Featured, Sports, The SportsTalk Shop

The SportsTalk Shop: Phillies Prospects & Nationals Predictions

Share This Post

With the pomp and circumstance of Major League Baseball’s Opening Day now behind us, we can take a look at two teams in the RCN viewing area with completely different focuses for the 2015 season. The Nationals are in a “World Series or bust” state of mind, while the Phillies are clearly looking to groom young talent and play for the future.

Here we look at some predictions, projections and thoughts on Washington’s key players to watch, as well as interview clips from some of the Phillies top minor leaguers, reflecting on their spring training performances and discussing their summertime goals.

A couple of other key points for both teams…

• I think the Nationals are clearly the favorites in the division and my pick to win the pennant. I think the Marlins are, at best, a wild card possibility. However, it is imperative that Washington does not flounder for the first month of the season. They have a favorable schedule (they play the Phillies seven times) the first month of the season. Despite being without three key pieces to their lineup and a bullpen still defining roles, they cannot afford to finish April under .500. It’s not likely to happen, but a rough start makes it tougher to work their way back into the race. With all the potential free agents on Washington’s roster, they don’t want to have guys worried about improving their free agency status and more concerned over their individual statistics than the team’s overall success. A rough start could send this negative attitude (or “Natitude” in this case) in motion, and make for a horrifically disappointing year. Again, not likely to happen, but something to keep an eye on.

• The Phillies are not the 76ers. They don’t NEED to trade all their big name players…at least not right away. They don’t get any real benefit by being overly bad, and they’re not going to get much in return right now for unloading guys like Ryan Howard, Carlos Ruiz or Jonathan Papelbon. The best thing to do is hope these older veterans play well, and another team gets desperate enough to give up something of value for them. Someone on last week’s “SportsTalk” show suggested throwing in Cole Hamels in a trade so that the team could rid themselves of Howard’s weighty contract. That’s not wise either, as you lose the only player who can (and should) give you a healthy return of prospects…and for what? To give Darin Ruf—a player the Phillies clearly don’t like—more at-bats? It’s not imperative Philadelphia cuts everyone loose, and only as we near the trading deadline would it even begin to make sense to look for some serious trade rumors to start simmering.

It should be an exciting season overall for the Nationals, hopefully culminating with a record-setting postseason win total for the organization. To get excited about the Phillies, you’ll have to look more closely at the younger members of the organization and try to imagine a bright future that awaits a few summers from now. As the baseball season unfolds, don’t forget to email us your sports comments and opinions to RCNSportsTalk@rcn.com and join us for “RCN SportsTalk” at our new time, now broadcasting live from 7-8 pm, Thursday evenings on RCN-TV.