With so much up in the air this season for the Phillies, a lot could happen. But what will? Here is a list of my predictions for the 2013 Phillies season.
1. The Phillies will end the season with an 88-74 record, which will unfortunately place them third in the NL East. Three position players (Utley, Young and Ruiz) are in their final contract year, which means they had better play their best if they want a contract offer from either the Phils or another team next season. This added incentive I feel will help boost the Phillies win count past the low 80s that some are predicting, but it still won’t be enough to place them in contention.
2. Chase Utley will have his best season since 2009, when he ended the season with a .282 average, 161 hits and 31 HRs. 2009 wasn’t quite as good for Utley as the 2008 season, but if he wants to prove his worth and convince the team his knees can take a few more seasons after this one, he has to return at minimum to his 2009 form. And since he did more “baseball moves” in the off season this time around, he’s so far proven during spring training that he’s got more in the tank to offer. My prediction for Utley’s numbers in 2013 – .286 average, 140 hits and 30 HRs.
3. Domonic Brown will finally find his stride and earn his worth in right field. During a recent interview on 94.1 WIP Sports Radio, Brown admitted it was intimidating going from playing in front of a few thousand of fans to over 40,000, and that the extra tier in the stadium did make it difficult to track the ball at times. But that should be behind him now. It’s early in spring training, but so far he’s shown much improvement at the plate already. My prediction for Brown’s numbers in 2013 – .266 average, 128 hits and 18 HRs.
4. Cole Hamels will earn 20 wins and will be a Cy Young contender in 2013. Although it is unfortunate that he won’t be on a playoff team this year, he’ll still show his dominance on the mound. The opening day nod will boost Hamels’ confidence level, which will only serve to make him that much better.
5. Even after the setback of the 25-game suspension, Carlos Ruiz will continue to be a key player, both in the field and at the plate. He’ll be in his final contract year and he’ll have something to prove – and he’ll have to prove he can continue to be the powerhouse he’s been in the last two seasons without performance enhancing stimulants. Look for Ruiz to finish the season strong. I predict another above .300 year for Chooch.
Dawn was born and raised in the outskirts of Philadelphia. An avid Phillies fan, she looks forward to attending games at Citizens Bank Park each year – especially those that occur at the end of October (for obvious reasons).