Commentary: The Phillies’ future is extremely bright

It’s already a habit.

Every morning before a Phillies’ spring training game, beat writers tweet that afternoon’s starting lineup. And it’s already a habit: “Is Roman Quinn there?”

I love Roman Quinn. He’s fast. He’s exciting. He can pop line-drive doubles and turn them into triples – hell, home runs. Every ground ball is a possible base hit. Every fly ball hit to him is a chance to watch a gazelle track down a dying fowl. Sit there in awe as the thing drops slowly into his easy reach.

I’m now of the impression that Quinn should simply bypass the pleasantries and play every day in Philadelphia. We don’t need two months in Lehigh Valley to ensure he’s playing at a high level. What’s more to prove? The kid will get injured regardless of where he’s playing. Let him play. He’s the most thrilling thing out there. Let him play.

But then again, I get it. Quinn has a clock attached to him, and that means money. Same thing for Nick Williams, J.P. Crawford, Dylan Cozens and Jorge Alfaro. Time is money. And the Phillies plan to be spending a whole lot of it sooner than later, so until sooner, let’s fill in the gaps with Howie Kendrick and Michael Saunders, veterans whose cost is limited, players whose futures are predetermined.

But damn. I’m excited.

The Phillies boast potentially exciting players just miles away from South Philadelphia. We’ve been watching it this weekend; regardless of if Quinn is on the lineup card, he may get in the game and slice a single, steal a base and score a run. Then Williams knocks a two-run single into right. Cameron Perkins gets a couple hits. Brock Stassi does his job. And Cozens? The ball hasn’t yet landed.

By 2019 this team could be good. Really good. The best-case scenario is Quinn and Crawford set the table for Odubel Herrera, Maikel Franco and Tommy Joseph. Or maybe Rhys Hoskins. Cozens or Williams is there. Alfaro? He’s bashing 25 home runs and throwing out 25 runners per season. On the mound are steady starters capable of quality outings. Aaron Nola. Vince Velasquez. Jerad Eickhoff. Jake Thompson. Zach Eflin. Ben Lively. Ricardo Pinto. And on and on. The fun never stops. Someone gets injured? Don’t worry – we got another one right behind him. By the way, let’s sign Bryce Harper or trade a couple prospects for Mike Trout. Let’s go all in if we need to, since we still have a dozen top prospects waiting in the wings.

This could be good. Really good. And how quickly it has all changed. I keep debating this with myself – I say, Tim, the Phils don’t have a Dansby Swanson. They don’t have a Yoan Moncada. Too many question marks. But then there are too many. If there’s too many, at least some of them will work, and I’ve seen enough of everyone to know that some of everyone is going to be good. Really good. Imagine Williams and Cozens don’t hit, and Thompson and Lively don’t hit. They still have Quinn and Perkins. They still have Eflin and Pinto. And on and on. And they can still sign Harper. They can still trade for Trout.

This is going to work.

But right now I look at the lineup cards for one name – just one. It’s all I can do. I notice that Cozens hits a bomb, that Hoskins hits a bomb, that Stassi strikes a gapper, and while I’m excited, I focus back on one name. What did Roman do? That way with each new promotion, each new milestone, there’s another new name to follow. Take it slow. Give it time.

I believe this is the best group the Phillies have fielded since I’ve been alive. Carlos Ruiz, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Pat Burrell, Jimmy Rollins, Randy Wolf and Brett Myers came up around the same time, but this is one concentrated blast that I’ve never seen before. It’s as if in April we’ll have one team, and in September it’ll be an entirely different group. It’s very possible. We’ve been patient, waiting through Crawford’s slumps and Williams’ turbulence. Now we’re here. Now we’re ready.

This could be good. Really good. But right now I stick to one name. It’s all I can do. Take it slow. Give it time.



  1. Mike Fassano

    February 26, 2017 at 7:28 pm

    I’m excited about the future of this team. My biggest fear is that Pete will keep Nava, or Coughlin even if they’re beat out by Quinn or Perkins.

  2. Steve

    February 26, 2017 at 7:42 pm

    I do not think most fans have a clue how good this team may be…so good in my mind that Franco might have problems making the team in 2018 2019 and by 2020 I am sure he will be TRADED..

    • joseph goldberg

      February 27, 2017 at 10:02 am

      Franco’s going to be a key piece of the core being built, most likely. There’s a better chance he’ll develop into a reliable .270-.285, 30-35 HR, 100+ RBI guy with a great glove at the hot corner…than not, especially when the spots around him in the order get filled with strong hitters.

  3. Callison

    February 27, 2017 at 7:58 am

    You do remember this is spring training right? While I’d love it for the young players to jump to the majors, become the next Johnny Bench, Richie Ashburn, or Stan Musial that is a rarity.

    How about we pray for the Phils management to have the wisdom not to whiz it all away over the next two seasons just to satisfy the fans. How about we hope they are serious about the minors being of the highest quality and able to bring out the best in each young player. Give them the keys to greatness and see who rises to the top. Conversely I hope they have the instincts to know when to trade a player instead of holding on forever to no one’s benefit.

    Great Defense up the middle
    Great Pitching
    Timely Hitting

    We have flashes of that but 162 games a season? Not yet.

    • Btgargoyle

      February 27, 2017 at 2:48 pm

      Reminds me of the Pope’s philosophy. Develop good pitchers and players up the middle. Sign or trade for corner outfielders and infielders

  4. joseph goldberg

    February 27, 2017 at 9:57 am

    I join in the enthusiasm. How can you not, if you’re a Phillies fan? I wonder how they’re going to deal with the glut of good looking young pitchers and the fact that a Williams, Odubel, Cozens outfield would be all left handed. Of all the position player prospects, it’s Cozens I find most exciting. I’ve seen him in person five times and no prospect since probably the Bull looks more like a potential superstar, except he’s a much better athlete with MUCH more speed than Luzinski ever had. Schmidt never looked as good as a young player (he did defensively) as he turned out to be. Dylan and Rhys could easily be our Kris Bryant and Mike Rizzo, but we’d have more other pieces than the Cubs do in addition.
    I’d like to see Stassi and Perkins both make the team. I’d also like to see Knapp make it, but I suspect Holiday will end up being the backup catcher.

  5. Gregory Poppa

    March 2, 2017 at 12:31 pm

    It’s crazy to think that this article was written about the Phillies future and doesn’t even include the likes of Mickey Moniak or Cornelius Randolph. That’s how much depth is in this organization. Hell we even have J Ortiz bashing the ball in GCL. Btw I think scouts sold Moniak a bit short, I think he’ll be a 25+ homer guy easily as he matures. The future is bright.

    • denzen

      March 2, 2017 at 5:27 pm

      I was thinking the same thing. I know Randolph was hurt part of the year, but the 3 times I saw him (towards the end of last season) he was hitting line drives all over the place. Excited to see Mickey Moniak this summer. Don’t forget Franklyn Kilome, probably 2020. ps. 2019 or 2020 and a lot good and bad can happen before that.

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