Memorial Day is an acknowledgment of the sacrifices and bravery of the men and women who lost their lives serving our great country. It’s because of those brave souls that typically days such as today would be appreciated with back yard barbecue’s and watching a baseball game. Though the pandemic has changed our spring and our season in an unprecedented way, we can’t stop thinking about the game and what we have to look forward to. The closer the possibility gets to a beginning of a shortened baseball season, we must really begin to project what can be expected of our beloved Phillies. Though the numbers will be skewed compared to a standard 162 game schedule, we can still take a look at who will lead some of the most important statistics for the club. We will stick to the more traditional categories, and also focus solely on offensive categories only.
The second half of Jean Segura’s 2019 season was marred with the hangover of the Andrew McCutchen injury and the negative impact it had on him emotionally. In his defense , Segura admitted this spring that it made a difference in his approach the rest of the year. Knowing that he has a lot to prove and a track record of consistent solid contact at the plate, Segura will look to rebound and look more like the hitter the Phillies signed before last year. A .286 hitter during his career, he is tied with McCutchen in that category, and is now in what is typically a players prime years. For those reasons, Segura can be expected to lead this team in BA at seasons end. (Honorable Mentions: Bryce Harper, Andrew McCutchen, Scott Kingery)
Home Runs and RBI’s
So let’s save some time here and lump together homer’s and RBI’s…. it’s Bryce. He lead the league in both categories a season ago and with a lineup at full strength and a universal DH added to the mix, Harper should have the chance to see more quality pitches each game. He isn’t the type of hitter to miss pitches in the zone, and with those pitches possibly coming at a greater rate, he should be able to handle both of these categories with relative ease. (Honorable Mention: Rhys Hoskins)
On Base Percentage
Sure we could give this one to Harper as well since he lead the team in OBP last year, but that’s no fun. McCutchen was on his way to putting himself atop the list in this category a year ago before his knee injury derailed his campaign. He led the team, and was near the top in all of baseball in walks heading into June. A delayed season gives Cutch the time to fully recover from his injury, and still allow the chip to stay on his shoulder and have a strong season at the top of a string Phillies lineup. Expect him to find his way on base at regular clip again this year and lead this team in On Base Percentage. (Honorable Mention: Bryce Harper, Rhys Hoskins)
They do call him “Jetpax!” Scott Kingery has the kind of speed that most managers would kill to have in there lineup. The Phillies have a few names who have the ability to lead this category by seasons end, but with Girardi at the helm it’s expected the Phillies will add a little more pressure to opposing pitchers. Sure Roman Quinn probably wins in a foot race, but Kingery will play more often and his ability to steal bases with a productive success rate will have him atop this category at seasons end. (Honorable Mention: Roman Quinn, Didi Gregorious)
No question I’ll get some flack for this pick, and I’m ok with it. Yes, Harper leading this category is probably more likely but I’m still going with Rhys Hoskins. His second half in 2019 was quite disastrous and he is going to need to redeem himself if he wants to lead the team in this category. But he was still second on the team in Hone Runs and Doubles last year and that’s in what was his worst year as a pro. A bounce back year for Rhys even to just above his career average might jump him ahead of Harper in Slugging Percentage. With the addition of the DH, Didi, and multiple bats that can hit around him in this lineup, I think he has the chance to have a career… half year.
So that’s it… obviously there are tons of categories left to debate about. From the traditional to analytic, the arguments could go on forever. In the end, none of it really matters. Wins matter! So whether all of these picks are correct or not, the Phillies getting back to the playoffs is what we all desire most. Let’s just cross our fingers that even in a half season, these boys can have us watching some meaningful baseball this fall.