Having been a Phillies fan my whole life, being born and raised right here in the greater Philadelphia area, I have seen the good, the bad, and most certainly the ugly. In my 19 years of existence, I saw the franchise fulfill its ultimate goal of winning a World Series championship. Players such as Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, and Chase Utley went on serve as role models for the whole Delaware Valley
Unfortunately, I also saw that same core group of players that won a title age into less productive versions of themselves and fall into the basement of the division. The organization is still recovering from their previous mistakes, and are in the midst of a 9-year postseason drought.
Regardless of the past, there is still a lot to be thankful for as a lifelong Phillies fan. As I assess the ball club heading into the off-season, 2021 and beyond, there are still many areas that need improvement, but overall fans should be pleased with much of what we have in the fold already.
Here are 10 reasons in the year 2020 to be thankful as a Phillies fan.
1. Mick Abel:
In my opinion, the Phillies’ biggest downfall amongst their scouting department is the inability to find and develop quality arms that can come up and make an impact at the big-league level. Except for Aaron Nola, the last decade would be a perfect example of that. However, one guy we can count on for the future is Mick Abel. After spending their 1st round selection on Abel this past summer, it appears the Phillies are high on the high school righthander, and for good reason. The kid is an intriguing prospect, with plus stuff.
2. Alec Bohm:
Was Bohm’s first year in the big leagues fun to watch or what? The only thing that could’ve made it better would have been a Rookie of the Year Award to top it off, or if fans were in the stands to witness it. Neither of those happened, but the future is incredibly bright for the power-hitting 3rd Baseman. He will enjoy hitting at Citizens Bank Park for years to come.
3. Connor Brogdon:
Switching gears back to another arm, another reason Phillies fans should be thankful is the emergence of reliever Connor Brogdon. Unlike Abel, Brogdon was a late-round pick and had to work his way up to the majors. That just makes his story even more incredible. He debuted in 2020 while showing flashes of potential in the backend, and could very well line up for a bullpen spot next season.
4. Joe Girardi:
After coming off his debut season as Phillies manager, Joe Girardi is looking to become the first skipper since Charlie Manuel to lead the team back to the postseason. Like many, I believe he can be the man for the job. His impressive resume helped him land his position last winter, and he is looking to add on to it moving forward.
5. Bryce Harper:
There is this idea portrayed by the national media that no major free agents in any sport would ever want to come to play in a city like Philadelphia. In the spring of 2019, Bryce Harper proved all of those people wrong and made the city of brotherly love his home for the next 13 seasons. His tenure with the team is just getting started, and it’s going to be one heck of a ride.
6. Spencer Howard:
Although 2020 did not go as planned for Spencer Howard, he got his first big league start out of the way and got some key experience under his belt. That will most certainly come in handy in 2021 where Howard is likely to assume one of the five spots in our rotation. His future is bright. There is a reason the organization has held on to him in trade discussions.
7. Aaron Nola:
Why wouldn’t you be thankful for one of the best young pitchers in the game? That is exactly what Aaron Nola is. He is a proven ace who fits our timeline well. Nola is the best starter the Phillies have had since Cole Hamels, and I don’t expect that to change anytime soon.
8. JoJo Romero:
Halfway through his 2019 minor-league campaign, Romero was demoted from AAA Lehigh Valley to AA Reading. The move served as a wake-up call for the then 22-year-old, who came into 2020 with an improved mindset and a different role. Now coming out of the bullpen, it appears the young lefty has found his niche.
9. Bryson Stott:
Stott is an intriguing infield prospect both offensively and defensively. His glovework for his age is excellent, and could very well be the long term answer at shortstop. The 2019 first-round selection may still be a bit away from debuting in the majors, but when he gets there I believe he can make an impact.
10. Zack Wheeler:
There’s no question Zack Wheeler has what it takes to be a front line starter. That is a huge reason why the front office signed them away from the division-rival Mets last winter to pair him alongside Aaron Nola. His first season with the team was strong, and as long as he can stay healthy, I would expect continued success down the road.