When it's all done, sometime Sunday evening, the Phillies will depart for the winter having scored and allowed almost the same amount of runs as last season. The expectations for 2016 were quite low. So it was interesting to hear general manager Matt Klentak's assessment of the progress made during his first year.
"If someone had told me last October that this was where the franchise would be this September," Klentak said, "I would have signed up for that 100 times out of 100."
Maybe the expectations were even lower inside the front office. Not so, Klentak said, adding that the front office is thrilled with the progress made.
The Phillies were never evaluating the season on wins and losses; there are more losing seasons to come in this rebuilding process. They wanted 2016 to be a time to learn about some of the organization's young starting pitchers and eliminate some position players from the equation.
Did they accomplish enough over 162 games?
"It's never enough," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "But the whole idea of last year and this year, it's a fact-finding mission. Who is going to fit in and who's not? We exhausted every effort to get as many players as possible a veritable chance to show they belong here. And some did and some didn't.
"We saw a good improvement in the starting pitching. We've got some young guys that we're really happy about, some of the position players. And we're just going to move on from there. Because you're rebuilding doesn't mean you're satisfied with where you're at.
"We're disappointed with some players and excited about others."
The Phillies will head into the winter with excitement about Jerad Eickhoff, Vince Velasquez, Odubel Herrera, Cesar Hernandez, Tommy Joseph, Hector Neris, Cameron Rupp, and Edubray Ramos. They'll want more consistent production from Maikel Franco and Freddy Galvis, but see the potential. They will fret about Aaron Nola's elbow until he faces hitters - if that happens.
They will want to believe in mechanical adjustments by Jake Thompson and two knee surgeries for Zach Eflin to correct chronic pain. They will point to the development in the minors, and it is real. But it will require patience.
The mission to see as much young pitching as possible was accomplished. With Eickhoff's finale on Sunday, the Phillies will have used a starting pitcher younger than 27 in 124 of their 162 games. That is the franchise's most since 1950. There were good nights and bad nights. Such is the tantalizing nature of a young arm.
That, Klentak said, is the season's success story in his eyes.
"Our starters for the most part, veteran starters and young starters alike, have kept us in the game," Klentak said. "That was a major focus of our offseason, trying to be more competitive on the mound, and I think we've accomplished that. It doesn't mean by itself that it's going to be that way next year. We need to continue to reinforce that, but I think that's one of the notable improvements on this club this year."
Or, as Mackanin said: "I expect us to be better next year. That's the best way I can put it."
But, in 2017, the franchise's progress will again not be measured by wins or losses.
Freddy Galvis does not carry the same cachet as some other shortstops in the league - Corey Seager, Brandon Crawford, Addison Russell, to name a few - but Phillies coaches have touted Galvis as a Gold Glove candidate all year. And it's not just because he's one of their own.
Veteran catcher A.J. Ellis is convinced after his brief stint with the Phillies.
"I showed up and people told me he was a Gold Glove shortstop," Ellis said. "It just never dawned on me. But watching him play for six weeks, it's a no-brainer. He's the best defensive shortstop I've seen in the National League this year. And it's not even close."
Updates on three
1. Jorge Alfaro: His big-league audition was brief, and it is not proper to reach conclusions based on a few games. But his proper place in 2017 is triple-A Lehigh Valley - maybe for the entire season. There is still much to learn.
2. Michael Mariot: When the roster purge commences, the Phillies will remove a horde of relievers. But Mariot could survive. Phillies officials were impressed by his stuff, specifically his slider, which had one of the better spin rates in baseball.
3. Cameron Perkins: He's a player rival scouts have singled out as a potential Phillies loss in the Rule 5 draft. Perkins, 26, posted a .748 OPS and played all three outfield positions at triple A. One scout compared him to Tyler Goeddel, but stronger.