Well, after one week of simulation in the books, the Virtual Phillies aren’t looking too bad. There were definite questions heading into the season about the pitching staff - what it would look like, who would be a part of the rotation, how the bullpen would function - but outside of one bad outing from Jose Alvarez, this is how the team stacks up so far:
That injury to Velasquez looks like it’ll only be a few days, so he shouldn’t miss any starts. If he does, Nick Pivetta will take an emergency start. The ERA’s all look good and there is nary a negative WAR among the bunch. The surprise of the lot thus far looks to be Deolis Guerra. He’s striking guys out and limiting walks, but judging by the BABIP, that luck could take a turn for the worse soon enough.
Among the starters, it’s pretty much as you would have guessed it. The Aaron Nola walk rate is a little concerning, but that’ll probably be fixed as the season moves along. Zack Wheeler’s numbers don’t look all that great, but you also have to factor in his three inning debut which is skewing numbers. A good start for pretty much everyone all around.
The offense is a little uneven. The OPS+ from each individual player looks good, but the batting averages are a little off. There is plenty of power from the team, with five players already hitting two home runs. What they’re really struggling with is striking out. Four players - Harper, Scott Kingery, Rhys Hoskins and J.T. Realmuto - have already struck out double digit times. That is a little concerning. Hopefully, it doesn’t keep going into the season.
Overall, the team finds itself 1⁄2 game behind the Mets in the early going. Remember, the computer doesn’t know about injuries that happened in spring training, so Noah Syndergaard is still on the bump for New York. Preexisting injuries, like Seranthony Dominguez and Andrew McCutchen, are still limiting them, but they are due back in short order.
This simulation feels just like what could have been with the real Phillies. An offense that has thunder, but also a lot of swing and miss, a pitching staff that might need to rely on luck to be successful and a slow start from rivals can help them in the early going. Here’s hoping the offense can pick it up a little more.