The 3rd base position has historically been a strong point for the Phillies for around 20 years when Mike Schmidt anchored the base in the 70's and through the 1980's for the Phillies. After his departure, the Phillies had a couple of real good players to play the position but of course no one could hold a candle to Schmiddy. Schmidt departed in 1989, and he was succeeded by Charlie Hayes in 1990. Charlie was a fan favorite, but he stayed with the Phils for only 3 years. Another somewhat of a fan favorite Dave Hollins took over for Charlie and gave a bit more offense to the Phillies as well as good defense. Fast forward to the last couple of years and the Phils have had a number of different players at the base, David Bell and Abraham Nuzez and most recently, the fightins brought in Pedro Feliz who was lucky enough have been picked up by the Phillies and win the World Series all in the 2008 season. Feliz has brought better defense to the spot and somewhat respectable numbers in offense as well. He hasn't blossomed into the full player in both offense and defense that some people thought he would, but hopefully his off season operation has healed and he can become that great player that he could be. Everyone isn't a superstar though, and that's what makes a team. It's the little things that often go unnoticed that often complete the team and bring the team greatness as a whole rather than just having a bunch of individuals like Yankees have assembled and expect them to be a championship team. Enough of my ranting about the Yankees, I will have all year to do that in this blog, I can't wait. In fact, I hope to rant about both NY teams as they have become big bloated balloons that eventually will burst at the weight with all those pricey salaries in their quest to 'buy' a championship.
I am late in posting my depth chart for both 3rd base and shortstop so this weekend I hope to catch up with this preview as I've been so busy lately I haven't had time to write too much as this isn't my 'real' job.
Onto my third base depth chart in brief:
Phillies - (my 4th overall best third baseman in the NL East) Pedro Feliz - Pedro is a decent player. He hasn't done all he is capable of doing and this could be the break out year for him. He is getting a bit on the older side though, and his injury to his back concerns me. He played in 133 games for the Phils last year. He produced slightly better HR's and RBI's that the average 3rd basemen in the league last year, let's hope he can improve on that this year. He gets my vote for 4th out of the third basemen in the NL East, but he fits in well with the Phillies who already have a lot of offensive pop.
Mets - (My 1st overall best third baseman in the NL East) David Wright - Wright is a cornerstone at 3rd base for the Mets. A lot of Mets fans say he doesn't produce when he needs to though, that is come through in the clutch when it matters. He still produces numbers though and that's what makes you great in this game. The same can be said about Ryan Howard, he has great numbers though he strikes out almost 200 times a year. The numbers though he produces directly impacts his pay scale and the measure of greatness. Wright is an All Star, a franchise player and he gets my vote for best in the NL, slightly over Chipper Jones.
Braves - (my 2nd overall best 3rd baseman in the NL East) Chipper Jones - What can you say about Jones, he is a future Hall of Famer and the center of the Braves team for offensive power. He was almost my first pick for all the third basemen in the NL East, but I am giving my vote to the younger and hungrier Wright who I think will eclipse Jones for offensive numbers in the regular season this year. This will be Jones 16th season as a Brave, he is a rare player that will retire with the only team he has played for. In this day and age, that's not easy to do. A lot of teams don't want to stay with one player that long. Chipper is one of the last survivors of the Braves when they were controlling the NL East in the 90's. Larry Wayne Jones is his real name, and he gets my pick for 2nd best of all third basemen in the NL East.
Nationals - (my 5th best for 3rd basemen in the NL East) Ryan Zimmerman - a good all around player, too bad he's on a team that may lose 90 games this year and the GM of the Nationals resigned from the team. The Nats are pesky to the Phillies, Zimmerman was injured last year slightly he may bounce back a bit this year though.
Marlins - (my 3rd best for 3rd basemen in the NL East) - Jorge Cantu - Jorge put up great numbers last year, he's getting better all the time. I look for him to challenge the top two picks in the near future for overall worthiness at 3rd. Jorge is on the verge of becoming a household name as perhaps a breakout year awaits. I've always thought the Marlins were scrappy, they always seem like they have something going for them, as opposed to the Pirates who seem to be in mothballs all the time.
I inadvertently included the Pirates in my NL East lineup originally, I would love to have the Pirates back in the NL East, they left the East in 1994 and went of course to the NL Central. Thanks to LDPhan for pointing that out!
Here's some links to ponder:
http://www.chipperjones.com - the 'official site for Larry Jones'
David's MLB Blog, hey David, you haven't written anything here for 3 years... too much of a 'star' now?
Rich Baxter - fightin phillies blog
and phillies talk podcast