If any team should feel emboldened by the Astros’ success, it’s the Phillies. Like Houston, Philly enjoyed bursts of playoff glory last decade, only to buckle under the weight of heightened expectations and an old and bloated roster. Like Houston, Philly cleared out its old braintrust and ushered in a new era of analytically-based player evaluation and roster building. The question then becomes whether or not the Phillies can one day storm back from the cellar as convincingly as the Astros have.
The team’s impressive scouting and player development efforts could make that dream a reality. Twenty-four-year-old slugger Rhys Hoskins was an absolute terror in his first exposure to the Show. Twenty-four-year-old top outfield prospect Nick Williams is also here to stay. Twenty-two-year-old J.P. Crawford should be the team’s Opening Day shortstop, and 23-year-old second baseman Scott Kingery could join him before long. Robust efforts on the international market have yielded a passel of Latin American pitching prospects with upside, led by 19-year-old right-hander Sixto Sanchez. By the start of next decade, these Phillies might look a lot like the Howard-Utley-Rollins crew that started its ascent in the early-to-mid aughts.