Last time out in this series, we covered the most underrated Phillies from 2013-2017. While, yes, we had to go back and remember some truly terrible years, we now move on to a much more successful period for the Phillies: 2012-2008.
There’ll be so many good players that’ll be difficult to find ones that are actually underrated.
Is Carlos Ruiz an underrated player? Not particularly, especially in Phillies fans’ eyes. What is underrated is his 2012 season. Ruiz got MVP votes in 2010-2012, but somehow 2012 was his best year with the least MVP votes.
In 2010, Ruiz had am .847 OPS and was 17th in MVP voting. He was worse in 2011 with a .754 OPS, but he was still 23rd in MVP voting. In 2012, he had a .935 OPS and WAS 28TH in MVP voting.
The long-time Phillies catcher slashed .325/.394/.540 and got hardly any credit for it. At least he got to go to an All-Star game for the first time in his career.
Kevin Frandsen may be a Phillies radio announcer now, but in 2012 he was a slugger.
The then 30-year-old returned from a year in the minors to slash .338/.383/.451 in 55 games. When the Phillies selected the contract of Kevin Frandsen, they were 10 games under .500. Frandsen’s hot bat in replacement of injured Placido Polanco contributed heavily to the Phillies being able to finish at 81-81.
Lastly in 2012, is my favorite random Phillie of all time, Jeremy Horst. Who is he and why is he so underrated? In 2012, Horst posted a 1.15 ERA with the Phillies in 32 games. Since then, only Pat Neshek has had a lower ERA in at least 30 game (1.12 ERA 2017).
How do you find underrated players on the Phillies most winningest team of all time?
By my own stubborness, I just can’t call John Mayberry Jr. an underrated player even though he was good in 2011. Instead, here are 2 pitchers who definitely had an underrated 2011.
The Bridge to Lidge, Ryan Madson, felt underrated his entire career. In 2011, he finally got the chance to take over the closer role for the Phillies. He responded with the best season of his career. In 60.2 IP, Madson posted a 2.37 ERA with 32 saves. His 2.1 WAR was good for 10th on a team that won 102 games.
In a rotation with Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, and Roy Oswalt, you’re forgiven if you forget the 5-starter. In 2011, that 5-starter was better than Roy Oswalt.
A 23-year-old Vance Worley came in 3rd for rookie of the year voting. In 131.1 IP, the “Vanimal” had an ERA of 3.01, going 11-3. No one will ever wear glasses as cool as Worley did.
And dear God, no Phillie has thrown a better 2-seamer since.
Through no fault of his own, Jayson Werth might be the most underrated Phillies outfielder of all time. The Nationals offered him a mountain of money and he took it. As a result, a lot of Phillies fans forgot how good he was in Philadelphia.
Somehow, Werth wasn’t an All-Star in 2010. He slashed .296/.388/.532 and led the league in doubles with 46. For his credit, Werth finished 8th in MVP voting that year. The fantastic season helped him land a 7-year $128 million contract.
And now we come to my personal favorite bench player of all time, Ross Gload. When I saw him in the starting lineup, I’d get excited. As a starter in 2010, Gload slashed .352/.397/.593. Overall, he hit .281 on the season.
The then 34-year-old put up his best numbers since 2006 and helped the Phillies to another NL East title.
Here we go again. Just like 2011, how do you find underrated players on a team that was just short of winning a World Series? Well there are 2 pitches you’ve might of forgotten how good there were in 2009.
Scott Eyre was the Phillies lefty ace in 2009 and when I say ace, I mean ace.
He pitched 30 innings in 2009 and allowed just 5 ER. That’s good for a 1.50 ERA. He also held the Yankees hitless in 2 IP in the World Series. Oh, did I mention this was his age 37 season?
Scott Eyre truly walked into the sunset like a cowboy that had won the day.
From a 37-year-old, we check in on a 25-year-old rookie…at the time. J.A. Happ had a monster rookie season.
He was barely a rookie in 2009 as he had 35.2 IP in parts of 2007-08. That aside, Happ shined in the Phillies rotation. His ERA came in at a wonderful 2.93. He led the league in shutouts with 2 and another complete game for good measure. He put together a 10-4 record as a starter and added another 2 wins as a reliever.
All this together put Happ at 2nd in rookie of the year voting. He took home 10 first place votes, but Chris Coghlan’s .321 batting average proved too much to go over.
The Phillies became World f#%&ing Champions in 2008.
There might be only one player that you could truly call underrated on this team. Greg Dobbs might be the best bench player the Phillies have ever had.
Overall, Dobbs hit .301 with 40 RBI on the season. Where he shined was off the bench. When he was a substitute, Dobbs slashed .329/.358/.487 with 25(!) pinch hits. Thus was the best season of Dobbs’ career.
Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Alec Kostival graduated from La Salle University with a degree in communication with a focus in mass media and journalism. He covered high school sports for the Chestnut Hill Local. He has interned with the Reading Fightin Phils and the Philadelphia Eagles.