32-year old lefty swinging Ryan Howard won’t likely be ready to play until sometime in May as he is still rehabbing from surgery he had over the off-season to repair a ruptured Achilles tendon that he injured on his last AB of the playoffs last season. Howard has played in 152 games for the Phillies last year and he was 141 of 557 (.253 avg, .835 OPS) with 81 runs scored, 33 homers, 116 RBIs and 1 stolen base. He has now played in 1,027 games in his first 8 years with the Phillies and he is 1,043 of 3,794 (.275 avg, .928 OPS) with 633 runs scored, 286 homers, 864 RBIs and 12 stolen bases. Howard is a sub par defensive 1B as he made 9 errors in 149 games at 1B last year. But that’s nitpicking as the Phillies pay Howard to swing the bat. They hope he can return in May.
34-year old righty swinging Ty Wigginton has outstanding versatility in the field, but he is going to be playing 1B when the 2012 season begins for the Phillies. Wigginton played in 130 games for the Rockies last year and he was 97 for 401 (.242 avg, .731 OPS) with 52 runs scored, 15 homers, 47 RBIs and 8 stolen bases. He has now played in 1,190 games in his first 10 years in the majors and he is 1,087 of 4,107 (.265 avg, .768 OPS) with 509 runs scored, 158 homers, 548 RBIs and 41 stolen bases. Wigginton played 36 error-free games at 1B for the Rockies last year. He will be an improvement defensively for the Phillies until Ryan Howard is ready to return to action.
41-year old lefty swinging Jim Thome might get into a game or two at 1B this year, but his main job is going to be pinch-hitting for the Phillies in 2012. Thome only played in 1 game at 1B last year and he didn’t make any errors. He has the range of a phone booth right now. Thome played in 93 games for the Twins & Indians last year and he was 71 for 277 (.256 avg, .838 OPS) with 32 runs scored, 15 homers and 50 RBIs. Thome has played in 361 games in his first three years with the Phillies and he is 333 for 1,279 (.260 avg, .928 OPS) with 234 runs scored, 96 homers and 266 RBIs. Thome has now played in 2,287 games in his first 21 years in the majors and he is 2,287 of 8,259 (.277 avg, .959 OPS) with 1,566 runs scored, 604 homers, 1,674 RBIs and 19 stolen bases.
PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE 1B IN 2012: B+