Eric Bruntlett has a really thick beard. . . . and that's about all I can say that isn't entirely negative about Eric Bruntlett this year.
It's hard to overstate how utterly worthless Bruntlett has been for the Phillies this year. Three numbers really put things in perspective:
425, 4, and -10.4
425: This is Bruntlett's rank in BA, OBP, and OPS out of 425 MLB hitters with 75 or more plate appearances. His batting average is .129. His OBP is .198. His OPS is .398. No, those aren't typos. To put .398 in perspective, ten current members of the Phillies have an individual component of OPS (SLG or OBP) higher than Brutnlett's OPS. In terms of rankings, Bruntlett is just slightly better than 420th in SLG. His .200 SLG is good for 423rd, beating out Brent Lillibridge and Greg Norton.
4: This is Bruntlett's OPS+. He's never been a stellar hitter, of course, but his OPS+ was 55 last year, which is incredible in comparison. 4? Did you know the stat could go that low for someone who earns a paycheck from a major league team?
-10.4: This is Bruntlett's VORP. This is actually good for 416th our of 425 players with 75 or more plate appearances. But, what makes Bruntlett's VORP particularly atrocious is that he posted this -10.4 VORP in only 98 plate appearances. Everyone in the majors who has posted a worse VORP has done so with many more plate appearances. Basically, Bruntlett doesn't play much, but when he does he really makes the Phillies worse. To put Bruntlett's VORP in perspective, Brad Lidge has a -11.0 VORP and we all know what he's done to hurt this team.
So why is Bruntlett a Phillie? Because he plays middle infield, so he's the only player on their active roster who can sub for Jimmy Rollins or Chase Utley. But there is no possible way that
Pablo Ozuna or Miguel Cairo would be any worse than Bruntlett in that role. They're both righties just like Bruntlett, but they're both hitting to the tune of a .730+ OPS for the IronPigs. Neither is going to do anything special at the plate for the Phillies, but both are more worthy of filling the 25th roster spot than Bruntlett currently is. And I can't imagine there isn't someone who has cleared waivers in the past few weeks who wouldn't help this team.
I know that who gets an additional 30 plate appearances for the Phillies between now and the end of the season is not the most pressing issue of the day for the Phillies. But, right now Charlie Manuel is working with a 24 man team. Shouldn't he have 25 players at his disposal like every other manager?