Here is a list of five Philadelphia Phillies that we should all be excited to see in 2023. After an unlikely run to the 2022 World Series, Owner John Middleton and GM Dave Dombrowski went into the offseason with the goal of finding the pieces that could help them get over the hump for the 2023 season. The first guy on this list makes a pretty solid case that the front office did a good job.
Let’s take a look at 5 guys, new and returning, that are going to be major reasons the Phillies get back to the World Series.
1. Trae Turner, SS
Did you happen to watch any of the World Baseball Classic? If you did, you can stop reading this Turner part. You already know how ridiculous he was. Six games, nine hits, five home runs, (including a go ahead grand slam in the 8th inning) and 11 RBIs. The guy was just hitting out of his mind. He’s not going to hit you 50 home runs, but he’s the best leadoff hitter this team has had in a long time. He’s one of the best hitters in the game and has a career average of .302. Trae Turner getting on base in the leadoff spot is going to be one of the biggest reasons the Phils return to the Fall Classic in ’23.
He also has the smoothest slide into home ever.
Trea Turner slide dot GIF pic.twitter.com/5yayk4DvH8— Matthew Moreno (@MMoreno1015) August 11, 2021
2. Rob Thomson, Manager
Topper, as he’s affectionately called in MLB circles, took an under performing, dead 22-29 team and breathed life back into them. It was obvious the players hated playing for Joe Girardi. Once Thomson took over the change in the locker room was obvious. You could hear the difference when reporters would be doing TV or Radio hits from outside the locker room. It sounded like a party after wins. That’s not to say the Topper doesn’t hold the players accountable when needed. What the Phillies have in Rob Thomson is what you want in a manager, or boss in any business. Lay out the boundaries, then let the talent shine, quirks and all. Good work by Middleton to lock in the manager for a few more years.
3. Nick Castellanos, OF
Year 1 of the Nick Castellanos experience in Philadelphia was underwhelming. He struggled for much of the season at the plate and he’s never been a great fielder so that’s not going to make up for any batting slumps. It was such a rough start in Philly that frustrations boiled over at one point with a reporter asking a question that Nick didn’t like. Then we got a glimpse of the Castellanos we were hoping for in the NLDS & NLCS when he had 9 hits in 9 games with 6 RBIs. Heading into spring training this year, Castellanos opened up about not being comfortable at all last year, but he said things changed and he’s now comfortable in Philadelphia. I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself here, but if being comfortable in year 2 gets us consistent divisional and championship series Castellanos for the much of the ’23 season then this lineup may be unstoppable.
4. Andrew Painter, P
Everyone pray to the baseball gods that Andrew Painter’s elbow issue will not need Tommy John surgery. The small tear in his elbow is one that could lead to surgery. They’re currently shutting him down before having him ease back into throwing. The kid has the stuff to be an absolute star. He’s 19 years old and has nasty stuff. As long as he can stay healthy and handle the pressures that come with pitching in the pros (and Philadelphia) he’s going to be a star. Please baseball gods, don’t do us dirty on this one. I’ll give him my UCL if needed.
5. The Back End of the Bullpen
How does this murderers row of pitchers sound? Jose Alvarado, Seranthony Dominguez and Craig Kimbrel. If this team can get to through the 6th inning with a lead it’s going to be a very good season. Having to hit guys who come in for 1 inning throwing 100+ mph on every fastball that moves is a brutal task, especially when they drop in a slider or sinker that falls off the table. How can the prospect of jokingly booing a guy when he doesn’t hit 100mph not excite you?
This also takes on a whole new meaning of support instead of taunting with Craig Kimbrel now in red pinstripes.
Phillies fans have always loved Craig Kimbrel pic.twitter.com/Xmx2ZLCm0M— John Foley (@2008Philz) December 24, 2022