With 24 games left in the 2023 season, the Phillies have three players who are dangerously close to surpassing the 100 RBI mark. The Phillies offense has been on a roller coaster all season but exploded in August. The team hit an organizational record 59 homeruns in August which is also the third most in a single month of any team in the history of baseball. With that offensive boom, the RBI numbers have risen with it. Leading the team is Kyle Schwarber with 89 RBI, followed by Alec Bohm at 86 RBI and finally Nick Castellanos with 85 RBI. The three of them also rank in the top 21 of the entire MLB with Schwarber being the highest with the 15th most RBI total.
The 100 RBI mark is really an arbitrary number and milestone that people use to consider if the player has had an exceptional year at knocking runners in. That being said, for whatever reason, the Phillies have been unable to consistently reach that elusive milestone.
The last Phillie to reach the 100 RBI mark was Bryce Harper who drove in 114 runners in 2019 which was his first year with the Phillies. Before that, you’ll have go all the way back 12 years to 2011 where Ryan Howard knocked in 116 RBI. During this golden era of Phillies baseball, Phillies fans may have taken this RBI success for granted as the team and individual success was plentiful. Howard hit the 100 RBI threshold six years in a row from 2006-2011, even reaching 140+ RBI three times in 2006, 2008, and 2009. The last time a pair of Phillies players both reached 100 RBI in one season was Chase Utley and Howard in 2008. The mashing infielders both hit the milestone three years in a row from 2006-2008. Even more rare, the last time three or more Phillies players surpassed the 100 RBI mark was 18 years ago in 2005 when Bobby Abreu, Pat Burrell, and Chase Utley had 102, 117, and 105 RBI respectively.
Having multiple 100 RBI players isn’t just rare for the Phillies but MLB wide. In the last 15 years, there has only been seven instances where three or more players from the same team have reached 100 RBI in the same season. From the 2012-2022 seasons (removing the shortened Covid season in 2020), there has been an average of 16-17 hitters to reach the 100 RBI mark per year. It’s impressive to have three players knocking on the door for the Phillies in 2023.
The Phillies young third baseman has already surpassed his career high in RBI which was 72 just last year. His RBI total has increased alongside with his homerun total as he’s also already surpassed his career high with 16 homeruns in 2023. Another reason for the increased RBI total is simply there have been more opportunity for hitting runners in. In 2023 he has had 246 plate appearances with men on base compared to 269 with the bases empty. In 2022, those totals are 269 plate appearances with men on base and 362 with them empty.
In his 11-year career, Castellanos just barely hit the threshold twice, once with the Cincinnati Reds in 2021 with 100 RBI on the dot and once with the Detroit Tigers in 2017 with 101 RBI. The resurgence of his power to all parts of the field has given him the opportunity to approach the milestone yet again.
Schwarber, who is known for this homerun power, has surprisingly yet to reach 100 RBI in his nine-year career. This is likely due to Schwarber being predominantly the leadoff hitter on his teams. He has 1,503 career plate appearances as a lead-off hitter which is almost three times the amount of plate appearances at any other spot in the lineup. Being a leadoff hitter leads to less opportunities with runners on base evidenced by his 2330 career plate appearances with no men on base and just 1532 career plate appearances with the bases occupied.
Reaching the 100 RBI mark is a testament to these guys staying healthy and on the field, successful situational hitting, and their teammates getting on base in front of them giving them the opportunity to knock them in. The Phillies had just one player reach this mark in 12 years but with how this team is built for the future, they have the chance to produce many 100 RBI seasons in the years to come.