With less than two weeks to go before the long awaited start to the baseball season, it is as good a time as any to take a look at how the lineup will play out for both the Phils and AAA Lehigh Valley with my best educated (?) guess coming below. So, with that here it goes.
At catcher, expect to see Carlos Ruiz and Cameron Rupp. While there is an outside chance of a late pick up from another organization, Rupp has had a strong Spring after a lackluster, injury marred 2014.
In the infield, going around the horn: Howard, Utley, Galvis and Asche with Cesar Hernandez and Darin Ruf extra pieces. With Hernandez being out of options, I see him winning the roster battle with Cord Phelps who has been having a good Spring for the Phils
The outfield will likely consist of Ben Revere, Odubel Herrera and Grady Sizemore to start the year. The Phils will clearly be struggling for runs. Expect Domonic Brown to start the year on the DL with Brian Bogusevic and Jeff Francoeur filling in the final two outfield spots. Jordan Danks is making a late run for a roster spot and could easily replace either Francoeur or Bogusevic.
With Cliff Lee and Chad Billingsley on the DL to start the year, the Phils rotation looks like Hamels, Harang, Buchanan and Jerome WIlliams as “definites” with either Kevin Slowey or Miguel ALfredo Gonzalez likely to take the fifth spot for the seasons first month. Gonzalez has been awful this Spring, giving the edge to SLowey.
In the bullpen, Papelbon will close with Giles and Diekman seeing the bulk of the set up work. Both Justin DeFratus and Luis Garcia seem to have cemented their roles in the bullpen, leaving two spots up for grabs. The first is likely to go to Rule 5 pick Andy Oliver who has thrown well this Spring (and is a lefty). The final bullpen spot comes down to free agent pick up Jeanmar Gomez, Phillippe Aumont, Cesar Jiminez or Hector Neris. God willing, the Phils will end the Aumont nightmare and give Gomez a shot, leaving Jiminez and Neris as the odd men out.
Moving along to Lehigh Valley, I expect to see Tommy Joseph and Koyie Hill behind the plate.
Around the horn, my thought is Russ Canzler at first, Cord Phelps at 2B, ANdres Blanco at SS and Maikel Franco at 3B. Expect to see Chris McGuiness and Cord Phelps rostered and seeing plenty of playing time.
In the outfield for the ‘Pigs I am expecting Jordan Danks, Kelly Dugan, and Aaron Altherr as the starters with Darin Mastroianni and Chase D’Arnaud filling out the final two spots. Notably, D’Arnaud can play 3B as well.
The ‘Pigs rotation should be interesting to watch. I think it is likely Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez and his $4M salary starts the year in Allentown. Joely Rodriguez (acquired for Antonio Bastardo) and Severino Gonzalez look to have spots solidified. Rounding out the rotation, I expect to see Adam Morgan and Jesse Biddle with Sean’OSullivan likely to see plenty of starts when the roster juggling begins.
Projecting the bullpen becomes difficult with all the potential variables, but a best guess is: Jiminez, Neris, Paul Clemens, Seth Rosin, Ethan Martin, Elvis Arajuo, and Tyler Knigge. I would expect to see Colton Murray in Allentown before long, replacing the inevitable unfortunate soul who falters early on.
Have fun and discuss.