Sunday, March 25, 2007

Phildelphia Phillies

In lieu of our own comprehensive preview of the 2007 Philadelphia Phillies (because, really, what do we know?), we give you The Phans Blog, a website "dedicated to detailed analysis of The Philadelphia Phillies."

In-depth and generally well-written, The Phans Blog is great for casual and rabid fans alike, a godsend for out-of-staters like the Toad, and (we would guess) a great time-waster for the office.

This website covers it all, from big news like the recent decision to send former ace Jon Lieber to the bullpen and Freddy Garcia's tender right bicep to smaller details like the return of recent acquisition and possible starter Alfredo Simon back from whence he came (the hapless Texas Rangers) and the waving of prospect Justin Germano.

It also has breakdowns of the Phil's competition in the NL East as well as unofficial trade rumors and gossip-mill reports.

As for our previously devalued two cents, here are a few predictions.

Big Year - Chase Utley; Jimmy Rollins

It doesn't take a genius to predict this one. Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins are primed for big years. Last year's achingly close playoff birth seems to have helped Rollins reevaluate exactly how he fits into the overall scheme and Chase is just awesome and will continue to get awesomer.

Breakout year - Shane Victorino

We think this guy is really good. He's fast and hits well for average, which seems like a good combination in terms of overall run production in a division with vastly different park sizes and generally competent if no longer overwhelming pitching staffs.

Slow starts - Ryan Howard; Freddy Garcia

Ryan Howard is a beast and will continue to be a beast for a long time. We do think, however, that being named league MVP and earning national celebrity will take a little getting used to for a 25 year old kid, not matter how likable and well adjusted. Also, we remember a few games down the stretch last year, once Howard started blasting every other pitch out of the park, when opposing pitchers seemed willing to give him an easy trot to first if only our giant young hero could stop himself from swinging at pitches well outside the strike zone. The next step to absolute greatest seems to be learning and accepting one's own limitations (something Barry Bonds, love him or hate him, proved very adept at). As for Freddy Garcia, we just think that the National League and especially Citizen's Bank Park will take a little getting use to as well, probably a month or so.

Bad Year - Pat Burrell; Bret Myers

We would love to see Pat Burrell succeed in the face of all odds but we worry that his confidence is too far gone and the city finds him too easy to hate. As much as professional athletes claim the crowd's opinion of them doesn't matter, common sense tells us that no matter what esteem they may truly hold the fans in (our guess - very low) it is something they deal with day-in and day-out for over 5 months and that such a huge amount of negative energy will become draining, especially for a guy like Burrell who has proven in the past that he is easily influenced by his surroundings (evidence: Tyler Houston debacle of 2003). As for Brett Myers, obviously we don't actually know, but we think the guy seems like a jerk and kind of childish (although we are open to the possibility that he is the victim of "sports writer vilification") and we doubt a brand-new 3 year, 25 million dollar contract will help him grow up. Our guess - the opposite.

Biggest Questions - Wes Helms; Ryan Madson

Basically, we feel pretty confident Wes Helms will be a good fit in the batting order, especially at home, but we aren't sold on his ability to field his position. Our understanding is that Helms has been mainly a pinch-hitter/designated-hitter most of his career and we think his defense might, well, suck. And, for us, Madson is a huge question because his ability to become a consistent and formidable force out of the bullpen will probably prove vital late into games, particularly when Jamie Moyer starts.

Well, that's all we got.



At 7:26 AM, Anonymous Mick said...

Ryan Howard was born in 1979, so him being 22 is a more remarkable feat than being MVP at age 21.

At 11:46 AM, Blogger The Awkward Toad said...

thanks for the correction

At 10:47 AM, Blogger icarus236 said...

Thanks for the link.


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