Phillies: How did the first half of 2017 compare to 2016?

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PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 6: Manager Pete Mackanin #45 of the Philadelphia Phillies walks to the dugout after making a pitching change in the ninth inning during a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citizens Bank Park on July 6, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Pirates won 6-3. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 6: Manager Pete Mackanin #45 of the Philadelphia Phillies walks to the dugout after making a pitching change in the ninth inning during a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citizens Bank Park on July 6, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Pirates won 6-3. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images) /
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With the first half of this MLB season complete, how did the first half of the 2016 Phillies season compare to the first half of the 2017 season?

After a pretty good first month of the 2017 season for the Phillies, it has all been downhill from there. The team finished the first half with a record of 29-58, which is the worst in the league.

This is extremely disappointing, as this was supposed to be a year where the team took a step forward, but so far it has been a giant step back in comparison to last season. In the first half of 2016, the Phillies had a much better record, finishing the first half at 42-48

The team has struggled with both their hitting and pitching all season, and rank at the bottom of the league in most categories. The highest ranking the team has in the major offensive categories is in batting average. The team ranks 24th for the first half of the season with a team average of .242.

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For home runs, RBI and runs scored the team ranks 27th with 89 home runs, 29th with 332 runs, and 29th with 316 RBI.

Pitching hasn’t been much better in the first half, as the Phillies rank in the lower half in ERA, strikeouts and opponent batting average. Their 4.63 team ERA is good for 21st in the league while they rank 26th in strikeouts with 656 and 25th in opponent batting average with an allowed average of .267.

However, while ranking in the bottom 10 in most major categories, they Phillies staff ranks 19th in earned runs allowed, after having allowed 399 runs in the first half.

When looking back on the first half of the season in 2016, the numbers were fairly similar in most categories, with the team actually slightly improving in most of the major offensive categories in 2017.

In 2016 the team had a slightly higher team average of .244, which also ranked 24th in the league in 2016.  For home runs, the team ranked better in 2016, ranking 23rd.  However the total number of home runs was exactly the same in both seasons, with 89 before the break.

RBI and runs are where the team slightly improved from 2016 to 2017. Although they still ranked 29th in both categories, the team had 311 RBI and 332 runs scored in 2016. The numbers would be 5 less RBI, and 4 fewer runs scored than so far in 2017.

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With regard to pitching, the team has declined in all major pitching categories over the past year. The team’s ERA is .28 points higher in 2017 compared to a 4.35 ERA in 2016 which ranked 15th. Earned runs allowed in 2016 were 384, which ranked 14th and were 15 less earned runs than this year.

Opponent batting average would be around the same in both years, with the 2016 average being .263 in comparison to this season’s .267 team average.

The biggest decline can be seen in strikeouts. In the first half of 2016 the team had 103 more strikeouts, with 759 k’s, which would rank as fifth best in the entire league.

The most frustrating difference between 2016 and 2017 has been the lack of development of players who were supposed to be building blocks of the future. Maikel Franco has struggled all season and could be moved to another team, despite his current rock bottom trade value. Odubel Herrera has heated up a bit over the last month, but has still been producing at a much slower pace than last season.

The pitchers have also not shown the development fans would have hoped for. While both have looked better once they returned from the DL, Jerad Eickhoff and Aaron Nola both have failed to take the step forward fans were hoping for,  and struggled before both winding up on the DL. Vince Velasquez also struggled to find any kind of consistency before starting a stint on the DL as well.

Next: Five Phillies prospects we could see in 2017

The second half of 2016 was much different than the first half, as the team imploded, and played much worse baseball after the break. One can only hope that this year is the opposite, and the second half provides the city of Philadelphia with some exciting baseball to watch, and a glimpse of hope that the team can be competitive in the near future.

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