Phillies Ranked 28th by ESPN, Projected to go 65-97
Phillies Pitchers and catchers report to Clearwater on Wednesday, Feb. 18, and there will definitely be a different feel and new found energy around the team.
The Phillies will have a new look when they report, the team traded pitcher Cole Hamels for five prospects last year at the deadline, traded away their closer Ken Giles to acquire five pitchers - these two deals, coupled with trading away Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ben Revere, and Jonathan Paplebon have helped reshape the organization.
Obviously, GM Matt Klentak has more to do with this team, but the pieces are finally looking like they are there to give Phillies fans some hope for the future, instead of looking back at its recent past.
Schoenfield ranks the Phillies 28th in MLB and projects the team will go 65-97. The senior writer points out why Phillies fans finally have a reason for hope after three years of misery.
The Phillies are finally all-in on their necessary rebuild. They won’t be that good but they at least have some interesting players on whom Phillies fans can dream. The Cole Hamels and Giles trades have added an infusion of young talent, and the front office hopes it struck gold in somebody like Velasquez, Appel or high-upside, high-risk talents such as outfielder Nick Williams or catcher Jorge Alfaro.
973espn.com Phillies insider Frank Klose writes that David Hernandez will get the first chance at replacing Giles, but there are a couple of other names in the mix for the closing job, like Andrew Bailey, Ernesto Frieri and Edward Mujica who all have closing experience so Hernandez should face plenty of competition this spring.
One player that he notes Phillies fans can be excited for his third baseman Maikel Franco - after batting .280 with 14 home runs and 50 RBI over 80 games this past season.
Maikel Franco was sort of a forgotten member of the star-studded 2015 rookie class, but the 22-year-old third baseman hit .280/.343/.497 with 14 home runs in 80 games, including a memorable two-homer, four-hit night at Yankee Stadium. He broke his wrist in August but returned for the final three games of the season. Along with the power came a pretty good contact rate; he looks like a legit middle-of-the-order bat, a guy the Phillies will build their next lineup around.
With Franco, there is some youth on the roster, but help is on the way. ESPN.com MLB insider Keith Law recently ranked shortstop J.P. Crawford the No. 4 overall prospect in the game.
Phillies fans are eager to get shortstop J.P. Crawford -- No. 4 on Law's top 100 prospects -- up to the majors as soon as possible, but there’s no reason to rush him to the majors. Crawford didn’t tear things up at Double-A, hitting .265/.354/.407, and he’s just 21, so barring a big breakout in April and May, a full season in Triple-A makes sense, setting the stage for him to take over in 2017.
Philadelphia is looking to break a four-year postseason drought.
(Phillies beat writer Ryan Lawrence looks at the position battles for the Phillies)