The Phillies outfield, once among the worst in Major League Baseball, is quickly on the upswing.
After hitting a combined 83 home runs in the 2015 and 2016 seasons (Mike Trout hit 70 during that span), the Phillies outfielders have already produced 71 home runs on the year with 12 games left in the season. The emergence of a few young pieces in the outfield has helped speed up a lengthy rebuild, and could propel them into a winning ball club sooner rather than later.
If you ask any Major League hitter, he’ll tell you there’s no feeling like putting one into the bleachers and jogging around the bases knowing he just single handedly impacted the game. Unfortunately, not every hit can result in the beloved home run trot.
The Phillies outfield has shown a much improved ability not just in terms of power, but in nearly all other aspects as well. They have produced more runs, hits, doubles, and RBIs in addition to the surplus of home runs. They’ve also improved on the defensive side of the ball, producing ten less errors this season. An in def breakdown of the Phillies improvements on the offensive side of the ball can be found below:
Runs in 2016: 221 Runs in 2017: 265 Differential: +44
Hits in 2016: 443 Hits in 2017: 535 Differential: +92
Doubles in 2016: 79 Doubles in 2017: 116 Differential: +37
RBIs in 2016: 156 RBIs in 2017: 263 Differential: +107
The Phillies new and improved starting outfielders of Rhys Hoskins, Odubel Herrera, and Nick Williams are all 25 or younger. The trio should hopefully be able to gel together for the next couple of years and continue to showcase their impressive skill sets, one of which has resulted in them all hitting over .290, a feat none of the Phillies outfielders could obtain last season.
Outside of these starters is encumbered outfielder Aaron Altherr, who will have trouble finding playing time as long as these three remain healthy. Altherr, 26, will likely be the Phillies fourth outfielder. Altherr has racked together 16 home runs in just 91 games, missing time this season due to a right hamstring issue.
It has been a long time since the Phillies had a multitude of starting capable outfielders, but the wait appears to be over. The Phillies outfield should be one of the strengths of this team now and moving forward, and should be one the the keys to their current and future success.