May 07, 2019
It was another mediocre week for the Phillies, and the below power rankings certainly reflect that.
Since we last checked in with Gabe Kapler's squad, the Phillies have gone 3-3, splitting a two-game series with the Tigers before taking two of three from the Nationals. Then, last night in St. Louis, the Phillies were blanked, 6-0, by the Cardinals.
The Phillies (19-15) remain a game and a half up on the Braves (18-17) in the NL East, a division that has certainly come crashing back down to earth over the last few weeks, with the Mets and Nationals both joining the Marlins in the ranks of the sub-.500 teams.
Unfortunately, the Phillies won't be able to take advantage of what appears to be a beatable division — they don't play another NL East game until June 14. (No, that's not a typo.) But it gets even crazier, as the Phillies then play exclusively NL East games for the next month straight (also not a typo) and right through the All-Star break. Whatever those schedule-makers were on, I'll take some of that, please.
Still, this might not be the worst thing for the Phillies, who haven't been playing their best baseball of late, and look less and less like the absolutely dominant team we saw for the first week of the season. In the time since, rather than separating themselves from the pack, they've only entrenched themselves further. And when it comes to the various power rankings out there, that means the Phillies are in danger of falling out of several writers' Top 10s.
So far, they appear to be hanging in there. And that's without Bryce Harper playing at his best.
That's not to say that the Phillies' $330 million man isn't contributing — he most certainly is — but there's certainly some room for improvement. Over at Bleacher Report, they did a special edition of MLB power rankings in which they ranked every team's superstar, and interestingly enough, Harper's position was quite similar to where his team placed in most of the power rankings out there this week.
No. 10: Bryce Harper, OF, Philadelphia Phillies
Despite hearing it from Philadelphia's infamous boo birds, Bryce Harper is having a decent season with his new squad.
In 33 games with the Phillies, he owns an .841 OPS and has hit 10 doubles and six home runs. Of course, after he signed a 13-year, $330 million contract, decent won't be good enough.
Overall, we know what Harper is capable of. The 26-year-old has won NL Rookie of the Year honors (2012), an NL MVP trophy (2015), made six All-Star appearances and averaged 32 home runs a season since 2015.
Something tells us he'll eventually get consistent ovations in the City of Brotherly Love. [bleacherreport.com]
When he's playing at the top of his game, he should be higher on the list, just like his Phillies should be higher on their respective lists. Harper's struggles are indicative of the team's overall struggles, but he's been known to get hot in a hurry. And if he does, the rest of his team could follow suit.
For now, however, let's take a look at where the team currently ranks during the sixth week of the MLB season...
|WHAT THEY'RE SAYING...|
|8 (--)||Bryce Harper hit .192 in 27 games from April 5 to May 4.|
|7 (-2)||Zach Eflin has only allowed two earned runs in 16 innings in his last two starts. Aaron Nola has had two encouraging outings in a row. The Phillies are in first and several players are bound to get better on offense. Things are going well.|
|9 (-1)||The Phillies hit the road with a pair of series in Missouri this week and with right-hander Vince Velasquez scheduled to start twice and on alert. Velasquez struggled in his most recent outing versus Detroit, and he averages barely five innings per start. Nick Pivetta saw how quickly roster spots can change, and he and others lurk at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Velasquez cannot afford to struggle and keep his rotation spot.|
|6 (-4)||The Phillies continue to win, which is good, but there’s nothing terribly impressive about them. Their offense and pitching are both middle of the pack. Bryce Harper isn’t killin’ it. This week, they won games against the Tigers and Nationals. They’re keeping their Top 10 spot, but it’s not a stronghold.|
[NOTE: Some of these rankings may have come out a day or two ago, and may not be taking the most recent game into account.]