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The Sharks Breakdown the NL East

Philadelphia Phillies

Mark’s Take

Scott’s Take

Lineup

1) Shane Victorino – Expect him to return to his pre-2010 approach and try to improve his average at the expense of power, with Jimmmy Rollins on the cliff dive if they need a real leadoff hitter.

2) Placido Polanco

3) Chase Utley – Beginning to worry the knee may be a concern all year. You can have him. I won’t.

4) Ryan Howard

5) Raul Ibanez

6) Jimmy Rollins – The end is not near. It’s here.

7) Ben Francisco – Nothing to get too excited about. He has some deep league value but he’s replacement level in shallower leagues.

8) Carlos Ruiz

9) Pitcher

The lineup is, again, left-handed heavy but not as much with super prospect Domonic Brown not in the equation until summer sometime. Expect this to cause problems, but age is of much greater concern in this lineup than anything else.

   Only one bat in the whole lineup is on the south side of 30.

Lineup

1) Jimmy Rollins – Time to get back to where he once was?

2) Placido Polanco

3) Chase Utley – Great player, but I won’t be drafting him.

4) Ryan Howard – Don’t shy away. His draft spot is one that makes him valuable.

5) Raul Ibanez

6) Shane Victorino – At some point, I think he moves up in the order.

  Value for his spot.

7) Carlos Ruiz – You could do worse as your second catcher.

8) Ben Francisco

9) Pitcher

Domonic Brown wasn’t having a good spring, and the injury cements him as destined to Triple-A until June.

Rotation

1) Roy Halladay

2) Cliff Lee

3) Roy Oswalt

4) Cole Hamels

5) Joe Blanton

I can’t write anything about this rotation that hasn’t already been written. It’s phenomenal.

Rotation

1) Roy Halladay

2) Cliff Lee

3) Cole Hamels

4) Roy Oswalt

5) Joe Blanton

Obviously one of the strongest rotations we’ve ever seen, so I’m not going to spend a lot of time talking about how good they are. However, I can tell you that I’m not a firm believer that Oswalt is what he once was. I have my doubts about him, and unless he slips, I won’t be overpaying for him. Blanton is an innings eater in the deepest of leagues, nothing more.


Bullpen

Closer – Brad Lidge – Oof.

R – Ryan Madson – Great eighth-inning pitcher, but gets rattled in the ninth.

L – J.C. Romero

R – Danys Baez

R – Jose Contreras

L – Antonio Bastardo

R – Kyle Kendrick

The ninth inning will continue to cause anxiety amongst Phillies fans, but the rest of the bullpen is relatively solid. Nothing special, but solid.

Bullpen

Closer – Brad Lidge

P – Ryan Madson

P – Danys Baez

P – J.C. Romero

P – Jose Contreras

P – Scott Mathieson

P – David Herndon


Most overrated player

Jimmy Rollins. The speed is declining, as is the power, his swing has been a mess because he’s not adjusting to his lost power, and he keeps getting injured because he continues to play like he’s still 27. Just like the last two years, he’ll either be hurt or driving you mad in your lineup. Just pass.


Most underrated player

Ryan Howard. Home runs are tough to find this year and he is falling to the third round in some drafts. That’s not right.

5 Questions

1) Can this rotation live up to their extremely high expectations? Yes, and they will. The comparisons to the 1990s Atlanta Braves may get old, but they’re legit.

2) Can the bullpen not screw up a good thing (the rotation)? I lean towards yes. I don’t dislike the bullpen but I don’t feel good enough about it to offset how bad I feel about the ninth inning. This could be their Achilles heel in both the playoffs and the regular season.

3) Will the army of lefties in the lineup cause a problem?

   Not in the regular season, but come the playoffs it could.

   Good thing for them most of their competition is not strong with southpaws … yet.

4) Will Domonic Brown live up to the hype? He needs to. Ben Francisco’s a pinch hitter and the cupboard is bare behind him.

5) Will age catch up to this lineup? During the season it will, but to what degree is anyone’s guess. Managing the playing time of this lineup is going to be a critical and daunting task for Charlie Manuel. Most of the major league ready organizational depth has been traded to build this team as the only high upside talent remaining on the farm is still two-plus years away from the show.

What this team needs to win

The elder statesmen to stay healthy. If they consistently score more than four runs per game they will be playing deep into October.

Most overrated player

Jimmy Rollins. There’s a lot to choose from on this one here, but I’m going with Rollins here. Most people still have the idea that Rollins is the same player he was in 2006 and 2007. He’s not. And I’m not paying a Top 3-4 round pick on a guy that is injury prone and likely to underperform his draft position. He’s creeping closer to that cliff.

Most underrated player

Tough to really call anyone on this team underrated. I guess give me, Shane Victorino. He’ll likely be batting leadoff when Rollins shows once again that he’s not the guy anymore.

5 Questions

1) Can this team perform to expectations? The expectations for this team are ridiculous this year. Too often, teams with expectations that lofty don’t meet them. This team is too good not to contend, but those thinking they are going to run away with the National League are mistaken. They’ll be in a dogfight in this division all year.

 

2) Will Brad Lidge have another implosion? Seems to happen too often, and I have a feeling this could be the year that Lidge’s problems bite the Phillies.

 

3) Will Domonic Brown fully seize the opportunity given to him? To be honest, I’m not totally sure. He’s a bit overaggressive, which will lead to some growing pains in his youth. He’s a great talent and will eventually get it going.

 

4) Who’s first in to close if Brad Lidge is terrible? Ryan Madson will get first crack. He should provide some value for those of you in deeper mixed leagues.

 

5) If this team is to win, who’s going to need to step it up in the lineup to make it happen? Easy answer is Ryan Howard. But I think the key here is Jimmy Rollins, and I’ve already voiced my opinion on him. I don’t think he can, and I think that will be the shortcoming of this team.

What this team needs to win

Health. And the start of this season isn’t helping. The more I’m hearing about Chase Utley, the more I’m worried. At release of this article, I’m thoroughly tempted to put Atlanta first.

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