, albeit just nine at-bats. Nevertheless, with an error or two to his name, McDonald will need to improve to warrant a roster spot.
It's a mystery to me as to why Nix remains on the Phillies roster. In 15 July games, Nix has just two hits, amounting to a .069 batting average, OBP and SLG. It's been like this all year for Nix, and even if he continues to struggle with the Phillies he'll struggle even more to find a taker for him in free agency this winter.
The second piece in the Cliff Lee-Mariners trade to make it to the majors, Ramirez is also the second piece in that deal to receive a failing grade. Despite an impressive debut, Ramirez has a 10.57 ERA and 2.61 WHIP in seven appearances. That's not too flattering.
Given that he's only appeared in two games in July, I almost considered Valdes to be an incomplete. But when you give up nine runs in less than four innings, you can't be forgiven. Valdes has failed miserably in both of his stints in the majors this year, and with more bad outings in August he could find himself back in the minors or even out of the organization.
These Phillies just missed the failure cut:
Justin De Fratus
De Fratus pitched a scoreless inning Tuesday night, but in 11 July appearances he's got a 5.00 ERA and 1.78 WHIP. Fortunately for him, everything's relative to an extent on this year's Phillies. On most other clubs he could easily be considered an F.
Kendrick hasn't been himself in July, pitching to a 2-2 record with a 5.70 ERA and 1.52 WHIP in four starts. With a .313 BAA and averaging under six innings per start, Kendrick could use a clean slate in August.
Cliff Lee (D-)
Lee has done a 180 from where he was in the first half of the season. This July, Lee is 1-2 with a 6.05 ERA and .300 BAA. His 1.29 WHIP saves him from failure, though his eight home runs surrendered this month puts him in the lower tier within the Ds. Along with a neck-stiffness issue that caused him to miss a start, Lee could hit rock bottom within the Phillies fanbase if he's traded yet again before Wednesday's deadline.
Carlos Ruiz (D-)
Had Chooch not hit his first home run of the season Tuesday, he would have been one of the easier Fs among the Phillies. He's batting just .242 this month with a .578 OPS. With just a home run and seven of his now 10 RBI on the season coming for him in July, it could be worse. But when your backup catcher has played better than you, it doesn't bode well.
Here are the Phillies who sit in between success and failure:
Like most of the other names in this category, Diekman had an average July. His ERA isn't great at 3.72, nor is his 1.86 WHIP, but he's got only five walks this month, which is a modest improvement.
Garcia's career renaissance is encouraging, but he's been only so-so in his time with the Phillies thus far. With a 3.52 ERA and 1.52 WHIP, Garcia is fortunate to have a .192 BAA, but also has seven walks to his credit.
Jonathan Pettibone (C+)
Pettibone's 2-1 record along with his 3.67 ERA and 1.59 WHIP are decent, but what's boosting his grade is his 23 strikeouts in 27 innings. It's a nice rate for Pettibone, who's not typically a strikeout pitcher. He's still done a nice job on the season.
Jimmy Rollins (C-)
Rollins has had an off July, batting just .244 with a .592 OPS. He did hit a leadoff home run, though it was his only long ball in the month. Add that to just three RBI and 16 strikeouts and you've got a borderline below-average player.
The Phillie who's most likely to be traded, Young has hit just .240 in July, though his 13 RBI now lead the team in July due to Domonic Brown's concussion. Even if he stays, he could be unseated at third by Cody Asche.
These Phillies posted above-average July stats, but weren't over the top:
Kevin Frandsen (B-)
Frandsen's hitting .257 in July along with a .639 OPS and some solid glove work. His five RBI are also decent considering he doesn't get a ton of opportunities to drive in runs.
Cole Hamels (B+)
Hamels has been the Phillies' best starter in July, pitching to a 2-2 record with a 2.57 ERA and 1.09 WHIP. His BAA stands at .248 for July as well. After earning a tough-luck 2-1 loss against the Detroit Tigers last week, perhaps Hamels' worst is behind him.
Lannan has had a nice July, posting a 1-2 record with a 3.24 ERA in four starts and a .276 BAA. He did a good job against the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday night as well. Whether he'll stay past this year is questionable, but he's done a nice job nonetheless.
John Mayberry Jr.
Mayberry has had a solid July, hitting .280 with a .773 OPS. He's only got one home run and eight RBI, but after hitting two of those runs in Tuesday night, perhaps he could get some sort of hot streak going. At least he's been a serviceable fill-in for Ben Revere.
Papelbon's had some harsh words concerning the team's mediocre play in July and chances are that the Phillies wouldn't mind seeing him go. Either way, his stat line remains decent enough, with a 2.70 ERA and 1.10 WHIP in 10 July outings. However, his .243 BAA isn't ideal, and his nine strikeouts continue to dip his season rate far below that of his career.
Chase Utley (B-)
Trade or extension? Meantime, Utley's posted some passable July numbers, batting .262 with a .775 OPS along with two homers and six RBI. His 17 strikeouts aren't anything to write home about though.
Actually hitting for decent average, Young's got a .298 batting line in July along with a .667 OPS. He does, though, have 18 strikeouts to his credit along with five RBI and no home runs. His defense will never be great, though he does have an outfield assist this month. It could be worse.
Only two Phillies have been truly good enough to earn an A for July. They are:
Bastardo has had a fantastic July, registering a 1.42 ERA to go with a 1-0 record, 0.87 WHIP and .143 BAA in 12 appearances. He leads all Phillies relievers in ERA, WHIP and BAA on the month, not to mention starters as well. Despite advanced stats suggesting regression, Bastardo continues to get the job done in 2013.
Darin Ruf (A-)
Although he went 0-4 on Tuesday night against the San Francisco Giants, Ruf's batting .290 on the month with an .873 OPS, two home runs and four RBI. His defense has not been spectacular, nor has his strikeout total of 23 in July. The good news is that Ruf has done enough to warrant a roster spot until further notice, though once Ryan Howard returns his role may become unclear.