It’s been an interesting spring to say the least. Ryan Howard has emerged as a power-hitting slugger, risen like a phoenix, smoking dingers off left-handed pitchers, and even making it around the bases without crutches.
Domonic Brown has had the spring of a lifetime, leading the world in home runs and RBIs, cementing a spot in one of the corner outfield spots by being incredibly awesome. And Roy Halladay has made everyone pretty much throw up with anxiety and worry over his horrific spring so far.
It’s been weird, to say the least.
So, what to make of the upcoming 2013 season? What’s going to happen? Is Michael Young going to flat-out embarrass himself at third base? Is Delmon Young going to stay under 300 pounds and avoid flipping off another minority? Does Cliff Lee have another Cy Young caliber season left in him? How freaking good IS Cole Hamels? And just where the Phillies finish this year? Do they have one last push in their tired, old bodies?
With that, let’s look at my 10 CRAZY WILD WACKY PREDICTIONS FOR THE 2013 SEASON!!! AND YES, IT’S ALL CAPITALIZED BECAUSE I’M SHOUTING BECAUSE I’M SO EXCITED AND STUFF!!!
1. Freddy Galvis Plays All Nine Positions In a Single Game.
This feat has never been done before, and it sure seems like young Freddy is on some kind of track to do just this. He’s too small to play catcher, you say? Listen, Freddy Galvis is a defensive baseball savant. He can do anything out there. On Saturday, Charlie Manuel stuck him in right field, just to see if he could do it. And do it, he did. I’m fully convinced that, if a game goes long enough, say, 25 innings or something, Freddy Galvis would play all nine defensive positions. You know you want to see Galvis closing out a mid-August game against the Pirates, right?
2. Ryan Howard Leads the League in the Most Important Stat the World Has Ever Conjured… Again.
Ah yes. The RBI. Or, to the lay-person, run batted in. Ryan Howard has led the National League in this all-important statistic three times, and until last season, had knocked in over 100 runs in six straight seasons. He has a penchant for knocking runners in from his lofty perch in the clean-up spot, and appears to be healthy enough to lead the league in RBIs once again. In fact, Howard has 15 RBIs in spring training alone, and he’s not even really TRYING in any of these games. Can you just imagine what he’ll do when things finally rev up?
3. Cole Hamels Adopts ANOTHER Kid, AND Wins NL Cy Young.
This guy loves adopting babies. And you can blame him? They’re small, cute, say the darndest things, and if you have a zillion dollars at your disposal, are pretty easy to get. Plus, adopted kids are like potato chips. You can’t stop at just one. And if spring training is any indication, Hamels is entering the first year of his new mega-contract throwing as well as he ever has, which leads me to believe this may finally be the year he wins his first Cy Young Award.
4. Michael Young Commits Less Than 30 Errors and Actually Has A War Above 2.0.
Consider me among those who believe Michael Young is actually going to be a halfway decent player for the Phillies this year. He’s worked super duper hard on his defense down in spring training, to the point where I think he’ll keep that error total under 30. Which, let’s be honest, would be much lower than you thought it would be. And I actually think he’s going to be a productive player at the plate this season, with a slash line around .280/.320/.410 with 10-15 HRs and 20-25 doubles. You’d take that from Michael Young, right?
5. Chase Utley Spends No Time On the Disabled List (At Least Because of His Knees, Anyway).
Listen, I don’t know if some John Lannan-like schmuck is going to plunk Chase on his wrist or if some smacked ass is going to slide cleats-first directly into Utley’s midsection, but it certainly does seem like his knees are healthy enough to keep him off the DL for the first time since 2009. Can he still hit? His two home runs on Saturday are a good sign, but it’s been a slow start for Chase so far this spring. Of course, spring training stats and all that, I know, I know, I know.
6. Roy Halladay Finishes With a Higher ERA and Fewer Innings Pitched Than Kyle Kendrick.
I hope you all have some idea how hard it is to write this. And anyone who has followed me on twitter (@FelskeFiles by the way) knows of my disdain for Kyle Kendrick. That said, I’m so over-the-moon worried about Roy Halladay that, if you put a gun to my head and offered me two million dollars and made me choose the pitcher who would have the lower ERA and more innings pitched, I think I’d have to take Kendrick. I mean, has Halladay looked ANYTHING like an effective pitcher this spring? And after last year’s disaster, isn’t there a really good chance that Roy is just completely shot? Or, maybe he just hasn’t figured out how to pitch with diminished velocity. Either way, Roy Halladay may be a worse pitcher than Kyle Kendrick right now.
Good heavens, did I actually just type that?
7. Dominic Brown Makes the NL All-Star team.
I know spring training stats don’t mean diddly-poo. Really, I do. But I’m excited about Dom Brown. As is everyone else. And I think it does mean diddly-poo how comfortable Brown looks at the plate, how free and easy his power has all of a sudden come to him, and how well he seems to have adjusted defensively in the outfield. Brown looks like he’s finally ready to be the player everyone thought he was when he was the #4 overall minor league prospect in baseball a few years ago. Dom Brown makes the All-Star team, and the Brown haters all sit on it and rotate.
We all know this should happen. Jimmy Rollins is not a good leadoff hitter. I don’t care what anyone else says, Ben Revere is better equipped to be this team’s leadoff hitter, and certainly should not be thrown at the end of the lineup in the #8 spot. And it appears as if Charlie Manuel may be thinking the same thing. He wants Revere’s bat at the top of the lineup, but also doesn’t want to have him hit #2, thus putting three lefties in a row at the top of the order. So, what does that mean? A lineup with Revere at #1 and Rollins at #2. And that would be just aces by me.
9. Phillippe Aumont Finishes With a K/BB Ratio of 1/1, Still Has ERA Lower Than 3.50.
If Phillippe Aumont could ever learn to throw strikes consistently, I’m not sure anyone would ever get a damn hit off him. His stuff is so ridiculously filthy it makes some baseball watchers feel, well, “special.” It makes people feel certain feelings. And even though Aumont has all the control of Amanda Bynes around some rapper named “Drake,” if Aumont does see significant time in the Majors this year, he could conceivably have the same amount of walks and strikeouts and keep an ERA below 3.50. He’s straight-up the balls.
10. Phillies Make the Playoffs, Advance to NLCS.
Maybe I’m a cock-eyed optimist, or maybe I’ve been sniffing too much paint thinner, but I am all of a sudden a bit more bullish about the offense than I was when the team first gathered in Clearwater a month ago. I am, of course, mortally concerned about Halladay, but I actually feel pretty good about John Lannan and Kendrick, and I’m pretty sure Hamels and Lee are going to do their thing. The bullpen has a chance to be great, unless young arms like Antonio Bastardo, Mike Stutes, Aumont, Jeremy Horst, et al, pee the bed.
That said, I think the Phillies are capable of winning 88-90 games this year, good enough for third place in the NL East and the second Wild Card. And, what they hey, I say they win the play-in game, win the NLDS, and fall to the Nationals in the NLCS.
I told you these were crazy predictions.