With the short Spring Training winding down, teams are starting to formulate their rosters for the regular season. Because of the lockout, teams will get two extra roster spots to start the season. For the Phillies, the extra roster space could end up being crucial. It allows them to, more than likely, carry two extra arms to get through the first couple of weeks.
The offseason acquisitions of Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber have reignited the fanbase’s excitement. While the team will still struggle defensively, they are going to score some runs. Runs are going to lead to some exciting baseball and, in turn, more fans in seats.
I know I certainly can’t wait for my first beer of the year in Citizens Bank Park.
Here’s Full Scale’s roster projection for the 2022 season (Italicized denotes injury):
Catchers (2): JT Realmuto and Garrett Stubbs
As should be the case, JT will be carrying the load behind the plate. Looking to rebound from what some would consider a down year, a lot of the pressure will be off Realmuto this year. No longer does he have to be the main protection for Bryce AND lead a pitching staff. In his 21 spring at-bats, he has seven hits, including four extra base knocks. I think he is ready to go.
Behind him will be a new face in Garrett Stubbs. Acquired from the Astros in the offseason, Stubbs won’t be playing much, barring injury. He has good defensive instincts behind the plate and blocks the ball well. Rafael Marchan was also in the mix, but it is probably better for him to get everyday reps. Donny Sands will split time with him down in Triple A, unless the Phillies DFA him to add extra pitching.
Infielders (6): Rhys Hoskins, Jean Segura, Didi Gregorius, Bryson Stott, Alec Bohm, Johan Camargo
Much of the 2021 infield will remain intact with one major change. Hoskins played in only 107 games last year because of a groin injury. The first baseman is looking to build on a solid 2021 and should have every opportunity in the middle of this lineup. Jean Segura will man second base again. Arguably the Phillies’ best defender, fans should expect him to hit around .280, while expecting Gold Glove caliber defense at the keystone.
Gregorius, in the last year of his deal, cannot perform much worse than he did last year. Frankly, the only reason he is still on the team is because of the money he is making. I don’t expect much from him, but Joe Girardi loves him, so he will be at SS. The big change comes at third base.
Stott, the Phillies’ No. 1 prospect, has had a huge spring. Going 8/15 with a home run, the team simply can’t justify sending him down to the minors. He is absolutely one of the nine best players on the team; thus, he deserves a spot. He will take over third base for the Phillies.
Alec Bohm and Johan Carmargo round out the infielders, with both playing multiple positions on the dirt. After it seemed like Bohm was going to be left behind, the team has changed course. This week, the team dropped more and more hints that both Stott and Bohm could make it. Nick Maton is the next guy up if something happens to any of the infield.
Outfielders (5): Bryce Harper, Nick Castellanos, Kyle Schwarber, Matt Vierling, Mickey Moniak, Odubel Herrera
Harper, the reigning NL MVP, is locked into his spot in right field. MV3 has hit the ball extremely hard this spring and looks ready for the 2022 season. The other two spots in the outfield will be a revolving door.
Castellanos and Schwarber are going to get much of the reps out in left field. Neither of them is going to be a defensive wizard, but that’s not why they were brought in. Both will be staples in the Phillies’ lineup for years to come. Whichever of the two isn’t in left field will probably be the designated hitter. Wherever they play, both are going to be important parts to getting the Phillies back into the playoffs.
In center, it was mentioned that it was going to be a platoon between Vierling and Odubel Herrera. With Herrera set to miss a few weeks with an oblique injury, I was under the assumption that Vierling would see the bulk of the time. He hit the ball hard in his limited at-bats last season and the team is high on him.
The trade of Adam Haseley opens a roster spot for Mickey Moniak, the No. 1 pick in 2016. He has looked impressive after making some adjustments. Moving closer to the plate has paid dividends for the young hitter, including two home runs yesterday against Detroit. Hitting .310 with five home runs this spring has put him squarely in the centerfield mix.
Starting Rotation (5): Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler, Zach Eflin, Kyle Gibson, Ranger Suarez
The rotation is the easiest position group to predict for the 2022 Phillies. When healthy, it is arguably the best rotation in the division. Lead by the 2021 Cy Young runner up Wheeler, this rotation should be a strength. Wheeler hasn’t faced live batters in game this spring, which is a little concerning. However, I have plenty of trust that he will be able to hit the ground running come the regular season. Nola, coming off a disappointing 2021, is in search of a bounce back season. He struck out 9 over 5.1 innings yesterday in his regular season dress rehearsal. A return to form for Nola is the biggest storyline of the season for the team.
Rounding out the rotation will be Eflin, Gibson, and Suarez. Elfin is fully healed from his offseason knee injury. His presence behind the top two will only benefit the team. Suarez threw a 1.36 ERA in 106 innings last year. He won’t match his ERA from last year, but even an ERA in the mid-to-high threes would be satisfactory. Gibson really struggled down the stretch for the team, but his value comes in eating innings. If he can find some of the magic he had down in Texas, Gibson will really help this team.
Bullpen (10): Corey Knebel, Brad Hand, Jeurys Familia, Jose Alvarado, Connor Brogdon, Seranthony Dominguez, Bailey Falter, Nick Nelson, Damon Jones, Cristopher Sanchez, Sam Coonrod
Another year, another bullpen construction. After years of struggling to find stability, the front office spent time and money reshaping the staff. Leading the way is Corey Knebel, who Dave Dombrowski gave $10 million to close games out. He has only pitched 39 innings since 2019, but he looked fantastic for the Dodgers last year. So far this spring, he has carried over last season’s success.
Backing up Knebel will be offseason acquisitions Hand and Familia, who both look to bounce back from down 2021 seasons. The team is in desperate need for a lefty to complement Alvarado, especially since he still hasn’t pitched this spring due to a neck injury. While it looks like the hard-throwing lefty will be ready for Opening Day, he will be limited. Outside of a forgettable outing against the Giants in April, Brogdon was very good for the Phillies last year. His velocity has been down to start the spring, so that is something to watch.
The real wildcard of this bullpen is Dominguez. I wrote that I thought he could be a ninth inning option this season, considering the way he has pitched in the shortened spring. I doubt they do it because it’s probable they promised Knebel the job, but, with success, it will be Dominguez’ job soon enough.
Falter, Jones, and Sanchez are all able to pitch multiple innings, which makes them valuable for piggyback appearances. Most pitchers are expected to pitch five innings in their first start, if that, so the team will need guys to eat innings. The last few spots could differ, depending on makeup of the roster elsewhere (specifically in the infield).
I think the Phillies have done better to prepare themselves for the NL East battle. The additions that the front office made, especially on offense, should help make this team much more fun to watch.
Like previous seasons, serious questions linger regarding the state of the team. Will Vierling/Moniak be able to hold down the center field position? Can the additions to the backend of the bullpen produce a different outcome than 2021? Will the 2022 Phillies score enough runs to cover up their defensive deficiencies? Time will tell.
One thing that is absolutely certain: Phillies baseball is back. It’s going to be a fun season folks.