Seven Phillies thoughts after August’s rollercoaster came to an end

USATSI_10244195_168382939_lowres

August may have not been a great month record-wise for the Phillies, but there were plenty of bright spots to give fans hope for the years ahead.

 

Phillies Reliever Adam Morgan showing he belongs on the team in 2018

If I were to go back a few months and look on twitter, I would find a plethora of anti- Adam Morgan tweets.  At the beginning of the season, and even the last couple of seasons, Morgan has been less than impressive.  The left-hander made his debut in 2015 as a starter, and although he was not terrible, he showed little promise for the Phillies to keep him in the rotation entering this 2017 season.   Morgan took a couple trips back and forth between the Phillies and Lehigh Valley in the beginning of the season as a reliever, and during his early season struggles, seemed to be a strictly temporary option for the team.  Up to July 31st, the Tuscaloosa, Alabama native had a 6.59 ERA in 16 outings and 27 innings.  He struck out 30 batters, walking 12 and allowing 35 hits.  Since then, Morgan has allowing 1 run in 14.1 innings, good for a 0.63 ERA, while striking out 22 batters and walking only 2, and allowing 11 hits.  This is a drastic improvement for Morgan, who seemed to be merely an afterthought heading into the season.  He has been especially impressive against left-handers, holding them to a .211 average all season, showing his potential of a lefty specialist with his mid-high 90’s fastball and wipeout slider.

 

JP Crawford’s Time is Near

In Game 2 of a doubleheader against the Braves this past Wednesday, Freddy Galvis, the Phillies everyday shortstop, started in centerfield.  All fans and media reacted alike: it’s time for JP Crawford.  The long awaited top prospect has hit much better since the All-Star break and earned an opportunity to play the last month of the season.  The shortstop hit .279 in July and August after staying under .200 for the first 3 months of the season.  The Lakewood, California native also has 10 doubles, 4 triples, and 12 home runs the last 2 months after getting 8, 2, and 2 respectively the prior 3.His smooth defense and excellent plate approach have kept him in the long term picture for the Phillies, and is now delivering results to accompany these skills.  Look for him to spend some time at second, shortstop, and third as Mackanin will look to get him in the lineup everyday once he is called up.

 

Rhys Hoskins is the Real Deal…

After months of waiting, Phillies fans finally got to see first baseman/outfielder Rhys Hoskins on the major league club after a very impressive two years in AA and AAA.  It took a couple games for Hoskins to get started, but once he did, he just did not stop.  After going 1-16 in his first 4 games, Hoskins hit 11 homeruns in an 14 game span, including a 9 game span in which he hit 8 homeruns.  Overall, in 22 games, the rookie is hitting .304/.402/1.149 with 14 strikeouts and 12 walks.  This pace is obviously unsustainable, but it is great to see a young star shine for a team that has been, well, been missing bright spots over the past few seasons.  While Hoskins is doing a great job, he is not the only rookie who is impressing in Philly.

 

And So is Nick Williams

Prior to this season, many fans and writers began to give up on Nick Williams.  He struck out far too much and could not hit for average, leading many to believe he would never be a major league caliber player.  However, after an impressive showing in Lehigh Valley, Williams has done a solid job for the team.  In an even 200 at bats, the Galveston, Texas native is hitting .275/.338/.475 with 8 home runs, 30 runs, and 30 RBI’s.  In a full 600 at-bat season, that would give Williams 24 home runs, 90 runs, and 90 RBI’s, which is solid production from a 2 or 6 hole hitter, where Williams should end up.  The only problem is Williams has struck out 63 times and only walked 16, which shows his plate approach and discipline could still use some work.  However, it’s still a good first impression for the 23 year old, who looks to be around for the long haul.

 

Nola hits a Couple Bumps, but Still impresses

Aaron Nola’s brilliant run finally came to an end in a 5 inning, 5 ER start against the Giants followed by a 7 inning, 7 ER game against the Marlins, but the young right-hander is still one of the Phillies brightest spots from this season.  The LSU product recovered from the two rough outings with a brilliant 7 inning, 1 run win against the Braves, and can position himself to be the 2018 opening day starter with a good last few September starts.

 

Phillies Need to Address Pitching in Offseason

Unfortunately, other than Nola, the Phillies starters have all been extremely inconsistent.  Nick Pivetta and injured Vince Velasquez both look to not be starters of the future (but still could be solid contributors in the back of the bullpen), and Zach Eflin and Jerad Eickhoff have both had disappointing seasons.  Next year, the only new arm from in the system will be right-hander Tom Eshelman, which means the Phillies will likely need to fill at least 1 and perhaps more spots with talent from outside the organization depending on how they handle Pivetta, Velasquez, Eflin, Eickhoff, and right-hander Ben Lively.  The Phillies could go big with a Jake Arrieta or Yu Darvish, but will more likely acquire cheaper options through free-agency or trade and wait a year or two more to go for big talent.  In the case of a trade for a starter, look to say goodbye to Cesar Hernandez and Tommy Joseph, who no longer fit on the roster.

Things have been undeniably bad this year in Philadelphia, but perhaps this will help show the hope and promise the Phillies have just around the corner:

 

2018 Projected Starting Lineup

JP Crawford, 3B/SS

Scott Kingery, 2B

Odubel Herrera, CF

Rhys Hoskins, 1B

Aaron Altherr, LF

Nick Williams, RF

Jorge Alfaro, C

Freddy Galvis, SS/3B

Aaron Nola, P

That lineup looks a whole lot better than this years opening day lineup:

Cesar Hernandez, 2B

Howie Kendrick, LF

Odubel Herrera, CF

Maikel Franco, 3B

Michael Saunders, RF

Tommy Joseph, 1B

Cameron Rupp, C

Freddy Galvis, SS

Jeremy Hellickson, P

The future is near, Phillies fans!

 

Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

More from our Sister Sites