Philly’s Offense Improves as Well
The Phillies offense wasn’t good by any stretch last year as their -134.9 Fangraphs offensive value was the worst in all of the major-leagues. PECOTA’s projections for the offense this year aren’t much friendlier as it projects the Phils to finish with a .244/.298/.387 slash line in 2017.
If Philadelphia’s offense is to take a step in 2017, they will need serious contributions from veteran outfielders Howie Kendrick and Michael Saunders. Both were brought in to improve upon the team’s outfield that was downright awful besides Odubel Herrera. With Kendrick expected to be in the top of the order and Saunders right in the middle, both will be key cogs of the offense this year.
Perhaps the biggest offensive question mark is third baseman Maikel Franco. After a strong rookie season, fans had high hopes for the then-23 year old heading to 2016. Unfortunately, Franco did not produce the results expected of him as he finished with a .733 OPS.
Franco is now working with hitting coach Matt Stairs to improve upon his dismal .306 on-base percentage and below-average 6.3% walk rate. The hope is that with the additions of Saunders and Kendrick as well as the emergence of first baseman Tommy Joseph, the offensive burden won’t be entirely on Franco’s shoulders and he will be able to boost his offensive performance.