Kincade & Salciunas: Weekdays 6am – 10am

Kincade & Salciunas: Weekdays 6am – 10am

Kincade & Salciunas: Weekdays 6am – 10am

The Philadelphia Phillies enter the 2024 MLB season loaded with offensive talent. Their infielders and catchers include plenty of big names and potentially the two most impactful players on the team. Bryce Harper moves into the mix as a first baseman, and Trea Turner will look to rebound after an underwhelming first season in Philadelphia.

Will the two superstars perform at the level that earned them $300 million contracts? 

Phillies in 2024

The Phillies have advanced to the NLCS in consecutive seasons. Red October has taken baseball by storm in consecutive postseasons, but the World Series trophy hasn’t returned to Philadelphia. Rob Thomson earned himself the confidence of the fan base after a remarkable turnaround after taking his first job as an MLB manager in 2022.

The romanticization of the miracle ride to the World Series in 2022 is over, however. Thomson now faces the pressure of an intense fan base demanding success after a collapse in the NLCS in 2023. The intensity will heighten at Citizens Bank Park this summer.

Phillies Infielders/Catchers

Thomson now has better lineup flexibility with Harper’s move to first base. The stability should open up options to move more players around the diamond and keep Kyle Schwarber out of the field.

Bobby Dickerson has built an excellent reputation working with Phillies infielders. His work shows with the improvement of Alec Bohm as a third baseman and the success of multiple position switches. Whit Merrifield will also factor into the equation moving between the infield and the outfield.

J.T. Realmuto has built a reputation as one of the best catchers in baseball, and Garrett Stubbs certainly qualifies as a crowd favorite. Does that really mean the Phillies are set at the position?


  • Bryce Harper

    Harper has maintained his status as the face of the Phillies despite missing 99 games the past two seasons. The addition of the DH to the National League, the position change to first base, and his fortunate and timely health during the postseason has distracted from the reality that his lack of availability has limited his overall impact.

    An unforgettable 2022 NLCS home run and intimidating trash talk against the Atlanta Braves will inevitably steal the hearts of Philadelphia fans. However, Harper finished with a WAR of 10.3 in the first two 162-game seasons of his current 13-year contract. The number dipped to 6.2 in 2022 and 2023 combined.

    The superstar slugger went through a power outage when he first returned to the lineup last season. He still managed to reach a .900 OPS for the whole season. He also led the Phillies in batting average.

    A better acclimation in Spring Training, a (presumably) healthy start to 2024, and the comfort level of an everyday position should get Harper into a better rhythm to return to MVP impact over a full MLB season. He could potentially see over 100 more at-bats than last season.

    Expect even more from Bryce Harper in 2024, a surprising reality that should concern National League pitching staffs.

    Bryce Harper, Philadelphia Phillies

  • Bryson Stott

    Stott broke out as a full-time second baseman in 2023. He tied with Zack Wheeler for the team lead in WAR with 4.3, and he was one of three finalists for the NL Gold Glove. He also made contributions on the base paths with 31 steals in 35 tries.

    The former 1st-round pick and top prospect led the Phillies in batting average for most of the season. He still sat over .300 on August 11. However, he hit a wall with a .222 average in his final 42 regular-season games. His OPS in September was only .557, and he didn’t have a great postseason offensively.

    Phillies fans should still be optimistic about a player inching towards status as a local favorite. They’ll celebrate his signature walk-up song and remember the euphoria of his grand slam that opened the floodgates on the Miami Marlins in Game 2 of the NL Wild Card Series.

    After almost two full seasons, the 26-year-old expects to be a key part of the organization’s long-term future. However, the late-season slump should be the main focus for improvement.

    Bryson Stott, Philadelphia Phillies

  • Trea Turner

    The 2024 season was a roller coaster for Trea Turner. He failed to live up to the expectations that come with a $300 million contract for most of the season.

    He became one of the biggest storylines in baseball when the Philadelphia fans attempted to shift the bad momentum with a standing ovation. The high-priced shortstop remarkably went from a brutal defensive mistake that cost his team a game to a red-hot hitter.

    The fateful ovation appeared to change the course of his season. His .778 OPS was still his lowest since 2018, and his .266 batting average was his lowest since a 27-game rookie stint in 2015.

    The Phillies expect the Trea Turner they saw late in 2023 to show up for a full season in 2024. They’ll look for significant improvement offensively and defensively.

    Trea Turner, Philadelphia Phillies

  • Alec Bohm

    The Phillies have developed former third-overall pick Alec Bohm into an everyday player. He showed tremendous improvement at third base in 2023, but he still finished with -10 defensive runs saved at the hot corner.

    Bohm looked more comfortable last season in his fundamental motions even at 6-foot-5, and he has room for more improvement. He’s unlikely to play at first base very often after Bryce Harper’s position switch.

    Critics pointed to Bohm’s lack of power earlier in his career, but he posted a career best 20 home runs and a .765 OPS solidly above the MLB average in 2023. His postseason slump brought Rob Thomson under fire for not changing the batting order, but Bohm went 3/7 in Games 6 and 7 of the NLCS at Citizens Bank Park. The slight uptick should discourage from reading into small postseason sample sizes that don’t usually define MLB players.

    His ability to hit to all fields indicates a good fundamental approach and an enjoyable player to watch everyday. The Phillies can count on Bohm as a sixth or seventh hitter in the lineup.

    Alec Bohm, Philadelphia Phillies

  • Edmundo Sosa

    The Phillies counted on Edmundo Sosa in an expanded role early in the 2023 season after injuries to Rhys Hoskins, Darick Hall, and Bryce Harper impacted an infield shuffle.

    He was disappointing in the field as a utility man considering many MLB teams expect above average defense with that roster spot. He also failed to add a base running threat with only two steals in 2023.

    Sosa won’t justify a roster spot solely based on his bat. He was a good deadline addition in 2022, but a utility infielder is a volatile role in the major leagues. His status with the Phillies isn’t ironclad, and he’ll need to prove he deserves playing time for a World Series contender looking for every available advantage.

    Edmundo Sosa, Philadelphia Phillies

  • Whit Merrifield

    The acquisition of Whit Merrifield to begin Spring Training made perfect sense. A veteran with three career All-Star appearances and the ability to play multiple positions provides insurance behind some of the question marks on the roster.

    Merrifield is a .284 career hitter with a .750 OPS near the league average. Expect to see him fill in for any injured players or platoon with Johan Rojas or Brandon Marsh if circumstances call for it.

    Whit Merrifield, Philadelphia Phillies

  • Darick Hall

    An injury one week into the 2023 regular season derailed Darick Hall. The wide-open spot left by Rhys Hoskins slipped out of his grasp. The journeyman did hit 18 home runs in 74 games with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, but he played only 18 games with the Phillies.

    Jake Cave was Rob Thomson’s best option as a pinch hitter during the 2023 MLB Playoffs. He made the final out of the NLCS. The role won’t be a priority for the Phillies after the National League’s addition of the DH. However, Hall is the type of player who could work his way into a manager’s favor to earn trust as a pinch-hitter in a big spot.

    It only takes one hit to turn a postseason series, so don’t count out 28-year-old Darick Hall from making contributions just yet.

    Darick Hall, Philadelphia Phillies

  • Catchers

  • J.T. Realmuto

    The Phillies have a comfort level with J.T. Realmuto behind the plate. His reputation as the best catcher in baseball has lost some of its steam though. Realmuto still brought value last season with 20 home runs and 16 stolen bases. He was a Silver Slugger and Gold Glove finalist, but his numbers dipped drastically from 2022 to 2023. 

    The former Marlins backstop hit .252 last season, which was the lowest average of his nine full MLB seasons. He posted an incredible 6.5 WAR in 2022, fifth most in MLB history among catchers age 31 or older, according to FanGraphs. The number dropped to 3.6 in 2023.

    Realmuto also spent 1142 innings behind the dish, the most of any catcher since 2017. The Phillies still have a strong starting catcher, but his days of stardom in the elite tier of his position are most likely behind him entering his age 33 season.

    J.T. Realmuto, Philadelphia Phillies

  • Garrett Stubbs

    Stubbs didn’t provide much offensively in 2023. He hit .204 with an underwhelming .557 OPS. The 5-foot-10, 170 pound catcher brings above average speed but not much power.

    Dave Dombrowski valued the clubhouse chemistry enough to alter his typical offseason strategy and keep the same group together after two consecutive deep playoff runs. Stubbs was clearly a part of that chemistry, but he doesn’t provide a great option to give J.T. Realmuto frequent rest.

    Garrett Stubbs, Philadelphia Phillies

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