Stuck in mediocrity so far in the Bryce Harper era, these Phillies must step up.
The National League East could be the best division in baseball next season. With the recent World Series champion Nationals, the up and coming Marlins, the heavy spending Mets, and already dominant Braves, the Phillies will have their hands full in 2021.
The Phillies offense was very good in 2020, but bats like J.T. Realmuto and Didi Gregorius were a big piece to that puzzle. In 2021, guys like Bryce Harper, Rhys Hoskins, and Alec Bohm (and hopefully Realmuto) will be the core of the lineup. But, if certain hitters step up, the offense could continue to be among the best in baseball.
Overall, if Dave Dombrowski can make some bullpen moves, retain Realmuto, and these three players step up, the Phillies could seriously contend in 2021. Of course, those are huge ifs.
3. Scott Kingery
The Phillies inked Scott Kingery to what was hoped to be a bargain of a contract before he ever stepped foot on a Major League Baseball field, but has not fulfilled the hopes many had for him thus far.
Kingery struggled as a rookie, but showed even more promise in his sophomore campaign. Limited to only 126 games, Kingery tallied 19 home runs, 34 doubles, and 15 stolen bases, while batting as high as .302 in July. Due to the talented lineup during the shortened 2020 season, many fans believed he could provide serious pop at the bottom of the order, but had the worst season of his career with only 18 hits in 36 games.
Kingery, a versatile player, can play shortstop, second base, third base, and the outfield. There should be no trouble getting him playing time — but he has to produce for the Phillies to have a chance at the division in 2021. Right now, Kingery slots in at second, with Jean Segura and Bohm rounding out the left side of the infield and Adam Haseley in center.
Fans should not let a shortened 2020 season cloud their view of Kingery, who battled COVID-19 himself. At only 26, Kingery has plenty to prove and should get plenty of opportunities next season. If he reaches this projection, the contract will certainly be a bargain and the Phillies should continue to have a strong offense. If Kingery seriously struggles yet again, he might find himself on the bench and face uncertainty in 2022.
2021 Projection: 145 games, 18 home runs, 63 runs batted in, 30 doubles, 16 stolen bases, .265 average, .333 on base percentage