Philadelphia Phillies 2024 Season Preview

The Phillies are running it back in 2024, and they're counting on their stars to lead them to October.

Bryson Stott of the Philadelphia Phillies celebrates with teammates after hitting a grand slam during the sixth inning against the Miami Marlins in Game Two of the Wild Card Series at Citizens Bank Park.
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - OCTOBER 04: Bryson Stott #5 of the Philadelphia Phillies celebrates with teammates after hitting a grand slam during the sixth inning against the Miami Marlins in Game Two of the Wild Card Series at Citizens Bank Park on October 04, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

The Philadelphia Phillies team that entered spring training in 2024 looks a whole lot like the squad that lost in the 2023 NLCS.

You could argue that’s a bad thing; what is the offseason for, if not improving the roster?

Then again, we’re talking about a team that finished one win away from reaching the World Series last year. And it’s not as if president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski was twiddling his thumbs all winter. He extended ace Zack Wheeler. He re-signed co-ace Aaron Nola. In addition, he focused on depth, adding supplementary pieces like Whit Merrifield (UTIL), Spencer Turnbull (RHP), and Kolby Allard (LHP).

Those aren’t the moves of an executive who isn’t sure what he’s doing. They’re the moves of an executive who is so sure of the team he already has that his top priority is maintaining the status quo. That’s a pretty good position to be in.

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None of this is to say the Phillies have no room left to improve. They still have their weak spots, and their chances of usurping the Braves in the NL East are slim.

However, for the first time in a long, this team entered the offseason without a sense of desperation. Like I said, that’s a pretty good position to be in.

2024 Phillies Projected Starting Lineup 

1. Kyle Schwarber – DH1. Kyle Schwarber – DH
2. Trea Turner – SS2. Trea Turner – SS
3. Bryce Harper – 1B3. Alec Bohm – 3B
4. Alec Bohm – 3B4. Bryce Harper – 1B
5. Bryson Stott – 2B5. J.T. Realmuto – C
6. Nick Castellanos – RF6. Nick Castellanos – RF
7. J.T. Realmuto – C7. Bryson Stott – 2B
8. Brandon Marsh – LF8. Cristian Pache/Whit Merrifield – LF
9. Johan Rojas – CF9. Johan Rojas – CF

These are the lineups Rob Thomson used last October. Given how little has changed on the Phillies roster, it’s fair to presume the skipper will stick with the same plan.

Obviously, Kyle Schwarber isn’t your typical leadoff hitter. Still, he’s the second-best OBP guy on the team, and batting him first helps to split up all the lefties in the batting order. He might hit more solo home runs than fans would like, but as long as he keeps drawing his walks and reaching base for the middle of the order, I’m not complaining.

On the other side of the ball, I’ve got high hopes for Schwarber in his first year as a full-time DH. Without his defensive metrics dragging down his overall numbers, I wouldn’t be surprised to see his fWAR double in 2024.

Trea Turner will be looking to carry his strong second-half performance into the new campaign. Ignoring his early-season slump in 2023, Turner has been one of the best players in baseball for the past six years. The Phillies shortstop is a dark horse MVP candidate that too many people are overlooking after his uncharacteristic performance during the first half last year.

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Bryce Harper is getting ready to play his first full season since his 2021 MVP campaign. He’s one of the most fearsome hitters in the game, and the only question is how well he’ll adjust to his new position, first base. Considering the athlete he is, I have little doubt he’ll take to it quite nicely.

After four years in the majors, Alec Bohm is no longer a breakout candidate. At this point, all we can expect is that what he has been: a league-average bat who is just good enough at third base to stick at the position. Bohm has great contact skills, which he can use to advance runners on the bases.

The Phillies will hope he continues to improve his defense at the hot corner and builds on the 20-homer power he showed off last season.

Bryson Stott broke out in 2023 after a mediocre rookie campaign. He used his speed and bat-to-ball skills to make up for a lack of power, hitting .280 and stealing 31 bases. He also took to his new position like a duck takes to water, finishing as a finalist for the Gold Glove at second base. He’ll have to prove he can maintain an above-average BABIP to remain a league-average hitter, but his speed and defense give him a solid floor.

Bryson Stott of the Philadelphia Phillies bats with a pencil designed bat against the Washington Nationals in the first inning during the 2023 Little League Classic at Bowman Field.
SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, PENNSYLVANIA – AUGUST 20: Bryson Stott #5 of the Philadelphia Phillies bats with a pencil designed bat against the Washington Nationals in the first inning during the 2023 Little League Classic at Bowman Field on August 20, 2023 in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

J.T. Realmuto followed up his career-best 2022 season with a disappointing down year in 2023. His numbers dropped off in just about every area, although his framing stats were the most troubling.

On the bright side, he looked as durable and athletic as ever. Entering his age-33 season, he doesn’t need to be a superstar anymore. If he can work on his framing and bounce back in a few offensive categories, he will still be a valuable contributor for the Phillies.

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It’s time to give up hope that Nick Castellanos will ever be the All-Star slugger the Phillies paid for when they signed him to a $100 million contract – and that’s okay. There’s no point worrying about money the team has already spent.

With a 109 wRC+ last season, Castellanos was solid for a back-half-of-the-lineup kind of bat. He also improved his defense and took well to the new rules, stealing a career-high 11 bases in 13 attempts. His 1.0 fWAR was a big step up from his -0.8 fWAR the year before.

The Phillies have a puzzle to solve in the outfield. Ideally, Brandon Marsh and Johan Rojas would prove themselves worthy of everyday roles, but that hasn’t happened quite yet. As great as Marsh looked last season, it’s clear the Phillies still don’t trust him against left-handed pitching. Meanwhile, Rojas has yet to prove he can hit well enough to get by as a defense-first center fielder.

Expect Thomson to play the matchups early in the season. Furthermore, if the skipper wants to prioritize offense, Marsh could play center with Whit Merrifield in left. If he wants to prioritize defense, Rojas could play center with Marsh and Cristian Pache covering the corners. It’s not ideal, but at least the Phillies have depth.

Projected Bench

Garrett Stubbs (C), Edmundo Sosa (INF), Whit Merrifield (UTIL), Cristian Pache (OF)

Garrett Stubbs took a step back at the plate last year, but he’s a capable backup catcher and a beloved clubhouse presence.

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Edmundo Sosa might never live up to his 2022 performance with the Phillies, but he’s got a great glove, quick footspeed, and enough offense to hold down a bench spot.

The Phillies needed a right-handed corner outfield bat, and Whit Merrifield was the solution they came up with. The projection systems aren’t high on Merrifield entering his age-35 season, but he has found a way to be a valuable contributor every year of his big league career. The Phillies will count on him to do that again in 2024.

Cristian Pache feels redundant with Rojas and Merrifield on the roster, but evidently, the Phillies think he’s talented enough to keep him around regardless. If nothing else, a late-inning outfield alignment of Rojas, Marsh, and Pache would cover a ton of ground.

Position Player Depth

In alphabetical order:

Rodolfo Castro (INF), Jake Cave (OF), Kody Clemens (1B), Darick Hall (1B), Scott Kingery (UTIL), Jordan Luplow (OF), Rafael Marchan (C), Weston Wilson (UTIL)

2024 Phillies Projected Rotation

Starting fiveRotation Depth
Zack WheelerSpencer Turnbull
Aaron NolaKolby Allard
Ranger SuárezNick Nelson
Cristopher SánchezMick Abel
Taijuan WalkerMax Castillo

The Phillies have had one of the best rotations in baseball for all four years of the Wheeler/Nola era, and that should be no different in 2024.

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Zack Wheeler is one of the best pitchers in the game – just look at what the Phillies are paying to keep him in town for his age-35 to 37 seasons. Aaron Nola is an ace in a No. 2 starter’s clothing – just look at what the Phillies are paying him over the next seven years.

The strength of Philadelphia’s rotation lies in the strength of its top two members, but don’t overlook the back end of this group. Ranger Suárez has proven himself a solid No. 3 starter and a dependable big-game pitcher.

Ranger Suarez of the Philadelphia Phillies in action against the Pittsburgh Pirates during a game at Citizens Bank Park.
PHILADELPHIA, PA – SEPTEMBER 25: Ranger Suarez #55 of the Philadelphia Phillies in action against the Pittsburgh Pirates during a game at Citizens Bank Park on September 25, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Cristopher Sánchez broke out with a 3.44 ERA in 99.1 innings last season. Taijuan Walker might never repeat his All-Star first half of 2021, but he is a true innings eater; you’d be hard-pressed to find a more productive No. 5.

As for depth, the Phillies added Spencer Turnbull, Kolby Allard, and Max Castillo this winter. They also have Nick Nelson, a starter-turned-reliever-turned-starter-again, kicking around at Triple-A.

Top prospect Mick Abel is another option, but the Phillies won’t rush him to the majors. He’ll make his debut when he’s ready, not out of necessity.

2024 Phillies Projected Bullpen

Opening day bullpen LOCKSDEPTH
José AlvaradoDylan Covey*
Jeff HoffmanConnor Brogdon
Seranthony DomínguezYunior Marte
Gregory SotoKolby Allard
Matt StrahmNick Nelson
Orion KerkeringMichael Mercado
Spencer TurnbullMichael Rucker*
??Andrew Bellatti

The Phillies have seven locks for the Opening Day bullpen: José Alvarado, Jeff Hoffman, Seranthony Domínguez, Gregory Soto, Matt Strahm, Orion Kerkering, and Spencer Turnbull. The first six names are holdovers from last season, while the team added Turnbull this winter on a major league contract.

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Alvarado has been one of the nastiest arms in the game for the past two years, while Hoffman, a former top prospect, finally broke out in his eighth big league season, pitching 52.1 innings with a 2.41 ERA. Those two will hold down the late innings.

Domínguez and Soto had up-and-down seasons last year, but they both throw heat and have the skills to rack up strikeouts. Domínguez is dominant at his best, while Soto has been one of the more durable relievers in baseball since his debut season in 2019.

Strahm, like Hoffman, is another former top prospect who finally brought it all together in 2023. He was a bit of everything, from spot starter to long man to lefty specialist to high-leverage weapon, throwing 87.2 innings with a 3.29 ERA.

Finally, Kerkering was the story of September, making his way from Low-A to the majors over the course of a single season. He pitched well enough in three regular season outings to earn a role in Philadelphia’s postseason bullpen; he made another seven appearances in October with a 3.38 ERA. Not yet 23 years old, he will play an important role for Philadelphia throughout the 2024 season.

Turnbull isn’t as exciting an option as the six names ahead of him on the depth chart. He has been a starting pitcher throughout his career, and presumably, the Phillies signed him as rotation depth. He’ll fill a long-man role out of the ‘pen while staying loose in case the team needs him to join the rotation.

The Phillies have several contenders for the final bullpen spot on the Opening Day roster. Dylan Covey seemed like a good bet to make the squad for much of the offseason, but he’s dealing with shoulder tightness this spring. Moreover, the right-handed long-reliever seems redundant with Turnbull on the roster.

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Thus, the best bet to fill out the arm barn could be Connor Brogdon. The righty disappointed last season at both the major and minor league levels. However, he has had big league success in the recent past, he’s already on the 40-man roster, and he is out of minor league options. If the Phillies don’t want to put him on the Opening Day roster, they risk losing him altogether.

Phillies Outlook for 2024

The Philadelphia Phillies bench reacts after Nick Castellanos (not pictured) hit a home run in the sixth inning against the Atlanta Braves during Game Four of the Division Series at Citizens Bank Park.
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA – OCTOBER 12: The Philadelphia Phillies bench reacts after Nick Castellanos #8 (not pictured) hit a home run in the sixth inning against the Atlanta Braves during Game Four of the Division Series at Citizens Bank Park on October 12, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

The Phillies won 90 games last year, and they’re running it back with all the same key contributors. Even better, they’ll have a full season of Bryce Harper in the lineup, a full season of Kyle Schwarber at DH, a full season of Cristopher Sánchez in the rotation, and a full season of Orion Kerkering in the bullpen.

The team is also counting on Aaron Nola, Trea Turner, and J.T. Realmuto to bounce back from disappointing 2023 seasons (by their own standards). That’s not too much to ask for veterans with their talent and track records.

Thus, while the Phillies didn’t make any major acquisitions this winter, it’s not hard to imagine they could be even stronger in 2024.

Some things will go wrong (injuries and slumps are unavoidable), but hopefully, plenty of things will go right, too. If just two or three of Sánchez, Kerkering, Bryson Stott, Alec Bohm, Brandon Marsh, and Johan Rojas take another step forward, that could offset any potential pitfalls.

The Braves have an airtight grip on the NL East, but the Phillies are as talented as any other club competing for a Wild Card berth. They’re in a good position to make the playoffs, and with Wheeler and Nola leading the way, they’re in a good position to make some noise once they get there.

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