Originally written on Phillies Nation  |  Last updated 11/15/14
Buster Olney of ESPN has produced a pretty fun series of articles this week. Day by day, Olney has posted on his Insider blog Top 10 lists for infield, outfield, rotation, line-ups, and Top 10 overall teams. Olney’s rankings are comprehensive but can be confusing; for instance, the teams with the two highest ranked line-ups, the Angels and Brewers, are not in the overall Top 10, and the Rangers, who have the top infield and fourth best line-up according to Olney, meet the same fate. Eight of the Top 10 overall were playoff teams in 2012, with the exceptions being the number six Dodgers and number eight Blue Jays. The Phillies appear on only one of the lists; Olney ranks them as having the fourth best rotation in baseball, behind the Tigers, Nationals, and Dodgers, in that order. I would personally drop the Dodgers out of the list and bump up the ninth and tenth teams, Oakland and San Francisco, above the Phillies. Olney seemingly considered putting them higher: “But Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels still might be the best trio of starters in the majors, and each is fully capable of winning the Cy Young Award. The Phillies led the majors in starting pitcher innings and strikeouts last season despite a miserable year that seemed to fall apart early.” Olney sites Halladay as the linchpin of the group, stating the club’s, yet alone the rotation’s, success depends on him. What is particularly troubling, but not surprising, is not the lack of Phillies on the Top 10s but their M.I.A. status in the honorable mentions. Despite a near a career year from Carlos Ruiz and a near-career year from Jimmy Rollins in 2012 and Chase Utley and Ryan Howard expected to contribute at a much higher level than 2012, the Phillies do not appear in the Top 10 or the Next Best section, effectively placing them at 13 at best but possibly lower than that. The infield was possibly the only other shot the Phillies had at being included in a Top 10 list and would have been their ticket, in turn, to being listed in the Top 10 line-up discussions. For the first time, I truly believe that many, many other teams have line-ups better than the Phillies. It is obvious that even with unexpected contributions, Darin Ruf, Ben Revere, and Domonic Brown probably won’t strike fear into too many opposing fans, which makes the importance of pitching in 2013 just as or even more important this year than last. In 2006, 2007, 2008, and even 2009, it often felt like the Phillies got snubbed as a contender. In 2010 and 2011, it felt like the commentators were giving them the appropriate amount of coverage, while in 2012, there were giant question marks. This year, unfortunately, feels as just an appropriate assessment as 2010 and 2011 did. My question to everyone: are you worried? Has the fear set in that this team might not compete in 2013. Olney’s articles have set that tone for me.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Brock Lesnar has hit contract snag with WWE

MLB reportedly will try to show compassion to Josh Hamilton

Jon Gruden: Bears need to move on from Jay Cutler

Blue Jays OF tears meniscus in freak sprinkler accident

Death threats show why some fans take sports too seriously

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Five bubble teams playing well heading into March

Falcons release Steven Jackson

Bill Walton has some words of advice for Derrick Rose

Five under-the-radar National Player of the Year candidates

Judge overturns Peterson suspension; NFL to appeal

Dez Bryant's mother in 2012: Dez threatened to knock me out

WATCH: Herm Edwards breaks down infamous llama video

Rex Ryan has truck with Buffalo Bills paint scheme

WATCH: Sidney Crosby catches teammate's stick in mid-air

WATCH: Vanderbilt coach tells own player 'I'll f-ing kill you'

Are the Kings willing to trade DeMarcus Cousins?

Johan Santana signed by Blue Jays to minor league deal

Leafs trade David Clarkson to Blue Jackets For Nathan Horton

Panthers acquire Jaromir Jagr from Devils

Russell Westbrook is surging into the MVP conversation

HBO picks up The Rock’s football series, ‘Ballers’

The key offseason moves for every MLB team

Giancarlo Stanton gets first-ever customized facemask

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Bostick death threats show why some fans take sports too seriously

Russell Westbrook is surging into the MVP conversation

Five-round NFL Mock Draft

Key offseason moves for every MLB team

Rousey, Arianny Celeste get into it

Dallas sportscaster back with another powerful essay

The parallels of Rose and Hardaway

Offseason breakdown for all 32 NFL teams

On Josh Hamilton's addiction and feeling alone

Judge rules against AP's suspension

Why the Lions should let Suh walk

Chris Jones charged with rape, sodomy

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.