Last season saw the Phillies clinch their first winning record in a decade but ultimately fall short of glory thanks to a late-season collapse against divisional championship rivals Atlanta Braves which proved costly to Joe Girardi’s team.
In the end, the Phillies missed out on the post-season play-offs to a team that would eventually go on to clinch the World Series – with a loss to the Braves on September 30 eliminating them from postseason action for the tenth year in a row.
Still at least the season followed the trajectory from 2019 to 2020 with a gradual improvement in divisional position, marking Girardi’s second campaign at the helm. And they made sure they ended the season on a high with the 5-0 victory over Miami Marlins on October 1 rounding up a “best of the rest” finish behind the eventual MLB champions.
It was a year of what could have been had the Phillies’ strength in depth been improved. Bryce Harper dominated to win his second National League MVP crown, posting phenomenal stats, Harper batted .309/.429/.615 with 35 home runs and 84 RBIs in the 141 games he played.
Leading the National League with 78 extra-base hits and tieing at the top of the overall MLB rankings with 42 doubles, Harper was a real standout. Otherwise it was under-par trades, a threadbare roster ravaged by injuries and not quite enough wins that dashed any high hopes Phillies fans had of finally making it through to the postseason.
Finishing with an 82-80 record and subsequent .506 winning percentage, Girardi’s charges didn’t really get going until August with a superb 17-11 record that month but then fell slightly away in the final run.
That opening weekend three-match winning streak over the Braves which sent expectations soaring ended up signaling a false dawn by the time October rolled in, the final record not quite good enough to challenge for honors.
Although Harper was, indeed, the standout performer throughout 2021 for the Phillies, as we all know baseball is a team game and nine of his team-mates definitely showed they were worth a mention too.
Here we run through the best performers from the campaign, but of course there is only one person to start us off…
- BRYCE HARPER; Right Fielder
AVG .309 HR 35 RB1 84 OBP .429
NL Silver Slugger – check; All-MLB team – check; NL MVP of the season – check. The obvious superstar in the Phillies roster put in an obvious superstar performance last season with the aforementioned figures above far outperforming his team-mates.
His May wasn’t quite up to the insanely high standards but that could be put down playing through a wrist injury that impacted on his form. However, the Phillies were definitely better for even a half-as-good Harper in the team and overall during the season it was Harper that ultimately carried them all the way… almost by himself. He will be sure to do the same in 2022.
- ZACK WHEELER; Starting Pitcher
14-10 ERA 2.78 K 247 AVG .162
Indeed, Harper had a little bit of help from this guy. Another to be voted an All-star last season, Wheeler was so close in the final voting for the NL Cy Young Award which demonstrates just how prolific his pitching was for the Phillies. This was proven with a career-high 2.78 ERA in 213.1 innings and 247 strikeouts; with 3 complete games and 2 shutouts.
Those stats exemplify how much the team relied on Wheeler’s talents to power their success and his missing out on the Cy Young was a travesty. With a weakened roster in 2021 the reliance on Wheeler too was paramount. The best pitcher in the NL by far – and there’s more to come next year.
- RANGER SUAREZ; Relief Pitcher
SV 4 K 107 ERA 1.36 WHIP 1.00
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the Phillies season was Suarez’s importance to the team during rough patches of form. Used in both the rotation and the bullpen, he excelled at every role asked of him – and with figures of 1.36 ERA in over 100 innings pitched and a strikeout percentage PB he proved his worth.
Next year could easily see him move up to third spot in the rotation, having earnt his way up to become the best starter come the end of the season. Suarez will definitely – barring a disaster – be beating his 12 starts for 2021. He is definitely on the rise and rightly full of confidence.
- J.T. REALMUTO; Catcher
AVG .263 HR 17 RBI 73 OPS .782
Despite a mixed bag of a 2021 season for the sought-after catcher, J.T. certainly did enough to warrant a top five finish in our round-up of the best performers of the campaign. His defense easily matched the high expectations from the fanbase, but a drop in offensive performance tempered that a little.
With Harper way out ahead of the pack, Realmuto was often the next guy to pick up the pieces but his main game is behind home plate and he is arguably the best option around in the NL. Phillies will be hoping he can add to his all-round game for an extra push next season.
- RHYS HOSKINS; First baseman
AVG .247 HR 27 RB1 71 OPS .864
Of the, unfortunately, many Phillies players struck by injuries during the season Hoskins was perhaps the one who showed the most promise and featured enough times to make a difference in the infield. But he didn’t quite feature enough to push the team to the shot at glory.
Performing his best power season since the rookie campaign that turned heads, with a .530 slugging percentage he was putting in far more consistent displays from previous seasons. However, injuries put pay to the Phillies campaign and they definitely missed his big hitting towards the end of the regular season. Under pressure to retain his place on the roster, it remains to be seen whether he can make up for that lost time next season.
BEST OF THE REST…
- ZACH EFLIN; Starting Pitcher 4-7 ERA 4.17 K 99 WHIP 1.25
- BRAD MILLER; Third Baseman AVG .227 HR 20 RBI 49 OPS .774
- CONNOR BROGDON; Relief Pitcher SV 1 ERA 3.43 K 50 WHIP 1.13
- ANDREW McCUTCHEN; Center Fielder AVG .222 HR 27 RBI 80 OPS .778
- NICK MATON; Second Baseman AVG .256 HR 2 RBI 14 OPS .708
So that was the roundup of what we think were the best ten Phillies performers last season, and betmgm sportsbook will have odds available for the next Phillies season which gets under way on 31 March.
Betting on baseball mainly centers on the usual individual match moneyline betting during the regular season. With the Phillies looking to have their better performers go next year without injuries they could be high up in the running to finally make the play-offs at the 11th time of asking.