The Phillies are on the heels of a sixth straight losing season if they cannot turn things around this upcoming season. The Phillies have been in rebuilding mode for the past half decade, and have been the farthest thing from competitive. Despite this, some signs point towards a better year in 2018. More and more prospects from the minor league system are ready to play. A new manager has taken over, as the Phillies recently announced the hiring of Gabe Kapler. As a team, the Phillies showed significant improvement in the second half, finishing with a .493 winning percentage compared to a .333 winning percentage in the first half. The Phillies should be better next season, but who will help lead them there?
2017 hits leader: Freddy Galvis, 155 hits
Freddy Galvis led the Phillies in hits with 155 even though he only had a .255 batting average. Galvis leading the Phillies in hits was likely aided by his ability to stay healthy, as he played in all 162 games this past season. Galvis, assuming he is back with the Phillies, should produce between 125-150 hits in 2018, but it probably will not be the greatest number on the team. Players such as Cesar Hernandez and Odubel Herrera both produced higher batting averages, but they played in fewer games, as both suffered injuries and missed time. With Hernandez’s injuries a concern, I expect Odubel Herrera to lead the team in hits. Herrera is one of the few locks to start next season, tends to hit towards the top of the lineup, and has shown that he has a knack for hitting the ball, managing just seven less hits than Galvis in 24 less games.
2018 projected hits leader: Odubel Herrera
2017 runs leader: Cesar Hernandez, 85 runs
Hernandez led the Phillies in runs scored in 2017, managing to score a team leading 85 runs across 128 games. Hernandez had no problems getting on base, as he finished the season with a .373 on base percentage. If Hernandez is back with the Phillies next season and assumes his starting spot at second base (or possibly third base), I expect Hernandez to narrowly edge out Odubel Herrera in runs scored, assuming he can avoid a major injury.
2018 projected runs leader: Cesar Hernandez
2017 home run leader: Maikel Franco
Home runs are one of the most exciting plays in baseball. The aspect of a player altering the game with one timely swing can propel a team to a handful of extra wins. The Phillies home run leader each of the past two seasons has been Maikel Franco, who has managed 25 and 24 respectively. Franco likely will not be back in 2017 though, and if he is, he will not see significant playing time due to his lack of consistency during that span. Most people will probably look to rookie sensation Rhys Hoskins as the favorite for leading the Phillies in home runs next season. A name to look out for, though, is Aaron Altherr. Altherr finished third on the team in home runs with 19 in just 107 games. He has battled lack of playing time and injuries, but the 26 year old outfielder has shown that he can hit for power. I expect Hoskins to have a productive year, but he won’t be able to replicate what he did during the last month of the 2017 season.
2018 projected home run leader: Aaron Altherr
Runs Batted In:
2017 runs batted in leader: Maikel Franco, 76 RBI’s
With Franco’s chances of playing everyday are slim to none, someone will have to step up in terms of driving in runs. The Phillies lack a bonafide power bat in the middle of their lineup. Assuming the Phillies do not go out and sign a big time bat, all signs point towards Rhys Hoskins being the main middle of the order bat, and should have the best chance to lead the Phillies in RBI’s. It is up to Hoskins to take advantage of this.
2018 projected RBI leader: Rhys Hoskins
Photo via RSH3339 Flickr