The Birth of 2007 and the Inception of the New Era
Jimmy Rollins once said that the Phillies would be the team to beat in the NL East in 2007.
He also said, "On Paper," so there is much to unpack here on paper.
But, Rollins was not wrong, mainly when a white flag with blue numbering displays "2007" waving in the wind above Ashburn Alley.
Overall, the 2007 Phillies ended up winning the NL East with an 89-73 record, similar to the Phillies' impending record for this year. However, the difference is that the Phillies might be in third place rather than first by the end of the season.
The Phightins just capped off a split series with Atlanta to finish their final homestand. The Phillies are 83-69 with ten games left.
Comparisons are not always the best. They do not always serve a purpose when discussing sports. Each athlete and team is unique and individual, giving the spectators a variety of traits and abilities to watch, evaluate, and enjoy. Thus, comparison articles are for the entertaining "What If" aspect of discussing sports. This comparison is based on a discussion with Michael Kulp.
This article will go through the starting lineup, rotation, and bullpen to see which was the superior between 2007 and 2022.
Line up/Fielding Comparison
2007 Carlos Ruiz: BA .259, OBP .340, SLG .396, OPS .735 with 6 HR, 54 RBIs, and FP% .997. Also, 11 Rdrs.
2022 J.T. Realmuto: BA .277, OBP .345, SLG .482, OPS .827 with 21 HR, 82 RBIs and FP% .993. Also, 9 Rdrs.
Superior: Carlos Ruiz has caught for some of the best pitchers in Phillies history. He has caught multiple no-hitters, complete games, and a perfect game. On the other hand, the Phillies have a catcher with the moniker of "Best Catcher in Baseball." It is hard to argue with BCIB and history. Therefore, in this case, J.T. Realmuto is the superior catcher between the two. Overall, Realmuto's hitting and throw-out rate surpass Chooch's, giving J.T. the edge.
Who is the better Catcher in this matchup?
2007 Ryan Howard: BA .268, OBP .392, SLG .584, OPS .976 with 47 HR, 136 RBIs, and .991 FP%. MVP-5
2022 Rhys Hoskins: BA .251, OBP .355, SLG .496, OPS .851 with 29 HR, 76 RBIs, and a .989 FP%.
Superior: The Big Piece is fresh off his MVP season, where he hit 58 HR. He put up 47 HR, received MVP votes, and was the better fielder. Higher RBIs, HRs, and OPS truly make Ryan Howard the best first baseman out of this matchup. Hoskins has had his fielding struggles, and being a streaky hitter prevents him from having the consistent production Howard had in his '07 season. Subsequently, Ryan Howard receives the win in this comparison.
2007 Chase Utley: BA .332, OBP .410, SLG .566, OPS .976 with 22 HR, 103 RBIs, and FP% .985. All-Star, MVP-8, Silver Slugger.
2022 Jean Segura: BA .276, OBP .338, SLG .396, OPS .734, with 10 HR, 31 RBIs, and FP% .989.
Superior: How can anyone argue against "The Man?" Chase Utley winning the Silver Slugger batting .332 with 22 HR cemented him as one of the best hitters of his generation. Granted, Utley played more games than Segura, but even if Segura matched the 132 games Utley had from his 89 games, he probably would not have caught Chase's performance in 2007. The fact of the matter is Utley is one of the greatest, if not THE greatest second baseman in Phillies history. Even if you were to compare Utley and Segura at their same age season, Utley still snags the win in this comparison.
2007 Wes Helms: BA .246, OBP .297, SLG .368, OPS .665 with 5 HR, 39 RBIs with a .932 FP%, and 9 Errors.
2022 Alec Bohm: BA .291, OBP .325, SLG .412, OPS .737 with 12 HR, 70 RBIs, and a FP% .963, and 12 Errors.
Superior: Wes Helms was a 2-year rental for the Phils to find a hot corner solution. Unfortunately for Helms, he was DFA’d in early 2008. Pedro Feliz ended up being that solution by 2008, but Helms underperformed in 2007. Alec Bohm is the third baseman of the future for the Phillies. He was runner-up in ROY voting in 2020 and has made incredible strides with his hitting compared to his own 2021 season. Bohmer beats out Helms in every third base category except for errors committed. Overall, Alec Bohm takes the proverbial cake in this head-to-head.
2007 Jimmy Rollins: BA .296, OBP .344, SLG .531, OPS .875 with 20 Triples, 30 HR, 94 RBIs. Rollins won an MVP, Silver Slugger, and Gold Glove.
2022 Bryson Stott: BA .225, OBP .287, SLG .343, OPS .629 with 9 HR, 44 RBIs, 9 SB, and 2 Triples. FP% .980.
Superior: It is hard to argue with the 2007 National League MVP. Rollins' stats are off the charts for a shortstop this season, and he was the main voice that helped with their post-season push. Jimmy Rollins set multiple records in his Phillies career and looks to take the favorite in this matchup against up-and-coming shortstop Bryson Stott. Stott had a slow start, to say the least, this season and made improvements in his hitting. However, at this stage, going up against the '07 MVP is not an advantageous debate for Bryson Stott. The Las Vegas native has a high ceiling and will be a cornerstone for this team going forward, but right now, JRoll gets the nod.
Pat Burrell: BA .256, OBP .400, SLG .502, OPS .902 with 33 HR, 86 RBIs, 136 SO, and FP% .948. Previously, Burrell had been considered for the MVP twice in '02 and '05.
Kyle Schwarber: BA .214, OBP .314, SLG, .487, OPS .801, 42 HR, 87 RBIs, 192 SO, and FP% .995. All-Star 2022, 2021.
Superior: This choice was surprising! When looking at the numbers, Pat Burrell taking the job from Kyle Schwarber is unexpected. Schwarber's HRs make him a serious power threat, but when it comes to overall hitting ability, Burrell'07 is superior. Pat the Bat had a better BA, OPB, SLG, and OPS, making him consistently the better hitter. The cushion that Schwarber has is his fielding %, but even this hides the reality of his inconsistent play. Moreover, Burrell is the favorite in this contest.
2007 Aaron Rowand: BA .309, OBP .374, SLG .515, OPS .889 with 27 HR, 89 RBIs, and 6 SB. Additionally, Rowand was an All-Star and 22-MVP voting with a Gold Glove.
2022 Brandon Marsh: BA .244, OBP .292, SLG .377, .669 OPS with 10 HR, 50 RBIs, and 10 SB.
Superior: In this current category, it is hard to argue with the stats of a GG, All-Star, and MVP considerations. Rowand is the superior center fielder in this evaluation. However, Marsh is a quality outfielder who has tweaked his hitting approach to hit upwards of .280. Brandon Marsh getting a full year to start would benefit his growth significantly. Right now, Marsh is the inferior outfielder, but his upside is huge for the Phillies in 2023.
2007 Shane Victorino: BA .281, OBP .347, SLG .423, OPS .770 with 12 HR, 46 RBIs, 37 SB. He only committed 3 ER but had 21 defensive runs saved.
2022 Nick Castellanos: BA .265, OBP .305, SLG .397, OPS .702 with 13 HR, 61 RBIs, 7 SB. No errors committed, but -11 in defensive runs saved.
Superior: The overall favorite to win the right field job between these two is Shane Victorino. Castellanos, at his best, would have snagged this in a heartbeat but, unfortunately, has scuffled in his first year in Philadelphia. On the other hand, Victorino was the all-around better player in terms of well-roundedness. Victorino was speedy and stole 37 bags in '07. His agility, compounded with his hitting and fielding, are threats that ‘22 Castellanos has not had. Castellanos' performance this year could be attributed to adjustment pains, so maybe '23 Nicky C will get the nod.
DH* (Obviously, there was no DH in the NL back then unless you played an AL team, but this is hypothetical for this spot).
2007 Jayson Werth: BA .298, OBP .404, .459 SLG, OPS .863 with 8 HR, 49 RBIs, and 7 SB.
2022 Bryce Harper: BA .287, OBP .367, .531 SLG, OPS .898 with 18 HR, 61 RBIs, and 9 SB. *Also an All-Star.
Superior: Harper's BA has gone down since his return from the IL, but even playing hurt, Harper is the superior DH. Bryce is not hitting up to snuff right now, but some cooler October air might do him some good. Werth would go on to have a bigger impact in the lineup and increase his power numbers for the late 2000s Phillies dynasty but would end up leaving for D.C. In the end, Harper's stats and All-Star nod lean in his favor. Additionally, Werth is one of the guys he consulted when deciding to sign with the Phillies, so we can be thankful for that.
Team Hitting Ranking: 2nd (2007) and 7th (2022)
2007 Rotation: Cole Hamels, Kyle Kendrick, Jamie Moyer, Adam Eaton, and Jon Lieber
2022 Rotation: Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler, Ranger Suarez, Kyle Gibson, and Bailey Falter
Superior: The ace of the 2022 squad has to be Zack Wheeler. If Wheeler were to go up against '07 Hamels, then Hamels would probably take that win. However, Nola, Suarez, Gibson, and Falter would conquer the other four members of the 2007 rotation. Thus making the decision go in favor of the 2022 Phillies.
2007: Tom Gordon, Brett Myers, Clay Condrey, Kyle Lohse, Jose Mesa, J.C. Romero, Ryan Madson, Geoff Geary, and J.D. Durbin.
2022: Seranthony Dominguez, David Robertson, Jose Alverado, Brad Hand, Andrew Bellatti, Nick Nelson, Conor Brogdon, Zach Eflin, and Noah Syndergaard.
Superior: The criteria for deciding the bullpen is ability in high leverage situations and overall efficiency. Out of the 18 pitchers above, the best from the '07 squad were Tom Gordon, Brett Myers, J.C. Romero, and Ryan Madson. The best of the '22 group are Dominguez, Eflin, Alverado, Bellatti, and Robertson. One could also add Brad Hand. The point of the evaluation is that the '22 bullpen has proven to be more reliable and effective against its opponents. The 2007 Phils' bullpen definitely had its fair share of woes, but there is a reason most of the bullpen was overhauled in 2008.
Team Pitching Rankings: 23rd (2007) and 18th (2022)
The current Phils have a great chance to make it to the playoffs, given their upcoming slate of games. Hopefully, facing the Cubs and Nationals will be advantageous, and they will clinch by the weekend's end. The desire for all fans is to make sure they make their playoff berth before they play Houston.
The 2007 Phillies were a great team and had hallmark players to make the late-season push. This comparison would mean that the article implies a first-round exit as in '07 versus the Rockies. That is not the hope nor the case if the Phils heat up.
In these last few series, the hunt for Red October is on!