The second half of Phillies baseball starts tomorrow, and I have to say that I'm pretty happy that the All-Star Break is over, and I can stop pretending like I give a crap about the Home Run Derby and the All-Star Game. I'm also thankful that there aren't as many position players to talk about as there were pitchers.
Placido Polanco (.274/.331/.346, 4HR, 3SB): Polly had an otherworldly April (.398/.447/.524) and folllowed that up with a miserable May (.248/.289/.294) and a dismal June (.213/.279./.266). His back issues are the would-be culprit, so hopefully everyone's favorite bobble-headed third baseman will be back and healthy soon.
Jimmy Rollins (.268/.340/.383, 8HR, 19SB): My personal goal for Jimmy this season was simple: do better than last year. And thus far, he has. He's stayed healthy, he's stealing bases, and he's putting the ball in play. Additionally, he's been pretty consistent. He's gone hitless in three straight games just once this year, and gone hitless in two straight games five times. I'd like to see him show a bit more power, but I'm also happy for him to keep doing what he's been doing.
Raul Ibanez (.241/.287/.416, 12HR, 2SB): Watching Raul Ibanez helplessly flail at the plate has been my least favorite part of the season. His historic streakiness seems to be taking a new form this year: he'll struggle mightily for weeks at a time, heat up for a few games, become mediocre for a few more games, and then go back to sucking. It's tough to watch. My desperate hope is that he heats up in the second half. Or gets swallowed by a whale.
Shane Victorino (.303/.376/.524, 9HR, 13SB): My one complaint about Shane last year was that he hit 18 home runs (nearly double his 2009 total), but ended with a 2010 slash line (.259/.327/.429) that was overall weaker than his 2009 totals (.292/.358/.445). At the figurative halfway point in the 2011 season, I have nothing to complain about. He's married the best parts of his 2009 and 2010 seasons to give the Phillies an incredibly productive player...at the plate. His defense is another story entirely, evidenced by his meandering, nonsensical routes to balls coming his way. He's been on the DL twice this year, his most current stint the result of a Three Stooges-esque fall while running in center field.
Domonic Brown (.252/.327/.408, 5HR, 3SB): My biggest fear with Dom this year didn't have anything to do with his broken hamate. I was mostly concerned that the Phillies would platoon him in right field with Ben Francisco or John Mayberry, robbing him of consistent at-bats. When he was called up in May, they sat him against lefties, so he played most days. Now, he faces pitchers of both persuasions, left and right, and is the everyday right fielder. Some rookies are great immediately, but some grow into it. Brown has a ton of potential, and the Phillies are giving him the time to grow into his new role.