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2022 season preview: the infield

While the right side of the Phillies infield is set, the left side comes with a few question marks.

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The 2021 infield

Here’s how things in the infield shook out last season.

  • 1B: Rhys Hoskins (103 games), Brad Miller (58), JT Realmuto (16), Matt Vierling (9), Alec Bohm (7), Andrew Knapp (6), Luke Williams (6), Freddy Galvis (1), Bryce Harper (1), Rafael Marchan (1)
  • 2B: Jean Segura (128 games), Nick Maton (21), Brad Miller (13), Ronald Torreyes (11), Luke Williams (8), Scott Kingery (4), Freddy Galvis (2), Andrew Knapp (1)
  • SS: Didi Gregorius (101 games), Ronald Torreyes (44), Nick Maton (20), Freddy Galvis (10), Luke Williams (5), Jean Segura (1)
  • 3B: Alec Bohm (103), Ronald Torreyes (50), Freddy Galvis (19), Luke Williams (8), Brad Miller (8), Scott Kingery (1)

The 2022 depth chart

And here’s how things are looking heading into 2022. All of the players listed below are on the 40-man roster, with the exception of top prospect Bryson Stott. Other non-roster players who could see time in the big league infield include Scott Kingery and Ronald Torreyes.

1B: Rhys Hoskins (projected starter), JT Realmuto, Alec Bohm, Kyle Schwarber, Matt Vierling

2B: Jean Segura (projected starter), Johan Carmargo, Nick Maton, Luke Williams,

SS: Didi Gregorius (projected starter), Bryson Stott, Johan Carmargo, Nick Maton, Luke Williams

3B: Alec Bohm (projected starter), Bryson Stott, Didi Gregorius, Johan Carmargo, Luke Williams, Matt Vierling

First base

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Projected starter: Rhys Hoskins

2021 numbers: 107 games, 443 PA, 27 HR, .247/.334/.530, .864 OPS, .364 wOBA, .377 xwOBA, 127 wRC+

First base still belongs to Rhys Hoskins.

When news first broke that the designated hitter was coming to the National League, I heard plenty of clamoring for Rhys Hoskins to become a full-time DH. In a vacuum, it makes total sense. Hoskins is a great hitter, but he’s not a good defender by any stretch of the imagination.

However, it never really made sense to make Rhys Hoskins the DH simply because the Phillies didn’t have another first baseman to replace him with. And now that Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos have joined the squad, Rhys Hoskins is firmly entrenched at first base for the 2022 season.

For what it’s worth, here are Hoskins’s defensive stats at first base from the the last three seasons. He’s certainly not great, but compared to other first baseman, he’s not awful either. He’s more than good enough to man first for the Phillies for another season.

Until an abdominal tear ended his 2021 season, Rhys Hoskins was having another strong offensive campaign. His on-base percentage was lower than usual (just .334 compared to his career .360 OPB), but he made up for it with more power. With 27 home runs in just 443 PA, he was on pace for more than 40 homers had he been able to play a full season. Through the end of August, his 27 home runs ranked eighth in the National League, just behind Joey Votto and just ahead of Bryce Harper. His .530 slugging percentage ranked ninth, just behind Austin Riley and just ahead of Mookie Betts.

Rhys Hoskins is a streaky hitter, and that trend continued in 2021. When he’s cold, he’s ice cold, and I completely understand why that bothers fans. That being said, when he’s hot, he’s really hot, and his hot streaks ultimately make up for his cold streaks. He’s been an above average hitter in all five of his major league seasons, and he has averaged 37 home runs per 162 games throughout his major league career.

The Phillies lineup is shaking up to be one of the best in the National League, and Rhys Hoskins will be a very important part of that lineup.

Second Base

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Projected starter: Jean Segura

2021 numbers: 131 games, 567 PA, 14 HR, .290/.348/.436, .784 OPS, .338 wOBA, .318 xwOBA, 109 wRC+

Second base is the least controversial position in this infield. It belongs to Jean Segura, and there’s no one else in the conversation.

Segura had another strong season for the Phillies in 2021. He finished 11th in the NL in batting average and 15th in hits. He played strong defense too, finishing the year with 9 OOA (outs above average), which ranked second among all second baseman behind only Gold Glove winner Tommy Edman.

While he has a decade of major league experience under his belt, Jean Segura is still just 32 years old and is showing no signs of slowing down. We can count on him to be an above average second baseman once again in 2022.

Shortstop

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Projected starter: Didi Gregorius

2021 numbers: 103 games, 408 PA, 13 HR, .209/.270/.370, .639 OPS, .275 wOBA, .273 xwOBA, 68 wRC+

Didi Gregorius was not good last season. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that.

Part of his troubles stemmed from an unusual and difficult to diagnose elbow injury/illness. However, he struggled before he went on the injured list and he struggled once he returned as well, so it’s quite difficult to know what to expect from Gregorius this upcoming season.

After a full offseason to rest and treat his elbow, it’s hard to believe he’ll be as bad as he was last year. From 2012 to 2020, Gregorius was a decent major league hitter, and hopefully he can return to that level. He doesn’t need to be as good as he was in 2020, when he had an .827 OPS, but if he can put up an OPS close to his career average of .737, that will be a huge improvement over his .639 OPS in 2021.

If Didi continues to struggle, he could see himself relegated to a bench role in favor of top prospect Bryson Stott. Gregorius has the edge over Stott right now because he is already on the 40-man roster, he’s making an eight-figure salary, and he’s a favorite of manager Joe Girardi. But if Gregorius continues to struggle and Stott continues to impress, it won’t be long before Stott usurps Gregorius.

The best case scenario for the Phillies would be if Bryson Stott proves himself worthy of the starting shortstop job and Didi Gregorius plays well enough so that another team is willing to take him on in a trade, but this is the Phillies we’re talking about here, so I’m not going to get too caught up dreaming about a best case scenario.

Poll

Is Bryson Stott the starting shortstop by August?

This poll is closed

  • 63%
    Yes
    (256 votes)
  • 16%
    No
    (65 votes)
  • 20%
    He’s splitting starts with someone else
    (84 votes)
405 votes total Vote Now

Third base

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Projected starter: Alec Bohm

2021 numbers: 115 games, 417 PA, 7 HR, .247/.305/.342, .647 OPS, .285 wOBA, .316 xwOBA, 75 wRC+

After a strong rookie season in 2020, the sophomore slump hit Alec Bohm hard in 2021. He really struggled to hit in the first half of the season, and while his offense slowly started to improve as the season went on, his defense was such a liability that the Phillies demoted him to Triple-A in August.

Bohm will be back with the big league club to start 2022, and they will give him every chance to succeed at the hot corner. The Phillies are still hopeful that he can improve his defense from terrible to mediocre and that he can hit well enough to make up for that mediocre defense.

However, his grasp on the position is tenuous at best, because the Phillies have two other players who could supplant him if need be. Bryson Stott played a few games at third to finish off the 2021 season, and Didi Gregorius was told by Joe Girardi and Dave Dombrowski that he could play some third base this year. If those two are both playing well and Alec Bohm continues to struggle, it’s not inconceivable that Bohm could find himself optioned to Triple-A once again. The Phillies will need their best players on the field if they want to compete in the NL East this year, and Bohm needs consistent reps at third if he is going to be the third baseman of the future.

The Reserves

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Johan Carmargo signed a $1.4 MM contract with the Phillies just before the lockout began, and he seems set to be the primary utility infielder this season. He can play second base, third base, and shortstop, and he even has MLB experience at first base (2 games) and the outfield (12 games in LF, 5 games in RF). He’s not much of a hitter, but he’ll make for a huge defensive upgrade when he fills in for Didi Gregorius or Alec Bohm.

Matt Vierling will also be on the MLB roster to start the season, and while he should see most of his playing time in the outfield, he could see a little bit of time at first or third base. He made 9 appearances at first last season, and he played a little bit of third in the minors, so he’s capable of manning the position in a pinch.

The two other infielders on the 40-man who could conceivably crack the Opening Day roster are Nick Maton and Luke Williams. There won’t be room for both of them unless rosters are expanded beyond 26 men to start the season.