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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    ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 9: Shane Victorino #8, Raul Ibanez #29 and Ben Francisco #10 of the Philadelphia Phillies celebrate after the game against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on April 9, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. The Phillies won 10-2. (Photo by Joe Ro
    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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    ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 9: Brian Schneider #23 of the Philadelphia Phillies crosses the plate after hitting a two-run home run in the 4th inning against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on April 9, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. The Phillies won 10-2. (Photo by
    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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    PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 01:  Manager Charlie Manuel #41 of the Philadelphia Phillies removes reliever J.C. Romero #16 during a pitching change against the Houston Astros during opening day at Citizens Bank Park on April 1, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylva
    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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    PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 23:   Ryan Madson #46 of the Philadelphia Phillies reacts after giving up a solo homerun to Juan Uribe #5 of the San Francisco Giants in the eigth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies in Game Six of the NLCS during the 2010 MLB
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    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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    PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 07: Relief pitcher David Herndon #57 of the Philadelphia Phillies shakes hands with Carlos Ruiz #51 after closing out the game against the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park on April 7, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Phi
    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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    PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 05: Antonio Bastardo #58 of the Philadelphia Phillies warms his hands during the game against the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park on April 5, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Mets won 7-1. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty
    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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    ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 10: Jose Contreras #52 of the Philadelphia Phillies pitches against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on April 10, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. The Phillies won 3-0. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
    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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    NEW YORK - JUNE 15:  Danys Baez #55 of the Philadelphia Phillies delivers a pitch against the New York Yankees on June 15, 2010 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
    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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    CLEARWATER, FL - FEBRUARY 27:  Pitcher Joe Blanton #56 of the  Philadelphia Phillies starts against the New York Yankees February 27, 2011 at Bright House Field in Clearwater, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
    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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    PHILADELPHIA - SEPTEMBER 25: Starting pitcher Kyle Kendrick #38 of the Philadelphia Phillies throws a pitch during a game against the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park on September 25, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Im
    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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    ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 10: Cole Hamels #35 of the Philadelphia Phillies pitches against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on April 10, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. The Phillies won 3-0. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
    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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    ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 08:  Cliff Lee #33 of the Philadephia Phillies throws a pitch against the Atlanta Braves during their opening day game at Turner Field on April 8, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
    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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    PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 01:  Starting pitcher Roy Halladay #34 of the Philadelphia Phillies delivers to a Houston Astros batter during the second inningof opening day at Citizens Bank Park on April 1, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Rob Ca
    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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    ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 9: Roy Oswalt #44 of the Philadelphia Phillies pitches against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on April 9, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. The Phillies won 10-2. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
    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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    CLEARWATER, FL - FEBRUARY 24:  Outfielder Ross Gload #7 of the Philadelphia Phillies bats against the Florida State Seminoles February 24, 2011 at Bright House Field in Clearwater, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
    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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    BRADENTON, FL - MARCH 12:  Infielder Pete Orr #60 of the Philadelphia Phillies watches a ground ball go by just before the start of the Grapefruit League Spring Training Game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at McKechnie Field on March 12, 2011 in Bradenton
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    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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    PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 01:  John Mayberry Jr. #15 of the Philadelphia Phillies smiles after getting hit with a cream pie after driving in the game winning run to defeat the Houston Astros 5-4 on opening day at Citizens Bank Park on April 1, 2011 in Phil
    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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    CLEARWATER, FL - FEBRUARY 24:  Infielder Michael Martinez #19 of the Philadelphia Phillies swings against the Florida State Seminoles February 24, 2011 at Bright House Field in Clearwater, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
    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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    ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 9: Carlos Ruiz #51 of the Philadelphia Phillies drives in a run in the 8th inning with a double against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on April 9, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. The Phillies won 10-2. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
    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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    PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 05: Wilson Valdez #21 of the Philadelphia Phillies make a throw to first base during the game against the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park on April 5, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Mets won 7-1. (Photo by Drew Hallowe
    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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    PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 01: Outfielder Raul Ibanez #29 of the Philadelphia Phillies against the Houston Astros during opening day at Citizens Bank Park on April 1, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
    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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    ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 9: Shane Victorino #8 of the Philadelphia Phillies slides at first base to avoid a double playagainst the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on April 9, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. The Phillies won 10-2. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
    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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    PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 07: Ryan Howard #6 of the Philadelphia Phillies warms up on deck during the game against the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park on April 7, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Phillies won 11-0. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty
    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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    CLEARWATER, FL - FEBRUARY 24:  Infielder Placido Polanco #27 of the Philadelphia Phillies warms up for play against the Florida State Seminoles February 24, 2011 at Bright House Field in Clearwater, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
    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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    CLEARWATER, FL - MARCH 06:  Shortstop Jimmy Rollins #11 of the Philadelphia Phillies fouls off a pitch against the Tampa Bay Rays during a Grapefruit League Spring Training Game at Bright House Field on March 6, 2011 in Sarasota, Florida.  (Photo by J. Me
    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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    PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 01: Right fielder Ben Francisco #10 of the Philadelphia Phillies makes a play against the Houston Astros during opening day at Citizens Bank Park on April 1, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
    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