Handicapping the Phillies Opening Day Roster

It’s only 17 days until Opening Day baseball in Philadelphia. Bryceadelphia and Phillies mania is coming back north with a 25 man roster to face the Braves on Opening Day. The only question is, who will be on it?

Starting Rotation-

Aaron Nola, Jake Arrieta, Nick Pivetta, Vince Velasquez, and Zach Eflin- No real surprises here, despite a lot of people thinking out loud that they could use one more upgrade. Earlier in camp I was wondering if Jerad Eickhoff was ready to come back and challenge here, but it sounds like he had a January setback that makes it for more sense to keep him him in AAA to start. Drew Anderson, Enyel De Los Santos, and Cole Irvin have all thrown quite well at times, but are likely to join Eickhoff in AAA. My guess right now is Ranger Suarez joins them in AAA, while JoJo Romero and Adonis Medina anchor down Reading. Why so little change here? I think in part the Phillies want to let this situation play out longer, to give them more clarity. I also think Dallas Keuchel and Gio Gonzalez might still cost too much.

Line-Up:

  1. Cesar Hernandez-2B
  2. Jean Segura-SS
  3. Bryce Harper-RF
  4. Rhys Hoskins-1B
  5. J.T. Realmuto-C
  6. Andrew McCutchen-LF
  7. Maikel Franco-3B
  8. Odubel Herrera-CF

Believe it or not, I think this killer line-up will come north healthy by the end of camp. I’m a little concerned about Cesar, and could absolutely see him starting on the DL, with McCutchen replacing him up top and Kingery playing second and batting eighth. Yes, Odubel has missed time too, but they seem to believe he’ll play this week. I’m betting on health when push comes to shove.

Bench:

  • Back-up catcher- Andrew Knapp
  • Utility Man- Scott Kingery
  • 4th Outfielder/Left-Handed bat- Nick Williams
  • 5th Outfielder- Aaron Altherr

The Phillies bench is not exciting to anyone, particularly because of injuries and players being out of options. Roman Quinn brings a dynamic on-field presence that they need, but he’s hurt. I prefer Cozens to Altherr, but Altherr is out of options and Williams already gives them a lefty pinch-hitter. Williams is on because they don’t know what to do with him, and his centerfield issues don’t matter with Cutch getting most of the back up reps- plus he pinch hit well last year. I’d like to see the Phillies keep another versatile utility option like Sean Rodriguez or Trevor Plouffe, but neither is on the current 40 man roster, and they are out of spots.

Bullpen:

  • Closer- Seranthony Dominguez
  • Set-Up 8th inning- David Robertson
  • Set-Up 8th inning- Hector Neris
  • Set-Up 7th inning- Pat Neshek
  • Set-Up 7th Inning- Juan Nicasio
  • Lefty- Jose Alvarez
  • Lefty/Long-Man- Adam Morgan
  • Lefty- James Pazos

Yes, I’m predicting an eight man bullpen with three lefties. Gabe Kapler is still the manager, last I looked. There’s certainly a question about who will close or pitch the 8th, Nicasio hasn’t locked up a spot yet, Hunter’s health, and even just how many spots will exist, but I came to this group factoring health, options, and needs. I doubt the Phillies will just cut an expensive Nicasio early, or that they would bring a Victor Arano north given his options and early performance. So, we get this.

Injured List- Roman Quinn, Tommy Hunter

Bubble Players- Sean Rodriguez (non-roster), Trevor Plouffe (non-roster), Dylan Cozens, Victor Arano, Mitch Walding

Optioned to the minors/On the 40 man- Eickhoff, De Los Santos, Suarez, Anderson, Edubray Ramos, Yacksel Rios, Edgar Garcia, Arano, Austin Davis, Adonis Medina, Walding, Cozens, Arquimedes Gamboa

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