Ah, the new year. New beginnings, new promises. new ideas about he we are going to change our lives. There have probably been quite a few things going through your head that you want to change. Perhaps there is a different way you want to consume the game. Perhaps you wish to change your outlook on the team and how they’ll fare this year. We here have some ideas about what we’d like to change. Here are some of the ideas we have.
This year, it would be most helpful if Bryan Price came as advertised. There isn’t much doubt that the pitching staff did not connect with the previous pitching coach, nor did they like the game plans that the analytics department came up with. One of them, Zach Eflin, found more success once he started ignoring the game plans and went with what worked for him in the past. Having Price come in and establish a good working relationship, especially when there hasn’t been as much turnover as the fanbase would have liked, would go a long way to helping the team get into, and remain in, playoff contention.
In 2020, I want to see the Phillies build on their middling success in 2019. With a new coaching staff and redesigned rotation, this should be possible. I won’t say we must reach the playoffs, but a wild card spot should be an attainable goal. I believe they will need another higher-echelon starter to win the division, and that seems unlikely at this point, but a wild card spot is realistic.
On a personal note, I will try to be less cynical about sports in general. I’m usually pretty optimistic about my teams, but this last year in particular, I all too often let cynicism get in the way of thinking rationally.
In 2020, I want the Phillies to realize that you don’t get extra credit for winning while staying under the luxury tax. When you’re a team with deep pockets, it’s foolish to not utilize your greatest strength.
I also want the players to realize they don’t have any excuses anymore. With the new coaching staff, it’s clear that if the team has another disappointing season, the blame will be squarely on the players, and not the manager.
This team could use a good break or two in the medical department, so I’ll wish (resolve?) for the team to have better luck with their health this year.
Injuries are unavoidable in sports, sure, but being able to get 140-plus games out of a rebuilt Andrew McCutchen and Didi Gregorius, a third 30-start year from Zack Wheeler, and 50-plus in relief from more than just Hector Neris and Jose Alvarez (along with responsible J.T. Realmuto use) should put this team in the thick of the playoff race. Everybody can’t play all 162 games, but it’d be nice to not have to try and scratch into the playoffs with a zombie squad; you can’t rely on the Eagles Method as your mode of success!
My resolution for the Phillies in 2020 is to realize that data isn’t destiny. Information is a positive good, and you can’t have too much--but you certainly can misuse it, to the detriment of on-field results. One-size-fits-all is no better a template for ballplayers than for any other human beings; the trick isn’t to turn every hitter into a launch-angle machine or every pitcher into a high cheese delivery system, but to identify how their varied talents and styles can help you win. This offseason’s coaching changes offer an encouraging signal; now the question is whether the front office is onboard too. Here’s hoping.
I want a full season of good Rhys Hoskins. It doesn’t even have to be his MVP contender peak version, just him not turning into a AAAA player for 2 months. The Phillies can’t buy All Stars at every position. They need some in-house stars and first division regulars. None, in my opinion, would be more valuable than Hoskins developing into a 4 WAR player in his age 27 season. Seeing development from Kingery, Haseley and some young pitchers would also be welcome, but a 40+ HR season from Hoskins would be a blast to watch.
In 2020 I want every player to take a step forward. No one needs to make any crazy improvements (sans maybe Rhys Hoskins, I’d really like to see a bounce back year for him), but if each player makes just a little bit of progress, this team will be a playoff contender. I’d also like to see management be active at the trade deadline in 2020. And I’m not talking about adding Drew Smyly, I mean actually be active and make the team significantly better.
On a personal note, I’d like to make it to more games this season. I only made it to one game in 2019 (granted, I was living 3 hours away). Now that I’m back living in the Philly area, I’d like to make it to more than that.