The time has FINALLY arrived. Opening Day 2020 is upon us, with the Phillies opening their season tonight against the Miami Marlins at 7:05. With that, the Phillies announced their 30 man roster yesterday. Due to the pandemic, teams are opening the season with a roster of 30 players. In two weeks, the rosters will be reduced to 28, followed by a final reduction to 26 two weeks after that.
The sense of excitement around this team seems to be higher than it has been in almost 10 years. Let’s take a look at the players who will be donning the red pinstripes this year.
Pitchers: Right-handers Jake Arrieta, Zach Eflin, Deolis Guerra, Tommy Hunter, Trevor Kelley, Reggie McClain, Héctor Neris, Aaron Nola, Nick Pivetta, Ramón Rosso, Vince Velasquez and Zack Wheeler and left-handers José Álvarez, Austin Davis, Cole Irvin and Adam Morgan
Looking at this list, the starting rotation is going to consist of the same characters (well, until Spencer Howard is called up in a week or so). Nola, Wheeler, and Arrieta will make up first three spots. Barring a setback, Eflin is penciled in the fourth spot, with Velazquez wrapping up the last spot following a dominant few starts in summer training. The bullpen is where it gets a little more interesting. With Pivetta losing out to Vinny Velo, he’s slated to be a multiple inning guy out of the pen. Neris, Álvarez, Morgan, and Hunter were pretty much locks from the start. The most interesting to me out of the rest is Rosso, as he added 5 mph to his fastball seemingly out of nowhere. Sitting 95-97 in camp combined with how he performed made it nearly impossible to leave him off the team. The rest of the arms are more depth pieces due to the larger rosters, with McClain and Guerra likely to be the first two players removed.
Catchers: Andrew Knapp and J.T. Realmuto
This one is pretty straight forward. Realmuto is the best catcher in the game, and will be signed as such this offseason. Andrew Knapp could be the least exciting backup in the MLB, but with a purebred like J.T., you don’t need a backup catcher to play a lot. Deivy Grullon will most likely be on the taxi squad as the third catcher.
Infielders: Didi Gregorius, Rhys Hoskins, Scott Kingery, Jean Segura, Neil Walker, and Phil Gosselin
I was kind of surprised when it was reported that Neil Walker had made the team. I was positive Josh Harrison had the edge, but clearly they valued the lefty bat over defensive versatility. Hoskins will look to rebound from an awful second half of the season in 2019. Kingery will finally be playing where he belongs at the keystone, where he has the ability to win a gold glove one day. Segura will move over to third to make way for the newcomer Gregorius. After hitting well over .900 in the restart, the local product Gosselin clearly did enough to earn his spot.
Outfielders: Jay Bruce, Kyle Garlick, Bryce Harper, Adam Haseley, Andrew McCutchen and Roman Quinn
Harper in right, McCutchen in left, and a combination of Quinn and Haseley in center makes up a starting outfield that seems poised for a big season. Harper is going to have a big year in 2020 and I am here for it. McCutchen returning to the leadoff spot will give this lineup exactly what it lacked after he got hurt. Both Quinn and Haseley have looked good, so a platoon with them seems destined to have success. Bruce will be handling the DH responsibilities, but will get the chance to play the field to give a regular a rest. I’m surprised Garlick made it over Nick Williams, but he has some serious power from the right side and could be an interesting pinch hitter in situations.
With everything going on this year, the roster will more than likely be a revolving door. Hopefully that will just be the case with the more fringe players. Prospects like the previously mentioned Howard and Alec Bohm are sure to make an impact sooner rather than later.
Buckle up, Phillies fans. Let the games begin.