ESPN wrongly ranks Phillies as 18th-best team in baseball
3. A new coaching staff
The Phillies enter 2020 with fresh faces through the dugout and clubhouse, most notably Joe Girardi.
Fans can go either way on Gabe Kapler and whether or not he was a good manager, but Joe Girardi is undoubtedly an upgrade. Girardi managed the New York Yankees from 2008-2017 and never had a losing record all the while winning a World Series title over the Phillies in 2009. Throughout his career, Girardi is known to balance both old-school baseball with analytics.
Problems the Phillies had stemmed from Kapler’s overuse of pitchers and constant often unnecessary substitutions. In his two years in Philadelphia, Kapler used practically five pitchers per game on average and sent a pinch hitter to the plate nearly two times each game. On the other hand, Joe Girardi‘s managerial record shows that he used only 3.7 pitchers per game and 0.7 pinch hitters. Of course, Girardi had a DH, but Kapler surely overdid substitutions and never assigned bullpen roles. Saving arms and making the right change at the right time will be pivotal in a 60-game season.
Bryan Price is a strong pitching coach as well. With 2018’s Rick Kranitz and 2019’s Chris Young, no one really improved as a pitcher for the Phils. Price, however, already seems to be boosting the staff. As mentioned earlier, Vince Velasquez added both a cutter and a changeup. We recently highlighted Price’s praise for Zach Eflin and Spencer Howard during summer camp.
Price has bountiful experience as a pitching coach. He held the position with the Mariners from 2000-2005, with the Diamondbacks from 2006-2009, and then again with the Reds from 2010-2014, until he was named their manager.
Price worked with arms to the likes of Felix Hernandez, Johnny Cueto, Aroldis Chapman, Brandon Webb, Dan Haren, and many others.
Joe Dillion, the team’s new hitting coach, and his multi-faceted hitting drills have been admired and applauded by players. Bryce Harper, Rhys Hoskins, and Jay Bruce are all big fans. His drills include throwing hitters 20 random pitches in 20 random locations to increase pitch selection and avoid balls out of the strike zone. The iPitch machine, which can recreate nearly any pitch in baseball, is also key in many drills.
These coaches should have a strong impact on the Phillies, especially in a shortened season.
Overall, baseball is back folks. It’s time to get excited about the Phillies again as games that count begin tonight at 7:05 p.m. Our Opening Day preview can be found here. Go Phillies.