Philadelphia Phillies: 10 Dark Horses to Make Their Opening Day Roster

Mike AngelinaContributor IIIJanuary 25, 2012

Philadelphia Phillies: 10 Dark Horses to Make Their Opening Day Roster

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    The Phillies appear to be set with making big moves for the 2012 season.

    However, that does not mean that the projected roster could change.

    Injuries are a big question mark with this team and Ruben Amaro has left some room for spring training competition in the bullpen. With both of these being the case, roster spots could be won with solid performances down in Clearwater.

    The following presentation will list the 10 biggest dark horses to break camp on the team with the Phillies.

10: Michael Martinez

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    How he makes the team: If like last year (although without the pressure of his Rule 5 status), the Phillies leave spring training with one of their infielders injured. If the infielder is Wilson Valdez, consider Martinez a near-lock to make the team.

    In an unlikely scenario, the team keeps him for his speed. But as we’ll see later in the slide show, there is perhaps a better candidate for that.

9: Erik Kratz

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    How he makes the team: The big catcher gets on simply if one of the two catchers, Carlos Ruiz and Brian Schneider, are injured. Gone is Dane Sardinha, who was the team’s third string catcher each of the last two seasons. Keep in mind: both Chooch and Schneider have landed on the DL each in the past two seasons.

8: Joel Pineiro

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    How he makes the team: Either Kyle Kendrick is injured, or two of the following are injured: Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Vance Worley, Cole Hamels or Joe Blanton.

    Pineiro could fill in for Kendrick in the longman role, or if two of the starters get hurt, he could join the rotation alongside Kendrick himself.

    Why not higher? His own injuries, as well as there may being something as to why it took a while to find an interested team.

7: Brian Sanches

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    How he makes the team: An injury or struggles from Mike Stutes would open the door for Sanches, a nonroster invitee. Sanches has a considerable resemblance to Stutes that he would replace his face and not just his arm.

6: Joe Savery

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    How he makes the team: Savery is a more intriguing option to make the team compared to the other relievers because he throws left-handed. He could make the team if he impresses everyone in spring training or if either Dontrelle Willis or Antonio Bastardo suffer an early injury.

    Although he has a few different ways of getting to the big leagues, he is not as likely as other relievers to make the team. He is back as a pitcher for less than a year, and both he and the team could benefit seeing him back on the bump for a portion of another season on the farm.

5: Phillippe Aumont

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    How he makes the team: The fire-ball throwing right-hander breaks camp if Bastardo and Stutes struggles the same way they did at the end of last season and Jose Contreras does not appear healthy enough to contribute.

4: Justin De Fratus

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    How he makes the team: Of the few young relievers I list, he would appear to have the best chance of making the team. He makes the team if the team simply reminds itself why David Herndon was available as a Rule 5 selection two offseasons ago.

3: Brad Lidge

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    How he makes the team: He accepts a minor league deal or very low-salary major league deal, and whether his fastball is effective enough to make him a reliable right-handed specialist out of the bullpen.

2: Pat Misch

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    How he makes the team: Misch shows why it is an advantage to being left-handed. He makes the team if he puts together a solid camp and the team likes the flexibility of having a left-handed long man to team with Kendrick. I also have more confidence in Misch in the mop-up role or late games that have already been decided than I do with former bust David Purcey.

1: Scott Podsednik

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    How he makes the team: The Phillies decide to carry 11 pitchers and look around their bench to see his legs are needed. Jim Thome is no faster than a hipless Ross Gload, Ty Wigginton’s not much better, Laynce Nix is adequate but no speedster, Valdez is below average for a middle infielder and Brian Schneider, in addition to being so slow, has gotten hurt trying to score the past two seasons. The Phillies could use some wheels to come pinch-run late in games and Podsednik would be their man.