Who To Dream On — Hernandez Or Herrera?

The Phillies have the best record in Major League Baseball during the second half partly because their offense is scoring runs at a prolific rate (5.24 R/G, T-1st in NL, T-3rd in MLB), partly because their pitching is preventing runs (3.31 ERA, 2nd in NL, 4th in MLB), and partly because baseball is weirder than a cat on catnip. Two of the heroes of the Phillies recent stretch of success are young hitters getting it done with impressive speed and contact abilities – Odubel Herrera and Cesar Hernandez. Although these two players have produced similar value this season and are only a year and a half apart in age, there is significantly more room for optimism for one of these players over the other.

Here are their 2015 season stats through Sunday’s game:

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The Pete Mackanin-Led Phillies Are Surging

The Phillies completed a series sweep in San Diego against the Padres on Sunday afternoon, running their second-half record to 16-5, the best in baseball in that span of time. They’ve lost their stranglehold on the worst record in baseball, falling a game ahead of the division rival Miami Marlins. They’re only 2.5 games up on the Milwaukee Brewers and 3.5 up on the Colorado Rockies. It seemed like a lock even one month ago that the Phillies would pick first in the 2016 draft, but now, they’d have to fall pretty hard the rest of the way to secure that. And given the way the Phillies have been playing, it might not be in the cards.

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Phillies Should Audition, but Not Trade, Chase Utley in August

Chase Utley is coming back soon. Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News reported yesterday that the second baseman is headed back to Philadelphia to consult with the team and could potentially be activated on Friday. If not then, sometime very soon. Utley has been out since June 23 with a right ankle injury. He hit the disabled list with a nightmarish .532 OPS.

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The Trade the Phillies Had to Make / Goodbye, Colbert / Hello, 2017

Cole Hamels is a Texas Ranger.

This is OK. At least, it needs to be, because it’s reality.

Cole Hamels is probably the best homegrown pitcher in Phillies history. He’s irreplaceable in our hearts, and in franchise lore. Poor Aaron Nola! He’s going to be a really, really good pitcher for the Phillies for years, but if he becomes even two-thirds of what Cole Hamels was for the team, all Phillies fans will be beyond lucky.

But Cole Hamels is a Texas Ranger now (say that one more time without cringing), and we need to move on. The Trade, as we will likely come to know this event, is the final page in this glorious chapter of Phillies history. Cole gave us hope, and a 2008 World Series championship, and more than enough hot dog gun/mustache/fashion show photos to keep us in Hamels memes for the next few years.

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An Updated Look at the Phillies’ Minor League System

The Phillies made three trades leading up to the 4 PM EST deadline on Friday, sending closer Jonathan Papelbon to the Washington Nationals, starter Cole Hamels to the Texas Rangers, and outfielder Ben Revere to the Toronto Blue Jays. Coupled with trades made last year to eschew Jimmy Rollins, Marlon Byrd, and Roberto Hernandez, the Phillies continue to bolster a minor league system that should now rank among the ten-best in baseball.

Just how much progress have the Phillies made? Let’s take a look at their updated top-30 from MLB.com.

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Cole Hamels Traded To Texas

We knew it was a real possibility, but any hope that the Phillies ace would remain in Philadelphia after the trade deadline has been extinguished. According to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News, the deal is final:

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Is Jonathan Papelbon A Future Hall of Famer?

The Phillies traded closer Jonathan Papelbon to the Washington Nationals yesterday, ending the right-hander’s four-year stint in Philadelphia after signing a record four-year, $50 million contract in November, 2011. Though he’ll be remembered more for his antics and media sound bites, Papelbon more than lived up to expectations given the size of his contract, compiling a 2.31 ERA with 123 saves, 252 strikeouts, and 52 walks in 237 2/3 innings with the Phillies. He leaves as the franchise leader in saves, displacing Jose Mesa.

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