If chicks really do dig the longball, then Citizens Bank Park is going to be a sausage fest this year.
Home runs are likely going to be few and far between this year as the Phillies assemble a team of small-ballers that would make the 1985 Cardinals look like the Bash Brothers.
Of course, the '85 Cardinals were really good because they had a ton of high on-base and speed guys who all played elite defense as well as a stellar pitching staff. The Phils have Cole Hamels, David Buchanan and a bunch of guys who you will watch with one eye closed most of the time.
But back to the power, it just isn't going to be there this year.
If the team is set on going with an outfield of Ben Revere in left, Odubel Herrera in center and Domonic Brown in right, that will be a unit that is lucky to hit 20 home runs combined in 2015.
The season starts a week from today. The Phillies projected regular outfield for 2015 hit a total of 12 home runs last year.— Ryan Lawrence (@ryanlawrence21) March 30, 2015
And if Sizemore starts in place of Brown (Achilles tendinitis) next week, that's a 2015 Opening Day OF with seven total HRs in MLB in 2014.— Ryan Lawrence (@ryanlawrence21) March 30, 2015
That is, uh, ugly. But wait, there's more.
@ryanlawrence21 Sox in 1976 - 64-97; Reds in 1945 - 61-93.— Ace of MLB Stats (@AceballStats) March 30, 2015
Which makes the announcement by Ruben Amaro on Monday that Darin Ruf was not a lock to make the roster a little head scratching to some (per CSN Philly's Jim Salisbury).
"I think he’s still battling for a job right now," Amaro said of Ruf. "I see him as a right-handed bat off the bench, play some first base, maybe a little outfield. It’s up to Ryno (Sandberg) and his performance. First base is (Ruf’s) best position. He’ll get time there. Guys like Ryan (Howard) and Chase (Utley), we’re going to have to give them time off."
Brown will likely start the season on the disabled list because of a sore Achilles tendon, which means reserve outfielders Jordan Danks, Brian Bogusevic, Jeff Francouer and Russ Canzler are in line for outfield jobs as camp gets ready to break.
Look, I know Ruf is not a part of the team's future, but with a team as bereft of power as the Phillies, is there really no place on the roster for a poor-fielding player who can pop 20-25 home runs?
I guess not. OK, we'll just move on then. RIP Darin Ruf.
But it's not just the outfield where the Phillies are punchless. Third baseman Cody Asche has hit three home runs this spring, but hit only 10 last year and never more than 15 in any minor league season. Freddy Galvis has a little pop, but isn't a threat to hit more than 10 at the very most. And unless Chase Utley finds some of the thunder in his bat that he lost last year, the power isn't coming from there either. Carlos Ruiz' power is gone, too.
That leaves Ryan Howard as the only one on this team who could potentially hit 30 homers, but he's also perhaps the worst overall player among the everyday eight and will be moved at the first hint that another team is interested in taking on $10 million of his deal.
The fewest home runs hit by a Phillies team among teams that have played at least 150 games is the 1908 Phils, who hit a combined 11 home runs that season. I think our boys can clear that hurdle.
Since baseball instituted a 162 game schedule in 1962, the fewest number of home runs hit by a Phils team was by the 1974 group that hit only 95, going 80-82 that season.
Can this team even approach 100 (homers, not losses)? According to Steamer projections, the answer is yes, but I'm not as convinced.
I'm not sure Maikel Franco is going to be up enough to hit 12 homers, and I'm becoming less certain that Ruf is even going to play enough to hit 8.
But if the Phillies do hit 117, it would be the lowest total since they hit 116 in 1997 and 1922. In those two seasons, the Phils went 68-94 and 57-96.
Not only that, watching a team meekly go down 1-2-3 over and over and over again is tough. Sure, pitchers' duels are nice, but that also requires Phillies starters to throw up a lot of zeroes too and, aside from Hamels, I'm not sure there are enough horses in the barn to make that happen.
I say all this as a warning. Get ready for baseball that will be tough to watch at times this year. There will be more long stretches where the team struggles to score more than 2-3 runs a game for a few weeks straight.
Hopefully, things will turn around soon. But for 2015 at least, get ready for lots and lots of small ball.