30/30 BRKDWN – Philadelphia Phillies

Brendan "Seven Costanza" Welshoff
Head of MLB/Podcast Host

The 2021 MLB season will be here before we know it. Pitchers and catchers reported on time, Spring Training is underway and we might have a full 162 game season with fans — hopefully. Between now and the start of Opening Day, we plan to BRKDWN each team’s offseason reviews and what to look forward to this upcoming season. Next, the Philadelphia Phillies.


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Key Additions

LHP Jose Alvarado (Trade)

RHP Brandon Kintzler (Free Agent)

RHP Sam Coonrod (Trade)

C JT Realmuto (Re-Signed)

SS Didi Gregorious (Re-Signed)

LHP Matt Moore (Free Agent)

RHP Archie Bradley

Key Losses

RHP Brandon Workman (Free Agent)

RHP Jake Arrieta (Free Agent)

1B/OF Jay Bruce

2020 Look Back

28-32 .467 W% Finished 3rd in NL East, Missed the playoffs

Runs: Bryce Harper (41)

Home Runs: Bryce Harper (13)

Avg: Alec Bohm (.338)

Slg: Bryce Harper (.542)

ERA: Zack Wheeler (2.92)

K’s: Aaron Nola (96)

WHIP: Aaron Nola (1.08)

Opp. Avg: Aaron Nola (.205)

*Min 20 IP

Projected 2021 Season

The Phillies are an example of a lopsided team. Whether you go all in on hitting and offense or pitching and defense, it’s typically not a great recipe for success. Case in point; the Phillies. Philadelphia has been projected as a playoff team the last few years due to how loaded this lineup is. However, pitching needs to at the very least be passable in order to make the postseason. Philly has made some moves to add depth to the rotation with Matt Moore and Chase Anderson, but the bullpen has gone through an extreme makeover with new G.M. Dave Dombrowski, who added veterans throughout. With a revamped bullpen, this club should be much better than in 2020. The main thing holding this team back, in my opinion, is the division that they play in. The Phillies should be better in 2021, but not quite a playoff team. They are +4000 to win the World Series, +2000 to win the N.L. Pennant, and +875 to win the NL East.

*odds via DraftKings

Projected Lineup

LF – Andrew McCutchen

1B – Rhys Hoskins

RF – Bryce Harper

C – JT Realmuto

3B – Alec Bohm

SS – Didi Gregorious

2B – Jean Segura

CF – Scott Kingery

P – Pitcher

Projected Rotation

  1. Aaron Nola
  2. Zack Wheeler
  3. Zach Eflin
  4. Matt Moore
  5. Chase Anderson

Offense

306 Runs (6th), 82 Home Runs (11th), .257 Team Avg. (9th), .439 SLG (10th)

Philadelphia’s saving grace of 2020 comes down to this offense. The Phillies can score a ton of runs and have a very deep and potent lineup. It’s a luxury to have a catcher like Realmuto provide average and power, especially in a National League batting order, which adds much needed length considering the DH spot will be gone this year. The lineup again should rank in the top 10 in most categories after resigning their big bats while also employing one of the deeper benches that consists of guys like Brad Miller and Matt Joyce. The offense wasn’t the problem in 2020 and it shouldn’t be a cause for any concern heading into 2021. The team will score runs; preventing runs will be a whole different story.

Pitching

5.20 Team ERA (27st), 532 K’s (10th), 1.48 Team WHIP (27th), .277 Opp. Avg (29th)

Pitching is a sore subject for most Philly fans and it is for good reason. Aside from Wheeler and Nola, this team was horrendous. The real achilles heel for Philly came from the bullpen. It’s not hyperbole to say the bullpen in 2020 was the worst in baseball because it in fact was the worst relief corps in the entire league with an ERA of 7.11 – only second worst all-time to the 1930 Phillies who posted an ERA north of 8.00. Key additions of Alvarado, Bradley, Kintzler, and Coonrod should help immensely. In regards to the rotation, Philadelphia needs a big bounce-back campaign from Zach Eflin to help solidify that middle of the rotation. There is some upside with Matt Moore joining as well after a stint overseas as well, but the real success will once again hinge on seasons of Wheeler and Nola.

Top 10 Prospects (via MLB)

  1. Spencer Howard RHP ETA 2021
  2. Mick Abel RHP ETA 2024
  3. Bryson Stott SS ETA 2022
  4. Francisco Morales RHP ETA 2022
  5. Rafael Marchan C ETA 2021
  6. Luis Garcia SS ETA 2023
  7. Casey Martin SS ETA 2023
  8. Johan Rojas OF ETA 2023
  9. Erik Miller LHP ETA 2022
  10. Simon Muzziotti OF ETA 2022

This organization traded most of its talent away in blockbuster deals and it is evident when you have only one prospect in the top 100 with Spencer Howard. Philly has had mixed results in developing young arms so take Howard’s progress with a grain of salt. It’s likely he will be called on this year at some point as well so fans should be able to get a look at the top prospect in action sooner than later. Fans should not be too attached, however, to any names on this list. That’s not a dig at the talent they have in the minors, but more about the man running the show at the top; Dave Dombrowski. If Dave Dombrowski had a walk-up song it would be “Wrecking Ball” because this man gives zero shits about the future. Nobody is safe from being traded on this team and the same goes for the minor leaguers, even Howard.

Moves That Need To Happen During The Year:

1) Stay the course … whatever the course is

I alluded to Dombrowski steering the ship for Philly earlier, but let’s focus this part on him. Dombrowski has built some amazing teams throughout his career and the common theme with Dave Dombrowski is that he will rip through the farm system and overpay for whoever he wants. The luxury tax is a fugazi to this man and that’s unfortunate because once he commits to these big pay days, he leaves, making it someone else’s problem to pick up the pieces (see Boston and Detroit). It’s a strange fit that Dombrowski took the job with Philly considering the current picture of the NL East. Philadelphia will have a hard time competing in this division this year and likely for the next few years. The organization is in a tough spot after shelling out massive contracts to Harper and Realmuto. They have to win soon to justify the spending, but it likely won’t be in 2021. With a barren farm system and a veteran-heavy team, Philly needs to continue to build for its future which is heresy to Dave Dombrowski.

Final Thoughts

If it seems as if I’ve bashed this team, it’s because I have a bit. That’s not to say Philly is a bad team, though. The Phillies would likely be a runaway train in the NL Central, but due to geography being a thing, they have to play the Braves, Mets, and Nationals all season which will severely limit how good this team’s record will end up looking. I like them to come in 4th place this season and because of that I think they’re still a few years away from being a playoff team.