This season, the Phillies are off to a hot start, taking the first two series games against the Oakland Athletics. The Phillies organization is showing that their moves are impacting the team overall and making the push for the NL East title.
However, the Phillies have made questionable off-season moves regarding their outfield depth.
The Phillies have a fantastic landscape of starting outfielders in Bryce Harper, Kyle Schwarber, Nick Castellanos, Matt Vierling, and Mickey Moniak. Unfortunately, Moniak got hurt, and the Phillies promoted Simon Muzzioti from Double-A to the MLB roster to back up the starters.
The Phillies re-signed Odubel Herrera to a 1-year deal. Odubel Herrera comes with his off-field controversies and performance blunders which made him not a phan favorite, to say the least, last season.
Statistically, Herrera performed well in the centerfield position last year. He hit a .260 avg, .310 OBP, .416 SLG, 13 HR, and 51 RBIs. Not a terrible line, but also not great. Surprisingly, the two best-fielded positions by Phillies players in 2021 were centerfield and second base.
Knowing this shows that he at least made some impact defensively despite Odubel being known for his fielding blunders. Herrera got injured early in Spring Training and is currently rehabbing to get back.
Odubel will surface in the MLB this year at some point, given the fact he was to platoon centerfield with Matt Vierling, but other players have impacted that now.
According to him in Spring Training interviews, Mickey Moniak has completely changed as a player and person. He worked with hitting coach Kevin Long, who has helped him fix his batting approach to the point where Moniak had six home runs and above .300 BA.
The Phillies announced Moniak was making the Opening Day roster and starting in centerfield for the Phillies, but the last at-bat he had at Tropicana Field, he fractured his hand and is out for 4-6 weeks.
After his selection in the first round of the 2016 MLB Draft, Moniak struggled for years in the minors. However, this spring really seemed that things were on the up and up.
Mickey Moniak will return and get his reps in centerfield and at the plate, but it will be interesting to see who remains on the 26-man roster for the May 1st deadline.
Matt Vierling came up from the minors and had a small sample size for the Phillies, but he played 34 games and hit .324/.364/.479, which is a great stat line for a rookie ballplayer just coming up.
Vierling was the favorite to man centerfield coming into this season regardless of the Phillies re-signing Herrera. His spring numbers were not that great, but he hit over .200 and fielded decently to put him in the starting spot for Opening Day.
Vierling has had quality at-bats in the first couple of games despite being 0/6. He has knocked in a run and had great contact on the ball. If there are Phillies Phans out there worried already, do not fear because Vierling will surely get his hits.
Simon Muzziotti is a Venezuelan-born outfielder in the Phillies organization who got promoted to the MLB due to the Moniak injury. Muzziotti is the type of outfielder who can actually field and is a contact hitter with little to no power.
Muzziotti had eight at-bats this spring in big-league camp and hit .375, which is not bad for a minor leaguer who rose all the way to Triple-A last season. Muzziotti can fully back up the outfielders and make significant contact in the 9-hole spot of the lineup.
This Phillies team will need someone with his fielding acumen to make plays in critical situations where fielding might be more crucial than tearing the cover off the ball. Simon Muzziotti is also a better answer than the recent re-signing of Roman Quinn.
The Dominican-born corner outfield prospect for the Philadelphia Phillies has finally entered the chat room. Jhailyn Ortiz was a non-roster invitee to Spring Training and had a few at-bats where he was 2/4 in three games.
The sample size is very small, but the fact that the Phillies invited him shows that they see him capable of coming to the show and performing if need be.
Phans should not expect the Phillies to have to promote Ortiz, but he might be a fun September call-up during expanded rosters.
What can I say about this re-signing besides, Why?
The Phillies needed to get away from the Andrew Knapps, Roman Quinns, and Odubel Herreras of the past 5-6 years to make a real impact this season. Two out of the three names above are back in the organization for “depth” purposes.
As a Phan and a student of the game, from an objective point of view, “we need to fill some minor league roles for depth purposes” makes sense. However, knowing this team, they will value and promote players like Roman Quinn, who do not deserve to be on an MLB roster.
Quinn has had terrible performances for the Phillies and has negatively impacted the team with terrible baserunning, lousy fielding, and next to no offensive production.
Here is hoping that the Phillies stay healthy and do not have to dip this far down in their depth.
The Phillies will have Bryce Harper manning rightfield and interchanging Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos in Left to maximize the offensive output of the lineup and team. The DH will float around a bit, but Castellanos seems to have that down for the time being.
Centerfield is hopefully going to be platooned by Moniak and Vierling when healthy. Still, Odubel Herrera could make a surprise push depending on his rehabilitation from his injury that also sits him out.
In the meantime, Muzziotti was a great choice to promote to help Vierling and the outfield out. Assuming all goes well, the Phillies should not have to go any farther than Moniak, Vierling, Herrera, and Muzziotti this season.
Ortiz is an excellent young prospect to facilitate any needs in the outfield, but I hope this organization can avoid promoting Roman Quinn to the majors at all costs. The Phillies are capable and deep in the outfield regardless of a couple of questionable off-season re-signings.
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