Associate Sports Editor
Baseball season is back and new Philadelphia Phillies manager Gabe Kapler has his eyes set on the National League East Title.
It is a fresh start for the Philadelphia under Kapler and they are looking to take their already talented young roster and make a giant leap in the standings.
Players like Rhys Hoskins, Nick Williams, and JP Crawford all return to Spring Training to begin their second season, in what looks like just the beginning of three promising careers.
The addition of veteran first baseman Carlos Santana will add another powerful bat into the lineup.
His early impact in the locker room is something this team surely needs if they want to compete for a division title.
Early on in Spring Training, third baseman Mikael Franco is looking up to Santana as a mentor throughout the season as he looks to bounce back from a less-than-stellar season.
Twenty-four-year-old Aaron Nola was just recently named the Opening Day starter and is now the youngest player to take the mound for the Phillies on Opening Day since 1964.
In addition to Nola, the Phillies are looking to add to their pitching staff to ensure that they are secure on the mound for the start of the 2018 season.
Jake Arrieta is of high interest for the Phillies this pre-season. Arrieta would add a lot of experience in a young Phillies rotation.
The soon-to-be 32-year-old has a fastball that still carries a high velocity despite a minor drop in the past two years. Arrieta struck out 236 batters in 2015, earning him the Cy Young Award.
The addition of a Cy Young pitcher in Arrieta could really spark up a conversation that the Phillies could be true contenders this season.
This Phillies team is still looking for the final pieces of their rebuilding puzzle. However, their growing team will surely be one to look forward to this season.
Kapler believes the Phillies have the personnel to win. His confidence in this team is something Phillies fans can be more than excited about. He is looking to turn this team into the franchise it was 10 years ago.
NBC Sports Philadelphia quoted Kapler saying, “I think if everybody on our roster takes a small step forward, we’re going to have an opportunity to shock people.”
A small step forward for this team would indeed make a major impact moving forward. It is without a doubt that this team has struggled recently, but this year seems different.
There are new faces in the clubhouse on all levels, there is a new energy coming from these young players that will surely make for an interesting 2018 season for Philadelphia.