The Duel

3 Phillies Players Who Have a Make-or-Break Season Ahead in 2020

Tristan Jung
Phillies players facing a make-or-break season in 2020, including Jake Arrieta.
Phillies players facing a make-or-break season in 2020, including Jake Arrieta. / Mark Brown/Getty Images
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The Philadelphia Phillies are hoping to rebound from a disappointing 2019 and to contend in the NL East. To do that, they will need improved performances from all areas of the roster and some more luck.

After last year's struggles, several Phillies will be facing make-or-break seasons. For these veterans, 2020 is the last chance for them to impress and put themselves in position for multi-year contracts. Here are three players who are hoping 2020 is their year.

1. Jake Arrieta

Jake Arrieta struggled last season, going 8-8 with a 4.64 ERA.
Jake Arrieta struggled last season, going 8-8 with a 4.64 ERA. / Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

When one considers that the Phillies are a $1.9 billion franchise, the $75 million that they paid Jake Arrieta is a drop in the bucket. Still, Arrieta's tenure in Philadelphia has been a major letdown for fans, as he has struggled mightily with injuries and poor performance. After throwing 135.2 innings and posting a 4.64 ERA and 4.89 fielding-independent pitching (FIP) in 2019, Arrieta must find a way to regain his velocity and command for 2020. If that doesn't happen, his next contract in the 2021 offseason will not come close to $75 million, and could very likely be with another team.

2. Didi Gregorius

Didi Gregorius signed a one-year deal with the Phillies in the offseason.
Didi Gregorius signed a one-year deal with the Phillies in the offseason. / Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Didi Gregorius was given a nearly impossible task—be Derek Jeter's successor with the New York Yankees—and more or less succeeded, putting up 15.5 fWAR for the Yankees in five years. Unfortunately, Tommy John surgery hampered his final year in New York, which mean that the talented shortstop could only get a one-year, $14 million deal with the Phillies in the offseason. Gregorius will have plenty to prove in 2020 after his OPS dropped from .829 to .718 in 2019. Now that he's fully healthy, Gregorius will need a strong season to lift the Phillies and get himself a long-term deal, otherwise he could find himself forced to take another prove-it deal (with even less money) in 2021.

3. Vince Velasquez

Vince Velasquez had an ERA north of 4.80 for the third straight year in 2019.
Vince Velasquez had an ERA north of 4.80 for the third straight year in 2019. / Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Phillies fans have spent the last four years in a state of constant frustration over Vince Velasquez, and it's not hard to see why. Since coming to Philadelphia in the Ken Giles trade, Velasquez has shown amazing potential and a total inability to consistently pitch well. His career ERA is 4.67, which normally wouldn't ensure four seasons in the starting rotation, but that just shows how good Velasquez can be if he gets everything right. At this point, Velasquez has one more shot to be a league-average starter before the Phillies just transition him to the bullpen entirely. The key will be maintaining his 9.97 K/9 while cutting his awful 1.99 HR/9.


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Tristan Jung is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Tristan Jung also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username tristan1117. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.

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