The Philadelphia Phillies have the best combination of pitching, hitting, and defense that I have seen in my 30 plus years of watching major league baseball.
As everyone who follows baseball knows, pitching wins championships and the Phillies have arguably assembled the greatest pitching staff ever. First, there are the four ace starting pitchers. Roy Halladay is a sure fire Hall of Famer who is generally considered the best pitcher in the game today. Cliff Lee is a former Cy Young Award winner who has been dominant in the post season. Roy Oswalt is a perennial All-Star. Cole Hamels is a former World Series MVP who also has number one stuff. The starting staff also has depth. Joe Blanton, a career plus .500 pitcher who would be a number two or number three starter on many teams, was the Phillies projected fifth starter. When Blanton got hurt, Philadelphia was also able to turn to Kyle Kendrick, another career .500 plus starter. And when Roy Oswalt got hurt, the Phillies brought up rookie Vance Worley. Worley is 8-1 with a 2.35 ERA and a leading candidate for the National League Rookie of the Year.
And the Phillies’ pitching greatness also extends to their bullpen. Ryan Madson has become a dominant closer and Antonio Bastardo has been a lights-out set-up man. Michael Stutes has also been effective in the 7th and 8th inning. Even Brad Lidge, who has been hurt for most of the year, has been decent in limited action since he has returned. Jose Contreras, was who the team’s closer early in the year, is also an excellent pitcher, but has been hurt for most of the year. And when Kyle Kendrick is not needed as a starter, he is one of the best long relievers in baseball.
In addition to great pitching, the Phillies have a potential all-star at almost every starting position. At first base, Ryan Howard is a former league MVP and is baseball’s all-time home run leader based on the amount of games that he has played. At second base, Chase Utley is a perennial all-star. Jimmy Rollins, the team’s shortstop, is another former MVP who is a gold glove fielder. Placido Planco is an all-star caliber third baseman. Carlos Ruiz, the team’s catcher, is also worthy of all-star consideration. Shane Victorino is a .300 hitter and gold glove centerfielder. Recently, the Phillies shored up their one weakness by adding Hunter Pence, an all-star right fielder. The one non-all-star consideration starter is the left fielder, Raul Ibanez. Still, Ibanez is an effective player and solid pro.
And to top it off, the Phillies are leading the National League in fielding percentage and are generally considered the best fielding team in baseball. Even the Phillies bench has been effective.
The Philadelphia Phillies are team that has it all. They have plenty of superstars, depth, and team chemistry. At the time of this writing, they have the best record in baseball. They may not win it all as any time could get hot at the right time and beat the Phillies in a short series. But they have acquired the best team on paper that I have ever seen.