Obviously Chase Utley and Ryan Howard need to play like it’s 2008, or 2009, in order for the Philadelphia Phillies to make another playoff push this season. But, every remaining positional player’s performance also counts.
Going around the horn we see Carlos Ruiz behind the plate, once all “supplemental” issues have been left behind. “Chooch” throws the ball down to Michael Young at third base, who flips it to Jimmy Rollins. “J-Roll” tosses it to his longtime double play partner Utley, who relays the official Rawlings’ white sphere to Howard.
Freddy Galvis received a congratulatory pat on the backside from number 26 on St. Patrick’s Day. The 23-year-old infielder has moved beyond his 2012 ban and has looked phenomenal in the field again this year. This young man makes my team, so I assume the same mindset is held by the Phillies’ brass.
Kevin Frandsen should remain in the infield as well. This gritty guy is a true gamer who looks, thinks and acts like a baseball player.
Domonic Brown’s spring performance shows that he wants to turn his career around. It’s not that he was in any serious jeopardy of leaving the game. But, “Dom” might have left the organization, or at least have been demoted to Triple-A, if he hadn’t put on an offensive show this spring.
Considering Darin Ruf’s obvious need for further minor league seasoning, everyone should hope that the Phillies’ don’t force him to learn how to play left field in the major leagues starting on April 1. If Ruf is sent down, a temporary left field platoon of John Mayberry, Jr. and Laynce Nix will be fine.
Ben Revere is a solid center fielder who should provide some Juan Pierre-like offense somewhere at the top of the order to start this season.
I would not allow Ender Inciarte to leave this team. The 22-year-old has a superb glove and should be allowed to remain on the 25-man roster for at least a few months. If he demonstrates enough potential, the Rule 5 draftee won’t need to be offered back to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Delmon Young’s recovery from ankle surgery has him on pace to be on the major league roster by late-April, or early May. At that time, Brown could shift to left field. But, it’s too soon to tell how this developing outfield scene will play out.
Throwing the ball to Erik Kratz, who will be handling the bulk of Ruiz’ duties for the first 25 games of the season, the team’s roster is nearly complete. He along with Humberto Quintero are equally competent receivers who can fill the eighth batting slot.
Charlie Manuel’s team has more holes than Ryne Sandberg’s 2014 squad (spoiler alert) should have. With a good green dash of Irish fortune, the 2013 edition of this red pinstriped squad could remain in the playoff race through September.