I'm generally not optimistic about the Phillies, unless we're talking back in the day when they were trotting Hallady, Lee, Hamels, and Oswalt out there. I'm realistic, sometimes pessimistic. With that said, I have a good feeling about this upcoming season. The rotation will be vastly improved. The offense can take a step forward too, especially if a true Howard/Ruf platoon is utilized. The bullpen scares me, but some of those guys can pan out and there's plenty of depth should some of them flounder. I'm seeing predictions of mid-90's loss totals for the Phils. I think this could be a .500 team. The rotation alone could shave 1.25 runs off their awful 5.23 collective ERA last year. And the bullpen's ERA of 3.81 last year wasn't anything special, so I don't expect it to be worse this year. So let's say the Phillies shave 1 run a game off their total allowed, that's 162 less runs. Let's say the offense improves some too (full season of Franco, Howard/Ruf platoon, Alterr really provides a spark, more Rupp than Ruiz), I think it's possible they score 30 more runs. That would equal runs 656 scored and 647 runs allowed. That would equal at least a .500 season. I'm going to do series of posts about this before the season starts, breaking down the improvement in the rotation in one piece, the improvement on offense in another, then general improvement of the team (especially depth). Basically what I'm getting at, is this team should be better, how much better is yet to be determined.
The Phillies have 3 positions that should be better than average in the league: 3B, CF, and possibly (if things go right) RF. The other spots could be average or worse. 1B is a wild card if the platoon works out, both Ruf and Howard could be better than average when facing the right pitching.two things on relievers, when looking at the pitchers heading into spring its a mess by there being so many. So it could take a long while to sort things out. However on the flip side there could be a lot of pitchers that step up early on and the team can pick the best of the best. Maybe even have a strong AAA squad.Rotation, well its minus Hamels for the entire year. The true measure of the future would be during the 2nd half when the likes of Crawford, Williams, Quinn, Thompson, Appel, Eflin, and Velasquez should be making their way up. I could see the team on pace to lose 90 +/- games during first half but if they bring these guys up and they succeed they could really improve in 2nd half. 2017 we could see a good team as in competing.
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