Phillies 2017 Record: 34-62
Who says the Phillies will lose 100 games? With 5 wins in their last 7 games and two straight series wins, the Phils are finally bringing back respectability. And how about this:
This is the first time Phillies have scored 5+ runs in 7 straight games in a single season since May 31-June 7, 2005.— Corey Seidman (@CoreySeidmanCSN) July 23, 2017
Also from Corey in his recent article:
Their starting pitchers have allowed three runs or less in six of the last eight games. And the Phils' bullpen has the lowest ERA in the majors since June 26 at 2.19.
One of the quiet success stories of the 2017 Phillies season has been Daniel Nava, who has far exceeded expectations, leading the team in average and OBP. It has obviously been in a limited role, but with 152 AB's, he has been way more than just a pinch-hitter. His name doesn't get mentioned much in trade chatter, but he seems like a nice piece for a contender to add a reasonable cost.
A name we might see on the leader board in the not-too-distant future is Nick Williams. He doesn't have enough at-bats to make this list (he has 68 at-bats now), but excluding pitchers, Williams ranks 1st on the team in slugging (.603) and OPS (.950), 2nd in batting average (.309), and 5th in OBP (.347).
To say he has been a pleasant surprise would be a huge understatement. He not only is hitting for average and power, but he is showing an opposite field strenghth you cannot teach. He is by no means without holes in his game, though. He has a slightly loopy swing, has a hard time catching up to big league fastballs at times, struggles with inside pitches, and with 4 walks and 17 strikeouts, he also still has plenty of work to do with his plate discipline. But the good far outweighs the bad at this point, and who is to say that once he works out those kinks, his best days are still in front of him.
Aaron Nola headlines the leader board once again for the starters. He leads in all but one category, and if Hellickson gets traded, he could possibly lead everything by the end of the year.
We knew the curveball was there, the fastball with movement was there, and the command was there. But we didn't know that Nola's fastball would increase in velocity and that his changeup would be this effective. Nola is every bit the pitcher the Phillies drafted, with a player that profiled as a solid number three starter. But with what he has shown lately, Nola's ceiling might even be that of a number two.
He is obviously going through a hot streak which will eventually start to cool, but there is no arguing with his stuff. Injuries have always been a concern for Nola, but with the added velocity has come less stress on his elbow now that he is using his legs more.
If we can get Eickhoff to re-establish himself as the bulldog of the rotation, the Phils will have a solid base to work from as they hope to move from pretender to contender. Andy MacPhail has preached time and again that he wants to grow the pitching and buy the hitting. Until recently, it looked like the Phillies might have to take a completely opposite stance, but Nola's comeback might at least save the Phillies from one big-ticket purchase.
96 games in with the best team, here are the leaders with the AL leading Astros in town:
Phillies Current Team Hitting Leaders (minimum 130 at-bats)
Average: Altherr (.288)
OBP: Nava (.382)
SLG: Altherr (.539)
OPS: Altherr (.898)
HR: Joseph (15)
RBI: Franco (47)
Runs: Hernandez/Altherr (40)
Extra-base hits: Herrera/Altherr (37)
BB: Joseph (27)
SO: Herrera (86)
SB: Kendrick (8)
Phillies Current Team Starting Pitching Leaders (minimum 6 starts)
ERA: Nola (3.54)
IP: Hellickson (107.1)
Wins: Nola/Hellickson (6)
WHIP: Nola (1.20)
Strikeouts: Nola (88)
Phillies Current Team Bullpen Leaders (minimum 10 appearances)
ERA: Neshek (1.21)
IP: Neris (39.1)
WHIP: Neshek (0.86)
Strikeouts: Neris (41)
Games: Neris (43)
Saves: Neris (8)
Holds: Benoit (12)