March 14, 2023
We've reached the halfway point (at least as far as Grapefruit League games go) for the Phillies down in Clearwater, and there are some players who are making very strong — as well as weak — cases for the few roster spots up for grabs right now.
Which players are proving it on the field and at the plate? And which are stumbling backwards into the regular season?
Here's a quick look:
Darick Hall, 1B
Hall's case to make the 26-man roster and serve as the Phillies' DH while Bryce Harper is out is getting too hard to deny. Back on Friday, the big slugger had three hits – two of them home runs – against the Pirates. Two games before that he blasted a solo shot against Baltimore. His power will be a huge boost in hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park.
Jake Cave, OF
No hitter has more hits this spring for the Phils than Cave, who is making a strong argument for the final outfield spot on the Phillies' MLB roster. If he can outhit his competition for two more weeks (Kody Clemens, Dalton Guthrie and others) he might be sitting in the dugout in South Philly come April.
Kyle Schwarber, OF
A slow start went into the rearview for the NL's home run leader. He had four his in his last two games after mustering none in his first three before leaving for the World Baseball Classic.
Scott Kingery, IF
The one-time phenom do-it-all player for the Phillies is finally making a second case for the big leagues. He has a hit in every single game he's played in the month of March, and is 10-for-17 this spring with six runs scored.
Edmundo Sosa, IF
The utility man is making a strong case for more starts in the field this season, as he's blasted seven hits over his last 12 at-bats, three of them homers. Sosa has been the best hitter for the Phillies this spring and his playing time could reflect that early in April and May.
Yunior Marte, RP
Marte is one of about a half dozen relief pitchers trying to fight for what is likely just one or two spots available in the bullpen. The righthander has not allowed a run since surrendering one in his first start — four scoreless innings.
Andrew Bellatti, RP
As if his spot on the big league club was ever in doubt, last year's surprise bullpen standout has tossed a scoreless inning all five times so far, allowing only one hit in total. He has walked five hitters, however, and does need to continue to hone in his control.
Zack Wheeler, SP
No one is pulling their hair out about Cy Young candidate Wheeler, who has struggled pretty hard during his last two starts. The veteran has allowed 10 runs over his last two appearances, including seven on March 5 when he couldn't get out of the second inning. He's working on some stuff and should be fine in a few weeks.
Brandon Marsh, OF
After playing nine games and getting 22 at-bats, Marsh is hitting just .136 and has nine strikeouts — behind only Nick Castellanos' 11. Marsh can carry a light bat, and it's one of the few criticisms against the defensively gifted outfielder.
Nick Castellanos, OF
Many are hoping for and even expecting a bounce-back season for Castellanos, who was inconsistent and fell short of lofty expectations last season, his first in Philly. He hasn't done much to lift spirits so far, having gone completely hitless in the month of March.
Rafael Marchan, Garrett Stubbs, C
The Phillies will be without J.T. Realmuto for a bit as he mashes the ball in the World Baseball Classic for Team USA. His understudies behind the plate have been dreadful this spring, combining for just one hit (from Stubbs) in 23 total at-bats.
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