It's very early, but MLB.com's Zolecki is predicting the 26 man with a (predictable) bench of: Stubbs, Sosa, Harrison, Hall & Guthrie (over Cave), Falter as the fifth starter and Cristopher Sanchez as the 8th reliever. My response:
For the bench: Stubbs, Sosa, Harrison are set - they didn't pay that money to Harrison to send him down.
Darick Hall earned a chance last year - he may not be the full-time DH vs. RHP - but even though he is limited in his defensive possibilities it's hard to see what more he needs to do with the bat - he was great last year - he's having a good spring: AB: 12, H: 4, HR: 1, OPS 1.431. He's also getting some play in the corner outfield.
Darick Hall LHB (DH, 1B) 2022: PA: .250/.282/.522 OPS .804
Dalton Guthrie RHB (3B, LF, RF, CF) 2022: PA: 28 .333/.500/.476 OPS .976
LHV 2022: PA: 374 .302/.363/476 OPS .839, played 480 innings in CF, 213 in RF also played some shortstop
Guthrie Spring: 1 hit in 11 at bats.. 3 SOs
- positional flexibility
- RHB to complement Marsh & Hall as LHBs
- Hit really well in a small sample in the majors last year
- Thomson seems to like him - he did the promotional tour with Marsh & Bohm - he's an insider
Jake Cave LHB (LF, RF, CF) 2022: PA: 177 .213/.260/.384 OPS .644
best year 2019: PA: 228 .258/.351/.455 OPS .805 only 4 G played in CF in 2022, but 74 over 2019-2021
- There is plenty of coverage for the infield with Harrison, Sosa, & Hall, Cave can cover OF
- Spring training hitting... Cave is raking 6 H in 14 ABs, 1 HR, 1.324 OPS
and..the other guy who could have been considered is Kody Clemens - but Clemens is more like Hall than Guthrie - he's a big LHB that's supposed to hit for power and play 1st more than 3rd or OF. As long as Hall keeps hitting, I don't see Clemens winning a seat.
Kody Clemens LHB 1B/3B DET 2022 PA 127 .145/.197/.308 OPS .505; AAA 2022 PA 264 .274/.327/.535 OPS .862
For me, after Sosa, Stubbs, Harrison, I'm going with Hall (at least until Harper comes back) and Guthrie... but I like Cave too, but as a LHB outfielder - he becomes even more redundant after Harper's return (unless Harper can only DH). (Zolecki might be right here).
For the 5th starter: Really - we don't have a fifth starter (yet). We have three sixth starters. So we should go with that. We don't have to make a season-long decision. If Plassmeyer keeps making a spring case for the rotation - let's roll with that? Tell the others they will probably still play a role - but put the best of Plassmeyer, Falter, or Painter at the time. So maybe it will still be Falter - but I think it's early to call it. Maybe Falter or Painter will be the 5th starter in June or September.
Plassmeyer 26 yo LHP 57% 4 Seam fastball at only 89 mph but usually with command. Slider & Changeup
2022 PHL: IP 7.1, ER 3, HR 1, BB 1, SO 7, WHIP: 1.364
2022 AAA: IP 128.1 ER 22, HR 12, BB 23, SO 82 WHIP 1.049
Plassmeyer pitches today (Monday)
Falter 25 yo LHP 64% 91 mph sinker & 4-seam both with good command, curveball, slider, changeup
2022 PHL: IP 84 ER 36, HR 16, BB 17, SO 74 WHIP 1.214
2022 AAA: IP 47 ER 10, HR 4, BB 6, SO 49, WHIP .660
Painter - is going to start at some point either this season or next. He pitched 100 innings last year (50% of a full time season).. I can probably do 120-130 this year. If you pitch him at LHB - he'll burn through that 100 innings there. The bottom line is that 1) if he's healthy and 2) he's a better better bet to get six innings of getting runners out than Falter or Plassmeyer then we should start him. .. if not.. then don't Even if we start Painter - he's probably not going to have the stamina to pitch 200 innings and be the major league 5th starter all season - so we'll need to bring Falter (or someone) in later.
I know it's easier said than done because prediction is not precise. But I don't think it's more complicated. Let the best guy start and assume we'll probably change later. We are going to use several fifth starters - maybe all three of these guys and somebody we pick up later)
Finally the 8th bullpen spot...
The bullpen is strong enough that if they are all healthy - we could use the 8th spot (for Falter/Plassmeyer and 6th starter Painter or Song) and go with 7 relievers. But if we are to pick somebody - we need a middle innings eater. The candidates are Nelson, Marte, Eulmen, Bowden, Sanchez, but I like
Andrew Vasquez 29 yo LHP
In spring he is 3 IP, 3 G, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 BB, 6 SOs with a WHIP of .67
2022 with Tor & SFG he pitched 8.2 IP, 10 G, 1.154 WHIP, 4.73 FIP, 4 BB, 10 SOs
2022 minors 32.1 IP, 29 G, 8 BB, 44 SOs, 1 HR, .835 WHIP, 5.5 SO/W
But the good part - he isn't another hard thrower - he is a curveball specialist
71% of his pitches are an 80 mph curveball and 29% are a 89 mph sinkier
You sandwich him in between a hard throwing starter and a hard-throwing reliever and he'll do some damage to timing on at least a few batters... I'm recommending in this case that we not necessarily choose on the hot hand coming out of spring but rather base this decision somewhat on pitching style (and success). We have a lot of hard throwers. It would be good to have somebody who can get hitters out throwing 80 mph in the middle.