Finally it looks as though we are seeing a glimmer of light at the end of one very long tunnel. The delay of a baseball season has been a struggle for fans and players alike. We lost over a month of the season to this point, and most likely will have to wait roughly one more for it to begin. As we turn the corner toward the eventual start, questions about the shape of our team start to make there way back into the conversation. This has certainly shaped our season ahead, for some in a frustratingly negative way. For others, this may have been exactly what they needed. So who of our beloved Phillies was most hindered, and who most benefits from this long absence from baseball? I have my picks….
Most Negatively Impacted: Rhys Hoskins
If anyone on the Phillies wishes he had a mulligan for 2019, it would be Rhys. After a pretty standard Hoskins first half of the season, Rhys brought up the rear with all qualifying first baseman in the league with an awful .180/.318/.361 and added just 9 home runs and 26 RBI’s. His frustrations were not only evident in the numbers, but it was clear in his demeanor on the field. With the hiring of Joe Dillon as the Phillies new hitting coach, a new stance at the plate was clearly visible at the start of spring training. The new swing was showing mixed results through the first few appearances and before Rhys could become comfortable facing bi league pitching the world was hit with COVID-19. The 2020 season is a year for Rhys to show he can both mentally and physically handle the pressure of being relied upon as a middle of the order hitter. The organization is going to be paying close attention to him as well, he is currently not under a long term contract, and if he wants to stay in red pinstripes long term he will need to prove he is worthy of the investment.
Most Positively Impacted: Andrew McCutchen
The 2019 season started out with quite a bang as Andrew McCutchen gave Phillies fans something to stand up and cheer about with a season opening lead off home run. Cutch led the Phillies offense at the top of the lineup with consistent success at doing exactly what a top of the order hitter is supposed to do, get on base. His 43 walks in 59 games was leading the majors on June 1st when he suffered a season ending knee injury. The Phillies offense sputtered at the top of the lineup and seemed to lose there identity after his injury and never recovered. It was clear, roughly a week before spring training was shut down, that McCutchen would not be ready for opening day on March 26th. It was reported that he would need roughly one more month before making his first start in left field for the Phillies. With a month having passed and a few more weeks to go, Cutch seems well on his way to being ready to batting at the top of the order for the Phillies where ever and whenever the season kicks off.