Photo courtesy of SB Nation
By: Brian Cranston
The Phillies made some big moves this offseason, adding first basemen Carlos Santana formerly of the Cleveland Indians. The Phillies also bolstered their starting rotation, signing coveted free agent Jake Arrieta late in the offseason.
The Phillies feature a pretty solid lineup, anchored by last year’s breakout star Rhys Hoskins. Hoskins, who was called up in the middle of 2017, raked in his time in the majors. Hoskins hit 18 homeruns in 170 At bats. Hoskins hit all 18 of those home runs in his first 34 games in the majors, which is the most in MLB history through 34 career games. Philadelphia’s lineup will also include Odubel Herrera, young third basemen Maikel Franco, newly added Carlos Santana, and underrated 2nd basemen Cesar Hernandez. JP Crawford, one of the Phillies top prospects, will start at shortstop after having a brief stint in the MLB last year in which he struggled mightily. Another young Prospect who had made the Phillies opening day roster is Scott Kingery, a versatile infielder who in ranked the 35 overall prospect in baseball. Kingery stood out in spring training, and forced his way on the roster.
Pitching wise, the Phillies have a solid young group. Besides Jake Arrieta, the Phillies feature Aaron Nola, Vince Velasquez, Nick Pivetta and Ben Lively. All four of these pitchers are under the age of 26, giving the Phillies a hope to win now and in the future. The bullpen for the Phillies is a little thin, as Hector Neris and Pat Neshek are the go to late inning guys. Edubray Ramos, Tommy Hunter and Luis Garcia also are viable options for the Phillies out of the pen.
The Phillies are looking to make some noise this year in the NL East, after missing out on the postseason the last 6 years. The Phillies long rebuild is starting to come to a head, as it seems as though the Phillies feel like they can compete in 2018 and have as good of a roster as they have had in a long time. I do not think the Phillies are quite there yet, and feel as though the Nationals and Mets are still the class of the division. However, do not be surprised if the Phillies hang around for a while, and turn some heads around the league. My prediction is the Phillies finish 3rd in the NL East, and outside of a wild card spot.
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