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Philadelphia Phillies: Grading Each Player After the Phils' First Three Series

J FCorrespondent IApril 11, 2011

Philadelphia Phillies: Grading Each Player After the Phils' First Three Series

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    After all of the preseason hype, largely due to the return of Cliff Lee, the Philadelphia Phillies have come out red hot in early April like a fox escaping a forest fire.

    The Phils are off to a 7-2 start, capped off by 2-1 series win over the Atlanta Braves, who are thought to be their main competition in the NL East.

    While their loaded pitching staff was expected to be their deadliest weapon, the Phillies offense has been the dominant force in crushing opponents in their opening three series.

    They lead the league in batting average (.334), they're second in OBP (.380) and third in slugging (.484). These impressive stats have created 59 runs in nine games, all without Jayson Werth and Chase Utley.

    From the bench players to the superstar starters, everyone has been producing since Opening Day as the Phillies have taken control of the division.

Brian Schneider

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Brian Schneider has started two games behind the plate so far this season to give starting catcher Carlos Ruiz some rest.

    Schneider has only one hit in six at bats, but that one hit was a two-run shot in a blowout of the Braves.

    He's been a solid backup in the past and it's hard to argue if he's hitting the deep ball, but his .167 batting average is the lowest on the team.

    Grade: C+

J.C. Romero

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    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    Romero has appeared in five games so far for the Phils, and pitched in four shutout innings.

    He has been effective out of the bullpen and has done his job effectively when on the mound.

    Grade: B+

Ryan Madson

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    Once expected to take over as closer in Brad Lidge's absence, Ryan Madson has only received duty as a reliever.

    He's pitched in three innings of three wins, with only one hit, no earned runs and four strikeouts.

    Grade: A

David Herndon

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    Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

    A newly acquired draft pick, Herndon may or may not remain in the major leagues for the entirety of the season. He was just excited to make the Opening Day roster.

    In six innings of work, he has allowed five hits and three earned runs with an ERA of 4.50.

    Grade: C+

Antonio Bastardo

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    Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

    In 4.2 innings on the mound, Bastardo has struck out nine batters, including six consecutive to tie the franchise record.

    He's been stellar as a reliever, allowing only one hit and being credited with a win.

    Grade: A+

Jose Contreras

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Contreras has two saves as the Phillies closer in two opportunities. He'll likely close out games until Lidge returns, which means he'll have many more chances.

    He's struck out four, allowed two hits, and proved he's a solid fill-in, though he hasn't been all that great.

    Grade: B

Danys Baez

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Five games, five innings, six hits.

    Baez has been given one win for his efforts as a reliever so far in his ninth season.

    Grade: B-

Joe Blanton

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    Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    Joe Blanton is the phorgotten pitcher in the shadow of Philly's phour phenoms.

    I'm sure he wouldn't mind if fans forget his first and only outing thus far this season. The Phillies had gone up 7-0 on the Mets, but then Blanton allowed 7 runs on 10 hits, including a homer.

    He managed to strike out six, but only lasted 4.1 innings until he crawled back into the shadows of the dug out for good.

    I'll grade him kindly hoping he'll do better in his second start like Cole Hamels did, and that he just needs to shake off the rust.

    Grade: D

Kyle Kendrick

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    Hunter Martin/Getty Images

    Kendrick has an ERA of 1.80 in the three games he's been in.

    He's not had a great start as he's given up four hits, three walks and only delivered one strikeout.

    Grade: C

Cole Hamels

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    After a rough day against the Mets, in which he didn't even last three innings, Hamels redeemed himself with seven scoreless innings against the Braves.

    Cole is 1-1 with 11 strikeouts and 11 hits allowed.

    Hopefully his first start was just a fluke and his 5.59 ERA will quickly improve.

    Grade: C+

Cliff Lee

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Opposite of Hamels, Cliff Lee's best day was his first performance as a Phillie at Citizen's Bank Park since the 2009 World Series.

    He allowed three runs and a homer in that game against the Astros, but sat down 11 on strikes.

    In his second start, Lee allowed twice as many earned runs and only pitched half as many innings.

    Grade: C+

Roy Halladay

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    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    Halladay has proved through his play that he's the best pitcher on the Phillies' stacked staff so far. All debate should be halted until any other can compete with his .069 ERA and 13 strikeouts through two games.

    He's off to a hot start with 11 hits allowed and only one base on balls.

    Grade: A

Roy Oswalt

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Oswalt has been the Phillies' second-best starter with a 2.25 ERA.

    He may not have incredible strikeout numbers, but he's the only Phils pitcher with two victories.

    Grade: A-

Ross Gload

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    Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    Gload has two hits and a strikeout in six plate appearances as a pinch-hitter.

    As long as Ryan Howard stays healthy, that's the only way he'll be picking up the bat.

    Grade: C

Pete Orr

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    With Utley out of the lineup, Orr is the backup to second baseman Wilson Valdez.

    He has three hits and two strikeouts in seven at-bats.

    Grade: C

John Mayberry Jr.

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    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    Mayberry has four hits on the season, including a pinch-hit game-winning single that helped the Phils top the Astros 5-4 in their first series.

    He made the Opening Day roster after a solid spring, and may get more chances in the coming month.

    Grade: B

Michael Martinez

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    Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    Martinez debuted in center to give Shane Victorino a day off and also had a few pinch-hit appearances in the Phils' first nine games.

    He's batting .250 with one RBI and three strikeouts.

    Grade: C+

Carlos Ruiz

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Ruiz is batting .346 with one home run and seven RBIs.

    However, the majority of those numbers resulted from a powerful pinch-hit performance against the Braves.

    Chooch went 2-2, and cranked his first grand slam as the Phillies poured it on in the blowout. His five RBI were a career-high.

    Grade: A+

Wilson Valdez

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    Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

    Valdez is batting .333 replacing Chase Utley at second base and has five RBI along with an equal number of strikeouts.

    He's a suitable backup, but he'll quickly find the bench whenever Utley makes it back.

    Grade: B

Raul Ibanez

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    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    Ibanez has had a productive start with six RBI and nine runs.

    He's batting .257 with two doubles and a homer.

    Grade: B

Shane Victorino

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Victorino has been active from the plate and has stolen two bases as well.

    He's hit for every base, batting .417 with eight RBI.

    Grade: A

Ryan Howard

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    Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

    Howard is sometimes known as a strikeout machine, and he does have seven so far this season, but he's making contact more often than not.

    With an average of .361, he's been a heck of a dangerous power hitter, with four doubles and two dingers already.

    Grade: A+

Placido Polanco

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    Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    Polanco may have yet to go the distance, but he's been on a tear with a .342 average and eight RBI.

    Grade: B+

Jimmy Rollins

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    J. Meric/Getty Images

    There are zeros in the HR and RBI columns of Jimmy Rollins' stat sheet, but that doesn't mean he hasn't been busy.

    The Phillies' 11-year veteran has three doubles, three stolen bases and has maintained an above-.300 average in the first nine games.

    Grade: B+

Ben Francisco

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    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    Francisco hasn't disappointed in his succession of Jayson Werth.

    He's tied with Howard for the team lead in HRs with two. Ben has also knocked in seven runs and stolen one base.

    Until Domonic Brown returns, Francisco will have no competition for a spot in right field, where his glove has also been strong.

    Grade: A

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