A fan favorite amongst readers, it is time once again for a bold predictions article.
This piece is sure to make the optimistic fans salivate and the more pessimistic- and perhaps more realistic- supporters queasy with its brazen projections, but the hot takes shan’t be kept quiet. Ready or not, here are five shamelessly bold predictions for the 2018 Phillies:
- Phillies finish Top 5 in ERA
After revamping their pitching staff with the additions of Jake Arrieta, Tommy Hunter, and Pat Neshek, the Phillies have enough arm talent to be a force in the MLB. Not many teams boast a 1-2 punch as good as what the Phils have in Arrieta-Nola, and I expect Philly to make it incredibly tough on teams to score with there plus pitching and solid defensive infield. One season after finishing 13th in the majors in ERA, the Phillies seem primed to make the leap into the upper echelon of pitching staffs.
2. SP Vince Velasquez finally puts it all together
If the Phillies rotation is going to make the aforementioned leap, a large part of it will be due to a revival of Vince Velasquez. The hard-throwing righty has dazzled fans with his insane velocity and 16 strikeout performances, but has yet to keep his pitch count under control. The Phillies desperately want him to be the ace they know he is capable of being, and I believe this is the year he turns those sporadic flashes into consistent production.
3. Broad Street Bombers?!
In 2017, the Phillies failed to reach 200 home runs as a team, but I think the Phils are due for a power surge this upcoming season. My bold prediction is that Jorge Alfaro, Nick Williams, Maikel Franco, and Rhys Hoskins- who I now deem the Broad Street Bombers- combine for 100+ home runs. With these four leading the way, I think the Phils smash their way passed the 200 homer mark for the first time since 2009.
4. Trip to the Nation’s Capital
The Phillies have had exactly one representative in the MLB All-Star game for the last four seasons, but I’d expect a few more Phils to head to D.C for the event this year. I think Jake Arrieta, Aaron Nola, Pat Neshek, Odubel Herrera, and Rhys Hoskins have a good shot at being selected to this year’s event, and I’d expect at least two of them to make it- if not more.
5. October baseball in Philly
It’s been six years since the Phillies last playoff appearance, but after an incredibly aggressive and productive offseason the team seems primed to push for a playoff spot. Although it may be a bit too soon to project them to win the division over the Nationals, it’s within reason to assume they can sneak in the playoffs as a wild card team. I predict the Phils win 85+ games- barring any major injuries- and clinch their first playoff berth in the Gabe Kapler era.
Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports