Post by: Valley Financial Group
It's a great day for a ball game, Let's play two! - Ernie Banks
It hasn't really even sunk into completely as of yet, but as of Thursday, March 29, Major League Baseball, and with it our own Philadelphia Phillies, will be back in action. No matter where you're from or who your team is, each year Opening Day shines as symbol of hope for baseball fans everywhere. For just a few short days, 30 baseball clubs from across the country are in contention. It doesn't matter who you're opening day starting pitcher is or who you gained or lost during the winter months, that first pitch symbolizes the singular hope of each and every fan watching; "This could be it. This could be the year." We just saw a magical run that most thought to be impossible, a Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl victory, and while I don't believe this is going to be the year for our beloved Fightin' Phils, I think it is clear to all of Philly that they are trending in the right direction. With big time free agent acquisitions like powerful switch hitter Carlos Santana and former Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta, the Phillies are starting to combine their young, budding talents with seasoned veterans with very recent Postseason and World Series experience.
Other bright spots to look for as the season progresses is rookie shortstop J.P. Crawford, who will look to see if he can cement himself as the Major League shortstop in Philly for the at least the foreseeable future, as well as second baseman Scott Kingery, who just recently a six year contract extension and will hopefully make his Major League debut sometimes in early to mid-summer. With the two young guns hopefully anchoring the middle infield for years to come, coupled with the aforementioned Santana at first and the inconsistent but talents Maikel Franco at third, the infield has a chance to produce at a high level this year. In the outfield, Odubel Herrera and Aaron Altherr will return coming off good seasons last year, but the obvious star will be Rhys Hoskins in his second year in the show. He shone bright in his limited time up with the Phils last year, with 18 home runs in just 50 games played last year. If he is able to avoid the sophomore slump that is so common in a game like baseball, Hoskins has a chance to do some truly special things as this team continues to grow and strengthen around him.
Will they win at all when all is send and done come early November 2018? Sadly, the answer is probably not, but for the first time in long time, I can truly say that I believe that they will compete this year. Maybe they have a year that no one expects and sneak into the second wild card slot. Maybe they won't. Either way, the hope is there as spring, in the baseball fan's mind, officially arrives this Thursday at 3 when the Phillies take on the Braves at SunTrust Park in Atlanta, and, whether it be for a few weeks, months, or the whole year, the Phillies compete for a chance to once again play in the Postseason. Happy spring to all, and go Fightin' Phils.