View From the Left Coast by a Lefty: Expectations
Wow, been a long time since I could barely wait for Opening Day. Anybody who says they don't have expectations this year is full of it. This is the best lineup the Phils have fielded in nearly a decade. I was beginning to think there might not be a chance for another World Series in my lifetime if there was another 25 year wait. But Mr. Klentak came through with a giant assist from Monty, his wife, and their plane.
This lineup is stacked with the perfect aquisitions. I honestly think the key pickup was Realmuto because it helped sign Harper big time. Doesn't hurt that he is arguably the best catcher in baseball. The trade for Segura was also key because it rid the team of Santana and Crawford, adding a proven all star and allowing Hoskins to return to 1B. McCutchen was also a great pickup that leads to lineup flexibility. But the real key is the last 3 hitters. It's time for Odubel to get smart and mature and really show his talent. He can be a top 10 hitter. If Cesar cuts down his strikeouts he too can be an all star. However Franco has the chance to cement everything. It's time he realizes if he cuts down his swing he can be as dangerous as Hoskins and use the entire field. If he reverts back to swigning out of his helmet then Klentak will be looking for a third baseman by the end of June.
The bench has the potential to be great. As long as Kapler doesn't try to be Tony Larussa and average 2 double switches a game it is more than adequate. That said, somebody *PLEASE* burn that damn notebook. Side note: Knapp takes the next step... he is ready.
With all of this it's still pitching that will decide the season. This rotation is markedly better than the one the WS champs had. Nola is Nola. If Arrieta comes even close to his Cy Young form he'll earn his money. Pivetta, Eflin, and Eickhoff are ready for the next step. A fast start is necessary to install confidence in the kids who are really due to step up. With Robertson and Seranthony Closing should not be an issue. The rest of the pen is solid(on paper) and should be one of the tops in baseball. That said, the biggest question mark is Velasquez. What do you do with him? He folds with runners on base and a high pitch count gets even higher. Do you make him a reliever? Do you pull an Ankeil and make him an outfielder? He is a great athlete and was a stud hitter in high school. Who knows with him?
All in all this all leads to one thing... EXPECTATIONS. Mine are so high I even may be able to see comebacks here by Kornhole, DGirl, and maybe even DB29. Nah, never gonna happen. I do expect at least 1 or 2 Wriz Wednesdays this year because baseball is back and in the air. The Bank will be a lot more crowded and louder(hopefully) than previous years. Philly demands a winner. I demand a winner. And just maybe this team can deliver. #BelieveTheHype #LetsGetBunted
Bill S/aka netfather