Smashing the over on the Phillies' ridiculously low 2024 FanGraphs win total projections

Coming off a 90-win season in 2023, FanGraphs isn't showing the Phillies enough respect with its 2024 win total projections.

Championship Series - Arizona Diamondbacks v Philadelphia Phillies - Game Two
Championship Series - Arizona Diamondbacks v Philadelphia Phillies - Game Two / Elsa/GettyImages
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Throughout the 2023-2024 offseason, the Phillies were often seen as a team standing pat after two straight successful runs to the NLCS and beyond. While there was not much addition or subtraction, other pressing needs, such as the Aaron Nola re-signing and Zack Wheeler extension, needed to be addressed.

That being said, general manager Sam Fuld, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, and owner John Middleton did some good work adding depth pieces and utility men who could impact the major league squad at points this season.

The only major league free agent addition, Whit Merrifield, will find time around the diamond playing at multiple positions while guys like Spencer Turnbull, Michael Mercado, and David Dahl all fight for remaining roster spots come the end of March.

With little to no changes in the lineup and rotation, one would think that the projections would match the success of the 2023 team, but that is not the case.

FanGraphs projects the Phillies to win 85 games in 2024, tied for seventh-best in MLB with the Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles. The NL East projects to take a hit, as four of the five teams are projected for regression, totaling 16 fewer wins for one of the best divisions in baseball.

According to FanGraphs, the league as a whole looks to be more tame and much tighter of a race, with only 33 games separating the top team from the worst team in 2024 — 21 games closer than the difference between the Atlanta Braves and Oakland Athletics last season. That said, the Phillies losing five wins doesn't make much sense.

Not much has changed between the 2023 and 2024 Phillies to begin the year. With a team full of veterans, there is always a chance of regression due to age, injury, or overall ability. Players like Nick Castellanos, Zack Wheeler, and even Kyle Schwarber could see a drop in their play due to age and the extensive amount of playing time, going through two consecutive postseason runs.

They have also been extremely lucky with major injuries across the board, other than the injury to Rhys Hoskins early last spring.

That being said, there is much more upside potential than downside.

To begin with, the addition of Whit Merrifield won't necessarily impact the team daily but will offer another presence off the bench in close games, and as a platoon on days when the second squad lineup is thrown out. The long-time Royal offers an upgrade to the second unit, giving them a better opportunity to win games when starters are resting.

And now for the optimism.

Bryce Harper missed the first month of 2023 during his rehab and didn't return to the field until July in Cleveland, meaning that the Phillies won 90 games without a full-strength, MVP-caliber Harper.

To add on to that, the Phillies' big offseason addition last winter, Trea Turner, was completely lost at the dish, hitting .235 with a .637 OPS while also looking subpar in the field at shortstop. He was another player who didn't perform up to his full potential until, of course, something special happened.

Other players like Johan Rojas, Bryson Stott, Cristopher Sánchez, and Alec Bohm all seem primed to improve. They showcased their potential but didn't fulfill it. If they, at minimum, continue the path they're on and play at a high level, it will be tough for the Phillies' overall record to not stay consistent with the skill on the roster.

While the Braves made major improvements to their team, adding Chris Sale and Jarred Kelenic, and teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers spent big money, it's highly unlikely they follow their historic offensive seasons with another one just as impressive.

It's obvious that FanGraphs has a tight leash on their projections, staying safe and working off of on-paper statistics. Even most major sports betting outlets have the Phillies over/under for win totals between 89 and 90.5 wins for the 2024 campaign.

FanGraphs' projections definitely expect much more regression from some of the older players on the team, with not much improvement from the young players. As competition grows around them, will the Phillies be able to reach the 90-win mark as they were able to a year ago while continuing their push for the NL East crown and the ultimate goal of a World Series Championship?

Whatever the outcome of the Phillies' 2024 season, we're easily smashing the over on the 85-win total.

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