The Final Push for the Phillies’ Starting Centerfielder
Adam Haseley entered Spring Training as the clear front-runner to win the Phillies’ starting centerfield job. He hit an opposite-field leadoff home run on the club’s second pitch of Spring on February 28th. Shortly after on March 4th, Haseley strained his left adductor and was sidelined for the majority of camp.
Haseley was able to return sooner than expected this past week and went 1-for-2 on Tuesday and 0-for-3 Wednesday. Haseley’s absence the majority of Spring Training opened up the doors for Roman Quinn, Scott Kingery, and Odubel Herrera to compete for the starting centerfield position.
Roman Quinn, who’s had a quietly solid camp, is batting .294 with two doubles, one home run, one RBI, three walks, 12 strikeouts, and three stolen bases, has emerged as the front-runner to secure the Opening Day start for the Phillies in centerfield. After a hot start, Odubel Herrera is closing out Spring Training batting .209 with three home runs, three RBIs, one walk, nine strike outs, and a .694 OPS. Scott Kingery, who is currently rebuilding his swing, is hanging around in the mix for a job in centerfield while having a terrible camp. Kingery went 1-for-3 yesterday, but is only batting .139 with a .455 OPS during Spring Training this year.
When I went through my Opening Day roster predictions for the Phillies, I had Odubel Herrera slated to make the team in centerfield. That may no longer be the case thanks to Adam Haseley returning from injury sooner than expected.
Outfield: Bryce Harper, Andrew McCutchen, Odúbel Herrera, Matt Joyce, and Roman Quinn
Obviously one name that stands out on the list of outfielders for the Philadelphia Phillies would be Odubel Herrera. Herrera slashed .276/.333/.423/.756 with 60 home runs and 233 RBI in just over four years in the majors with the Phillies before serving an MLB mandated suspension without pay in 2019 for simple-assault involving his girlfriend in an Atlantic City Casino.
Herrera has been invited to the Phillies minicamp, which is essentially the Phillies version of Minor League camp this Spring. It will give him the opportunity to earn his spot on the Opening Day roster. Herrera seized the opportunity and is slashing .242/.242/.758 with eight hits, eight runs, three home runs, three RBI, and one stolen base this Spring.
Mickey Moniak has had a fantastic Spring Training but it’s likely he will start the season in Triple-A. Moniak is slashing .286/.400/1.162 with six hits, five runs, two home runs, and two RBI this Spring and will definitely be the first call-up for the Phillies later this season.
As predicted, Mickey Moniak was optioned to Triple-A earlier this week. Matt Joyce was thought to be a lock to make the Phillies roster as a bench player in the outfield. Scott Kingery and Brad Miller could slide into infield bench and/or utility player roles on the Opening Day roster. As much as I would like to see Kingery head to Triple-A so he can focus on fixing his broken swing, the fact that Kingery can fill a utility role and play multiple positions, will land him on the roster.
That leaves us with Haseley, Herrera, and Quinn in centerfield. If the Phillies are comfortable with Joyce as a bench option in the outfield, that means that they are still one player over the five spots in the outfield on the Opening Day roster. This could mean that Odubel Herrera could start the season in Triple-A. Why Herrera? It would benefit the Phillies to option Herrera because they would not have to clear a 40-man roster spot since he was in Spring Training as a non-roster invite.
Roman Quinn could get the nod in centerfield, at least to start Opening Day. Given the track record of Herrera, I wouldn’t rule him out either. We’ll find out this weekend what direction Joe Girardi and the Phillies will take the outfield come April 1st.
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