Who are the 5 Phillies with the most to prove in 2024?

Which Phillies will be under the microscope and have the most to prove to the team, the media, and the fans in 2024?
Bryce Harper, Trea Turner, Philadelphia Phillies
Bryce Harper, Trea Turner, Philadelphia Phillies / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages
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Can Cristopher Sánchez take the next step to be a legitimate MLB starter?

After a strong showing in 2023, Cristopher Sánchez is another pitcher with a legitimate chance at being on the major league roster heading into the 2024 season. Not only does he have a chance to be on the roster, but he has a genuine shot at being an important part of the Opening Day starting rotation.

The 26-year-old just has to prove that he belongs in the major leagues as a full-fledged starter and can hold up to the rigors of a full 162-game schedule.

After one appearance in April, Sánchez got called up for good in mid-June and made 18 starts for the Phillies, throwing 99 1/3 innings. He finished the year with a 3.44 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP while striking out 96 batters.

While the lefty started out gangbusters through his eight June and July starts, he faded a little toward the end of the year as the league began to figure him out.

In June and July his posted a stingy 2.30 ERA, a 0.84 WHIP, and held opposing hitters to a .194 average. Despite his impressive outings, he didn't pick up a win, going 0-3. The highlight of that stretch was his July 24 start against the Baltimore Orioles when he struck out eight over seven innings of four-hit, two-run ball.

Through 10 games (nine starts) in August and September, Sánchez went 3-2 and his ERA expanded to 4.15 with a 1.17 WHIP. Opponents started hitting him, and his luck began to run out, as his .314 BABIP led to a .260 opponent average. This came about despite a higher strikeout rate, which bumped to 25.9 percent from 22 percent.

There's no question that the Dominican Republic native has legit stuff, as we examined during the season. He has a special sinker and a nasty changeup, which accounted for 43 percent of his whiffs this season.

And inning limits shouldn't be a problem next season. Sánchez threw 149 frames between Triple-A and the Majors this year.

The biggest question mark for the southpaw is whether he can continue producing such a top-tier walk rate. He finished the year with a 1.45 BB/9 and a four percent walk rate, which ranked in the 98th percentile according to his Statcast metrics on Baseball Savant.

In the minors this past season, he had a real problem issuing too many free passes. He ran a 5.26 BB/9 and a 13.1 percent walk rate over 49 2/3 innings. If Sánchez is going to prove himself to be a legitimate major league starter, he'll have to show that what he did this year for the Phillies was no fluke.

NEXT: Will Taijuan Walker prove the Phillies made a mistake not using him in the postseason?