Phillies 2020 MLB Season Breakdown!

Baseball is finally back and I can honestly say I have never been more excited for a MLB season in my life time. If you haven’t heard the news. This year is a 60 game regular season compared to the usual 162 games. The fightin Phils kick off this years campaign with a 7:07 first pitch home at Citizen Bank Park against the Miami Marlins.  But, how will the entire year play out for 1st year manager Joe Girardi. Let’s breakdown the Phillies by these categories: Lineup, Starting Pitching, Bullpen and Prediction.

Line up:

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According to RotoChamp here the projected Phillies opening day lineup

  1. LF-Andrew McCutchen
  2. RF-Bryce Harper
  3. C-JT Realmuto
  4. DH-Jay Bruce
  5. 1B-Rhys Hoskins
  6. SS-Didi Gregorius
  7. 3B- Jean Segura
  8. 2B-Scott Kingery
  9. CF-Adam Haseley

With a universal DH putting into to play for this MLB season all NL teams will likely produce more runs per game. Adding Didi will also help as the last time he was on the field healthy he hit 27 home runs. There’s a lot more depth on this Phillies roster compared to other years as you have player like Roman Quinn, and Neil Walker has quality utility guys off the bench. If McCutchen can continue is production before unfortunately tearing his ACL in 2019 (OBP% 349 and drawing 43 walks) Then there should be plenty of RBI opportunities for Harper and Rhy’s. The Lineup top to bottom to me is top 10 in baseball no doubt and if Bryce can have another extremely hot start like last year and Realmuto continues to be consistent both has a bat and defensive catcher then I see no reason why this lineup can’t average over 5 runs per game (AVG 4.77 in 2019).  The 7-9 batter of Segura, Kingery, and Haseley in my opinion need to all his atleast 270 and the only player that really worries me is Rhys as last year he went through a major funk in the 2nd half of the season and plays a below average glove at 1B. The possible X-factor for the Phillies lineup is their top prospect Alec Bohm. Currently at 3rd Bohm will eventually shift over to 1B but is bat is undeniably great. Bohm as the potential to have a Hoskins rookie campaign type season where he just bangs 15+ home runs this season. It would not shock me at all if he ends the year at 1st and Hoskins is either traded or becomes the full time DH.

Starting Pitching:

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  1. Aaron Nola
  2. Zack Wheeler
  3. Jake Arrieta
  4. Zach Eflin
  5. Vince Velazquez

This to me a make or break year for most the of the starting rotation. Which includes newly acquired Zach Wheeler as he will be the #2 following Aaron Nola. Nola did not have his best stuff last year going 12-7 with a 3.87 ERA. Those numbers aren’t bad, but they are not good enough for a #1 on a playoff contending team. We stole Wheeler away from the rival mets who right now seem like they need another arm with Stroman and Syndergaard out. Wheeler has had really solid second half on the seasons (2.83 ERA) but has certainly has his struggles in the 1st half (4.69 ERA). The Phils are going to need 2nd Half Wheeler if they are going to compete for a playoff spot. This is the last year of Arrieta’s awful contract so this is a make or break year for him and Eflin and Velazquez have been nothing but inconsistent since they stepped foot in the majors. The Phillies have discussed having a 6 man rotation and that is where X-factor and top pitching prospect Spencer Howard comes in. Howard who is going to start the season in Triple A for service time purposes will find his way to the majors this year. Posting a 2.03 ERA last season Howard has quickly rose through the Phillies farm system finishing his season in AA. A 4 pitch pitcher Howard ability to reach 99 MPH and hot with a dirty 12-6 curve he has potential to become a future High 2 low 1 starting pitcher in the MLB. His Changeup needs to improve but he is more than ready in my mind to suit up for Phillies this year and could have Vance Worley impact for this season.

The Bullpen:

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This to me is easily the biggest weakness of the 2020 Phillie’s.  There is not a single pitcher in this pen that I trust to get the job done. Neris is by the far the best but as a closer he has been inconsistent over the past 2 seasons. He did post a 2.93 ERA which hopefully he carries on to this season. Sadly, Seranthony is out for the year with Tommy John so we have set up man at the moment. The biggest hope is that Nick Pivetta who as good stuff but could never put it together consistently to be a starter can work some of his magic on a shorter set of work and become the versatile guy where you can plug him at any inning for relief. I have no faith in guys like Adam Morgan, Jose Alvarez, and Tommy Hunter. If the Phillies do not make the playoffs this unit will be the reason why it is something they must address wither at the trade deadline or in free agency.

Final Prediction:

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The Phillies over/under according to Vegas is 31.5 wins. This season they are playing 40 games against the NL East and  20 games against the AL East. This sounds dumb but this opening series vs the Marlins is very important for the Phillies. A 2-1 start at least is going to need to happen if they want to compete. I truly do believe that the Phillies have a top 10 lineup in baseball I just don’t think the pitching especially the bullpen is going  to be consistent enough to make a playoff push, especially in a division with the Braves, Nationals, and Mets who all have far better pitching. Yet, this year is different, a team after 60 games last year was 2nd in the National League at time. I think Bryce has an MVP type season (18-1 odds by the way) and Nola and Wheeler pitch just well enough to get the Phillies over their projected total to a 35-25 mark placing 3rd in the National League but securing the 2nd Wild Card spot.

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