10 Big Phillies Questions & Answers Ahead of Opening Day | NBC 10 Philadelphia

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10 Big Phillies Questions & Answers Ahead of Opening Day

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    10 Big Phillies Questions & Answers Ahead of Opening Day
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    10 big Phillies questions and answers ahead of Opening Day

    Opening day is here, as are Jim Salisbury, Corey Seidman and Marshall Harris to answer 10 random but crucial questions about the 2017 Phillies.

    Without further ado:

    1. Who will be the first top prospect the Phillies call up?

    Jim
    Roman Quinn. If a starter breaks down in the outfield, he'll come -- and he might never leave. That's how electric he could be.

    Corey
    Jorge Alfaro. Catchers get banged up, catchers get hurt all the time. Alfaro is on the 40-man roster and the other catchers in the organization who aren't in the majors are not, so he's an easy, logical call-up if Cameron Rupp or Andrew Knapp require a trip to the DL.

    Marshall
    Jake Thompson. While I'm not wishing it to be a starting pitcher, stints on the 15-day DL happen that alter a team's rotation. Zach Eflin may not be ready by the time someone hits the disabled list.

    2. What advice would you give one Phillies player?

    Jim
    Brock Stassi should reach out to Greg Gross, Del Unser and Lenny Harris and pick their brains about what it takes to be a successful pinch-hitter in NL -- prep, mindset. If he develops that skill to go with a good glove, he could stick around a while.

    Corey
    Maikel Franco should be in Howie Kendrick's ear, asking questions about his approach as well as those of his former teammates like Albert Pujols and Mike Trout. Franco could learn a lot from Kendrick, a guy who's racked up almost 1,500 hits by thinking up the middle.

    Marshall
    Cesar Hernandez needs to carry the confidence of his spring training into the regular season, specifically the baserunning. He was 6 for 6 in stolen bases during spring training. If he's figured out how to weaponize his speed, look out.

    3. Who will be the first Phillie traded?

    Jim
    Jeremy Hellickson doesn't fit long term into the rebuild and the Phils have starting pitching depth. The Phils need him to pitch well, but will probably still have to eat some of $17 million.

    Corey
    Michael Saunders. The Phillies have Aaron Altherr with Nick Williams and Roman Quinn not far behind. Saunders has a contract will look quite team-friendly if he hits in the first half the way he did last season. He's due $8 million in 2017 and has a $10.5 million club option for 2018, so a team could get 1 1/2 seasons of him or just a half-season. If he has 16 homers at the All-Star break, someone will come calling.

    Marshall
    Howie Kendrick is as good a candidate as anyone. The Phillies have other guys fighting for run on the major-league team. Don't be surprised if he's moved to make room for more Aaron Altherr at-bats or a Roman Quinn or Nick Williams promotion.

    4. Who will be the next Phillie to sign an extension?

    Jim
    Does Manny Machado count? If not, I like Eick.

    Corey
    Agree, Jerad Eickhoff. He's been so solid so far, has shown no signs of wearing down and there's no type of health risk that sticks out. He's built like a 200-inning-per-year pitcher in the John Lackey mold. As long as he keeps it up, he'll be rewarded by the Phillies.

    Marshall
    Clean sweep. It doesn't have to be Jerad Eickhoff. But let's be real ... it should be Eickhoff. 

    5. Will Cesar Hernandez reach 30 steals?

    Jim
    He will go into the final day of the season with 29 and get caught leaning.

    Corey
    I'm going under. Vegas set it at 25.5 for Hernandez, and I think he finishes with just about 25. He went 17 for 30 last season, a very rare feat of inefficiency. You figure he'll be better this season as he gets more acclimated to pitchers' times to home plate and their pickoff move, but I don't see a 13-steal uptick.

    Marshall
    I mean, he better. Hard to envision him having a successful season if he can't swipe 30. 

    6. Which offseason addition will make the biggest impact?

    Jim
    Matt Stairs. Born to be a hitting coach. He will help some guys.

    Corey
    Howie Kendrick. I get the hesitancy from Phillies fans to believe he'll move the needle at all, but prior to last season, he was a mortal lock for a .290-plus batting average. He doesn't walk a ton, he doesn't hit a ton of extra-base hits, but he's a solid, Martin Prado-like bat.

    Marshall
    Joaquin Benoit. The Phillies desperately need bullpen stability. He's there as a safety net in case Jeanmar Gomez isn't ready to save 37 games again or picks up where he left off at the end of last season.

    7. Who is the prospect you're most eager to follow this season?

    Jim
    I already have Sixto Sanchez alerts on my phone. The Phils have quantity of prospects in minors. He's the one with real star power.

    Corey
    Mark Appel just because this is really make-or-break time for the 2013 first overall pick. Last year was basically a lost year for Appel, who made only eight starts before needing elbow surgery. There is no longer prospect luster on Appel. Now he needs to work his way up or work his way out.

    Marshall
    Roman Quinn. If he can stay healthy, he's the guy I can see gaining the most fans quickly because of the way he plays the game. Yes, "the right way."

    8. Who will be the Phillies' leader in saves?

    Jim
    Jeanmar Gomez will have another good run and lead the team in saves even though Hector Neris will take over the role at some point.

    Corey
    Hector Neris. I see Gomez keeping the job for about six weeks, then losing it Joaquin Benoit, who the Phillies showcase as a setup man-closer combo ahead of the trade deadline. Benoit pitches well, gets moved, Neris moves into the role and finishes with about 20 saves to lead the team.

    Marshall
    Last season, I said Jeanmar Gomez and was correct. This year, I will say Hector Neris and probably be wrong. But I'm not afraid to be wrong, clearly.

    9. What will the Phillies' average game time be?

    Jim
    2:55, but I hope I'm heavy.

    Corey
    3:02. I think the league average is around 2:56.

    Marshall
    3:10 but I'm praying for Ricky Bo's sake they're all under 2:45.

    10. How many wins?

    Jim
    75-87. They will be better, but runs are still a concern and division is better.

    Corey
    76-86. They won 71 games last year and should unquestionably be better this season -- better lineup, better bullpen, a lot of prospects on the cusp. But I can't give them a 10-win upgrade to get to .500 because they were a bit lucky last season. The 2016 Phillies were 28-23 in one-run games, one of only two teams in the majors to finish under .500 overall but over .500 in one-run contests. (The D-backs were the other.)

    Marshall
    79-84. I'm being optimistic the starting pitching keeps them in games and a couple of hitters take huge steps forward.