Phillies Update: Opening Day Starter, Position Battles, and Today’s Lineup
For the fifth straight year, Aaron Nola will start Opening Day for the Philadelphia Phillies.
Nola pitched his second start of the Spring yesterday with mixed results. He walked none and struck out three but gave up two home runs. Throughout two starts in Spring Training this year, he’s allowed a total of four home runs while walking none and striking out eight batters.
I’m not one to put too much stake into starting pitchers in Spring Training. They are all working through pitches and just trying to get their arms ready for the regular season. However, a bounce back season from Aaron Nola will be a key piece to the Phillies rotation success.
After Opening Day with Nola, the rotation will look a bit different given the uncertainty about who’s ready to take the mound in the starting rotation.
Joe Girardi stated yesterday that Kyle Gibson would likely get the ball in game two, since Zach Eflin, Ranger Suarez, and Zack Wheeler are all behind in their progressions.
Gibson will get the start today in Florida for the Phillies, and Eflin will likely make his Spring Training debut against the Tigers tomorrow.
Today’s Phillies Lineup:
Position Battles – Third Base
There have been more than a few rumors being floated around that the Phillies could be looking to shop Alec Bohm before the end of Spring Training.
That would mean that they are confident in moving Didi Gregorius to third base with Bryson Stott starting at shortstop, OR that Johan Camargo is being considered as a viable third base option this season.
Camargo was the regular third baseman for the Atlanta Braves in 2018 before Josh Donaldson signed a one-year deal with the team. From there, the Braves had Austin Riley emerge to solidify the starting job, leaving Carmargo the odd man out.
In 2018 as a starter with the Braves, Camargo slashed .272/.349/.457 with a .806 OPS. He hit 19 home runs with 76 RBI in 134 games.
Camargo played well in Triple-A last season, hitting .326 with 24 doubles, four triples, 19 home runs, 67 RBIs, and a .958 OPS over 104 games.
We all know Bohm’s story. He exploded on the season during the COVID-shortened 2020 season batting .326 with a .958 OPS, finishing in second place in the NL Rookie of the Year voting.
Last season, Bohm struggled at the plate and has been downright miserable to watch playing defense.
Not sure how the cookie will crumble but I would have to believe that Camargo at the very least, will earn a spot on the bench for the Phillies on Opening Day.
Position Battles – Centerfield
Odubel Herrera won’t be ready for Opening Day leaving the centerfield position wide open. It’s likely that Matt Vierling will get the Opening Day nod and Adam Haseley will be the backup option, or possibly platoon with Vierling to start the season.
What about Mickey Moniak?
Here’s the thing, I don’t believe that Joe Girardi likes Moniak. When talking about the possibility of him landing a spot in centerfield, Girardi said he wasn’t even being considered, which lead us to believe that is in fact, Vierling and Haseley in center.
However, Moniak has been very solid this Spring and if he continues to play well, it will be hard to ignore him as a viable outfield open come Opening Day.
I would love to see Moniak in the outfield on the Phillies roster at the start of the season with Nick Maton and Camargo landing bench spots. One thing about the Phillies, they rarely like to let their young prospects play at the major league level until they are developed, or in the case of centerfield, have no other choice.
That leaves me with some doubt about the young guys making the final roster heading into the season. We need to stop acting like Moniak is a bust. He’s 23-years old and has at least another two years to figure shit out before everyone writes him off. This is baseball. Relax.