9. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES
The Fightin’ Phils are fightin’ once again. Easily baseball’s biggest surprise team, the Phillies have pushed themselves three games over the .500 mark at 13-10 and into 3rd place in the NL East despite ranking just 23rd in MLB in runs differential.
The Phillies poor run differential is a bit misleading, however. They were outscored 19-10 while getting swept out of Cincinnati in the season’s first three games. They also were destroyed by Washington on back-to-back nights by a combined 17-2 mark a couple of weeks ago.
Since losing their first four games of 2016, the Phillies have gone 13-6. They paid Washington back for those earlier thrashings by sweeping the Nats in D.C. just the past week. This is clearly a team that is playing with much more moxie under manager Pete Mackanin, and with one of the top farm systems in the game, we should begin to see Philly show up more often in the Power Rankings.
The club is led offensively by 23-year old budding star 3rd baseman Maikel Franco, and rapidly improving 24-year old center fielder Odubel Herrera. But it is on the mound where the Phillies are making a difference. Starters Vincent Velasquez (24), Aaron Nola (23), and Jerad Eickhoff (25) are all young, talented, and just beginning to make their mark in MLB.
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