February 21, 2023
Let's do some math.
The Phillies are currently working out and getting ready to play spring training games down in Clearwater. There are very few jobs up for grabs, as most of the team's World Series roster has returned, along with veteran reinforcements.
By our calculations, there are between three and four positions open out of 26 MLB roster spots (or 27, if we include Bryce Harper who will start the year on the injured list). The fifth starter, a bullpen job and two hitters on the bench are the roles that could be available.
Here's how it shakes out, as we try and categorize each of the players invited to play with the team this spring:
Locks (20): J.T. Realmuto (C), Garrett Stubbs (C), Rhys Hoskins (1B), Edmundo Sosa (IF), Bryson Stott (2B), Trea Turner (SS), Alec Bohm (3B), Nick Castellanos (OF), Kyle Schwarber (OF), Bryce Harper (OF), Brandon Marsh (OF), Aaron Nola (SP), Ranger Suarez (SP), Taijuan Walker (SP), Zack Wheeler (SP), Jose Alvarado (RP), Seranthony Dominguez (RP), Craig Kimbrel (RP), Gregory Soto (RP), Matt Straham (RP)
The entire starting lineup, plus four starting pitchers and five relievers make our list of locks — as well as the team's backup catcher and utility man.
Near locks (4): Andrew Bellatti (RP), Connor Brogdon (RP), Bailey Falter (RP), Josh Harrison (IF)
The Phillies signed Harrison for $2 million, enough to come close to guaranteeing his inclusion on the 26-man roster. A trio of young relievers are also near locks, as the alternative options are not particularly impressive. But a down camp for any of them paired with a light's out spring for an up and coming reliever could create some competition.
It's possible (11): Nick Nelson (RP), Christopher Sanchez (RP), Andrew Baker (RP), Kody Clemens (IF), Darick Hall (IF), Jake Cave (OF), Dalton Guthrie (OF), Simon Muzziotti (OF), Mick Abel (SP), Griff McGarry (SP), Andrew Painter (SP)
These are all players who will likely, in some fashion, appear in the majors this season.
• First we have Nelson and Sanchez, relievers with MLB experience.
• Then Baker, a stud prospect who can throw 102 MPH. Clemens is a hitter acquired in an offseason trade and he has a ton of power.
• Hall, Cave, Guthrie and Muzziotti are the main candidates competing for the two bench spots open.
• Abel, McGarry and Painter are the three top pitching prospects in the organization and they are likely fighting for the fifth starter's spot.
Outside chance (10): Rafael Marchan (C), Scott Kingery (IF), Jhailyn Ortiz (OF), Johan Rojas (OF), Yunior Marte (RP), Michael Plassmeyer (RP), Erich Uelmen (RP), Andrew Vasquez (RP), Mark Appel (RP), Francisco Morales (RP)
Most of these players have names that hardcore Phillies fans will recognize. Marchan is the third catcher on the depth chart and would be called upon if there was an injury. Kingery has fallen from being a future building block but is still playing for the franchise. The rest of these guys gunning for an unlikely role on the club are prospects without a clear path to contribute (plus former first round pick Appel who continues his baseball journey).
Camp bodies (19): James McArthur (RP), Luis Ortiz (RP), Ben Bowden (RP), Jon Duplantier (RP), Louis Head (RP), Jake Jewell (RP), McKinley Moore (RP), Billy Sullivan (RP), Jeremy Walker (RP), Jack Conley (C), Vito Friscia (C), Aramis Garcia (C), John Hicks (C), Max McDowell (C), Cody Roberts (C), Jim Haley (IF), Vimael Machín (IF), Will Toffey (IF), Weston Wilson (IF)
It's possible one of these guys has a dynamic spring and makes a push for a spot on the team but for the most part they're in Clearwater to provide some depth and competition early on.
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