So, to cap off our year in review, this is who The Good Phight authors (and friends) thought were the players of the decade.
Catcher - 2012 Carlos Ruiz (.325/.394/.540, 16 HR, 68 RBI, 4.7 fWAR)
This was a tight race between Chooch and J.T. Realmuto, but it seems in the end that the tugging of the heart strings among the staff here won out. This season was Ruiz’s finest hour, even if we learned later that he had a little bit of help doing so. Even still, the fan favorite had his greatest season in the team’s final gasp at contending.
First base - 2010 Ryan Howard (.276/.353/.505, 31 HR, 108 RBI, 0.9 fWAR)
This one came down to the Big Piece and Rhys Hoskins’ debut season. The WAR total looks like garbage, but Howard wasn’t paid to field (or to throw a ball to second base...shudder). He was paid to hit and hit he did. This one of his final productive seasons before he was robbed of being able to age a little more gracefully than he did. Thanks to his Achilles’ tendon exploding on the field during the 2011 playoffs, we never got to see a gradual decline, but rather a sad shadow of the best first baseman ever in team history.
Second base - 2013 Chase Utley (.284/.348/.475, 18 HR, 69 RBI, 3.7 fWAR)
Did you think Cesar Hernandez had a shot?
Choosing between Utley’s 2013 season and his 2010 season (higher WAR) was difficult, but the better slash line and more power won out. The Man, like Howard, had his legs robbed of their power before we as fans were ready to allow him to go, so this was another one of the final goodbyes before he was allowed to leave rather than be subjected to the lengthy rebuild.
Third base - 2015 Maikel Franco (.280/.343/.497, 14 HR, 50 RBI, 1.9 fWAR)
Ah, hope. For so long, the Phillies had to endure bad third basemen. Sure, names like Polanco and Feliz were productive, but the gap between Schmidt and Rolen, then from Rolen to 2015 was gulf-like. In Franco, people finally had a player that could excite them with what could happen. The hot corner could be locked down for the next 8-10 years with Franco. His debut season in 2015 did nothing to dampen that hope.
Then 2016 happened.
He just couldn’t get back to the level that he excited us with in 2015. Such a shame.
Shortstop - 2012 Jimmy Rollins (.250/.316/.427, 23 HR, 68 RBI, 4.7 fWAR)
The best shortstop in team history had one of his finest seasons in 2012. I think one of this things that surprised me about Rollins’ WAR number was how high it was, especially when you look at his offensive numbers. He didn’t walk, there isn’t much average and his slugging is down. Yet he’s almost a 5 win player. How?
I think sometimes we forget how good of a defensive shortstop he actually was. In 2012, he was worth 15 defensive WAR, which was fourth among all shortstops that year. He wasn’t flashy in the Rey Ordonez sense, but he always just seemed to know where to be. His positioning and first step were things that helped him be the defensive player he was.
Left field - 2011 Raul Ibanez (.245/.289/.419, 20 HR, 84 RBI, 1.1 fWAR)
Man, has left field been that bad for the team? It must have been, because this was a toss-up between Ibanez and Hoskins, with a dash of Andrew McCutchen thrown in. In the barrenness that is left field for the Phillies, even the glove of Ibanez wins out.
Center field - 2011 Shane Victorino (.279/.355/.491, 17 HR, 61 RBI, 5.6 fWAR)
You know, I think Victorino is one of the more underrated players of his time, even among all major league players. From 2008 to 2013, Victorino was worth more than 3 wins in each season except one. 2011 was his finest of his career, worth nearly 6 wins. He did it all that year - hitting, fielding and stealing bases. Another thing I find myself forgetting is how good he was at getting on base. And he never struck out. Yup, definitely underrated.
Right field - 2019 Bryce Harper (.260/.372/.510, 35 HR, 114 RBI, 4.6 fWAR)
Even with the burden of having to justify his gigantic contract, Harper delivered. He was signed to hit for power and to get on base. He did both with aplomb. And he’s only 27. These next few years should be fun.
Pitcher - 2010 Roy Halladay (21-10, 2.44 ERA, 250 2⁄3 IP, 22.1 K%, 3.0 BB%, 6.2 fWAR)
Do you remember where you were when you heard Halladay was coming to Philadelphia? I was driving to get a haircut and I immediately pulled over and called my girlfriend (now wife) to tell her. She said “Yay! Who’s that?”
Acquiring Halladay was the signature move of Ruben Amaro’s tenure. He had been seeking to get Halladay since the trade deadline before and finally had come to an agreement with the big righty. And boy did he deliver. You could argue that his following season was even better than this, but the sheer impact he made coupled with the no-hitter and perfect game in the playoffs makes 2010 the choice here.
There you have it. This is what we thought was the team of the decade. What do you think? Who did we leave off? Let us know in the comments.