February 17, 2023
The Phillies had an unconventional leadoff hitter in 2022 with Kyle Schwarber, who hit just .218 with a .323 on-base percentage and a league-leading 200 strikeouts. Schwarber, however, did bash an NL-best 46 home runs and have the Phils two games away from a World Series title in that role.
Schwarber at the top of the order might not be the case in 2023 with the addition of All-Star shortstop Trea Turner.
Phillies manager Rob Thomson, no longer possessing that "interim" mantle, spoke about the team on MLB Network as the club prepares for Spring Training.
Thomson said that Turner, a .302 with a .842 OPS in his MLB career, will "probably" lead off for the Phillies:
Rob Thomson says Trea Turner will probably be the Phillies’ leadoff hitter pic.twitter.com/O2Qk0E4EZ9— John Foley (@2008Philz) February 17, 2023
The full quote from Thomson:
"It all depends when [Bryce Harper] gets back, but before Harp gets back, I think we're probably going to have him in the leadoff spot. He's high on-base, high slug, too, but high on-base and we need that. That gives you more of a chance to have somebody on base when Schwarber gets up and [Rhys] Hoskins and J.T. [Realmuto]. I think that's probably where we're leaning right now."
Harper is aiming to return to the field around the All-Star Break after undergoing Tommy John surgery in November for a UCL injury he suffered during the 2022 pennant-winning season.
My optimal Phillies lineup for 2023:
1. Trea Turner, SS
2. Bryce Harper, RF
3. J.T. Realmuto, C
4. Kyle Schwarber, DH
5. Nick Castellanos, LF
6. Rhys Hoskins, 1B
7. Bryson Stott, 2B
8. Alec Bohm, 3B
9. Brandon Marsh, CF
The Phillies will have their first split-squad Spring Training games next Saturday, Feb. 25 at 1:05 p.m. against the Yankees and Tigers, respectively.
There are just 41 days until Opening Day, Philadelphia.
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