With the Phillies Spring Training finale tomorrow afternoon, Rob Thompson and Dave Dombrowski have some big decisions to make. They must cut their MLB roster down to 26 guys ahead of Thursday's season opener against the Texas Rangers!
There were no major battles this spring for roster spots, but a couple of areas that spots were up for grabs. The pitching rotation had a few question marks. The backend of the rotation was looking for its 5th starter, and the youth of the Phillies farm system was on prime display!
*Opening day starter
The two biggest questions regarding the starting rotation are will Ranger Suarez begin the season on the IL and who will be the 5th starter. Dave Dombrowski said that Suarez will miss his first start and possibly his second start. If they anticipate he will be ready for game 2, then Ranger will not start the year on the IL.
The competition for the 5th starter was the big roster competition during this spring. Bailey Falter got some starts late in 2022 and had himself a good spring. He had 14 strikeouts, 2.76 ERA in 5 games this spring. The fans were hoping to see the Phillies top prospect Andrew Painter make the Opening Day roster, however a UCL injury has him sidelined until Mid-April. Mick Abel had a solid spring, and I expect to see him get called up at some point in 2023, just not on Opening Day.
The storyline for the bullpen was simple. What will the order be out of the pen? Heading into the season that question is still unanswered. Rob Thompson has been known to switch up the order very much. I am sure we will see multiple different guys get the call in the 8th or 9th innings in the first month of the season.
Trey Cobb is an interesting player. He pitched in 6 games, had a 0.00 ERA, and 11 strikeouts. He spent 2022 in AA and AAA in the Mets farm system. He pitched well this spring and if we are going off that he earned the call to be on the Opening Day roster.
There were no major position battles this spring. The only position there was question marks was around the DH position. Prior to the Rhys Hoskins injury, it was expected that Darick Hall would be the Opening Day DH. However, with Hall expected to play 1B it has opened the door for another DH. There are a couple of possibilities with Jake Cave and Dalton Guthrie who are two of the more reliable bats on the roster. Thompson could look to move Schwarber to DH and Cave or Guthrie to LF.
There was no debate for this. JT is the best catcher in baseball. Stubbs has proven to be a solid back-up catcher. Look for Thompson to get Stubbs more at bats at DH or 1B this season!
Another question mark is what the team plans on doing with Bryce Harper. Prior to spring training, it was said that Harper would return to the lineup as the DH by the All-star break. However, Dave Dombrowski said there is a chance Harper never goes on the 60-day IL which would allow for him to return prior to May 28th.