I was about to start writing up my analysis of the Phillies 3rd base position and I looked in disgust at the list of opening day starters the last couple years. Wes Helms, Abraham Nunez, David Bell. It took all my energy not to punch through my computer screen when I saw those three names written together. However, before I could write a single word, I checked ESPN.com for the 1,156th time today, and just my luck, we’ve signed Pedro Feliz! Now don’t get me wrong, Feliz is not the 2nd coming of Mike Schmidt or Scott Rolen, but he IS a significant upgrade at third base. Why?
His name isn’t Wes Helms
He plays not a good, but a GREAT defensive 3rd base. According the The Fielding Bible, he was the best defensive 3rd baseman in all of baseball last year. I don’t know much about how fielding metrics work, but I know The Fielding Bible is a very respectable resource, and if you are first, well, you don’t suck.
He hit 20 HR and had 72 RBI while playing primarily in a pitchers park last year. In 2006, he hit 22 HR and had 98 RBI. With Dobbs getting ABs against tough righties, we suddenly have a good offensive tandem at 3rd.
He does NOT have a great BA, and does NOT walk a lot (these are his 2 biggest negatives), BUT, he also does not strike out a lot (only 70 K in 557 AB last year) and this team desperately needs to lower the amount of strikeouts in their line-up.
Frankly, I love this move. He upgrades us both offensively and defensively, doesn’t strike-out a lot and hit .310 with runners in scoring position last year (.324 with RISP and 2 outs). He is exactly what we need, someone to help defensively and not make bad outs offensively, while providing some pop and RBI at the bottom of the order.
Here is what the projected 2008 Opening Day line-up looks like, in my opinion, easily the best in the NL
1. Jimmy Rollins, SS
2. Shane Victorino, CF
3. Chase Utley, 2B
4. Ryan Howard, 1B
5. Pat Burrell, LF
6. Geoff Jenkins, RF
7. Pedro Feliz, 3B
8. Carlos Ruiz, C