More Sports:

January 28, 2019

Phillies 2019 25-man roster projection, version 1.0

Phillies MLB
Carroll - Philadelphia Phillies 2018 Home Opener Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

The Phillie Phanatic looks on as the players are introduced prior to the home opener.

Wouldn't it be nice to, you know, know what the Phillies roster will look like for the 2019 season with pitchers and catchers reporting in just over two weeks?

The ongoing saga slog as Bryce Harper and Manny Machado — and around 100 other free agents — remain unsigned kind of makes it hard to project, or even really think about what things will look like when the highly anticipated new baseball season begins.

Even the Phillies themselves are getting annoyed.

"I have opinions about this," Phillies' manager Gabe Kapler said when asked about the continuing uncertainty, "but mostly the job of a manager is to focus on preparing his team and taking the pieces he has in place and making them shine on the field."

If Kapler can do it, so can we.

And so below, we've projected the Phillies 25-man roster for the upcoming season. All the players listed are our best guesses given the information we have about the possible makeup of the team. We'll keep updating this when an update is required.

Of course, it could all change tomorrow. But for now, take a look:

Catcher: Jorge Alfaro

The Phillies only have two backstops currently on their 25-man roster and Alfaro, 25, is the man at catcher in Philadelphia.

Alfaro was red-hot to finish the year even as the Phillies' crumbled in the standings, hitting .342 over the team's last 15 games. He is learning to handle a pitching staff better and better and obviously has some offensive muscle (he has 15 career homers and a .270 average over parts of two seasons). The other, Andrew Knapp, is more of a defensive battery mate and will be Alfaro's back up.

First base: Rhys Hoskins

Hoskins' natural position is first base. With Carlos Santana at first last year Hoskins played a lot of right field, but according to manager Gabe Kapler, the slugger could raise his offensive game even more being back at the first base bag.

"Rhys moving back to his natural position probably makes him a more comfortable player at the plate," Kapler said. "I think theres a good chance we seen an uptick in his offensive performance."

At 25, Hoskins led the Phils with 38 homers and 96 RBI last season. If he can repeat those numbers, while being a bit more disciplined at the plate, he can be an All-Star in 2019.

"Comfort is a good thing, I have had a lot more repetition playing there in the minor leagues," Hoskins said of his return to first. "I think just being back in the rhythm of the game, handling the ball a lot more whether it's pick offs or fielding ground balls, being in the rhythm of the game will be a lot better over the course of the year and I'm excited about that."

Second base: Cesar Hernandez

Hernandez had a down season in 2018, with his worst offensive numbers since 2014. His position in the Phillies infield is in flux, as a signing of Machado would likely move Jean Segura from shortstop to second with Machado playing short or third base. Machado's signing would then give the Phillies incentive to trade away either Hernandez or Maikel Franco.

For now, however, we project Hernandez to try and rebound with a much improved lineup around him on 2019.

Shortstop: Jean Segura

Perhaps in Matt Klentak's best move as Phillies GM to date, the Phils swapped Carlos Santana and J.P. Crawford for Segura and a pair of pitchers. Segura, prior to any Machado or Harper signing, is the centerpiece of the Phils lineup and would likely bat third if the lineup stayed as constructed. 

On his fourth team now, Segura is coming off an impressive 2018 where he hit .304 and slugged seven triples.

Third base: Maikel Franco

Franco, like Hernandez, could be on the move or relegated to a support role should a big-time signing occur. Until then, the 26-year-old will be relied on to provide a little pop from the middle of the lineup. He's hit 20 or more homers in each of the last three seasons.

Left field: Nick Williams, Roman Quinn

Whether it's some kind of left field by committee or one of the aforementioned outfielders emerges while the other is his back up, one can view left as a weak spot for the Phillies. Their options here are inexperienced. Quinn has speed — he stole 10 bases in 50 games. And Williams has power — he had 17 home runs and 50 RBI last year. 

As with the Phils' infield, this spot would belong to Harper if he inked with the Phils.

Center field: Odubel Herrera

For all his faults, Herrera will in all likelihood be back in center in 2019. He hits for power, average and has great range in center field. He, of course, brings a little baggage but with an increased veteran presence in the clubhouse he may return to his All-Star self.

Right field: Andrew McCutchen

Signed to a three-year, $50 million deal way back when free agency was just starting, McCutchen is a veteran at 32. He is being brought in as much for his experience and clubhouse presence as he is for his skills in the outfield. He has a gold glove, an NL MVP and five All-Star appearances. And he hit 20 home runs last season. He's a perfect fit for what Kapler and Klentak are trying to do.

Bench: Scott Kingery (IF), Aaron Altherr (OF), Dylan Cozens (OF), Andrew Knapp (C)

The Phillies front office, as well as Kapler, have voiced a lot of support for Kingery — a do-it-all utility man who was given an unprecedented contract extension out of spring training last year. His versatility could be key this season, as the Phils may have a shortage of infielders on the bench. 

Knapp and one of the two left fielders mentioned above will be on the bench, and if Altherr and Cozens each make the 25-man roster the Phils will have six outfielders. Keep an eye on training camp to see if an infielder plays his way onto the club, or if the team decides to leave an outfielder out.

Starters: Aaron Nola, Jake Arrieta, Nick Pivetta, Zach Eflin, Vincent Velasquez

Rumors continue to swirl about the Phillies possible interest in, well everyone. This includes pitchers — like Corey Kulber, Dallas Keuchel and others. If Philadelphia does not add a starter, the rotation will likely remain unchanged from a year ago.

Jerad Eickhoff will be in the mix again, and also keep an eye on camp arms and prospects Enyel De Los Santos (who made a spot start last year) and Adonis Medina (who was 10-4 last year with 123 strikeouts in 111.1 innings in Single-A).

Bullpen: Pick your favorite 7

David Robertson, Edubray Ramos, James Pazos, Juan Nicasio, Pat Neshek, Tommy Hunter, Seranthony Dominguez, Jose Alvarez, Hector Neris, Adam Morgan, Austin Davis, Yacksel Rios, Victor Arano

The Phillies have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to relievers with very few locks among them. Newly signed David Robertson, one of the best in the game, is a sure thing but after that there are a lot of arms fighting for what will be either six or seven slots.

In addressing their pen via trade and free agency (Pazos, Nicasio and Alvares were all acquired in trades), the Phillies gave themselves a lot of depth at a former weakness. We'll let you draw your own conclusions:

Pitcher Age, Hand2018 Career 
 David Robertson 33, right8-3, 3.23 ERA2.88 ERA, 137 saves 
Edubray Ramos 26, right2-1, 2.32 ERA3.53 ERA in 153 games 
 James Pazos27, left4-1, 2.88 ERA3.54 ERA in 137 games
Juan Nicasio 32, right1-6, 6.00 ERA4.64 ERA in 315 games 
 Pat Neshek38, right 3.2, 2.59 ERA2.74 ERA in 524 games 
 Tommy Hunter32, right5-4, 3.80 ERA4.10 ERA in 443 games 
Seranthony Dominguez24, right2-5, 2.95 ERA 16 saves as rookie 
Jose Alvarez 29, left 6-4, 2.71 ERA3.69 ERA in 284 games
Hector Neris  29, right1-3, 5.10 ERA 3.39 ERA in 239 games 
 Adam Morgan28, left0-2, 3.83 ERA 4.89 ERA in 301.2 IP 
Austin Davis  25, left1-2, 4.15 ERA32 games as rookie 
Yacksel Rios25, right 3-2. 6.75 ERA 49 career games 
Victor Arano 23, right 1-2, 2.73 ERA 3 saves as rookie 

Gabe Kapler certainly has his work cut out for him. Just so we don't appear to be ducking the question, we'll put Robertson, Ramos, Dominguez, Hunter, Neshak, Alvarez and Pazos as our picks.

Follow Evan on Twitter:@evan_macy

Like us on Facebook: PhillyVoice Sports