Phillies

Phillies

With the Phillies eliminated from playoff contention, we'll take a look back this week at the five main reasons why the Phils fell apart in the second half and how they can correct each issue moving forward.

Today, it's offense. 

1. Rhys Hoskins slumped for too much of the second half

Hoskins did not have a bad year. He has 33 homers, 94 RBI and an .845 OPS.

He just spent too much of the most important part of the season in a cold spell.

Hoskins surged out of the All-Star break, hitting .357 with eight homers and seven doubles in his first 14 games. He credited the Home Run Derby for the return of his aggressiveness and pull power.

But from Aug. 4 on — the entirety of the Phils' downward phase — Hoskins hit .195 with a .294 OBP and drove in less than a run every two games.

The 2018 Phillies were to set up to be carried by Hoskins, a difficult task for a player who entered the season with less than a full year of big-league service time. The Phils were basically asking him to be Freddie Freeman, which he's not. Nobody else is.

2. Odubel Herrera regressed hard

Herrera set career highs this season in homers (22) and RBI (68). That was pretty much it, in terms of positives.

Herrera's approach was off all year. He hit 25 points lower than he did a year ago. He's stopped walking. He hit .246 against right-handed pitching. 

It wouldn't be at all surprising to see the Phils move on from Herrera this offseason, despite the three guaranteed years remaining on his contract.

 

Herrera just isn't a Gabe Kapler or Matt Klentak style of player. He doesn't have a sound, consistently thoughtful approach in the box. He kind of just goes up there and does whatever. It seems like the front office is at the point in its cycle where it's getting rid of the holdovers of the previous regime and bringing in its own guys.

If the Phillies can flip Herrera for a starting pitcher or decent reliever, they probably will.

3. Batting average does still matter

On-base percentage is the more important figure, but you still need players who, ya know, hit. For much of the second half of the season, the Phillies' leading hitter was Maikel Franco at .268. That is a major problem. You do not win a division with only one or two players getting a hit more than once every four at-bats.

A team can win with Hoskins and Carlos Santana seeing as many pitches as they do in important lineup spots. But you also need a few guys who can at least hit between .280 and .290. A player like D.J. LeMahieu, who hits a ton of singles but doesn't walk much, does still have value. There are multiple ways to skin a cat.

The Phillies were home run-reliant all season because they lacked athleticism from several lineup spots and were a station-to-station offense. Not much single, single, runners on the corners to begin an inning.

4. Never got enough offense from SS

Scott Kingery was the least productive everyday position player in the majors in the first half, and Asdrubal Cabrera didn't provide enough in the second half, hitting .228/.286/.392. 

Kingery may be playing 2B next season, and the Phillies by their actions do not feel J.P. Crawford is an everyday shortstop yet (or perhaps ever). Even when both were healthy, Kingery got the reps at short with Crawford at third.

The Phillies could bring in a veteran shortstop this offseason.

5. Santana didn't turn it around until it was too late

Santana had a great month of May, hitting .281/.373/.594 with 22 RBI in 26 games.

He was good in June, hitting .235/.417/.435.

And during the Phillies' worst period in August, he seemed to be the only one hitting. But for far too long this summer, he didn't hit for average or power. 

Santana is seven walks away from a career high. But he's hit .229, a career low in his nine seasons. 

Compared to the Brewers' big offseason moves (Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain), the Phillies got very little out of Santana and Jake Arrieta.

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