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COMMENTARY: Phillies Rebuild Progressing Faster Than Expected

Austin Darrow | CNBNewsnet Commentary


In 365 days, the Phillies have gone from a laughing stock, to a really good mediocre team.

We watched Ryne Sandberg get bullied out of his managerial job by his own players. Andy MacPhail took the seat as the teams President and we all wanted Ruben Amaro Jr. out ASAP.

Cole Hamels was still an everyday starter, Jonathon Papelbon was the closer, and Ken Giles the second coming of closers, Chase Utley and Ben Revere were still playing every day.

My goodness how much has changed since all of this. We sat here wondering who would fill the managerial role and GM role.

RAJ was asking for way too much for Hamels. We were unsure who would want Papelbon in their clubhouse. Revere hit .300 without anyone noticing and Utley was 36 and hitting .217 at the time.

After years of bad luck, injuries, decline and lack of trade abilities, something finally went right. Hamels threw a no-hitter as a last hurrah to the city of Philadelphia.

If he doesn’t throw that no-hitter, who knows if the Rangers are willing to part with Jorge Alfaro, Nick Williams, Jerad Eickhoff, Jake Thompson and Alec Asher. All of whom are producing for the franchise, and Williams and Thompson could be seen by the end of this season.

After the disastrous season, Matt Klentack became the Phillies GM. His first call to action was sending Giles to Houston for five pitchers.

Vince Velasquez was part of that deal and we are very happy he was.

Before last season’s All-Star Break, Ryan Howard was still the first basemen, Domonic Brown was the right fielder and the rotation consisted of guys who would just eat innings and get through the season. For example, Chad Billingsley, Jerome Williams and Aaron Harang.

We are blessed comparing this year’s rotation to last years. Howard is no longer an everyday first basemen and Brown is a no name Triple A player in the Blue Jays farm system.

The Phillies are 13 games better this break than last years and are on pace for a 70-75 win season. We have to thank our young players who have contributed big time.

Velasquez, Eickhoff and Aaron Nola have carried this rotation for the most part. Each of them have experienced the highs and lows of being an MLB pitcher.

All Star centerfielder, Odubel Herrera is producing just like an All Star should and is climbing the ladder to being considered one of the best CF’s in this league.

After a slow powerless start, Maikel Franco has picked it up and will enter the second half hitting .269 with 18 HR’s and 52 RBI’s. Franco and Herrera had high expectations from the fans to produce like this.

Cameron Rupp on the other hand didn’t have any pressure on him, that’s why he has quietly hit .287 with an OPS right behind Buster Posey. The Phillies already have good depth at the catching position and Rupp could be a bargaining chip at the deadline.

The Phillies have made this first half fun to watch. Let’s check out the minor leagues.

J.P. Crawford, Williams, Alfaro, Dylan Cozens and Rhys Hoskins have all dominated at the plate. Crawford who was suspect at defense has improved.

Alfaro, Cozens and Hoskins made the Double A All Star team. They could be at Citizens Bank in a year also.

Throughout the last six weeks, Thompson has become the International Leagues best pitcher. Zach Eflin has done enough in the minors and is now trying to prove himself in the majors.

Phillies fans are happy about the direction this team is going and especially how much depth they have. The Phillies went from one of the worst farm systems to one of the best in a matter of a year.

The guys we anticipated at the lower levels of the minor leagues are now on the cusp of joining this team within a year. The rebuild is far from complete and have a few real holes to fill, but there’s so much money for free agency when the free agent market will be heavy with stars.