Written By Jason Voorhees
The future of professional sports in Philly is super bright. Never do I remember a time in this town where all of the teams were blessed with such an abundance of talent and youth. All four teams have a wealth of young talent and all four rosters have solidified their talent with star free agents and trade aquisitions. The Phillies even brought in a generational talent in Bryce Harper who is the face of Major League Baseball.
The sky is the limit for each one of these teams and its going to be an amazing time to witness these teams evolve year by year to be perennial contenders. Of course, the basis of how these teams were built is very different but the end goal can be viewed by each roster and the talent that has been eschewed thus far.
The Philadelphia Eagles are only one year removed from winning their first Super Bowl in franchise history. Carson Wentz, the teams franchise quarterback, had a lot do with the team winning that championship. Although Wentz ultimately tore his ACL, and missed the playoff run, his near MVP season catapulted them into the playoffs and definitely fueled that championship run. The team is hoping that Wentz can once again return to that greatness of 2017.
Of the four teams, the Eagles may have the least amount of home grown talent. If you review their roster, they do not have too many perennial pro bowl players that have been drafted. That list would include Carson Wentz, Fletcher Cox, Zach Ertz, and Lane Johnson. Due to the salary cap, the NFL probably has the most superior free agent system. And Eagles GM Howie Roseman has mastered the cap and free agent process.
Lets look at the Eagles star power as it sits today. Obviously that list today would include Carson Wentz, Fletcher Cox, Alshon Jeffery, Lane Johnson, Zach Ertz, Malcolm Jenkins, and Brandon Brooks. That list is not over the top, but definitely bodes well for a franchise that has a superior supporting cast. Of course, Carson Wentz trumps all other players due to the quarterback position being the most important position in sports.
Ultimately, the Eagles future success will be directly tied to Carson Wentz's ability to become the player who's talent defines him. Wentz has been injured the past two seasons and the doubt will remain until he proves that he can overcome those injuries to return to MVP level. If and when Carson gets back to that level of play, then the Eagles will definitely sustain success as one of the top teams in the NFL.
The path that the Philadelphia 76ers have taken to get to stardom has been a much longer "Process." However, they have quickly established themselves as a top contender in the NBA in a very short time period nonetheless. In 2014, the 76ers drafted a young Joel Embiid with the third overall pick in the 2014 draft. At the time, the highly touted center was projected to be one of the best centers to enter the NBA since David Robinson.
Of course, injuries delayed his debut for two seasons until he finally played in 2016-2017. That season he was named to the All NBA Rookie team despite only playing in 31 games. However, Joel has quickly shed the injury prone label the past two seasons to ultimately become one of the best players in the NBA. Embiid has shown that he is not only the top center, but that he belongs in the list of Top Players in the entire NBA.
In 2016, much later in the "Process" the Sixers drafted another top player Ben Simmons with the first overall pick. Simmons gave the Sixers another young star to pair with Embiid to give the team a 1-2 Punch in the East.
After missing his entire first season due to an injury, Simmons finally debuted in 2017-2018 to the tune of the 2018 NBA Rookie of the Year. Not only did Simmons win Rookie of the Year, but the Sixers quickly went from last to first and made it to the Second Round of the playoffs. Unfortunately, they were bounced in the second round. The future was already bright though for this franchise and that future was soon to be bolstered by the trade market.
This season, the 76ers added star players Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris in two separate deals to bolster their talented young roster. Butler and Harris are both all star caliber players that are both expected to garner max deals during the free agent offseason.
Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons are good enough in their own right to carry this team far in the playoffs as evidenced by last seasons run. However; if the 76ers are somehow able to ink both Harris and Butler going forward (or even just one of the two); this team should be poised to contend for multiple championships for years to come going forward.
And then there is the Philadelphia Phillies. The golden years of 2008-2012 has long since passed the team by. The team has been in rebuild mode for quite sometime all the while developing some very good young players of their own.
Aaron Nola, a former first round pick, quickly developed into a front line starter and ace of the Philadelphia Phillies. In 2018, Nola graduated to Cy Young status after finishing third in the NL Cy Young Voting behind only Jacob DeGrom and Max Scherzer. Nola has solidified himself as one of the best young pitchers in Major League Baseball/
Rhys Hoskins, another high round draft pick, quickly solidified himself as a young rising star on the offensive side of the ball. In 2017, he was one of top rookies finishing in the top 5 for NL Rookie of the Year voting. He followed up that brief stint in the majors with an above average sophomore season that saw the Phillies again become relevant in Baseball, notwithstanding their late September collapse.
Enter John Middleton and Matt Klentak. The team produced an "objectively excellent offseason" of epic proportions. The team added the following players via trade and free agency to an already above average roster of young talent: Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto, Jean Segura, Andrew McCutchen, David Robertson. In case you are not doing the math...that's 2 former MVP's, a multi year all-star catcher, a multi year all star shortstop, and a former top AL Closer.
If the team had only signed Bryce Harper, the offseason would have been a success. Add the other players and this offseason was possibly the best in MLB history. The sky is the limit for this roster and the Phillies are set up to win multiple championships themselves. So the star players on the Phillies now includes Bryce Harper, Aaron Nola, Rhys Hoskins, Andrew McCutchen, J.T. Realmuto, Jean Segura and David Robertson.
The final franchise on the list is the Philadelphia Flyers. Although the Flyers are probably further from contending than the other three teams, they have developed a super young core of players that are destined for stardom. First of all, the team employs Claude Giroux. Although he may not be at the top of "elite status" players like Sidney Crosby or Alex Ovechkin, Giroux is definitely in the conversation when it comes to elite NHL talent.
Well, now the team hopes that it has an elite player behind the pipes in Carter Hart. Hart was a second round pick a few years back and has quickly graduated to stardom.
What Hart has been able to do in his brief start in the NHL (at only 20 years old) has been nothing short of amazing. Hart has a 14-10-1 record in 25 starts while posting a 2.73GAA and a very impressive .919 Save Percentage. Hart was named the NHL's rookie of the Month for the month of January as well as Star of the Week twice in February. Hart has also been named the Games First Star seven times in the season.
The Flyers roster also employs Sean Courturier who is a borderline star, several young defensemen including Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim (both #1 picks) and young forwards Nolan Patrick and Travis Konecny. The Flyers also signed power forward James van Reimsdyk as a free agent in the offseason. So all and all, the future is very bright for one of the youngest teams in the NHL.
So to recap, Philly's professional sports teams are loaded with star power both young and established throughout their rosters. This is definitely one of the greatest time periods for all four franchises moving forward. And this is the greatest time for us the fans to enjoy being spoiled for awhile. God knows that we have earned that right. So just sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride that all of these star players take us on. What a time to be a sports fan in Philly!
About Jason Voorhees
Jason resides in Norristown, PA and writes about all things sports and heavy metal music.