March 27, 2023
Philadelphia, we're three days away from the Phillies beginning their defense of the National League pennant. As our preview of the Fightins' season continues here at PhillyVoice, I wanted to throw out some over/unders for the Phils and their top players. The team is filled with guys who've put up big regular season numbers in the past with the accolades to boot and it should be another highlight-filled campaign.
Here are six over/unders for the 2023 Phillies...
All totals are my own creation/idea unless otherwise noted.
Schwarber had the highest home run total of his career in 2022, hitting an NL-leading 46 homers. His previous career high was 38 with the Cubs in 2019. I expect Schwarber's RBI count to leap over his mark of 94 last season as he drops in the batting order to a more normal cleanup spot with Trea Turner likely hitting leadoff, but that doesn't necessarily translate to more home runs.
That's such a high number and it'll be tough to replicate. I'll go a little under with 43, but if we're counting what Schwarber will do come the postseason, I'd definitely smash the over with the assumption the Phils will be on another run to the Fall Classic.
Nola, the Phillies' Opening Day starter on Thursday, sports a 3.60 career ERA. His 3.25 ERA in 2022 was the second lowest mark ever (he came in at 2.37 in 2018). This'll be a contract year for Nola, who's a free agent after the 2023 season. Over the weekend, it was announced that the Phillies organization was breaking off contract extension talks with Nola, so it appears that he'll be playing out this year with his future in red pinstripes uncertain.
Fangraphs' ZiPS projections have Nola with a 3.54 ERA this year. Over at baseball-reference, their projections peg Nola at 3.73. I think it can best those numbers, while still falling short of his highs from last season.
I'll say he ends up at 3.42.
Turner, coming off a Herculean performance in the World Baseball Classic, is a former batting champion who's also led the league in hits twice. Acting as the leadoff man for a Phils lineup that's still stacked even with Rhys Hoskins' brutal ACL tear and Bryce Harper's absence, I'm expecting a year where Turner contends not just for the batting title, but the NL MVP award flat out.
Turner is a career .302 hitter. He hit .298 for the Dodgers in 2022. His .328 average in 2021 led all of baseball. He's also posted seasons with a .342 average (in 2016 with Washington as a rookie) and a .335 average (in 2020, his final full season with the Nationals).
I'm picking him to hit the over and finish with a .321 batting average.
Over the course of the offseason, there had been talk of Harper, the reigning NLCS MVP, targeting the All-Star break as a return to the field after he recovers from Tommy John surgery. That timetable may be sped up, however, with the news that the Phillies would not put Harper on the 60-day injured list to begin this season, a sign he'll be ready sooner rather than later.
Given the way that Harper played through a multitude of injuries in 2022, including a monster playoff run where he had a 1.160 OPS, I'm encouraged to believe he'll be back in the batter's box at Citizens Bank Park earlier than we all expected.
The Phils have 71 games after the All-Star break. I'll say he tops that and is back by mid-June.
That 88.5 number is the Phillies' current over/under win total on FanDuel Sportsbook. In my National League East preview this past Friday, I had the Phillies just slightly over with 90 wins, good enough for the No. 2 spot in the division and a Wild Card playoff berth. I'm sticking with it!
Yes, the early season injuries have reared their head, but the front office had already given the team the most depth it's had in a dozen years while adding top talent like Turner to the crop of stars who were already here. The Hoskins loss is tough given his presence in the locker room in addition to his pop as a hitter, but the Phillies, once more, look to have an "it" factor that will have CBP rocking yet again this October.
The Phillies' first Dollar Dog Night is scheduled for Tuesday, April 11 at 6:40 against the Marlins. I expect fans to pack the park this season given that World Series run we all witnessed, so I'm smacking the over. With a capacity of nearly 43,000, 36K is a realistic number, right?
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