Grading the Phillies offense so far

The Phillies’ core of offensive players has set a stellar example for newcomers like Reid Brignac. Credit: Getty Images The Phillies’ core of offensive players has played more like aged veterans than All-Stars and World Series Champions. Credit: Getty Images

We continue to break down the Phillies woes (mostly) and successes with the lackluster offense. With the pitching holding its own for the most part thus far in 2014, it has been the struggling offense that has caused the team to drop out of contention.

Carlos Ruiz: Chooch has been solid when he’s been healthy. He has many miles on the odometer but when healthy, he’s helped. The same goes for Wil Nieves. When he’s healthy he’s a very good backup backstop. Grade: B

Ryan Howard: The Big Piece is still productive. If he remains healthy, don’t be surprised if he hits 30 homers and drives in 110. However, Howard continues to have trouble with lefthanded pitchers, strikes out way too much and is a liability at first base. The Phillies can’t afford to give teams extra outs and Howard has done that with his shaky defense. Grade: C-

Chase Utley: If only Ryne Sandberg could give Chase Utley some rest. Utley started out strong. He looked like the Chase of old in April. The reason behind Utley’s rough June is that he’s worn out. Utley can still do the job but he needs help. Grade: B+

Jimmy Rollins: Rollins’ bat fell off a cliff last year but he has picked it up this season. He’ll be just few RBIs short of his 2013 total by the break. Rollins is hitting for power again and his glove is still among the elite. Grade: B-

Cody Asche: It appears that Asche has found himself offensively. He could be a nice little, young piece for the Phillies. However, his defense at third is suspect. Asche could be a future corner outfielder. Grade: C

Marlon Byrd: Yes, Byrd-man strikes out a lot. However, he’s been a nice addition and will be a great trade chip. Byrd leads the Phillies in homers and is a leader in the clubhouse, who has been productive at the plate and plays a great right field. Grade: B+

Ben Revere: Revere is heating up at the plate just like he was at this time last season but he rarely walks. Revere wouldn’t look so bad if he was dropped in the order to perhaps the 7-hole. He continues to run bad routes. Grade: D+

Domonic Brown: Nobody runs worse routes than Brown. He has been an enigma at the plate. After hitting 23 homers with 67 RBIs at the break last year, Brown has struggled mightily at the dish in terms of power and average. Can the Phillies make a deal to bring Wally Joyner back? Grade: F

Bench: Little pop or productivity from this crew. It’s so bad that Sandberg has to think twice about sending out a pinch hitter for Hamels or Burnett. Grade: D

Ryne Sandberg: It’s not the easiest crew to work with. Give Sandberg points for thinking outside of the box. He doesn’t manage by the book. It would be nice if he gave some of the veterans some days off but when he does that, the Phillies have little chance to win. Grade: C

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