The Drought is Over and the Fall League Begins

The Phillies, wearing red October shirts, posing on the field after clinching a postseason berth. Behind them, the giant screen over right field reads "Congratulations Philadelphia."

For the past eleven years, since Ryan Howard went down in a heap at home plate in St. Louis, neither the Philadelphia Phillies nor their fans have had anything to be excited about in the post-season. Well congratulations to the Fightins who looked like they might fold down the stretch, but managed to get off the post-season schneid, or more accurately have qualified as a Wild Card to get their participation trophy. This was a maddeningly inconsistent bunch all year, and it was fitting that Zach Eflin, of all people, picked up the first save of his career and arguably the most important one of the year to cap a magnificent performance by Aaron Nola. In another night of firsts, JT Realmuto was caught stealing for the first time this year, but that became a footnote as Bryson Stott and Kyle Schwarber both homered in the 8th to give the Phils a cushion. There was really only one moment of frustration last night, occurring later in the 8th inning, when the Phils loaded the bases with an opportunity to really salt the game away as Grease Hoskins stepped up to the plate against a RHP. These days that’s almost a guaranteed K, and inexplicably Topper didn’t send Long Ball Hall to the plate who murders RHPs. Be that as it may, the Fightins popped the champagne corks as they officially gave birth to their first post-season berth since 2011.

What will the post-season look like? Todd Zo has a nice set of FAQs here. Phils will play the Wild Card Series on the road Fri, Sat, and Sun, with Zach Wheeler opening the set. Instead of watching the scoreboard for the Brewers, we’ll have our eyes on the Padres. Finish with a worse record than the Pods and we’ll face St. Louis, with the Braves after them. Finish ahead of the Pods and we face the Mets with the Dodgers in the wings.

Zolecki’s best guess for the post-season roster, which scales back to 26 players instead of 28, looks like this:

C: J.T. Realmuto
1B: Rhys Hoskins
2B: Jean Segura
3B: Alec Bohm
SS: Bryson Stott
LF: Kyle Schwarber
CF: Brandon Marsh
RF: Nick Castellanos
DH: Bryce Harper
Bench: C Garrett Stubbs, INF Edmundo Sosa, INF/OF Nick Maton, OF Matt Vierling
Rotation: RHP Zack Wheeler, RHP Aaron Nola, LHP Ranger Suárez, LHP Bailey Falter
Bullpen: RHP Seranthony Domínguez, RHP David Robertson, LHP José Alvarado, RHP Zach Eflin, RHP Andrew Bellatti, RHP Noah Syndergaard, RHP Connor Brogdon, RHP Nick Nelson, RHP Kyle Gibson

A big night in Houston was preceded by a big day in Arizona, as the Fall League got underway. I previously previewed the Phils’ contingent on the Surprise Saguaros, and regarding Johan Rojas noted: That he is currently considered the Phils’ 5th best prospect. An international signing in 2018 out of the Dominican who just turned 22, Rojas has speed to burn having stolen 37 bases this year while being thrown out only once. His slash line this year has been an underwhelming .231/.290/.331, so despite the glowing breakdown below at the beginning of the season the AFL would be a great proving ground to see if he has the right stuff to get to the next level.

May be an image of text that says '20 AFL SCHEDULE MONDAY, OCTOBER 3 FALLLERGUE 22 P FIELDS OPENING DAY SALT RIVER SURPRISE SAGUAROS AT SALT RIVER RAFTERS RANCH CAMELBACK PEORIA JAVELINAS AT A's GLENDALE DESERT DOGS N SCOTTSDALE STADIUM 6:35 MESA SCOTTSDALE SOLAR SOX SCORPIONS AT Lrizona LEAGUE WELCOME BACK TO ARIZONA FALL LEAGUE BASEBALL'

As the lone rep from the Phils in yesterday’s opening 11-6 victory on the road vs. Susan’s Salt River Rafters, the most exciting Rojas since Cookie set quite the tone going 3 for 4 with a walk and a stolen base out of the nine hole.

May be an image of 4 people, people standing, people playing sports, stadium and text

Am excited to be heading out there in a couple of weeks, and realize now that the past ten years have been sweeter paradoxically because there has been so little to be enthusiastic about with the parent club. Here’s hoping though that recent Fall League alumni Bohm and Stott contribute to the Phillies in a big way, while the prospects shine brightly enough to provide continued optimism for the future.

About Leonard J. Press, O.D., FAAO, FCOVD

Developmental Optometry is my passion as well as occupation. Blogging allows me to share thoughts in a unique visual style.
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2 Responses to The Drought is Over and the Fall League Begins

  1. doctuhdon says:

    Whether the Phils get past the WC round or not, Len Press is always our best whether forecaster !

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