Old Glory: Thirtysomethings are Carrying the Phillies

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Through the early going, it's been the older the better for the .500 Phillies.

If there's one thing everybody agrees on about the Phillies, it's that the roster is too damn old. You've made some Senior Citizens Bank Park jokes, you know the grim factoid about how teams with so many mid-30s regulars historically have fared, you've heard the nickname "Ruin Tomorrow Junior" so often that you sometimes need a moment to remember it's not the guy's actual name.

But baseball has a way of confounding even the strongest narratives, at least for awhile, and so maybe we shouldn't be totally shocked that through their first twenty games, it's pretty much been only the old guys who have kept the Phillies viable with a .500 record. If it isn't quite a case of "the older, the better," it's pretty damn close:

Name Age OPS+ WAR
Cesar Hernandez 24 66 -0.1
Freddy Galvis 24 -42 -0.2
Cody Asche 24 64 -0.5
Ben Revere 26 82 0.1
Domonic Brown 26 91 -0.1
John Mayberry 30 95 0.1
Jayson Nix 31 -4 -0.3
Tony Gwynn 31 79 -0.2
Ryan Howard 34 142 -0.1
Jimmy Rollilns 35 115 0.6
Chase Utley 35 198 1.3
Carlos Ruiz 35 124 0.3
Wil Nieves 36 83 -0.0
Marlon Byrd 36 85 0.3

Among the position players, the 26-and-unders have combined for a collective -0.8 WAR. The players constitutionally eligible to serve in the presidency have combined to put up 2.5 wins above replacement. (Yes, more than half of it is Utley. Like that's a bad thing?)

If anything, the old=good, young=bad trend is even more pronounced on the pitching side:

Name Age ERA+ WAR
Jonathan Pettibone 23 41 -0.4
Mario Hollands 25 173 0.3
Justin De Fratus 26 54 -0.1
Jake Diekman 27 46 -0.6
Luis Garcia 27 0.0
Antonio Bastardo 28 85 0.0
B.J. Rosenberg 28 53 -0.3
Kyle Kendrick 29 100 0.2
Brad Lincoln 29 36 0.1
Jeff Manship 29 54 -0.1
Roberto Hernandez 33 63 -0.2
Jonathan Papelbon 33 115 0.2
Mike Adams 35 0.1
Cliff Lee 35 117 1.0
A.J. Burnett 37 132 0.5

So the two oldest pitchers on the roster have been worth a win and a half above replacement. Everyone else? Minus 1.1 WAR.

Yes, yes: small sample size, vagaries of early season schedule, et cetera et cetera. I get it. And the Phillies are probably as dead as most of us figured they'd be if the guys in their twenties don't step up when the older guys start acting their age with increased time in the trainer's office. Meanwhile, though, it's fun to see our old heroes getting it done, even as it's at least mildly scary than GM Tomorr--um, Amaro, might overconclude from these early results and add still more been-there, done-that experience to his very well seasoned roster.

(h/t David Murphy, who pointed out yesterday that the "core four" lineup vets are off to very strong starts while Asche, Brown and Revere are struggling. Of course, Revere had a great game last night, which makes these numbers look a little less ugly for the "kids.")

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