Phillies now projected to win 86 games with J.T. Realmuto

After the addition of J.T. Realmuto Thursday, the Phillies are now projected to win 86 games this year according to Baseball Prospectus’s PECOTA system.

The Phillies threw their hat into the ring as a legitimate playoff contender this year by acquiring J.T. Realmuto, the best catcher in baseball, from the Marlins. They mortgaged the future by letting Sixto Sanchez and Jorge Alfaro go, but they definitely improved the team in the short-term. With Realmuto now on board, how does Philadelphia project in the standings?

With Realmuto now in tow, Baseball Prospectus’s PECOTA system projects the Phillies will win 86 games. This record would be good for third in the National League East behind the Nationals and Mets. They would also be tied for the second wild-card spot with the Cardinals.

Based on Baseball Prospectus’ wins above replacement (WARP) projections, Realmuto will be the best position player and second-best player on the team behind Aaron Nola. Realmuto is projected to hit .278 with a .789 OPS, knock 18 home runs, and drive in 70 runs. You can easily make the case that those numbers will go up given that he is leaving Marlins Park.

Following Realmuto in projected WARP among the starters are Jean Segura (2.7), Rhys Hoskins (2.6), Cesar Hernandez (2.4), Andrew McCutchen (2.2), Odubel Herrera (2.0), Maikel Franco (0.6), and Nick Williams (-0.1). Williams and Franco have such low projections because of bad projected defense.

PECOTA doesn’t really know what to make of Philadelphia’s outfield situation.

It projects Herrera and Roman Quinn to get 55% and 35% of at-bats in center field, respectively. In left, they project Williams, Herrera, and Aaron Altherr to split time 45%, 25%, and 20%, respectively.

Turning towards the pitching staff, Nola is projected to lead the way for the starters with 3.9 WARP, followed by Nick Pivetta (2.4), Jake Arrieta (1.6), Zach Eflin (1.1), and Vince Velasquez (0.7). In the bullpen, Seranthony Dominguez (0.7) and David Robertson (0.6) are the leaders.

The team’s projected win total can easily be impacted by the addition of one of Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, or Dallas Keuchel. The first two should easily push the club over 90 wins, putting them firmly at the top of the NL East and into the playoffs. Even adding Keuchel should tack on another one or two wins, helping their chances of making the playoffs even more.

After being projected to win just 78 games last year, the outlook for this season is much better.