Phillies drop further in MLB.com power rankings after another underwhelming week

The Phillies' surprisingly slow start to the season continued this week, dropping them even lower in MLB.com's power rankings.
Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Trea Turner
Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Trea Turner / Rich Schultz/GettyImages
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After a slow start followed by a second subpar week of baseball, the Phillies (8-8) have dropped two more spots in MLB.com's power rankings. They began the season at No. 4 and fell to sixth last week.

Cause for concern? Not really.

Now that the 2024 baseball season is in full swing, MLB.com has released its third edition of the power rankings, with the Phillies coming in at eighth. Being ranked eighth out of 30 teams is quite good, but it's not ideal to be dropping at all. It means the team is underperforming. With their roster talent and recent postseason successes, the Phillies should be a top-five team. However, the slow start to the season has the Phillies falling outside the top five.

While the Phillies' big picture is still intact, things started out a little gloomy, much like the weather this April in Philadelphia.

Speaking of gloomy weather, could that be a reason for the Phillies' slow start?

They've had a lot of weather issues thus far and have played through some cold and rainy conditions. There have been numerous delays and postponements, not just for the Phillies but for many Midwest and Northeast teams.

Scheduling cold-weather teams to play all of their games in warm cities during March and April is a trending topic of discussion around the MLB. Is it a coincidence that, so far, many of the top teams this season are all warm-weather or dome teams? Although it can't be used as a valid excuse because the Phillies' opponents are playing in the same weather, it is interesting. 

Whatever the reason, the Phillies are taking their time getting into a groove, and the statistics reflect that.

Phillies' stats support a drop in power rankings

The Phillies need to make up for a slow start on offense and defense. Offensively, they are in the bottom half of the league in most batting statistics, including batting average (.234), OPS (.663), RBI (55), and runs (58). They have improved in hits, but are still in the bottom half with 124, and have a middling 16 home runs.

Unfortunately, the team has the ninth-most strikeouts with 144 and has struggled with extra-base hits, especially with men on base. The team has only 29 extra-base hits and is dead last in doubles with 11— Shohei Ohtani has 10 doubles by himself. On top of that, the baserunning fiascos have amplified the poor offense.

Defensively, the Phillies are middle of the pack with 432 putouts, 12 errors, and a .980 fielding percentage. The defensive woes lie mainly with three players: Nick Castellanos, Trea Turner, and Alec Bohm. All three have negative DRS — Castellanos (-3), Turner (-1) and Bohm (-1). Turner, who had a whooping 23 errors last year, already leads the team with three this season, tied with Bohm.

So far this season, Castellanos' defense has regressed. He doesn't have any errors, but he looks uncomfortable in the outfield and is struggling to track hits, claiming the new right-field scoreboard is throwing him off.

Phillies' drop in power rankings is deserved but no cause for concern

The Phillies' drop in the power rankings is deserved, and they have to do better to remain in the top 10. However, there are many reasons why there is no real cause for concern.

Let's not forget the Phillies were in an even worse situation to start last season when they fell to 6-10 in their first 16 games. After a bad first two months, they turned it around and went on a postseason run. Granted, they started without Bryce Harper, but we know this team, and we know they can figure it out again.

Also, the pitching is solid. We have arguably the best pitcher in the league right now, Zack Wheeler, while Ranger Suárez has been impressive to begin the year. The Phillies are 13th with a 3.88 ERA (the starting rotation is fourth at 3.09), third in strikeouts with 156 and third with eight quality starts.

As the spring goes on, better weather will bring better baseball. You know what they say, April showers bring May flowers. And as Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni would say, the Phillies are just watering their flowers, and they're about to bloom.

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