The Phillies’ return to relevance starts in a few hours and expectations are high for a team heavy on potential and young talent.
The Crossing Broad team weighs in with their predictions on what to expect from the Phillies this season. Check it out after the jump:
Phil: I am not a Gabe Kapler guy, at all, but literally anything will beat watching Pete Mackanin look into the middle distance while simultaneously trying to figure out if he pooped or just sharted for another six months. Kapler will take some time to figure out what this job entails. Thankfully for him, the division is just awful. Even the Nationals are just a very good team, and the accumulated stink of their playoff failures is unmistakable. This will be an uneven but fun season. It’s nice to be able to say that. 83-79.
Chris: I’ll go with 74-88 on the season. I also think an outfielder (Altherr or Herrera) and Cesar Hernandez are traded before the deadline.
Kevin: I don’t know enough about baseball to make a prediction, but I’ll say this instead – I’m just looking forward to having something interesting to watch this season. The only thing I tuned in for last year was Rhys Hoskins, but I’m 10x more dialed in this year with a new manager and some new studs on the roster.
Coggin: The Phillies should be vastly improved, but outside of Arrieta and Nola the starting pitching remains a big question mark. How will the outfield situation play out? Where will Kingery find playing time? Even with these questions the Phils SHOULD compete for a WC spot. How about 86 wins and an all-star season from Rhys for a prediction?! Be bold.
Russ: I was obviously an idiot savant about the Sixers. I don’t expect the same for the Phillies. Gabe Kapler, Jake Arrieta, Rhys Hoskins, and Scott Kingery give us all a reason to watch. As long as they can clobber the Nationals from time to time, I’ll be excited. With youth there’s growing pains, and the season should be no different. That said, it’s a new dawn for Philadelphia sports. 82-80. Then we get Bryce Harper.
Anthony: Gabe Kapler wants us to #BeBold, so here it is: The Phillies will make a very real run at a wild card spot this season. That’s right, this season. I believe in the young players here. Everyone is excited about Rhys Hoskins and Scott Kingery, and rightfully so. But I submit that J.P. Crawford could be the guy we are talking about the most as being a difference-maker.
I also think Aaron Nola is a legit top of the rotation guy (and you’ll see why this season) and I believe that one of the pitchers not named Nola or Arrieta emerges as a quality No. 3 this season (my money is on Nick Pivetta).
I still think they need a lefty somewhere in the rotation, have concerns about Maikel Franco and catching depth and I’m not quite sure how the Aaron Altherr/Nick Williams platoon is going to work, but that doesn’t mean the team can’t be fun and interesting.
Remember, from 2001-2006 the Phillies were really competitive and just missed the playoffs a few times as they lost some key September games – but that was when there was one less team making the playoffs than now.
I think these Phillies are like those Phillies teams. So I’ll go 85-77 and definitely in the hunt. A trade deadline acquisition can be the difference between making it or not. We’ll see.
Bob: I want to pick the Phillies to grab one of the wild cards in what I think will be a wide-open race, but it feels like that might be just out of the grasp of this team as it’s currently constructed. There are several “ifs” that need to break right for that to happen. Maybe they do, but I’m just not ready to go there. The starting pitching has received a boost with the addition of Jake Arrieta, but it’s still full of question marks—even Arrieta himself comes with legitimate uncertainty. The Phillies possess several talented young players, but none of them are established enough to say with any conviction that they will each take a step forward the way most expect them to this season. For that reason, I think they hover just above .500, keep it interesting into September, and fall just short. If, however, the team’s youth proves worthy of the hype, the front office has tremendous financial flexibility to add a significant piece that will get them over the hump. If that happens, then I just wasted 150 words because they are going to the playoffs. For now, let’s say 83-79, two games short of the postseason, and lots of fun nights at CBP.
Kyle: This is a turning point season. The Phils move from the doldrums of their awfulness to relevance. And they might actually be competitive. I don’t think competing for a Wild Card spot is out of the question. 80 wins.