March 08, 2020
We couldn't help but notice that the Phillies have not been on TV much lately, despite playing games every single day (sometimes twice a day) down in Clearwater.
So with some monumentally important position battles raging — like for the fifth starter spot, the infield positioning and most of the bullpen — fans don't have a ton of empirical data to rely on with spring training just about halfway through.
And so, we will take a look at a handful of players who have been "increasing their stock" down in the Grapefruit League over the last few weeks, and a handful of players who have seen their stock slip.
Keep in mind these are very small snapshots of players who are getting an at bat or inning or two per game, and we know full well they are just exhibition games. Still, some information can be gleaned from the games played so far:
Is there a real opportunity on the table for Bohm to earn the opening day third baseman job? Or is he being sent to Triple-A no matter what?
If there is, Bohm is certainly doing a good job of proving his case. Through 11 games, the 23-year-old prospect has hit .450 (9-for-20), though his power stroke has yet to produce an extra base hit in spring training. Still, hitting for average is something the Phillies haven't had in spades in recent years. We should mention he's the only Phillie with more than one error this spring as he looks to prove his glove is ready for primetime like his bat is.
This spring is incredibly important for Hoskins, who is desperately looking to regain his power stroke in spring training after he fell off a cliff in the second half of 2019. With some tweaks made this offseason, the first baseman is looking pretty good so far, hitting .286 with a team-leading four doubles.
Realmuto's stock is already quite high — at least from the Phillies perspective. The best catcher in baseball by most measures, Realmuto is making just $10 million this year (after his lost arbitration case) — which is essentially less than half of what he's worth. While the Phillies frantically try and get him inked to a longterm deal, Realmuto continues to rake in Clearwater, hitting .353 through seven games.
Harper has three home runs and 11 RBI in 13 at bats this spring. Over a 162 game season, he's on pace for 132 home runs and 484 RBI (each a record by gigantic margins). Yes, it's a silly projection to make, but he's off to a red hot start.
Moniak was the Phillies' first-overall pick in 2016 but his path to the majors is unclear. He'll probably need some injuries or an insanely hot hitting clip in Triple-A to get a call up in 2020. He's off to a good start, hitting .308 (with five walks) in 13 official at bats.
The return of Dominguez was a key storyline when the Phillies reported a few weeks ago, and he appears to be on schedule to be ready for the season. He has two shutout innings so far, as he returns from an elbow injury that cost him much of 2019.
Making an impact as a reliever last year, Suarez has started three times this spring and has looked solid, with a 2.25 ERA over eight innings. Does the lefty have a shot at the fifth starter's job?
Liriano is 36, but looks like he still has it. The one-time top of the rotation starter is relieving for the Phils as a non-roster invitee and has tossed four no-hit innings so far.
Kingery is "cross training" at second base, a spot he lacks experience at the major league level. Does that explain his putrid .136 batting average? It's possible he will play third (depending on where Joe Girardi decides to put Jean Segura, also training to play both third and second). Hopefully his bats warms up when he comes back north.
There is no doubt who will play short for the Phils this season — but there is doubt if he will ever get a hit (we are joking obviously...). Through eight games and 19 at bats, Gregorius has a big goose egg for his batting average.
Harrison was signed as a non-roster invitee looking to earn a role as a bench piece for the Phils. His 0-for-2 (with a walk) performance Sunday won't help his cause as he's just hit .188 in the early going.
Joining Harrison with an ugly outing against the Blue Jays Sunday, Haseley went 0-for-3 and is now hitting .200. He missed a little time with a concussion earlier this spring. Maybe he's not fully ready to hit yet.
Velasquez was assumed to have the inside shot at the firth starter's job heading into spring training but he's been mediocre at best, with a 4.70 ERA in three appearances so far. He'll have time to right the ship, but he will need to be better to earn a role on the rotation.
Wheeler's slot is not in doubt, but he certainly is looking a little lost as he tunes up for the season. The Phillies' new $118 million man has an 8.31 ERA over his two starts so far. Small sample size and, of course, its a time when pitchers play with things (heck, Aaron Nola has a 4.50 ERA and no one seems worried). Still, it's worth watching to see if he clears things up over the next few weeks.
Oh, Nick Pivetta. The one-time highly touted starter of the future seems to be letting his big league dreams slip away. Looking to prove he is worthy of a starting job (or any job, really), Pivetta has an 8.22 ERA over three starts (though he does have 10 strikeouts in 7.2 innings to lead the team).
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