The Phillies have an 8-5 Grapefruit League record. They have a .615 winning percentage. If we could project this into late July, they would be 64-40 with a 6-7 game lead in the division. That would make them buyers rather than sellers as they approached the trading deadline.
Just kidding. We all know that team records don’t mean much during spring training. The 2008 Phillies finished the spring with a 12-18 record. Winning now helps build the culture of winning that probably doesn’t exist in the organization’s affiliates. If you have players who become accustomed to losing in the minors, it can be difficult to foster a winning attitude in the big leagues.
With their offensive explosion against the Red Sox on Sunday, the Phillies are sporting the following slash – .225/.276/.315/.592, the worst in each category among National League teams. They were able to slip past the Baltimore Orioles and rank 29th among all MLB teams in AVG, SLG, and OPS. They still rank last in OBP.
Six of their 8 home runs, their only triple, and 5 of their 15 doubles have been hit by players who will probably not be on the 25-man roster. In their new era of small ball, 5 players have successfully sacrificed, only Ben Revere has been successful more than once. They have been successful on 9 of 13 steal attempts, only Odubel Herrera has more than one steal. (Over at the Carpenter Complex, I saw Jessie Valentin sacrifice after a lead off double by Carlos Tocci.) Looks like they’re serious throughout the organization about “small ball”.
So far, their pitching is respectable. But with injuries to Lee and Harang, and Gonzales looking less likely to be able to begin the season as a starter, the rotation is starting to look a little thin. I don’t know if small ball is going to be enough. BTW, Valentin’s sacrifice worked when Tocci avoided the tag at the plate on a fielder’s choice.