Philadelphia Phillies’ Top 5 Projected 2013 Performances
The Phillies are hoping to make a renewed playoff push this season.
Charlie Manuel will likely be making his last trip through a baseball season as the Philadelphia Phillies' manager this year.
After leading one of the few great squads in franchise history to a World Series title in 2008, this lifer is getting set to work through a transitional season that will end with him handing the ball to Ryne Sandberg at some unknown point. That exchange could happen this spring, or summer. Hopefully, the dugout swap takes place sometime after Halloween.
The Phillies many members of the 25-man roster (and a few other good men to boot) to exceed expectations if a third-ever championship is to be won this year. In order to simply begin a renewed playoff push, a number of key personnel will need to produce consistent results from the beginning of April through the end of September.
Manuel has 727 regular season wins (.561 winning percentage) through eight seasons with the Phillies. Under his reign the Phillies have won five division titles, two pennants and one World Series championship.
Regardless of how fans feel about Manuel's importance, or legacy, there's no doubt that his presence has mattered during what is rightly considered the second "Golden Age" of Phillies' baseball. As he enters the final guaranteed year on his contract, the 69-year-old already has the most managerial wins in team history. Now, his only goal is to get his red pinstriped machine humming one more time.
Many teams that gain postseason access do so because a large majority of their position players, pitchers and bench men play well throughout the season. Meanwhile, the best coaching staffs are populated by people who communicate well, kick butt when needed, use effective strategy and inspire their troops to keep marching through the grind of 162 games.
While everyone matters to varying degrees, here are five 2013 performances that are critical to the Phillies' potential success this season.
Mike Adams has been one of the better setup men in the game during his career. If he can secure the eighth inning this season, the Phillies should avoid long losing streaks.
Darin Ruf unexpectedly emerged last season. If he's able to make progress this season, the Phillies may have found a new cornerstone piece for their franchise.
This former Texas Rangers' icon can still swing the bat. As long as Michael Young is able to adequately man his third base position, an answer for the “hot corner” question will be seen.
Producing numbers that were similar to Cole Hamels' efforts last season was masked by an oddly low win total. Normal run support will allow Cliff Lee to approach 20 wins this season and possibly his second Cy Young award.
This Hall of Famer was humbly willing to pay his dues in the minor leagues for a second time in his career. Ryne Sandberg appears to be exactly the right man to become the manager of the major league team that originally drafted him in 1978.