The Philadelphia Phillies are in the midst of a nine-year postseason drought.
2011 was the last season that Phillies fans were able to enjoy playoff baseball, a year in which Philadelphia didn’t make it out of the NLDS.
2008 was the last time the team and its fans celebrated a World Series title.
With a talented roster, many hope that 2021 can be the year that the team returns to the postseason.
Through 42 games, the Phillies are holding their own at 22-20, which is good for second place in the National League East.
If the season ended today, Philadelphia would find itself on the outside looking in, but it’s too soon to worry about that.
Here are the top three reasons the Phillies will snap their drought this year.
No. 3: The Rotation is Holding Steady
The rotation was a question mark entering the season, but so far, it’s been mostly serviceable.
Every starter has an ERA below 4.00 with the exception of Anderson, who has an ugly 6.96 ERA.
Wheeler has been the most dominant man on the staff to this point, boasting a 2.52 ERA, 2.56 FIP, and 0.99 WHIP.
Zack Wheeler last 3 starts 🔥🔥
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) May 19, 2021
The Phillies would benefit from adding some rotation depth at the trade deadline, but right now, they have the benefit of feeling good about their chances four out of every five days.
No 2: We Haven’t Seen Alec Bohm’s Best Baseball Yet
Alec Bohm had an unforgettable rookie season.
As a 23-year-old, Bohm batted .388 with an .881 OPS over 44 games, which landed him second in Rookie of the Year voting.
This year, Bohm has had a slow start.
He’s batting just .229, getting on base at a .260 clip and slugging .350 over 42 games so far.
His strikeout rate is up and his walk rate is down, implying that his plate discipline has regressed this season.
It’s too early to worry about Bohm.
The second-year player is quite literally dealing with a sophomore slump, but with 75 percent of the season remaining, there is plenty of time for him to make adjustments and get back on track.
Alec Bohm is off to a slow start but he is going to be a stud at the plate. This kid can really hit.
— Michael Hayes (@MichaelHayes302) May 6, 2021
If Bohm can return to the player he was in 2020, the Phillies will get a huge boost as they look to hang around in this playoff race throughout the summer.
No 1: Bryce Harper is Working on a Top Three Season of His Career
Phillies superstar outfielder Bryce Harper is having a whale of a season.
He’s played in 34 games, and has a slash line of .311/.434/.555.
If those numbers hold, he’d finish the year with the third-highest OPS of his career and likely the second-highest OPS+.
Harper is performing at the level the Phillies signed up for when the signed him to that monster $330 million deal.
Another element here is that Harper likely wants to win a title more than ever now that his former team (the Washington Nationals) won one without him.
FanGraphs currently gives the Phillies a 27.8 percent chance of making the playoffs and a 1.2 percent chance of winning it all.