To begin this season, we’ve seen the Phillies struggle. And by struggle, they struggled bad. Their bullpen has been atrocious, leading to Joe Girardi having to try a bunch of different options. Again, all of which were simply just bad. However, the relievers have been starting to perform at a slightly less historically bad rate. The reason this may seem this way, though, is because of one huge factor.
The Phillies’ bats.
League Leaders: as a team
Through their 18 games so far, the Phillies have been hitting like crazy. Sitting among the top of the league in multiple hitting categories, the Phillies are one of the best offensive teams in the league:
- First in MLB in team batting average (.268)
- Third in MLB in team OBP (.349)
- Second in MLB in team SLG (.468)
- Second in MLB in team OPS (.827)
- LAST in strikeout rate per game (18.7%)
Aside from the stats as well, we see this newly renovated offense starting to produce on a game-by-game basis. In terms of just the national league, the Phillies lead in all of those categories aside from OBP, where they only trail the Mets. Something that is important to note, however, is men left on base. Just by the eye test, it felt like the Phillies were never advancing runners, or scoring them, for that matter. However, after that rough patch, the Phillies are beginning to get those baserunners home.
According to Fangraphs.com, here’s the breakdown of the Phillies batting average with runners in scoring position by week:
- July 20-26: .136 AVG w/ RISP
- Aug 3-9: .220 AVG w/ RISP
- Aug 10-16: .318 w/RISP
- Last night’s game (Aug 18): 6-for-15 (.400) w/ RISP
These bats are getting hot, and doing it at the right moments. This, of course, something we are not used to as Phillies’ fans.
Phillies’ Individual Leaders
Wait, that isn’t how this was supposed to start off. But, nonetheless, it’s true. The best catcher in baseball still remains unsigned.
Anyways, JT Realmuto, Bryce Harper, and Didi Gregorius lead the regular starters, each with some MVP type numbers:
- Bryce Harper: .367 average, 1.186 OPS, 5 homeruns
- Didi Gregorius: .308 average, .835 OPS, 3 homeruns
- JT Realmuto: .288 average, 1.020 OPS, 8 homeruns
These three, who were brought in to do exactly what they’re doing, are impressing us on a nightly basis. As of today, August 19th, Bryce Harper has an 18 game on-base streak. Along with this, he sits fourth in the league in batting average, first in OBP (.486), and second in OPS (1.186). Despite still being called overrated, Bryce is proving to be the MVP the Phillies signed him to be.
Along with the big guys, the Phillies are getting contributions from all over. On a smaller scale, Roman Quinn is batting a quiet .266, and newcomer Alec Bohm is dominating pitchers at the plate with his .353 average. Jay Bruce has also done Jay Bruce things, batting .245, but with four homers.
Phil Gosselin and Adam Haseley, however, have been the main surprises of the season. The goose has been loose, starting off his season red hot. He has already taken second base starts from the struggling Scott Kingery, as Gosselin is batting .429 with a 1.357 OPS in 28 at-bats. He may only have three homers, but each has come at a time where the team needed a spark. Adam Haseley has also come out swinging before suffering an injury last week as well. The youngster is batting .333 with a .429 slugging percentage in 21 plate appearances.
In a season where anything has proven to be possible, the Phillies’ bats are shining. With a depleted bullpen that desperately needs help, the offense has brought some light to the team. The Phillies look to win their fifth straight tonight against the Boston Red Sox, who are on a nine game losing streak of their own.
Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire