The Phillies are 11-14 through 25 games in Clearwater. With three games left in Spring Training, the roster is beginning to take shape. There are still a few battles to watch in the bullpen and we still do not know who’s going to be starting in CF. However, with not many games left, the team is looking pretty much set.
The excitement for the 2021 Phillies is palatable. I, for one, can’t wait to have a cold adult beverage down at CBP to watch a game.
Changes from previous projection are italicized
Here’s Full Scale’s fourth and final 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. Realmuto was able to get nine at-bats this week, including a HR in his first plate appearance of the spring. He will need some more in-game reps before Opening Day, but he should be ready for Opening Day.
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, but should be ready if called upon by mid-April. The team released veteran Jeff Mathis from his contract earlier this week; just another sign JT will be ready to go.
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 has slashed .212/.316/.364 in 33 at-bats this spring. Jean Segura will be the starter at the keystone and has actually looked good there, hitting the ball hard to all fields. The double play pairing of Mean Jean and Sir Didi has a lot of chemistry already, and they should only build on it with more reps.
Gregorius signed a two-year deal to start at shortstop for the Phillies. While he is only currently hitting .200, Didi has hit the ball hard recently, including three HRs. 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 at least 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, Adam Haseley, 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. Both have hit the ball extremely hard this spring and look ready for the 2021 season. McCutchen, specifically, looks ready to rebound this season after working his way back from the ACL injury last year. A healthy McCutchen is my wild card for the Phillies. He will play a big role if they expect to get back to the postseason.
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 looked as if it was an opening for Herrera to make the team, but he could not capitalize. The embattled CF was invited to mini-camp this season, with the chance to earn a spot with his play. I had him making the team the last few lists after his strong start. However, the strong start couldn’t last, and he had gone five for his last 34 prior to yesterday’s 3/4 performance. Hopefully, the other teams in the MLB do not feel the need to give him another chance. Just hide him in the minors until his contract is up.
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 has already made 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 contract, but has been flat out terrible this spring. In 37 at-bats, Kingery has 15 Ks. It is evident that he’s still finding himself 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. He has been making a little push recently for the starting CF job, but I still think Haseley ends up there to start the season.
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. If he is not ready for Opening Day, expect Nick Maton to be on the roster until Miller is ready.
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 was arguably the best starter this spring, but kind of came back to earth in his last two starts. Anderson has been one of the more consistent pitchers in the Majors over the last few seasons, but has looked really good for the Phillies this spring. He looks like he could be a prime bounce back candidate for the Phillies. With Spencer Howard being sent back to the minors, both Moore and Anderson seem to have locked up their rotation spots in 2021.
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. Alvarado was a dark horse for the closer spot, but it looks like the Phillies will only carry two lefties. He, however, has continued to look 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 officially made the roster yesterday, after looking really good 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. That became clear yesterday when Watson opted out of his deal, making it almost certain Romero will have his name called.
A notable missing name from this team is Vince Velasquez, 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. Just looking at his usage this spring, he has only pitched 3.2 innings. Not the type of work you would expect from someone who’s definitely making the team.
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