The Phillies Are Average… Let’s Just Deal With It

If you’re like me, you’re a pretty average guy.

I’m not the greatest looking guy in the world, but I’m good looking enough to convince a woman to marry me and bear my children. I’m not the most talented guy in the world, but I’m good enough to hold down a steady job and provide income for the family. I’m not the funniest guy in the world, but I’m humorous enough that people will occasionally laugh at the random pun or off-color limerick. And I’m not the best athlete in the world, but I am pretty darn good at flag football and H-O-R-S-E.

My hair cut/style leaves something to be desired, but at least I have my hair. I’m smart, but won’t be attending any Mensa meetings anytime soon.

By all accounts, I’m average. Maybe slightly above average, if I’m grading on a curve.

And, so are the 2012 Philadelphia Phillies.

However, because of the second wild card being added to the NL and AL playoff structure, many average teams are suddenly finding themselves contending for a pageant they have no right attending.

Before this year, teams like the Phillies, Brewers, Pirates and Diamondbacks, all teams at or around .500, wouldn’t even be dreaming of making the playoffs at this stage of the season.

But here they are, sniffing the postseason.

At 74-74, the Phils are .500. That is average.

And if you look at the Phillies roster, you can’t help but be confronted by the sheer average-ness of this team.

There is no left fielder or center fielder. Laynce Nix, Ty Wigginton, Juan Pierre and John Mayberry Jr. are all trying to hold down the fort now that Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino are gone. None are long-term solutions.

There is no third baseman. Kevin Frandsen has done a nice job at the plate, but provides no power and less defense. He’s Dave Hollins without the home runs and sunny personality. And Michael Martinez should not be on a Major League roster.

The right fielder is a young player who still needs a lot of polishing. Although there are signs Domonic Brown is starting to come around, that’s also a tune we’ve been singing for parts of three years now with him.

And the bullpen is stocked with talented young arms most of whom have very little Major League experience. That inexperience was evident in Houston this weekend and right now constitutes a weakness.

The best starting pitcher on the roster, Roy Halladay, hasn’t been right since spring training and spent much of the season on the DL. Since his return, his velocity is still down and his cutter and fastball lack bite and command. He is a shell of himself, and it’s reasonable to worry that, at age 35, he’ll never be the same pitcher again.

Oh, and the first baseman is still recovering from a torn Achilles tendon that has rendered him virtually useless at the plate, save for the occasional single with a runner on third. Against lefties, he’s an out machine.

What the Phillies have going for them are two starting pitchers still at the top of their games in Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels. Vance Worley, before elbow chips started affecting his pitching, was having a good season as a #4 starter. Kyle Kendrick is in the midst of a pretty good run as a starter, however, it’s fair to wonder how long that’s going to last.

And hey, Joe Blanton isn’t here anymore, so that’s a good thing.

But this is a team with problems. There are major holes that need to be filled, too many to really believe this is a legitimate playoff team.

And, in any other year, they wouldn’t be.

Ah, the magic of the second wild card and the greed of baseball.

Look, I agree that something needed to be done to penalize the winner of the wild card. There should be an incentive to win your division and I applaud Major League Baseball for trying to figure out a way to do it. I would have forced the wild card team to play all playoff games on the road as a solution to the problem.

But adding another playoff team only means a more mediocre squad makes it into the postseason. And that’s not good for anyone.

Suppose the Brewers sneak in and snag the second wild card. They then play the Braves in a one-game playoff to see who faces the best team in the NL.

The Braves are 85-64, 21 games over .500. The Brewers are 75-72, three games over .500.

Does it really seem fair that the Braves could see their entire season go up in smoke in just one game after outperforming another team so thoroughly through 162 games?

Returning to the Phillies, perhaps it would be informative to look at a few other Phils squads in recent years that also finished around .500. I can bet no one ever considered them playoff worthy.

First, the Travis Lee-led 2002 Phils that went 80-81.

Rk Pos Age G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1 C Mike Lieberthal 30 130 530 476 46 133 29 2 15 52 0 1 38 58 .279 .349 .443 .792
2 1B Travis Lee* 27 153 592 536 55 142 26 2 13 70 5 3 54 104 .265 .331 .394 .725
3 2B Marlon Anderson* 28 145 592 539 64 139 30 6 8 48 5 1 42 71 .258 .315 .380 .696
4 SS Jimmy Rollins# 23 154 705 637 82 156 33 10 11 60 31 13 54 103 .245 .306 .380 .686
5 3B Scott Rolen 27 100 438 375 52 97 21 4 17 66 5 2 52 68 .259 .358 .472 .830
6 LF Pat Burrell 25 157 684 586 96 165 39 2 37 116 1 0 89 153 .282 .376 .544 .920
7 CF Doug Glanville 31 138 460 422 49 105 16 3 6 29 19 2 25 57 .249 .292 .344 .636
8 RF Bobby Abreu* 28 157 685 572 102 176 50 6 20 85 31 12 104 117 .308 .413 .521 .934
Rk Pos Age G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
9 CF Ricky Ledee* 28 96 241 203 33 46 13 1 8 23 1 2 35 50 .227 .342 .419 .760
10 2B Tomas Perez# 28 92 237 212 22 53 13 1 5 20 1 0 21 40 .250 .319 .392 .711
11 3B Placido Polanco 26 53 228 206 28 61 13 1 4 22 2 2 14 14 .296 .353 .427 .780
12 UT Jeremy Giambi* 27 82 211 156 32 38 10 0 12 28 0 1 52 54 .244 .435 .538 .974
13 C Todd Pratt 35 39 136 106 14 33 11 0 3 16 2 0 24 28 .311 .449 .500 .949
14 UT Jason Michaels 26 81 121 105 16 28 10 3 2 11 1 1 13 33 .267 .347 .476 .823
15 OF Marlon Byrd 24 10 36 35 2 8 2 0 1 1 0 2 1 8 .229 .250 .371 .621
16 UT John Mabry* 31 21 23 21 1 6 0 0 0 3 0 0 1 5 .286 .304 .286 .590
17 C Johnny Estrada# 26 10 19 17 0 2 1 0 0 2 0 0 2 2 .118 .211 .176 .387
18 1B Dave Hollins# 36 14 18 17 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 3 .118 .167 .118 .284
19 UT Eric Valent* 25 7 10 10 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 .200 .200 .200 .400
20 MI Nick Punto# 24 9 7 6 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 .167 .167 .167 .333
Team Totals 27.2 161 6323 5523 710 1428 325 41 165 676 104 43 640 1095 .259 .339 .422 .761
Rank in 16 NL teams 2 8 9 1 1 6 4 9 2 8 10 3 5 4
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/19/2012.
Rk Pos Age W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1 SP Randy Wolf* 25 11 9 3.20 31 31 3 2 0 210.2 172 77 75 23 63 172 1.116
2 SP Vicente Padilla 24 14 11 3.28 32 32 1 1 0 206.0 198 83 75 16 53 128 1.218
3 SP Brandon Duckworth 26 8 9 5.41 30 29 0 0 0 163.0 167 103 98 26 69 167 1.448
4 SP Robert Person 32 4 5 5.44 16 16 0 0 0 87.2 79 58 53 13 51 61 1.483
5 SP Brett Myers 21 4 5 4.25 12 12 1 0 0 72.0 73 38 34 11 29 34 1.417
6 SP Joe Roa 30 4 4 4.04 14 11 0 0 0 71.1 78 33 32 11 13 35 1.276
Rk Pos Age W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
7 CL Jose Mesa 36 4 6 2.97 74 0 0 0 45 75.2 65 26 25 5 39 64 1.374
8 RP Terry Adams 29 7 9 4.35 46 19 0 0 0 136.2 132 76 66 9 58 96 1.390
9 RP Carlos Silva 23 5 0 3.21 68 0 0 0 1 84.0 88 34 30 4 22 41 1.310
10 RP Rheal Cormier* 35 5 6 5.25 54 0 0 0 0 60.0 61 38 35 6 32 49 1.550
11 RP Jose Santiago 27 1 3 6.70 42 0 0 0 0 47.0 56 35 35 7 15 30 1.511
Rk Pos Age W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
12 Dave Coggin 25 2 5 4.68 38 7 0 0 0 77.0 65 42 40 4 51 64 1.506
13 Hector Mercado* 28 2 2 4.62 31 3 0 0 0 39.0 32 21 20 2 25 40 1.462
14 Mike Timlin 36 3 3 3.79 30 0 0 0 0 35.2 27 16 15 6 7 15 0.953
15 Ricky Bottalico 32 0 3 4.61 30 0 0 0 0 27.1 33 16 14 3 13 24 1.683
16 Dan Plesac* 40 2 1 4.70 41 0 0 0 1 23.0 16 12 12 5 12 27 1.217
17 Cliff Politte 28 2 0 3.86 13 0 0 0 0 16.1 19 10 7 0 9 15 1.714
18 Eric Junge 25 2 0 1.42 4 1 0 0 0 12.2 14 3 2 0 5 11 1.500
19 Doug Nickle 27 0 0 6.23 4 0 0 0 0 4.1 6 3 3 2 4 2 2.308
20 Tomas Perez 28 0 0 0.00 1 0 0 0 0 0.1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.000
Team Totals 27.5 80 81 4.17 161 161 5 3 47 1449.2 1381 724 671 153 570 1075 1.346
Rank in 16 NL teams 8 9 9 8 9 3 6 7 9 10 6 10 9
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/19/2012.

While that team had some promise, anytime Brandon Duckworth is your #3 starter and Robert Person is your #4, a playoff contender you ain’t.

How about that Lance Parrish/Shane Rawley juggernaut in 1987 that went 80-82?

If Lance Parrish doesn't scream mediocrity, I don't know what does.

Rk Pos Age G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1 C Lance Parrish 31 130 518 466 42 114 21 0 17 67 0 1 47 104 .245 .313 .399 .712
2 1B Von Hayes* 28 158 681 556 84 154 36 5 21 84 16 7 121 77 .277 .404 .473 .877
3 2B Juan Samuel 26 160 726 655 113 178 37 15 28 100 35 15 60 162 .272 .335 .502 .837
4 SS Steve Jeltz# 28 114 337 293 37 68 9 6 0 12 1 2 39 54 .232 .324 .304 .628
5 3B Mike Schmidt 37 147 613 522 88 153 28 0 35 113 2 1 83 80 .293 .388 .548 .936
6 LF Chris James 24 115 391 358 48 105 20 6 17 54 3 1 27 67 .293 .344 .525 .869
7 CF Milt Thompson* 28 150 575 527 86 159 26 9 7 43 46 10 42 87 .302 .351 .425 .776
8 RF Glenn Wilson 28 154 614 569 55 150 21 2 14 54 3 6 38 82 .264 .308 .381 .689
Rk Pos Age G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
9 SS Luis Aguayo 28 94 234 209 25 43 9 1 12 21 0 0 15 56 .206 .273 .431 .703
10 CI Rick Schu 25 92 219 196 24 46 6 3 7 23 0 2 20 36 .235 .311 .403 .714
11 LF Greg Gross* 34 114 163 133 14 38 4 1 1 12 0 0 25 12 .286 .395 .353 .748
12 C Darren Daulton* 25 53 150 129 10 25 6 0 3 13 0 0 16 37 .194 .281 .310 .591
13 LF Jeff Stone* 26 66 136 125 19 32 7 1 1 16 3 1 8 38 .256 .316 .352 .668
14 LF Mike Easler* 36 33 117 110 7 31 4 0 1 10 0 1 6 20 .282 .316 .345 .662
15 OF Ron Roenicke# 30 63 92 78 9 13 3 1 1 4 1 0 14 15 .167 .293 .269 .563
16 OF Keith Hughes* 23 37 84 76 8 20 2 0 0 10 0 0 7 11 .263 .333 .289 .623
17 UT John Russell 26 24 65 62 5 9 1 0 3 8 0 1 3 17 .145 .185 .306 .491
18 SS Ken Dowell 26 15 42 39 4 5 0 0 0 1 0 0 2 5 .128 .171 .128 .299
19 SS Ken Jackson 23 8 18 16 1 4 2 0 0 2 0 0 1 4 .250 .333 .375 .708
20 UT Greg Jelks 25 10 14 11 2 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 3 4 .091 .286 .182 .468
21 IF Greg Legg 27 3 2 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000
Team Totals 28.6 162 6190 5475 702 1390 248 51 169 662 111 49 587 1109 .254 .327 .410 .737
Rank in 12 NL teams 10 9 10 8 1 5 11 8 4 1 10 8 5 6
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/19/2012.
Rk Pos Age W L ERA G GS SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB IBB SO WHIP
1 SP Shane Rawley* 31 17 11 4.39 36 36 1 0 229.2 250 118 112 23 86 8 123 1.463
2 SP Don Carman* 27 13 11 4.22 35 35 2 0 211.0 194 110 99 34 69 7 125 1.246
3 SP Bruce Ruffin* 23 11 14 4.35 35 35 1 0 204.2 236 118 99 17 73 4 93 1.510
4 SP Kevin Gross 26 9 16 4.35 34 33 1 0 200.2 205 107 97 26 87 7 110 1.455
Rk Pos Age W L ERA G GS SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB IBB SO WHIP
5 CL Steve Bedrosian 29 5 3 2.83 65 0 0 40 89.0 79 31 28 11 28 5 74 1.202
6 RP Michael Jackson 22 3 10 4.20 55 7 0 1 109.1 88 55 51 16 56 6 93 1.317
7 RP Kent Tekulve 40 6 4 3.09 90 0 0 3 105.0 96 38 36 8 29 13 60 1.190
8 RP Wally Ritchie* 21 3 2 3.75 49 0 0 3 62.1 60 27 26 8 29 11 45 1.428
9 RP Jeff Calhoun* 29 3 1 1.48 42 0 0 1 42.2 25 13 7 1 26 8 31 1.195
Rk Pos Age W L ERA G GS SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB IBB SO WHIP
10 Tom Hume 34 1 4 5.60 38 6 0 0 70.2 75 48 44 10 41 5 29 1.642
11 Dan Schatzeder* 32 3 1 4.06 26 0 0 0 37.2 40 21 17 4 14 7 28 1.434
12 Freddie Toliver 26 1 1 5.64 10 4 0 0 30.1 34 19 19 2 17 3 25 1.681
13 Mike Maddux 25 2 0 2.65 7 2 0 0 17.0 17 5 5 0 5 0 15 1.294
14 Doug Bair 37 2 0 5.93 11 0 0 0 13.2 17 9 9 4 5 0 10 1.610
15 Joe Cowley 28 0 4 15.43 5 4 0 0 11.2 21 26 20 2 17 1 5 3.257
16 Todd Frohwirth 24 1 0 0.00 10 0 0 0 11.0 12 0 0 0 2 0 9 1.273
17 Glenn Wilson 28 0 0 0.00 1 0 0 0 1.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.000
18 Tom Newell 24 0 0 36.00 2 0 0 0 1.0 4 4 4 1 3 1 1 7.000
Team Totals 27.9 80 82 4.18 162 162 5 48 1448.1 1453 749 673 167 587 86 877 1.409
Rank in 12 NL teams 6 6 7 7 3 7 8 8 7 10 9 10
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/19/2012.

Don Carman, your #2. Awesome.

And of course there was the 1984 Phils team, fresh off the stink of their ’83 World Series appearance that went 81-81.

Rk Pos Age G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1 C Ozzie Virgil 27 141 512 456 61 119 21 2 18 68 1 1 45 91 .261 .331 .434 .765
2 1B Len Matuszek* 29 101 309 262 40 65 17 1 12 43 4 3 39 54 .248 .350 .458 .808
3 2B Juan Samuel 23 160 737 701 105 191 36 19 15 69 72 15 28 168 .272 .307 .442 .749
4 SS Ivan de Jesus 31 144 484 435 40 112 15 3 0 35 12 5 43 76 .257 .325 .306 .631
5 3B Mike Schmidt 34 151 632 528 93 146 23 3 36 106 5 7 92 116 .277 .383 .536 .919
6 LF Glenn Wilson 25 132 363 341 28 82 21 3 6 31 7 1 17 56 .240 .276 .372 .649
7 CF Von Hayes* 25 152 622 561 85 164 27 6 16 67 48 13 59 84 .292 .359 .447 .806
8 RF Sixto Lezcano 30 109 294 256 36 71 6 2 14 40 0 1 38 43 .277 .371 .480 .851
Rk Pos Age G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
9 CF Garry Maddox 34 77 258 241 29 68 11 0 5 19 3 2 13 29 .282 .316 .390 .706
10 1B Tim Corcoran* 31 102 248 208 30 71 13 1 5 36 0 1 37 27 .341 .440 .486 .925
11 UT Greg Gross* 31 112 229 202 19 65 9 1 0 16 1 0 24 11 .322 .393 .376 .769
12 UT John Wockenfuss 35 86 211 180 20 52 3 1 6 24 1 0 30 24 .289 .390 .417 .807
13 LF Jeff Stone* 23 51 199 185 27 67 4 6 1 15 27 5 9 26 .362 .394 .465 .859
14 RF Joe Lefebvre* 28 52 187 160 22 40 9 0 3 18 0 2 23 37 .250 .348 .363 .710
15 OF John Russell 23 39 114 99 11 28 8 1 2 11 0 1 12 33 .283 .351 .444 .795
16 1B Al Oliver* 37 28 100 93 9 29 7 0 0 14 1 2 7 9 .312 .360 .387 .747
17 C Bo Diaz 31 27 83 75 5 16 4 0 1 9 0 0 5 13 .213 .256 .307 .563
18 IF Luis Aguayo 25 58 80 72 15 20 4 0 3 11 0 0 8 16 .278 .350 .458 .808
19 SS Steve Jeltz# 25 28 77 68 7 14 0 1 1 7 2 1 7 11 .206 .276 .279 .556
20 IF Kiko Garcia 30 57 64 60 6 14 2 0 0 5 0 0 4 11 .233 .281 .267 .548
21 3B Rick Schu 22 17 36 29 12 8 2 1 2 5 0 0 6 6 .276 .389 .621 1.010
22 1B Francisco Melendez* 20 21 24 23 0 3 0 0 0 2 0 0 1 5 .130 .167 .130 .297
23 C Mike LaValliere* 23 6 9 7 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 .000 .222 .000 .222
Team Totals 28.7 162 6284 5614 720 1494 248 51 147 673 186 60 555 1084 .266 .333 .407 .740
Rank in 12 NL teams 2 2 2 1 2 1 2 10 3 1 1 1 1 1
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/19/2012.
Rk Pos Age W L ERA G GS SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO
1 SP Steve Carlton* 39 13 7 3.58 33 33 0 0 229.0 214 104 91 14 79 163
2 SP Jerry Koosman* 41 14 15 3.25 36 34 1 0 224.0 232 95 81 8 60 137
3 SP Charles Hudson 25 9 11 4.04 30 30 1 0 173.2 181 101 78 12 52 94
4 SP John Denny 31 7 7 2.45 22 22 0 0 154.1 122 53 42 11 29 94
5 SP Shane Rawley* 28 10 6 3.81 18 18 0 0 120.1 117 55 51 13 27 58
6 SP Marty Bystrom 25 4 4 5.08 11 11 0 0 56.2 66 36 32 5 22 36
Rk Pos Age W L ERA G GS SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO
7 CL Al Holland* 31 5 10 3.39 68 0 0 29 98.1 82 38 37 14 30 61
8 RP Kevin Gross 23 8 5 4.12 44 14 0 1 129.0 140 66 59 8 44 84
9 RP Larry Andersen 31 3 7 2.38 64 0 0 4 90.2 85 32 24 5 25 54
10 RP Bill Campbell 35 6 5 3.43 57 0 0 1 81.1 68 43 31 2 35 52
11 RP Tug McGraw* 39 2 0 3.79 25 0 0 0 38.0 36 17 16 1 10 26
Rk Pos Age W L ERA G GS SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO
12 Renie Martin 28 0 2 4.60 9 0 0 0 15.2 17 12 8 2 12 5
13 Dave Wehrmeister 31 0 0 7.20 7 0 0 0 15.0 18 12 12 1 7 13
14 Jim Kern 35 0 1 10.13 8 0 0 0 13.1 20 16 15 3 10 8
15 Don Carman* 24 0 1 5.40 11 0 0 0 13.1 14 9 8 2 6 16
16 Steve Fireovid 27 0 0 1.59 6 0 0 0 5.2 4 1 1 0 0 3
Team Totals 32.2 81 81 3.62 162 162 2 35 1458.1 1416 690 586 101 448 904
Rank in 12 NL teams 5 8 9 11 8 6 8 10 9 5 2 6
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/19/2012.

The difference between these teams and the 2012 Phils is one thing. The second wild card.

The second wild card is breeding mediocrity and the Phillies, as well as three or four other average ballclubs, are reaping the rewards.

Still, it’s important to realize what the Phils truly are.

They are average. Nothing more, nothing less.

Still, that and a miracle might be enough to get them into the playoffs. And while that’s still a possibility, the Phils must do everything they can to try and make that happen until they are officially eliminated.

However, while there is hope that in 2013 they will become an above average team once again, here in 2012, they ain’t, even if they make the playoffs.

So, embrace the mediocrity. It’ll help make these last 15 games seem a little less disappointing when the inevitable happens.

Topics: Philadelphia Phillies

Want more from That Balls Outta Here?  
Subscribe to FanSided Daily for your morning fix. Enter your email and stay in the know.
  • ed kline

    You do your article a disservice by referring to the 02′ Phillies as the Travis Lee led, and the 87′ Phillies as the Lance Parrish… juggernaut. The 02′ Phillies had Pat Burrel, Scott Rolen, Bobby Abreu, Jimmy Rollins, and Mike Lieberthal, all of whom had a better year than Travis Lee, while the 87′ Phils had Mike Schmidt, ( who hit 35 home runs and drove in 113), Juan Samuel, Chris James, and Von Hayes, all of whom had a better year than Lance Parrish.
    By that logic I could call the 08′ championship team as being ‘ the Pedro Feliz-Adam Eaton juggernaut. It’s just nonsensical.

    • John Stolnis

      Thanks Ed. Because I had forgotten that all those players played for the 2002 Phillies. You don’t think for a second I was being sarcastic? Hm.