The Phillies had another disappointing, mediocre season this year at 73-89; a win-loss record only good enough for fourth place within the NL East division. The team throughout the year, as many know, were plagued by various injuries, young players’ struggles, poor management, and flat out poor play. Regardless of the abysmal year the team had, here are my Phillies’ individual, annual team award winners for this season.
MVP (also Most Valuable Pitcher)
-Cliff Lee- SP= All-Star- 14-8, 2.87 ERA, 222.2 IP, 222 strikeouts
Cliff Lee, despite the team’s frequent inability to score runs for him, had another brilliant year, to say the least. Most baseball writers league wide have him within the top 5 of their NL Cy Young Voting list. It is fair, and true, to say that had the Phillies not performed so poorly and below par this year, Lee would be higher up on the voting list (Dodgers’ ace Clayton Kershaw is a lock to win the award) once the award winner is announced.
The biggest case against Lee winning the Cy Young Award is the fact that because Philadelphia performed so poorly out of the gate and were out of it earlier compared to most teams, Lee played in few meaningful games compared to the likes of Kershaw, Adam Wainwright, Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller. Another case against Lee, albeit a small one, is the fact that, despite how good it was, his ERA wasn’t as eye-popping as Kershaw’s was. For example, Matt Harvey, before tearing ligaments in his elbow, was pitching lights out (ASG starter; 2.27 ERA) for an equally crappy team. Thus, had Lee’s ERA had been as good as Kershaw and Harvey’s, it would make the award results a little bit closer, in Lee’s favor.
On top of Lee’s statistical dominance, you have to factor in how good of a pitcher he was compared to the rest of the rotation this year as well. Cole Hamels came into Spring Training last season as the possible ace (along with Lee) after signing a lucrative, $144 million dollar extension the previous July. But come 2013, Hamels was not only playing below expectations but poor in general. If you take away his mediocre win-loss record at 8-14, because the Phillies frequently never score many runs for him, he had a sub-par ERA of 3.60, which is unacceptable considering his contract and expectations. Compared to his career average, he didn’t give up as many long balls (21 in 220 IP), nor walks (50) as in year’s past but rather runs more so.
Kyle Kendrick, John Lannan and Doc Halladay (even though the latter gets a pass because he was frequently injured) also pitched poorly and ineffectively throughout the year. Overall, the team as a whole compiled an ERA of 4.34 this season; 147 points higher than Lee’s 2.87 ERA. Both points – the starters’ general ineffectiveness and the team’s pitching’s ineffectiveness as a whole – prove Lee’s worth completely. For all of these reasons combined, Lee is totally deserving of the Most Valuable Player, and pitcher, for this season.
Most Valuable Batter
-Domonic Brown- LF- All-Star- .272, 27 HRs, 83 RBIs, 21 doubles
This isn’t an official, annual Phillies’ award, but I’ll add this one to the pile anyway considering, usually, the MVP award goes to a batter, and in this case I chose a pitcher instead. This decision was a lot tougher than the above one was, considering Lee’s dominance, and the fact that, despite Brown’s improvements and Utley’s respectable year as well, no Phillie had a mind-boggling season offensively, compared to years past.
Chase Utley is the biggest competitor for Brown in this category, considering Chase’s consistency year by year. Despite Utley’s .284 average (which was 36 points higher than the team’s average BA at .248), he didn’t contribute very much in terms of production this year. He had nearly 500 at-bats (476 to be exact) and played in 131 games, but yet he only hit 18 home runs and drove in 69. Part of the problem there was the fact that Utley is still fighting off injuries, which have been a problem within the past few years or so, and the fact that hardly anybody else in the lineup, except for Brown and Ben Revere prior to his injury, did anything to help Utley out offensively.
Brown lead the team in home runs, RBIs, slugging percentage (.494), total bases (245) and finished second behind Utley in OPS with .818. He was also the lone hitter on the team to make it to the NL All-Star team, and 1 of only 2 All-Star representatives on the team, alongside Lee. Brown also takes home, although not an official annual award given out, but rather an award I made up, the Most Improved Player Award this season as well. He had career highs in almost every offensive category, eclipsing his previous career high of home runs of 5 with 27, and more than doubling his hits, at-bats, RBIs, doubles, games played, and batting average output.
Tug McGraw Good Guy Award
I’m very surprised that Utley, a fan-favorite and perhaps even the most beloved member of the team by fans, hasn’t won this award yet in his 10 years with the team. Even when he started out, wasn’t compiling over 120/130 games and 500+ at-bats a year, and wasn’t putting up eye-popping numbers, he was a clubhouse leader and a friendly, likable guy on and off the field. Utley is also a charitable guy. Chase and his wife Jennifer, as animal lovers, have raised over $45,000 for the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Utley also appeared on behalf of PETA in their “Adopt Don’t Buy” video, which encourages people to find companion animals at shelters.
Because of Chase’s charitable nature, his influence and leadership in the clubhouse, and truly how much of a good guy he is, I award him with the Tug McGraw Good Guy Award for this past season. Nice job Chase, as always.
Dallas Green Special Achievement Award
Charlie has had a special, yet effective/successful impact on and off the field for this franchise, from when he was hired by GM Ed Wade in 2004, up until his firing midway through this past season. Despite Charlie no longer being with the team, he’s had a tremendous impact as a mentor and coach to many of his former and current players- some of which still play with Philadelphia, and some of which have gone on to play elsewhere.
On the field, he won a World Series championship in 2008 vs. Tampa Bay (the franchise’s first in 28 years), two National League pennants in 2008 and 2009, and won five division titles (2007-2011) as well. Off the field, he was regarded as a kind, loving, yet knowledgeable person, and on the field, even beyond his accomplishments he was regarded as a teacher of the game and knowledgeable. The Phillies awarded Manuel a couple years into his tenure as coach with his own show, which would air almost every week prior to a Sunday game on sister network WPHL-17. The show gave behind the scenes looks at Manuel on and off the field, including clubhouse speeches, charity/fundraiser events, moments in his personal life and introspective moments on the field as manager- whether it be batting practice, in-game or clubhouse footage.
His special achievements as coach, and kind nature will make him beloved in Philadelphia for a long time. Congrats to Charlie on all that he’s accomplished on and off the field in Philadelphia. We’ll certainly miss you Chuck.