It has been 10 long years since the Philadelphia Phillies last made the postseason.
Once a perennial contender, the organization has had a miserable decade.
Fans in Philadelphia are growing restless of the drought, and their irritations are justified
In fact, the 10-year stretch is even worse than it may seem on the surface.
On top of failing to make the postseason, the organization hasn’t even had a winning season since 2011.
The Phillies are hoping to stop the bleeding in the 2021 campaign.
Right now, the team is two games out of first place in the National League East and 2.5 games out of a Wild Card spot.
With about a month to go in the regular season, there is still time for Philly to make up some ground and sneak in the playoffs.
But make no mistake: If the Phillies end up missing the postseason, their 2021 campaign will go down as another failed year.
If The Phillies Miss The Playoffs, They’ll Have Wasted Another Great Season From Bryce Harper
The Phillies can’t afford to keep wasting Bryce Harper’s prime years.
He’s in his third season with the team, and his production has been fantastic at every turn so far.
In the 2019 campaign, he posted an OPS of .882 and an OPS+ of 127, blasting 35 homers and totaling a 4.5 WAR.
In the COVID-shortened 2020 campaign, he managed a .962 OPS and 160 OPS+.
He homered 13 times and racked up a 2.0 WAR over 58 games, meaning he would have been on pace for 36 homers and a 5.6 WAR over a full season.
This year, he’s playing out of his mind.
He’s batting .306 and leads the league in OPS at 1.014.
Bryce Harper is playing like he’s going to pick this team up and carry them to the playoffs on his lonesome.
Hitting .306 with a 1.014 OPS certainly does not hurt that cause.
— Alex Carr (@AlexCarrMLB) September 1, 2021
He has homered 26 times in 111 games, and he has a 4.3 WAR already.
And check this out: Since June 30, he’s batting .342 with a 1.168 OPS.
Those are insane numbers for a 54-game sample size.
This is shaping up to be arguably Harper’s best season since his MVP campaign in 2015.
Remarkably, he hasn’t been named to an All-Star team since 2018.
Think he’s playing with a chip on his shoulder?
It certainly seems like it.
The big takeaway here is that Philadelphia can’t keep wasting these stellar seasons from Harper.
According to the FanGraphs Sabermetrics Library, a “great” OBP is .370. Since 2015, only two MLB players have put up an OBP above .370 every single season.
Bryce Harper and Mike Trout.
— Leo Morgenstern (@morgensternmlb) August 30, 2021
He won’t be young forever.
The NL East Has Been Right There For The Taking All Year Long
If the Phillies do miss the postseason in 2021, they’ll only have themselves to blame.
The National League East is far and away the worst division in baseball.
The teams in the division have a combined winning percentage of .474, and the first-place Atlanta Braves are just eight games above .500.
For much of the summer, the division was literally on a platter for whichever team wanted it.
Philadelphia found itself in first place for a little while, but the Braves ultimately rose to the occasion and took control.
Credit to Atlanta.
The Phillies are flirting with the possibility of wasting a golden opportunity to make the postseason for the second straight year.
In 2020, they failed to crack the playoffs even with the expanded 16-team field.
And this year, they’re looking at potentially missing out despite playing in a horrible division.
Needless to say, that’s a very frustrating possibility.
Fortunately for Philadelphia, there’s still a lot of baseball to be played.
Let’s wait and see how the rest of the year unfolds.