Happy Easter to everyone, and I hope that you attended church today. In other news tonight is MLB Opening Night, as the Rangers will take on the Houston Astros on ESPN at 8 PM. Tomorrow the Phillies season gets going down in Hotlanta at 7:10. The Game will be nationally televised on ESPN, but will also be available on PHL17, if you are eager to here Tom McCarthy and Chris Wheelers awkward exchanges. I felt that this was the perfect day to break down each of the Phillies Opening Day starters, and give the numbers that Phils fans should look for in 2013.
Catcher: Erik Kratz
2013 Breakdown: With Carlos Ruiz suspended for the first 25 games of the season, Erik Kratz will shoulder most of the load behind the plate. What we learned about Kratz in 2012, is that he make pitchers pay for mistake fastballs by depositing them into the stands. What we also learned is other than that, Kratz is a below average hitter.
Projected 2013 Numbers: .239 Average, 14 Homeruns, 38 RBI’s
First-Baseman: Ryan Howard
2013 Breakdown: In 71 games last year, Ryan Howard managed to hit 14 homeruns, so his power certainly wasn’t the problem. His issue was nearly 100 strikeouts in not even half of a season, and the fact that he struggled mightily against left-handed pitchers, which was a big reason for his .219 average. Still with a full year (hopefully), in 2013, Howard should be able to bring his power, RBI’s, and average back to Ryan Howard-type numbers in 2013. At least 33 year-old Ryan Howard-type numbers
Projected 2013 Numbers: .249 Average, 34 Homeruns, 117 RBI’s
Second-Baseman: Chase Utley
2013 Breakdown: For the first time since 2010, Chase Utley is beginning the season healthy and the Phillies hope that translate to a solid 2013 campaign for Chase. While Utley has lost much of his range in the field and that doesn’t appear to be coming back, Utley did regain some of his power last year as his knee got healthier. The Phillies can realistically expect Chase Utley to play 125 games, and if they manage him well he can still produce at an above-average level.
Projected 2013 Numbers: .263 Average, 16 homeruns, 68 RBI’s
Shortstop: Jimmy Rollins
2013 Breakdown: I think as the season progresses Rollins will end up hitting either second or fifth as Ben Revere will assume the leadoff spot. Hitting either second or fifth, might not be ideal in Rollins mind, but J-Roll will benefit from seeing more pitches as he will either be hitting right before or after Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. Expect Jimmy to bring his average up, provide 20+ homeruns, and play at a gold glove caliber in the field yet again in 2013.
Projected 2013 Numbers: .266 Average, 22 Homeruns, 73 RBI’s
Third-Baseman: Michael Young
2013 Breakdown: Don’t go into 2013 expecting Young to be the .338 hitter he was in 2011. But also don’t expect him to be as mediocre as he was last year, and hit .277 again. Young will bring his average back up substantially in 2013, and provide some occasional pop. Just don’t expect him to put on a fielding clinic over at third.
Projected 2013 Numbers: .288 Average, 15 Homeruns, 80 RBI’s
Left-Fielder: John Mayberry Jr./Laynce Nix
2013 Breakdown: As Delmon Young opens the season on the DL, the Phillies will turn to the combination of John Mayberry Jr. and Laynce Nix in left field. Mayberry will start against left-handed pitchers and provide good pop. Fans just have to know that Mayberry will not give the same production against right-handed pitchers. Layne Nix will start against right-handed pitchers and bring some occasional pop and a below-average batting average.
Projected 2013 Numbers: John Mayberry Jr. .267 Average, 15 Homeruns, 44 RBI’s/Laynce Nix .244 Average, 8 Homeruns, 31 RBI’s
Center-Fielder: Ben Revere
2013 Breakdown: The Phillies finally have a true leadoff man, that will set the table, for Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. While Revere is likely to begin the season hitting second, he will eventually assume the role of the everyday leadoff man. Look for Rever to hit close to .300 and lead the team in stolen bases in 2013. Also expect Revere to quickly become a fan favorite, with his nice guy personality.
Projected 2013 Numbers: .298 Average, 2 Homeruns, 37 RBI’s
Right-Fielder: Domonic Brown
2013 Breakdown: After a ridiculously impressive spring-training many fans have hopped back onto the Dom Brown bandwagon. For the record I never left, and in 2013 you will see why. Brown already brought great plate discipline and a cannon arm, but he appears to have developed the confidence that will allow him to excel both with the bat and the glove. Brown is a breakout candidate for 2013.
Projected 2013 Numbers: .278 Average, 21 Homeruns, 77 RBI’s
I think there are certainly players on this list that will need to outperform the numbers that I have projected for them, for the Phillies to ultimately make the playoffs. Tomorrow I will have expectations for the Phillies starting rotation.