Something that has worked surprisingly well for the Phillies this year is their outfield’s offense. Currently, the outfield ranks 1st in batting average on balls in play (BABIP) and 6th in wins above replacement (WAR) within the National League. Not bad for the worst team in baseball.
The potential for a contending team with a core outfield is within grasp for the Phillies. With the right building blocks in place, the 2018 Phillies could be at the very least watchable.
The outfield took plenty of shapes this season and left field is currently a revolving door but the core three of Aaron Altherr, Odubel Herrera, and Nick Williams have made the Phillies offense at least watchable. Granted Altherr has been out a few weeks due to injury, but his offensive presence was invaluable to the team since the beginning of the season.
Herrera has been dynamite since the All-Star break, owning the league’s longest hit streak of the year and the longest hit streak from a Phillie since Chase Utley back in 2006. He holds the team lead in WAR and has been a habitual and consistent contributor to the Phillies’ handful of wins. But his offensive contributions have not been without his defensive pitfalls.
On Friday’s game against the Nationals, he allowed an inside-the-park grand slam home run on a misplayed ball to centerfield. While his defense leaves a lot to be desired, he’s still a developing player and the Phillies front office is planning that he’ll come around considering he’s the best outfielder on the team.
Since being brought up right before the All-Star break, Williams has been an RBI machine. There has been an evident learning curve for Williams in the majors, carrying a bloated strikeout percentage of 27%, but he has hit for average. He has been touted to hold a bunch of tools that make his potential sky high and he has lived up to that as of late.
Going 4-for-5 with a homerun and three RBIs on Friday against NL Cy Young candidate Max Scherzer shows just home much potential Williams really has. He’s probably the most exciting right fielder the Phillies have had in awhile.
You can’t talk about the outfield without at least mentioning the Rhys Hoskins and his offensive contributions as a left fielder. As the owner of the third best WAR total on the team with having just played 29 games, Hoskins has been the best thing to happen to the Phillies since Vince Velasquez struck out 16 batters in a game early last year. He was bound to cool off and step down from his god-tier pedestal but it’s been a wild ride for him. The future looks bright for the Phillies with all these talented young developing players.
While the best outfield in the National league belongs to division rival Miami, the Phillies are not far off from having a core of great outfielders. Now the infield, that’s a different story. The number one offseason priority is figuring out the placement of players in the infield.