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March 26, 2023

Final Phillies Opening Day 26-man roster projection (4.0)

Our final look at how the Phillies roster will look when spring training breaks.

We didn't plan on needing to do a final, week before the regular season roster projection.

Most of the Phillies roster was set in stone, save for a few position battles at the bench and bullpen spots. But a relatively minor arm injury to Ranger Suarez and a season-ending one to Rhys Hoskins put a lot in flux. And so there are some real guesses left to be made ahead of the Phils' season opener next Thursday in Texas.

Dave Dombrowski and the front office are no doubt working the phones every day, keeping their pulse on any available right-handed outfielders or slugging first basemen who may become available. For the purposes of these projections, we'll assume that there are no splashy deals ahead (thought we wouldn't be surprised if there were).

Working from the player pool they currently have, here's our final stab at prediction how the 26 men who break camp with the Phillies this week will shake up:

Catchers (2)

J.T. Realmuto, Garrett Stubbs

No changes here, as the best catcher in baseball will return and be backed up by Stubbs, who has fought some injuries this offseason but is expected to be ready to go this week.

Infielders (7)

Bryson Stott, Trea Turner, Alec Bohm, Edmundo Sosa, Darick Hall, Josh Harrison, Kody Clemens

We know that Hall is going to be the starting first baseman on most days, pending some kind of deal made prior to Opening Day. We are also pretty certain that Sosa and Harrison will make the club as utlitymen. That last spot is a tough call. Scott Kingery has been red hot in camp and is still getting starts, as late as Sunday afternoon. The team clearly wants to keep seeing what he can do. But Clemens has been equally as impressive and is currently on the 40-man roster. Kingery could make the big leagues this year, and is likely going to be the first position player called up, but expect him to start in Triple-A. A bonus is that Clemens could play in a corner outfield spot (and Sosa would be the backup centerfielder).

Outfielders (4)

Nick Castellanos, Brandon Marsh, Kyle Schwarber, Jake Cave

The first three are the everyday players. Cave has been so red hot, his left-handedness doesn't matter anymore. He is hitting like a guy who will not be denied.

Starting pitchers (4)

Zack Wheeler, Aaron Nola, Taijuan Walker, Bailey Falter

Yes, you read that right — we have just four starters making the Opening Day roster. The way the schedule shakes out, the Phillies will probably not need a fifth starter until April 5th — their sixth game (they have an off day in there after Zack Wheeler's first start which will allow him to pitch before a 5th starter would). They would not need that starter again for almost a week after that, due to yet another Thursday off day. The thinking here is the Phils will give Matt Straham three innings or so as an "opener" on April 5th, with the hope that Suarez returns as the fifth starter for the next required start for that slot the following week. 

Relief pitchers (9)

Seranthony Domínguez, José Alvarado*, Matt Strahm*, Andrew Bellatti, Connor Brogdon, Craig Kimbrel, Gregory Soto*, Michael Plassmeyer, Andrew Vasquez*

Seven of the nine pitchers above are more or less completely locked into their roles in the bullpen. The two remaining openings we project will go to Plassemeyer, who has been a breakout star this spring and who can pitch multiple innings, and to Vasquez, who has been very solid, is a lefty, and is out of minor league options. Three other pitchers are still fighting for one of the last two spots, Yunior Marte,  Luis Ortiz and Erich Uelmen.

Injured list (6)

Bryce Harper, Rhys Hoskins, Nick Nelson, Cristopher Sánchez, Ranger Suárez, Noah Song

Not the kind of injured list you want to see before the season even starts.

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