Phillies best and worst-case scenarios for 2018 season

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CLEARWATER, FL - MARCH 25: Rhys Hoskins #17 of the Philadelphia Phillies celebrates with Odubel Herrera #37 after a solo home run against the Baltimore Orioles in the second inning of a Grapefruit League spring training game at Spectrum Field on March 25, 2018 in Clearwater, Florida. The Orioles won 6-5. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CLEARWATER, FL - MARCH 25: Rhys Hoskins #17 of the Philadelphia Phillies celebrates with Odubel Herrera #37 after a solo home run against the Baltimore Orioles in the second inning of a Grapefruit League spring training game at Spectrum Field on March 25, 2018 in Clearwater, Florida. The Orioles won 6-5. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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PHILADELPHIA, PA – SEPTEMBER 29: Jorge Alfaro #38 of the Philadelphia Phillies celebrates with Odubel Herrera #37 after hitting a solo home run in the bottom of the sixth inning against the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park on September 29, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Phillies defeated the Mets 6-2. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Most likely scenario

Expecting everything to go perfectly for this team is unreasonable, but expecting them to completely bottom out is just being unnecessarily pessimistic. Most projections have them near a .500 season, and that’s about what we should expect from them.

More from That Balls Outta Here

Some things will definitely go right for them. The lineup has the potential to carry this team and is certainly more potent than it was a year ago. Rhys Hoskins certainly won’t hit home runs at a pace like he did last year, but he should still hover around 25-30 by season’s end. J.P. Crawford and Scott Kingery should contribute to at least some degree this year.

Aaron Nola has shown no signs that last season was a one-time thing and he should lead this rotation. Jake Arrieta may never pitch again like he did in 2014 or 2015, but expecting two to three wins above replacement from him isn’t too much to ask.

The hardest thing to predict will be how the back end of the rotation will perform. Jerad Eickhoff has another injury to deal with, while Vince Velasquez’s future as a starter remains in question. Nick Pivetta has strong stuff but can’t control it. Ben Lively doesn’t have much upside but can give you solid innings at times. Some of these guys may improve; some may struggle. That’s about as much I can confidently say.

Next: Phillies release Opening Day starting lineup

This may not be the year the Phillies return to the playoffs, but they should at least stay relevant until September. A deadline acquisition could push them into the second wild-card spot, but they may wind up falling short to the Diamondbacks, Rockies, Brewers, or Cardinals.

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