By Art Beitchman
The 2017 MLB season is about to start next week for the Phillies, and they are banking on new acquisitions Michael Saunders, Howie Kendrick (above) and Clay Buchholz to give this young team the veteran leadership in the clubhouse.
But, more importantly, on the field.
The 2017 Phillies will try to become the first winning team since the 2011 campaign when they won 102 games.
Winning 82 is an attainable goal for this group.
First baseman Tommy Joseph entering his second season in red pinstripes hit 21 home runs last year in 315 at bats, looks to improve on those stats with a full season of play.
Twenty-four-year-old third baseman Maikel Franco had a very productive 2016 season with 25 HR’s and 88 RBI! Recently, Phillies Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt touted the young Franco as a MVP candidate in just his second full year in the majors.
Obviously, the three-time MVP sees what Franco can ultimately be.
If that scenario plays out the 2017 Phillies will be knocking on the NL playoffs door.