There was so much promise, so much potential for the 2020 Philadelphia Phillies. The sky was the limit. Bryce Harper was ready to bust out, Zack Wheeler defected from the Mets, and Joe Girardi was taking the reins from Gabe Kapler.
And then it all went wrong.
The Philadelphia Phillies
2020: Record: 28 – 32
2020 Finish: 3rd in the NL East, 10th in the National League
Surprises in 2020
Let’s start out with a few stone-cold facts. Alec Bohm out-hit Bryce Harper, JT Realmuto, Rhys Hoskins, and Andrew McCutchen in 2020. That’s a fact, you can look it up. Bohm’s 2020 slash line of .338/.400/.481, with an OPS of .881, is top-notch, and it was good enough for one of the top spots on the Philly roster this year.
It was also good enough to earned him 2020 NL Rookie of the Year. As if there was any debate.
But the best thing about Bohm is this: when his teammates are on-base and he steps into the box, he becomes much stronger. With runners in scoring position, Alec Bohm produced an incredible .452/.519/.524 slash line, which totals to a 1.043 OPS. That’s solid stuff right there.
Across the board, Bohm had a solid first season in the Majors. You simply cannot argue with that.
Disappointments in 2020
There was a lot left to be desired after the Phillies 2020 season, but the biggest failure came from the bullpen.
The Phillies bullpen finished the 2020 season with the league’s worst ERA at 7.06 and the worst WHIP at 1.790. If that’s not a clear enough picture, the Phillies finished the season with more blown saves (12) than actual saves (11).
This is a big problem for the Phillies and one they have been slow to fix despite plenty of great options on the free-agent market. If the Phillies want to succeed in making the playoffs for the first time in a decade, they need to get the bullpen in order. Archie Bradley is a great first step, but adding another bullpen arm or two would sure things up.
The time to worry about how Scott Kingery fits into the lineup is over, the bullpen is a mess and it’s only going to get worse without immediate intervention.
Looking Ahead to 2021
On paper, the Phillies have a great offensive lineup, and a formidable starting rotation. That’s it. That team is only successful on paper. In real life, this team is in dire need of direction and structure, and Dave Dombrowski has been tasked with delivering just that.
Dombrowski is a great fit for the Phillies in their current state. Known for selling off prospects for expensive contracts and big names. The Phillies already have a few of those, and don’t have too much room for more.
What the Phillies need to focus on is developing their youth and changing the inner workings of the organization. The Phillies need a clean start without a rebuild, a tough needle to thread for sure.
However, after signing Realmuto, the Phillies have all of the pieces they should need to be successful. The same pieces they had in 2020, but still, things can only get better, right?
It just might take a while for everything to click together and run smoothly. Is that a possibility for 2021? Maybe, but we’ve seen this kind of potential before and the Phillies fell on their faces.
Projected 2021 Finish: 82-80, 3rd in the NL East
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