In a developing season, the Philadelphia Phillies finished last in the NL East with a 66-96 record, obviously missing the playoffs. The Phillies had a big year of free agency ahead of them, with the team trying to break out of their rebuild. Let\’s take a look at what they did this offseason.
Notable additions: RHP Jake Arrieta, 1B Carlos Santana, RHP Pat Neshek, RHP Tommy Hunter, LHP Fernando Abad, RHP Fransisco Rodriguez, RHP Drew Hutchison, INF Adam Rosales, OF Collin Cowgill, 3B Will Middlebrooks, INF Ryan Flaherty.
Notable subtractions: SS Freddy Galvis, 1B Tommy Joseph, OF Hyun-Soo Kim, RHP Joaquin Benoit, INF Andres Blanco.
What they did well: They got Arrieta on a very cheap deal. Santana was a pretty good signing as well.
What they did bad: Not much. Signing Santana earlier makes the signing look bad, but it isn\’t.
Sneaky sleeper: Both the sneaky sleeper and incoming outbreaks are really just both incoming outbreaks, but I couldn\’t find another sneaky sleeper better than Nick Williams. Williams, one of their better prospects, along with the incoming outbreak, J.P. Crawford, Scott Kingery and Rhys Hoskins, who will all get a large amount of time this season (maybe not Kingery). Williams was called-up in 2017, and played well, despite being overshadowed by Hoskins\’ dominance. Williams hit .288 with 12 homers in just 343 Plate Appearances. This year\’s potentially starting right fielder, Williams will need to be taken seriously.
Incoming outbreak: In that list of upcoming prospects is the likely starting catcher, Jorge Alfaro. Alfaro was also called up last season, and hit .318 in 29 games. There isn\’t many good catching prospects out there, but keep an eye out for Alfaro and the Indians\’ Fransisco Mejia.
Unsuspected slump: In a big year for him, Jerad Eickhoff kind of flopped, with a 4.71 ERA in 128 innings. If Eickhoff had a lower ERA, he might have a chance at the number two spot. Not as much anymore.
Blue-chip Bopper: He may of had a bad season, but the correct answer is still Maikel Franco. Franco hit just .230, with 24 homers in a year he was predicted to become a star. This could be Franco\’s year.
Astounding ace: Well, Eickhoff and Franco both failed to take off in 2017, but Aaron Nola didn\’t. He showed everyone that he was the ace of the staff (even though they went out and got Arrieta) with his 3.54 ERA and 9.9 K/9. He also led the team in innings pitched. Nola was truly an ace.
Here\’s their projected roster, starting with their lineup.
2B Cesar Hernandez (S)
CF Odubel Herrera (L)
3B Maikel Franco (R)
1B Carlos Santana (S)
LF Rhys Hoskins (R)
RF Aaron Altherr (R)
SS J.P. Crawford (L)
C Jorge Alfaro (R)
Here\’s their rotation.
RHP Aaron Nola
RHP Jake Arrieta
RHP Jerad Eickhoff
RHP Nick Pivetta
RHP Vince Velasquez
RHP Ben Lively
Hector Neris (R) is their closer, with Pat Neshek (R), Tommy Hunter (R), Luis Garcia (R), Jake Thompson (R), Edubray Ramos (R) and Adam Morgan (L) in the bullpen.
C Cameron Rupp (R), OF Nick Williams (L) and OF Roman Quinn (S) are on the bench.
Finally, for my prediction, I think the Phillies, a rising team, will not make the playoffs in 2018.