The Philadelphia Phillies made quite the impact signing on Wednesday, bringing in the ever-powerful bat of Kyle Schwarber. Phillies President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski was desperately looking for a serious impact player this offseason, and Schwarber fits the description.
While the Phillies still have a little bit of money left over before creeping into the dreaded luxury tax (something ownership will have to pass at some point this season if they want to win), the crux of the team’s lineup is set. Any additions at this point will likely consist of bench bats and pitching depth.
With that in mind, it’s time to look at how the team’s Opening Day lineup should shake out.
Kyle Schwarber is the Phillies’ new leadoff hitter
1. Kyle Schwarber (LF), 2. Jean Segura (2B), 3. Bryce Harper (RF)
Schwarber has power, but he’s also an on-base machine. Last season, he recorded a .435 on-base percentage with the Boston Red Sox. One can reasonably argue his power would be better served in the middle of the order. However, the Phillies need people on base for Bryce Harper, and Schwarber can do that.
Second baseman Jean Segura has been the Phillies’ two-hole hitter since arriving in Philadelphia in 2019. It’s hard to imagine him being moved around. The hope is that Schwarber batting in front of him will result in more consistent performances from the veteran infielder.
Bryce Harper remains in the three-hole for obvious reasons. He just won the NL MVP in this spot and has always preferred batting here. Harper spent most of 2021 batting with nobody on base. Hopefully, the addition of Schwarber changes that, allowing him to see more hittable pitches.
Figuring out the middle of the order
4. Rhys Hoskins (1B), 5. J.T. Realmuto (C), 6. Didi Gregorius (DH?)
This is where things start getting a little wonky. If the Phillies were serious about winning this year, they would’ve added a proper cleanup hitter alongside Schwarber. Instead, they’re forced to rely on Rhys Hoskins to finally put it all together. The homegrown first baseman has shown flashes of elite power at times. However, due to injuries and overall inconsistency, he’s yet to solidify himself as a trustworthy, reliable middle-of-the-order bat. 2022 needs to be the year that changes.
All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto drops down to the five-hole after a year of laboring through at-bats as the team’s cleanup hitter. Realmuto is an excellent hitter for a catcher. However, he’s better suited a little deeper in the lineup. It’s extremely possible he and Hoskins get flipped in the order if Hoskins struggles early on, however.
Most Phillies fans would prefer Didi Gregorius to be off the roster entirely. However, management wants to give him a fair chance to bounce back in 2022. He hit .209 in 2021 — improvement is desperately needed. It’s worth noting that Gregorius could be the team’s starting shortstop this season; it all depends on how he looks in Spring Training and if top prospect Bryson Stott is ready to be an everyday player.
The Phillies have major question marks in the bottom third
7. Alec Bohm (3B?), 8. Bryson Stott (SS?), 9. Odubel Herrera (CF)
Up to this point, the Phillies’ lineup has consisted of big names on big salaries. The bottom third is where the question marks start popping up.
Alec Bohm and Bryson Stott — two of the organization’s top young talents — are fighting for jobs this spring. Should they both impress, they both should be in the Opening Day lineup. However, it’s on their shoulders to make it happen. It’s also worth mentioning that the two’s defensive positions aren’t exactly locked in at the moment. There have been talks of Gregorius sliding over to 3B should Stott play SS, which could mean trouble for Bohm.
Lastly, the Phillies plan to run things back with CF Odubel Herrera. Most fans wanted the team to make a splash at the position. However, the org. chose to bring back a not-so-fan-favorite in Herrera.
There have been talks of platooning the CF position with right-hander Matt Vierling. However, knowing Joe Girardi and his favoritism toward Herrera, it seems likely that he’ll be the guy in the lineup most days.
All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference.