Are the Phillies division contenders?
The Phillies are more than division contenders.
I’m done with reading all of these same exact articles with the Phillies slightly improving by about 5 games (81 wins last year). The Phillies have the best lineup in arguably the toughest division. The Phillies are also coming into the season knowing their young star Alec Bohm could soon be up as early as May. The Phillies made a huge play this offseason by first letting go of their computer manager and then they went and got a real baseball manager, Joe Girardi. It’s very exciting to say the least. I felt the past 2 seasons the Phillies were way ahead of schedule and were let down due to terrible managing, although Gabe had his moments with the lineup and bullpen decisions due to his highly analytic method. Those seasons changed from High Hopes into “better luck next year” real fast.
Bryce Harper: overrated, overpaid, call him what you want just make sure you call him former MVP Bryce Harper. Thats exactly the standards he should be held too and that’s exactly the category he will be in again this year. MVP finalist. Bryce went on an absolute tear in the 2nd half of last season. Rhys Hoskins on the other hand not so much. It’s easy to sit here and blame Gabe Kapler, its the easy way out, but that’s exactly what I’m going to do! Blame Gabe and his ways. Rhys Hoskins’ swing was completely different and his whole approach going up the the plate changed since he first came up to The Show. Gabe wanted Rhys to start going both ways and it messed him all up. Perfect example is Carlos Santana, remember him? A guy who batted a career low .229 with the Phillies after signing a 3 year $60 million deal. He was traded to Seattle and then quickly dealt back to Cleveland shortly after. It’s crazy he was traded for twice after having such a down year. Well, the Indians manager Terry Francona clearly knows what he’s doing. Carlos Santana went on to win the silver slugger award and got 16 MVP votes. This brings me back to why Gabe departing is going to help out Rhys Hoskins and other players such as 29 year old Jean Segura, who had his worst year since 2015. Jean also will be back at 2B where he had his best season offensively at that position. Being comfortable is key.
The Phillies added some much needed pop after finishing in the middle of the pack at 14th in the MLB in Home Runs. Look for the Phillies to finish easily inside top 10 in Home runs this year. The Nationals got worse and so did the Braves. I don’t think any of them teams have a lineup as good as ours. Call me biased, call me crazy, just make sure you remember who told you first! Phils get a healthy Cutch back ,and another year of watching the best catcher (J.T Realmuto) in baseball do his thing behind the plate and at the plate. A player I’m really excited about this year is our 2017 8th overall pick Adam Haseley. Theres a reason he was called up in only 2 years after being drafted. The kids going to be good for years offensively and defensively. Haseley is good at hitting down the line both ways. Did I mention he’s good defensively? The kid robbed 2 homers in the final month of the season. He struggled in his rookie year and finished batting .265 with a .331 OBP. The NL East average at CF is .254 batting average and a .321 OBP. Haseley will be just fine in his first full season in the bigs. He’s going to be a doubles machine- mark my words.
Andy Lyons (Getty)
Now I know everyones probably thinking well what about our pitching? Well what about it? Aaron Nola (2017 Cy young candidate), Zack Wheeler, Jake Arietta finally healthy, and for what its worth, he threw a bullpen session last week and JT Realmuto told Girardi that was the best BP session he’s thrown since he’s been here. Then at 4 is a very under the radar guy Zach Eflin. Eflin had an overall good season with a low 4 ERA. He had a terrible June that really hurt his ERA and an offense who couldn’t hit to help him. The 5th spot in the rotation is up for grabs in spring training and I’m sure all of us as fans are hoping Vinny V and that curveball he found can finally get it together. We are also hoping for a leap from Pivetta. We all know Pivetta has the stuff, he just can’t put it all together. Spencer Howard, the Phillies beloved top pitching prospect should make his way onto the roster at some point this year. Hopefully sooner than later.
Bryan Price to me was one of the best low-key moves the Phillies made this offseason. He has a ton of success as a Pitching coach. Starting Pitchers have had some of their best seasons under Price; such as Jonny Cueto, , Freddy Garcia, Jamie Moyer and others. Price won pitching coach of the year in 2001 with Mariners. The Mariners that season tied the MLB season record with 116 in the win column. Price was a huge need for the Phils and I can’t wait for them to prove all of the doubters wrong. The Phillies finished 17th in SP ERA at 4.6, and the Braves finished at 4.2 with a first round exit in the playoffs. The Nats were 2nd in the MLB in ERA; proving that pitching is key and I believe the Phillies are a lot better on the mound than people visualize. Nothing I hear more than the Phillies bullpen is horrible. I get it they’re far from the best. All faith in Price to get the job done. Although the Nationals won the Fall Classic they finished dead last in bullpen ERA. Yes, below Baltimore; the Mets finished 6 spots infront of the Nats in BP ERA. So, save me the Phillies bullpen is trash take. They will make a move or 2 before the deadline and tighten things up.
Just get ready to watch all of the “Deep Phly” balls get knocked out of CBP! The Phillies this season are going to make some noise and surprise a lot of people. So, get on the wagon now and get ready for some baseball!
Red October is months away.