THE RESENTMENT of analytics peculiar to a certain brand of baseball fan is easily traced to the fact that nine out of 10 articles about analytics tell us that something is not as good as it seems, and that, frankly, we shouldn't get excited about anything in the world because the world is an unsustainable anomaly that will ultimately regress back to a dark, bleak, uninhabitable rock devoid of all life.

But fear not, Phillies fans! This article comes bearing good news. While even traditional statistics will tell you that the vast majority of the Phillies' 2015 roster was filled by players who did not give us much reason to think they are viable parts of the future, the five players who did pass the first round of interviews turned in the kind of performances that even advanced statistics cannot denigrate. Well, for the most part.

Let's start by stating that we are limiting our analysis to players who project as future starting pitchers or everyday players, mostly because we've written more than enough about Ken Giles already. Assuming everybody is OK with that, let's take a look at five notable numbers to keep in mind as we look toward the future:

1) 7.8 percent: That was Maikel Franco's walk rate in his smashing 2015 rookie campaign. It's notable because his penchant as a free swinger was one of the caveats that came attached to his minor league exploits. While 7.8 percent is not a particularly gaudy number, it is right around league average, and, more important, is significantly better than the marks he posted at Double A (3.4 percent) and Triple A (5.4 percent). Combined with a strikeout rate of 15.5 percent that was in line with the one he had in the minors and was better than the MLB average, along with his solid power numbers (4.2 percent home-run rate, 9.9 percent extra base hit rate, both well above MLB averages), it is hard to find any statistical warning signs.

2) 5: The number of home runs, out of eight total, that Odubel Herrera hit in plate appearances in which he took a first-pitch ball. That might sound arcane, and maybe it is, but it gives us an entry point to a quick examination of Herrera's approach, the improvement of which was one of the main reasons why he posted an .860 OPS from July 1 to the end of the season. Over that stretch, Herrera walked 19 times with six home runs in 299 plate appearances after walking just nine times with two home runs in his first 238 PAs.

Herrera's overall strikeout and walk rates are both concerns (24.0 percent and 5.2 percent, both worse than average) as well as a rather robust .387 batting average on balls in play. He showed more pop than a lot of people were expecting, but his home-run and extra-base-hit rates were still average or below, which is perfectly fine for a centerfielder on a playoff team but probably not for a corner outfielder. The Phillies were pleased with what he showed defensively in center, but he remains a work in progress. Herrera might be the most interesting guy to watch next season because of what we still do not know. The strikeout, walk and batted-ball rates are indicative of a player who will need to continue to evolve, but the second-half performance, particularly in the power and patience departments, suggest a player who is capable of doing so.

3) 8: The number of starts Jerad Eickhoff has made in the major leagues. That's not a lot.

For some perspective on just how small a sample size eight starts is, consider that Eickhoff's 51 innings included 20 scoreless frames against lineups fielded by the Marlins, Braves and Mets that were only slightly better than the ones he was facing in Triple A. That's not to suggest he did not have success against legitimate major league hitters. Kris Bryant and Bryce Harper combined to go 0-for-6 with six strikeouts against him, while Yoenis Cespedes went 1-for-6 with a pair of Ks. It is to suggest that a 2.65 ERA is something you should not pencil in for an entire season.

4) .936: Aaron Altherr's OPS in 103 plate appearances against righthanded pitchers. Long one of the most athletically gifted prospects in the organization, Altherr has made huge strides over the last year to cut down his strikeouts and improve his walks. After walking in just 5.3 percent of plate appearances and striking out in 22.4 percent of PAs at Double A in 2014, Altherr improved those numbers to 9.2 percent and 19.2 percent in Triple A. In 161 PAs with the Phillies, his walk rate was 9.9 percent, which is encouraging, but his strikeout rate of 25.5 percent is a concern. The strikeout rate is not much different than Herrera's, but Herrera saw four times as much big-league pitching, and John Mayberry Jr. showed us just how deceiving a late-season run like Altherr's can be.

5) 4.04: Aaron Nola's FIP, which stands for Fielding Independent Pitching, which attempts to create a number comparable to ERA using only the outcomes that a pitcher directly controls: strikeouts, walks and home runs. It's that last department that offers one reason to temper expectations for Nola, who finished his rookie year with a 3.59 ERA, 7.9 K/9, 2.2 BB/9 and 1.3 HR/9 in 13 starts. Nobody seems to have any doubt that he will be a solid middle-of-the-rotation starter for a long time as long as he stays healthy. To become more than that, he'll need to improve against lefties, who struck out just 15 times in 116 at-bats while posting an .834 OPS against him (compared with 53 strikeouts and a .618 OPS in 179 at-bats by righties).

Blog: ph.ly/HighCheese