Friday, July 27, 2007
-Gone is Utley, arguably the best player on the Phillies roster and a legitimate MVP candidate, for at least a month. Is Utley’s season over? Hopefully not, but the Phillies can risk anything with their marquee second baseman. At the time of the incident, Utley was hitting .336 (.414 OBP), with 41 doubles, 3 triples, 17 Home Runs, and 82 RBIs. He had a fielding percentage of .984.
Utley had 17 Win Shares accumulated, ten above a bench player. He was hitting .307 BA/RISP (Runners In Scoring Position). He had 84 Runs Created, or 8.5 per game. Utley was leading the N.L. in Runs Created, in doubles, and was third in RBI. Defensively, Utley was leading the N.L. in Relative Zone Rating (RZR). I would have ranked Utley first in terms of MVP voting, although a big factor would have been how he contributed to the Phillies down the stretch.
-Pat Burrell becomes a vital component of the Phillies attack. Pat Burrell, slow-footed, weak-hitting (just a .438 slugging percentage) is now a critical piece of the Phillies attack. They need Burrell to pick up the slack and help protect Ryan Howard. Perhaps Charlie Manuel will reorder the lineup and place Jimmy Rollins third in the lineup.
-The Phillies now have to absorb the weak-hitting Abraham Nunez being in the lineup. Nunez hasn’t hit a home run all season, his slugging percentage (.311) is lower than Utley’s batting average, he doesn’t have speed, and he’s grounded into six double plays this season, a feat despite having just 198 plate appearances.
-Do the Phillies trade-deadline priorities change? It is inconceivable to me to imagine the Phillies swinging a deal for Jermaine Dye or some other disgruntled slugger, but don’t put it out of the realm of possibility. I worry about which of the Phillies pitching prospects – Carlos Carrasco, Josh Outman, Matt Maloney, Andrew Carpenter – Pat Gillick is going to part with to bring bullpen help, or add a bat to the Phillies lineup.
Monday, I promise to talk about Williamsport.