By Connor Thomas
I know what all of you have been thinking since this Phillies season ended: “I can’t wait to relive that torture by way of a year review!” Well, you’re in luck folks. It’s time to, painfully, agonizingly, take a look back at yet another year of playoff-less baseball and assign some grades for the season. We’ll look at the starting 9, the starting pitching rotation, the bullpen as a whole, and the manager, organized by position. Without further ado:
Catcher: JT Realmuto – C+
Realmuto had a rough year by his standards, and by the standards of his contract as well. He batted .263 with only 17 homers and 73 RBIs, and was a shell of himself defensively. It’s possible injuries were to blame, but it was certainly a down year for JT.
1B: Rhys Hoskins – B
Hoskins had an underrated offensive year, partially marred by his end of year injury. His average was a rough .247 but he hit 27 bombs, slugged .530, and knocked in 71 RBIs in only 107 games. He could’ve eked out a B+ or A- but his defense was absolutely abysmal this season, bringing him to a solid B.
2B: Jean Segura – B+
Segura had his best season as a Phillie, both in the field and at the dish. Unfortunately, his best season so far has only been good enough for a B+. He fielded the ball well, but not exceptionally, and spent a lot of the season batting above .300, but ultimately ended up at .290 after a late slump. Overall, it was a respectable season from Jimmy Cigs.
3B: Alec Bohm – D-
Bohm was terrible defensively, lost at the plate, and ended up being sent down mid-season. He had a moment or two where the near-rookie of the year from last year appeared, but it was mostly a lost season for Bohm and his confidence. There is hope that with a clear head, maybe next year could be a bounce back, but this campaign wasn’t great.
SS: Didi Gregorius – D+
Didi had a nagging elbow injury that seemed to bother him from game 1 all the way through game 162 this year, so taking that into account, he wasn’t completely abysmal. That being said, defensively, Didi was another culprit guilty of hurting the Phils in the field. He also ended up hitting .209 for the year, just slightly above the Mendoza line. The only reason that Didi isn’t getting a D or D- is because I do believe the injury he played through was part of the cause.
UTIL: Ronald Torreyes – B+
This grade is more relative to the expectations of a player like Ronald Torreyes. Torreyes came into the 2021 season as a depth piece that was supposed to potentially get a spot start at 3rd Base or Shortstop and pinch hit every once in a while. He ended up playing in 111 games, batted .242 with 7 homers and 41 RBIs, and came up big in a lot of huge spots. His defense was solid, his offense was solid, all around, he was just a solid player. Will Torreyes ever be a world beater? No. But for what you were looking for from the Big Toe, you got more than what you could’ve ever imagined.
LF: Andrew McCutchen – C
Cutch is dealing with aging, which is rarely graceful for an athlete that had the peak that he enjoyed in Pittsburgh. The cliff of time comes fast and hard for everybody not named Tom Brady, and the former AL MVP had a year that was indicative of him reaching that cliff. Unfortunately, it was probably his last in a Phillies uniform. He homered 27 times and piled up 80 RBIs, but he is just not the player he used to be. It is no fault of his, but it was just an average year for McCutchen, and that’s why he’s earned a C grade.
CF: Odubel Herrera – C+
Odubel had really hot stretches, and really cold stretches. He had great moments defensively, and boneheaded ones. Was he the best CF in the Phillies’ organization this year? Absolutely. Was he a good CF this year? Well, that could be a different answer. The Phillies were held hostage by a terrible situation in the middle of the outfield this past season, and despite Herrera being their best option, he was only a smidge above average this year. Expect there to be a new face in Center next season, for multiple reasons.
RF: Bryce Harper – A+
He is your MV3. The best player on the Phillies, the best player in the National League. Exactly what you paid for when you signed him as the new face of the franchise. It’s a shame the season turned out how it did, but it is of no fault of Bryce Aron Max Harper. He gets an A+.
Starting Rotation: B+
The rotation had a lot of surprises this season, some good and some bad, but ultimately they were a strong unit for the Phils. Did anyone expect Aaron Nola to completely **** the bed in the clutch for what felt like the entire season? Probably not. Did anyone expect Ranger Suarez to put up Cy Young-like numbers? Definitely not. Zack Wheeler was outstanding, and because of his higher usage rate than Suarez, actually will be in the running for NL Cy Young. On the other hand, Chase Anderson, Matt Moore, and Spencer Howard didn’t bring much of anything. Zach Eflin was solid when he wasn’t injured, but he didn’t finish the season out. Kyle Gibson was a welcome addition late and can hopefully contribute next year too. Ultimately, this is a unit with promise that deserved an above average grade though, and one the Phils will be proud of heading into next year.
The Bullpen: C-
The Phillies almost set the record for most blown saves in the season. So how the hell is the bullpen getting a C-?? Well, there were certainly bright spots. Ranger Suarez was one of them, even though he ended the season in the starting rotation. Bailey Falter was another strong performer. The closer role was a rotating door, but there are some arms – Jose Alvarado, Hector Neris, Connor Brogdon – that have shown they are helpful in the right roles. Coming off of a season where they had one of the worst bullpens in the history of the sport of baseball, consider a C- a success on the part of the Phillies in starting a bullpen rebuild.
The Manager: C-
That’s it. He was just blah. Joe Girardi did not cost the Phillies their season, but he certainly didn’t propel them past their potential. Go ahead, let me know what tangible thing Joe Girardi added to this Phillies season in a positive manner. I’ll wait. Part of investing the 5th highest payroll in baseball into a team is also expecting a manager to get those players to play up to/above that potential. Girardi did not do that this year, and had his share of dumb mistakes along the way. Is Joe Girardi a bad manager? I don’t think so, but this team is not talented enough to have an OK captain at the helm. Girardi has to be great for them, and was expected to be when he was hired two years ago. To this point, he hasn’t delivered on that. He’ll have another season I’m sure, but the clock is beginning to tick on his time in Philly.