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March 27, 2023

What should the Phillies Opening Day (and regular) batting order be?

What will the Phillies' batting order look like in 2023?

This isn't the Phillies lineup you were hoping for.

With Bryce Harper fighting his way back from Tommy John surgery and Rhys Hoskins' season (and Phillies career?) over with a torn ACL, the defending NL champions will be a little less intimidating to opposing pitching staffs this season.

But they still do have some really, really talented hitters who'll challenge manager Rob Thomson in the best way. How should he assemble his Opening Day batting order? What would be the optimal lineup?

Here's a look at how we think the team should line it up based on fit, and prior experience at various spots in the batting order:

Leading off: Trea Turner, shortstop

Career hitting first: 303/.353/.488, 69 HR, 228 RBI, 340 runs

Turner is going to leadoff and there's not much debate over it. He's done it in 472 games over his career, more than his experience batting in the other slots combined. And while he does have slightly better hitting stats in the two, three and five spots, having a guy who can hit .300 and steal bases at an above-average clip is definitely going to entice Thomson to trot Turner out to open most games this season.

2-hole: Nick Castellanos, right field

Career hitting second: .276/.330/.517, 54 HR, 149 RBI

This might be an unconventional choice, and Thomson may elect to go a different way, but Castellanos on paper is the best player currently suited to hit second in this batting order. Hoskins would have been here prior to his ACL tear, but now, we think Castellanos should move up toward the front of the order. He has his most career homers and best slugging percentage hitting second. And he's done it in 268 games, the second most of any batting slot.

3-hole: Alec Bohm, DH

Career hitting third: .298/.341/.424, 5 HR, 28 RBI

It's pretty impressive that Bohm has hit from every single spot in the batting order over his brief three-year career. He has 49 games under his belt hitting from the three-spot, where he is suited to hit due to a few factors. With Harper out until July or so, Bohm makes really good contact — hitting the ball as hard as any hitter in the Phillies lineup. The best pure hitter should hit third. 

He's had a good spring and many scouts and baseball pundits believe that Bohm will add a little more power this season. He has everything you want from a middle of the order bat.

Cleanup: Kyle Schwarber, left field

Career hitting fourth: .274/.375/.563, 20 HR, 45 RBI

After hitting leadoff for the Phillies last season and providing a spark and lots of walks during their deep playoff run, Schwarber should slide back to the heart of the order so he can use all of those dazzling home runs to drive in more. With guys who can get on base now ahead of him, Schwar-bombs can be more often of the multi-run variety. And without the shift? Could we be looking at a career year for the veteran slugger?

Over his career, Schwarber has mostly led off, hit second, or hit fifth or sixth. Just 80 of Schwarber's 781 career games have been spent hitting cleanup. But until Harper returns and with Hoskins sidelined, there are other options who will be better suited to hit second behind Turner.

5-hole: Darick Hall, first base

Hall has actually never hit fifth — most of his 41 career MLB games have been spent in the four-hole. But the power from Hall makes him a good fit in this spot. Because Hall does hit from the left side, like Schwarber does, there's a chance he might swap up and down with Schwarber or Realmuto, sometimes. But we are splitting up the lefties further down the order to make sure it's not too easy for opposing relievers. It's also unlikely the Phillies would leave Hall in the game to face a lefty pitcher anyway.

6-hole: J.T. Realmuto, catcher

Career hitting sixth: .305/.348/.463, 9 HR, 50 RBI

For whatever reason, Realmuto's best career batting average comes from the six hole. He is such a talented hitter that he has really impressive stats no matter where he hits, and the likelihood is that he will probably hit from a variety of different spots in the order in 2023. But as we try and piece together an optimal lineup, Realmuto can be a productive bat in this spot and be a bridge to the weaker final third of the order.

7-hole: Brandon Marsh, centerfield

Career hitting seventh: .278 .347 .451, 4 HR, 18 RBI

From a small, two-season sample size, Marsh has his best stats across the board hitting seventh — and we just happen to need a seven-hole hitter for our experiment here. There is a little speed down here at the end of the order and there also could be a few more home runs than many expect from the trio of Marsh, Sosa and Stott.

8-hole: Edmundo Sosa, third base

Career hitting eighth: .266/.326/.405, 3 HR, 11 RBI

Sosa actually has his best stats hitting ninth, but his second best numbers come from the second to last spot in the order and his right-handedness is perfect for him splitting up Marsh and Stott. He'll probably be in and out of the lineup all season long as the team will shuffle the DH spot between Bohm, Castellanos, Schwarber and Hall all season long. When Harper returns, a healthy lineup would see Sosa likely relegated to the bench.

9-hole: Bryson Stott, second base

Career hitting ninth: .291/.358/.500, 4 HR, 19 RBI

Stott was a rookie last year and mostly hit between the six and nine spots. He did his most damage hitting last, and since we need to split up the lefties at the end of the order — with him leading into the right-handed Turner, Stott being last in the lineup makes some sense.

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