Thursday, July 2, 2015

Pence's Arrival Is All-Right With Phillies

The all-star outfielder gives the Phillies a much-needed right-handed bat.

Pence's Arrival Is All-Right With Phillies

Hunter Pence has a career .300 average at Citizens Bank Park. (Nam Y. Huh/AP)
Hunter Pence has a career .300 average at Citizens Bank Park. (Nam Y. Huh/AP)

The first thing everybody on the Phillies talked about when discussing Hunter Pence is his grit.

Pence should quickly become a fan favorite. The Philadelphia sports fan loves a player who gets his uniform dirty. And it helps when he can also play at an all-star clip.

Despite all the glowing reports from Charlie Manuel, Ruben Amaro Jr. and the players about Pence’s hard-nosed play, lost in all this is that he gives the Phillies a much needed right-handed bat.

The Phillies have been too left-handed for some people and it wasn’t too bad when everybody was hitting consistently.

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Yet the Phillies are vulnerable to left-handed pitching, which is not a revelation. They entered the weekend batting .237 against lefties as opposed to .254 vs. right-handers.

This tells one thing

They aren’t killing the ball against either lefties or right-handers.

Still, Pence gives the Phillies more balance. There are holes in his game, such as the fact that he has struck out 86 times in 398 at bats, but he still comes to the Phillies with a .356 on base percentage. The Phillies on base percentage entering the weekend was .321.

Pence is a major defensive upgrade and as Amaro said, the Phillies control his rights through the 2013 season.

He may have his flaws, but Pence is an all-star who is among the top fielding outfielders in the game. And the Phillies didn’t have to give up anybody from their roster to acquire him.

Even if Jonathan Singleton emerges as an all-star and Jarred Cosart becomes a Cy Young candidate, this trade was a no-brainer.

The Phillies have acquired a top-flight player. And better yet from their perspective, a right-handed one at that.

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