Phillies April Has Been Full of Surprises

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Apr 20, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; The Philadelphia Phillies mob right fielder Peter Bourjos (17) after his walk off single during the eleventh inning against the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park. The Philadelphia Phillies won 5-4 in the eleventh inning. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 20, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; The Philadelphia Phillies mob right fielder Peter Bourjos (17) after his walk off single during the eleventh inning against the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park. The Philadelphia Phillies won 5-4 in the eleventh inning. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /
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Phillies
Apr 20, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; The Philadelphia Phillies mob right fielder Bourjos (17) after his walk off single during the eleventh inning against the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park. The Philadelphia Phillies won 5-4 in the eleventh inning. (Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Philadelphia Phillies have been one of baseball’s biggest surprise teams in the 2016 season’s first month.

Through the Phillies first 21 games they’ve put together a record of 11-10 heading into this afternoon’s game in Washington. That’s good enough for a solid third place in the NL East behind the division’s co-favorites, the Washington Nationals and New York Mets.

After a wretched 0-4 start that saw the club outscored by a 26-12 margin they’ve rebounded to go 11-6 over the next 17 games. In this stretch the Phillies have defeated both the Mets and Nationals six times against four defeats.

This was always billed as a rebuilding year for the Fightins, a year in which the front office has downplayed expectations for the team on the field. Player development rules the day with the Phillies organization. The team has several near-ready Major League ready prospects who will probably make their debut sometime in 2016.

More from That Balls Outta Here

While the 2015 version of the Phillies were 8-13 at this point, the still-needy current version of the Phils are 11-10 and surging. The winning record has been largely built on improved pitching, with the offensive attack still lacking.

Saying the Phils have trouble scoring runs would be an understatement, as evidenced by the teams -25 run differential. But despite the lack of offense from multiple spots in the lineup, they are surprising opponents in a variety of ways, finding creative ways to win. The roster still has some journeymen and 4A-type players, while those Phils top prospects get ready to take over the positions those 4A players now occupy.

Despite the holes on the 2016 Phillies, the wins surprisingly continue to mount. Let’s review some of the more pleasant surprises with six reasons why the 2016 Philadelphia Phillies are better than their recent predecessors.

Next: Phillies 2016 First Key: Catching Tandem

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