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March 22, 2023

3 Phillies hitters who are poised for breakout seasons in 2023

The Phillies are hoping for more progress from Alec Bohm, a bounce-back campaign from Nick Castellanos and for Scott Kingery to finally carve out a role.

Everyone knows who the stars will be for the Phillies this season. Trea Turner, Kyle Schwarber, J.T. Realmuto and, when he returns, Bryce Harper all have MVP potential. And on the mound, Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler should have Cy Young stuff yet again.

But the Phillies have a pretty deep offense this season and there are a few other players who could impress enough to warrant All-Star consideration — should they have breakout seasons in 2023.

Here's a look at three position players who might be under the radar a bit right now, but could wind up being added to the Phillies list of stars by season's end.

Alec Bohm, 3B

Many people forget that Bohm was the third overall pick in the 2018 draft, and he was selected there by the Phillies because many believed he could lead the majors in hitting.

Fast forward five years and Bohm has slowly added tools to his arsenal. He's gradually figured out how to play third base in the majors. He's also showed he is a professional hitter and has absolutely crushed the ball throughout his career. The power numbers should start to come. And a leap to the .300 range (from his .277 career average) isn't totally out of the realm of possibility.

Over at The Athletic, Keith Law compiled a list of 10 players he thinks have breakout potential in 2023. Bohm was on his list. His reasoning:

Bohm makes a lot of hard contact, and cut his strikeout and whiff rates from 2021 to 2022, by getting more aggressive early in counts and hunting fastballs. In 2021, he hit offspeed stuff well but fastballs killed him; that flipped in 2022, as he was best against fastballs and struggled against sliders and cutters in particular. I think this is a matter of consolidating everything he’s shown he can do into one season, which isn’t a guarantee but certainly something we expect good hitters to do with experience. He has always projected to hit and his swing is as good as it was in college when the Phillies made him the third pick in the 2018 draft. I think this year he hits for more average and gets to 20-plus homers. I make no promises about his defense, though. [The Athletic]

Nick Castellanos, OF

The Phillies signed Castellanos to a big boy deal back before 2022 started, as he was fresh off a .309, 100 RBI, 34 home run season. 

He didn't come close to producing those numbers as he adjusted to life in Philadelphia, posting a career low in RBI, his second lowest home run total and saw his slugging percentage drop 86 points from his career average. 

reversion to the mean seems possible in 2023, and getting the All-Star caliber Castellanos everyone hoped for will be really important for the Phillies as they try and tread water in the outfield until Bryce Harper returns. 

Aside from a few noteworthy defensive grabs, Castellanos wasn't really a contributor during the Phillies' World Series run. There is motivation to bounce back, and if he is able to find his swing again and limit the strikeouts that made his 2022 campaign kind of miserable, he could post All-Star numbers yet again in his age-31 season. If not, it'll go down as a pretty bad contract to a player who reached his decline well sooner than anyone really expected.

Scott Kingery, Utility

Kingery has had a weird career. He was paid before he ever stepped foot in an MLB stadium as a player, and for whatever reason his 2020 season was so bad he was relegated back to the minors after a pretty good start to his big league journey. He's struggled to get back to the majors — but he could finally make the leap back in 2023.

While he probably won't break spring training with the team, he could play the role of first man up if a position player goes down during the regular season. He's impressed in Clearwater. Even Law took notice:

I’ll also add that I saw Scott Kingery briefly this spring and his swing did look substantially better than it has in the past few years; someone on their minor-league side changed his swing for the worse right as he came to the majors, and I think that’s at least the primary reason he hasn’t hit in his major-league trials. I’ve got some hope here for the first time in a while. [The Athletic]

Kingery has hit .359 so far this spring and could be added to the 40-man roster again. If he's not, he could be a player targeted for acquisition by another team in need.

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