The Philadelphia Phillies look to improve on their 2019 season, where they closed out their campaign with a 81-81 record.
Prior to the 2019 season, the organization signed superstar outfielder Bryce Harper. The Phillies signed Harper to a $330 million, 13-year contract. Despite the star status, Harper began his Phillies career as a disappointment.
Critics and the Philadelphia fan base were flaming. Harper finished the season batting a poor .260 average but he sent the ball over the fence 35 times and knocked in 114. The Phillies moved on from their head coach Gabe Kapler and signed legendary Yankees coach Joe Girardi.
“I am well aware of the passion of baseball fans here,” Girardi said, “and I’ve lived it as a player and a manager… this is a special place.”
Girardi is beyond excited to lead the young squad. The Phillies made some moves on the mound, signing Zack Wheeler to a 5-year, $118 million deal to expand their rotation and complement ace Aaron Nola. Nola went 12-7 in 2019 with a 3.87 Earned Run Average (ERA).
Turning 27 this summer, the ace’s talents will only improve. First basemen Rhys Hoskins had a great season in 2019 hitting 29 home runs with 85 runs batted at just 26 years old. The Phillies are known for their young talent and are the youngest team in the MLB at 27 years old.
Last year they scored 97 more runs than 2018 with 677, pushing them to fourtenth in the league. The Phillies ranked twenty-second in home runs with 215 and fifteenth in RBI with 742. They slipped to seventeenth in ERA with 4.53 and 36 saves.
These stats are subpar and the Phillies need to improve in these categories in order to reach the playoffs in the 2020 season.
Former Yankee Shortstop, Didi Gregorius, will play in the City of Brotherly Love this season along with newly signed veteran Josh Harrison. Gregorius signed a one year, $14 million deal this off-season. Last year, Didi suffered a shoulder injury and was limited to just 82 games played. However, he batted .238 with 16 home runs and 61 runs batted in. The additions will empower the starting lineup for the Phillies.
Francisco Liriano was the only player signed into the bullpen this offseason. There are high hopes for an improvement in the bullpen from being ranked seventeenth in the majors last season. Philadelphia was in twenty-second for opponents batting average at .261. David Robertson will be back and healthy in 2020 which should boost the bullpen’s strikeout numbers and deepen their staff.
The Phillies look to reach the playoffs with their numerous off-season additions. Gregorius will help in the starting lineup and on the field with his glove in the shortstop position. Joe Girardi looks to begin his Phillies coaching career on a high note and compete in the National League East. The Phillies have the talent in Bryce Harper and Aaron Nola, but these two cannot do it alone. Will utility players step and back up the Philadelphia stars?