The Phillies are 8-8 through 16 games in Clearwater. They face the Yankees today in Tampa Bay, with Ivan Nova taking the hill for the Phillies.. The team will have to ramp it up with less than two weeks until Opening Day. Roster spots are still up for grabs, but players are running out of time to stake their claim.
Changes from previous projection are italicized
Here’s Full Scale’s third roster projection for the 2021 season:
Catchers (2): JT Realmuto and Andrew Knapp
This stays the same as it has been. Arguably the best catcher in baseball, JT will be carrying the load behind the plate. The birthday boy (turned 30 yesterday) is still coming back from a thumb fracture, but has been hitting live recently. He will need some in-game reps before Opening Day, but I am still hopeful that he is our starting catcher come 4/1.
Andrew Knapp (everyone’s favorite back-up catcher) will fill one of the bench spots for the Phils. Rafael Marchan is out with a hamstring injury, which means the Phillies could be in need of a third catcher. The team also has Jeff Mathis, a defense-first veteran, in camp. He’s looked good behind the plate so far and will likely start the year as the Phillies third catcher.
Infielders (4): Rhys Hoskins, Jean Segura, Didi Gregorius, and Alec Bohm
No changes to who is going to be starting on the dirt for the Fightin’s. Hoskins, coming off offseason elbow surgery, seems to be hitting his stride. He hit his first spring home run against the Yankees on 3/15. He just needs more reps in games. Jean Segura will be the starter at the keystone and looks as average as ever.
Gregorius signed a two-year deal to start at shortstop for the Phillies. He is currently only hitting .153 this spring, but Gregorius got off to an even slower start last season. I am sure that Sir Didi will be ready for the regular season.
Bohm, coming off a strong rookie campaign, will be manning the hot corner again. He showed improvement defensively, which has continued in his reps during Spring Training. Playing average defense out at third only improves his star profile. Bohm seems in line to have a big, big year.
Outfielders (5): Bryce Harper, Andrew McCutchen, Odubel Herrera, Roman Quinn, and Matt Joyce
Harper and McCutchen are locked in at the corner spots. They’ve been entrenched there for two years, and that won’t change in 2021. The real question is who’s going to be playing centerfield. I made my argument for Haseley, and thought it was his job to lose, if he could stay healthy. That injury is going to open the door that much more for Odubel Herrera to make his Big League return.
The embattled CF was invited to mini-camp this season, and he could earn a spot with his play. I left him off initially because I didn’t see him on this team given the roster crunch already, but he’s making the most of his chance. He’s looked good in the field and at the plate, hitting a long home run the other day. Truthfully, I don’t want to see him on the roster, but no one else besides him has stood out enough to be worthy of the spot. If he does make the team, my only hope is that the Phillies do not force him down our throats. It is one thing to make the team. It is another thing entirely for the team to try and get the fans excited about it.
Mickey Moniak has really stood out this spring. He has been mentioned as a important part of the CF competition. However, his lack of at-bats show the Phillies don’t actually believe it. Joyce makes it back on the roster, and should give the team a valuable lefty bat off the bench.
Utility (2): Scott Kingery and Brad Miller
This hasn’t changed from the first projection, however I have wanted to. Kingery will probably make the team due to his contact, but has been flat out terrible this spring. In 27 at-bats, Kingery has 12 Ks. He needs to make more contact consistently if he wants to contribute to the 2021 Phillies. It is evident that he’s lost at the plate, and it seems a lot of that is due to pressure. Pressure living up to not only his pedigree, but the contract former GM Matt Klentak gave him.
Miller fits in with the group and is a great clubhouse guy to have. He doesn’t have the positional flexibility of Kingery, but arguably the better bat. The Bamboo Bomb will hopefully be a constant sight as the season gets underway. He is dealing with an oblique strain, but the Phillies have remained confident he’ll be ready for the start of the season.
Starting Rotation (5): Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler, Zach Eflin, Matt Moore, and Chase Anderson
This hasn’t changed since the first projection. Nola has really struggled this spring, but he is working through things. He always gets better as the season progresses, so I’m not worried in the slightest. Wheeler, who I mentioned as a legit Cy Young contender, looks ready for the long season. Eflin looks to build on his 2020, however he is dealing with some back tightness. He was skipped in the rotation this week, so his status is something to keep an eye on.
Moore and Anderson are both newcomers to the rotation. Moore has been arguably the best starter this spring, pitching eight innings of one run ball. Anderson has been one of the more consistent pitchers in the Majors over the last few seasons, but is coming off a down year. He looked really good in his start against the Yankees on Monday. He looks like he could be a prime bounce back candidate for the Phillies.
Bullpen (8): Archie Bradley, Hector Neris, Jose Alvarado, Sam Coonrod, Connor Brogdon, Brandon Kintzler, JoJo Romero, and David Hale
What a 180 for a bullpen that was historically bad in 2020. Half of the projected bullpen would be new additions to this team. It seems the closer role is between Bradley and Neris — both have looked good this spring. If another lefty makes the team (i.e. Tony Watson or Ranger Suarez), Alvarado is a dark horse for that closer spot. He has looked electric, armed with a high 90s fastball and a 92 mph slider that is just devastating.
In his short time with the big club last year, Brogdon showed some real promise. He could be on his way to a big breakout season in 2021, and the Phillies would be all the better for it. Hale has been hated on a lot since the team acquired him. However, Girardi trusts him a great deal, dating back to their time in the Bronx. He’s looked good when he’s pitched, and he’s already on the 40 man roster.
Kintzler is on a minor league deal, and has looked good so far in Spring Training. Prior to Haseley’s injury, I tabbed Watson to make this team over Romero. However, the roster crunch has become more evident with the injury. Watson giving up four runs in a single appearance could be the reason he won’t make it.
A notable missing name from this team is Vince Velazquez, who I think has thrown his last pitch as a Phillie. I think it is about time for a change of scenery for Vinny Velo. He has had countless opportunities over the years, and hasn’t be able to seize any of them. Look for DD to trade him to open up a roster spot for a NRI.
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