The biggest surprise: Cameron Rupp
In his first season as an everyday catcher, Rupp took the role and ran with it. He leads the team with 17 doubles, which is also a career-high, and is batting .287 with 26 RBI. He’s just two more RBI shy of matching last season’s total in which he played 81 games. The 27-year-old has delivered some big extra base hits, and he’s quickly finding a place among the organization.
The most entertaining player to watch: Odubel Herrera
If he was on another team, it may be easy to hate Herrera. His bat flips can be uncalled for, his disagreements with the umpire may seem childish and his flamboyant personality on the base paths and in the field can rub you the wrong way; yet, Herrera is a Phillie, and the Philadelphia faithful have clung to him. He’s backed up all of this, as well, being the lone representative for the Phillies in the All-Star Game. Keep doing you, Odubel.
The player who proved us wrong: Peter Bourjos
Who would have thought Bourjos would be batting .274 at the break after owning a .192 average as recent as June 11? The outfielder caught fire in mid-June and never cooled off. Since June 11, he is batting .385 with 16 runs. He wrapped up June with an astounding .410 average. He’s not only proven himself as a potential trade chip at the deadline, he may very well have done enough to solidify a spot in the organization for a few more years to buy more time for the prospects.
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The pitcher with the best second half upside: Jerad Eickhoff
The way he pitched down the stretch is a very promising sign. At one point he boasted a 2-7 record, but he wound up going 4-3 to finish out the second half. More impressively, he had a 2.23 ERA in six June starts after entering the month with an ERA over 4.00. His most recent start left a sour taste in his mouth, but that doesn’t take away from the optimism surrounding the righty.
The hitter most likely to have a big second half: Maikel Franco
Did you see that 471-foot homer at Coors Field on Sunday? Franco may have batted just .232 in May and June, but he came out swinging in July to the tune of a .450 average in just 10 games. He also hit five home runs, the same amount he had in 24 games the month before. The third baseman seems all but a lock to keep his bat going into the backend of the summer.
The player we can pull for in the second half: Ryan Howard
Take it in, Phillies fans. This will most likely be the final stretch of games in red and white pinstripes for Howard. His time in Philadelphia may have ended poorly, but his prime years were awe inspiring.