The Philadelphia Phillies have come within six wins from winning the World Series each of the last two years. With that comes expectations, overreactions, and everything in between. I went to X, formerly Twitter, to ask the people what they thought this season could be for the 2022 NL champs and picked ten to discuss.
1. Johan Rojas Leads the League in OAA and DRS
There is no question that when it comes to elite defense, Johan Rojas is one of the first to come to mind. He made a game-saving, potentially series-saving catch in the NLDS this past season. He is in the top percentile in defensive metrics already, so it only makes sense that he will lead the league in two major defensive metrics, assuming he gets a full MLB season under his belt.
2. Phillies Win the NL East
This is one I did not expect to see in the comments. After falling short of winning the World Series the last two years, I have seen a lot of overreactions. While I don’t think the Chris Sale trade will do much, they still have the best roster and rotation in baseball.
3. Kyle Schwarber in the Outfield More Than Anticipated
The talk surrounding Kyle Schwarber in left field is a mixed bag. Some think he won’t play at all while others think he’ll play 30+ games at the position. I expect him to play a bit of outfield to give Bryce Harper a break, and I could easily see it being more than 30 games. Both Schwarber and Harper play as many games as they can, and not having both bats in the lineup is a risk.
4. Bryson Stott Gets His First All-Star Nod and Wins Gold Glove
Bryson Stott showed significant improvement in his second year. He changed positions, making the Trea Turner signing an even easier move, and was a gold glove finalist in his first year. I anticipate him being a Gold Glove finalist again, and I expect him to get an all-star nod. Not many people knew about Stott outside of the fanbase to begin the year, but a lot more know about him now. With the notoriety and continued improvement, I don’t see how he doesn’t become an all-star.
5. Aaron Nola Wins CY Young
Aaron Nola is already a consistent top 10 Cy Young candidate, but could he win it in the first year of his new contract? I don’t think so, but I do think he’ll finish top 10 again. He allowed more home runs (32) this year than he ever had before, but something seemed to click late in the season and into the postseason. I believe he’ll bounce back strongly this year and be a top candidate, maybe even a finalist, but I see him just missing out on getting the award.
6. Cristian Pache Steals Johan Rojas’ Spot
This was a popular comment. Johan Rojas is an elite defender, but his bat just wasn’t MLB-ready last season. A platoon of Cristian Pache and Rojas is probably what we’ll see if the Phillies don’t sign another bat. Pache’s bat isn’t great, but he still gets on base by drawing walks. If the Phillies don’t sign anyone else, it’ll be a fun battle during spring training, and I would not be shocked if Pache was the one to come out victorious.
7. Jake Cave Released Before Opening Day
This would only happen if the Phillies get a bat in free agency. He seems like this year’s Josh Harrison. Signed until the trade deadline if/when the Phillies make a move and they release him. He can play a couple of different positions, but there are better options off the bench and in the minor system. If he doesn’t get released before spring training, I can see it happening at the deadline.
8. Bryce Harper Wins a Gold Glove
This is one I have convinced myself will happen. It is Bryce Harper; he’s going to be good at everything. When he made his debut at first base, he looked natural. It looked like he had been there forever. With a full offseason to prepare, I can easily see a gold glove for him at the end of the season.
9. Phillies Win the World Series
Can the Phillies finally finish the job? Can they go up in a series and win it? While I think it’s more likely than most are saying, the lack of moves doesn’t convince me they will. They’re a great team, one of the best in all of MLB when it counts, but they still need to make one more move before I’m convinced we’ll all be partying on Broad Street.
10. Trea Turner Wins MVP With 30/30/30 Season
Trea Turner’s second half, including most of the postseason, brought a lot of excitement for Phillies fans. His first half was the worst of his professional career, but he turned it around and became the player the Phillies signed him to be. Even with the rough beginning, he managed to hit 26 home runs, 35 doubles, and steal 30 bases. A 30 home run, 30 double, and 30 stolen bases season is doable for the shortstop. Can it get him in the MVP conversation? It would help, and I see him finishing in the top 10 with ease, but I don’t think he’ll get the MVP.
No matter what happens this upcoming season, it is sure to be a fun one. It will be very interesting to see how these takes look at the end of the season.
Photo Credit: (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)