The Philadelphia Phillies enter the 2024 season as World Series hopefuls after two consecutive postseason runs. With the new year approaching and pitchers and catchers reporting in just under two months, here are five New Years Resolutions for Philadelphia.
Five New Years Resolutions for the Philadelphia Phillies
5. Improve Hitting With Runners in Scoring Position
Leaving runners on base was a huge problem for the Phillies in 2023, and it came back to hurt them in the postseason. They have a knack for getting on base via walks and driving in runs via the long ball. What the Phillies lack, however, is the ability to score runners in critical situations. In 2023, Philadelphia ranked fourth worst in baseball in runners left in scoring position per game (3.66) behind only the Dodgers, Mariners, and Guardians. This is a big problem considering the talent that the Phillies possess at the plate. If they can manage to work on situational hitting and cut down on the strikeouts they have a shot at overtaking the Braves in the NL East standings and making a deep playoff run in 2024.
4. Work On Save Situations
With Craig Kimbrel out of the picture, the Phillies will likely rely on Jose Alvarado, Seranthony Dominguez and Orion Kerkering in late game save situations. In 2023, the Phillies blew 26 saves in 71 opportunities (45 games saved). While some of these games they were able to come back and win with the help of their bats, it is a cause for concern for a team that has spent a lot of money on pitching in recent years. Part of the blame goes to Rob Thomson for mismanaging his bullpen, but at the same time coaching can only go so far. The bullpen has to be better in late game situations and with a closer by committee highly likely, each player has to do their part to nail down their opponents.
3. Hit For More Contact
One of the Phillies biggest strengths is their ability to hit for power as six players hit at least 20 home runs last season. At the same time, only two players hit over .280 (Bryce Harper and Bryson Stott). Hitting is contagious and this is especially true for this team. The Phillies have always been a streaky team. The bats will be hot for long periods of time and look great, while other times they go ice cold at the worst moments. If Trea Turner, Nick Castellanos, Alec Bohm and Brandon Marsh can put together complete seasons, the Phillies will give pitchers nightmares even more than they already do.
2. Good Health
For the most part, the Phillies stayed relatively healthy in 2023. Bryce Harper returned from Tommy John Surgery early on in the season, and the team fired on all cylinders upon his return. The only big injury was Rhys Hoskins who will be out of the fold in 2024. The pitching rotation outside of Ranger Suarez was very durable in 2023 and this is especially important considering the situation with the bullpen. With the Phillies going with a closer by committee, it is important to have options in the late innings and keep relievers fresh. We’ve seen the Phillies struggle when their star players are out of the lineup, and it is critical that they stay healthy to compete with the Braves and Mets in 2024.
1. Play More Small Ball
Baseball is all about strategy. The Phillies lack the ability to play small ball in big situations. Part of this is coaching, while it also comes down to execution. It is important for players with speed such as Johan Rojas, Trea Turner, and Cristian Pache to work on bunting and hit and run situations. This goes hand in hand with the runners in scoring position issue. By just relying on walks and the home run ball, the Phillies run the risk of leaving runners stranded time and time again. Working on the little things and playing with more strategy will make this team multi-dimensional which is crucial in today’s game.
In recent years, the Phillies have established themselves as one of the best teams in baseball. In the end, they fell short in consecutive seasons due to inconsistencies on both sides of the diamond. If they can work on these five areas of their game, they will be a team you do not want to face come October.
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