If some of the Philadelphia Phillies young bats come alive, the 2013 season could be a successful one.
The Phillies are in a unique position among MLB teams. More similar to the New York Yankees than anyone else, which is reflective of the Phillies relatively new spot among the big money teams. They are looking at the end of their long run of success, and a roster riddled with aging stars and big contracts.
The Phillies are dependent on aging talent that (mostly) under-performed in 2012, or young and unproven players on the offensive side.
The Philadelphia Phillies outfield is one of the most green and unseasoned in the Majors. Ben Revere is the most seasoned hand on the grass, and he’s only 24. Helping him patrol the grass are also Darin Ruf (26), and Domonic Brown (25).
Revere will get the start in center field whether he struggles or not, and Delmon Young (27) should be back by May. That makes the truly important parts of the Phillies outfield either Ruf or Brown.
The infield is in the opposite situation, as every member is over 33. Michael Young is 36, Jimmy Rollins 34, Chase Utley 34, Ryan Howard 33 and Carlos Ruiz 34. Given their age, it is unlikely all five will be up to the task every day.
Still, don’t bet against the Phillies. The aging infield does put more pressure on the outfield and backups.
Ruf exploded in the minor leagues last year, with 38 HRs in 2012 (more than double his 2011 output), and my money is on him to win the starting spot. I think he has enough raw power to drive out 20+ HR’s, much like Jayson Werth in 2008.
Don’t count out Domonic Brown though. His development would make general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. look like a genius. If Brown can find his stroke, he could he .300, hit around 20 HRs and steal double-digit bases.
Amaro has had Brown stuffed in his back pocket like Captain Jack Sparrow squirrels away cursed gold. Hopefully, his plan works as well as Sparrow’s did.
If neither of Brown or Ruf develop this year, the Phils could be looking at rebuilding for the future, and the Black Pearl may need a new skipper.
Sorry, I meant the Philadelphia Phillies.