Pedro Florimon to the DL, Reportedly Mitch Walding to the Majors
The Phillies entered the 2018 season with a 40 man roster full of pitchers. On the surface it made a lot of sense. The team was going to run a 4 man bench, it was going to run a fairly stable lineup, and the major league team had enough positional flexibility to withstand minor injuries. Largely this year, that has held true, with the only 25 man roster injury being J.P. Crawford’s. In that instance the Phillies moved Kingery into his spot, Pedro Florimon into his spot, and promoted Jesmuel Valentin to sit in Pedro Florimon’s spot on the bench.
Then last night happened and Pedro Florimon broke his foot on a foul ball. This left the Phillies in a bit of a tough place. Crawford just started his rehab and is probably at minimum 4-5 days away. Roman Quinn is out for a few months with a finger injury. That leaves the only healthy hitter on the 40 man roster as Dylan Cozens. Cozens has big power, but as evidenced by his 38.3% strikeout rate, he is not major league ready. That means the Phillies had to look off of the 40 man roster. The good news is that they now have room for all of the wrong reasons as they can move either Jerad Eickhoff or Pat Neshek to the 60 day DL.
Using this space, the Phillies are reportedly calling up third baseman Mitch Walding. Walding was once a pretty good prospect in the Phillies system. In the 2011 draft the Phillies gave him $800,000 to not attend Oregon. In pro ball, Walding moved to third and had the raw tools to be a decent defender there, but there have been mixed reports over the years. Walding has a great looking swing from the left side, but until 2016 he did not make any impact with the swing. Some changes, including lofting the ball more, to his swing in 2016 leading to a power explosion in 2017.
The Phillies re-signed Walding this offseason when he became a minor league free agent. At the plate, Walding has average to slightly above power. He is a patient hitter, who walks at a high clip, but also runs a high strikeout rate. Walding isn’t useless against left handed pitchers, but he has some pretty large platoon splits. Overall his bat is a bit light to be anything more than a second division regular at third, and his ideal role is as a 4 corners (1B, 3B, LF, RF) bench bat.
For now, Walding will be on the Phillies bench and maybe will get a start for Franco vs a right handed starter. When Crawford is back, the Phillies will need to figure out whether they want positional flexibility in Jesmuel Valentin or a better bench bat in Walding. Walding still has 3 minor league options, so the Phillies can send him back to AAA with idea of him at minimum being a bat off the bench in September.
EDIT: To make room for Mitch Walding the Phillies transferred Jerad Eickhoff to the 60 day DL.