Since I don't feel like analyzing and ranking every team in MLB, I decided instead to cull from a bunch of lists to see what the average power ranking for the Philadelphia Phillies is this year. Let's take a look:
Sports Illustrated: #16 - The rotation is still headlined by Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay and that's an encouraging start to any team, but Philadelphia's offensive production (both total runs scored and league rank) has dipped three straight seasons. On Opening Day the Phillies' four infielders and catcher will all be 33 or older, and the only player in that group who hasn't shown signs of decline -- catcher Carlos Ruiz -- is suspended the first 25 games of the season for a failed PED test. Adams and Jonathan Papelbon form a dominant back end of the bullpen, which had been missing in Philadelphia.
Newsday: #15 - Ryan Howard and Chase Utley are healthy, and Utley is entering his walk year. Michael Young doesn't have the store of good will he built in Texas and will have to perform to be appreciated. Ben Revere showed good tools with the Twins in 2012, but it was only one season. Can he do it again? The rotation is still a work of art (Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels), but Roy Halladay struggled mightily during the spring.
CBS Sports: #15 - The window of opportunity with the Howard-Utley-Rollins-Halladay-Lee nucleus is closing pretty rapidly. At least they have Cole Hamels to build around, but a pretty sizeable overhaul -- which kind of started with Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence being traded last season, obviously -- is coming soon. We'll see if they can stave it off this season.
Bleacher Report: #14 - Injuries to their core superstars hurt the Phillies badly last season. Once they finally got healthy and strung together some wins, it was already too late, as they'd dug themselves too big of a hole.
Age is certainly not on their side. But if they can avoid filling up the disabled list, the Phillies may have the horses to make one last playoff push before they start to think about rebuilding.
Cole Hamels is expected to step forward as the ace of the staff. Newcomers Michael Young, Ben Revere and Delmon Young will look to spark the lineup around stars Ryan Howard and Chase Utley.
ESPN: #14 - It will be an uphill battle for the Phillies to catch the Nationals and the new-and-improved Braves with an aging and injury-prone roster, but they will benefit by having one of baseball's easiest first-half schedules.
Sporting News: #14
MLB.com: #14 (experts) / #12 (fans)
Fox Sports: # 12 - A healthy Ryan Howard makes this team — which features some of the best starting pitchers — a contender, again. What happened last season? We’re still not sure.
So on average, the Phillies are ranked at exactly 14, hovering in the middle of the pack on all the lists but never being ranked below #16. The return of Ryan Howard, the decline of Roy Holladay, the aging starters, and Cole Hamels are all common threads from each site. The Phil will have some work to do, but if they stay healthy I see no reason why they can't take down the Nationals and Braves. We'll see!