Final Predictions for Who Will Make Philadelphia Phillies Roster
In the meantime, the Phillies have already put an end to most of the uncertainty surrounding the Opening Day roster.
By sending outfielder Darin Ruf to Triple-A to start the season, as Jim Salisbury wrote on CSNPhilly.com, the team currently has five healthy outfielders left in camp. By releasing Yuniesky Betancourt, as Jim Salisbury on CSNPhilly.com also reported yesterday, the Phillies have essentially determined what their bench will look like with backup catcher as a possible exception.
That leaves the bullpen as the only unsettled area heading into the final week of spring training.
Of course, just as Betancourt is now a roster cut of the Phillies, a number of other players will also soon be cut by teams and will become options for the Phils should they have interest.
Until then, here are final predictions for who will make the Phillies’ roster, with names to watch at each position included.
Starting Rotation (5)
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Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Kyle Kendrick, John Lannan
Not much changed throughout spring training as far as which players will begin the season in the starting rotation, although a handful of questions now surround Roy Halladay.
Halladay appeared in a minor league spring training game recently after his last two starts resulted in a rough outing in which he gave up seven earned runs, and an outing that was shortened due to a stomach virus.
According to Todd Zolecki on the Phillies’ website, Halladay allowed 11 of 18 batters to reach base and only hit 90 mph one time.
Nevertheless, Halladay is also quoted in Zolecki’s article as saying that he felt good and believes he can still increase his velocity.
In five spring starts, Halladay has 10 strikeouts in 12 innings but has also allowed nine earned runs and issued seven walks. His ERA is currently 6.75.
Besides Halladay, however, the Phillies’ rotation has turned in a strong camp with few concerns.
Cole Hamels, the Phillies’ Opening Day starter, has 12 strikeouts in 16 innings and has held opponents to a .182 batting average. His ERA stands at 1.13. Cliff Lee allowed four earned runs yesterday against the Boston Red Sox but has 19 strikeouts in 16.2 innings.
At the back end of the rotation, Kyle Kendrick has allowed eight earned runs but also has walked just two batters. In his last start, Kendrick gave up just two hits in six innings. John Lannan has allowed five earned runs in 14 innings and has held opponents to a .235 batting average.
With Halladay healthy and productive, the Phillies should have a starting rotation that can compete with the best in the major leagues. Even if Halladay struggles, however, the Phillies have a chance to still have a very strong rotation this season.
Name to watch: Aaron Cook. Cook can receive $100,000 if he is sent to the minor leagues. After pitching to a 3.38 ERA this spring, it appears as if Cook has the edge should a replacement be needed in the starting rotation.
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Jonathan Papelbon, Mike Adams, Chad Durbin, Antonio Bastardo, Jeremy Horst, Raul Valdes, Phillippe Aumont
The Phillies’ bullpen is the one area that is still unsettled in the lead up to Opening Day.
Although other areas of the roster may still see movement, these moves will likely involve bringing in players that are not currently on the roster. The bullpen, on the other hand, will consist of players currently in camp with the Phillies.
But which players?
Jonathan Papelbon, Mike Adams, Chad Durbin and Antonio Bastardo have long been locks for making the roster, leaving three open bullpen spots.
After the Phillies sent Jake Diekman and Justin De Fratus to minor league camp, four players essentially remained with opportunities for making the Opening day bullpen.
Jeremy Horst, Raul Valdes, Phillippe Aumont and Michael Stutes have survived each cut this far to give themselves a chance for making the roster.
Of these four, Horst appears to have rebounded nicely from early struggles. The left-hander has not given up an earned run or walked a batter since March 10th, lowering his ERA from 12.00 to 5.34 in the process.
The Phillies could keep Horst as a second left-hander behind Bastardo and fill the rest of the bullpen with right-handers. But the left-handed Valdes has also made a strong case for a roster spot as a reliever capable of throwing multiple innings.
Valdes has allowed seven earned runs in 14.1 innings, but has also struck out 17 batters while walking just one. Valdes threw three innings in two of his last three appearances, striking out a combined five batters while not giving up an earned run.
As for the final spot, the prediction is Aumont over Stutes due to slightly better command as of late.
Aumont has walked three batters in his last two appearances while racking up three strikeouts. He has also given up just three hits and two earned runs, while walking a total of three batters in 5.1 innings this spring. Aumont also missed time from camp while playing in the World Baseball Classic.
As for Stutes, five earned runs allowed and four walks issued in his last two appearances could lead to the Phillies starting him at Triple-A this season to get a few more innings under his belt.
A strong final week of camp, however, could still earn him a roster spot.
Name to watch: Michael Stutes
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Erik Kratz, Humberto Quintero, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Michael Young, Kevin Frandsen, Freddy Galvis
Following the release of Yuniesky Betancourt and with the possible exception of Steven Lerud being named as the backup catcher over Humberto Quintero, the Phillies infield has been locked into place.
Ryan Howard has had a tremendous spring training, batting .329 with seven home runs, 16 RBI and 23 hits in 23 games.
Chase Utley, after playing in his first spring training game since 2010, has three home runs and eight RBI in his last two games. Utley has raised his average to .291 in the process, with four home runs and 14 RBI in 19 games.
Jimmy Rollins and Michael Young have combined for 24 hits, 14 RBI and a .280 batting average.
Kevin Frandsen has cooled off after batting .385 earlier in camp but has also been limited to just one at-bat in recent games. Frandsen, who is out of minor league options, will fill one reserve infield role off the bench.
Filling the other reserve role will be Freddy Galvis, who has beaten out Betancourt after batting .281 with 18 hits in 24 games and playing exceptional defense. Despite a high strikeout total, Galvis’ offense has seemingly improved while his defense has remained above-average.
Pete Orr remains in camp but will likely head to Triple-A to start the season and serve as an injury call-up if one is needed.
The Phillies had 10 players in camp that were in contention for the eight infield jobs at various times, meaning the eight who make the Opening Day roster should give the team a solid grouping to start the season.
Name to watch: Steven Lerud. Lerud is only batting .235 this spring, but his ability behind the plate could help him edge out Quintero to become the team’s backup catcher. Regardless of which player is named as the backup catcher to start the season, they will likely be taken off the 25-man roster once Carlos Ruiz returns from suspension.
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Ben Revere, Domonic Brown, John Mayberry Jr., Laynce Nix, Ender Inciarte
The Phillies will enter the regular season without their best-case scenario for their outfield, after Darin Ruf’s continued struggles led to him being sent to Triple-A.
However, the Phillies’ outfield will include arguably the team’s best player this spring, in Domonic Brown.
Brown has received the most at-bats of any player in camp and is batting an outstanding .368 with seven home runs and 16 RBI. His home run and RBI totals tie him with Ryan Howard for the team lead, while his 22 runs scored are by far the most by any player.
Brown will start in either left field or right field, with John Mayberry Jr. and Laynce Nix likely platooning at the other corner outfield spot until Delmon Young returns.
Ben Revere is batting .324 with 23 hits and six stolen bases and will start in center field.
The biggest surprise involves Ender Inciarte, the Phillies’ Rule-5 selection, who, as of now, has a spot on the Opening Day roster.
Inciarte is batting just .261 and has a .370 OBP but his speed and defense give him value as a fifth outfielder and late-inning defensive replacement.
Once Young returns, however, Inciarte’s roster spot could be in doubt unless the Phillies are able to work out a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Adam Eaton is out for six to eight weeks and Cody Ross could also possibly start the season on the disabled list, according to Steve Gilbert on the Diamondbacks’ website, making it even more unlikely that Arizona would simply decline taking Inciarte back.
Names to watch: Delmon Young once he returns. Additionally, Jim Salisbury on CSNPhilly.com mentions Casper Wells of the Seattle Mariners and Ryan Sweeney of the Boston Red Sox as possible external options.