The 2019 season will not only mark the first with Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto, Andrew McCutchen, David Robertson and Jean Segura, among others, as teammates, but also exactly one decade since the Philadelphia Phillies last played in the World Series.
Ironically, Robertson was on the New York Yankees in 2009, playing in his second season, when his club denied the Phillies back-to-back World Series championships by defeating them in six games.
Fans have high hopes now, with Harper, but most do not go as far as what Sports Illustrated has predicted. The magazine, which recently featured Rhys Hoskins, Harper, Aaron Nola and Realmuto on one of their regional 2019 MLB season preview covers, is predicting the Phillies to reach the World Series before ultimately falling to the Houston Astros.
The Washington Post writes of Sports Illustrated's "high hopes" for the Phillies:
SI projects the revamped Phillies, who boast a powerful lineup but not much in the way of proven starting pitching beyond Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta, to finish 92-70, seven games ahead of the 85-77 Nationals, followed by the Mets, Braves and Marlins. The Brewers and Dodgers are projected to win the NL Central and NL West, respectively, with the Cardinals and Cubs claiming the two wild cards. In the playoffs, SI predicts the Astros will defeat the Phillies in the World Series. Apparently those expectations followed Harper up Interstate 95.
The magazine picked the Washington Nationals, Harper's former team, to play in the 2018 World Series against the Yankees. Clearly, neither happened, and that very well could be the case for its 2019 prediction.
Wouldn't it be something, though, if Harper led the Phillies deep into "Red October" in his first of at least 13 seasons in red pinstripes? Time will tell.