Check out my 2022 Season Preview Article for the Phillies here.
2022 Record: 87-75 (.537 win%, 3th in Division)
2022 Payroll: $255,154,497 (4th)
1. LF, Kyle Schwarber, .218 AVG/.323 OBP/.504 SLG, 2.6 fWAR
2. 1B, Rhys Hoskins, .246 AVG/.332 OBP/.462 SLG, 2.2 fWAR
3. C, J.T. Realmuto, .276 AVG/.342 OBP/.478 SLG, 6.5 fWAR
4. DH, Bryce Harper, .286 AVG/.364 OBP/.514 SLG, 2.4 fWAR
5. RF, Nick Castellanos, .263 AVG/.305 OBP/.389 SLG, -0.7 fWAR
6. 3B, Alec Bohm, .280 AVG/.315 OBP/.398 SLG, 1.5 fWAR
7. 2B, Jean Segura, .277 AVG/.336 OBP/.387 SLG, 1.7 fWAR
8. CF, Matt Vierling, .246 AVG/.297 OBP/.351 SLG, 0.0 fWAR
9. SS, Bryson Stott, .234 AVG/.295 OBP/.358 SLG, 1.4 fWAR
10. CF, Brandon Marsh, .288 AVG/.319 OBP/.455 SLG, 0.6 fWAR
1. Aaron Nola, 205.0 IP/3.25 ERA/0.961 WHIP, 6.3 fWAR
2. Zach Wheeler, 153.0 IP/2.82 ERA/1.039 WHIP, 4.1 fWAR
3. Ranger Saurez, 155.1 IP/3.65 ERA/1.333 WHIP, 2.3 fWAR
4. Kyle Gibson, 167.2 IP/5.05 ERA/1.336 WHIP, 1.8 fWAR
5. Bailey Falter, 84.0 IP/3.86 ERA/1.214 WHIP, 0.6 fWAR
2022 Top 5 Relievers:
1. Corey Knebel, 44.2 IP/3.43 ERA/1.366 WHIP, 0.0 fWAR
2. Jose Alverado, 51.0 IP/3.18 ERA/1.216 WHIP, 1.7 fWAR
3. Seranthony Dominguez, 51.0 IP/3.00 ERA/1.137 WHIP, 1.0 fWAR
4. Brad Hand, 45.0 IP/2.80 ERA/1.333 WHIP, 0.3 fWAR
5. Andrew Bellatti, 54.1IP/3.31 ERA/1.325 WHIP, 1.0 fWAR
Regular Season Recap:
With the Phillies adding Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos and improving the bullpen by adding arms like Corey Knebel, Brad Hand, and Jeurys Familia they were poised to improve in a massive way. With its offensive firepower, this team had expected that they would come flying out of the gates, but it was quite the opposite.
By June 3, the Phillies were 22-29 and seemingly felt like this Phillies team had the same fate as prior seasons: play around .500 ball and then barely lose out on a playoff spot. It was time for a managerial change, and Joe Girardi, in his third season with the team, was fired.
The interim manager was none other than Rob Thomson, who was promoted to the position after serving as the bench coach. Immediately, the energy shifted for the Phillies, as they won 16 of their next 22. The offense was firing on all cylinders and the strong starting pitching led by Wheeler and Nola was also showing their strength.
All was looking up for the Phillies until June 25th when playing San Diego. Bryce Harper was hit in the hand with a pitch that resulted in a fractured left thumb, which would leave him sidelined until late August. Philadelphia needed some hitters to step up in the absence of Harper, and fortunately, they got it.
In July, J.T. Realmuto and Alec Bohm stepped up in a big way for the Phillies’ offense. Realmuto slashed a .385 AVG, had a .423 OBP, .642 SLG, and .447 wOBA. Bohm hit for a .434 AVG, .457 OBP, .632 SLG, and .463 wOBA. As July came to a close, it was time for the trade deadline, and the Phillies felt it necessary to make some roster improvements.
They acquired Brandon Marsh and Noah Syndergaard from the Angels in two different deals, David Robertson from the Cubs, and Edmundo Sosa from the Cardinals. Marsh added another left-handed hitting outfielder that could platoon with Matt Vierling and gave the Phillies a good boost to their very righty-heavy lineup.
Syndergaard added another arm that could be used as a starter that does not log many innings or a long reliever. Syndergaard’s arm was not the same as it once was, and the Phillies needed to pay close attention to that. David Robertson was a good addition to a demoralized, overpaid, and depleted bullpen that needed some back-end help. Finally, Edmundo Sosa added defensive help up the middle at shortstop.
In August, Realmuto cooled off a little but was still producing at an extremely high rate. He had a .303 AVG, an OBP of .351, a .596 SLG, and a .399 wOBA. He was also able to knock in 21 RBI, Bohm knocked in 19 RBI, and Hoskins knocked in 18 RBI while hitting for a .248 AVG, an OBP of .358, a .467 SLG, and a .361 wOBA. On the pitching end, David Robertson made an immediate impact on the bullpen posting a .156 ERA and 0.94 WHIP in 11.2 innings of work.
In September and into the beginning of October, Nola and Wheeler both had great months. In 34.1 innings Nola had an ERA of 2.36 and a WHIP of 0.90. In 15 innings Wheeler had an ERA of 0.60 and a WHIP of 0.67. Jose Alvarado and Andrew Bellatti both also had great months. Alvarado did not give up an earned run in 12 innings pitched, he had a WHIP of 0.30, and opposing hitters had a .053 AVG against him. Bellatti had a 1.54 ERA and a WHIP of 1.2 in 11.2 innings pitched.
Zach Eflin also came back and joined the Phillies roster in 7 appearances, had an ERA of 1.17 and recorded a save. Realmuto continued to hit, posting a .287 AVG, an OBP of .339, a .554 SLG, and a .381 wOBA. Kyle Schwarber also played an incredible September hit for a .239 AVG, an OBP of .366, a .578 SLG, and a .402 wOBA.
Many of the bats went quiet and the Phillies made September a much more interesting month than it had to be as they lost 15 of their last 28 before clinching a playoff spot with a 3-0 win over the Astros on October 3rd. The Brewers were the closest team in contention and almost caught the Phillies if it weren’t for their own bad play toward the end of their schedule. Ultimately the Phillies finished their schedule 87-75 and secured the 6th and final playoff spot in the NL.
M-SABR Predicted Record (86-76) vs. Actual (87-75):
I am immensely happy with how my prediction turned out. Technically in the season preview article that I wrote for the Phillies, I had them going 86-75. I felt it was unfair to give myself the benefit of the doubt that I would have predicted a win as the result of their 162nd game, so I added it to the loss column. I also correctly predicted that the Phillies along with roster improvements would ultimately break their playoff drought because of the expanded playoff. I also correctly predicted the Braves to win the division, but I did not predict the Mets to have the season they had or the Phillies’ improbable run to the World Series.
Surprise of the Season/Postseason Recap:
It’s hard to say anything other than the run the Phillies went on during the playoffs was more surprising. The Phillies were put into a very dangerous position towards the end of the season as they almost lost the sixth and final postseason spot to the Brewers who finished one game back. If the Brewers hadn’t dropped three of four to the Marlins in their second-to-last series of the year, this magical Phillies run may have never come to life.
The Phillies rolled past the Cardinals after coming back from a three-run deficit in the 9th and put up six runs to take all the life out of the Cardinals and led to a sweep. They then faced the Braves next and were able to steal Game 1. Once the series got to Philadelphia, the crowd at Citizens Bank Park propelled the Phillies’ offense to a new level and the Braves never stood a chance, losing Game 3 9-1 and Game 4 8-3.
The Phillies then traveled to San Diego and were able to take Game 1 at a score of 2-0. After losing Game 2 they headed back to Philadelphia and much like the Braves, the Padres could not match the energy the fans brought the Phillies. Every time the Phillies were down, it felt like the crowd immediately brought them back into the game.
That fact was no more evident than in Game 5 of the NLCS when the Phillies were down 3-2 in the bottom of the 8th. Bryce Harper stepped to the plate with a man on first and no outs, and then turned Philadelphia upside down. He hit a home run over the left-center wall putting the Phillies up 4-3, instantly cementing himself with one of the best postseason performances ever. The Phillies run came up short against the Astros, as the great amount of depth the Astros proved to be too much for Philadelphia..
Bryce Harper went ballistic this postseason. He hit for a .349 AVG, a .414 OBP, and a .746 SLG. He had 22 hits, six of those being home runs, and had 13 RBIs. Other Phillies teammates also got in on the home run party. Along with Harper, Kyle Shcwarber and Rhys Hoskins also hit six home runs throughout the postseason. The most dominant pitcher throughout the playoffs was in my opinion Ranger Suarez. He finished the postseason with a 1.23 ERA and 1.023 WHIP in 14.2 innings pitched.
It was really fun to watch this Phillies team, which is full of personality, go on the run they did. From the ups and downs, to the clutch hits, and even watching Rhys Hoskins spike his bat it was all very entertaining and cool to see such a great sports city have a winning baseball team.
The season ended with a whimper, but there was no doubt that this team deserved to be in the spot they ended up being in. A lineup topheavy with mashers, a shutdown back-end of the bullpen, along with two starting aces is a good concoction for a contender. They’ll be back.
Players We Watched:
News flash, Bryce Harper is still Bryce Harper. He finished the regular season after only playing hit for a .286 AVG, had a .364 OBP, slashed a .514 SLG, and finished with a 2.4 fWAR. Harper finished with 18 home runs, 65 RBI, 11 stolen bases, and had an OPS+ 145. It was nothing like his MVP season in 2021, but it was still a very respectable regular season for the amount of time he missed.
Although his regular season was not exactly MVP-esque, Harper arguably had one of the best postseason performances by any hitter in many years. He accumulated 22 hits, six of those hits being home runs, and had 13 RBIs. It was clutch hit after clutch hit for Harper, the moment was never too big for him. You could make the argument that he was the sole reason why their dream run was able to continue for so long, and I do not think too many people would try to argue the other side.
Nola did not disappoint in 2022, and helped carry the pitching staff along with Zach Wheeler this season. Nola finished with 205.0 IP, a 3.25 ERA, a 0.961 WHIP, and a 6.3 fWAR which was second on the team only to J.T. Realmuto’s 6.5 fWAR. Nola also averaged around 6.1 innings pitched a game. He was lights out in his first two starts in the postseason pitching 12.2 scoreless innings, but struggled to get into a rhythm in his last three starts and gave up 14 runs.
Nola should continue to come back to his dominant form next season, and hopefully, if the Phillies are to make it back to the postseason then he can redeem himself for his poor performance in the NLCS and World Series.
Sadly, Knebel had a disappointing year for the Phillies, much like many of their bullpen acquisitions. He finished the season with 44.2 IP, a 3.43 ERA, a WHIP of 1.366, and a 0.0 fWAR. Knebel has had a very up-and-down last three years, and it is very hard to see him coming back and playing for the Phillies next year unless it’s an extremely cheap deal.
As It goes for improvements the Phillies can make to their roster, we must first look at who is leaving out the door. The players who will become free agents from last year’s Phillies roster are Jean Segura, Zach Eflin, David Robertson, Noah Syndergaard, Brad Hand, Corey Knebel, Johan Camargo, and Chris Devenski. Also, the contracts of Didi Gregorius, Jeurys Familia, and Odubel Herrera will come off the books officially which will create more space for the Phillies.
After all that it gives the Phillies around $75 million to work with this offseason, without factoring in pre-arbitration and arbitration-eligible players who will see a bump in pay. I see the Phillies’ needs as such; bring in a new shortstop who is preferably a star, try and bring back some bullpen arms and add some new ones to get more depth, and find the cheap bench players who can play defense and get on base.
On the front of shortstop, I see there only being a few options here and it’s the big four in free agency of Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts, Trea Turner, and Dansby Swanson. The Phillies and Dave Dombrowski have not shied away from spending over the past few years, so why stop? If you have Dombrowski in your building it is more than likely the franchise is willing to spend money to get high-value talent. I lean towards two options for the Phillies in this market, but they could be in on all four.
My first option being the more expensive one would be Tre Turner. Turner’s number one attribute is his athleticism. His speed makes him special and it allows him to turn doubles into triples, singles into doubles, and outs into hits. There have also been reports coming out already that Turner’s desired destination may be Philadelphia. I do think there could be some drawbacks to a deal with Turner. I am personally worried that the athleticism that makes him an elite player could fade with age, and some of those hits he is able to leg out with his speed may not be available to him a couple of years into a long-term deal. He also has always lacked significant power and is a smaller player in terms of build, so I worry that power down the line could dwindle.
My second option would be Xander Bogaerts. Between Bogaerts and Swanson, one of them will receive the lowest AAV on their deal making them the cheap options of the elite shortstop group. Bogaerts should be in Webster’s Dictionary as an example of the word consistency because that is who he is.
Just a few days ago, Bogaerts won his 5th Silver Slugger of his career. He’s been selected to four All-Star teams, and he has played a vital role in the two Red Sox World Series wins. The power numbers were a little down this year for Bogaerts and there are always been questions about his range defensively, but he is consistently one of the best hitters in the MLB and especially at a premium position like a shortstop.
Ultimately, I think Dombrowski may lean toward Bogaerts. Xander was a player for Dombrowski with the Red Sox when they won the World Series and is familiar with who he is as a player and a person to have in the locker room. They are both going to be cheaper than Correa, and I would like to see the Phillies save a little bit here and there to add more players around their roster.
Dombrowski also puts a high value on postseason experience, both have it and both have come up in big moments throughout their careers. I think it comes down to who of those two is at some point in the future willing to move to a different position for defensive purposes. Both Turner and Bogaerts do not profile as shortstops long-term, and Bryson Stott seems like a much more viable option defensively at that position long-term. Stott will most likely move over to second if one of Turner or Bogaerts signs, but I could see the defensive roles switching in a couple of years.
I would also like to see the Phillies improve their bullpen. The pickups last year did not perform as advertised, so it is important that the Phillies make better decisions with their money as it pertains to bullpen arms. Phillies fans may hate me, but if you can bring Brad Hand on a much lower AAV than he was on last year, there is still some potential with his arm.
If Hand is not someone the Phillies are willing to bring back, I would like them to look in the left-handed reliever market for guys like Taylor Rodgers, Andrew Chaffin, Matt Moore, Danny Duffy, and Matt Strahm. As it goes for right-handed relievers I think the Phillies should try to bring in one solid proven arm through free agency or trade, then also bring in guys that maybe had an off year last year or struggled with an injury which may lower contract AAV.
Finally, I would like to see the Phillies become more solid defensively. I understand this will be hard to do with the starting unit, as the last thing the Phillies would want to do is lose out on their tremendous offensive production. Added one or two guys to the end of the bench that play solid defense and preferably have good strikeout and walk rates could be beneficial.
They already started to solve this issue when they added Brandon Marsh and Edmundo Sosa this past year, and also have Matt Vierling who will presumably platoon with Marsh in the outfield. If the Phillies can find a veteran corner infielder that is willing to play a heavy bench role that can help out defensively I think it could be a beneficial pick-up, even if it saves the Phillies a couple of outs and errors.
Something to Watch:
I think the biggest thing going into the offseason to watch is the Phillies Ownership’s willingness to let Dombrowski continue to spend at a high rate. Dombrowski’s model, while being extremely successful at building championship-quality teams, is in almost all cases not sustainable. It guts the organization of many young players and puts a team deep into luxury tax penalties.
Are the Phillies at the point of no return where if they are not spending then they will be hurting themselves even more? Will ownership peel back on spending this offseason and try bargain shops thinking the roster is close enough all ready to compete for another World Series? It will certainly be an interesting thing to watch as the offseason moves forward and as the dominos begin to fall.
Categories: 2022 Season Review, Articles, Post-COVID
Phillies winning the next 4 world series