As writer's are prone to do this time of season, Hal McCoy wonders whether the 2009 Reds could be the 2008 Phillies next season. He poses several questions to that end:
Can Edison Volquez be Cole Hamels? Why not?
Can Brandon Phillips be Chase Utley? Why not?
Can Joey Votto be Ryan Howard. Why not?
Can Jay Bruce be Shane Victorino. Why not?
Can Francisco Cordero be Brad Lidge? Why not?
Can Alex Gonzalez be Jimmy Rollins? Why not?
Can Hal be serious? Let's break it down...
The Wagon vs. Hamels is a decent comp. Volquez was close to Hamels this season, so it's not without merit. In fact, I would say the Reds have a better starting rotation overall than the Phillies, especially if you assume that Harang is finally recovered from his San Diego relief appearance (we need a name for that game).
BP vs. Utley is not even close. Both players had a typical season compared to their career numbers and Utley topped BP by 31 points in batting average, 68 points in OBP, and 93 points in slugging, all while playing arguably better defense than BP. Phillips has a long way to go to be Chase Utley. A long way.
Votto vs. Howard is closer than I expected. Howard (in 2008) definitely has the power advantage, but Votto makes up the difference in batting average and OBP. I think there is very little chance of Votto getting close to Howard's best seasons or matching his power output, but I think it's plausible for him to match Ryan Howard in 2008 in overall production.
Bruce vs. Victorino is an odd comp because they are very different players. I don't believe that Bruce will match Victorino's production in 2009, but I think eventually he'll be the better player.
CoCo vs Lidge isn't close this year. Lidge had an incredible, nearly flawless year. Not that CoCo can't do it, or that he has to do it, but what Lidge did this year rare. Sure, relief pitchers - especially closers - pitch so few innings that it could be duplicated, but it's very doubtful. What's more important though is that the Reds will need to match the entire Phillies bullpen. They were close this year, but there is still work to do. It will be tough.
Sea Bass vs. JRoll is ludicrous. Gonzalez had a career year in 2007 and didn't play at all in the 2008. Rollins's career numbers are still better than Gonzalez's best season and 2008 was a fairly average season for Rollins. I think Rollins is overrated, but I also think that Gonzalez isn't even close.
So, what do you think? Can the Reds go to the series next year?