How do the Phillies stack up against their NL East foes?
Where the Phillies are better: Pitching. You might think Marlins Park would give Miami Marlins pitchers a boost, but you’d be wrong. The Marlins had a 4.76 staff ERA (15th in the NL) last year, allowing 192 homers (13th) and 762 earned runs (15th). The Phillies meanwhile had a staff ERA of 4.14 (11th), allowing 171 homers (fifth) and 665 earned runs (11th).
Despite playing in a much more hitter-friendly ballpark, the Phils staff was much better all around than Miami last year, and have the potential to get even better (looking at you Dallas Keuchel!). Miami did acquire Sixto Sanchez from the Phillies in the J.T. Realmuto deal, they’ll look to him to lead this rotation in the future, but he has a while to go before he makes the majors.
You can’t help but wonder how different Miami’s pitching might be if Jose Fernandez was not taken from us far too soon.
Where the Phillies are worse: Uh… Uh… Defense? Yeah! Defense! Miami ranked fourth in the NL with a .986 fielding percentage, and fifth in errors with 83. The Phils, on the other hand, were 14th in both fielding percentage (.979) and errors (123).
Defense should be the area where the Phillies improve most this season. Jean Segura should be an improvement over Scott Kingery at short, and Rhys Hoskins should be much better at first than he was in left. Meanwhile, Miami may have gotten slightly worse, as they swapped J.T. Realmuto (7 errors, 8 passed balls, .992 fielding %) for Jorge Alfaro (11 errors,10 passed balls, .989 fielding %) behind the plate.
I mentioned four of the five teams have a chance to win the division, Miami is the team that doesn’t.