The Philadelphia Phillies finished 2017 last in the NL East with 96-losses. Only the Tigers and Giants had worse records in the Major Leagues. This is a team that hit rock bottom. Fortunately for the Phillies, with the bottom in the rearview mirror, this is a team looking to improve and get back to dominating the division like they did a decade ago.
For now, the Phillies will need to keep their eyes on the little victories as the 2018 season is more about development of young players than it is about the total number of wins and losses. That comes later. Still, the wins should go up and losses go down. Even so, this is still a below-.500 team without a few changes.
The Phillies do remain a possible landing spot for an arm or two in free agency. Such an addition would accelerate the rebuild quite a bit. Either way, this is a team on the way up, but still with quite some ways to go.
2017 Record: 66-96
2017 Moneyline Record: -11.79 Units
2017 Over/Under Total Record: 69-82-11
Current Odds To Win NL: +4400
Current Odds To Win NL East: +985
Regular Season Win Total: 76.5
Gone are the days of place holders filling spots in Philadelphia. Now, the Phillies are tasked with sorting through their young talent and finding who can be contributors to the next winning Phillies team.
J.P Crawford, Jorge Alfaro, Nick Williams, Aaron Altherr and Rhys Hoskins all reached the Majors in 2017 with varying levels of success, but each bring their own level of optimism for the team in 2018.
Offensively, this team should improve on its middling offense from 2017. The Phillies finished the 2017 season with 690 runs scored, the fourth fewest in the NL.
In 50 games last year, Hoskins made a huge impression, hitting 18 homers, driving in 48 and producing a 1.014 OPS. To thank him, the Phillies signed a first baseman in free agency—Carlos Santana—and are moving him to the outfield.
Santana should be a nice addition for the Phillies. In a day and age where power is king, Santana can hit the ball out, but his best skill is his ability to put together quality at bats and get on base. Santana will try to lead this young team by example with how he takes his at bats. He’ll provide his leadership from the heart of the order.
From top-to-bottom, the Phillies lineup looks solid. Cesar Hernandez is an underrated bat at second. He doesn’t have great power or great speed, but can be a 15-15 guy and is a good hitter with a strong OBP. He and Odubel Herrera will bat atop the order. Herrera will be asked to take a step forward after an okay, but inconsistent campaign.
After Hernandez and Herrera, Santana and Hoskins will provide some thump in the order with Nick Williams, Maikel Franco, J.P. Crawford and Jorge Alfaro all getting at bats behind them.
Franco has been frustrating for the Phillies for a few years. After his rookie season, he’s taken steps backwards. He has immense talent, but hasn’t been able to harness it over a full season. The Phillies are hopeful the new coaching staff—headed by Gabe Kapler—and the presence of Santana will help him harness that talent. If not, this could be his last year in Philly.
To go along with the young and talented crop of position players, the Phillies also have a young group of starting pitchers supported by a solid, reinforced bullpen.
Hector Neris is the team closer after taking the role last year and pitching to a 3.01 ERA and recording 26 saves. He’ll be supported by Tommy Hunter and Pat Neshek with a number of other options including Fernando Abad, Luis Garcia and Adam Morgan.
This is a solid pen. They’ll probably need an upgrade on Neris in the ninth before they’re ready to compete, but for now, the pen will do.
In the rotation, Aaron Nola is the Opening Day starter. Nola took a leap forward last year, going 12-11 with a 3.54 ERA and 1.208 WHIP. His FIP was 3.27 and he notched 9.9 strikeouts per nine innings. His peripherals were even stronger than his final numbers, showing further room for growth.
The addition of a Jake Arrieta, Lance Lynn or Alex Cobb would help deepen the rotation, but for now, the other four along with Nola will come from the Jerad Eickhoff, Vince Velasquez, Nick Pivetta and Ben Lively. Zach Eflin, Jake Thompson and Drew Hutchison are other options.
Thompson was the best of the group last year. He pitched in 11 big league games, eight starts, with a 3.88 ER, despite a 1.554 WHIP and 5.92 FIP. Eflin and Pivetta each had ERAs north of six while Eickhoff, Lively and Velasquez all had their own troubles. Eickhoff’s stuff can flatten out and become too hittable, Lively lacks the swing and miss, and Velasquez struggles with command. He walked 4.3 per nine last year and allowed 15 homers in just 72 innings of work.
The Phillies are starting to put together a solid lineup. They’re offense will be improved. Now, they need the pitching to follow suit. They have Nola. They have some bullpen options. They need a couple other starters to step up before they can be a threat to compete. Can any of these arms harness their stuff or will the pitching upgrades need to come from outside the organization.
|Baltimore Orioles||Baltimore, Maryland||Oriole Park at Camden Yards|
|Boston Red Sox||Boston, Massachusetts||Fenway Park|
|New York Yankees||New York City, New York||Yankee Stadium|
|Tampa Bay Rays||St. Petersburg, Florida||Tropicana Field|
|Toronto Blue Jays||Toronto, Ontario||Rogers Centre|
|CENTRAL||Chicago White Sox||Chicago, Illinois||Guaranteed Rate Field|
|Cleveland Indians||Cleveland, Ohio||Progressive Field|
|Detroit Tigers||Detroit, Michigan||Comerica Park|
|Kansas City Royals||Kansas City, Missouri||Kauffman Stadium|
|Minnesota Twins||Minneapolis, Minnesota||Target Field|
|WEST||Houston Astros||Houston, Texas||Minute Maid Park|
|Los Angeles Angels||Anaheim, California||Angel Stadium|
|Oakland Athletics||Oakland, California||Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum|
|Seattle Mariners||Seattle, Washington||Safeco Field|
|Texas Rangers||Arlington, Texas||Globe Life Park in Arlington|
|EAST||Atlanta Braves||Atlanta, Georgia||SunTrust Park|
|Miami Marlins||Miami, Florida||Marlins Park|
|New York Mets||New York City, New York||Citi Field|
|Philadelphia Phillies||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania||Citizens Bank Park|
|Washington Nationals||Washington, D.C.||Nationals Park|
|CENTRAL||Chicago Cubs||Chicago, Illinois||Wrigley Field|
|Cincinnati Reds||Cincinnati, Ohio||Great American Ball Park|
|Milwaukee Brewers||Milwaukee, Wisconsin||Miller Park|
|Pittsburgh Pirates||Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania||PNC Park|
|St. Louis Cardinals||St. Louis, Missouri||Busch Stadium|
|WEST||Arizona Diamondbacks||Phoenix, Arizona||Chase Field|
|Colorado Rockies||Denver, Colorado||Coors Field|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||Los Angeles, California||Dodger Stadium|
|San Diego Padres||San Diego, California||Petco Park|
|San Francisco Giants||San Francisco, California||AT&T Park|
March 29-31: at Atlanta Braves
April 2-4: at New York Mets
April 5-8: vs Miami Marlins
April 9-11: vs Cincinnati Reds
April 13-15: at Tampa Bay Rays
April 16-18: at Atlanta Braves
April 19-22: vs Pittsburgh Pirates
April 24-26: vs Arizona Diamondbacks
April 27-29: vs Atlanta Braves
April 30-May 2: at Miami Marlins
It’s not a bad opening month for the Phillies who had a strong start to the season last year. Philadelphia is part of a rather weak division with the Washington Nationals the only team to have finished above-.500 last year. The Phillies don’t play Washington in April. Instead, they’ll get the Braves, Mets and Marlins to open the year. They’ll take on the Braves twice more before May.
Amongst the other teams on the schedule for the Phillies in the first month include the Reds, Rays and Pirates. In fact, the only team they face before May that posted a record above .500 in 2017 is the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Arizona series doesn’t start until April 24.
The Phillies are positioned well to get out to a strong start and begin to tell a different story. While it’s still likely to be a long season in Philadelphia, a good start could be the start of an upward climb after years of decline.
At Bookmaker Sportsbook you will always find offers various types of betting lines for every Major League regular season game, plus hundreds of futures and baseball prop bets.
Sign up now for your free baseball account, it’s as easy as 1-2-3.
MLB Betting Specials: MLB Sportsbook Bonus
MLB Baseball Odds: Live MLB betting odds
Sports Betting Help: How to bet on sports
Sportsbook Rules: The Sports Betting Rules
Sports Betting deposits: View MLB Baseball Deposit options