Marlon Byrd. Image Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports
The good news is that Jeff Sullivan of Fangraphs picked the Phillies to be the second most improved team in 2014. The bad news is, he still doesn’t expect the team to make the playoffs.
This isn’t especially in-depth analysis. Sullivan simply takes the team’s composite WAR from 2013 and compares it to Fangraph’s projected WAR for 2014. According to their projections, the Phillies are expected to be 12 WAR better.
Sullivan offers an explanation as to why the Phillies might improve:
"The Phillies, in a sense, are a positive regression case. They also added A.J. Burnett, Roberto Hernandez, Miguel Gonzalez, and Marlon Byrd, so while they also don’t project very well, they should be in the hunt a little longer. It pains me to say that the Phillies should be better for no longer having Roy Halladay. It pains me less to say they should be better for no longer having Delmon Young."
While it might not be an overwhelmingly optimistic take on the Phillies, it is a nice change of pace from reading about how much worse the Phillies are going to be simply because they’re an older team.