The Phillies Youth Movement is In Full Swing
That is the number of players 30 years old or older on the Phillies’ active roster after Daniel Nava was moved to the 60 day DL. Those players are RHP Luis Garcia and IF Andres Blanco. Last night the oldest player to take the field for the Phillies was 28 year old Cameron Rupp. The Phillies had two 22 year olds on the field in J.P. Crawford and Victor Arano. Their superstar right now is 24 year old Rhys Hoskins. This hasn’t been just a youth movement based on September callups, it has been a slow build all season with a final culmination as the Phillies head towards the end of the year.
Last night wasn’t the youngest the Phillies lineup could be, here is how they stack up right now by position.
Lineup: Jorge Alfaro (24), Cameron Rupp (28), J.P. Crawford (22), Maikel Franco (25), Freddy Galvis (27), Cesar Hernandez (27), Aaron Altherr (26), Odubel Herrera (25), Rhys Hoskins (24), Nick Williams (24)
Average Age: 25
Yes I know there are 10 names here, but the Phillies have used Crawford, Franco, Cesar, and Galvis in a mix where 3 are playing every night. Meanwhile at catcher, the Phillies are still splitting time between Rupp and Alfaro. Andrew Knapp (25) is back from the DL, but has yet to appear in a game.
Bench: Andrew Knapp (25), Andrew Blanco (33), Tommy Joseph (26), Ty Kelly (29), Hyun Soo Kim (29), Cameron Perkins (26)
Average Age: 28
Knapp is the only player on the bench expected to be back next year, and when he does he will bring the age of the lineup down as he replaces Cameron Rupp.
Rotation: Henderson Alvarez (27), Mark Leiter Jr. (26), Ben Lively (25), Aaron Nola (24), Nick Pivetta (24), Jake Thompson (23)
Average Age: 25
Every one of these pitchers feels like they have been around forever. Henderson Alvarez was 21 when he made his debut back in 2011, Jake Thompson and Aaron Nola were both 22 when they made the majors in 2016 and 2015 respectively. Nola is the only one of this group that is a lock to be in the rotation next year, but I think it is important to note the youth in the rest of the rotation when thinking about future improvement or moves to the bullpen.
Bullpen: Victor Arano (22), Zac Curtis (25), Luis Garcia (30), Hoby Milner (26), Adam Morgan (27), Hector Neris (28), Ricardo Pinto (23), Edubray Ramos (24), Yacksel Rios (24), Kevin Siegrist (28)
Average Age: 26
Hector Neris and Luis Garcia are older than you might think. Hoby Milner and Adam Morgan are younger than they appear. The real key for me to this group is Arano, Pinto, Ramos, and Rios. That group of pitchers have really struggled at times this year, but they throw hard, they show good offspeed pitches and they have youth on their side. There is not a future closer in that group, but there may be Garcia/Neris replacements in that bunch, and as we have seen in the case of Adam Morgan, it can take a bit for some of these things to click.
Disabled List: Clay Buchholz (33), Zach Eflin (23), Jerad Eickhoff (26), Jesen Therrien (24), Vince Velasquez (25), Pedro Florimon (30), Daniel Nava (34)
Average Age: 29
The presence of Nava, Florimon, and Buchholz drives the age up here. I do want to briefly look at Eflin, Eickhoff, and Velasquez here, because they are young. We all know the Phillies are going to need outside pitching help this offseason, but they need something from this group. All are young enough to make a bullpen transition if needed, but all 3 will compete for a rotation spot next year.
Can the Phillies run out a lineup and rotation that will average 25-26 next year? Probably not. The lineup should stay on the young side (with the obvious caveat that everyone will be a year older), but it is clear that while the Phillies have youth on their side in their pitching, that youth outside of Nola has not contributed to wins. Either way, the kids are up and they are playing, and on offense they are contributing.