The Philadelphia Phillies have one of the very best rosters in all of MLB heading into 2024. Littered with stars and high-quality role players everywhere, the Fightins are again expected to be one of the best teams in baseball. Many of their players have been recognized as some of the very best at their respective positions.
MLB.com ranked the top 10 players at each position as they currently stand. Which Phillies made the cut? Did the list rank them accurately among their peers across the MLB world? Let’s check it out.
Zack Wheeler: 6th-ranked starting pitcher
Wheeler just misses out on the top five but does move up a pair of spots on the ranking. The Phillies’ ace deserves it, as his 212 strikeouts from last season were the ninth-most in MLB, and although his ERA of 3.61 wasn’t Earth-shattering (and was his worst in a season with Philly), his ability to limit walks and pitch deeper into games than most other starters made him highly valuable yet again.
Starting at the top of the order, the starting pitchers ranked ahead of Wheeler were Gerrit Cole, Corbin Burnes, Zac Gallen, Justin Verlander, and Blake Snell. Cole’s case for being the best starter on the planet is very sound, but the order after him can be reasonably arranged in a variety of ways. Wheeler is the ideal ace and is about to be paid very handsomely because of that.
Jose Alvarado: 10th-ranked relief pitcher
One of five new additions to the top 10, Alvarado built off of his promising 2022 season and absolutely obliterated hitters in 2023. Hitters collectively hit just .196 against him, and his 1.74 ERA was the 10th-best among pitchers with at least 40 innings. His 37.2% strikeout percentage ranks fifth among that group. If inflammation in his left elbow didn’t take away so much time from his season, he could have easily been ranked higher.
JT Realmuto: 4th-ranked C
Adley Rutschman, Will Smith, and Sean Murphy are the only backstops ranked higher than Realmuto. It’s a testament to the body of work the 32-year-old has put in, as his 2023 season was not all that great, dropping him out of the top spot.
This past season was Realmuto’s second-worst hitting season since becoming a full-time starter, posting just a .762 OPS with a 25.6 strikeout percentage, his career-worst over a full season. His defense remained solid in some aspects — he’s still got the pop time to beat — but his pitch-framing stats were among the very worst in the game. He was so bad in that area that he graded out as a below-average defender at -4 defensive runs saved. Still, to be ranked in the top five in a down year is pretty good.
Bryce Harper: 2nd-ranked 1B
Harper came in second on the list of first basemen, though the lone player above him was not Matt Olson, fresh off of a 139-RBI, 54-homer season. It was instead the guy he replaced, Freddie Freeman, who has continued to rake for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
A player being recognized as the second-best at a position they learned on the fly is pretty incredible, even if it’s one of the easiest field positions out there. Harper can hit with the best of them, so being moved to a position that’s expected to uplift offenses the most was a seamless process. Now taking over as the Phillies’ full-time first baseman, Harper should see himself in the future top-10 lists for the position, especially as he gets more comfortable in the field.
Bryson Stott: Not ranked at 2B
This is the result that is perhaps the most shocking for the Phillies. Stott emerged as one of the team’s most important players last season, contributing very well with the bat and the glove. How can he not even earn a top-10 ranking in his position?
Stott had a pitiful final month of the season, diminishing his overall production. His OPS dropped from .786 to .747 over September/October. While his production for most of the season was still very good and dipping badly for just one month shouldn’t be punished too harshly, it left him with a statistical footprint that was easier to dismiss in favor of others.
One of the more surprising names to see on the list is Zack Gelof of the Oakland A’s, who was ranked eighth. The rookie only played 69 games, which should make him tougher to rank against guys with longer track records. In fairness, he did post an OPS of .840 while playing strong defense and stealing bases at an impressive rate.
Stott can easily be argued over the Cleveland Guardians’ Andres Gimenez and the Chicago Cubs’ Nico Hoerner, who came in at seventh and 10th, respectively. Their Golden Gloves earned them spots here despite being less than average at the plate (Stott had an OPS+ of 104 compared to Gimenez’s 98 and Hoerner’s 97). Stott’s defense was in line with both of them in several defensive statistics, so his superiority at the plate should have earned him a spot over one of them.
Tough luck for Stott in this year’s rankings, but he absolutely has the makings of a guy who will be a mainstay on the list for a long, long time.
Alec Bohm: Not ranked at 3B
It’s not surprising that Bohm was not recognized as one of MLB’s most talented occupants of the hot corner. Despite racking up 97 RBI and becoming more well-rounded at the plate, the 27-year-old lacks the elite skills needed to compete with the best of the best. Had the list expanded to 20, it would be safe to assume Mr. I Love This Place would fall somewhere in the middle of that 11-to-20 range.
Trea Turner: 5th-ranked SS
Turner’s remarkable mid-season turnaround kept him pretty high on the power rankings for shortstops. Although he surrendered the top spot, he kept himself in the top five with an unreal second half. In front of him on the list were Corey Seager, Francisco Lindor, Xander Bogaerts, and Dansby Swanson.
From the start of the season until August 3, Turner had a wRC+ of 76, the 11th-worst among qualified hitters. Then, he received a standing ovation from the Citizens Bank Park crowd and posted a 180 wRC+ the rest of the season, tied for the 5th-highest among qualified hitters with Harper. The rollercoaster descending to depths lower than most and soaring to depths higher than most left Turner with a 108 wRC+ for the season. His track record from previous years limited his slide down the rankings to just a handful of spots.
Kyle Schwarber: 10th-ranked LF
What a testament it is to Schwarber’s pitch recognition and power that he was ranked as a top-10 left fielder despite being so bad at fielding, base-running, and hitting for average. He hung onto a spot on the list as he stares down a likely full-time move to designated hitter in the upcoming season.
MLB’s most divisive leadoff hitter smacked 47 home runs last season, the most of any outfielder while leading all hitters in strikeouts again. He was second in MLB in bases on balls, trailing only Juan Soto as one of just two guys to draw 120 walks. The embodiment of the three true outcomes has likely seen his last days as a regular fielder — and it’s for the best. But he can still mash with the best of them.
Brandon Marsh: 10th-ranked CF
Marsh spent most of his superb season in center, moving to left when Johan Rojas came along. He did everything the Phillies could want out of him at the plate and held up alright in the field. His spot in the top 10 is well-deserved.
Among players who played at least half of the 2023 season in center field (Marsh made 108 appearances there, including 88 starts), the hairiest man from The Daycare ranked first in on-base percentage and sixth in doubles while also being in the top five in OPS, OPS+, and walks. He may not have the pop that other outfielders do, but he’s very tough to get out, making him a key cog in the Phillies’ offense even though he’s not a top-of-the-order guy.
Nick Castellanos: Not ranked at RF
Casty’s incredible first half of 2023 was followed by a not-so-great second half, killing any chance he had at being named to the top 10. It would have been tough for him to make it there anyway, as he didn’t even make the cut in his All-Star campaign in 2021. Barring a stretch of spectacular hitting, it’s not likely he’ll make it onto the list any time soon.
Photo Credit: (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)