Prior to this year’s abbreviated Spring Training outing, the Philadelphia Phillies weren’t getting a lot of love as far as 2020 expectations go.
By the end of January, DraftKings had the Phils’ over/under for 2020 win total at 84.5. FanDuel had them at 85.5. Worse yet, the 2020 PECOTA MLB Standings predict a 77-win season for Philadelphia.
While an 84-win year would be a marginal improvement from last year’s, they’re still predicted to finish second-to-last in the NL East.
Perhaps the lack of hype surrounding the 2020 Phillies is justified. The Gabe Kapler-era squad ended with two positively miserable back-to-back September performances. In 2018, even the Phils’ effort on the field was brought into question.
But given the current possibility of a shortened season with divisions adjusted by region due to the novel coronavirus, there may be a glimmer of hope for the Phils. They could make a potential run for the postseason, if they maximize their freshly-acquired talent.
The Phillies’ most notable offseason acquisitions include RHP Zack Wheeler, who proved to be a consistent, durable threat on the mound with the Mets. He holds an impressive 3.77 lifetime ERA since his MLB debut in 2013.
The Phillies also brought in shortstop Didi Gregorius. The ex-Yankee is a defensive superstar who has also proven his ability to produce offensive stats, if he can stay healthy.
But greatest of all is having World Series champion Joe Girardi at the helm. A proven winner and managerial guru, Girardi has already received ultra-positive reviews from both the press and his new players. Former NL Manager of the Year Girardi is the kind of skipper you want when approaching the kind of high pressure stakes that the Phillies will endure, should the MLB return this year.
The Bottom Line
The current 82-game proposal set out by the owners would play right into the Phillies’ hands. A fresh set of managerial and player talent combined with a brief regular season is the perfect formula for Philadelphia.
The Phillies’ tendency to start the year hot would prove most valuable. And their likelihood for a late sink is largely diminished with an 82-game slate.
Now, Phillies fans need to count on history to repeat itself. A hot start, without even the opportunity for a late season collapse, and we could potentially be seeing Philadelphia creep into the postseason for the first time in nearly ten years.