Phillies face glaring depth issues as the season rolls into summer
The Phillies got a much needed “team win” in last night’s 8-3 victory over the Miami Marlins. When Ronald Torreyes capitalized the seven-run eighth inning rally with a two-run double to give the Phillies the lead, the Phillies and fans alike are better off taking that win to the bank, cashing the check in the win column, and moving on as quickly as possible.
It’s tough being “that guy” to point out the glaring issue with the Phillies, a team that currently sits in second place in the National League East with a record of 22-20, a game behind the first place New York Mets. The issues depth issues the Phillies are currently having aren’t specific to just them. Injuries have plagued the NL East all season long.
Phillies Compared to Rest of NL East
Just last night, the New York Mets played without their four best outfielders, two of their infielders, and their number one starting pitcher. The first place team in the NL East, who went out and brought in the biggest prize of the MLB offseason in Francisco Lindor who is slashing .195/.309/.289, can barely field a healthy team.
Three time defending division champions the Atlanta Braves lost their best young pitcher in Huascar Ynoa because he punched the dugout wall. The Braves are playing without two of their catchers and an unhealthy pitching staff has landed them the fourth worst ERA in all of Major League Baseball. The Nationals, who are in last place, have scored the fourth-fewest runs per game and the Marlins can’t get any offense going outside of two or three players in their lineup.
Point being, the entire NL East is in shambles and the Phillies are smack dab in the middle of everything dealing with the same issues as everyone else. It’s going to be a long summer. The Phillies have major depth issues. Thankfully, players like Nick Maton have stepped up when called upon and exceeded all expectations. Brad Miller has performed well as a utility bat off the bench, but besides those two players, there’s literally no one else.
Scott Kingery, a player that currently has no business being in the MLB, was forced to play right field in Florida during the Phillies’ weekend series against the Toronto Blue Jays. Kingery, who has only played right field nine times throughout his career, misjudged a few fly balls and ultimately ran into the wall, giving himself a concussion and landing a spot on the 7-day concussion protocol list. Didi Gregorius is heading to the injured list with swelling in a sore left elbow that has kept him in and out of the lineup all season. JT Realmuto, who has also been in and out of the lineup, was unavailable last night.
Phillies Players Available on the 40-Man Roster
The Phillies 40-man roster in Triple-A Lehigh Valley is filled with a bunch of players that can’t even be considered prospects. The only position player on the 40-man roster that is healthy but not in a Phillies uniform right now is Mickey Moniak. Most of the 40-man roster is filled with pitching depth, but even that is hard to consider depth at this point.
JoJo Romero was the Phillies only other left-handed reliever in the bullpen behind Jose Alvarado. Romero was sent to the 60-Day Injured List yesterday and will require season-ending Tommy John Surgery. The Phillies have promoted Range Suárez as the second lefty in the bullpen. Suárez recorded two key outs in the Phillies’ comeback win against the Washington Nationals last Wednesday.
The Phillies are on record in saying that they prefer to have Suárez serve as rotation depth. He was a part of the starting rotation in Lehigh Valley and the Phillies will likely want to keep him there given the uncertainty of depth in that part of their pitching as well.
Keep an eye on Damon Jones, who has recently transitioned into a bullpen role for the 2021 season in the minor leagues. Jones is a hard throwing lefty that has struck out five and walked one in 3 1/3 scoreless innings for the IronPigs in the early goings of the minor league season. It’s likely that Jones will be the next call up on the depth chart for the Phillies.
The Phillies did get their highest paid reliever back last night in Archie Bradley, who will undoubtedly help bolster the bullpen who desperately needs healthy arms. Bryce Harper spoke with the media yesterday and gave the front office a vote of confidence, calling Dave Dombrowski “Dombo” (love it) while continuing to say that “he’s going to get the guys that he needs to” when speaking on the Phillies bringing in some much needed help heading into the summer months.
We still find ourselves in the early part of the 2021 Major League Baseball season. Everyone is dealing with injuries and lingering COVID-19 protocols. In the National League East, it will be a dog fight until the end of summer. For the Phillies, it’s about staying as healthy as possible and continuing to keep their heads above water in the standings.
Up Next: Zach Eflin is on the mound tonight against Trevor Rodgers. The Phillies are in second place in the NL East with a record of 22-20. The Mets have a one game lead on the Phillies in first place, with a record of 20-16.
Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY SPORTS