Projecting the Phillies' 2017 achievements, 162 games in advance:
TEAM MVP: Tommy Joseph. While technically a surprise last season after having all but fallen out of the Phillies' plans, he was the centerpiece to the odd 2012 trade of Hunter Pence to the Giants.
Relieved of concussions, and his eye trouble corrected, the powerful Joseph can be a middle-lineup force.
BEST PITCHER: Jerad Eickhoff. His mix of control – he hardly walks anyone – and velocity, along with a wicked curveball, will make him an All-Star at age 26.
MOST IMPROVED: Maikel Franco will improve on his plate discipline, stay healthy and add to his status as a franchise centerpiece.
BRIGHTEST SURPRISE: Despite a shaky spring training, a healthy Aaron Nola will show the talent that made him the No. 7 overall pick in the 2014 draft.
BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER: Freddy Galvis can be the Phillies' best defensive shortstop ever … Larry Bowa and Jimmy Rollins included.
ALL-STARS: Eickhoff, Joseph.
TOP ROOKIE: Brock Stassi can become a quick fan favorite.
BEST NEWCOMER: Pat Neshek will be a settling, effective bullpen force.
- Jack McCaffery