PHILLIES 2017 LIKELY LINEUP
PHILLIES PITCHING TO LEAD IMPROVEMENT
However, the biggest place to find a more reasonable bump would be on the mound. The Phillies have a group of talented young pitchers. Getting them to pitch as if they belong in the big leagues is the key.
At the top of the rotation, there is no reason to believe that, again pitching for a free agent contract, should not repeat his solid performance of a year ago.
has been nothing but solid since coming to the Phillies. He and Hellickson should provide the Phillies with a reliable 180-200 innings each in the 2017 season.
It is after them that the increases in performance become vital. First in line is. He has all the talent of a front-line starting pitcher. A step up in command and control should elevate him to at least a #2 starter level.
will turn 23 years old at the end of January, and should be ready to break camp as an NL Rookie of the Year candidate next season. His actually stepping up to that level would be another big piece to the increased victory total puzzle.
The final rotation place should come from, assuming that he is healthy. If he is, the righty has already proven that he can be a productive mid-rotation force. If not healthy, then either or is going to need to step in and show that they can be counted on as at least a reliable 5th starter.
The bullpen looks to already be improved on paper thanks to the signings ofand . If the Phillies go with as the closer, they can support him with those two, returnees and , and more.
DIVISIONAL OPPONENTS ARE IMPROVED
If the chips all fall into place with the pitching, and the returning hitters step up their games just a bit, the Phillies could again see an eight-game bump in the standings.
One thing that may make it more difficult even if the Phils do get those results is their divisional competition. Every team in the NL East is making moves to improve measurably next season.
The last place Atlanta Braves move into a new ballpark. With an influx of veteran starting pitchers, the Braves could at least temporarily leapfrog the Phillies in the standings next year.
It will be a big year for managerand his staff. They are going to need to ensure that the club does not regress, no matter how the personnel issues play out. It is their job to get and keep the players performing at a high level.
As the summer of 2017 winds down, the next steps in the Phillies’ rebuilding plan need to be unfolding. This has to be the final season that the club enters spring training without actually hoping to win on the field.
Fans are going to be chomping at the bit to see the debuts ofand , and more from and . It will be up to those prospects to push for big league jobs.
With solidified starting pitching, an improved bullpen, and marginal offensive improvement the Phillies can expect to push up their win total in 2017. It may not mean an actual move up in the standings, but it will still be improvement. That is what is important at this point.