The continuous beating drum that is the Coronavirus is tearing apart not only our livelihoods, but our minds as well!! For some people, there solace is going to the gym. For others, it’s being a couch potato and drinking beer (in that case this is right up your alley). For anyone reading this, it’s baseball. Phillies baseball to be more precise. For those of us who want to be sitting in Citizens Bank Park watching our boys fight for an NL East crown, this clearly sucks. Is it possible to find a silver lining in the middle of the mess? Probably not…. but let’s try anyway.
The Good: There isn’t any, none at all. Zero. Zip. Nada. Wait, actually, if you think about the idea of the MLB having a shortened season you might be surprised how it could benefit the Phillies. Zach Eflin is one example. Each of the last 2 seasons Eflin has posted remarkably better numbers in his first half compared to his second half. In 2019 his ERA went from 3.78 to 4.69. In 2018 he had a 3.15 ERA in the first half, and it ballooned to 5.76 in the second. A shortened season could very well give us the best of what might be the Phillies #3 starter by seasons end. Then you have Rhys Hoskins. Though his 2018 power numbers increased slightly, his OBP dropped as well as his average and his BAbip. In 2019, we’ll we all remember what happened there. Statistically he was the worst offensive first baseman in the game after July 1st among qualifying players. Guys like Jean Segura and Scott Kingery have had significantly better first halves compared to seconds the last two seasons as well. So what can we take from this team during a shortened season? We might be getting the very best of a large portion of this club.
The Bad: Well you can pretty much add whatever you want here, but we have to save something for “The Ugly.” One of the biggest downfalls of a shortened season is going to be the lack of development and reinforcements from the minor leagues. We as fans were expecting to see guys like Alex Bohm and Spencer Howard make there big league debuts. With less time for development and in game action at the higher levels of the minors it’s hard to see a scenario where either of those guys come up before the start of the 2021 season. The minor league systems across the league will take a hit, and will slow the process of clubs trying to turn the corner and become truly contending teams.
The Ugly: Its pretty simple and straight forward. No baseball! We typically wait over 4 months for any real baseball to be played from the last pitch of the World Series to opening day. Now we have to wait until…. who knows when?! Our local minor league clubs who were already in danger of being discarded, will also likely feel the negative effects of this debacle. Small market clubs who tend to have to find creative ways to generate revenue will be hard pressed to find any solutions that don’t include raising prices this time next year. Baseball is taking a major hit right now, and that negative impact only grows with each passing day. So let’s hope for some light at end of this long, dark tunnel. A CBP cheesesteak and a few Phillies wins will surely being sanity to this stir crazy fan.