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2023-2024 Hot Stove - Chapter 3 - Infield

2023 Phillies (rank)

2nd base wRC+ 97 (15th) OPS 0.730 (9th) FGDef 11 (5th) 92% Stott

Shortstop wRC+ 111 (7th) OPS 0.789 (6th) FGDef 3 (24th) 96% Turner

3rd base wRC+ 79 (25) OPS 0.669 (23rd) FGDef 1.9 (18th) 51% Bohm

I was surprised that Bohm started at 3B only 51% of the time

Free Agents:

IF: Javier Baez, Donovan Solano, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Drew Ellis

2B: Adam Frazier, Brad Miller, Whit Merrifeld, Tony Kemp, Kolten Wong, Michael Chavis, Cory SPangenberg

SS: Brandon Crawford, Enrique Hernandez, Amed Roasario, Tim Anderson, A. Mondesi, Elvis ANdrus, Didi Gregorius, Yu-Cheng Chang, Tyalor Motter, Chris Owings, Tyler Wade, Nick Ahmed, Adelny Hechavarria, Ehlre Adrianza, Jonathon Arauz

3B: Justin Turner, Evan Longoria, Matt Champman, Eduardo Escobar, Giovanny Urshela, Jeimer Cadelerio, Joe Wnedoe, Miguel Andujar, Matt Duffy, Edwin Rios, Charlie Culberson, Mike Moustakas, Josh Donaldson, Matt Beaty, Kevin Padio, Travis Blankenhorn, Brian Anderson

Highlights:

Matt Chapman 30yo RHB 3B 2023: PA 581 HR 17 OPS .754 wRC+ 110 DRS 12 (3rd ranked 3B of all) Gold Glove

Hit 27 HRs in each of 2021 & 2022 - expecting to get at least $25M in a long term deal - another Turner

Donovan Solano 35yo RHB 1B/2B 2023: PA 450 HR 5 OPS .760 wRC+ 116 .760 DRS @2B 3 - good!

Best year since (except COVID 2020 at age 35), could go as cheap as $2 million

Gio Urshela 32yo RHB 2023: PA 228 HR 2 OPS .703 wRC+ 92 DRS 6 (6th ranked 3B) career wRC+ 103 est $10 million?

Isiah Kiner-Falefa 28yo RHB 2023: PA 361 HR 6 OPS .626 wRC+ 82 DRS/3B 3 career wRC+ 81 est $6-10 million?

Brandon Crawford, Amed Rosario, Tim Anderson were the 3 SSs with a worse DRS than Trea Turner..

2023 backups/bench:

Edmundo Sosa 27yo RHB SS/3B Arb Eligible 2024

2023 MLB PA 300 HR 10 OPS .720 wRC+ 92 FGDef 1.7

2022 MLB PA 326 HR 6 OPS .644 wRC+ 81 FBDef 1.2

Fielding DRS 2023 @3B -1 IP 583 (19th) @SS 0 IP 98

Rodolfo Castro 24yo Switch 2B/SS Arb Eligible 2026

2023 MLB PA 256 HR 11 OPS .776 wRC+ 101 FGDef -4.1

2022 MLB PA 278 HR 6 OPS .644 wRC+ 81 FBDef -1.7

Fielding DRS 2023 @2B 1 IP 233.2 @3B 0 IP 93 NR @SS -6 IP 234

Phillies Minor leaguers of note:

Kody Clemens 2B/1B 27yo LHB 2023 MLB: PA 148 HR 4 OPS .644 AAA/LHV: PA 279 HR 18 OPS .937 very good def

Weston Wilson 29yo RHB 2023 MLB: PA 22 HR 1 OPS 1.00 AAA/LHV: PA 544 HR 31 OPS .879

Scott Kingery 2B/CF 29yo RHB 2023 AAA/LHV: PA 466 HR 13 OPS .725 2022 AAA/LHV: PA 366 HR 7 OPS: .719

yes, even though Kingery is free of his big contract he isn't yet a minor league free agent

and is still under team control at $1 million/year

Matt Kroon 3B 26yo RHB 2023 AA/Reading: PA 344 HR 8 OPS .880 AAA/LHV: PA 76 HR 3 OPS 1.165

AZFL: PA 68 HR 1 .725

Oliver Dunn 2B 26yo LHB 2023 AA/Reading: PA 505 HR 21 OPS .902 AZFL: PA 83 HR 2 OPS 1.122

Aidan Miller SS 19yo RHB 2023 minors: PA 80 HR 0 OPS .804 3rd ranked prospect

William Bergolla SS 19yo LHB 2023 minors: PA 228 HR 0 OPS .638 7th ranked propsect

Phillies starters:

2B: Bryson Stott 26 yo, Arb 1 next year, under team control until 2028

2023 OPS .747 wRC+ 101 HRs 15 SBs 31 DRS 6 (7)

2022 OPS .653 wRC+ 84 HRs 10 SBs 12 DRS 1

2023 Postseason OPS .576 wRC+ 68 HRs 1 SBs 5

2023 (Apr & May) OPS .753 wRC+ 101

The first thing about Stott is that he is an improvement over Jean Segura. Segura hit about .740 OPS & wRC+ of 101 from 2020-2022 and Stott has not only come to replace that, but with much better defense and baserunning. Stott earned Gold Glove consideration at 2B in his first year at the position and along with Johan Rojas & JT Realmuto is among the team's elite defenders. He started the season very hot and cooled as the season progressed with the bat, but showed improvement over last season. He also has only a very minor platoon differential so there is no point in platooning him. Although I'm not sure about the comparison to Utley, etc.. he has room to improve, he's inexpensive and there is no reason he should not be the team's second baseman for the foreseeable future. I think Stott will be a top 10 2B with the bat and top 3 with the glove in 2024.

SS: Trea Turner 30 yo, under K until 2033 at 27million/yr

2023: OPS .778 wRC+ 108 HRs 26 SBs 30 DRS -12 (32)

from 8/4 OPS 1.057 wRC+ 180 HRs 9 SBs 16

2021 & 2022 OPS 0.858 wRC+ 135 HRs 49 SBs 59 DRS 0 (20)

2023 Postseason OPS 1.033 wRC+ 173 HRs 3 SBs 4

Turner is a longtime likely assumption in the Phillies infield. In the late season and postseason, after struggling for much of the year, he showed why he is the team's most expensive player. There is a solid argument that against very stiff competition - he is the best hitting shortstop in baseball. The concern is with defense. He doesn't look bad playing (eye test) but his stats are poor - among the worst starting shortstops. He has never really been great. There may come a day and I can see that day being March 1st of 2024 - that Turner should move to 3B and open up SS for Stott or another better defending shortstop.

3B: Alec Bohm 27 yo, Arb 1 est $4.5 million, UFA in 2027

2023: OPS .765 wRC+ 105 HRs 20 DRS -10

2021& 2022: OPS .687 wRC+ 112 HRs 20 DRS -15

23 Postseason: OPS .709 wRC+ 97 HRs 1

Bohm - the good news - although Bohm's stats are not glamorous (in particular the defensive ones, but really both), if you follow the Phillies daily - Bohm seems to come through at the right times - he is a clutch hitter and can glove some great plays when it counts. 2023 was a better year for him than 2022.

Bohm - the bad news - compared to his peers (other MLB 3Bs) Bohm is perhaps the weakest offensive & defensive position starting player on the Phillies and he is no longer super-cheap. At age 27 he may be near his ceiling. He is an MLB player, but just an average bat and below average glove.

So what should we do?

First, although Weston Wilson is intriguing, I don't think that any of our bench or minor league players are ready to contend with our starters, so our only new starters would come from trade or free agents. I see only a few approaches

1) Move Bohm if we can, acquire a new 3B. Matt Chapman could be a big impact player offensively & defensively - but that's adding another long term commitment of $25 million or more on the payroll. I'm not sure that's the best use of resources but it might be awesome. It may be not-so-great to lock up a long term 3B because that would imply leaving Turner at short long term. The rest of this FA class at 3B is uninspiring - they are either too old, don't hit as well as Bohm, or are as poor a defender. Isiah K-F is another Bohm.

2) Move Bohm if we can, move Turner to 3B & Stott back to shortstop and get a new second baseman. I don't see the free agent at second that makes sense. Stott may be a better 2B than shotrstop. There could be a trade, but I'm not sure it's worth giving up prospects or pitching to get something better than Bohm and we can live with Turner's SS defense for awhile.

3) Move Bohm if we can, move Turner to 3B & get a new shortstop. Last year was the year for shortstops in the FA market.. I don't see it and shortstops are as hard to trade for as catchers.

4) stay the course: keep Stott, Turner, & Bohm right where they are and keep these strategies in mind next year with a new crop of FAs when Bohm's pay goes up again.

In my opinion - we go with #4 and stay the course. I'm very unwilling to say Alec Bohm is the 3B of the future, but I don't see a ready alternative and this infield seems very competitive - good 'nuff.

You can check out my previous chapter - First Base & DH here... and from there follow the link to Chapter 1 about catchers.