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July 02, 2024

MLB power rankings roundup: Phillies are banged up, but Cristopher Sánchez helps keep them at the top

Cristopher Sánchez threw his first career shutout, and even without Bryce Harper, Kyle Schwarber, and J.T. Realmuto, the Phillies keep chugging along.

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Phillies-Cristopher-Sanchez-Shutout-Win.jpg Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports

Cristopher Sánchez is having an unreal season.

The Phillies are down J.T. Realmuto, Kyle Schwarber, and Bryce Harper, but are still finding ways to keep chugging along. 

Do they look as dominant as they were a month ago? Not quite after a four-game split with the Marlins, but they gutted out a big comeback win in the series finale on Sunday and are protecting that eight-game lead they have in the NL East. 

Oh, and Cristopher Sánchez might be an All-Star, might even win the Cy Young.

But are the Phillies still considered the best team in baseball right now? Here's a quick run through the latest wave of power rankings before the Phils' next series gets underway tonight against the Cubs in Wrigleyville... 1st

As you'll see here and in the other rankings below: The answer to the question from above is yes.

The Phillies are missing their three biggest bats and are still getting the job done anyway because Alec Bohm, a healthy Trea Turner, and now even Brandon Marsh are hitting like stars themselves.

Wrote Will Leitch:

That the Phillies are without Bryce Harper, Kyle Schwarber and J.T. Realmuto and are still ranked No. 1 speaks to how resourceful this team is: Many people consider the Phillies more top-heavy than they actually are. This is, after all, a team with six players who made it to the next round in All-Star balloting: Schwarber, Realmuto, Brandon Marsh, Alec Bohm, Nick Castellanos and Trea Turner, plus Harper, who earned an automatic starting role as the NL’s leading vote-getter. Sure, Phillies fans turn out at the ballot box, but none of those guys are unreasonable choices either. It’s no wonder Phillies fans believe this might just be the year. []

ESPN: 1st

It also helps to have Sánchez pitching like an ace in the four-hole of the starting rotation, a feat that would've been unthinkable over the winter back when the Phillies were trying to see if they could get in on the Yoshinobu Yamamoto sweepstakes. 

Remember that?

ESPN's David Schoenfield does

The Phillies agreed to a four-year extension with Cristopher Sánchez that includes team options for 2029 and 2030. The deal guarantees Sanchez $22.5 million with the two options worth at least $14 and $15 million. Not bad for a pitcher not even guaranteed a rotation spot entering last offseason. Remember, the Phillies pursued Yoshinobu Yamamoto, which would have likely bumped Sánchez out of the rotation. Instead, he has a 2.67 ERA and has allowed just one home run in 84⅓ innings. [ESPN]

Think everything ended up working out.

Bleacher Report: 1st

Again, Sánchez has been stellar, which makes the Phillies' starting rotation all that more fearsome.

Wrote Joel Reuter:

In his first start after signing a four-year, $22.5 million extension, left-hander Cristopher Sánchez twirled the first complete game shutout of his career. The Phillies lead the majors with a 3.08 ERA, and they have the top three qualified NL starters in ERA with Ranger Suárez (2.27 ERA, 103.0 IP), Sánchez (2.41 ERA, 93.1 IP) and Zack Wheeler (2.73 ERA, 105.2 IP). [B/R]

It was actually his second start after signing, but you get the point. 

CBS Sports: 1st

While losing Harper and Schwarber at the same time is never ideal, the Phils at least got the bright side of both having sustained minor injuries with the expectation that they'll be back relatively soon. 

And while it was an uneven week for the team, too, that's in comparison to a sample size that's been otherwise mostly excellent.

Wrote Matt Snyder:

They've already dealt with injuries to Trea Turner and JT Realmuto. Now it's Bryce Harper and Kyle Schwarber. Fortunately, both injuries here seem minor. And even in a week that seemed lackluster by the lofty standards of the 2024 Phillies, they had a winning record and didn't lose a series. [CBS Sports]

The Athletic: 1st

The Phillies have also had all their success so far this season without making any major splashes on the free-agent or trade market, but as the summer wears on, options are going to start to open up to get that one last piece. 

And Oakland reliever Mason Miller would look pretty good in red pinstripes. 

Wrote Andy McCullough among the Athletic's baseball panel

For the first time in a while, the Phillies didn’t make many major additions this past winter. They re-upped with Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler while keeping the lineup intact. The team saw itself as a good bet to return to the postseason, and they’ve already out-performed expectations, zooming past the Braves to control the National League East. The Phillies are good enough to win it all. But it would be on brand for Dave Dombrowski to trawl the market for a major addition — something like Oakland reliever Mason Miller. The Athletics are expected to ask a lot for Miller. Has there ever been an executive with a stronger track record of making these sorts of deals than Dombrowski? [The Athletic]

The trade deadline isn't all that far off now: July 30.

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