Spring training is around the corner and barring any last second acquisitions *cough cough*, Kris Bryant, we have a pretty good idea of what the Phillies roster will look like heading into the 2020 season.
Philadelphia’s 2019 campaign was much of a disappointment after signing Bryce Harper to a record breaking deal and trading for JT Realmuto. But the team fizzled out in the 2nd half of the season, finishing 4th in the NL East at 81-81, missing the postseason yet again.
A handful of moves were made this offseason but how drastically has this Phillies team improved? Let’s take a look at what we can expect with the 2020 Philadelphia Phillies.
The Phillies weren’t a great offensive team in 2019 by any means but expect that to change this season.
Not only are the Phillies returning standout bats like Harper and Realmuto but they’ll also be getting Andrew McCutchen back from injury. And the offseason acquisition of DiDi Gregorius could prove to be worthy, as the power hitting shortstop should thrive in a ballpark like Citizens Bank.
Rhy Hoskins remains the biggest factor between this offense being elite or average though. Floating a bit below expectations after his rookie campaign in 2017, the Phillies first baseman must take that next step this season.
Also look for Scott Kingery to build off of an impressive 2019 and a possible Rookie of the Year campaign from Phillies top prospect, Alec Bohm, who should be able to make his way up to the majors this season.
Whether you’re talking about the starting rotation or the bullpen, it’s hard to feel confident with this pitching staff. Just like last year, it’s definitely Philadelphia’s most notable weakness and may be the ultimate difference between this team clinching the postseason or not.
Signing Zack Wheeler, who was viewed as one of the top three pitchers on the free agent market, was definitely a step in the right direction but after him and Nola at the top of the rotation, things are questionable.
Just like it went for Hoskins in terms of this team’s offense, Jake Arrieta may be the largest factor regarding this Phillies pitching staff. Since signing a big deal with Philadelphia back in 2018, Arrieta has been quite a disappointment. But if the former Cy Young could be even half of what he was during his stint with the Cubs, it won’t matter how the Phillies round out the rest of the rotation.
As far as the bullpen goes, it’s much of the same. Expect Hector Neris to lead the charge again, followed by guys like Seranthony Dominguez, who’s returning from injury, and JD Hammer.
Upgrade in Coaching
If we’re being honest, most of the Phillies fanbase wasn’t too fond of former manager, Gabe Kapler, and some players may even agree with that sentiment.
J.T. Realmuto: “I feel like a sneaky way the Phillies have helped us is the coaches they’ve brought in, the manager they brought in.”
— Scott Butler (@PhilsBball) February 8, 2020
Making the move to bring in a proven manager like Joe Girardi was huge for the Phillies. it shows that they’re committed to winning now and aren’t going to give 3rd and 4th chances to guys who are under performing. It’s a complete culture shock ranging from the clubhouse to on the field play.
Coming along with Girardi is Joe Dillon (hitting coach), Bryan Price (pitching coach), Juan Castro (infield coach) and a handful of others.
One thing that could be said about this Phillies club is that they’re a better team (on paper) than they were last year and there’s no arguing that. Just like any season though, it comes down to actually producing and winning games.
Being as realistic as possible, this Phillies team is more likely or not going to be fighting for a Wildcard spot. But I could see them taking the division crown as well. The Nationals lost Rendon, Braves lost Donaldson, the Mets are the Mets, and then there’s that other team in Miami.
Featured Image: AP Photo/Matt Slocum
Jordan is the founder of Sports Are Philly and a graduate of Misericordia University.
You can follow him on Twitter @darealjlaw.