With 19 games in the books, it's time to take a look at the most valuable Phillies of the early going. We begin with a few of the usual suspects:
1. Cole Hamels - Of the Phils' nine wins, Hamels is responsible for three. He has been incredibly sharp over his first 26 1-3 innings, allowing 24 hits and posting an NL-leading K/BB ratio of 10/1 (30/3). With Cliff Lee's current circumstance in mind, Hamels' performance going forward will only become more crucial for the Phillies over the next two weeks.
2. Roy Halladay - The only reason Halladay isn't No. 1 is because we kind of expected the dominance he's exhibited thus far. He's logged 30 innings over four starts, going 3-1 with a 1.50 ERA and just 27 baserunners allowed (19 H, 8 BB), and he is yet to surrender a long ball. Halladay's faced 118 batters so far this year, and you can literally count the number of hard-hit balls on one hand.
3. Hunter Pence - Without Pence, there isn't a single hitter to truly fear in the Phils' current lineup. He has battled through some early-season shoulder issues to drive in a team-high 11 runs, and despite his .268 average, he is the toughest out in the order.
4. Carlos Ruiz - His worth behind the plate goes without saying, but it's been Ruiz's bat that has provided the real value. He's a legitimate threat at the bottom of the order, hitting .303 with five extra-base hits and five RBIs, and he's one of the toughest guys to strikeout on a team that seems determined to let opposing pitchers throw as few pitches as possible.
5. Freddy Galvis - Sure, his numbers read the same as Drew Silverman's softball slash line (.200/.238/.317), but would you rather have Michael Martinez or Pete Orr playing everyday? Galvis has played a terrific second base, and he offers a legitimate defensive shortstop to spell Jimmy Rollins. Plus, he knows how to bunt, he can run a little bit and he makes his knocks count. Of his 12 hits, five have gone for extra bases and he's tied for fifth on the team with five RBIs.
Jonathan Papelbon has been pretty darn good over his first eight innings as a Phillie, allowing just one run and converting all six of his save opportunities. Though we've only seen him close a single one-run game, it is heartening to see that combination of intensity and stuff on the mound in the ninth.
Laynce Nix has made it obvious that he will be a factor this year. His 23 at-bats have pretty much all been solid, and his .652 slugging percentage is tops on the club. After two years of Ross Gload rolling ground balls over to the right side, it's nice to watch Nix take hearty hacks from the left-handed batter's box. He looks to drive the ball and he is a sneaky good defender.