2017 Fantasy Baseball Recap: Philadelphia Phillies
The Philadelphia Phillies finished last in the National League East for the third time in four years and hasn’t reached the postseason since 2011, but a slew of talented, young players have created a solid foundation for the future. Team president Andy MacPhail said he was very encouraged by what he saw from the team this season, citing Philadelphia’s record over the last 70 games (35-35) and winning mark against division opponents (39-37) as part of the reason for optimism.
As you might suspect from an executive with that level of cautious optimism, much of the excitement for the team comes from the performance of its young prospects. In particular, rookies Rhys Hoskins and Nick Williams came up from the minors and energized the offense
Hoskins, a 24-year old left fielder has seven multi-RBI performances in September and smacked five doubles to go with his 18 home runs in 39 major-league games. His patient approach was on full display in this one, as Hoskins saw a game-high 30 pitches in his four plate appearances in his second-to-last game of the season (against the New York Mets). His .259 batting average an .396 on base percentage is nothing to scoff at moving forward.
Fellow 24-year old outfielder Nick Williams finished the year in exciting fashion, going 2-4 with a home run and three RBI in Philadelphia’s 11-0 win over the Mets on the final day of the regular season. That gave William 33 RBI since August 1st, and marked the 10 time in 14 games that he had a base hit. Williams will need to work on his staggeringly-high strikeout totals opposite all of those hits, but his spot in the heart of the batting order in 2018 and beyond looks solidified.
But amidst the new guys, let’s not forget “veteran” third baseman Maikel Franco (who’s still only 25 years old). In his fourth season with the Phillies, he hit a team-high 24 home runs and 76 RBI this season. However, Franco didn’t get to enjoy quite as much buzz at the end of the year as some of his teammates, considering he had a grand total of only four hits in the second half of September, registering as many runs (12) as he did strikeouts. But considering his final 2017 numbers were actually a slight dip from the career-best marks he put in 2016, there’s still plenty to be excited about with him.
The second-busiest pitcher for the Phillies this year was Nick Pivetta, who finished with an 8-8 record over 133 innings this season. Pivetta fanned seven and walked five while tossing five scoreless frames in a winning effort against the New York Mets this Sunday. He cruised to an easy win, thanks to a robust 11 runs of support (including a six-run fourth) provided by the Phillies offense. The outing lowered Pivetta’s ERA to 6.02 for the season, and he’ll likely report to spring training in February with an opportunity to compete for a spot in the back of the rotation on the strength of his 140 strikeouts in 133 innings at the big-league level this season.