What Each Phillie Must Do to Jumpstart Weak Offense

The Phillies' offense broke out Thursday in a 9-3 win over the Rockies. Their four-run seventh inning ended a stretch of 257 straight frames without more than two runs.

That may be hard to believe for an outsider but not to anyone who's watched this offense closely of late. There's not one reason the Phillies' offense has been quiet. Everyone is deserving of blame.

Let's take a look at what each individual starting position player must do specifically to improve the offense moving forward. We'll go in order of a typical Phillies lineup.

1. 2B Cesar Hernandez

Hernandez has been the Phillies' most consistent position player since 2016. After hitting .294 with a .372 OBP in 2016-17, he's hit .256 with a .368 OBP this season.

You know that he's going to get on base. That's rarely in question. Hernandez has walked 45 times this season and is on pace for 110, which would shatter his previous career-high of 66.

But would you believe that over his last 42 games and 190 plate appearances, he's hit just .227/.337/.362?

Philadelphia Phillies

Complete coverage of the Fightin' Phils and their MLB rivals from NBC Sports Philadelphia.

Phillies legend Dick Allen to have mural in South Philly in spring 2024

Phillies quiet at MLB winter meetings

Hernandez also strikes out a ton for a leadoff hitter. He's struck out 67 times out of the leadoff spot, which is 20 more than the next man on the list, David Peralta. 

These days, strikeouts aren't viewed as negatively as they once were. Some teams look at them as just another out. But for someone with Hernandez's speed, you'd like him to put the ball in play a little bit more because soft groundballs could turn into base-hits.

The Phillies could also use a few more stolen bases. He has one steal in 23 games since May 20.

2. LF Rhys Hoskins

It looks like Hoskins is back after a slump and some time on the DL with a fractured jaw. His 3-for-5 afternoon Thursday with a homer, double and three RBI is the type of game the Phillies have seldom gotten from someone in the top-half of the batting order lately.

Hoskins is still getting on base at a great rate (.369 OBP), but he's going to need to hit for more power if the Phillies want to seize a wild-card spot this season. 

Hoskins' .446 slugging percentage ranks 73rd in the majors. He's on pace for 20 homers in 140 games after hitting 18 in 50 games as a rookie.

3. CF Odubel Herrera

The ever-streaky Herrera is in an extended downward phase that has been common throughout his four years with the Phils. 

Since May 20, the night his on-base streak ended, Herrera has gone 15 for 89 (.169) with a .204 OBP. He's scored four runs and driven in four in 22 games. This after he hit .345 in his first 45 games.

Again, not a huge surprise. 

In his rookie year, Herrera hit .251 through the end of June then .335 thereafter.

In 2016, he hit .320 the first 10 weeks and .268 the rest of the way.

Last season, he hit .218 the first two months and .318 the next four.

This is just who Herrera is. His approach at the plate is so variable and involves so much randomness and so many moving parts that you have to take the good with the bad.

There's no doubt the Phillies need more consistency from him because his slumps are just worse than most other players'. When Herrera is slumping, he becomes a near-zero at the plate.

4. 1B Carlos Santana

Defensively, the Phillies need the Santana that played sturdy defense at first base in Cleveland.

Offensively, there hasn't been much to dislike with Santana since the beginning of May. Since May 4, he's hit .286/.389/.556 with 17 extra-base hits and 27 RBI in 36 games.

Folks will still complain about Santana's .224 batting average, but it's a loud .224 fueled by extra-base hits. He's also walked 44 times and struck out 38. 

The only other player in the majors with as many walks as Santana who has walked more than he's struck out is Joey Votto (47-41).

5. RF Aaron Altherr

Not going to put Nick Williams on here because he's been pretty productive lately, off the bench and as a starter, vs. lefties and righties alike.

Altherr, however, has struggled most of the season but evaded criticism because fans have had others to blame.

In 197 plate appearances, Altherr has hit .182/.305/.327. He has 11 extra-base hits and 60 strikeouts.

The Phillies need Altherr to be a lefty-masher. He's hit .170 against southpaws this season with two homers after slugging .505 against them last season.

The five-spot in the Phillies' order hasn't been great this season, and the offense would've looked a lot different recently if Altherr got hot when Hoskins and Herrera cooled off. He was able to carry this offense for most of May 2016 so we know it's in him.

6. SS Scott Kingery

Kingery has swung at 37.4% of pitches outside the strike zone this season, seventh-most in the National League. He's struck out in one-fourth of his plate appearances.

The Phillies need him to stop swinging at low-and-away breaking balls well off the plate. It's been his kryptonite in the majors and he admitted as much earlier this season. He swings at a lot of pitches he has no chance at making contact with, much less driving.

He gets leeway because he's a rookie who just turned 24. But it's hard to imagine Kingery being an effective offensive piece when chasing and whiffing this much.

7. 3B Maikel Franco, J.P. Crawford

Franco is such a strange player. He swings at bad pitches and often wildly, yet his plate appearances rarely end in strikeouts. Would you believe that since the start of last season, 92% of National League players have a higher strikeout rate than Franco? 

The issue is the quality of contact. Franco hits the ball to shortstop or third base so often. He pops up to the shallow outfield with regularity. For a guy with 1,855 big-league plate appearances, it's time to accept this is who he is - a corner infielder with 25-home run power but an inability to post an OBP higher than .300.

As for Crawford, the Phillies need more production across-the-board offensively. He's hit .209 in 182 career plate appearances, and for a guy who walked a lot in the minors with a calling card of plate selection, six walks in 95 plate appearances this season ain't gonna cut it, especially out of the 8-hole when turning over the lineup is crucial.

8. C Jorge Alfaro

Alfaro has been a revelation in several ways this season - power bat, power arm - but there are few major-leaguers who can stick with a strikeout-to-walk ratio like his. Alfaro has 70 K's and eight walks this season, and 111 K's to 12 walks in his career.

Again, at the bottom of a lineup, a walk is important because it betters the chances that the top of the order bats in either that inning or to begin the next. It's tough for any team to score with multiple players at the bottom of the lineup posting OBPs of .295 or lower.

More on the Phillies

Copyright CSNPhily
Contact Us