Phillies' 2024 ZiPS projections: The offense
The good news is that right now, at least, the offense is essentially the same as the group that ended the 2023 season on an absolute tear, until the final two games of the NLCS that is.
It's no secret that the Phillies lineup is loaded with stars ... aging stars. With Bryce Harper, Trea Turner, Kyle Schwarber, J.T. Realmuto, and even Nick Castellanos over 30 and despite still looking like a potent offense in 2024, there's a risk that things could unravel quickly.
As Szymborski says, "... the team could be susceptible to a lot of bad news hitting at once."
Here are some highlights:
Schwarber projects to lead the team with 38 home runs. He'll also finish with the most strikeouts (188) and walks (97). Johan Rojas will lead the team in stolen bases with 28 — edging out Turner's 27.
One projection that stands out, for all the wrong reasons, is Bryson Stott.
ZiPS sees him regressing in 2024 after a phenomenal 2023 campaign, with a .257/.314/.382 slash line, a 91 OPS+, and only 12 home runs in a full season. Losing points in both average and slugging isn't great. Due to his young age, Stott doesn't have the history to convince ZiPS that he can repeat his sophomore numbers. Here's hoping he can.
Phillies' 2024 ZiPS projections: The defense
We know the outfield picture isn't clear at the moment. In fact, it's downright murky.
ZiPS projects Rojas and Brandon Marsh to split time in center, while Castellanos will be the primary right fielder, making the position the weakest on the team. Of the big league players, his -8 DEF value is the worst, aside from Schwarber's -12. But we know Schwarber will spend most, if not hopefully all, of his time at DH, so that shouldn't be a problem.
But the Phillies, with the outfield as it currently stands, will be giving up something on defense in a trade off for big hits. As Szymborski says, "... you can’t DH both Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos."
Just how uncertain is the left field situation with five weeks until Spring Training? Szymborski had to get creative when trying to predict who would get playing time out there in 2024, creating a "Marchewarbave" moniker — that's a combination of Marsh, Pache, Schwarber, and Cave — to cover the hodge-podge of players who may fill the position.
Everyone on the infield projects for an average or better defensive year, except for Alec Bohm. The fifth-year third baseman projects for a -4 DEF value. That's actually better than his -6.8 score from last season, however, so take that as you will.
NEXT: The starters, the relievers, and the final verdict