Five Phillies Hot Takes Ahead of the 2020 Season
We are a few short weeks away from the start of the 2020 MLB season. Ahead of the 60 games shortened season, here are five Phillies hot takes as they get ready to take the field.
1) Bryce Harper will be top three in the MLB in home runs
Year one of the Harper era in Philadelphia started slow but ended on a high note. Now that Harper has settled into his new home, he will be focused on getting the Phillies back in a position of contention.
Now that Harper has had the time to settle in with his new team he should be able to hit the ground running this season. Plus, if how he performed last season is any indicator of how this season was going to go then the MLB picked a perfect time to resume.
In the second half of last season Harper showed everyone why he was offered the mega-contract he signed in the offseason. He hit 19 of his 35 home runs in the second half of the season, 11 in August alone.
A shortened season means it is all about who is going to be able to get hot fast in regards to stat leaders. Based on how Harper was able to lock in and finish off last season scorching hot, there is a real chance he is a league-leader in homers this season.
2) Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler become a top pitching duo day one
The Phillies went and addressed a major issue this offseason, they went and got a high-level pitcher to back up Aaron Nola in the starting rotation. After signing Zack Wheeler this past offseason the Phillies are now holding pocket aces, and I think they take the league by storm if given the chance.
It is still up in the air if Wheeler will be with the team at the start of the season. His wife is expecting their first child and Wheeler has stated he wants to be there for the birth of his first child. If Wheeler does take part in this shortened season, I think he and Nola become a top pitching duo in the MLB.
One thing that they both have going for them is that they were much better in the later something months. Through 11 starts in July and August last year, Aaron Nola picked up six wins and had an ERA of 2.53. Wheeler also closed this past season strong, having a 2.83 ERA in 12 starts after the All-Star break for the Mets.
We have already seen that Aaron Nola has the stuff to be a top pitcher in the MLB, and now he has a legitimate partner in the rotation. The two are set to dominate the National League for the Phillies for years to come.
3) Alec Bohm has a Hoskins-esq debut
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will not be a minor league season this season. With the expanded roster this year the Phillies have opted to give top prospect Alec Bohm a chance to earn a spot on the big league club. Not only will he earn a spot on the 30-man roster, but he will also make an impact day one.
With the universal DH coming to all of baseball this year, there is now a spot for Bohm to slide into the lineup and start facing big-league pitching. I think we see Bohm burst on to the scene in a similar way we saw Rhys Hoskins do a few years back.
Bohm had a good season in the minors last season, hitting .305 with 21 home runs and 80 RBI. He also was doing well in spring training before the shutdown. In 22 spring training at-bats, he hit .409 and drove in three runs.
The Phillies already have some big bats in their lineup, and the meat of the lineup is about to have a lot more pop in it.
4) The Phillies will have one of the best and deepest lineups in the MLB
Yeah, you read that right. The Phillies were already going to have a deep lineup, but the addition of the universal DH gives them the possibility to have an even stronger lineup.
We saw how strong the Phillies were last year when their lineup was at full strength. Now that Andrew McCutchen has fully healed from his ACL injury, the Phillies will have their everyday leadoff hitter back.
The Phillies also rolled the dice on signing Didi Gregorius who has now had extra time to heal himself. He will now add to the middle of a lineup that already has Bryce Harper, Rhys Hoskins, and J.T. Realmuto. Not to mention the back of the lineup could have hitters like Scott Kingery, Jean Segura, and potentially Alec Bohm.
It will be interesting to see how manager Joe Girardi assembles this lineup, but there is no denying that the Phillies are going to have one of the deepest lineups in all of baseball this season.
5) The Phillies will come close to 40 wins this season
If all of the takes above pan out then this one should become a reality. The Phillies now have two top-level starters, an almost fully healthy bullpen, a lineup with the ability to drive in runs on anyone, and a new manager looking to make a statement. There is a chance the Phillies have a top record in all of baseball this season.
It is not going to be easy as the Phillies have been about a .500 team the last two seasons, but this team has a chance to turn the corner. The Phillies are going to have a tough road ahead as their 60-game schedule is not the easiest, but they can still turn the baseball world on its side.
We are just a few weeks away from the start of play this season, and Phillies fans have a lot to be excited about. For now, all we can do is wait and watch this team prepare to make a statement.