Philadelphia Phillies 2020: Scouting, Projected Lineup, Season Prediction

How will things shape up in the NL East?

The heat is on in Philadelphia. Full blast. Ownership has spent over $700 million on free agents these last three winters to fortify a team that has not made the playoffs or had a winning season since 2011. Heads started rolling with the firing of manager Gabe Kapler in the fall, and more will tumble if this desperate club doesn’t make some serious noise in a tough division in 2020.

 

“No questions asked, it’s time to win right now,” general manager Matt Klentak says from his hot seat.

 

The organization’s urgency was reflected in the hiring of manager Joe Girardi, who should be able to squeeze enough wins out of this evolving roster to at least have them hearing footsteps in Atlanta, Washington and New York — and maybe save a job or two in Philadelphia.

 

Opposing Scouts Size Up the Phillies

Philadelphia Phillies logo“I loved their offseason signings, from manager Joe Girardi to the new players. It’s rare to add as dynamic an offensive player as Didi Gregorius on a one-year contract, and he makes them better on defense by bumping Jean Segura to second. Zack Wheeler was a good get, too; people were surprised at the money, thinking the Phillies must expect him to be better than he is. But if he does what he did for the Mets the last two seasons — and I think he will — they’d sign up for that. That rotation still looks weak after Wheeler and Aaron Nola; they thought they’d get someone to step up from the trio of Vince Velasquez, Zach Eflin and Nick Pivetta, but only Eflin has become even a league-average starter. I wouldn’t trust Jake Arrieta, either; his elbow may be healthier this year, but how many bullets does this guy have left? Bryce Harper had a solid debut season in Philly, and he looked a lot more focused on defense, making intelligent decisions and smart reads. This will be a very telling year for him, though.”

 

Beyond the Box Score

 

Fill the Need The Phillies are hoping Andrew McCutchen comes back strong from an ACL tear at 33. They really missed him in the leadoff spot last year. McCutchen had a .378 on-base percentage — second best in the majors among leadoff men — when he went down on June 3. Phillies leadoff men had a .295 on-base percentage the rest of the season, 29th in MLB.

 

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Help Me, Geeks Zack Wheeler received a better offer (reportedly from the White Sox) than the five-year, $118 million deal he signed with the Phillies. He chose Philadelphia for geography — he’s from Georgia and his fiancee from New Jersey — and familiarity with the NL East. He says he is also eager to see if the Phillies’ growing analytics team can impact his performance in a similar manner to how Houston’s group helped Gerrit Cole take his game to new heights. “I keep going back to Cole because everyone keeps comparing me to him,” Wheeler says. “This offseason, I really thought about it. I watched him pitch in Pittsburgh, and he was a great pitcher then, but he did something to take that next step, and now he’s elite, the best pitcher in the game. He has a lot of the same stuff I have repertoire-wise, and I think he figured it out and took that next step, and that’s also where I want to go.”

 

Harper Mania Within 48 hours of signing Bryce Harper on Feb. 28, 2019, the team sold 180,000 tickets. The Phils enjoyed the largest bump in attendance in the majors, from 2.1 million to 2.7 million, and local TV ratings jumped 21 percent to a seven-year high. Harper’s jersey ranked second in official sales to Aaron Judge’s, according to MLB and the MLBPA.

 

Experience Needed The Phillies added plenty of experience with the hiring of new pitching coach Bryan Price. He’d previously been pitching coach with Seattle, Arizona and Cincinnati. He also managed the Reds. Joe Dillon, formerly Washington’s assistant hitting coach, is the new hitting coach. The Phils also made a significant hire when they added Brian Barber to lead amateur scouting. He’d previously been No. 2 in the Yankees’ amateur scouting department and was influential in identifying Judge as a first-rounder.

 

Good Company J.T. Realmuto won his first Gold Glove in 2019. He also picked up his second Silver Slugger award. He became just the 10th catcher to win both in the same season, joining Gary Carter, Pudge Rodríguez, Yadier Molina, Salvador Perez, Benito Santiago, Jason Varitek, Russell Martin, Joe Mauer and Lance Parrish.

 

Projected Lineup

 

LINEUP

LF     Andrew McCutchen (R)

C      J.T. Realmuto (R)

RF     Bryce Harper (L)

1B     Rhys Hoskins (R)

SS     Didi Gregorius (L)

3B     Scott Kingery (R)

2B     Jean Segura (R)

CF     Adam Haseley (L)

 

BENCH

C/1B  Andrew Knapp (S)

OF     Roman Quinn (S)

UT     Josh Harrison (R)

OF     Jay Bruce (L)

UT     Phil Gosselin (R)

 

ROTATION

RHP    Aaron Nola

RHP    Zack Wheeler

RHP    Jake Arrieta

RHP    Zach Eflin

RHP    Vince Velasquez

 

BULLPEN

RHP    Hector Neris (C)

LHP    Jose Alvarez

LHP    Adam Morgan

RHP    Seranthony Dominguez

LHP    Ranger Suarez

RHP    Nick Pivetta

RHP    Victor Arano

RHP    Edgar Garcia

 

2020 Prediction: 4th in NL East

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