Philling out last roster spots for offense
by Scott Butler 3/16/13

Here is your math question for the day.  The Phillies will have 25 players on their active roster on Opening Day. Twelve of those players will be pitchers, which leaves...raise your hand…thirteen position players. 

On Monday we focused on the final roster spots for pitchers. Now let’s take a stab at the those thirteen position players. Of those thirteen, we can knock off six starters right off the bat.

Phillies Starting Position Players

C – Erik Kratz
1B – Ryan Howard
2B – Chase Utley
SS – Jimmy Rollins
3B – Michael Young
LF – Open
CF – Ben Revere
RF – Open

That leaves seven players to account for: two starting outfielders, two backup outfielders, two infield bench players, and a backup catcher.

Right Field

Domonic Brown is finally showing the flash that made him an untouchable prospect a few years ago. He is healthy, assembling quality at-bats, hitting for power, and providing quality defense. And one small tweak suggested by assistant hitting coach Wally Joyner has been paying off. Brown so far is hitting .367 with 3 homers and a 1.038 OPS in Grapefruit League action.

Darin Ruf, on the other hand, has been the biggest disappointment of the spring (unless you count Roy Halladay). According to the storybook, Darin Ruf was supposed to be the Phillies savior, mashing one home run after another, displaying adequate glove work, and surprising us with his quick rise to stardom. 

The reality show version is quite different. Ruf has struggled mightily at the plate and the bigger concern is his work in the field. He simply is not ready to play in the outfield on a major league team. He has apparently been such a butcher in the field that many in the Phillies organization wonder if Ruf can ever be a major league outfielder.   

What started as a fierce duel between two young outfielders has become a solo performance. Unless things drastically change, Domonic Brown is your starting rightfielder.

Left Field

Laynce Nix is under contract and the Phillies don't have options left for John Mayberry. That summarizes the Phillies left field situation. It will be a typical platoon in which Nix hits off righties and Mayberry hits the lefties. Mayberry might switch positions when he shares the field with Brown, but the point is the same.

Backup Outfielder

Ender Inciarte, the Phillies Rule 5 selection, has a good chance of making this team. Inciarte has not played above single-A and has just five home runs in 1,906 minor league plate appearances, but if the Phillies don’t add him to the roster they must offer him back to the D-Backs.

Despite his lack of experience and power, Inciarte can win a job for two reasons. First, the Phillies could use him for his defense alone, as he is currently the only true centerfielder behind Revere. Secondly, he stole 46 bags and hit .307 last season in single-A. The only thing holding Inciarte back from making the team is whether the Phillies elect to bring an extra infield bat to Philadelphia.

Backup Infielders

The Phillies need two utility infielders. Kevin Frandsen is under contract and will be one of them. That makes the infield battle between Freddy Galvis and Yuniesky Betancourt. Freddy’s defense is undeniable, but it is also undeniable that he needs experience at the plate.

The question with Galvis is whether or not he will get enough at-bats in the major leagues to grow as a hitter, but Charlie Manuel feels he can make that happen. "He should get enough at-bats that it will be beneficial for him in the future," Charlie said.  "I think we can get him 300 at-bats in the big leagues. Even if we get him 250, I think that’s better than 450 in the minors."

Charlie's thoughts on Galvis are clear. “He's going to be a big part of our defense. Freddy is a tremendous player.”

However, Jim Salisbury pointed out recently that the Phillies don’t want to lose Betancourt and might elect to add him to the roster in place of Galvis or Inciarte. I agree with Corey Seidman that it would be a terrible idea to keep a player who, since 2009, has the lowest on-base percentage in baseball (.275), fourth lowest OPS (.658), and has the second worst fielding value among infielders (-41.3) according to Fangraphs.

If the Phillies are naive enough to value Betancourt, they don't have to take him over Galvis. They also have the option to make Betancourt their third utility infielder and only take one extra outfielder.

Backup Catcher

Tommy Joseph was a nice story and a player to definitely keep our eyes on, but he was never going to make the Phillies roster. Despite his positive spring performance, it surprised nobody when the Phillies sent him to minor league camp. That is why the Phillies grabbed Humberto Quintero and he will backup Kratz until Chooch returns.


C – Erik Kratz
1B – Ryan Howard
2B – Chase Utley
SS – Jimmy Rollins
3B – Michael Young
LF – Laynce Nix
CF – Ben Revere
RF – Domonic Brown


C – Humberto Quintero
OF – John Mayberry
OF – Ender Inciarte
INF – Kevin Frandsen
INF – Freddy Galvis

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