At the time of the news drop that the Phillies signed Nick Castellanos to a 5-year contract, most of us were asleep and getting ready for Saturday. When Jon Heyman made the announcement that the Phillies and Castellanos were close to a deal, every single Phillies fan that was awake would receive a flurry of excitement for this upcoming season. An over-supply of power, swagger and just great baseball players are in this lineup. Everyone in this lineup has the capability to be solid, maybe except for the center field options. However, Matt Vierling or Odubel Herrera can easily give the team 10+ homers and bat over .250 hopefully, which is more than enough. As we begin to crawl closer and closer to Opening Day against the now abysmal Athletics squad, we should really start to think about what this lineup is going to give the team. Is going over the tax going to be worth it? Will Nick Castellanos have any drives into deep left field and is he going to make this a 4-0 ballgame?
As soon as it was announced to the great world of baseball twitter and more specifically Phillies twitter, people started to think of the greatest Phillies lineups that they could generate. Lots of them had Kyle Schwarber leading off, which most people would agree with. When Schwarber bats first in the lineup he bats .297/.385/.832/1.216. The sample size of that is in only 117 at-bats which took place last season but, hopefully, Joe Girardi will lead him off this season in the outside chance he does something close to that.
Following Schwarber, that’s when the toss up begins. At first, Rhys Hoskins, the power bat and the team leader in walks in 2019, came to mind, but he’s much better suited to using that power in the middle of the lineup. Batting him second feels counterproductive even though his career numbers are about dead even with RISP vs. bases empty (.235/.359/.498 vs. .246/.360/.505), so instead, let’s put Jean Segura there, who has said he feels more comfortable in the second spot in the lineup as it is. In his career batting second, Segura had the best number of runs batted in, triples, runs and he also has 502 hits as well. If the team didn’t have one of the best lead off hitters in Schwarber, it could easily be constructed to put Segura batting first like most of last season.
Third is going to be Bryce Harper. No question. He has batted third for most of his career and he has produced his best stuff there. Clean up would have to be Castellanos. He is in charge of clearing all those base runners. The way they’ll manage Bryce at the plate when they know Castellanos is on deck should significantly change the way the opposition pitches to Harper, which could result in us seeing an increase in numbers for him, which is insane to think about.
To continue on Hoskins, I would like to see him bat fifth. Lots of people don’t like the idea of that, but I do. He has his highest batting average at .318. He doesn’t have a lot of experience there but, it would be cool to experiment with it to see if it works. If it doesn’t, then it doesn’t, but I do want to see it happen though.
Filling out the rest:
- Sixth: J.T. Realmuto
- Seventh: Didi Gregorius
- Eighth: Alec Bohm
- Ninth: Matt Vierling/Odubel Herrera, preferably Vierling.
Other than Realmuto, I don’t really see these guys producing that much unfortunately. The team is hoping to get a good bounceback season from Bohm, trying to get him to be as close to his 2020 self as possible. If he can unwrap his power tool and if he gets a better batters eye, then that would be huge. New hitting coach, Kevin Long has been working with him for most of the spring training camp to do just that. Many people are very excited to see Bohm and his getting his hair flow (and offensive flow) back at the plate this season. Due to a number of injury related factors, Gregorius last year had his worst season defensively and offensively. He batted a nasty, gross .209/.270/.370 and he committed 18 errors at short in 848 1⁄3 innings of play. Elbows, of course, are very integral to playing baseball, whether it’s getting the ball in your glove and throwing it or getting a good swing of the bat, so if he’s better health-wise, the hope is we can see some classic Gregorius this year.
You should expect something similar to this lineup. Lots of power, contact and swagger similar to what was mentioned earlier on in this article. This season is going to be so much fun to watch and it’s going to look a lot like 2008 offensively. All of us could really care less about defense. Defense in baseball is cool and all when a player lays out for one, but other than that, it’s boring and errors don’t really happen as much as people think. As long as this offense produces a good amount of runs per game, we shouldn’t be worried about it. Who cares if Castellanos makes an error in left when he launches one into left that goes 440+ feet and then flexes on the plate when gets home. As they say, “Ball goes boom.”