The 3 Biggest Needs for a Successful Phillies Season
The Phillies had an underwhelming season in 2020, finishing at 28-32 and 3rd in the NL East. The shortened 60 game season was a weird year, but nonetheless, the team still had their obvious struggles. A terrible bullpen and big droughts from important players played an impact in an extremely average year. Heading into 2021, the Phillies have potential. With the re-signing of Didi and JT, multiple small bullpen arms, and a few bench bats, I would say right now they look better on paper than they did last year. But it’s all about what they put on the field, and these are my top 3 biggest needs for a successful Phillies Season.
- Bullpen Consistency
An absolute dumpster fire is one way to describe the Phillies bullpen last season. With no consistency, blowing games that should’ve been won, and not supporting great starting performances was the bullpen’s middle name. Although last year’s bullpen was the biggest weakness, the team has added some arms this offseason and got a few back healthy. Archie Bradley was one of the bigger signings this offseason, posting a 2.95 ERA and 28 saves in 221 appearances over the last 4 years. He adds depth to the closer position, which also includes Hector Neris, a long time Phillies late game pitcher/closer. Hector has an all time of 72 saves with the team, with a 3.38 career ERA with the team, with 422 total strikeouts. Although Hector hasn’t always been fantastic with the team, he’s been a guy that the Phillies always fall back on, and I feel like a breakout Hector season is on it’s way. Jose Alvarado is another name, posting an all time 3.46 ERA with 161 total strikeouts. Alvarado pitched 4 years in an elite Rays pitching staff, meaning he brings experience and a good arm to Philly to help put this bullpen where it needs to be.
2. Elite Defense
Defense is a very forgotten part of the game, as I feel like all we focus on these days is big bats and offense. The Phillies haven’t always been an elite defensive team, although they have some great defensive players. Part of that comes with not having a set centerfielder, and the battle of Roman Quinn vs Adam Haseley could eventually come down to who is more reliable in arguably the most important position on the field. Another part of the issue is your 1st Basemen Rhys Hoskins with some big struggles over the year. I feel Rhys will start to develop a lot more at 1st, knowing that is officially his spot and he isn’t going anywhere. The big bats are always important, but as they say in sports, “defense wins championships”, and if you can’t play defense in the MLB, your team can only go so far.
3. Impactful Hitting
The Phillies have a very deep lineup if their bats are on, and there isn’t any reason to doubt this teams hitting looking at this team on paper. Cutch, Hoskins, Harper, Realmuto, Didi, Segura, Bruce, Kingery, Quinn was the opening day starting lineup, and there is a very good chance that the lineup won’t change from 1-6, based on the new season. Adding Alec Bohm’s big bat and huge impact to the lineup definitely won’t hurt, as he is set to have a huge year for the team at 3rd Base. Cutch/Hoskins/Harper/Realmuto/Bohm/Didi as your first 6 is absolutely disgusting, and if they can get their bats hot on a consistent basis, there is no reason that this team can’t make a run for the playoffs with those 6 leading the way.
Pitchers and Catchers report to Clearwater, Florida today for the start of Spring Training and I couldn’t be any more excited. Getting to watch the duo of Nola/Wheeler, being caught by JT, the new bullpen guys, Eflin developing into a Solid 3rd Starter, and more are just a few things I’m excited about for tomorrow. This team can compete if they play to potential, but they’re going to need those 3 aspects of their game to be at an elite level if they want a chance in the toughest division in baseball.
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