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2018 Phillies Report Card: 1st Marking Period

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School is back in session, and it seems like our boys hit the books pretty hard over the winter

MLB: New York Mets at Philadelphia Phillies
Nothing could cool Odubel off during the season’s first quarter
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Well, well, well! Looks like some students don’t want a repeat of last year’s performance. Barring a complete and utter collapse - which, let’s be real, we’ve seen once or twice these past few years - the Phillies won’t be dipping a toe in the waters of a 100-loss season, opting instead to look competitive and legitimate through the first six weeks of 2018.

It’s a breath of fresh air, and a continuation of the second-half 2017 play that made this season one to look forward to in the first place. Sure, the club has still had its woes and maladies to muddle through, but as of this writing, they’re not only above .500 at 23-16, they’re within a breath of first place in the division.

Actually claiming first place for any length of time has been elusive, but the Phils aren’t letting it get too far out of their grasp just yet. A lot of strong performances - some surprising, some not - have propelled this club into Take Us Seriously territory, and the hope now is that they don’t simply pass through on their way back down south.

It’s always better to give out more good grades than bad. Thankfully, this marking period’s provided us the opportunity to do just that. Bust out your red pens and get a-gradin’.

All stats through 39 team games (5/14). The grades are subjective.

HITTERS

The Good: Odubel Herrera

A first-quarter MVP candidate if there ever was one, Odubel Herrera has been the Phillies’ best player. He’s hitting .360/.430/.561; he’s upped his walks and slashed his strikeouts; he’s still playing a good CF and adding insane catches to his repertoire. He’s the total package, even if he’s not stealing bases like he was in 2016.

Did we mention he’s also reached base in 41 straight games? FORTY-ONE. And what has to be maddening for opposing pitchers is that Odubel is nearly impossible to gameplan for. You don’t know if he’s going to stare at the first two pitches no matter what, or swing at the first pitch even if it crosses over the other batter’s box.

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Just 64 percent middle-middle, but more than 80 percent above and below? Huge drop-offs on the outer half? Aggressive 40-plus percentages above and below the zone, but less in the down-and-in stereotypical lefty “drop the bat head” area. He’s a wonderful mystery. And it works.

The Bad: Scott Kingery

I want it to be known that, thankfully, this was kind of a tough selection. J.P. Crawford wasn’t very good, either, but he’s been hurt for a couple weeks with an injury (right forearm strain) that may have contributed to his sluggish hitting and almost certainly led to some of his throwing difficulties in the field.

And so, with the likes of Jorge Alfaro, Aaron Altherr, and Carlos Santana emerging from slumps and Nick Williams not really playing enough, we kind of have to pick Kingery for this.

You probably watched the highlights, at least, of the first couple of weeks of Kingery’s season. The dude looked pretty dang good! He had an .855 OPS through his first 13 games and, generally, looked like he belonged, even without a regular defensive position to play.

The league has caught up, though, and Kingery has yet to adjust back. Since his OPS peaked after those 13 games, Kingery’s hit .174/.240/.188 in 75 PA. He has one extra-base hit in that time, and has struck out in 22 of those 75 PA. He’s been very bad at the plate. Defensively, he’s been fine, but a sub-.200 SLG at the dish isn’t gonna cut it, no matter how much of a rookie you are.

The Ugly: Andrew Knapp

Knapp knows how to work a count. Bless his heart. Even in the midst of posting a .513 OPS and pretty obviously losing out on a starting job before April is over, Knapp hasn’t let his patience at the plate slip away. Unfortunately, that’s about the best I can say for his first quarter of 2018.

After a very respectable .257/.368/.368 in 2017 made him look like a very serviceable option for this season, Knapp’s game has taken a dive both offensively and defensively. The Phillies dearth of near-ready catching depth makes him pretty important, and hopefully he’s the next to right his ship and go on a hot streak.

The Grades

Hitter Report Card

Hitter Report Card 5/15-7/15

Player MP1 MP2 MP3 MP4 Final Grade
Player MP1 MP2 MP3 MP4 Final Grade
Jorge Alfaro C+ B-
Aaron Altherr C- F
Dylan Cozens - Inc.
J.P. Crawford C- Inc.
Pedro Florimon B- Inc.
Maikel Franco B+ B
Cesar Hernandez A- A-
Odubel Herrera A C
Rhys Hoskins A- B
Scott Kingery C- C-
Andrew Knapp D+ A-
Trevor Plouffe - Inc.
Carlos Santana C+ B-
Jesmuel Valentin Inc. D
Mitch Walding - Inc.
Nick Williams C B+

PITCHERS

The Good: Aaron Nola

FACTS:

  • He’s 6-1 with a 1.99 ERA
  • He has 51 strikeouts, with 23 of those coming in his last three starts
  • He’s won five straight starts
  • He’s yet to allow more than three runs in any start, and even that only happened once
  • He’s already set a career high in pickoffs (sure, why not?)
  • He doesn’t turn 25 until June 4

Nola is off to an incredible start. Even when he’s not striking guys out, he’s inducing poor contact. He looks in control at all times, whether he’s got run support or not. Right now, this is the kind of guy you want anchoring your rotation for the next 7-10 years.

#PayNola

The Bad: Hector Neris

Man, I wish things had been going differently to this point. Both Hector and the team needed to see big things this season, and instead all anyone has at the front of their minds are multiple crushing blown saves.

Neris turns 29 next month. In an organization that’s churning out younger, harder throwers like Edubray Ramos, Yacksel Rios, Victor Arano, and now Seranthony Dominguez, Neris would appear to be running out of time to keep his spot in the bullpen solidified.

I’ll continue to say that Neris is a MLB-caliber relief pitcher. Is he elite? Mm, maybe not. But he’s very good when he’s right. Something is wrong this year, though, and whatever it is needs to get fixed before things get out of hand.

The Ugly: Ben Lively

He’s striking more guys out than he did last year, but he’s also giving up more hits, homers, walks, and (you guessed it) runs.

There’s still no runaway winner for the fifth starter’s spot, but with Nola and Jake Arrieta holding down two spots, Nick Pivetta once again flashing top-tier outings, and Vince Velasquez’s experiment still ongoing with Jerad Eickhoff nearing a return, Lively’s hold on a Major League rotation spot may be slipping.

The Grades

Pitcher Report Card

Pitcher Report Card 5/15-7/15

Player MP1 MP2 MP3 MP4 Final Grade
Player MP1 MP2 MP3 MP4 Final Grade
Drew Anderson - Inc.
Victor Arano A B+
Jake Arrieta A- B
Zac Curtis Inc. Inc.
Austin Davis - Inc.
Enyel De Los Santos - Inc.
Seranthony Dominguez Inc. A
Zach Eflin Inc. A-
Pedro Florimon lol -
Luis Garcia B+ C-
Tommy Hunter B C
Drew Hutchison B Inc. - - B-
Ben Lively D -
Hoby Milner D- Inc. - - D-
Adam Morgan B- D-
Hector Neris C- D-
Pat Neshek - Inc.
Aaron Nola A A-
Nick Pivetta B- B-
Edubray Ramos B+ B+
Yacksel Rios B+ Inc.
Jake Thompson Inc. Inc.
Jesmuel Valentin - lol
Vince Velasquez C+ B

Poll

What grade would you give the 2018 Phillies from the All-Star break to today?

This poll is closed

  • 3%
    A
    (102 votes)
  • 14%
    A-
    (403 votes)
  • 38%
    B+
    (1066 votes)
  • 23%
    B
    (642 votes)
  • 9%
    B-
    (250 votes)
  • 3%
    C+
    (98 votes)
  • 2%
    C
    (75 votes)
  • 2%
    C-
    (62 votes)
  • 1%
    D+
    (33 votes)
  • 0%
    D
    (17 votes)
  • 0%
    D-
    (10 votes)
  • 0%
    F
    (18 votes)
2776 votes total Vote Now