Unless you were sleeping under the Liberty Bell for the past seven days, you know the Phillies have recently made major power moves to improve the lineup. The additions of Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber bring some much-needed fire power to the Phillies. More specifically, the outfield. Before diving into all the fun stuff, let’s take a brief look at the 2021 outfield.
The 2021 Outfield (by games):
LF: Andrew McCutchen (135), Odubel Herrera (23), Matt Joyce (9), Matt Vierling (7), Luke Williams (7), Mickey Moniak (6), Brad Miller (6), Travis Jankowski (6), Roman Quinn (2), Adam Haseley (2), Jorge Bonifacio (2), Scott Kingery (1)
CF: Odubel Herrera (104), Travis Jankowski (45), Roman Quinn (21), Luke Williams (15), Adam Haseley (8), Mickey Moniak (8), Matt Vierling (8), Jorge Bonifacio (3), Scott Kingery (1), Ronald Torreyes (1)
RF: Bryce Harper (139), Brad Miller (14), Matt Joyce (9), Travis Jankowski (8), Matt Vierling (6), Scott Kingery (5), Roman Quinn (4), Mickey Moniak (3), Odubel Herrera (1)
The 2022 Outfield Depth Chart
After all the dotting of the i’s and crossing the t’s, the outfield will be quite a bit different in 2022.
LF: Kyle Schwarber (projected starter), Nick Castellanos (DH), Adam Haseley
CF: Odubel Herrera (platoon), Matt Vierling (platoon)
RF: Bryce Harper (obvious starter), Mickey Moniak
Projected Starter: Kyle Schwarber
Schwarber 2021 stats: 113 games, 471 PA, 32 HR, .266/.374/.554, .928 OPS, .392 wOBA, 145 wrc+, 3.1 WAR
In all honesty, left field is still up in the air. There is no official word on whether Schwarber or Castellanos will hold down left. With the addition of DH in the National League, either one could play LF while the other is the DH. In my opinion, you will likely see a little of both in LF. However, Schwarber has far more innings played in LF compared to Castellanos, so for the sake of the preview, let’s go with Schwarber.
Let’s cut to the chase. The Phillies did not make this move because Schwarber is a great glove. Although, he can destroy the baseball, and he especially did in 2021. By all accounts, Schwarber had his best season in 2021 with both the Nationals and the Red Sox. He had career high numbers across the board, so the Phillies are getting him at the right time. Once again, at the plate, the Phillies have themselves a gem.
The way life goes however, not everything is sunshine and rainbows. Schwarber had his second worst fielding season in 2021, posting a -5 DRS (defensive runs saved), which was one of the worst in baseball. This is nothing new for the Phillies however, as Andrew McCutchen was slightly worse in 2021 at -7. So, at face value, Phillies fans can expect similar defense out in left field, but a much better bat. Which is a win in my eyes.
Projected Starters: Odubel Herrera, Matt Vierling
Herrera 2021 stats: 124 games, 492 PA, 13 HR, .260/.310/.416, .726 OPS, .312 wOBA, 93 wrc+, 1.1 WAR
Vierling 2021 stats: 34 games, 77 PA, 2 HR, .324/.364/.479, .843 OPS, .356 wOBA, 121 wrc+, 0.5 WAR
The Phillies have an interesting situation in CF to say the least. Many fans were displeased when the team agreed to bring back Herrera on a one-year, $1.75 million deal last week. Given their situation, CF was always a question mark heading into this season. Herrera was a slightly below average hitter last season, and a decent fielder on his best day. Not the worst, but certainly not the best.
Matt Vierling on the other hand, was a positive spark for the Phillies late in the season. In a short sample size, put up very good offensive numbers. As we all know, baseball works in mysterious ways, so I understand not making the leap to have Vierling be your everyday CF. Those good numbers could be just a hot month, or they could be the start of a good career. We truly do not know.
In my eyes, the Phillies came up with the best solution to this issue in CF. Per Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia, they will have a platoon situation for Vierling and Herrera heading into the 2022 season. Perhaps this is a short-term solution to find out who truly will be the center-fielder. Either way, we will all find out soon enough.
Obvious Starter: Bryce Harper (MVP)
Harper 2021 stats: 141 games, 599 PA, 35 HR, .309/.429/.615, 1.044 OPS, .431 wOBA, 170 wrc+, 6.6 WAR
I mean come on. This is the MVP we are talking about. There is not much to say that has not already been said, but I am still going to take this time to briefly gush about Bryce Harper and his 2021 campaign, and what I expect in 2022.
Harper notched his 2nd MVP award last year, and deservedly so. Harper led the league in wrc+ (145), xWOBA (.431), and OPS (1.044). Simultaneously being 7th in batting average (.309) and a very productive 35 HR. He did everything at the plate, and I expect more of the same in 2022.
Harper had his fantastic season last year without having the greatest protection around him in the lineup. Hoskins had a typical streaky season and Realmuto had a solid year, but adding Schwarber and Castellanos to the lineup gives not only Harper amazing protection, but really the entire lineup. The Phillies will be trotting out maybe the best offensive lineup in 2022, and I expect Bryce to have yet another MVP caliber season.
*BONUS* Nick Castellanos
Castellanos 2021 stats: 138 games, 585 PA, 34 HR, .309/.362/.576, .938 OPS, .391 wOBA, 140 wrc+, 4.2 WAR
The Phillies and Castellanos agreed to a 5-year, $100 million contract last week. Shockingly for most fans, this bolstered the Phillies into the luxury tax. John Middleton did say he would do it for the right opportunity, and this was certainly the right one. The Phils got Schwarber and Castellanos for combined cheaper than the Rockies were able to land free agent Kris Bryant for 7-years $182 million. So, what does Castellanos bring to the Phillies?
Hitting and runs. That is the short answer. Castellanos, like Schwarber, is coming off his best season after his 2021 campaign. The Phillies struck while the iron is hot for both players, and I think bringing that talent into the lineup that was above average (12th) in runs per game in 2021 with 4.53, is a brilliant move.
The stars seemingly aligned with universal DH coming for this season. Castellanos is simply one of the best hitters in baseball, but was also one of the worst fielding right-fielders in 2021, posting a -7 DRS. With Bryce in RF and Schwarber playing more LF throughout his career, we are likely looking at the DH spot for Castellanos. However, like I stated earlier, do not be shocked if he gets some time out in LF this year.
After parting ways with key reserve outfielders such as Travis Jankowski and “Big Bat” Brad Miller, there sadly is not much to be excited about in the reserve department.
The former first overall pick from the 2016 draft, Mickey Moniak, is currently on the 40-man roster, but I don’t think he makes the cut for the 26-man by Opening Day. He will likely fluctuate between AAA and the big leagues if (knocking on wood) any injuries occur. In his few at bats in the majors, Moniak has been abysmal with a -15 wrc+ and a 43.2% K% in 2021.
Adam Haseley, another former first round pick, is another potential reserve. His best stint with the Phillies came in 2019, where despite being below average at the plate, he was great on the defensive end (14 DRS). Following up in 2020 and 2021, Haseley has regressed in both departments.
On a side note, there have been rumblings of the Phillies looking into a trade for Rays outfielder Austin Meadows. This would be another solid pickup for the Phillies if they would be able to get such a deal done. Meadows is a solid power bat, who had a wrc+ of 113 along with 27 HR in 2021. At this time, no deal has been made.