We’re in the home stretch now. There have been a ton of roster cuts, players have been sent to minor league camps and decisions need to get made before Joe Girardi and company can make their minds up about a full 26 man roster. With that, here are our final predictions on who makes the roster, knowing fully that we will likely be wrong on a few of them.
J.T. Realmuto, Andrew Knapp
Hesitantly, this remains unchanged. Realmuto hasn’t made it easy on the team, sitting out for the entirety of the spring training schedule, but he has played in some simulated situations, caught some bullpens and participated in other baseball related activities. He should be ready to go, but if there is rust on him when the bell rings, that should be expected. Look for Knapp to get a fair amount of at bats to start the season. Jeff Mathis will probably be added to the taxi squad.
Rhys Hoskins, Jean Segura, Didi Gregorius, Alec Bohm, Brad Miller, Scott Kingery
C.J. Chatham being demoted cleared this up quite a bit, not that he was doing well enough this spring to warrant a job anyway. Kingery goes all the way down to a bench utility bat with his playing time almost non-existant on this team once the season really gets going. He’ll get some starting time here and there to begin the year to ease players into the grind of the season, but once it really kicks into gear, he’ll be more and more of a bench bat.
Miller has missed a lot of spring at bats, so look for him to get first cracks at pinch hitting early in the year to get his bat going.
Andrew McCutchen, Matt Joyce, Bryce Harper, Adam Haseley, Odubel Herrera
Last week, I wrote a piece about Herrera being the starting center fielder.
Then Adam Haseley came back last night and will start the game today.
And Roman Quinn starting playing well again. Now everything feels just....confused. I’m really not sure where they are going to go with this last spot. Keeping Herrera makes them very lefty heavy on the bench with him, Miller and Joyce. Plus, dropping Quinn would mean exposing him to waivers where someone is going to snatch him up pretty quickly. It’s a tough decision to make, made all the more tough when you consider that adding Herrera and Joyce would mean the team needs to open up two roster spots on the 40-man roster, something that isn’t easy to decide, especially when it comes to the bullpen.
In the end though, there just seems to have been a concerted effort on the part of the team to go to lengths to discuss Herrera this spring. It seemed to have been greasing the skids for his return to Philadelphia and at this point, I’ll go with him heading north.
I’m not confident about that and it will probably change in the next week.
Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler, Zach Eflin, Chase Anderson, Matt Moore
No big surprises here. Spencer Howard will head to the alternate site to continue to get his shoulder healthy before he becomes the seventh pitcher in the starting rotation depth chart.
If Moore and Anderson combine to give this team 4-5 WAR this season, this will be a very good rotation. In fact, that sounds like a bold prediction someone might make later on....
Hector Neris, Jose Alvarado, Conner Brogdon, Archie Bradley, Jojo Romero, Tony Watson, Brandon Kintzler, Vince Velasquez
No changes here either. Velasquez will likely be used on days when either Anderson or Moore pitches so that he can stay on turn in the rotation in case something happens with either of them.
It looks like Bradley will open the season as the closer, but I’d also bet on Kintzler getting some opportunities as well. Neris showed a slider a lot more this spring, sometimes even to great effect. Should he be able to continue doing that effectively, you might even see his name getting called with leads late in games, but there has to be a lot of trust earned back with Girardi.
Adding Kintlzer, Watson, Herrera and Joyce will require the team to open up four roster spots on the 40-man roster. The outfielders will cancel each other if Quinn does not make the team, so that leaves three spots. David Hale not making the team would also open up a spot, meaning there are two players at risk. One would probably be Mauricio Llovera, who hasn’t really impressed much at all and seems like one of those fungible guys who bounces from team to team. That leaves one more spot to free up. Perhaps Kyle Dohy, who has lots of octane in his left arm, but often doesn’t know where it’s going? Ramon Rosso, who struggled with the team last year when forced to make big league appearances? One thing is for sure, there are tough decisions to be made before April 1.