Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Aaron Altherr swings during a 2016 Spring Training game against the Toronto Blue Jays. (Frank Klose/Philliedelphia)
By: George Gouvas, Contributor
In this week's edition of Phillies Must-Reads, Rule five selection Tyler Goeddel is making the most of a rare opportunity. Also, an update on Aaron Altherr is provided. Those stories and more in this week's feature.
The Phillies continue to be the biggest surprise in baseball, currently in a tie for first place in the NL East. Very few expect this pace to remain, but The Good Phight's Justin Klugh thinks the Phillies, as they are currently constructed, rate higher than 12 National League teams.
A bullpen can make or break a team's chances at World Series glory. We saw it up close in 2008, as Brad Lidge converted every save opportunity that came his way, anchoring the Philadelphia Phillies to their first title in 28 years. They are vital to a team's success, but it's not always the closer that gets the girl, so to speak.
Wade Davis, middle reliever for Kansas City, became the first pitcher in baseball history with a sub-1.00 ERA over the span of two seasons (2014-15). Davis and Kelvin Herrerra, in 2014, became the first teammates to pitch at least 70 innings each without surrendering a home run since Lefty Williams and Reb Russell of the White Sox matched the feat back in 1918. Neither player was ever the primary closer, but they sure played a huge role in delivering KC consecutive league titles, culminating in a World Series championship last season.
By comparison, this Phillies bullpen is not that young, and not that promising. Truth be told, a lot has to go right to consider it respectable. Young, talented arms are coming up that could, someday, make this group dominant.
As for now, it's a work in progress, and that work in progress is previewed in part four of our "Phillies Season Outlook" series.
In 2015, the Philadelphia Phillies' starting rotation was the picture of instability. The team opened up the season, due to how the schedule fell, with a four-man rotation. Cole Hamels was the ace, and he was joined by Aaron Harang, Jerome Williams and David Buchanan. Due to trades, options and injuries, not a single one of those four starters was in the Phillies' rotation at the end of the season.
If you were going to draw up a formula for how to obtain the No. 1 pick, having none of the members of your Opening Day starting rotation -- and many of their replacements, finish the season in the rotation, would be a pretty good place to start.
General manager Matt Klentak did his best to fix that this off-season, acquiring two veteran arms that will immediately slide into the team's rotation and one young arm that he hopes will be a stalwart in the rotation for years to come.
Part three of our Phillies Season Outlook series discusses whether the Phillies' rotation can show glimpses of a brighter future in 2016.
As the Phillies regular season inches closer, there are still a lot of unknowns and questions for the team to get through before they head north for the summer. The outfield depth is thin, the bullpen situation is a rough one, but there are some bright spots as well. Maikel Franco looks likes he heading towards a breakout season after being out towards the end of the year in 2015 with an injury. The Phils also have high hopes for center fielder Odubel Herrera, who will hopefully be at full strength by Opening Day, while they face some tough decisions on who will fill out the bench.
In the first part of our Phillies Season Outlook, we take a look at what the team's starting lineup could look like come Opening Day. As of right now, the Phillies starters in the infield are pretty much set, but the outfield is a toss-up beyond Herrera and Peter Bourjos. Let's take a look into what the team lineup could pan out to be come Opening Day, when the Phillies take on the Reds in Cincinnati.