Phillies spring training position battles: third base, the bench, the bullpen and more

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With just two weeks to go before the Phillies kick off a highly anticipated 2022 regular season, there are still a few spots up for grabs, making for potentially compelling exhibition baseball in Clearwater.

Here’s a look at the key players in those battles and who currently has the upper hand.

third base

inside track:Alec Bohm | In the race: Johan Camargo, Nick Castellanos

The most intriguing positional battle might be the one no one expected. After newly acquired Nick Castellanos, a corner fielder by trade who began his career playing third base, was seen taking grounders at third earlier this week, it was natural to wonder why. Phils manager Joe Girardi both denied that Castellanos was a candidate to play third down at all and that Bohm had to fight to keep his starting third baseman position.

NBCSP’s Jim Salisbury expanded on that, saying Bohm could also be a trade candidate for the Phils. Can Johan Camargo steal the job from the former Phillies top prospect? We’ll have to see if Bohm will rise to the occasion over the next week.

Shortstop

inside track: Didi Gregorius | In the race: Bryson Stott

Bryson Stott is currently the Phillies’ top prospect in playing position, and having him grab a starting role at shortstop would be a huge boost for the Phillies, who pay the tax. luxury for the first time and will likely break camp with a free majority. list of agents/commercial acquisition. Stott, 24, had a stellar year in the minors last year and looks set for the leap to the majors.

The problem, there’s a $15 million+ veteran in Didi Gregorius, who struggled last season and put Girardi on the spot, saying he may not be back in 2022. Eh well, he’s back, and the inclusion of Universal DH makes him more likely he remains on the 26-man roster. Stott looks to be starting the year in Triple-A until he gets the chance to “Wally Pip” Gregorius and take the shortstop job for good.

Backup Recoverer

inside track: Garrett Stubbs | In the race: Donny Sands, Logan O’Hoppe

Many expected one of the Phils’ top prospects, Rafael Marchan, to be the backup receiver, but the Phillies decided he wasn’t quite ready, dropping the 23-year-old back to the minors. a few days ago. That means one of the two offseason acquisitions, or another Logan O’Hoppe prospect, will open the year as a JT Realmuto understudy.

Donny Sands is 25 and has never appeared in the majors. Through extensive minor league work spanning 12 different teams and six different levels, Sands is a .268 hitter with 26 home runs and 183 RBI in 368 games. Garrett Stubbs is 26 and has played 51 games for the Astros, and he may be the low-risk game in this spot to start the year — although he carries a lighter bat than Sands. O’Hoppe is 22 and recently hit .299 in the Arizona Fall League. With Realmuto expected to play over 130 games behind the plate, it would be a waste for O’Hoppe to sit on the bench most nights.

bullpen

inside track: Jose Alvarado, Seranthony Dominguez, Jeurys Familia, Brad Hand, Corey Knebel, Sam Coonrod, Connor Brogdon | In the race: Bailey Falter, Damon Jones, Chris Sanchez, Nick Nelson, others

It looks like the first seven pitchers here are locks to make the bullpen. Some are returning veterans, like Alvarado and Dominguez, and others were recruited as mercenaries. There are probably two or three spots up for grabs, with farmhands Damon Jones, Christopher Sanchez and Bailey Falter with the best chance of winning a mid or long reliever role. The battle for the pen could be the most open of positional battles, and if anyone absolutely knocks the batters down in the next two weeks, there could be a surprise arm at Citizens Bank Park.

OF/IF bench

inside track:Johan Camargo | In the race: Scott Kingery, Nick Maton, Ronald Torreyes, Adam Haseley, Luke Williams, Simon Muzziotti

For our purposes here, let’s just assume Bohm starts at third base and Matt Vierling gets the center field position, with Odubel Herrera on the short-term injured reserve to start the year. If we don’t include the backup receiver, there are probably three spots on the roster to split between these contestants.

For the utility role on the field, the Phillies really like Camargo. Will they pair him with local hero Scott Kingery? Nick Maton had a good spring and had a lot of at-bats and is probably his main contender for the role. Both can play infield and outfield.

When it comes to that fifth outfield role, former first-round pick Adam Haseley may have the advantage there simply based on the investment the team has already made in hm – although you may be sure Williams and Muzziotti will do their best to make a statement that this outside work should be theirs.


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