The Philadelphia Phillies were formerly known to have one of the most potent lineups in all of baseball. Fans who just arrived from Neptune would have never known that if they watched Charlie Manuel’s team’s demise during their post 2009 World Series’ years.
Yes, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard are still around. With good health and good fortune those three modern icons should generate positive offensive years this season. They will be joined in the lineup by five new regular faces at the start of the season.
If Carlos Ruiz hadn’t been suspended for the season’s first 25 games, for use of a banned stimulant, he would be behind the plate on opening day. Since he’s not and unless there’s a further roster addition, Erik Kratz will assume his starting position.
There’s a young man (yes, 26 is still young) who hit over 50 combined home runs in three different baseball venues last season. His name is Darin Ruf and he will be the team’s new left fielder.
Standing aside of him in center field will be a younger version of Juan Pierre. That former Minnesota Twins‘ player is Ben Revere.
When Ruf and Revere watch a fly ball head toward right field, former Detroit Tigers‘ designated hitter Delmon Young will begin to track it down. After he makes the play and throws the ball toward the infield, Utley will send a relay to former Texas Rangers‘ “Mr. Everything” Michael Young, who will be waiting at third base.
Some other familiar names are still around and will be seen in the field and at the plate again this year. But, it is these men: Ruf, Revere, Young and Young who will represent one half of a lineup change that should help Manuel to score more runs this season.
With all due respect to sabermetric projections, let’s see how this collection of baseball men gel before we write them off in January. Yes, we are aware of on base plus slugging percentage and every other numbers’ game. Future efforts aren’t determined by past results, especially when new arrangements have been made.
If this group believes that its set to swing in the spring, the summer and fall might also develop in positive ways.