Disappointing is about as positive a word that can be used to describe the 2017 Philadelphia Phillies.
If the original goal of manager Pete Mackanin was a .500 record, then this season is beyond a failure.
2017 has been filled with mismanagement, regression, laziness, and just one head scratching decision after another.
Then on June 30th general manager Matt Klentak decided to call up outfield prospect Nick Williams.
If nothing else, Williams provided a loyal fan base, who has suffered all season, a breath of fresh air.
Williams was not exactly tearing the cover off the ball at Triple A. He was only batting .258, but he has adjusted nicely to the big leagues. He is batting .286 with 8 home runs and has been fun to watch.
Then on August 10th, Klentak FINALLY decided to promote the Triple A home run leader, Rhys Hoskins.
It’s worked out pretty well huh?
In his first 18 games Hoskins has hit a never before seen 11 home runs. He also has 24 rbis, and is batting .297.
He is the first player EVER to hit 11 homers in his first 20 games (he’s only played in 18!!!!).
Hoskins has been able to generate a positive buzz for a 48-81 baseball team.
It's ok to suck during a rebuild, but if you are going to suck and take lumps, at least give your fans a glimmer of hope along the way.
Rhys Hoskins, Nick Williams Jorge Alfaro and the re-emrgence of Aaron Nola have been that hope.
It's impossible to watch these players and not think about what the future could hold.
What could/should the Phillies lineup look like opening day 2018?
Let’s take an early look-
C: Jorge Alfaro- loaded with talent, has shown he belongs in the majors when given the chance.
1B: Rhys Hoskins- combined stats between Triple A and MLB- 40 home runs, 115 rbis.
2B: Scott Kingery – 26 home runs, 64 rbis, 28 stolen bases between Double and Triple A.
SS: J.P Crawford- Struggled early this season, but has rebounded nicely and has the talent.
3B: Maikel Franco- He has had a rough season, but I'm not ready to give up on him yet.
RF: Aaron Altherr- Has proven a lot; he’s been a bright spot through a dark season.
CF: Odubel Herrera- Yes he is clueless at times, but he is also loaded with talent. Maybe a different manager can get through to him.
LF: Nick Williams – He belongs.
P- Aaron Nola- Has been electric.
I don’t have Ceaser Hernandez or Freddy Galvis in the starting lineup. These guys are the Phillies most valuable trade chips at this point and may be able to fetch them something solid in return.
Their departure would also make some necessary room for two of the organizations top prospects.
There is no reason for Crawford and Kingery not to be on the opening day roster come 2018. Kingery is already 23 years old, and it is sink or swim time for Crawford. It's also possible that we see one or both of these players come next week.
There is clearly a lot of work to be done this offseason, and we will talk about that once the season is over.
But for now, fans can enjoy watching baseball for the first time this season.