After weeks of speculation and predictions, the Philadelphia Phillies have officially set their Opening Day roster and determined which players will be charged with making the 2012 season a distant memory and 2013 a return to the postseason.
According to Ryan Lawrence on Philly.com, the Phillies have chosen Phillippe Aumont, Jeremy Horst, Raul Valdes, Ender Inciarte and Humberto Quintero to fill out the 25-man roster.
The Phillies' starting staff has been set since before spring training began, with Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Kyle Kendrick and John Lannan opening the season in the rotation. Hamels has been chosen as the team’s Opening Day starter and will take the mound Monday night against the Atlanta Braves.
Hamels finished the spring with 15 strikeouts in 19 innings and a 0.95 ERA.
Halladay remains as the only question mark in the rotation to start the season health-wise, but he is currently scheduled to start the second game of the season for the Phils. Lee, meanwhile, gave up one hit and struck out five in four innings during his last start leading up to the regular season.
The Phillies bullpen remained as the only unsettled area during the final week of spring training, but Aumont has beaten out Michael Stutes to start the season. Neither pitcher was overwhelmingly successful in his most recent outing, but Aumont’s seven strikeouts to four walks earned him the nod over Stutes’ eight strikeouts to nine walks.
Both Horst and Valdes improved as camp continued and give the Phillies a balanced Opening Day bullpen with three left-handers and four right-handers.
Jonathan Papelbon, Mike Adams, Chad Durbin and Antonio Bastardo have also made the Opening Day bullpen, although all four were considered locks prior to spring training.
The Phillies used 19 different pitchers in a relief role last season, meaning that pitchers such as Stutes, Justin De Fratus and Jake Diekman will all likely see time in the major leagues.
The infield was locked into place following the release of Yuniesky Betancourt, but Kevin Frandsen and Freddy Galvis have now officially made the 25-man roster as reserve infielders.
Galvis, who has recently spent time in the outfield, has now played five positions this spring. His defense has remained above average, while his offense has also improved. However, Galvis has also struck out 22 times while drawing just two walks, giving him an OBP of .284.
Both Galvis and Frandsen will backup starters Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins and Michael Young—all of whom had starting positions guaranteed prior to spring training, barring injury.
Howard and Utley, both of whom were recovering from injury, are batting .337 and .279 this spring, respectively.
Erik Kratz will open the season as the Phillies' starter at catcher and will be backed up by Quintero, who beat out a late charge by Steven Lerud to earn a roster spot. However, Quintero’s spot on the 25-man roster will likely only last until Carlos Ruiz’s return in late-April.
The Phillies entered spring training with one starting outfielder and several players battling for the corner spots. As spring training concludes, the team now finds itself with two solidified starters in center fielder Ben Revere and corner outfielder Domonic Brown.
Brown, arguably the Phillies' best player this spring, is batting .368 with seven home runs and 24 runs scored. He will play one corner outfield spot, with John Mayberry, Jr. and Laynce Nix platooning in the other.
Inciarte, the Phillies' Rule 5 selection, has made the Opening Day roster unless the Phillies are able to make a waiver claim or find another outfielder that has been released by a team. Inciarte’s roster spot will also be in jeopardy once Delmon Young returns from injury. For now, however, he provides a late inning defensive option for the Phils.
The Phillies' remaining decision prior to Opening Day involves the starting lineup, with manager Charlie Manuel having options regarding where to bat Revere, Rollins, Young and Brown.
This 2013 Opening Day roster differs significantly from the 2012 Opening Day roster, but the Phillies have nevertheless determined which players will be asked to get the ball rolling towards starting a new postseason streak in 2013.
*All statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com