March 24, 2022
Spring training is finally in full swing as the Phillies are clearly going to be giving it their best shot to end their now 10-year postseason drought after exceeding baseball's luxury tax for the first time ever. That kind of "stupid money" brings with it high expectations.
For what it's worth, the Phillies are +100 to make the expanded playoff field this fall (via bet online.ag) and their over/under win total is 84.5 (via Caesars).
Before the team hits the field in South Philly to open their 2022 campaign against the Athletics on Friday, April 8, we're going to take a deep dive into each positional group.
Today, we go to second base ...
Jean Segura is coming off his best season as a Phillie. He finished 2021 with a .290 batting average and a .784 OPS, with 14 home runs, 27 doubles, 39 walks, and 58 runs batted in.
At age 32, he isn't among baseball's best second baseman (here's MLB Networks Top 10 Right Now rankings), but with the way the Phillies' lineup is constructed (especially after the additions of Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos), he doesn't really have to be.
Providing a decent glove in the field and a No. 2 hitter that gets on base for Harper behind him, unless Segura's placed further down the order, should be all the Phillies need. Anything else is a bonus.
Johan Camargo, signed just before the lockout, and Nick Maton, who will probably see time in a second big-league season, will be available as utility men when needed.
Atlanta's Ozzie Albies is the division's best going right now, but based on BaseballReference's 2022 projections, Segura should be able to keep up with the rest of the pack.
|Team||Second Baseman (age)||2021 stats||2022 projections||Career War|
|Phillies||Jean Segura (32)||.290, 14 HR, 58 RBI||.270, 13 HR, 56 RBI||26.3|
|Braves||Ozzie Albies (25)||.259, 30 HR, 106 RBI||.272, 23 HR, 81 RBI||14.4|
|Mets||Jeff McNeil (29)||.251, 7 HR, 35 RBI||.274, 12 HR, 50 RBI||11.2|
|Marlins||Jazz Chisholm (24)||.248, 18 HR, 53 RBI||.246, 16 HR, 51 RBI||2.5|
|Nationals||Cesar Hernandez (31)||.232, 21 HR, 62 RBI||.250, 15 HR, 58 RBI||12.4|
The NL East isn't exactly loaded at second base compared to other positions, but there's promise in Jazz Chisholm, who will enter his second full season, and Albies will be in his prime for the next few years.
Segura has a club option for 2023 at $17 million, but entering his mid 30s by then, it's hard to imagine that he'd be in the Phillies long-term plans. Options down the line aren't thin, but not exactly plentiful either.
In the farm system, there's 21-year old Kendall Simmons, the Phillies' 17th ranked prospect. But he's still considered a raw talent and his development has been moving along slowly. He's listed as a third/second baseman within the organization, though with the way he's been trending, he's likely to settle in at third going forward.
Hao Yu Lee, a 2021 international signing out of Taiwan and the club's 20th ranked prospect, turned some heads with his swing in rookie ball, but is a ways off. The 19-year old hit .364 in nine Florida Complex League games, recording a home run, two doubles, two triples, three walks, and a .773 slugging percentage.
Alexis Azuaje, also an international signing from three years ago out of Venezuela, is the Phillies' 27th ranked prospect. He played an impressive 19 games in the FCL last year, batting .400 with an .867 slugging percentage and five home runs in 45 at-bats. He's likened to Placido Polanco, but at 19, also won't be ready for some time.
In the potential 2022-23 free agency field, projected by MLB Trade Rumors, second base has a rather unimpressive list and no available player on it would be younger than 29.
Maybe Scott Kingery makes a long awaited switch back to second? Doubtful at this point.