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4 Philadelphia Phillies Last year was nice, but the status quo won't be enough for Philly to move up

March 25, 2002
March 25, 2002

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March 25, 2002

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4 Philadelphia Phillies Last year was nice, but the status quo won't be enough for Philly to move up

He's accommodating and charismatic, gracious and well-spoken,
with a quick smile. His looks are more center-stage-on-TRL than
leftfield-at-the-Vet. As it happens, leftfielder Pat Burrell can
field his position and swing the bat, too; last year in his
first full season, he had 27 home runs and 89 RBIs, the most
home runs by a Phillies leftfielder since Greg Luzinski in 1978.
Beyond that, Burrell's 18 assists led the National League at his
position.

This is an article from the March 25, 2002 issue Original Layout

Don't think Burrell is simply a power-hitting Justin Timberlake.
"Pat's as old school as they come," says Philadelphia manager
Larry Bowa. "He's usually the first guy here, he's always
prepared and he's harder on himself than I'll ever be. He'll be
an impact player in this lineup for a long time." While he
appreciates the praise, Burrell is quick to deflect it. "The
attention's nice," he says while reclining at his Clearwater,
Fla., home, "but I want to know that I've earned whatever
acclaim or leadership role I might have. And if someday I'm that
guy, then so be it."

Ready or not, Burrell's someday is now, and for that he has
All-Star third baseman Scott Rolen to thank. When Rolen held a
press conference on the second day of spring training to explain
why he planned to pass on the Phillies' 10-year, $140 million
offer so he could test the free-agent waters after the season,
it seemed clear this year would be Rolen's last in Philadelphia.
Rolen also irked some teammates when he suggested that
Philadelphia's stand-pat off-season--the only notable signing
was that of free-agent pitcher Terry Adams, while the division
rival Braves and Mets made dynamic, expensive acquisitions--was
evidence of the Phillies' lack of commitment to winning.
(Subtext: The players on hand aren't good enough.) The Rolen
situation was fouling the chemistry in a young Phillies
clubhouse. But meetings between Rolen and teammates, the most
prominent of them a one-on-one with Burrell, smoothed things
over. "It's a nonissue now," says Rolen. "It's water under the
bridge."

"Everyone wants Scott to stay in Philly," Burrell says. "He's a
grown man, and he'll make that decision on his own." Adds Bowa,
"Pat's a leader here. He's conscientious, but he's not afraid to
confront a teammate."

If Philadelphia is to contend, Burrell must emerge not only as a
leader but also as the consistent power hitter he was thought to
be when the Phillies made him the first pick in the 1998 draft.
Burrell knows there's plenty of room to improve on last year's
numbers--especially his 162 strikeouts, third most in the
National League--and he should get better, given his relentless
work ethic. He studies hours of film each day, and this spring
he has been working with new hitting coach Greg Gross to shorten
his swing. "I'm not a good enough athlete not to work," he says,
"and with all the study tools here, I'd be crazy not to use them."

Last year was Philadelphia's second winning season in the last
15. To make it three in 16, the Phillies' other young
stars--notably speedy shortstop Jimmy Rollins, who as a rookie
last year had a league-leading 46 stolen bases, and rightfielder
Bobby Abreu, who signed a $64 million extension in the
off-season and looked healthy after an emergency appendectomy in
early February--can't afford any falloff in production. Just as
important, given how well he handles young pitchers, is All-Star
catcher Mike Lieberthal's return from a season-ending tear of
his right ACL last May.

A repeat of last year's 86 wins probably won't be enough to earn
the Phillies their first playoff berth since 1993--just don't
tell that to Burrell. "Watching the Mets and Braves sign all
those guys was awesome," he says. "It'll just make it that much
more fun." O.K., so maybe the kid's still got a few more things
to learn. --J.E.

COLOR PHOTO: ICON SPORTS MEDIA Burrell, 25, shows an old-school willingness to do the dirty work--on the field and in the locker room.COLOR PHOTO: RICK STEWART/GETTY IMAGES LIEBERTHAL

In FACT
The Phillies were the only team in the majors without an RBI
from a designated hitter in 2001 (32 at bats).

ENEMY LINES
an opposing team's scout sizes up the Phillies

"I think the Phillies are going to be a tad better than they
were last year. They should definitely be a contender. Travis
Lee's bat looks much improved, and Jimmy Rollins gets better all
the time.... I never liked Marlon Anderson, but I admit I've
seen enough improvement that he's no longer a minus in the
field. He still has some trouble turning the double play,
though.... I know Scott Rolen has some issues with whether he's
staying or going, but that won't faze him one bit. He's a gamer.
I haven't seen any sign of back trouble. As long as he stays
healthy, he's going to have a hell of a year.... Doug Glanville
is adequate. There's nobody there to push him. Marlon Byrd is a
kid with great upside. He doesn't belong in the big leagues yet,
but if he gets it done in Triple A and if Glanville falls on his
face, he could be the guy. He could be a star in the immediate
future.... Mike Lieberthal looks good. He's another reason
they'll be better. He's very good at handling pitchers, throwing
and hitting for power. He hasn't lost a stride off his game....
The bench is pretty solid. Tomas Perez improves every year--a
good middle infielder who can run, bunt and put the ball in
play.... Robert Person leaves too many balls up in the strike
zone, and when he does that he gets hit. He got away with some
mistakes last year but he's been getting clobbered this
spring.... The best performance I saw all spring was by Vicente
Padilla. He was sinking the ball, making it run, throwing hard
sliders; if Jose Mesa falters, he could be their closer."

THE LINEUP
projected roster with 2001 statistics

PLAYER B-T PVR BA HR RBI SB
BATTING ORDER

SS Jimmy Rollins S-R 55 .274 14 54 46
2B Marlon Anderson L-R 146 .293 11 61 8
3B Scott Rolen R 28 .289 25 107 16
RF Bobby Abreu L-R 10 .289 31 110 36
C Mike Lieberthal R 162 .231 2 11 0
1B Travis Lee L 139 .258 20 90 3
LF Pat Burrell R 81 .258 27 89 2
CF Doug Glanville R 214 .262 14 55 28

BENCH

IF Dave Hollins*[1] S-R 297 .272 16 67 0
OF Ricky Ledee[1] L 343 .231 2 36 3
IF Tomas Perez S-R 346 .304 3 19 0

PITCHER PVR W L IPS WHIP ERA
STARTERS

RH Robert Person 71 15 7 6.3 1.24 4.19
LH Randy Wolf 41 10 11 6.3 1.23 3.70
RH Terry Adams[1] 79 12 8 6.2 1.36 4.33
RH Brandon Duckworth (R) 45 3 2 6.3 1.25 3.52
RH Vicente Padilla 140 3 1 -- 1.41 4.24

PITCHER PVR W L S WHIP ERA
BULLPEN

RH Jose Mesa 39 3 3 42 1.23 2.34
RH Ricky Bottalico 230 3 4 3 1.24 3.90
LH Rheal Cormier 255 5 6 1 1.29 4.21

[1]New acquisition (R) Rookie B-T: Bats-throws IPS: Innings
pitched per start

WHIP: Walks plus hits per inning pitched PVR: Player
Value Ranking (explanation on page 154)

*Triple A stats

Manager
Larry Bowa
second season with Philadelphia

2001 record
86-76
second in NL East

IN THE FIELD
with defensive ratings

Golden Glover

Glanville
Lee
Rollins
Rolen
Lieberthal

Good Leather

Burrell
Abreu
Anderson
Person

Iron Hands