The Philadelphia Phillies have reported that Delmon Young will likely miss all of April. With this news what does that mean for the two vacant corner outfielder positions moving forward into 2013?
I scoured the free agent market last night to see if there were any more cheap low end major league talent to help the Phillies transition while Delmon is out, but the best name I saw was Scott Podsednik, who the Phils have acquired twice in the last two years.
Basically, what is left in free agency is no better or worse than what the Phillies have on the team right now. That forces two of these four into the final two outfield spots: Dominic Brown, Darin Ruf, John Mayberry and Laynce Nix.
In a perfect scenario this season could be an example of the farm system working exactly like it’s supposed to. When two good guys leave (Shane Victorino, Hunter Pence) two guys from the farm team seamlessly fill their shoes. Its how good teams stay good.
If Darin Ruf and and Dominic Brown, the Phillies two most major league ready batting prospects, can step up and split 38 HR and 140 RBI between the two of them over the course of a season then I believe the Phillies will be ahead of where they expected to be.
You simply cannot depend on Mayberry or Nix for that kind of production. At this point in their careers (Nix is 33, Mayberry 30) GM Ruben Amaro knows what to expect from these two journeyman level talents. Over the course of a season they might hit 12 HRs apiece. That’s not enough from the corner outfield, especially upon looking at what the division rivals the Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves bring in the corner outfield: Justin Upton, Jason Heyward, Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth. On paper any of those four players would be preferable to the Phillies current situation. But the game isn’t played on paper, ask the Oakland Athletics (or better yet ask the Los Angeles Angels).
My prediction is Darin Ruf and John Mayberry start the season. Ruf has been crushing the ball, and his potential will prove to be too much to ignore with the offense in its current state. I do not think Brown will start, in his career he has come up notoriously small given ample opportunity between 2010-12.
147 G | 12 HR | 57 RBI | .236 AVG | -0.8 WAR
With Brown’s allergic reaction to Major League play the Phillies will turn to the steady but unimpressive John Mayberry.
The Phillies have two spots that will be filled by whoever steps up in spring training. If the farm system pans out the way the Phillies hope then Ruben Amaro will look brilliant, if it does not then Amaro will have some shopping to do at the trade deadline.