The Philadelphia Phillies are the solid favorite with Las Vegas oddsmakers to win the 2011 World Series.
But they might be overrated.
The Phillies have a star-studded starting pitching rotation and a lot of big names but might not be quite as good as everyone thinks.
Age is a Problem
The Phillies are an older team with a number of players past their prime. One of those players, Chase Utley, is probably going to start the season on the disabled list as he has a knee injury that may keep him out for quite some time.
Utley is 32 years old but actually looks older than that. His body has been injury-prone, and he isn’t even ready for this season yet. History has shown that very few players as old as Utley play a full season at second base, but Utley is not the only older player in the Phillies' lineup.
Look at these numbers. Utely is 32, Ryan Howard is 31, Carlos Ruiz is 32, Jimmy Rollins is 32, Placido Polanco is 35 and Raul Ibanez is 38.
Even the replacement for Utley, Wilson Valdez is 32 years old, and we haven’t even mentioned the supposedly invincible starting rotation.
Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt are 33 while Cliff Lee is 32. Do you really think that those three can go a full season without getting hurt? It seems extremely unlikely.
In fact, since 1901 there have only been four instances where a team’s trio of starting pitchers that old have made it through a season injury free. And it has happened only once in the past 17 years.
You hear the term "paper tigers" all the time. Could it be that we end up referring to this team as "paper Phillies"?
Philadelphia looks great on paper as the rotation of Halladay, Lee, Oswalt and Cole Hamels is very good. Joe Blanton is the fifth starter and he is definitely serviceable.
The Phillies have big names like Howard, Utley and Rollins and a solid bullpen led by closer Brad Lidge. It all looks good on paper, but injuries can affect even the best team. Philadelphia has already lost one of their best players.
The Phillies are the 2-1 favorites to win the World Series, but at that price, they are overrated and no guarantee to win it all in 2011.