Philadelphia Phillies: Unexpected Silver Lining Emerges From Disappointing 2013 Season
Entering the 2013 season, there was one area for the Philadelphia Phillies besides the bullpen that everybody knew needed improvement. It was an area that was once a strength for the team, especially in 2008, and one that has never even close to being good since the departures of of Pat Burrell and Jayson Werth, .
In 2008, the Phillies had one of the better outfields, though somewhat unexpected, in the league. Burrell, the everyday left fielder, was the main power source from the corner. He tallied 33 doubles, 33 home runs and 86 RBIs. Werth, who enjoyed a breakout season, scored 73 runs with 16 doubles and a career-high 24 home runs.
The speedy center fielder was Shane Victorino, who scored over 100 runs for the first time in his career and added 52 extra base hits. Additionally, he stole 36 bags. Now that was a formidable outfield and one that struck fear into opposing teams. The Phillies have tried to replicate this sort of season, but it has been imitated never duplicated.
But in an awful 2013 season, perhaps one of the most unexpected things to come out is that the Phillies may have found their outfield of the future. And there is potential there that this one could come close to the output of the 2008 group.
If this season is any indication, the Phillies might once again have power and from both sides of the plate at both corners. Lefty Domonic Brown, the everyday left fielder, has finally emerged as more than just a top prospect.
In his first All-Star season, Brown has so far tallied 26 home runs with 75 RBIs. Flanking him in right is Darin Ruf, the right-handed 27-year-old who is enjoying a decent season of his own with 13 extra base hits and 18 runs in 28 games played. Permitting both Brown and Ruf play full seasons next year, it is very possible the Phillies could have 20 HR power from both outfield spots.
Then moving to center is Ben Revere. There is no doubt that Revere will not match Victorino’s power production, but from a speed standpoint, he has the opportunity to do even better. Revere, who struggled to start the season, got incredibly hot and emerged as a reliable singles hitter.
Before moving to the 15-Day DL, Revere had three triples, nine doubles and 22 stolen bases. His speed should enable him to hit 20 doubles and steal 20 bases even if he never hits a home run.
This outfield might not quite match up to 2008, but the group of under-28 talent could prove to be a strength for the Phillies for years to come. At the very least, there is at least one reason to be optimistic entering the 2014 season.