Originally written on Phillies Nation  |  Last updated 7/10/12

Mike Fontenot has filled in admirably at second and third for the depleted 2012 Phillies. Photo (AP)

Welcome to the first of five of our All-Star Break assessments. Today we tackle: The Bench.

The Surprises:

Mike Fontenot – The seven year Major League veteran was a free agent after being cut from the Giants at the conclusion of the Cactus League but has been a valuable bench piece, splitting time at 2nd and 3rd and posting a .325/.364/.386 triple-slash in 24 games since being called up on May 13. His .388 BABIP and career triple-slash .267/.334/.405 suggests this pace is an abnormality and I won’t disagree. However, I will say that this value off the bench is being wasted in a down year for the Phils; I can’t help but imagine what even his normal production could have done to help the team last year, being able to spell Placido Polanco in the playoffs. Grade: A

Pete Orr – The player Fontenot essentially replaced was having a fine bench year in his own right (.286/.302/.429) but got squeezed off the roster when the Phils activated Jim Thome. Orr performed when put in the game and that is about as much as you can ask for a bench player. Because Fontenot graded at an A as the most valuable piece of the bench, Orr, who was slightly less productive, must be ranked a little lower, but not that much. Grade: B+

The Disappointments:

John Mayberry Jr. – Maybe we all had too unrealistic expectations for Junior. Maybe that 24.3% (27.9% in 2012) K rate should have been our first clue, or the 6.6% (4.6% in 2012) walk rate should have tipped us off from there. Or maybe we were spoiled by Jayson Werth‘s late-blooming surge to All-Star prominence and thought we saw the makings of a repeat last year. In 296 PA last season, Mayberry provided 2.5 WAR; in 219 PA this year, he is exactly replacement-level (0.0 WAR). This is not the year anyone had pegged for Mayberry, not after he hit .306 against lefties (.258 in 2012). Grade: D+

Michael Martinez – I really wasn’t expecting a whole lot out of the second year Martinez but I did not expect him to be 11 Ks in 45 ABs, .133/.188/.200 bad. His Triple-A numbers (.216/.340/.351) don’t have him at the top of the list to get called up any time soon, either. FanGraphs has Martinez’s 2012 value to the Phillies at -0.5 Wins Above Replacement-level (WAR), the worst contribution to the Phillies bench done in just 16 games. Grade: D

The Wounded:

Brian Schneider – Whitehall’s own Schneider most notably this season low-threw Ty Wigginton at first on a dropped third strike on Opening Weekend against the Pirates in what turned into be a play that foreshadowed what was to come for the rest of the season. Schneider actually produced a fine May (11/35, .314/.333/.571, 2 HR, 3 2B) filling in for fringe MVP candidate Chooch, but crashed back down to Earth in June (1/16, .063/.250/.063, 0 XBH) and is now gone with a busted ankle. On July 6, the Allentown Morning Call reported that Schneider has headed to Clearwater to resume his rehab and should be back soon.  Chooch’s stellar play has made Schneider mostly a non-factor but .232/.293/.362 isn’t horrible for a back-up catcher. I’ll try to hide my Lehigh Valley-homerism for this one. Grade: C

Jim Thome – The Phils only saw Thome step to the plate 71 times in 2012 due to a combination of injury and unavailable playing time. On the Phillies 9-game, Interleague road trip, Thome hit .333/.415/.722 with 4 HRs, a vast improvement over his complete line as a Phil (.242/.338/.516). Thome is now with the Orioles and is chasing a pennant down 95 South. Thome’s addition was really fun while it lasted and his walk-off against Tampa Bay has been one of the high points of the 2012 season. Grade: C-

The Rest:

Hector Luna - Luna was a Spring Training favorite, as many of the beat-writers had a Luna watch. Whether you call him the Moon Man or the Big Tuna, Luna was a respectable bench player, hitting .246/.296/.386, including a memorable pinch hit grand slam in his first AB as a Phillie. Luna was adequate in the field at third and first, as well. Grade: B-

Erik Kratz – It feels like Lansdale’s-own Kratz has been on a shuttle up and down the Northeast Extension this year. Kratz performed well at Lehigh Valley (.266/.326/.540, 8 HR, 10 2B in 141 PA) and has undoubtedly earned the back-up backstop gig in Schneider’s absence but has not seen the line-up much as Chooch continues to rake. Kratz is 2 for 7 with the Phils, both hits being home runs. Really small sample here, and probably for the better, but like Fontenot and Orr, Kratz as delivered as a role player. Grade: Incomplete

Jason Pridie – Pridie was promoted almost out of thin air once Thome was traded. Pridie has had fewer plate appearances than Kratz but is 3 for 5 with a HR and 3 RBIs. Pridie may have a more defined role as the fourth outfielder after the break should Laynce Nix miss further time and Shane Victorino is traded. Grade: Incomplete

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