Phillies’ 2017 Preview: Offense
A team rebuilding, that is what you can call the 2017 Philadelphia Phillies ballclub. The team did make some moves in the offseason, and seems to be one or two years away from competing in the NL East.
On offense, the team is led by all-star center fielder Odubel Herrera, who signed a five-year extension in the offseason, hitting .286 with 15 home runs and 25 stolen bases. Projected to bat third, expect Herrera to provide the same type of numbers that he did in 2016.
With Ryan Howard no longer a Phillie, Tommy Joseph is now the everyday first baseman. Last year, Joseph hit 21 home runs in 315 at-bats. Joseph has the potential to be a 30-home-run power hitter, and, with more plate appearances in 2017, expect his average to be higher than last year.
Also helping Joseph, in regards to power hitting and looking to have a breakout season, is third baseman Maikel Franco, who hit 25 home runs and knocked in 88 last year. Franco, who is projected to bat fourth, needs to be counted on to put up similar or higher numbers, especially since this lacked power in 2016.
Shortstop Freddy Galvis is now one of the leaders of this ballclub and surprised everyone by hitting 20 home runs last season, but is known for his glove defensively. Any numbers like what he hit last year would be a plus for this team, especially since he will bat near the bottom of the lineup.
Behind the plate is Cameron Rupp, who will take the full-time duty, now that Carlos Ruiz is no longer in Philadelphia. Rupp will continue to be a strong presence behind the plate, and, if he can for the same average and hit about 15 home runs like he did last year, I think the organization will be fine with this.
A couple of new Phillies who were acquired in the winter should help the Phillies’ offense produce more chances.
Howie Kendrick will be the Phillies’ left fielder after being acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers. Kendrick should be penciled in the #2 spot in the batting order, and should bat around .275. Further, he is more of a line-drive hitter, so expect him to hit a decent number of doubles, and he has the potential to hit about 10 home runs in 2017.
Finally, Michael Saunders, the other new Phillie, hit 24 home runs last season and will see most of his work in right field. Saunders will share the position with Aaron Altherr and could be projected to hit 15–20 home runs this season.
The rest of the offense consists of the following players. First, there is second baseman Cesar Hernandez, who was the team’s leading hitter last year (.290), will bat leadoff for the Phillies, and does have a solid glove. Next, there is Andres Blanco, who is one of the team’s better utility players. Further, the Phillies look to have three rookies making the team: infielder, Jesmuel Valentin, who hit nearly .270 last year on two levels and has hit over .300 in spring training; Andrew Knapp, who will back up Rupp; and Knapp, who hit. 266 for Lehigh Valley (AAA) last year. Finally, there is infielder/outfielder Brock Stassi, who took full advantage of spring training this year, hitting well over .300 with five home runs.