Phillies Season Preview

After finishing 87-75 and clinching a spot as the third Wild Card team, the Philadelphia Phillies embarked on a magical postseason run last year. Their Cinderella run had them beating National League powerhouses such as the defending World Series champion Atlanta Braves and the red-hot San Diego Padres, bringing Philadelphia its first World Series appearance since 2009. Although the Fightins fell to the ever mighty Astros, they are poised for another World Series run. 

One of the main reasons for positivity about the upcoming season is the signing of shortstop Trea Turner. He inked an 11 year, $300 million deal after turning down a massive offer from San Diego. Turner will bring power, speed, and run-scoring ability to an already powerful lineup. 

Touted prospect Bryson Stott, who replaces beloved Jean Segura, will move to second base. Stott was a strong defender last year, rotating between shortstop and third base.

Alec Bohm remains at third base. He had a league-average offensive year in 2022 but it was his best to date. His best numbers still may be ahead, having gained around 10 pounds of muscle heading into spring training. 

For a position where teams want power, Bohm might have a successful year. He has the power to reach or even surpassing the 20 home run mark. Edmundo Sosa will provide utility around the infield and will play third on days when Bohm is the designated hitter. 

Three-time All Star J.T. Realmuto remains the best all-around catcher in baseball. His ability to hit 20 home runs and steal 20 bases, given his position, is special. Realmuto is now 32 years old so it’s possible Realmuto will steal less to take care of his legs, but we can still expect him to continue to be the league’s best fielding catcher. 

At first base, Rhys Hoskins was the clear choice to be the everyday starter. However, he suffered a torn ACL in a spring training game on March 23. Hoskins has been a mainstay in the middle of the Phillies’ lineup since 2018. He has had 4 seasons of 25+ home runs. His loss may hurt more than expected, but he did come off a career low OPS. As of now, it is expected that Darick Hall, who also has some power but is not as competent on defense, will start at first. 

Kyle Schwarber, who led the National League with 46 home runs in 2022, will anchor left field. With the MLB outlawing shifts, Schwarber should increase his batting average while still hitting 35+ home runs yet again. However, Schwarber posted -13 outs above average in left. 

Nick Castellanos will stay in right field, but he is coming off one of his worst years offensively. 

Castellanos is known for his power but he only hit 13 home runs last year. He had a career low OPS of .694. After the Phillies shelled out $100 million to sign him, Castellanos was a big disappointment. Without Hoskins and with Bryce Harper out, maybe until June, Castellanos’ bat must bounce back to help buoy the lineup. 

Patrolling center field will be Brandon Marsh, who is the opposite of his outfield counterparts. Marsh is a league average fielder without much hitting ability. He still is only 25 years old, so he could turn into an average hitter. 

In the bullpen, the Phillies’ biggest move was signing veteran starting pitcher Taijuan Walker to a four year, $72 million contract. Walker is coming off one of his best years. He will be an upgrade over Zach Eflin, whom the Phillies let walk. Walker is a reliable arm who can pitch 150+ innings. Given the nature of pitchers’ arm durability, having Walker will be helpful for a team whose pitchers threw a lot of pitches in their World Series run. 

Ranger Suárez will follow behind Walker, but he is currently dealing with a forearm issue. If Suárez is healthy, he is one of the better fourth starters in the league. The hype around top-prospect Andrew Painter took a hit when GM Dave Dombrowski announced Painter will be sidelined with an elbow injury, one that could lead to Tommy John surgery. Bailey Falter will be the back end of the rotation. Michael Plassmeyer or Christopher Sanchez will see innings in a similar role. 

Dombrowski does not usually spend on the bullpen but this offseason, he signed lefty Matt Strahm and eight time All-Star Craig Kimbrel. Dombrowski also traded for another lefty, fireballer Gregory Soto, from the Detroit Tigers. Jose Alvardo and Seranthony Dominguez both agreed to two year extensions and will remain pivotal pieces in the bullpen. 

With Harper’s eventual return and the consistency of Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler, the Phillies are set for another run, but the NL East is still a challenge, which may make the Phillies a Wild Card team yet again.