The Philadelphia Phillies are struggling. They have lost two of three to the Milwaukee Brewers. Both Saturday and Sunday’s games were winnable, but this line-up is not hitting. The Phillies infield situation is in shambles.
The Phightin’ Phils are not fighting at all. They play with no energy at all, and it shows.
There is no easy way to look at it this early in the season, but the boys in red pinstripes are by no means out of the hunt. One of the more intriguing storylines coming out of Spring Training was the state of the Phillies infield and who would be playing where by the May 1st deadline.
Day by day, game by game, the mood and decisions of the infield change for the Phils, and Girardi is just going with who is hot and who is not. It is a simple Modus Operandi, but this is how baseball works.
So, let’s go around the horn.
First Base seems pretty set in stone with Rhys Hoskins. He’s an abysmal fielder and batter. As a ballplayer, it’s a mystery how he can stay in this team in particular. Hoskins effectively draws a walk in an era of analytics and some teams taking the “Moneyball” approach to getting runs or getting on base.
The Phillies struggle to knock runs in so far this season, so Hoskins has become effectively useless in that sense. He is posting an above-average on-base percentage which makes him valuable in getting the runs, but he also has a terrible batting average and strikes out a lot.
Until the so-called “dingers” show up, Hoskins’s role as a place setter becomes obsolete. His lack of other baseball skills provides little to no aid to the team, and the Phillies should look to trade him for possibly another starting pitcher or package him to a team for prospects to bolster the farm system.
Jean Segura is holding down the fort at second, and there is no need to change that. As the lead-off man, Segura is perfect and should stay that way for the rest of the year. He can get that lead-off hit or walk when needed and has the patience and experience to be flexible at the plate.
The only other player who should be making appearances here is Bryson Stott. The Phillies’ number one overall prospect has not hit well in the regular season after a scorching hot Spring Training. His movement around the field as a “jack of all trades” character is strangely reminiscent of the Scott Kingery treatment of a few years ago.
Many were concerned about coming into the season with him on the Major League roster. Bryson Stott getting relegated to the minors might be in his future, but he needs more at-bats and chances to provide proof for him to stay with the big league club.
It might lead to more playing time in Lehigh Valley, but those extra at-bats and opportunities will prepare him more than sitting on the bench.
Didi Gregorius and Bryson Stott were going to fight it out for this spot, but it did not seem like the case when Stott (in Spring Training) provided more evidence to be the starting shortstop.
Gregorius is an average shortstop when he is healthy and has the potential to hit .300 BA when he is on it, but in recent seasons, he has not been healthy or worth his extension. However, Didi was playing well before he suffered his early-season injury.
As of now, Johan Camargo has taken up the mantle as “next man up” due to the sustainable fielding and consistent hitting he has provided in his starts. How long will it last? Only time will tell, but Camargo, when with Atlanta, was projected as the third baseman for the franchise’s future before inconsistency and the rise of Austin Riley.
Obviously, Atlanta made the right decision and won a World Series, but where does that leave the Phils in all of this?
Alec Bohm. Nothing more. He is the Phillies’ franchise third baseman. He was a ROY runner-up, he had a torrid sophomore slump, but he is coming back with a vengeance.
Bohm needed Stott’s challenge at third, which was good for him, but Stott did not benefit from switching positions. Stott needs to be playing shortstop and getting the reps he deserves until Didi returns.
Bohm’s errors are due to his trying too hard, but he is settling into making the plays and keeping the ball in front of him. He said things he shouldn’t have but also owned it, and Philly now embraces to conflicted third baseman with a passion.
The Phillies are playing below their salary and their ability. They need to shape up, or it will be another year wasted in mediocrity with additional overspending to add to the list of negatives. The Phils will not win until this team starts backing up their pitchers.
The Phillies Infield situation is terrible and needs fixing in all aspects of the game. If the bullpen and the pitchers are improving, then the hitters cannot cease to exist.
There is also hope that the umpires of the last two games will speak to ocular physicians immediately for the sake of America’s pastime.
Photo: Kate Frese/PHILLYVOICE