Philadelphia Phillies 2019: Scouting, Projected Lineup, Season Prediction

How will things shape up in the NL East?

Despite an inconsistent offense and the worst defense in the majors, the Phillies put together four good months — followed by two horrendous months — and improved by 14 wins in 2018.


Management promised a busy offseason as it looked to take the next step in 2019, but vaulting from 80 wins into the playoff picture will depend largely on the improvement of a returning core that surrounds a few newcomers. The Phillies do have a star in right-handed pitcher Aaron Nola and a couple of potential stars in Rhys Hoskins and Seranthony Dominguez. But unless they add another one before Opening Day, the Phils are probably a middle-of-the-pack club in the National League East. 

 

Opposing Scouts Size Up the Phillies

Baltimore Orioles logo“They overachieved early, but they’re not nearly as bad as they finished. The Jean Segura trade helps them in four ways — it gives them a reliable leadoff man at shortstop who consistently gets a lot of hits; it lets Rhys Hoskins play first base, where he belongs; it opens left field for Andrew McCutchen, who brings a clubhouse presence they need and who showed with the Yankees that there’s plenty left in the tank; and they got a couple of relievers — Juan Nicasio and James Pazos — to lengthen their bullpen. I think now is when they find out if Jorge Alfaro is an everyday catcher. Scott Kingery set expectations too high with that great spring training last year, but they still believe in him as a solid bat who can play all over. Aaron Nola’s command is as good as anyone’s in the game. He’s got a wicked curveball, a good changeup and he’s added a couple of miles to his fastball since he came up. I’d like Jake Arrieta more as a mid-rotation guy than a No. 2, but he’ll have days where his stuff looks electric and overpowering.”


Beyond the Box Score

Historic Collapse The Phillies were 64–49 and led the NL East by 1.5 games over Atlanta on Aug. 7. They went 16–33 the rest of the way and finished with a sixth straight losing season at 80–82. Though the collapse was not as jarring as the one in 1964, when the Phils blew a 6.5-game lead with 12 to play, it was still historic, as no team had ever been 15 games over .500 as late as 113 games into a season and not finished with a winning record.


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All Righty Then Adding some lefty balance to the rotation is a need, because the Phils have used a lefty starter only three times since Sept. 28, 2016. All three of those starts were made by rookie Ranger Suarez last season. All told, the Phils went 267 straight games without using a lefty starter. That was the longest such streak in franchise history, but not close to the longest in baseball history, as the Dodgers used a righthander for 681 straight starts from 1992-97.


Hey, We Know You Seven weeks after the 2018 season ended, and despite pitching being an overall positive, management abruptly dumped pitching coach Rick Kranitz because it had received inquiries from other clubs on assistant pitching coach Chris Young, who was ultimately promoted to the head job. Kranitz, popular and well-liked by his pupils, was not out of work long. He was quickly hired as pitching coach by the division rival Braves and will come face to face with his old club 19 times, including Opening Day.


A Difficult Loss Manager Gabe Kapler lost his Malibu home during the California wildfires in November. “My family is in really good shape. Everybody’s healthy,” Kapler said. “We lost a physical thing that we can rebuild. We’re disappointed. We’re human beings. You lose a home, and that's tough. But we used it, and we continue to use it, as an opportunity to shine light on people who don’t have the resources that we have and who aren’t able to rebuild as quickly as we are.”


The Big Three The Phillies will honor Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, the three big stars from their 2008 World Series title team, in separate ceremonies during the 2019 season. With Utley playing his last game for the Dodgers in 2018, all three are now retired.


Shape Up Odubel Herrera reached career highs in homers and RBIs in 2018, but his batting average and OPS were career lows. He hit .189 with a .530 OPS over the final two months. Kapler wants Herrera to get into better shape. “I will consider it a failure on my part if Odubel does not come into camp in his peak physical condition,” Kapler says. “If you look back a couple years, you see a version of him that is fast, athletic, explosive.”


Projected Lineup

 

LINEUP

2B  Cesar Hernandez (S)
SS   Jean Segura (R)
RF  Odubel Herrera (L)
1B  Rhys Hoskins (R)
LF  Andrew McCutchen (R)
3B  Maikel Franco (R)
C    J.T. Realmuto
CF  Roman Quinn (S)

 

BENCH

INF Scott Kingery (R)
OF  Nick Williams (L)
OF  Aaron Altherr (R)
C    Andrew Knapp (S)

 

ROTATION

RHP  Aaron Nola
RHP  Jake Arrieta
RHP  Zach Eflin
RHP  Nick Pivetta
RHP  Vince Velasquez

 

BULLPEN

RHP  David Robertson (C)
RHP  Seranthony Dominguez
RHP  Hector Neris
RHP  Tommy Hunter
RHP  Pat Neshek
RHP  Victor Arano
LHP  Adam Morgan
LHP  James Pazos

 

2019 PREDICTION

4th NL East 

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