ESPN wrongly ranks Phillies as 18th-best team in baseball
1: A strong lineup, from 1 to 9
The Phillies hitting lineup is among the best in the National League, and arguably tops in the division. Here is what we could see on a daily basis from Joe Girardi:
- C: J.T. Realmuto
- 1B: Rhys Hoskins
- 2B: Scott Kingery
- 3B: Jean Segura
- SS: Didi Gregorius
- LF: Andrew McCutchen
- CF: Adam Haseley/Roman Quinn
- RF: Bryce Harper
- DH: Jay Bruce
It is safe to say that this lineup stacks up with any in the division. Each player is capable of hitting 20 home runs in a regular season. All of them have before, except Kingery, who hit 19 in 125 games last year, as well as Haseley. In a shortened season like this, power bats like Harper and Hoskins can be major difference makers. Bruce even smashed 12 home runs in 51 games as a Phillie last season. Gregorius should also provide more pop than Cesar Hernandez.
Having a healthy McCutchen also helps the Phillies. He appeared in 59 games and was ruled out for the season following an ACL tear on June 3rd. A huge part of getting on base and scoring runs, the Phillies were first in the National League East on the day of the injury. After his injury, the leadoff hitter often struggled, and the Phillies plummeted.
In the remaining 103 games, the leadoff hitter struck out 115 times while only accumulating 37 walks — a putrid amount compared to McCutchen’s 43 in 59 games.
Pitching-wise, Aaron Nola is the Phillies’ clear-cut No. 1, despite some struggles in 2019. Zack Wheeler is certainly an upgrade over any other starter used in 2019, who can get even better per analytics. There were worries that Wheeler will miss games for the birth of his child, but that happened on Monday, and he should be set to go for the 60-game sprint.
Vince Velasquez, although a common yet unfulfilling theme in recent years, could truly breakout. Velasquez added a cutter and a changeup, and shut down the Yankees’ bats in a summer camp exhibition. Jake Arrieta is pitching for a contract, which should hold some incentive. Let’s not forget about Spencer Howard, too. He threw some nasty breaking pitches over the past few weeks that are highlighted here: