4 emerging superstars the Phillies may soon fear in the NL East

Who are the up-and-coming stars in the NL East who will be a thorn in the side of the Phillies for years to come?
Washington Nationals v Atlanta Braves
Washington Nationals v Atlanta Braves / Todd Kirkland/GettyImages
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CJ Abrams

Our final entry comes from the Washington Nationals and their young budding superstar CJ Abrams. The 23-year-old shortstop was originally a first-round pick (sixth overall) of the San Diego Padres but was never put in a position to succeed out west, being rushed through the minors. He ended up in the NL East as part of the package for Juan Soto in August 2022.

Touted as a prospect with some top-level tools, Abrams graduated from the minors with elite 80-grade speed and a potential plus-plus hit tool with more-than-average power. His final line from 2023 won't knock your socks off — well, maybe the 47 stolen bases will — but he put up a .245/.300/.415 slash line with 18 home runs and 64 RBI in 151 games.

But that doesn't really tell the tale of the potential havoc Abrams could wreak on the NL East. He spent the first part of 2023 hitting eighth and ninth in the Nationals' sparse lineup and didn't have a good time. In 78 games, he hit .233 with a .674 OPS, only 11 stolen bases and posted an 80 wRC+.

Around the All-Star break, the team finally moved him to the top spot in the order, and Abrams didn't look back. In 73 games, he improved at the plate with a .256 average and a .746 OPS, cutting his strikeout rate from 22 percent to 16 percent. He hit 11 home runs, 12 doubles, three triples, and ran wild with 36 steals in 38 attempts. He could potentially be a 25-home run, 70-steal player.

While he didn't have a great showing against the Phillies overall in 2023, he did show off his easy speed with an RBI triple in July.

And then in August, Abrams put the hurt on Michael Lorenzen with a three-run home run.

Abrams has the potential to be a game-changing star in the NL East, if he can put all the pieces together. Considering he was only 22 last season in his first full year in the majors, he's going to provide the Phillies with some stiff competition for years to come.