It happens all the time. A random Phillies player pops from the recesses of our mind. We can’t always remember why. Most of the time it’s because of that player having a good season or a memorable moment.
Let’s allow those players to spring forth from our brains and look at some of the more underrated Phillies.
I’ll be going year to year, starting with 2017. Three years is enough to forget somebody, right?
There are a couple of bench players from 2017 that can be easily forgotten.
In 2010, Daniel Nava hit exactly one home run as a rookie. It came in his first at bat, against the Phillies, with the bases loaded. His first career at bat was a grand slam.
Seven years later with a 2013 World Series ring on his finger, Nava arrived in Philadelphia. He messed around at age 34 and slashed .301/.393/.421. His .301 batting average and .814 OPS were the second-highest of his career.
The next bench bat might not be any Phillies fan’s favorite after what he did in 2019. Howie Kendrick has hit over .340 twice in his career, last year with the WS winning Nationals and in 2017 with the Phillies.
Kendrick slashed .340/.397/.454 for the Phillies.
Please, for the love of God, do not look at the Phillies hitting stats from 2016. A.J. Ellis was their best hitter and he only played 11 games for the Phillies.
I’ll highlight two Phillies starters instead.
Jerad Eickhoff was the Phillies’ best starter in 2016. You forget the time when he was known as “The Human Metronome”. Instead, we remember the Eickhoff that came back from injury, performed well, and then gave up home runs at an extraordinary pace.
Three years earlier, Eickhoff was looking like a solid number 3 starter. Eick came from Texas in 2015 in the Cole Hamels deal and immediately made an impact. In 8 starts, he posted a 2.65 ERA over 51 IP.
In 2016, Eickhoff stepped back slightly but became consistent. He had a 3.65 ERA in just under 200 IP. Twenty out of his thirty-three starts were quality starts.
Jeremy Hellickson also provided the Phillies with a quality year. The Phillies acquired him in the offseason for peanuts, more accurately, Sam McWilliams.
The former 2011 Rookie of the Year had his best season since 2012. Hellickson posted a 3.71 ERA in 189 IP. He even threw a complete game shutout late in the season.
This team lost 99 games. Please bear with me here.
Andre Blanco slugged .502 in 2015. Would you like to know his career slugging %? .378. He had an OPS of .863 in 2016. His career OPS is .688. 32 of his 68 hits were for extra bases.
The next player was so hated in Philadelphia that everyone forgets just how good he was. In 2015, he was an All-Star in Philadelphia. His ERA was a minuscule 1.59 before being traded to the Nationals. I’m talking about Jonathan Papelbon.
Was he an absolute ass clown? Yes. Was he also underrated while in Philly? Annoyingly, yes.
At least we got that.
Oh and before I forget, Dalier Hinojosa gets an honorable mention. He had a 0.78 ERA in 23 IP.
Marlon Byrd was the Phillies’ best hitter. It’s that bad.
I’ll highlight a starter instead. Jerome Williams absolutely sucked before being picked up on waivers by Philly. He had a 6.71 ERA earlier in the year in Houston as a starter and Texas as a reliever.
Something clicked as a starter in Philadelphia, however. In 9 starts, Williams posted a 2.83 ERA, averaging over 6 IP per start. Because baseball is weird like that.
Also, he was a super wonderful human being as this selfie from 2015 shows.
Hey, look! Another ugly year!
It’s so bad that I only have 2 “honorable” mentions.
Antonio Bastardo had a really strong year with a 2.32 ERA. His fellow bullpen lefty, Jake Diekman, was also super solid. He posted a 2.58 ERA on the year.
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Alec Kostival graduated from La Salle University with a degree in communication with a focus in mass media and journalism. He covered high school sports for the Chestnut Hill Local. He has interned with the Reading Fightin Phils and the Philadelphia Eagles.