5 bold predictions for the Phillies' 2024 season

Here are five bold predictions for Phillies players that we'd love to see come true this year.

Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Bryson Stott
Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Bryson Stott / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages
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Orion Kerkering will win the closer job

Here's a fun one.

Orion Kerkering flew through the minors last season and made his debut at the end of September before making the Phillies' postseason roster. He made three appearances out of the bullpen in the regular season and finished with a 3.00 ERA, a 42.9 percent strikeout rate, and a 66.7 percent ground ball rate.

It was an impressive start to the 22-year-old's big league career.

Is there a chance that the Phillies believe Kerkering is the closer of the future? Just putting the pieces together, the Phillies front office refused to go out and get a free agent closer this offseason, and manager Rob Thomson has insisted he's planning a closer-by-committee approach this year. It sounds like they'll use a rotation of established relievers to keep the seat warm until Kerkering proves he's the one for the job.

José Alvarado, Gregory Soto, and company will likely get the lion's share of save opportunities out of the gate, but Kerkering's makeup and stuff scream MLB closer. His wipeout sweeper is already one of the filthiest pitches in the majors, according to MLB.com's David Adler. If he can improve his four-seam fastball and gain the confidence to throw it more often, he'll be closing out games at Citizens Bank Park before long.

“The stuff’s there and the swing-and-miss is there,” Thomson told The Philadelphia Inquirer's Scott Lauber in January. “If he can handle this atmosphere, which I think he’s proven, we got somebody that could be special.”

This prediction became a little more of a longshot this week after the Phillies announced that the youngster might not be ready for Opening Day. He has been sidelined for much of March with the flu bug that went around the spring training clubhouse. However, this shouldn't affect his overall season. Once Kerkering gets built up, you can bet he'll be in the Phillies' bullpen.

It might just take him a little longer to win the closer job.