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Grading the Philadelphia Phillies Offense for the Month of July: Player By Player

The Philadelphia Phillies ended the month of July a significantly different team than they were at the start, as they were without All-Star outfielders Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence, each of whom was swapped off in a last-minute trade on the deadline. They also all but eliminated themselves from the playoff race, going just 10-13 in a crucial month that saw the team spend every single day in last place in the NL East.

The offense struggled, batting just .234 with a sub-.300 on-base percentage and posting the fifth-lowest offensive WAR of any major league team. They also played below-average defense (-0.8 WAR) and ran the bases poorly, culminating in a pretty disappointing year in all by the team’s offensive players.

Carlos Ruiz: The Phillies backstop has been the team’s best player all season, as he is still hitting .340 and leading all players still on the team with 14 home runs and 58 RBIs. Carlos Ruiz batted .288/.348/.513 in July, still terrific totals even if they were a notch below his insane numbers the rest of the year. He led the team with 23 hits and 15 runs batted in, and his 1.0 WAR was tops of any Phillies offensive player. Grade: A

Ryan Howard: It wasn’t quite the month Phillies fans hoped for from Ryan Howard, as he batted just .217 and struck out in over one-third of his plate appearances. Howard’s nine RBIs were fifth-best on the team; that’s not the kind of production you want from your cleanup hitter. He grounded into four double plays, collected just six extra-base hits, and posted a .779 OPS that was even 56 points lower than his total from last year. He also rated as the third-worst defensive player at any position in the entire National League, and he plays first base, which really isn’t like playing shortstop or center field. It was his first action of the season, as he was recovering from a torn Achilles tendon suffered last October, but still it was an extremely disappointing month. Grade: D-

Chase Utley: The good thing about Chase Utley is that even when he isn’t hitting the ball like you would expect, he still plays great defense and runs the bases very well. Utley hit .211 in the month but his .315 on-base percentage and .421 slugging percentage were much better, and his 13 RBIs were second on the team. He was one of three NL second baseman with at least four home runs and three steals in the month, although his days of being an elite player are probably over. Grade: B-

Jimmy Rollins: Like Utley, Jimmy Rollins disappointed with the bat, but did play well in the field and he always runs the bases well (see his inside the park home run on the last day of the month for proof of that). He batted only .208/.276/.375 in July, numbers that really don’t justify his new contract or his spot as a leadoff hitter in the batting order. He did rate as the second-best NL shortstop with his glove and tied for the best baserunner, but 0.4 WAR is a far cry from the player J-Roll used to be. Grade: C+

Placido Polanco: It’s not too difficult to figure out why no team traded for Placido Polanco at the trade deadline, as he posted absolutely anemic offensive numbers in July. He hit .133/.184/.156 in 49 plate appearances. You could probably call up any player from single-A ball and get those numbers. Polanco drove in one run and scored two. He showed amazing bat control, striking out just once, but it’s really nothing to brag about considering his .340 OPS was just six points higher than Joe Blanton. Polanco grounded into three double plays, didn’t steal a base, and really did nothing to make any team want to sign him after his contract expires after the season. Fortunately, he can play good, even great, defense or he probably would have been designated for assignment. Grade: F

Juan Pierre: Juan Pierre continued his promising season, batting at a .304 clip in the month of July, which is terrific considering the Phillies are paying him less than one million this season. He scored 10 runs and stole six bases, and it’s better him than John Mayberry, Jr. at the plate. Grade: B

Shane Victorino: Shane Victorino had his typical month in July, hitting .288 with four doubles, three triples, and one home run, driving in four runs and scoring 14. He will be a valuable piece of the Los Angeles Dodgers down the stretch, as he plays terrific defense and he’s a superb baserunner. Grade: B+

Hunter Pence: The Phillies finally grew tired of Hunter Pence’s frustrating ways at the plate and his shaky defense in the field, although he is a 30-homer player and those guys are pretty valuable, especially in an offensive-stricken team like the Phillies. Pence hit just .217 with a .253 slugging percentage in July, pretty atrocious numbers for a player the Phillies gave up so much for a year ago. He also rated way below average in the field (-1.5 WAR). Grade: D-

Erik Kratz: Erik Kratz was a huge surprise for the Phillies in July, becoming the 2012 version of Chris Coste, the hot-hitting mid-thirties catcher that played a big role for the ’08 World Series champions. Kratz hit .417 in his 12 plate appearances, adding three doubles and a home run, and his 1.334 OPS was by far the best on the team for any hitter with at least 10 trips to the plate. He played well enough that the team is keeping him in the major leagues even though Brian Schneider is now back from the DL. Grade: A+

Ty Wigginton: There was talk that the Phillies might trade Ty Wigginton somewhere in July, but he really doesn’t offer much either at the plate or in the field. He batted just .128 with one extra-base hit in 44 plate appearances, giving him a pretty miserable .410 OPS (although it was still better than Polanco). Wigginton is downright awful at third base, and his .833 fielding percentage at the hot corner is something you would find from a 12-year old on a Little League team. Grade: F

Laynce Nix: I guess I didn’t realize just how poorly the Phillies’ offensive players did in July, and Laynce Nix was another example of that. He batted .167 with no extra-base hits in 12 plate appearances, striking out seven times. That’s nearly as pitiful as Polanco, although Nix didn’t do that in nearly as many trips to the plate. Grade: F

Hector Luna: It’s really tough to grade Hector Luna on just one plate appearance, and the fact that he went 0-for-1 before spending the month in the minor leagues didn’t impact the team either way. Grade: C

Mike Fontenot: Remember when Mike Fontenot was tearing it up at the plate? That’s become a distant memory now, as he batted just .214 with zero RBIs in 31 plate appearances in July. He struck out in 29 percent of his times at bat and played subpar defense, and that’s probably why the Phillies designated him for assignment earlier today. Grade: D-

Kevin Frandsen: Kevin Frandsen has been a very pleasant surprise so far in his limited plate appearances, much like Luna and Fontenot were early on. He is 3-for-7 with a two-run home run off of none other than the hard-throwing Stephen Strasburg. Grade: A

Jason Pridie: I didn’t expect in any way to see Jason Pridie in the major leagues this month, and the fact that he went 3-for-10 with a home run and a 1.000 OPS is very impressive, although not well enough to keep the Phillies from DFAing him. Grade: A

Domonic Brown: It’s make or break time for Domonic Brown now, and he got off to a good start last night, singling up the middle in his first plate appearance – a pinch-hit appearance late in the game. Grade: A