The Phillies have numerous holes to fill in 2013 at third base, the outfield, the bench, and in the bullpen. Many of those positions will be filled from outside the organization, meaning many of the faces we saw last season will not be returning to the Phillies in 2013. Just as we forecasted the Phillies 2013 pitching roster and the Phillies 2013 infield roster, we will predict the moves for Phillies outfielders in 2013.
Darin Ruf was barely even a name in the Phillies system a year ago, but a monster season at AA Reading made Ruf a definite part of the Phillies' future plans. He won the Eastern League MVP award at Reading and nearly won the AA Triple Crown with a .317 average, 38 home runs, and 104 RBIs, breaking Ryan Howard's home run record in the process. He parlayed his minor league success into the majors, hitting .333 (11 for 33) with three homers, two doubles, a triple, and 10 RBIs.
Ruf is a first baseman by trade, but in order to join the Phillies he must transition to left field. The Phillies are concerned about his speed to play the outfield, but it's not like former left fielders like Burrell, Ibanez, Incaviglia, and Luzinski were exactly Jackie Joyner-Kersee out there. If Ruf can hit, Charlie Manuel will find a way to make it work. Considering the Phillies need for outfielders, my bet is that Ruf makes the jump from AA to the majors and splits time with Brown in left.
The fact that Domonic Brown is in any of the Phillies plans shows just how dire the outfield situation is in Philadelphia. The once untouchable prospect has continually failed to live up to his expectations. After a decent minor league season, Brown hit just .235 with 5 home runs in 187 at-bats with the Phillies.
On the positive side, Brown improved his defense dramatically and showed the ability to work counts and draw walks. At age 25, Brown has time to improve and mature, but the question is, where? With three outfield positions to fill and no clear frontrunner for any of them, there is a good chance the Phillies plop him in left or right, possibly in a platoon, and see what happens. But it is just as likely that he will end up in the minors or with another organization. The Phillies may fit Brown into their plans, but they will not build any plans around him.
In my mind, John Mayberry was by far the biggest disappointment of the season. It seemed like 2012 was going to finally be Mayberry's break out year. After an offensive surge in 2011 (.315 avg, 10 HR, 25 RBI after July 22) earned him a job as the everyday left fielder, his 2012 season was a disaster. He hit .245 with a .301 OBP, 14 HR, and 46 RBI.
More troubling were his numerous mental lapses. For a Stanford educated man whose father played in the majors, Mayberry seemed like he had no understanding of the game of baseball, making one mental mistake after another at the plate, on the base paths, and in the field. Or maybe he was just disinterested.
Either way, he had plenty of chances to prove his worth and, at age 28 (he'll be 29 in December), you begin to wonder if there is no potential. Mayberry has worked his way out of the everyday lineup. Amaro may keep him around as an extra outfielder, but it is just as likely he will return to the minors or get sent elsewhere.
2012 was a throw away year for Laynce Nix. After signing to a two-year deal with the Phils, Nix had only 114 at-bats and hit .246 with 3 homers and 16 RBI. Nix did little to hurt or help his standing with the Phillies. With $1.35 million due to Nix, he will probably remain with the team in the same bench role in 2013.
As painful as it to write this, Juan Pierre will probably not play for the Philadelphia Phillies next season. "He obviously had a great year for us," Ruben Amaro said. "I think where we're going to go, however, may affect his chances of being with our club. You can look at our club and see how left-handed we are, and that right-handed bats are something we have to consider. That may not necessarily preclude him from coming back, but I think we have some other fish to fry and that may not be the first one."
Not bringing back Juan Pierre would be a mistake.
For just $800,000, Juan Pierre hit .307, scored 59 runs, and stole 37 out of 44 bases (84%). With the outfield in such disarray, the Phillies almost can't afford not to keep him. He obviously lacks power, has a poor arm, and the Phillies don't need left-handed hitters, but if you found a place for Michael Martinez, you can find a place for Pierre.
You also will not find a more dedicated, enthusiastic, professional player than Juan Pierre, and he is a wonderful mentor to the number of young outfielders on the Phillies roster. Certain players like Chase Utley run hard almost all of the time, but Juan Pierre runs his hardest every time.
It will be a damn shame if and when Pierre leaves.
Nate Schierholtz was a nice extra piece that came over in the Hunter Pence deal. Overall, he hit .257 with six homers and 21 RBIs in 114 games with the Giants and Phillies. But he is not under contract and the Phillies already have a left-handed extra outfielder under contract with Laynce Nix. With other free agent options available, Schierholtz is probably the odd man out. Besides, if you can't find a place for Pierre, you better not find a place for Schierholtz.comments powered by Disqus