Tag Archives: Cody Asche

Phillies 2015 Report Cards: Outfielders

After previously handing out grades to the 2015 Philadelphia Phillies infielders and catchers, it’s now the outfielders turn. 
The starting outfielders based on playing time this season were Ben RevereOdubel Herrera, and Jeff Francoeur, and there were 2-3 others who received substantive time.
Others receiving significant time included Cody Asche, who started 61 games in left field. 
Domonic Brown, who the club released just yesterday, appeared in 50 games in right field. 
Aaron Altherr appeared in 37 games spread across all three outfield positions. 
The Phillies also got 31 early season games from Grady Sizemore in left and right field.
When spring training in Clearwater began back in February, few would have predicted that the Rule 5 draftee Herrera or the supposedly washed-up free agent signee Francoeur would end up as regulars, let alone as fan favorites. But that is exactly what happened as the 2015 season developed.
Below you will find letter grades assigned to the first seven names mentioned above, making up all of the players who appeared in at least 30 games in the outfield for the 2015 Phillies.

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Grady Sizemore – F: it’s really hard to see why Ryne Sandberg kept writing the then-32 year old Sizemore’s name into the lineup during the months of April and May. 
Likely it was simply because the ill-fated skipper felt there were few proven options, with Herrera and Francoeur not yet having fully emerged, and with Revere as the only established, healthy, proven starter. 
Sizemore produced nothing in 104 plate appearances: a .245/.288/.296 slash line with no homers, six RBI, four runs scored, no stolen bases. 
He was released on June 1st, signed with the Tampa Bay Rays two weeks later, and actually produced well for the Rays over the season’s final three months. But again, with the Phillies he was nothing more than a complete waste of time.

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Aaron Altherr – C: some over-exuberant fans or evaluators may be tempted to give Altherr a higher grade. Let’s not get carried away. 
He will turn 25 years old in January, so he’s not exactly a kid. He also hit for a just a .241 average, and the right-handed batter amazingly performed much worse against lefty pitching, with a .180/.276/.360 slash line in 58 plate appearances against southpaws. 
He did produce five homers, 22 RBI, 25 runs, and six stolen bases in 161 total plate appearances. Multiply those production numbers by four to get a full season. 
If Altherr can actually produce those types of numbers, he can be a full-time big league starter, at least for the next few seasons as the Phillies roster continues to improve. 
He committed no errors, and generally fielded well no matter where he was placed in the outfield. 
Expect Altherr to enter spring training as a favorite to win a starting corner outfield spot. If he can figure out lefties, the Phils may have themselves a productive, dependable starter.
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Domonic Brown – F: never let it be said that I didn’t kick a man when he was down, at least when that man is someone who I have cringed at watching in a Phillies uniform as much as I have Dom Brown over the last few years. 
I already went over Brown’s disappointing performances over the last few years in yesterday’s piece following his removal from the Phillies 40-man roster. Let’s just focus here on what produces this grade, his 2015 performance. 
The season began with him on the DL, then with a .260 average and three homers in 248 minor league plate appearances. 
He certainly didn’t earn a promotion, but the Phils gave him one anyway. Back in the big leagues, Brown produced just a .228/.284/.349 slash line with five homers, 25 RBI, and 19 runs scored over 204 plate appearances. 
He committed just one official error, and did flash his strong arm with four outfield assists. 
But he continued a troubling lack of awareness of his place on the field at times, which directly ended his season and Phillies career in early September when he tumbled into the Citi Field stands, suffering a concussion. 
It was just more of the same disappointing failure time after time for Brown. Can you tell my feelings regarding his release? Good riddance.
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Cody Asche – D: let’s be honest here, Asche wasn’t much better in 2015 than Brown, if better at all. His passing grade is barely, and is really only given due to his versatility in reasonably covering two positions on defense. 
Asche had been the club’s starting 3rd baseman, but was moved to left field with the development of top rookie Maikel Franco
While no Gold Glover, the athletic Asche did show that he can handle the outfield, at least in a backup role. 
In 2015, Asche produced a disappointing .245/.294/.395 slash line that was very close to his overall career MLB numbers across more than 1,000 plate appearances. 
While he didn’t hit righties particularly well, he did show far greater power against them.
He will turn 26 years old right in the middle of next season, and looks like a backup player. 
Asche is going to need to show more, or as the overall roster improves he is going to find it harder and harder to keep a big league job, at least in Phillies pinstripes.
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Ben Revere – C: the speedy Revere had an almost identical season to his 2014 campaign, when you combine his full Phillies and Blue Jays numbers. 
With the Phils, he produced a .298/.334/.374 slash line with 24 stolen bases and 49 runs scored across 388 plate appearances prior to his July 31st trade to Toronto. 
Revere was with the Phillies what he is overall as a player: a speed threat. His speed allows him to beat out enough infield hits, and he makes enough contact, to keep his average around the .300 level. 
His ability to get on base and use his speed fit perfectly with the Jays’ power-laden lineup. With the Phillies, his skill set was basically being wasted. 
He will turn 28 years old in early May, and becomes arbitration eligible this coming off-season, so he would have begun to become an expensive, limited option. 
Defensively, Revere’s speed allowed him to run down some balls, and he was willing to give up his body for diving grabs. However, he also took questionable routes at times, and has a weak arm. 
The Phillies were able to get a pair of young arms for him. If either pans out in any way that helps them down the line, this should prove a deal that works out for both teams.
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Jeff Francoeur – C: it’s not that ‘Frenchy’ wasn’t a joy to watch for most of the season, he was. Especially during such an overall down season for the team. But we have to be reasonable about handing out grades. 
He produced a .258/.286/.433 slash line with 13 home runs and 45 RBI in 343 plate appearances. 
A few of those home runs were dramatic, coming at key moments, including to walkoff some of the Phillies few victories during the 2015 season. 
A former Gold Glover who was once a regular atop the NL outfield assists leaderboards, his still powerful arm produced some sensational throws. 
Heck, he even took the mound in a blowout, tossing two solid innings. 
He was also widely acknowledged to be a strong, positive influence in the clubhouse. 
However, Francoeur does turn 32 years old in January, and should not be considered a big piece of the future. 
He earned a return in the same role, at least for 2016: backup outfielder who will not embarrass himself or the team if needed as the regular right fielder at any point.
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Odubel Herrera – B: there is nothing to say about the fact that a Rule 5 draftee who had never played center field in his career became your starting center fielder than “amazing”, and that was Herrera for the 2015 Phillies. 
Easily the season’s most pleasant surprise, the rookie Herrera was voted the club’s top offensive player by the staff here at TBOH, and was also selected by the Phillies as the team Hank Aaron Award nominee. 
He will turn 24 years old at the end of December, and thus is young enough that, if he continues to develop, he can become a key piece to the rebuilding program. 
The player known affectionately as “El Torito” (the little bull) hit for a .297/.344/.418 slash line, producing eight homers, 30 doubles, 41 RBI, 64 runs scored, and 16 steals across 537 plate appearances. 
While he won’t win the award, Herrera should receive some votes in the upcoming NL Rookie of the Year voting. 
Frankly, I’m not sure of what the Phillies have here. Is he their future in center field? Maybe back at his more natural position of 2nd base? 
Will he be a regular, a bench player, or a flash-in-the-pan who fades into a footnote in Phillies history? I honestly believe that all of those remain possibilities at this point.
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OTHERS: Brian Bogusevic played 16 games in the Phillies outfield this season, receiving 13 starts in right field and one in left. 
Darin Ruf played 22 games, including 19 starts, in left field. We covered Ruf in our infield grades, where he started 43 and appeared in 66 at 1st base. 
Darnell Sweeney played 14 games in the outfield, starting 11 times in left. He also started eight games at 2nd base. 
Jordan Danks appeared in one early August game. None of these players received enough time to be able to give any a fair grade. Bogusevic was released from the 40-man roster along with Brown yesterday. However, it is believed that the club is interested in bringing him back, at least with AAA Lehigh Valley.
Towards the end of the season, manager Pete Mackanin was forced to bench Herrera due to an episode of pouting in which he also displayed a lack of hustle in a game against the Atlanta Braves. As reported by ESPN, Mackanin called Herrera out publicly after the outburst.
Boys play Little League and men play Major League Baseball. We will not pout, we will not feel sorry for ourselves. If you want to, then you don’t belong here. He had to learn a lesson. Lately he’s been showing his emotions a little bit more. We’re just not going to stand for it. He’s got to understand that it doesn’t work that way. I’m sure he’s going to understand.
No one wants or expects Herrera to play without emotion. He needs that aspect of his game, and it can bring energy to the entire team. 
However, he does need to grow and learn to harness those emotions, displaying them in a more positive way. 
If he can do so, his talent could allow him to become a player similar to what Shane Victorino became a decade ago.
The developement of the Phillies outfield, like the rest of the roster, will continue in 2016. You should expect to see Herrera featured prominently. 
If not, you can also expect to see a lot more of Altherr, Francoeur, and even Asche.

Cody Asche is Not a "Big Part" of Phillies Future

You’ve undoubtedly had plenty of time now over the last 36 hours to digest the news that the Phillies have decided to send former starting 3rd baseman Cody Asche down to AAA in order to have him develop further as a left fielder.
The move is clearly in anticipation of the expected promotion this coming weekend of one of the organization’s top prospects, 3rd baseman Maikel Franco
It is the right decision. Franco is not only a clearly more potent offensive weapon, but he is also clearly a better defender as a 3rd baseman.
But what about the future for Asche?

Cody’s a big part of the future going forward, a big piece.” ~ Sandberg

After delivering the news to the player following Monday night’s loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates, manager Ryne Sandberg addressed the media, stating the following: “A difficult conversation, but also Cody’s a big part of the future going forward, a big piece. He’s one of the guys. It’s best for the player and the organization.”
On Tuesday morning, GM Ruben Amaro stated to local Philly sports radio station WIP: “In my heart of hearts, I believe that Cody is going to be part of the core players we’re going to try to move this organization forward with.”
If they really mean that, then either they, or President Pat Gillick, or some combination, or all three are either delusional, incompetent, or trying to sell us a fraudulent bill of goods.
It’s possible they may be playing verbal semantics here. Perhaps the skipper and GM really believe that Asche will become a valuable, multi-positional bench player, and that in such role he will be a “big part”, a “core” piece. 
But when you’re building from the bottom of baseball, as the Phillies are, and at least a couple of years away from winning again, I don’t consider future bench players as a “big part” of anything.
Whether it were at the hot corner or in left, Cody Asche is never going to be a “big part” of the Phillies “core” future, as I would define that. He may have a part to play as the team improves (hopefully) in the coming years. 
But that will be as nothing more than a bit player, a small part. Based on pure talent and his track record of performance, that is all anyone should expect.
Just last month, when Asche was off to a hot start, our own Ethan Witte speculated over at TBOH as to whether that’s all we were witnessing, a fast start, or whether it was the beginning of a true breakout campaign for the 4th round 2011 draftee. 
Ethan stated that “his early season success is unsustainable“, but believed that he could find a steady role if he were able to make adjustments at the plate.
Asche will turn 25 years old at the end of June. He now has accumulated 726 big league plate appearances, a bit more than one full season’s worth, in parts of three actual seasons played. He has 17 homers and 72 rbi, with a .247/.303/.383 slash line.
In his minor league career, Asche accumulated a .292/.351/.450 slash line in nearly 1,300 plate appearances across parts of five seasons, with 32 homeruns and 23 stolen bases.
What all that makes Asche is a potentially competent backup major leaguer. If the Phillies can get him to become even a passable left fielder, and can somehow work him in a little at 3rd, and maybe even at 1st base, during this minor league stint and as he develops further over the next year or so, they may have a nice, valuable utility backup.
For his part, after getting over the initial shock of the demotion, Asche has his head screwed on straight and is taking the right attitude. Prior to his debut at Lehigh Valley last night, he was quoted by Matt Lombardo at NJ.com:
I had a hint that a change may be coming. I didn’t know how the change was going to happen or how I was going to make the switch. I didn’t see it happening here, but you have to trust that they know what’s best for me. That’s really all I’m doing. I’m just trusting in them. I’ve done it through my entire career. Just trusting in the decisions they make. They’ve been good to me so far. So, there’s no reason for concern now.”
Cody Asche is a good guy, and a nice little player. But to count on him as any kind of key player, or to sell fans on his being a “big part of the future” here in Philly is an overstatement at best, and an affront at worst. 
I hope he takes to the outfield, and can come back at some point as a valuable substitute moving forward. But let’s never kid ourselves on what this player will become.

Angel Ibo Castillo Interview

Angel Ibo Castillo is probably not be a name familiar to all fans of the Philadelphia Phillies.
But to the approximately 200,000-strong Hispanic population in and around the city, his is a very familiar name and voice.
In the 2006-07 seasons and again since the 2012 season, Castillo has been a member of the Phillies Spanish language broadcasting team.
The Phillies broadcast their regular season and any postseason games in Spanish on radio at AM stations 1020 (Atlantic City), 1400 (Easton), 1600 (Allentown), 1680 (Lindenwold NJ/Philadelphia market) as well as 101.3 FM out of Atlantic City.
Angel is also a frequent user of social media, commenting on the team and the players (mostly in Spanish) via his Twitter feed @Angelibo0507. Give him a follow there to get his commentary all throughout spring training and the upcoming 2015 season.
I was fortunate to be able to get him to discuss his background, his work with the Phillies in particular, and some of his favorite memories with the team, as well as his opinion on the upcoming season.
Angel was concerned about his use of English, but he was excellent. The man is very gracious, and obviously a big fan of the team, which will come out in this interview. Hope you enjoy.

THE ANGEL IBO CASTILLO INTERVIEW

MV: Can you tell us a little about yourself, Angel?
AIC: I am 37 years old, born in the Dominican Republic. Married, and we have two kids, both boys, 7 and 3 years old.
MV: What is your history, background, and education in broadcasting? What attracted you to this field of work?
AIC: I went to university in the Dominican Republic, Universidad Autonoma de Santo Domingo. I studied Social Communication and Journalism.
MV: When and how did the Phillies job come to you?
AIC: I moved to the USA back in 2002, to Philadelphia, and started writing for the “Impacto Latino” newspaper. In 2005, I started covering the Phillies games for the newspaper. That led to me joining the Phillies broadcasting in 2006.

I feel God showed me that if I can’t be a baseball player, I can still be around this beautiful game.” ~ Angel Ibo Castillo

AIC: I had my own sports radio show for two years in 2006 and 2007 called “Deportes de Aqui y de Alla” that aired from Monday-Friday from 12:00-1:30pm on WTTM 1680AM, the same station that now does the Phillies Spanish broadcasts. Then in 2008, I moved to DC to work for the Nationals with their Spanish broadcasting. I did that from 2008-11, but then came back to the Phillies in 2012.
MV: I have not listened often to the Phillies broadcast in Spanish. I know that the team used to be yourself, Rickie Ricardo, and Bill Kulik. Who makes up the team now? Can you talk a bit about those guys, and your current fellow broadcasters?
AIC: From last season, it’s just Bill Kulik and I. Ricky is now working for the New York Yankees. Bill is more than my boss and fellow broadcaster. He is like a father for me. Ricky was a very good partner, and still is a close friend.
MV: Do you call all of the home and away games? How about spring training and any playoff games?
AIC: We call the 162 regular season games plus any playoffs.
MV: Did you play the game at all?
AIC: I played baseball, but obviously wasn’t good! But I tried to be close to the game, and God put me in a good situation. I mean, I feel God showed me that if I can’t be a baseball player, I can still be around this beautiful game.
MV: What are a couple of your favorite calls and memories of the team?
AIC: The last out of the final game of the 2007 regular season was a favorite of mine. I remember that Sunday back in 2007. Phillies-Mets tied at top of the division. When the Phillies game started, the Mets were losing 7-0 in New York. I mean, that was one of the most exciting days in Phillies baseball. Remember, we were 7 games behind with 17 left to play.
MV: Did you get to work the 2008 World Series, or follow that team?

Utley..plays the game hard. I mean, I like the way he runs out all the ground balls. Utley never gives up.” ~ Angel Ibo Castillo

AIC: I didn’t work the 2008 World Series because I was working for the Nationals. But I was in the ballpark in every postseason game.
MV: Did you ever get to work with Harry Kalas?
AIC: I spent time with Harry, have a couple of pics with him. But never actually got to work with him.
MV: Who are your favorite players on the current team?
AIC: Chase Utley. He plays the game hard. I mean, I like the way he runs out all the ground balls. Utley never gives up. Injuries might be the only thing to stop him making the Hall of Fame.
MV: Any predictions on the 2015 Phillies team?
AID: Predictions? Well, everybody knows we are in a rebuilding process. What I want to see this season is more from young players. Find out if Maikel Franco is ready for MLB. If Cody Asche can become a good outfielder. I mean, they should just give the young players more time.
MV: Angel, thank you so very much. Very gracious of you. Gracias for doing this in my only language. You did great with the English.

AID: Thank you for taking the time to do this article. Appreciate it. I hope to meet you this baseball season. Let me know when you come to the ballpark. 

Phillies Christmas Stockings: Gifts or Coal?

Phillies Christmas stockings: coal or gifts?
It’s Christmas morning, and all across the Delaware Valley folks are waking to find presents under the Christmas tree and stockings stuffed with gifts. But what about the Phillies? For their 2014 performance, what did we leave in their TBOH Phillies Christmas stockings: gifts or coal?
For the good boys, the good performers who busted it hard all year and held up their end in trying to bring a winner to the fans, there will be gifts. For the bad boys, the poor performers whose play constantly let us down and led most directly to the losing season, there will be only coal. Here’s what every player who appeared in 2014 received:
BAD BOYS – COAL IN THEIR TBOH STOCKINGS 
Domonic Brown: the worst player on the roster in 2014, especially given his playing time. Also, easily the biggest disappointment, coming off what was hoped to have been a breakout 2013 All-Star campaign. His season was a disaster: a .235 batting average, .285 on-base percentage in 512 plate appearances. Hit just 10 homers, scored just 43 runs, and was the worst player on the roster in WAR.
Ryan Howard: a real shame to watch his deterioration. This man was a true force for a long time, 7 dominating seasons from 2005-2011. He needs to be remembered by fans for the peak performance over the long haul. But he is a shadow of his former self now. In 2014 only Brown was a worse WAR player among the regulars. He hit just .223 with a .310 on-base percentage. He was 2nd on the club with 23 homers, and was 4th in the NL with 95 rbi. But in 648 plate appearances, even these are disappointing figures.
Cody Asche: the 25-year old 3rd baseman played his first full season in 2014. He generally fielded his position well, but he basically brought nothing to the batting order of any consequence. Hit just .252 with a .309 on-base percentage. In 434 plate appearances he produced just 10 homers, 46 rbi, 43 runs scored, and stole 0 bases. He only even attempted one steal. That’s zero bases stolen for a 25-year old man. I know that’s not his game, but even 35-year old catcher Carlos Ruiz stole 4 bags.
Mario Hollands: the 25-year old rookie lefty reliever appeared in 50 games. Though he allowed fewer hits (45) than innings (47), he also walked 21, resulting in a 1.404 WHIP and the worst pitching WAR among those given any significant time on the mound.
Kyle Kendrick: I’ve never been one to beat up on KK, as many other Phillies fans have over the years. He is what he is, a #4 starter at best, a #5 on a contender. But in 2014 he was given significant innings, and he lived down to his potential. In 199 innings pitched over 32 starts, 3rd and 2nd most on the staff in those categories, he had a 4.61 ERA. Kendrick allowed 214 hits, and struck out just 121 batters.
It's coal in the stocking for AJ, gifts for Chooch (Photo Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports)
A.J. Burnett: brought in to be a veteran innings-eating #3 behind Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee, he had to step into the #2 role with Lee’s injury, and he just wasn’t up to it most games. He did eat innings, leading the staff with 213.2, and he struck out 190 batters. But his ERA was 4.59 and he walked 96, resulting in a 1.409 WHIP.
Management: manager Ryne Sandbergwas dealt a bad hand of mismatched, injured, and aging players. But he didn’t do much to bring it together either. If these were grades, I’d give him an incomplete. He needs a more clean slate. But for now, can’t “gift” him. Pat Gillick and Ruben Amaro Jr? Please. There isn’t enough of a coal supply available to appropriately fill those stockings.
More coal: John Mayberry Jr, Tony Gwynn Jr, Darin Ruf, Cesar Hernandez, Reid Brignac, Freddy Galvis, Jayson Nix, Maikel Franco, Ronny Cedeno, Aaron Altherr, Koyie Hill, Cameron Rupp, Grady Sizemore, Cesar Jimenez, Wil Nieves, Andres Blanco, B.J. Rosenberg, Phillippe Aumont, Luis Garcia, Sean O’Sullivan, Jonathan Pettibone, Ethan Martin, Brad Lincoln, Shawn Camp, Miguel A. Gonzalez, Jeff Manship, Hector Neris, Mike Adams
GOOD BOYS – GIFTS IN THEIR TBOH STOCKINGS
Cole Hamels: just 9 wins for the 30-year old lefty, but hardly his fault. He made 30 starts, allowing just 176 hits in 204.2 IP, striking out 198 and allowing just 59 walks. It added up to a 2.46 ERA and a 1.148 WHIP, and a pitching WAR value that was more than twice any other arm on the staff.
Jonathan Papelbon: the closer was outstanding with 39 Saves, a 2.04 ERA, a 0.905 WHIP, and a 63/15 K/BB rate over 66.1 innings. Some negative commentary and off-color antics aside, he has done everything asked of him in the closer role since being signed as a free agent.
Cliff Lee: I’m not holding the injury against him, hardly his fault. When on the mound, he was mostly himself. In 81.1 innings over 13 starts, the 35-year old lefty had a 72/12 K/BB ratio. He was hit more than usual, but the excellent control kept his ERA down to a 3.65 mid-level result.
Jerome Williams, Roberto Hernandez & David Buchanan: it’s all about expectation and production for these three. I didn’t expect anything, and I got something, although modest. Both Hernandez & Buchanan received 20 starts, kept their ERA’s below the 4.00 mark, and allowed about a hit per inning. Buchanan had a tidy 71/32 K/BB ratio for a 25-year old rookie, which was especially nice. Hernandez, a free agent who would have left after the season, ultimately yielded a 19-year old pitcher and 20-year old infielder in trade. Not a bad result all around. The 32-year old Williams was a very nice find, with a 4-2 record in 9 starts. He had a 38/17 K/BB ratio, and allowed just 48 hits in 57.1 innings. It all added up to a 2.83 ERA and 1.134 WHIP.
Chase Utley: the 35-year old 2nd baseman returned to the All-Star Game as the NL’s starter at 2nd, and led the team in WAR. A .278 average and 78 rbi were more than anyone expected from a player who appeared physically shot just a year ago at this time. His defense was also strong, as he was 2nd on the club in defensive WAR. A very nice bounce-back season for the fan favorite.
Jimmy Rollins: the 35-year old shortstop said goodbye at the top of the franchise all-time Hits list, and went out much as his longtime doubleplay partner produced. He was 2nd on the club in offensive WAR to Utley, producing a 17 homer, 68 rbi, 78 runs, 28 steal year. Then he yielded a pair of Top 5 club pitching prospects in trade. Goodbye Jimmy, we love ya. 
Carlos Ruiz: at 35-years old, Chooch has caught over 900 games, and he’s starting to show the wear and tear, at least in his offensive game where he hit just .252 with 6 homers in 445 plate appearances. But the respected team leader and fan favorite remains elite in the defensive game, leading the club in defensive WAR. He retains strong catch and throw skills, and his handling of the pitching staff is outstanding.
Ben Revere: the 26-year old centerfielder hit .306 and contended for the NL Batting crown for much of the late season. He also stole 49 bases and hit 7 triples. He clearly uses his speed well. But he has no pop whatsoever, hitting just 2 homers and 13 doubles in 626 plate appearances. His defensive game was disappointing, and will have to improve for him to retain value going forward.
Marlon Byrd: the 36-year old rightfielder led the club with 25 homers and was 2nd with 85 rbi. But his defense was below par, and his offensive production seriously declined post-All Star break as he had just 7 homers and 31 rbi in 247 plate appearances after mid-July. He is borderline “gift” over “coal”, and hopefully yields something of value in trade this off-season that makes us happier to have him on this side of the ledger.
The Bullpen: Antonio Bastardo (28), Jake Diekman (27), Justin DeFratus (26) and most especially Ken Giles (23) had teamed with Papelbon to make this one area of true strength for the team by season’s end. They combined for 233.1 innings in which they allowed just 179 hits. They struck out 294 batters while walking just 92.

What is the Best-Case Scenario for Phils 2015 Outfield?

Ruf, Revere, Brown: upside on projected Phils 2015 outfield?
What if the Phillies outfield actually came through in 2015? What if that projected outfield of Darin Ruf, Ben Revere, and Domonic Brown all reached their full potential at once? What is the best-case scenario for the Phillies outfield?
The professional oddsmakers in Las Vegas have made the Phillies the longest of longshots to actually win the 2015 World Series. At 250-1, the Phils are tied with the Minnesota Twins for that dubious honor.
Is there any chance at all of them beating those odds? And if not, is there any chance of the team at least outperforming the low expectations?
Let’s forget the longest of long shots, a World Series win, and concentrate on simply reaching .500 again, maybe even having an unexpected winning season. One of the keys to making that happen would certainly be increased offensive production from the outfielders.
A lot can happen between now and the start of the 2015 season, including the club deciding to use Cody Asche in left field, moving Ruf in to 1st base, and playing Maikel Franco at 3rd base.
But for now at least, the plan is for Asche to stay at 3rd base. If Franco makes the club out of spring training it is likely to be at 1st base, either in place of Ryan Howard or in a right-left platoon at the beginning. 
In that most likely scenario, it would be Darin Ruf in leftfield, Ben Revere in centerfield, and Domonic Brown in rightfield. The expectations for such an outfield are one thing, completely based on their performances to this point in their careers. But all have been considered to have greater potential. What if they all reach that potential together at one time this season?
Darin Ruf is 28 years old now, and will play the bulk of the 2015 season at that age. He spent years progressing methodically through the Phillies minor league system after being selected in the 20th Round of the 2009 MLB Draft. At Reading in 2012, Ruf had his best season, clubbing 38 homers, driving in 104 runs, and hitting for a .317 average.
Ruf has spent parts of the last 3 seasons with the Phils. Derailed by an assortment of injuries, Ruf has managed just 442 MLB plate appearances in that time, close to one full season worth. He has 20 homers, 48 rbi, and has hit .251 in the big leagues.
Darin Ruf certainly has power, and if he could just stay healthy and remain in the lineup for a 500+ plate appearance season, a year of 25+ homers and 80+ rbi is certainly plausible. The entire key for Ruf is remaining healthy.
Ben Revere is 26 years old, and will turn 27 at the beginning of May. He was the Minnesota Twins 1st Round pick in the 2007 MLB Draft out of high school, and then spent a half-dozen years progressing steadily through their minor league system. The Phils obtained him in a December 2012 trade for pitchers Vance Worley and Trevor May.
Revere got a cup of big league coffee with the Twins in 2010. He then became their starting centerfielder in both 2011 and 2012 before the trade, and the Phillies centerfielder following in 2013 and 2014. In just over 4 seasons, Revere has more than 2,000 MLB plate appearances, hitting for a .291 average and stealing 145 bases.
A full season out of Ben Revere in his prime, reaching his full potential, would look something like a .300 batting average with 50 steals and 80-90 runs scored. If he had consistently productive rbi bats behind him, he could go over the 100-runs mark.
Domonic Brown is 27 years old, and will play almost the entirety of 2015 at that age, so it should be considered that he is just now entering his prime. The Phils 20th Round pick in the 2006 MLB Draft out of high school, Brown has received more than 2,000 minor league plate appearances in advancing methodically through the system.
Domonic Brown
From 2010-14, Brown spent at least parts of the season in Philadelphia, including the bulk of the last 3 seasons. He appeared to have a breakout in 2013 when he was named to the NL All-Star team. He hit 27 homers, knocked in 82 runs, and hit for a .272 average.
But in 2014, Brown seriously regressed. In virtually the same number of plate appearances, he hit just 10 homers, drove in just 63 runs, and hit for just a .235 average. In the field he often looked lost, with numerous misplays. He quite simply looked like he did not belong in the big leagues.
Brown was hyped by many national sources as a top prospect for a handful of years prior to his big 2013 campaign. So which is he, the breakout 2013 player, or the bust 2014 player? Suppose it’s more the former, and in his prime Brown puts it all together to the tune of 25-30 homers and 90-100 rbi with a .270+ batting average?
How would it affect an overall Phillies 2015 finish if Ruf hit .285 with 25 homers and 80 rbi, Revere hit .300 with 50 steals and 100 runs, and Brown hit .275 with 30 homers and 100 rbi?
Of course, there is probably a better chance that we won’t see anything close to those marks, at least from the corner outfielders. But with little more to dream on with the 2015 Phillies than the next trade of Glory Era veterans for prospects, feel free to dream.