Phillies predictions on win total, Harper homers, Bohm and more

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Predictions this time of year tend to be more positive than negative. When you're 0-0 and haven't yet seen a slump or a couple of bad starts in a row, it's easy to talk yourself into the best-case scenarios for the key players.

Had Jose Alvarado left Clearwater without those two clunkers at the end, optimism about the hard-throwing lefty would be through the roof. Some in spring training talked about his All-Star potential. How might that sound in a few months? It might sound spot-on or laughably wrong.

There will be things we expect and things we don't. As high as this city was on Alec Bohm before he debuted, would anyone have predicted that much success at the plate as a rookie?

Let's get into some 2021 predictions, from win total to dingers to playoffs and beyond.

Jim Salisbury

It's hard to believe given the money they've spent on payroll, but the Phillies' streak of non-winning seasons is at nine — longest in the majors.

You've got to like the top 3 in the rotation, and the offense, which ranked fifth in the majors in runs per game last season, should be good again. Starting pitching depth is a big concern, but there's reason, even beyond the ol' it-can't-be-any-worse, to believe the bullpen will be better. 

The prediction here might sound modest. But given where they've been the last decade, it's significant: The Phillies will have a winning season.

Phillies analyst and former closer Ricky Bottalico

Bryce Harper will have a big homer year, over 35, maybe 40. He will put the offense on his shoulders. He looks healthy and prepared.

Phillies analyst and former GM Ruben Amaro Jr.

Zach Eflin will win 14 games, have an ERA of 3.00 and get Cy Young votes. The Phillies will win 83 games.

Corey Seidman

I see Big Alec Bohm leading the NL in doubles with 46. He hit 11 in 180 plate appearances last season, a pace of 36 in 600 plate appearances. I think he'll hit 10 more than that.

Big power but not sell-out-for-homers power. Bohm hits a ton of line drives and is going to wear out left- and right-center field at CBP for a long time. Eventually, those doubles could turn into homers. For 2021, I'm thinking he hits .292 with 46 doubles and 18 homers.

Phillies Pre/Postgame Live host Michael Barkann

Rhys Hoskins will have at least 36 homers and 98 RBI. Look at the numbers he put up in two full major-league seasons in 2018 and 2019. He averaged 32 and 90, not too shabby. That includes the supposedly subpar 2019 season. 

He's flying under the radar, he's healthy and two seasons removed from those struggles. He's back.

Phillies Pre/Postgame Live producer Sean Kane

The Phillies play postseason baseball for the first time in 10 years. It won’t be easy playing in the toughest division in baseball, and we’ll find out right away how they stack up in the NL East with their first 13 games against the Braves and Mets. But I sensed a lot of good vibes coming from Clearwater over the last six weeks. There’s plenty of talent on the roster and no shortage of motivation after yet another September collapse cost them a playoff spot last year. 

This offense will score runs, the back end of the starting rotation is improved and most importantly, the bullpen won’t be a disaster. In fact, I see this bullpen being a strength. Joe Girardi has no shortage of capable arms at his disposal with Archie Bradley, Jose Alvarado, Hector Neris and Brandon Kintzler leading the way. And off the field, this group really seems to enjoy each other’s company, which isn’t a minor thing over the course of a 162-game season. Put me down for 87 wins and a wild-card berth.

Phillies coordinating producer Casey Feeney

Zach Eflin will throw a no-hitter this season. Consider me a subscriber to the theory that  Eflin is primed for an all-star caliber season. His last two starts of the 2020 campaign were excellent – 15 innings, 3 runs, 18 strikeouts against the Blue Jays and Nationals. My expectation is that Eflin will emerge as the Phillies’ best starting pitcher in 2021. So if Eflin is going to do that, he’s going to have to be near the top of his game consistently. And we’ve all seen the glimpses of what the best of Eflin looks like. When he’s on, Eflin keeps the pitch count down and mows through lineups. Add in the return of some weaker competition in the NL Central this season and I think Eflin throws the Phillies’ first no-hitter since Cole Hamels did so in his final start with the team in July 2015.

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