We're coming down to the stretch run of the offseason and sprinting toward Spring Training, where we'll finally see some actual baseball. While square in the middle of the offseason, it’s sometimes hard to remember the great plays, clutch moments, and electric skills of Philadelphia Phillies players that ignite the Citizens Bank Park crowd and fans watching at home.
In the social media era, short clips and replays make their way around the forest of the internet at lightning speed. In the baseball world, there are a number of players who are often the center of attention in these extraordinary viral moments.
Oftentimes, over a 162-game marathon, we can take for granted some of the outrageous talent that we, as fans, witness over and over again, so it’s good to take a step back and recognize the best of the best on this Phillies team.
Whether it’s a knee-buckling pitch or a homerun launched to the upper deck, the 2024 Phillies team is loaded with players who, at any moment, can deliver jaw-dropping pitches, hits, or defensive plays.
So, what are the five most extraordinary skills that we're looking forward to watching in 2024?
We can't wait to see José Alvarado’s unhittable cutter
When José Alvarado returned to the big league squad in 2022 after a short stint in the minors, he dedicated himself to two pitches: his sinker and cutter. In 2021, Alvarado threw his cutter just 16.3 percent of the time, but fast forward to 2023, he threw it 41.2 percent of the time.
The cutter, in particular, is a pitch that is simply beautiful and mesmerizing to watch. It almost seems unfair at times, the way batters flail at the pitch, just hoping to make contact to live to see another offering. But inevitably, they swing through it and are next seen walking back to the dugout.
Alvarado famously said, “Strike one, strike two, and good luck,” regarding his thought process when he goes to the mound.
The cutter moves an absurd 25 inches vertically and has 1.3 inches of horizontal movement. It’s a pitch that batters just can’t get a handle on and whiff on at a high rate. In 2022, the whiff rate on the cutter was 55.7 percent, while in 2023, batters whiffed at a 44.5 percent rate. The xBA on the cutter is .153, and the xSLG is .201, meaning players have very little chance of getting a hit, and if they do, it’s for minimal damage.
Here's one more, for good measure.