Do the ’24 Phillies have a Homerun Problem?

Phillies Schwarber
Philadelphia Phillies designated hitter Kyle Schwarber (12) gestures after hitting a home run during the first inning of a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Saturday, April 13, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson)

When you are the best team in baseball, it is hard to determine what aspects of your team can improve. An elite starting rotation, efficient run-scoring offense, and a well-rounded bullpen have led the Phillies to a Major League Baseball-best 45-20 record.

The club leads the National League East by 9 games and has a 99.99% chance of making the playoffs. However, there are still areas that can be improved. The Phillies’ outfield ranks towards the bottom in baseball in total WAR, the bench has totaled 1 RBI in pinch-hitting situations, and the bullpen could potentially use another arm.

While these factors have resulted in a team that sits 25 games above .500, there are still areas that could benefit from some transactions. One aspect of the game that the Phillies could benefit from is adding another power bat.

A team that has clubbed home runs with the best of them over the last few seasons, the Phillies are 6th in team homers this year. While that aspect of their game is strong, it is spread across a large part of their team. I feel as though adding a power bat to the club could help push the needle a little further.

Philadelphia Phillies’ Bryce Harper (3) celebrates after hitting a home run against the New York Mets during the fourth inning of a London Series baseball game in London, Saturday, June 8, 2024. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

It Takes A Village

Heading into their series with the Boston Red Sox, the Phillies have two players with double-digit homeruns: Bryce Harper (15) and Kyle Schwarber (11). Nick Castellanos, who is starting to turn things around over the last month, is in third place with (9) homeruns.

Using their current pace, only Bryce Harper would reach the 30-homerun threshold. He is on pace for 37 homers, which would be the second most in a season for the former 2-time MVP. Kyle Schwarber would finish with just 27 long balls, which would be 20 less than his 2023 total (47).

In 2023, the Phillies had six players hit over 20 homeruns: Kyle Schwarber, Nick Castellanos, Trea Turner, Bryce Harper, JT Realmuto, and Alec Bohm. As of now, only three players would hit that mark for the Phillies.

Trea Turner’s injury is certainly a factor in this category. Trea has played in just 33 of the team’s 65 games this season. Turner typically has 20-25 homeruns worth of pop in his bat, and missing over a month of action will certainly take a hit to his counting stats in 2024.

Even though the team sits in 6th place in the category they could benefit from adding a power first swinger to the team.

Philadelphia Phillies’ Nick Castellanos is dunked with water by Alec Bohm after he hit a walk-off double during the 10th inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers, Tuesday, June 4, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson)

Options for the Phillies

The Phillies have a few options when looking into adding another bat. The likely solution will be to find a right-handed hitting outfielder with homerun potential.

If the Phillies add another outfielder, it would likely come at the expense of Cristian Pache or Johan Rojas. Both players have the same profile, elite defense with low-impact offense. The team has given Rojas more opportunities through the first 65 games of the season, but his bat is certainly not locking him into a starting spot.

If the Phillies added this outfielder, you would likely see one of those two players taken off the active roster. Johan Rojas would be demoted to Triple-A or Cristian Pache would be placed on waivers. Chances are, Pache would get claimed by another team.

Once this occurs, the Phillies could start this player in leftfield, while Rojas/Pache start in center. Against a right-hander, Marsh could start in center instead of Rojas/Pache. This leaves left field open to this new player, Whit Merrifield, or even potentially Edmundo Sosa.

At the very least, this gives Rob Thomson some more flexibility with his lineups. The Phillies won’t make a move until closer to the Trade Deadline, giving their current players a chance to claim a starting spot. In the meantime, the bench will be tested with players like Brandon Marsh out of action.

There is plenty of time before the Phillies show their cards. A benefit from such a strong start is that they can afford to let players figure it out. As we get closer to the Trade Deadline, the plan will become clear.

Photo Credit: (AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson)