The team is finally together. The Phillies have brought in all their signings, and the players are getting their reps in at the plate and in the field. More importantly, Nicholas Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber are already making a name for themselves in red pinstripes.
The new dynamic duo for the Phillies’ lineup has already smashed home runs for the Phightin’s in the first couple of games. The new and improved Phillies are making an impact, but what will be the cause for concern this season?
Phillies Phans know well that anything can happen during a season. The Liberty Bell swings both ways, but are we swinging to victory or regretting more decisions in the front office?
The main concerns for this squad are defense and injury. The Phillies’ defense has been a cause for concern around this Spring Training, mainly when routine flyballs and errors occur. Defense can mean winning and losing a critical game in the playoffs or on the way to the playoffs.
So, the Phillies need to practice their fielding to be at least in the top 20 in defense this season to compensate for their shortcomings.
The injuries that the starting lineup and rotation could face would cripple the season. The Phillies have brought back Ronald Torreyes, Nick Maton, Johan Camargo to fill out their bench of back-ups, but will they be enough to keep the Phils in the Phight? The Phillies already lost Luke Williams to the Giants, and there are not many other minor leaguers who could be ready to back up certain positions given injuries.
The outfield will be sparse with Mickey Moniak, a healthy Odubel Herrera, and Adam Haseley returning if Castellanos, Schwarber, or Harper have to sit. The cause for concern is real! Kyle Schwarber, Rhys Hoskins, and Zack Wheeler are the players to worry about. These three are injury prone but also crucial to the Phillies’ success this year.
If one of the starters drops out, the next person up is Hans Crouse, who might not handle the majors like Spencer Howard was not able to take on last year. Phillies’ pitching will be problematic because of the bullpen’s lack of effectiveness over the past few seasons, but tossing in injury might take the Phillies out of contention.
This is a negative outlook on a hypothetical scenario, but Phillies Phans can only hope that none of these things happen, and if some do that, the Phillies can persevere through it.
Castellanos and Schwarber are incredible signings to strengthen the Phillies lineup. This could be one of the most potent and dangerous offensive outputs in the National League, if not the whole of Major League Baseball. It all depends if it works fluidly, like Dave Dombrowski and the front office have constructed the team this year.
The lineup needs Alec Bohm, Didi Gregorius, and Matt Vierling to step up and perform to complete the team. These three players are the ones to watch out for a bounceback or building off-season. This team could shock the NL East and the rest of the league with its potential, and now it’s time to finally show off.
The starting rotation is stable to get the Phillies to the playoffs and make a deep run, but it is all about their durability. Wheeler, Nola, Gibson, Suarez, and Eflin seem to be trending upwards to being ready for the season ahead. Despite Wheeler having a setback, he will rejoin the rotation and be able to contribute this April for the regular season.
The back-ups to this team will be necessary, but it would be nice to see a Phillies team of starters actually stand on their own two feet and perform up to their contract and what the city craves in them. This team can do it! It is the Phillies’ year!
Philadelphia is a city in need of a playoff birth from its baseball team. There needs to be more promise in Philly sports outside of the Sixers and the Union. Philly needs more well-rounded hope in their sports, and the Phillies, after an 11-year hiatus, need to reemerge as a strength in this city.
Photo: Jose F. Moreno/The Philadelphia Inquirer