Friday, January 23, 2015

Projecting the 2015 Roster

The full Spring Training roster is due to report in four weeks and I've completed the entries discussing last year and the off-season. With that discussed, it is time to project the Opening Day roster and depth chart.

Before I give out specific names, let's discuss numbers. Given the Phils' hitting needs, Ryne & Rube will probably go with 12 pitchers & 13 hitters - I would, if I were them. Assuming both Rule 5 picks make the roster, there are four spots open: one each for the rotation & bench and one bullpen spot. So, who will be guaranteed Phillies this year? Let's begin with the rotation.

  1. Lefty Cole Hamels as #1 - trade unlikely before O.D.
  2. Lefty Cliff Lee as #2 - his elbow seems to have recovered
  3. Righty Jerome Williams (re-signed to  1-YR deal)
  4. Righty David Buchannan (sophomore season)
*Will be lefty-then-righty as the Phillies have done in recent years.

9th Inning - RHR Papelbon (trade unlikely, despite Brewers' recent interest)
Late Relief - RHR Giles, LHR Diekman and RHR De Fratus
Middle Relief - LHR Andy Oliver (Rule 5 pick), LHP Mario Hollands

O.D. Line-Up (batting handedness in parentheses):
  1. CF Revere (L) - hit .306 last year (inconsistent), 13 BB (needs more), 49 steals
  2. C C. Ruiz (R) - adapts to any line-up spot; majority of looks this year to be in lower half of order.
  3. 2B Utley (L)- getting more rest this year, possibly in 2-hole most of year
  4. LF D. Ruf (R) - will get more playing time, especially against LHP
  5. 1B Howard (L) - I think he'll bounce back, but definitely needs to play less vs. LHP.
  6. 3B Asche (L) - Let's see if he can play nearly everyday.
  7. SS Galvis (S) - Let's see how he does nearly everyday.
  8. RF Brown (L) - Last chance to earn everyday job hitting-wise.

C Cameron Rupp (righty) - destroyed base-runners in brief look last year; year-round back-up
IF-CF Cesar Hernandez (switch) - destroyed winter league
OF Grady Sizemore (L) - Re-signed to 1-YR deal
IF-OF Odubel Herrera (L) - Rule 5 pick; also tore up winter league

So, who is competing? For the rotation, the competition will include many familiar names, whom I mentioned in the Stay-or-Go mini-series. For the bullpen, considering that late relief is set, the competition will be mainly for a long man, probably one of those on that fifth starter candidate list. The bench will have a spot waiting for 3B-1B Maikel Franco, who looks to start the year in AAA and then come up in mid-late May. Until then, it's these OF competing for the final spot: Jordan Danks, Jeff Francoeur, Brian Bogusevic, and Xavier Paul.

I will soon discuss some preliminary predictions and, based in part on this Corey Seidman article, where to look for optimism. Go Phillies!

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