Ryan Gaydos’s 2012 Philadelphia Phillies Preview

The Philadelphia Phillies are coming off a franchise record 102 wins in a season last year. However, it was not a sweeter season since the Phillies failed to make the World Series for the second straight year.

The main story line coming into the 2012 season for the Phillies is the injury to first baseman Ryan Howard. Howard injured his Achilles on the final play of the season for the Phillies. Howard is expected to miss up to a year with the injury and it may be that he might not play this season.

Taking his place could be Ty Wigginton even though the Phillies signed Jim Thome to a one-year deal this Winter and still have John Mayberry Jr. on the bench.

Also, the Phillies revamped their bullpen a bit. They lost both Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge this offseason. Hoping to find a replacement, the Phillies signed Jonathan Papelbon to a four-year deal. Their bullpen will now feature Antonio Bastardo as the setup man and Kyle Kendrick and Dontrelle Willis for the middle relief.

In their rotation, the Phillies declined their option on Roy Oswalt making him a free agent. Vance Worley and Joe Blanton will get an increased amount of innings this season.

For the offense, the Phillies struck a deal with shortstop Jimmy Rollins after a long wait. Rollins agreed to a three-year deal with an option for the 2015 season. Rollins will stay at shortstop this season.

With the only significant change coming at first base for the Phillies, I still think the Phillies will have a good enough team to take the NL East and will hold off Miami.

Prediction: First NL East

Breakout Player: Vance Worley, RHP

Key Addition: Jim Thome, 1B

Starters
CA: Carlos Ruiz
1B: Ty Wigginton
2B: Chase Utley
3B: Placido Polanco
SS: Jimmy Rollins
OF: Hunter Pence
OF: Shane Victorino
OF: Laynce Nix

Pitching Rotation
SP: Roy Halladay
SP: Cliff Lee
SP: Cole Hamels
SP: Vance Worley
SP: Joe Blanton

RP: Kyle Kendrick
RP: Dontrelle Willis
RP: Chad Qualls
RP: Mike Stutes
RP: Jose Contreras
RP: Antonio Bastardo
CP: Jonathan Papelbon

Bench
CA: Brian Schneider
1B: Jim Thome
OF: Juan Pierre
UTL: John Mayberry Jr.
UTL: Michael Martinez

Top Prospects
1. Trevor May, RHP
2. Jesse Biddle, LHP
3. Sebastian Valle, CA
4. Jonathan Pettibone, RHP
5. Phillippe Aumont, RHP

Follow Ryan Gaydos on Twitter @RyanGaydos

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