Phillies Opening Day Has Arrived, and They’re Putting on a Master Class

MLB: AUG 16 Mets at Phillies
PHILADELPHIA, PA – AUGUST 16: Philadelphia Phillies Left Fielder Andrew McCutchen (22) and Philadelphia Phillies Right Fielder Bryce Harper (3) and Philadelphia Phillies Center Fielder Scott Kingery (4) tap gloves to celebrate the victory after the ninth inning of the Major League Baseball game between the New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies on August 16, 2020, at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire)

No phones this weekend, Phillies fans. That’s the rule.

No Twitter, no FaceTime, no nothing. In honor of Augusta and the 86th anniversary of the Masters, let’s all agree we can watch an entire baseball game without a performance-enhancing. . . drug.

It shouldn’t be challenging given the 2022 iteration of the Philadelphia Phillies offensive lineup, either. Enter Nick Castellanos, Kyle Schwarber, Bryson Stott, and Mickey Moniak.

Those are just the newcomers, lest I remind you of the reigning NL MVP, the BCIB, and a lineup that features Rhys Hoskins, incorrectly, as an afterthought.

And although Citizen Bank may not be as exclusive as the infamous PGA event, respect the Bell and focus up.

So mute your Apple Watch, grab a beer(s), and prepare for 2022 Opening Day.

Three Things to Watch – Philadelphia Phillies vs. The World

It’s All About Power

Not unlike Bryson DeChambeau, the Phillies are more than capable of driving the ball over 400 yards.

In 2021, Bryce Harper, Schwarber, and Castellanos combined for 101 home runs. If together, that would have been just 23 less than the Pittsburgh Pirates.

In 2021, the Major League leader in homers was the Toronto Blue Jays with 262. If that’s our baseline, another 161 long balls to tie (roughly 27 apiece for the rest of the starting lineup) won’t be easy, but who cares. Let’s just go for it.

See you at 262.

Aaron Nola’s the Comeback Kid

Tiger Woods in the 2019 Masters and now Aaron Nola in 2022; both hopefully comeback stories for the ages.

Beginning with the aforementioned long ball, Nola forfeited 26 total homers in 2021. Before last year, the former LSU Tiger had allowed an average of roughly 18 in the four seasons in which he’s eclipsed 100 innings pitched.

That’s the difference between a four and a three appearing in front of your ERA.

Oddly enough, he also posted the lowest BB/9 of his career. Maybe causation and no correlation, but it’s okay to walk a couple of batters in place of something worse—food for thought.

The Youth

They’re a little meatier than Will Zalatoris, but, somewhat surprisingly, both Stott and Moniak have made the Phillies’ 2022 26-man roster, and expectations are high.

Already this Spring, Moniak owns an OPS of 1.286 through 35 at-bats. His early display of power bodes well for the future of center-field in Philadelphia, a relative black hole for a decade.

We’ve seen hot Springs before (re: Scott Kingery in 2018), and they’re often not what they seem. What we have seen from Moniak is a 40% career strikeout rate, and that remains a concern.

More concerning, it was just announced that Moniak will miss at least six weeks with a hairline fracture in his wrist. His 2022 debut will have to wait.

Stott, on the other hand, might as well walk on water. He’s also been enjoying his time in Clearwater, with an OBP of .514 and a couple of doubles.

Playing Devil’s Advocate yet again, but, according to BaseballReference.com, Stott’s opposing pitchers have had an opponent quality rating of 7.4 (scale of one to ten). That’s the equivalent of AA competition, so you can’t blame my skepticism but enough of my negativity.

Opening Day has arrived with the scent of freshly cut green grass wafting from Philadelphia all the way down to South Georgia. Play ball, Phillies fans.

Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire

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