Phillies 2012 Predictions

Opening Day is upon us, so it is time for our 2012 Phillies predictions. If you haven’t already, check out the predictions for pitching and hitting.
Phillies Run Differential
Wins and losses generally come down to run differential: how many more(or less) runs did you score than you gave up? Last year, the Phillies had a differential of +184, which was 101 runs more than the second best team. I like to start with a guesstimate of how many runs the Phillies will gain(or lose) at each position and go from there.
I expect roughly the same production from Ruiz, Rollins, Polanco, and Victorino. Let’s say the Phillies lose 30 runs without Howard and 20 without Utley. I expect Mayberry/Nix/Pierre to essentially equal Ibanez in runs (you heard me right – see John Mayberry projections) and gain 25 runs with a full year of Pence in right field. That’s a total drop of 25 runs. That would give the Phillies 688 runs and would leave their NL ranking unchanged from last year at 7th place.
As far as the pitching is concerned, let’s assume no change with Halladay, Lee, and Hamels. In Worley’s spot, let’s say he gives up 10 more runs than last year’s combo of Worley and Oswalt. In the number 5 spot, Blanton will give up roughly the same runs as Blanton/Kendrick last year. I have my concerns about the bullpen, so I’m going to say the Phils give up 15 more runs in the bullpen. That’s a difference of 25 runs for a total of 554 runs given up, still leaving them with the best pitching in baseball.
With 25 less runs scored than last year (688 total) and 25 more given up (554 total), the Phillies would have a difference of +134 runs in 2012. That still puts them way above everyone else in the National League. Consider this: the Phils were +132 in 2010 and won 97 games. I won’t go quite that far this year.
Phillies prediction: 94 wins
The offense is a bit scary right now, but the situation is not as bleak as you might think. Yes, the 2012 Phillies are missing Howard, Utley, and Oswalt, but they also gained Hunter Pence and Joe Blanton, and replaced Madson with an equally effective closer in Papelbon. The Phillies have a great leader in Charlie Manuel and team of hungry players anxious to prove they are still the best team in Major League Baseball. And, oh yeah, we still have three guys named Halladay, Hamels, and Lee.
The Phillies definitely took a step back, but considering the huge differential between the Phillies and the rest of the entire league, I don’t think the Phillies dropped far enough and or that the NL East improved by enough to knock the Phillies off their perch.
Overall Phillies Predictions
Record: 94-68
Hitting: WORSE
Starting Pitching: SAME
Bullpen: WORSE
Defense: SAME
NL East Divisional finish : 1st
Phillies final result: WORLD CHAMPS
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