December 26, 2019
With spring training less than two months away and most of the notable offseason moves in the rearview (barring a surprise blockbuster trade for Kris Bryant or Nolan Arenado), it must be assumed that the Phillies will head to Clearwater with their current slew of players.
We've already taken a look at whether the squad is better than it was last year, when Philly won a disappointing 81 games after breaking the bank for Bryce Harper, Andrew McCutchen and company. This coming season will carry with it even more high expectations with World Series winning manager Joe Girardi now calling the shots, and highly priced starter Zach Wheeler expected to help solidify the rotation.
The Phillies currently look slated to bring 44 players to training camp, of which 26 will make the big league Opening Day roster (yes, we know, it used to be 25 but the league is adding a roster spot for 2020).
Here's our first crack at projecting which players will be traveling with the team to Miami for Opening Day in late March:
(A note: We share everyone else's optimism that Alex Bohm will make an impact this year, but based on how the Phillies usually operate, he'll probably start the year in Triple-A.)
Catcher (2): J.T. Realmuto, Andrew Knapp
Realmuto, perhaps the best and most reliable backstop in the majors, is in a contract year and could have a gigantic extension to sign before he heads to Florida. Knapp, despite his shortcomings with the bat, looks like he'll be the No. 2 man next season as well (as he is a very cheap option and a known commodity).
First base: Rhys Hoskins
The first base job is Hoskins' to lose as he looks to overcome a big drop off in the second half of 2019.
|2019 (1st half)*||.263||.401||20/59|
|2019 (2nd half)||.180||.318||9/26|
*89 games, the 2nd half of 2019 was 71 games
If second-half 2019 Hoskins returns, there could be some problems. But if any other version of Hoskins shows up next season, the Phils hope they'll have their cleanup hitter firmly in place.
Second base: Jean Segura
Segura will presumably move to second base to make room at shortstop for Didi Gregorius. The 30-year-old spent one season playing second — 2016 in Arizona — starting 142 games there. In theory, Segura will be able to provide contact and a decent on-base percentage, as Gregorius is known as more of a power hitter and will bat somewhere in the latter half of the order.
Shortstop: Didi Gregorius
Gregorius hasn't played 150 games in a season since 2016, and the Phillies hope he's fully healthy and can hit 20 doubles and 20 homers again like he did for three straight seasons prior to his injury-shortened 2019.
Third base: Scott Kingery
You can look at Kingery being the everyday third baseman in two ways:
1. The Phillies didn't wind up making a big move to get a third baseman and are "settling" with what they have.
2. The team will finally get to put their Swiss Army knife infielder in the lineup consistently every day, theoretically giving him a chance to become a true star.
Right field: Bryce Harper
Harper had a really, really good year in 2019 and his impact is kind of underrated as the team barely finished .500. Philly will gladly take a repeat performance in 2020.
Centerfield: Adam Haseley
For now, we'll continue assuming that Odubel Herrera will be gone when camp opens. Haseley had some injury issues that held him back from being consistent in 2019, but every indication seems to imply that the team will let their former first rounder start the year as the everyday centerfielder.
Left field: Andrew McCutchen
McCutchen was having a career year in walks and nearly one in on-base percentage before his season ended with a torn ACL. A healthy McCutchen is not only a locker room leader but also an above average bat that can hit anywhere from 1-8 in the order.
Starting pitchers (5): Aaron Nola, Jake Arrieta, Zack Wheeler, Zach Eflin, Nick Pivetta
Really, any pair of the Eflin, Pivetta, Cole Irvin, Vince Velasquez quartet could earn a starting role (Adonis Medina and Enyel De Los Santos have outside shots at it), but we'll lean on giving Eflin, who played the best of the four, and Pivetta, who has the most potential, as the leaders as of right now. Spencer Howard, Phillies fans hope, could assume one of those jobs midseason. A No. 4 starter could also still be acquired on the open market or via trade.
Relievers (8): Seranthony Dominguez, Victor Arano, JD Hammer, Adam Morgan, Hector Neris, Vince Velasquez, Ranger Suarez, Free Agent
The Phillies need some help in their pen — which is why we are reserving one of eight spots for a player to be named. We also believe Velasquez could wind up being a dominant reliever and should start his season there. A healthy Dominguez should be Philadelphia's closer.
Bench (4): Jay Bruce (OF), Roman Quinn (OF), Josh Harrison (UTIL), Free Agent
Philly is kind of forced into keeping Bruce — he has a very big contract — and will likely give Quinn a chance in center if Haseley stumbles. They also are giving one-time All-Star Josh Harrison a chance to revive his career as a utility man. They can find better options for their final roster spot among the current available free agents.
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