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Why They Underachieved : Philadelphia Phillies

Despite spending the big cash on the premier free agent in all of the MLB last year in former Washington Nationals’ OF Bryce Harper, the Phillies finished in fourth place in their division missing the post season. This wasn’t foreseen after the Harper signing, analysts and fans were already penning this team as a playoff contender after signing Harper, David Robertson and Andrew McCutchen. This obviously wasn’t the case for multiple reasons, here’s the deep dive on a few of those reasons.


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Harper Didn’t Meet Expectations

Image result for Bryce Harper Phillies AP Photo 600x400
Photo Source : AP Photo/Matt Slocum

After signing a 13-year $330 Million contract, you might expect league leading statistics and being one of if not the best player in the MLB, this just simply wasn’t the case with Bryce Harper. Comparing this season from last season he didn’t improve enough when it came to hitting. He only jumped to .260 after batting a .249 average last year and struck out a career high 178 times. He also went down in on base percentage with a .372 rating, after posting a .391. He just didn’t improve enough and brought extra attitude to the Phillies clubhouse. Not what you expect out of a player you’re paying over $25 Million a year. Still a great player, but he has to step up and find consistency.

Injury Bug

Image result for andrew mccutchen injury AP Photo 600 x 400
Photo Source : Gregory Bull / AP Photo

The bottom line is, you’re not going to be a good team if your top players get injured. The Phillies were bit by the injury bug in 2019 with Andrew McCutchen going down with a torn ACL in his left knee, then pitcher David Robertson underwent the ever-so brutal Tommy John surgery that had him slated to miss the 2020 season as well.  Only getting 59 games. McCutchen was having a solid year, posting a .256 with an OBP of .378%, all solid numbers, and we didn’t get to see much of Robertson before going down, so we’ll never know what could have been.

Pitching Woes

Image result for Phillies Pitcher 2019 AP Photo 600 x 400
Photo Source : John Minchillo / AP Photo

There’s a common theme among teams that underachieved this season, their pitching wasn’t good. The Phillies rotation had the following for ERAs

  • Aaron Nola, 3.78
  • Zach Eflin, 4.13
  • Jake Arrieta, 4.64
  • Vince Velazquez, 4.91
  • Drew Smyly, 4.45
  • Jason Vargas, 5.37

It’s a bad sight when only one pitcher is below a four in ERA and half are above 4.5 when the season concludes. Simply, you’re not going to win very many baseball games pitching like that. The bullpen had a combined ERA of 4.72 with six above 5.0 and one above six only counting pitchers who threw for more than 20 innings this year. It’s just poor and a common theme among underachieving or even bad teams is just how poor the pitching is whether it’s bullpen or starting pitchers. The theme doesn’t break here either.

Photo Source : AP Photo

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