A Too Early Look at the 25-Man Roster: Fifth Outfielder Battle

With pitchers and catchers scheduled to report to Clearwater on February 13th–one short week from now–it is certainly early to look forward to which 25 players will emerge from Spring Training as members of the Phillies Opening Day roster. Two weeks ago, we looked at the locks to break camp with the Major League club. Last week, we began looking at the actual roster battles that could emerge over the next two months. We’ll conclude that series this week.

Previous installments:

Pitching (Locks)

Infield (Locks)

Outfield (Locks)

Backup Catcher

Lefty Reliever

Candidates

With four outfield spots essentially on lockdown with the starting outfield of Odubel Herrera, Michael Saunders, and Howie Kendrick and Aaron Altherr likely to make the team as a fourth outfielder, the Phillies will be looking to find a fifth outfielder out of the remaining candidates in camp.

Those include two non-roster invites in Chris Coghlan and Daniel Nava, who have both, at various points in their careers, have had success in the major leagues. They are joined by Roman Quinn, who was impressive in his September major league debut, but could potentially benefit more from the regular playing time that would be afforded him at Lehigh Valley than a bit role against major leaguers as a fifth outfielder. Continue reading…

Who Are You: Joaquin Benoit

This post is part of a weekly series which will run each Thursday. Over the next several weeks, I’ll take a deep dive look at new members of the Phillies roster. We’re just a couple months away from settling down to watch these guys day-in and day-out for half a year, so let’s try to find out who they are and what to expect from them in 2017.

Previous Installments:

Howie Kendrick

Pat Neshek


Joaquin Benoit – RHP

Born: 7/26/1977 – entering age-39 season

Height: 6’4” Weight: 250 lb.

2016: 48 IP, 3.90 ERA, 25.5 K%, 11.8 BB%, 150 ERA+

MLB Career: 1018.1 IP, 3.79 ERA, 23.6 K%, 9.7 BB%, 117 ERA+

Contract Status: Signed to one-year, $7.5 million contract Continue reading…

A Too Early Look at the 25-Man Roster: Lefty Reliever Battle

With pitchers and catchers scheduled to report to Clearwater on February 13th–three short weeks from now–it is certainly early to look forward to which 25 players will emerge from Spring Training as members of the Phillies Opening Day roster. Last week, we looked at the locks to break camp with the Major League club. That brings us to this week and next where we’ll turn to potential roster battles in the final two weeks before pitchers and catchers report.

Previous installments:

Pitching (Locks)

Infield (Locks)

Outfield (Locks)

Backup Catcher

With Andrew Knapp “winning” the backup catcher job Monday, we’re down to the final four spots on our predicted Opening Day roster. Continue reading…

A Too Early Look at the 25-Man Roster: Backup Catcher Battle

With pitchers and catchers scheduled to report to Clearwater on February 13th–three short weeks from now–it is certainly early to look forward to which 25 players will emerge from Spring Training as members of the Phillies Opening Day roster. Last week, we looked at the locks to break camp with the Major League club. That brings us to this week and next where we’ll turn to potential roster battles in the final two weeks before pitchers and catchers report.

Previous installments:

Pitching (Locks)

Infield (Locks)

Outfield (Locks)

Through the first part of this series, we identified 20 players who are, for practical purposes, guaranteed to be on the Phillies 25-man Opening Day roster. The composition of that is as follows:

Starting Pitchers (5): Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, Vince Velasquez, Jeremy Hellickson, and Clay Buchholz

Relief Pitchers (5): Hector Neris, Jeanmar Gomez, Pat Neshek, Joaquin Benoit, Edubray Ramos

Infielders (6): Cameron Rupp, Tommy Joseph, Cesar Hernandez, Freddy Galvis, Maikel Franco, Andres Blanco

Outfielders (4): Odubel Herrera, Michael Saunders, Howie Kendrick, Aaron Altherr

That leaves battles for the last five spots on the team in the following roles: Backup catcher, bullpen lefty, last bullpen spot, and two bench bats. We’ll start today with an examination of the roster battle for backup catcher.

The Candidates:

Realistically, the Phillies have three catchers in camp who could conceivably make the team as Cameron Rupp’s backup. While it’s fun to dream on Jorge Alfaro showing up, having a Spring Training like Maikel Franco’s last year, and forcing his way onto the roster, that isn’t going to happen. Alfaro is only entering his age-24 season (which is young for a catcher, developmentally) and, aside from his brief MLB debut in September, has never played above AA. He’ll start the season in AAA with the potential for a mid-season call if everything goes well.

That leaves three catchers in the mix: Andrew Knapp, Ryan Hanigan, and Bryan Holaday. Our preview will only focus on them. Continue reading…

Who Are You: Pat Neshek

This post is part of a weekly series which will run each Thursday. Over the next several weeks, I’ll take a deep dive look at new members of the Phillies roster. We’re just a couple months away from settling down to watch these guys day-in and day-out for half a year, so let’s try to find out who they are and what to expect from them in 2017.

Previous Installments:

Howie Kendrick


Pat Neshek – RHP

Born: 9/4/1980 – entering age-36 season

Height: 6’3″ Weight: 220 lb.

2016: 47.0 IP, 3.06 ERA, 23.2 K%, 6.0 BB%, 130 ERA+

MLB Career: 383.1 IP, 2.93 ERA, 24.5 K%, 7.8 BB%, 137 ERA+

Contract Status: Final year of a three-year, $18.5 million contract. Owed $6.5 million in 2017. Continue reading…

A Too Early Look at the 25-Man Roster: Outfield Locks

With pitchers and catchers scheduled to report to Clearwater on February 13th–three short weeks from now–it is certainly early to look forward to which 25 players will emerge from Spring Training as members of the Phillies Opening Day roster. This week, we’ll look at the locks to break camp with the Major League club before turning to potential roster battles in the final two weeks before pitchers and catchers report.

Previous installments:

Pitching (Locks)

Infield (Locks)

Odubel Herrera (CF): After signing his extension and averaging 4.0 rWAR over his first two seasons in the major leagues, Herrera is undoubtedly the Phillies starting center fielder not only in 2017, but for years to come. Herrera showed a number of promising improvements in 2016 over his rookie season:

BB% K% HR/FB SB
2015 5.2 24.0 7.6 16
2016 9.6 20.4 10.6 25

Despite the slight backtrack toward the end of the season in his plate discipline numbers, Herrera’s 2016 season, overall, established him as much more than a Rule 5 pick with a fluky debut. This is a potentially multi-time All-Star.

Continue reading…

A Too Early Look at the 25-Man Roster: Infield Locks

With pitchers and catchers scheduled to report to Clearwater on February 13th–three short weeks from now–it is certainly early to look forward to which 25 players will emerge from Spring Training as members of the Phillies Opening Day roster. This week, we’ll look at the locks to break camp with the Major League club before turning to potential roster battles in the final two weeks before pitchers and catchers report.

Previous installments:

Pitching (Locks)

Cameron Rupp (C): Rupp is well on his way to a long career as a backup catcher in the major leagues, but with no one in the organization ready to take the starting job from him in camp, he’ll remain as the team’s starter for a second-consecutive season. He fell off a bit in the second half, but, overall, posted a batting line almost exactly league average (99 OPS+). Ideally, Jorge Alfaro will take over this job by mid-season, but he won’t start the season there. Continue reading…

A Too Early Look at the 25-Man Roster: Pitching Locks

With pitchers and catchers scheduled to report to Clearwater on February 13th–three short weeks from now–it is certainly early to look forward to which 25 players will emerge from Spring Training as members of the Phillies Opening Day roster. This week, we’ll look at the locks to break camp with the Major League club before turning to potential roster battles in the final two weeks before pitchers and catchers report.

Starting Rotation

With the return of Jeremy Hellickson and the addition of Clay Buchholz through trade, the composition of the Phillies starting rotation is more or less set.

Aaron NolaThe only question with Aaron Nola is his health. After prematurely ending his 2016 season with an elbow injury, he elected a rest and rehab approach rather than undergo surgery. He recently claimed that he feels 100%, but manager Pete Mackanin expressed some tempered skepticism on that front. At 100% health, Nola is among the best pitchers in baseball, as we saw for his first 12 starts of 2016 in which he had a 2.65 ERA with a 27.2 percent strikeout rate. Continue reading…

Who Are You: Howie Kendrick

This is the first post in a weekly series which will run each Thursday. Over the next several weeks, I’ll take a deep dive look at new members of the Phillies roster. We’re just a couple months away from settling down to watch these guys day-in and day-out for half a year, so let’s try to find out who they are and what to expect from them in 2017.

Howie Kendrick (OF/2B) – RHB

Born: 7/12/1983, entering age-33 season

Height: 5’11”, Weight: 220 lb.

Contract Status: Will make $10 million in 2017, the final year of his contract.

2016 Stats: 543 PA, 9.2 BB%, 17.7 K%, .301 BABIP, .255/.326/.366, 91 wRC+, 0.9 fWAR, 0.5 rWAR

Career: 5457 PA, 5.3 BB%, 17.2 K%, .337 BABIP, .289/.332/.417, 106 wRC+, 26.9 fWAR, 29.1 rWAR Continue reading…