Philadelphia Sports Day

A Look Ahead: The Phillies 2018 Lineup and Beyond

by Dan Laverde

Even without the playoffs to look forward to in 2017, this September is an exciting time for Phillies fans.

The Phillies have a plethora of young talent that they are finally tapping in to with call-ups like Rhys Hoskins, Jorge Alfaro and most recently, their No. 1 prospect, J.P. Crawford, who made his Major League debut in New York on Tuesday night.

No one can accurately predict the future, but just about the closest thing you can have to a crystal ball is a handful of promising prospects.

It’s hard to say how they will perform down the road, but what is known is that all three players mentioned above are in MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 prospects list and are Major League ready—including top second base prospect Scott Kingery, who is likely to be the next September call-up for the Phillies.

With Hoskins, Alfaro, Crawford and Kingery likely to all be in the Majors by the end of the season, there is reason to have at least a little optimism about the short-term future of the Phillies.

Here is a look at what the Phillies 2018 Opening Day lineup could look like:

1. Scott Kingery (R/R) 2B

Kingery has the potential to be an effective leadoff hitter, although his power might make him more valuable in the two-hole. Either way, he hits for average, gets on base and is a legitimate steal threat. Approaching the end of his season with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, he is hitting .304 with 26 homeruns, 29 stolen bases and a .359 OBP.

2. Nick Williams (L/L) RF

Since being called up in late June, the 23-year-old has at the very least shown that he is a solid Major League player with potential. In 60 games, he is hitting .271 with 8 homeruns and 38 RBI. With time he should grow to be more patient at the plate, which will cut down his strikeout numbers.

3. Odubel Herrera (L/R) CF

Herrera is under contract for the next four years after signing a five-year, $30.5 million deal before this season. The Venezuela native has played well in his first three seasons and has solidified himself as the Phillies starting center fielder. With a .290 career batting average, he is a reliable bat in the middle of the lineup.

4. Rhys Hoskins (R/R) 1B

After becoming the fastest player to reach 11 homeruns in MLB history, Hoskins is perhaps the most exciting Phillies prospect right now. He is incredibly disciplined at the plate and in 27 games since his call-up in early August, the 24-year-old slugger is hitting .309 with 12 homeruns and 29 RBI.

5. Aaron Altherr (R/R) LF

When he is healthy, Altherr is a reliable player. With 16 homeruns in 87 games in 2017, he has the power you want from a corner outfielder. Add to the mix a .285 BA and .536 SLG, and you have a solid, reliable bat with some pop in the middle of the lineup. He will be a seasoned 27 years old by Opening Day 2018.

6. Jorge Alfaro (R/R) C

Along with Nick Williams, Alfaro was acquired from the Texas Rangers in the Cole Hamels deal last season. The 24-year-old is known for both his bat and his arm behind the plate, hitting .362 with a homer and two baserunners caught stealing in 15 major league games thus far.

7. J.P. Crawford (L/R) SS/3B

Crawford’s long-awaited call-up finally came on Sep. 5. The Phillies No. 1 overall prospect and cousin of 4-time All-Star outfielder, Carl Crawford, put up underwhelming numbers at the plate in Triple-A this season. However, at just 22-years-old, he has displayed outstanding defensive skills at shortstop and is incredibly disciplined at the plate with a mechanically sound swing. He should only improve as he matures.

8. Freddy Galvis (S/R) SS/3B

Galvis is a shortstop by trade, so it is possible that Crawford could start at third and Galvis at short. Maikel Franco was the starting third baseman all year, but was benched when Crawford was called up. Bottom line: Crawford’s trial at third this September will ultimately determine if Galvis starts at shortstop or third base come Opening Day 2018.

After this crop of young talent matures in 2018, the 2019 season could be looking even more optimistic for the Phillies.

Today, they are an unproven team with an average age of 24. Tomorrow, (well, not literally), they could be contending for a playoff berth.

If only there was a crystal ball…

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