Infielders in the player pool
Alec Bohm, Logan Forsythe, Phil Gosselin, Didi Gregorius, Josh Harrison, Rhys Hoskins, Scott Kingery, Jean Segura, Ronald Torreyes, Neil Walker
The starters: Hoskins, Kingery, Gregorius, Segura
On paper, this infield is a definite strength for the team. There is still some upside here in Hoskins and Kingery, a steady veteran presence in Gregorius and a decent bounceback candidate in Segura. If we look at defense, Hoskins can at least be average, Kingery is finally in the spot where great things were initially projected of him with the leather, Gregorius has always been solid (and is further away from Tommy John surgery), and Segura, though learning a new position, has shown the athleticism in the past to be able to handle a defensive position switch. Plus, he’s in the Best Shape of His Life! What could go wrong!
Well, it’s the bats.
Many fans are worried that the Hoskins that is here is not the one that lit the world on fire when he first arrived as a rookie and walloped 18 home runs in his first 30 games. People are now worried that he is a .230 hitter that might hit 25-30 home runs, drive in 80 runners and get on base at a decent clip (think .340 OBP). The thing is - aren’t those numbers that we can all live with? Of course, a lot of projection with Hoskins uses the word “if” an awful lot, but if he can produce something along the lines of a .250/.340/.500 line in this pandemic shortened season, that’s production I’d sign up for all day long.
The word “if” follows Kingery around just as much. He started off 2019 doing pretty decently compared to his disasterous 2018 season, but an injury and the subsequent time off robbed him of a productive second half of the season. Plus, coming off of a Covid-19 diagnosis and the symptoms he suffered, you have to wonder a bit how that will affect him long term. However, what we saw last year from him in the first part of the season and the fact that he’s entering what should be his prime, Kingery could be in for a big (partial) season.
The two veterans on the squad, Gregorius and Segura, both still have the potential to provide big bats to the lineup. There is some evidence that last year was an outlier year for Segura, so expecting some sort of bounceback year from him isn’t out of the question. Gregorius, especially with this time off for the pandemic, should be fully recovered from any lingering affects from his surgery, so there should be some expectation he’ll get back to his former self. Remember, that former self averaged a 109 wRC+ from 2016-2018. Sure he had the advantage of Yankee Stadium and its short right field, but it’s not like Citizens Bank Park is a pitcher’s haven. Plus, it’s hittin’ season!
If the majority of these guys hit like they did in 2019, then the disappointment level will be high. All four are capable of better and should perform better. Many would argue that the big key here is Hoskins, who could be the big power threat behind Bryce Harper, but it’ll be important to get production from all four of these spots.
The backups: Walker, Harrison
Neil Walker (who has already made the initial 30-man team) and Josh Harrison (who should) should be some nice bench pieces. While the need for a pinch hitter this season isn’t nearly as great thanks to the universal DH, the versatility that these two possess will allow Girardi to play matchups late in games without taking too much of a hit offensively or defensively. They would both be downgrades as compared to the starters, but it’s better than pining for the days of Michael Martinez.
The depth: Bohm, Forsythe, Gosselin, Torreyes
Bohm here is the big wild card. He’ll go to the satellite camp as the one most likely to get called up in case something happens on the big league roster. After all, with three infielders capable of playing shortstop, an injury to any one of them would probably mean Bohm heads to Phiadelphia. How much he’d play is a different story as we’ll have to see if the team is fighting for the playoffs or hoping to play spoiler.
The other guys here are truly there in case multiple players go down for some reason. We shouldn’t be too optimistic if one or more of these guys are getting regular at bats in Philadelphia.