With the Philadelphia Phillies in the midst of rebuilding, scoring is going to be a problem for a team with limited offensive talent, which is why the team will likely focus on being a defensive orientated team. MLB predictions have the Phillies finishing last in the NL East, but if they can limit their opponent’s run scoring, they might have a chance to finish 3rd in the division.
During the offseason, Phillies manager Pete Mackanin tried to put together a team that is fast enough to chase down balls, the team also changed the grass in the infield to make it easier for outfielders to chase balls down.
The Phillies plan to put together a solid defensive team suffered a blow when Aaron Altherr was injured during the preseason. Altherr, who was expected to be the team’s starting right fielder, suffered a wrist injury that will sideline him for up to six months. Altherr’s injury means he will likely miss the entire 2016 season.
With Altherr lost to injury, the Phillies will likely give Rule 5 player Tyler Goeddel a chance to start at right field this season. Goeddel is 6’4” and runs very well, but he has been playing in the minors and might need some time to adjust to the speed of MLB.
Before Altherr was injured, Goeddel was invited to spring training because Phillies management believes he has a lot of potential. Now that Altherr will be missing significant time, Goeddel will have a chance to show what he is made of.
According to team sources, Goeddel isn’t guaranteed a spot in the starting lineup and has to earn his spot on the team. Goeddel will be competing with Cody Asche, who is still recovering from an oblique strain he suffered a couple of weeks ago.
If Goeddel is unable to beat out Asche for the right fielder job, he will still have a chance to make the team as a reserve if he can outperform non-roster players like Cedric Hunter, Emmanuel Burris, David Lough, and Ryan Jackson, who are also trying to make the team.
If the Phillies don’t feel any of the players mentioned can contribute significantly at the right fielder position, the team has the option of looking for a player who can through trades with other teams, or through the waivers.
One of the potential players Philadelphia can go after include former Villanova football and baseball player Matt Szczur, who currently doesn’t have any minor league options.
If Pat Mackanin doesn’t want to get players outside of the organization, he can always convert first basemen Brock Stassi or Darin Ruf to outfielders since they already have experience playing in the outfield. However, it is unlikely that Mackanin will use either player.
According to Mackanin, one of the team’s priorities this season is to have better defensive coverage in the outfield, which means speed and players that play the position naturally. Since neither Ruf nor Stassi are legitimate outfielders, Mackanin said he would rather not have them in the outfield.
Mackanin also said he was disappointed that Altherr will miss most of the season because playing this season would have given Altherr a great opportunity to show what he can do.