Friday, February 19, 2016

PN Writers Roundtable: 2016 Predictions

In the second of our writers' roundtable posts on Phillies Nation this week, we ran through some questions predicting what to expect of the upcoming big league season.  Among the topics were impact prospects, how the Phils will finish the 2016 campaign, roster surprises and more. Read ahead for my thoughts...

Which prospect makes the biggest impact this year?

Reliever Jimmy Cordero will be that guy, simply based on the amount of time I expect him to get at the big league level. Sure, the Phils have some great prospects in J.P. Crawford and Nick Williams, but both guys are at positions where there isn't an immediate need for them at the big league level. The bullpen will have need and Cordero, who can reach triple digits with his fastball, will be the youngster that contributes the most this year.

What in-season trades do you anticipate the Phillies making?

The Phillies should continue to be sellers. They should move forward, trying to clean out the leftovers of the "dynasty" years from the cupboard. If a contending team with holes can use Howard or Ruiz, the Phils should make those moves, no matter the return. David Hernandez could be a worthwhile trade target for contending teams by mid-season, as well.

Who could surprise people by making the roster?

I think right-hander Cordero will stand a good chance to be on the big league club from opening day forward, but I've talked about him already, so let me mention Ernesto Frieri as a contender to be in the bullpen. He's a non-roster invitee and I simply think the Phils will want some veteran leadership in the mix there and the team may like him more than some rookie types such as Velasquez or Colton Murray. I just think Frieri will show enough in spring training to end up making the cut to come north.

How do the Phillies finish in 2016?

They could be up to 10 games better than the 99-loss season they had last year, but I expect the team to continue to be difficult to watch at times this year. However, with all the youth making its way toward the big league roster it'll be a much more interesting season than 2015. An 89-loss season puts them in third place last year in the generally weak NL East, so you could see them make moves in that regard this year.

To check out the complete post on Phillies Nation, including the other writers' answers, click this link.  And for our previous roundtable regarding the Phillies' 5th starter, click this link.
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