Although it may feel like this current iteration of the Phillies’ roster has been with us since the beginning after such a memorable run last season, the truth is this core of players is relatively new (which makes their recent title push all the more impressive). There are only six holdovers from the pre-pandemic Gabe Kapler-era team, or seven if you count Scott Kingery.
I began tracking Phillies’ career stats when Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Cole Hamels were breaking franchise records on a daily basis. Those days haven’t quite come back around just yet, but there are a few veteran players to keep an eye on this season and into the future. Keep in mind, these are all basic, cumulative stats. If you’re looking for wOBAs and FIPs and BABIPs, you’re gonna have a bad time.
The first milestone on the list should also be the first one we see hit, maybe even on opening day (admittedly a tall task given his career numbers against projected starter and new Rangers’ ace Jacob deGrom). Kyle Schwarber is sitting on 199 career home runs and his next will put him in a club of 364 other members to have reached 200.
Nick Castellanos is also within spitting distance with 181. After a miserable slugging performance in 2022, if he fails to reach 200 homers this season you can be sure he will hear about it from the right field faithful.
Rhys Hoskins has 148 career home runs to his name, good for 16th in Phillies’ history and most by a first baseman not named Ryan Howard (382) or Dick Allen (204). With 2 more, Hoskins will enter a three-way tie for 14th with Mike Lieberthal and soon-to-be Cardinals Hall of Famer Scott Rolen. Given the uncertainty around his recovery from offseason knee surgery, we could have to wait until late April or early May to witness this mini milestone. From there, he would need another 30 homers to move up the list again, which is likely out of reach if he misses more than 10-15 games. ‘Puddin’ Head’ Jones (180, 13th) should RIP easy at least one more year (Yes, yes. THAT ‘Puddin’ Head’ Jones).
Bryce Harper is two doubles away from 300 and 15 home runs shy of 300, which when reached would put him just outside the top 150 long ball hitters of all time (incidentally tied with Golden Era Phillies’ legend, Chuck Klein for 153rd). With Harper’s arrival expected in early to mid June, it seems likely he should play around 90 to 100 games. As he crushed 18 homers across 99 games last season, it’s fair to expect him to get number 300 in mid to late September.
From September 12th to the 24th, The Phillies are scheduled to play 13 straight games including six against the Braves and four against the Mets. Picture, if you will: it’s a cool, clear Friday night at the Bank on the eve of the autumnal equinox as the Phillies host the Mets. A half game in the standings is all that separates these foes as they jockey for their playoff lives. Bottom of the ninth, tie ballgame. #3 swaggers to the dish with “299” flashing across the Phillies’ brand spanking new jumbotron. Seems like the perfect stage for The Showman.
Aaron Nola should continue to cement his place as one of the best starting pitchers in franchise history. At 203 career starts, he sits 10th on the all time list and needs just 24 more to reach 7th on the list, leapfrogging Jim Bunning, Larry Christenson and Curt Schilling. Ahead of him would only be franchise icons Curt Simmons, Grover ‘Cleveland’ Alexander, Cole Hamels, Chris Short, Robin Roberts and Steve Carlton. If and when the club extends the contract of their ace, it will be interesting to track how much further he can move up this list. To surpass Lefty’s franchise record 499 GS, Nols would need to stay healthy for 9+ more seasons including 2023. Stranger things have happened. Also, of the 37 men to pitch more than 1000 innings in red pinstripes, Nola has the 5th lowest WHIP (1.13) and THE lowest opponents’ BA (.229). Not a cumulative stat but will still be interesting to see if he can maintain that success as he progresses in his career.
Around the league, there are four guys who should reach the 2000 hit mark this season, including recent Phillies darling, Lawrence McCutcheon (the others are Elvis Andrus, Jose Altuve and Frederick Freeman).
Cutch, Freeman and Nolan Arenado are all ahead of Harper in pursuit of home run number 300, Arenado needing only one more to reach the mark. A handful of dudes should join Schwarbs at hitting the 200 mark this year. Joey Votto sits eight away from 350.
Arenado and Giancarlo Stanton should easily surmount the 1000 RBI plateau, while Jose Altuve is 21 steals away from 300. Altuve hasn’t had that many swipes in a season since 2017, but with all the new rule changes that will affect the basepaths, it’s certainly a possibility. Trea Turner is 20 steals away from 250 and 70 away from 300, which is a conservative projection in some circles.
In the negative category, Justin Upton (currently a free agent and possibly mulling retirement) needs a meager 29 strikeouts to hit the vaunted 2000 mark, a feat only achieved by SEVEN of the 20,272 people to ever play in the majors, including two Hall of Famers (Reggie Jackson and Jim Thome) and another couple of future HoFers (Alex Rodriguez and Miguel Cabrera). Rarefied air, indeed.