Manager Pete Mackanin will serve his first year without the “interim” label. He took over last June when Ryne Sandberg stepped down. Mackanin was the bench coach for the Phillies from 2009-2012 and was then re-hired to be their third base coach in 2014. He knows the franchise inside and out, but hiring him as the manager doesn’t seem like a smart long-term move…but perfect for a team rebuilding.
How will this young Phillies team fare this season?
Here is the 2016 MLB season preview for the Philadelphia Phillies.
2015 Win/Loss Record: 63-99
Key Additions: SP Jeremy Hellickson, SP Charlie Morton, SP Brett Oberholtzer, SP Vincent Velasquez, OF Peter Bourjos, RP David Hernandez, RP SS Taylor Featherson, OF Will Venable, Michael Mariot, C J.P. Arencibia, RP Andrew Bailey, RP Ernesto Frieri, OF David Lough &RP Yoervis Medina
Key Losses: RP Ken Giles, OF Domonic Brown, OF Jeff Francoeur, RP Justin De Fratus, RP Adam Loewen& SP Aaron Harang
Interleague Schedule: AL Central
Projected Starters: Cameron Rupp, Ryan Howard, Cesar Hernandez, Maikel Franco, Freddy Galvis, Peter Bourjos, Odubel Herrera & Cedric Hunter
Projected Starting Rotation: Jeremy Hellickson, Aaron Nola, Charlie Morton, Jerad Eickhoff & Vince Velasquez
Closer: David Hernandez
Fantasy Sleeper: OF Odubel Herrera – Herrera was a key player for me down the stretch last season. He put together an amazing late-Summer stretch when he hit over .300 from July thru early September. He’s not going to hit for power, but he hits for average and will steal around 20 bases. He could be a cheap source of speed.
Prospect To Keep Your Eye On: SP Mark Appel – Many scouts are almost ready to call Appel a bust, but I still hold out hope for the former #1 overall pick. He was traded to Philly in the Ken Giles trade this offseason. His 2014 season was a disaster, but he didn’t perform as poorly last season in Double and Triple-A. The Phillies are rebuilding, so there’s a chance he will be in the rotation sooner than expected. He just needs to start missing bats and the 2 to 1 strikeout to walk ratio needs to improve.
Team Analysis: The NL East will be one of the most lopsided divisions from first to last place. Washington and New York will win around 90 games and both Atlanta and Philly will flirt with losing 100 games each.
Philly put themselves in this place. They gave big contacts to players with short shelf-lives. Everyone but the Phillies realized that the huge Ryan Howard contract would be a disaster a year or two into the deal. This will be the last year of the deal, since there’s no way they would exercise the $23 million club option for next year.
The Phillies did pull off an impressive trade this offseason. They got a haul of prospects for future closer Ken Giles. They also received pitcher Brett Oberholtzer who has started games for Houston the last few years. They don’t have any other Major League-ready young arms that could fetch the same kind of return, but if guys like Vince Velasquez or some other pitchers have a breakout season, they could flip them again to continue the rebuild.
The Phillies will be really bad once again, but this year they will have to do it without Cole Hamels and Jonathan Papelbon on the roster for most of the season. It will be rough, but they do have guys like Odubel Herrera and Maikel Franco that I really like.
2016 Wins Over/Under Betting Line: 65 (Prediction: UNDER)
2016 Projected Win/Loss Record: 59-103 (5th in NL East)
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.