Tuesday, July 23, 2024
AnalysisMLBNational LeagueNL EastPhiladelphia Phillies

A Look at the Phillies Opening Day Roster – Part 1: Position Players

During the off-season, the Phillies made several key moves in order to prime their roster for a competitive 2020. These range from the 118 million dollar signing of Zack Wheeler to several under-the-radar pickups that could find their way into the 2020 roster. In preparation for the start of spring training, let’s try to project the Phillies opening day roster. In this part, I’ll examine the position players most likely to make the cut. The pitching staff will be looked at in Part 2.

Catchers

J.T. Realmuto, C

This one’s easy. The Phillies likely have the best catcher in baseball right now, who will look to post another 4-5 WAR season in 2020.

Andrew Knapp, C

Knapp subtly posted a .760 OPS in the second half of 2019, and if he can maintain that production and his above-average pitch framing in 2020, the Phillies should have the best catching tandem in the league.

Infield

Rhys Hoskins, 1B

Despite posting an .819 OPS, many expected more from Hoskins in 2019. Nonetheless, he is slated to start at first base for Philadelphia for many years to come. Hoksins can at least be counted on for solid defense and an OPS around .800.

Jean Segura, 2B

There is debate over how the Phillies should configure their infield in 2020. It seems that Segura, Didi Gregorius, and Scott Kingery will be manning the infield, but the configuration is unclear. It appears the Phillies will put Segura at second, with Gregorius at short and Kingery at third, but this may not be the best configuration.

Didi Gregorius, SS

Gregorius appears slated to start at shortstop, but he was just about awful there defensively in 2019. It may be worth reconfiguring the infield in order to have Kingery or Segura start here. Regardless, his bat should be a marked upgrade from the likes of Cesar Hernandez and Maikel Franco.

Scott Kingery, 3B

Kingery may be a secret weapon of sorts for the Phillies in 2020. He posted a very solid .788 OPS in 2019, and was reliable defensively at five different positions. The Phillies can start him at any of the three infield positions mentioned, which will be helpful when trying to find the best positioning for Segura and Gregorius.

Josh Harrison IF/OF

Harrison likely won’t provide much value with his bat, but his solid defense should get use in Philly especially with their potential infield confusion. He also provides above-average speed that could make him useful as a pinch runner or late-inning defensive replacement.

Jay Bruce 1B/OF

Bruce is kind of the antithesis to Harrison as a backup infielder. The majority of Bruce’s value comes from his ability to hit the ball over the fence. He has hit 25 or more home runs every season since 2015, which makes him an excellent bench piece to pinch hit late in games. He can also occasionally spell Hoskins at first, and may get a few starts in the outfield as well.

Other Possibilities: Neil Walker, Ronald Torreyes, Phil Gosselin, Logan Forsythe

Outfield

Bryce Harper, RF

Harper is easily the Phillies’ best player. It seems that if Harper doesn’t recreate his insane 2015 season, some want to classify it as a dissapointment. In an unheralded 2019, Harper posted an .882 OPS. He is a critical fixture in the Phillies lineup and seems like a lock to be great with the bat while also provides above-average defense in right field.

Adam Haseley, CF

Haseley was a bit of a surprise last season, becoming the Phillies starting center fielder after Andrew McCutchen was injured and Odubel Herrerra was suspended. Haseley posted 1.7 fWAR in only half a season, and could help the Phillies improve on their 2019 record.

Andrew McCutchen, LF

After signing with the Phillies last offseason, Cutch got off to a solid start before tearing his ACL and missing the majority of the season. He is on track to be ready for 2020, and should be a reliable fixture in the lineup while rounding out a very good outfield defense for the Phillies.

Roman Quinn, OF

Quinn is among the fastest players in the game, with a sprint speed in the 99th percentile according to Statcast. He hasn’t shown much with the bat, but could be a valuable presence in close games as a pinch runner or defensive replacement.

Kyle Garlick, OF

In years past this spot likely would have gone to a pitcher, but with rosters expanding to 26 players, and a 13-pitcher cap, the Phillies will carry an additional position player. Initially, it seemed Nick Martini was a likely candidate, but he was recently DFA’d and replaced by Garlick. Impressively, Garlick posted an .842 OPS in 50 at bats with the Dodgers last year. He could be a nice compliment to Bruce on the bench, providing power from the opposite side of the plate.

Other Possibilities: Nick Williams, Matt Szczur

Lineup

Lastly, let’s see how new manager Joe Girardi might set up the Phillies everyday lineup.

  1. Andrew McCutchen, LF
  2. J. T. Realmuto, C
  3. Bryce Harper, RF
  4. Rhys Hoskins, 1B
  5. Didi Gregorius, SS
  6. Jean Segura, 2B
  7. Scott Kingery, 3B
  8. Adam Haseley, CF
  9. Pitcher, P

This is just one possible alignment but it may be Girardi’s best option. McCutchen leads off because of his great on-base ability and above average speed. Second is Realmuto because of his ability to put the ball in play and generate runs on the bases with his speed. Being their best hitter, with a combination of power and on-base skill, Harper bats third, followed by slugger Rhys Hoskins. Hitters 5-8 are the best remaining hitters in descending order. However, this part of the lineup could especially shift throughout the season if, for instance, Gregorius struggles or Kingery breaks out.

Featured Image: USA Today Sports