The Philadelphia Phillies finished the 2016 season with a 71-91 record and 24 games back in the National League East. They went 2-8 in their final ten games and limped to the end of the season. Expectations weren’t high for the organization to start the season, but the pieces are coming together for the Phillies to soon again be a playoff-caliber team.
Phillies 2016 Season Recap
They finished the month of April above .500 with a 14-10 record, and early talks of shocking upsets emerged, but then reality set in as they played to a more expected record of 12-16 in May. For a team that struggled to win 62 games this season, playing to a .500 record through the first two months was a step in the right direction. A team is measured by wins and losses, however, and when you have four stretches of losing streaks over six games, and only one win streak of six games, you’re destined to end up on the bottom.
Playing in the NL East is also no easy task. The Washington Nationals finished the 2016 season with 95 wins. The New York Mets ended in second with a 87-75 record. The Miami Marlins were also no pushovers, nearly reaching a .500 season with their 79-82 mark. The Phillies need to flip their win and lose columns just to compete for a playoff spot.
One thing fans will need in 2017 is patience. The position players are coming together and they will field an infield of very young, raw talent. Tommy Joseph will take over first base duties and will enter his second season after a great rookie year in 2016 that saw him hit 21 home runs. Maikel Franco also played in his first full season in 2016 and hit 25 home runs while driving in 88 runners. Up the middle, you’ll see Cesar Hernandez and Freddy Galvis. Both possess speed; Galvis is a five tool player, while Hernandez gives the Phillies a much-needed bat at the top of the lineup.
Phillies SS Freddy Galvis, CF Odubel Herrera named Rawlings Gold Glove finalists.
In the middle of the outfield, we saw another player emerge: Odubel Herrera. At 24 years old, he can control CF with ease and gives the Phillies a third player who can run. He also hit 15 home runs.
The man who has been the face of this team for the past decade showed in 2016 that he is well on the decline. In 112 games, Ryan Howard batted a miserable .196, but still managed to blast 25 home runs. He can still hit the long ball, but it is clear the Phillies are moving forward at first with Joseph. At 36 years old, the best thing for Howard may be to move over to the American League and play DH.
The pitching staff had it’s bright moments in 2016, but had more grey ones than the team would like to remember. The Phillies are likely going to lose their number two starter, Jeremy Hellickson, to free agency after his 2016 season saw him pitch nearly 200 innings with a 3.71 ERA. Their young ace, Vince Velasquez, missed part of the season but still managed to record 152 strikeouts in only 131.0 innings. Jerad Eickhoff pitched the most innings of any starter (197.1) and finished his season with a respectable 3.65 ERA. Outside of Velasquez and Eickoff, the other three starter jobs for 2017 are up in the air.
The main thing the Phillies lack is experience. The main thing Phillies fans lack is patience. It was only back in 2008 when this team won the World Series, and they are putting the pieces in place that could get them there again ten years later in 2018. This team will be good; when is harder to tell.