Philadelphia Phillies Spring Training: Ranking the Top 5 Early Disappointments
Who's Disappointing in Clearwater So Far?
The Philadelphia Phillies have seen their championship window sling shut dramatically over the course of the past two seasons. GM Ruben Amaro Jr., clearly in denial about his team’s ultimate fate (as well as his own), continued to sign older and older players in the offseason in an attempt to keep the window cracked ever so slightly.
In order for the Phillies to competently compete this season and even entertain the idea of being a playoff team, they not only need their new and younger players to perform up to their expectations, but they also need their older and wiser players to fend off age and injury and resume their former All-Star production. Certainly this is not all going to happen, which spells doom for the Phils’ playoff hopes.
A roster riddled with injured and older players is sure to break down at some point, which makes Spring Training so important. With the exception of ace Cole Hamels, luckily the Phillies have stayed relatively healthy with the exception of the common bump and bruise here and there. However, in a spring where production is needed in order to facilitate a quick start out of the gate in April against a relatively easy schedule, several players have not lived up to their potential. The following is a list of Phillies who have disappointed thus far in Spring Training.
JR Cummings is a Phillies Writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @JRCummings2, add him to your circle on Google+ or connect with him on LinkedIn.
5. Chase Utley
The heart of the team, Chase Utley has been a disaster thus far this spring. Long considered one of the most consistent players in the majors, he appears to finally be healthy and was looking for a bounce-back year. However, a .167 average with no vital stats to speak of does not spell an inspiring spring.
4. Kyle Kendrick
Believe it or not, Kyle Kendrick was the #2 starter on their 2007 playoff rotation. He has been a stalwart for the team, bumming it in the bullpen during the years of the four aces and stepping in and starting when the team was in a pinch. He was a mainstay in the rotation last season and looks to be their 4th starter this year. However, spring has not been kind to him thus far as he sports a 13.50 ERA.
3. Dominic Brown
Last year’s breakout Phillie and All-Star has not lived up to his hyped billing thus far in Clearwater, having only hit .125 and produced one measly RBI.
2. Michael Stutes
After suffering an injury that kept him out for most of the past two seasons, Michael Stutes was looking to finally capitalize on his stellar rookie season in 2011 and became a reliable arm in the bullpen. However, the 24-year old is sporting an ERA above 22 and has yet to record a strikeout. He is being passed every day by another young reliever on the totem pole.
1. Ryan Howard
The $25 million man, Ryan Howard supposedly came into Clearwater considerably thinner and with a spring to his step (a step he hasn’t had since 2011 with an Achilles injury). The man who the Phils are relying on for power has yet to go yard, has struck out in 4 of his 10 at-bats and is hitting .100.