Breaking down the current state of the Phillies

Through the first quarter of the MLB season, there have been a few surprises. Few surprises are more shocking than the 2016 Philadelphia Phillies. As it currently stands, the Phillies are tied for the 4th best team in the NL with a record of 25-19, which also keeps them among the top ten in all of baseball to this point in the season. Although the season is still very young, and we still have about 75% of the season to go, this Phillies team is impressing many people across the league.

As I’ve written about before, the Phillies have a very bright young team with a great future ahead, but if they keep playing at their current rate their future may be much sooner than most people expected. The Phillies boast the league’s 10th best ERA with a team ERA of a 3.75. The Phillies bullpen has also been one of the best in baseball as the unit leads the entire league in converted saves with 18 thus far. One of the most under rated, and telling, stats is the WHIP which stands for walks and hits per inning pitched. The Phillies currently rank 8th in all of baseball in WHIP, which tells the story of their start so far.

The Phillies could have many more wins if they had a more consistent and productive season from their hitters. The team as a whole is only batting .230 on the year, which is good for second worst in the entire league. In addition to their poor batting average, the team has only hit 31 home runs on the year, which also ranks them as the second worst in the league. Things, somehow, get worse for Phillies hitters though. The team is ranked dead last in the league in RBI’s to this point, with only 127 through their 43 games, or just 2.95 per game. The offensive unit is also third to last in OPS, which combines the team’s on base percentage and slugging percentage.

The Phillies are a mere middle of the road team in terms of fielding percentage, with a .983 fielding percentage. The catchers for the team have allowed an astonishing .750, or 75%, stolen base percentage which is 12th in the NL and 22 in all of Major League Baseball. However, defensive efficiency measures a team’s outs recorded in accordance to the number of opportunities the team has to make an out. In this category, the Phillies rank 8th best the MLB and 3rd best in the NL.

With the addition of another solid bat or two, whether it be a veteran not on the team or a young guy earning a call up, this Phillies team could make some serious noise down the stretch of the season and deep into the Postseason. As I’ve written before, the Phillies have some young bats in Nick Williams and J.P. Crawford who could be ready for an advanced role very soon. The Phillies also have one of the deepest minor systems in all of baseball as well, so a trade for a veteran bat that would send some good prospects to another team is definitely a possibility for this young team as well.

 

*All stats used in this article were gathered from MLB.com, and are valid through 5/21/2016*

The future of the Philadelphia Phillies.

By: Ryan Welsh

The Phillies rise to becoming a powerhouse was well noted from 2007 until 2011. In 2007, the Phillies overcame a 6 game deficit in less than a month to overtake the Mets for the division, but lost to the Rockies in the first round of the playoffs. In 2008, however, the Phillies went on a magical run which ended in a world series win over the Rays. In 2009, they would make another world series appearance, losing to the Yankees in six games on the back of Hideki Matsui (remember him?). In 2011, the Phillies last legitimate contending team, the team won 102 games and lost to the eventual world series winners in San Francisco. That’s where this story officially begins. We’re here to talk about the Phillies farm system, one which is nationally ranked in the top 5 by most “experts” in baseball.The Phillies minor league system features a ton of young talent. From J.P. Crawford to Nick Williams, the Phillies have top level bats waiting in the wings. The Phillies also have a ton of pitching, too. Jake Thompson, former No. 1 overall pick Mark Appel, and Zach Eflin highlight a young crop of pitching talent in the Phillies system. This system seemingly checks all of the boxes you’d want from a young group of players. In addition to all of the names mentioned above, Jorge Alfaro a power hitting C/1B, Andrew Knapp a smooth swinging 1B/C, and Roman Quinn a speedy CF/2B are all highly touted prospects that are within 2 years of making a splash at the major league level. There are plenty of young guys in the system that have high grades, but are still a few years away, too. Carlos Tocci, Cornelius Randolph, Franklyn kilome and Adonis Medina highlight a crop of top tier talent that fit that bill of being few years away from making their presence felt at the big league level.

One future Phillie I’ve decided to leave off this list is a man who is on the cusp of making his major league debut for the Phillies very soon. He could be the missing piece to the puzzle of the Phillies future, but is very much a wild card. Tommy Joseph was acquired by the Phillies in the Hunter Pence trade a few years ago. At the time, Joseph was widely regarded as a top catching prospect with a great bat on the fast track to a bright major league career. Some health issues including a couple concussions has stunted his growth at the minor league level very much, and have led to a position change as well. Joseph now plays first base for the Lehigh Valley Ironpigs and is making his presence felt in a big way. Through 26 minor league games Joseph is hitting a blistering .352 with 6 homeruns and 17 RBI’s. Over his last 10 games Joseph is hitting .297 with 2 HR and 7 RBI’s. Joseph is 24 years old, and can help solve one half of the Phillies platoon issue at 1B this season between Ryan Howard and Darin Ruf, who have combined for a .175 batting average with 8 HR and 19 RBI. So, as you can see, the Phillies haven’t gotten much production from the 1B position thus far, and Joseph has gotten it done while hitting in a limited role at AAA.

The Phillies rise to becoming a powerhouse only lasted for a short five years from 2007-2011. However, the Phillies have set themselves up very nicely for a much longer run with all of the above mentioned prospects expected to be in the majors within just a couple of years. Already established young stars in Aaron Nola, Vince Velasquez, Mikel Franco and Odubel Herrera are sure to be excited to get some of these future Phillies in camp very soon. With 8 total prospects ranked within the top 100 in all of baseball, the Phillies future is shining bright.
Update: Tommy Joseph was called up by the Phillies on Friday, making his major league debut against the Cincinnati Reds. Joseph went 0-2 with a walk, a run scored and two strikeouts. Darin Ruf was sent down to make room for Joseph on the 25 man roster.