Phillies depth will be tested to the extreme this week
by Scott Butler 4/21/19

Phil Gosselin

Here's how I was planning to begin this post on Friday:

My first thought when Jean Segura injured his hamstring was, “Good, now Scott Kingery gets to play every day.”

My first thought when Nick Pivetta was demoted to Lehigh Valley was, “Good, now we get to see Eickhoff again.”

My first thought when Odubel Herrera hit the IL with a hamstring injury was, “Good, now we get to see Roman Quinn.”

The Phillies are missing three key pieces to their team, yet they aren’t really missing a beat because of the depth on this roster.

That was before Scott Kingery injured his hamstring. Now the Phillies will feel the pain for at least the next seven days.

Over the next week, with no off-days mind you, the Phillies will rely on Phil Gosselin at shortstop. That phrase alone says it all.

So far, things have worked out splendidly. Gosselin had a key 3-run double in last night's victory in Colorado and had what was nearly the game-winning hit the night before. Pretty cool story for a local guy who must be on top of the world right now.

But Gosselin is a journeyman on on his sixth team in seven years with just 78 big league at-bats over the last two seasons, who was forced at age 30 to sign a minor league contract. Here's a guy with 11 career games at shortstop and 25 career chances at the position being asked to be the team's starting shortstop for an entire week.

The fact that Gosselin is the only glaring deficiency on the roster is pretty remarkable, even if it wasn't by design.

The Phils have been trying to move Cesar Hernandez for over two years now and, despite fervent outcries from fans to get him outta here, the trade market was not beneficial enough for Klentak to pull the trigger.

Their inability to trade Hernandez is paying dividends now.

At the centerfield position, it's hard to consider Odubel Herrera's hamstring injury much of a setback at all. With no options left on Roman Quinn and little time left on his IL clock in the minors, he was going to have to join the team soon, anyway.

Quinn's performance, on the other hand, has not been encouraging. Quinn has 2 hits in his first 12 at-bats with the big club (a .167 average) and struck out 7 times in those 12 AB's. That's a 50% strikeout rate and over 2 strikeouts per game.

Quinn's career strikeout rate in the minors is 21%, which is slightly higher than the major league average. It's an alarming trend which cannot continue for a player with his skill set. Jean Segura's career strikeout rate is 13.7% and Jimmy Rollins' was 12.3%, in case you were curious.

Still, the point remains, the Phillies now have a starting centerfielder that some people like even better than Herrera.

A similar thing could be said about today's starting pitcher, Jerad Eickhoff. I might be in the minority here, but I am perfectly content with Eickhoff pitching instead of Nick Pivetta. Sure, Pivetta has an upside that Eickhoff will never reach, but there is something to be said for stability. Two years ago almost to the date, I wrote this in an article about Eickhoff's consistency:

Eickhoff truly is Mr. Consistent. Prior to last night's came, Eickhoff pitched six or more innings in 26 of 37 starts the last two seasons and he's allowed three earned runs or less in 31 of them. 

Finally, with as much grief as Philadelphia fans tend to give relievers, the Phils have kinda survived without David Robertson.

Prior to last night's win over the Rockies, Corey Seidman wrote this about the Phillies bullpen:

Over the last six games, the bullpen has pitched 28 innings with a 1.93 ERA, 0.93 WHIP and .177 opponents' batting average.

The Phillies have weathered the storm so far thanks to their depth, but the ultimate test will be how they fair over the next week (or more). One more week of performances like his last two games by Phil Gosselin would be a good start.

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