Phillies Bench Still a Major Concern

Hernandez gets a shot on the roster. (Photo: Jay Floyd)Wil Nieves, Cesar Hernandez, Jayson Nix, Tony Gwynn Jr., John Mayberry Jr. It is this group of men that make up the Phillies opening day bench. And it’s an area of concern.

Ruben Amaro stated Saturday that the Phillies no longer have a group of starters that can be called upon to play 162 games. Bench players will get many chances to fill in for the likes of Rollins, Utley, and Howard. But they’ll be leaning on players who have major warts.

Wil Nieves is a career .242 hitter that has never eclipsed 250 plate appearances in a season and is 36 years old.

Cesar Hernandez has just 131 career plate appearances.

Jayson Nix has played for five organizations in six seasons accumulating a .218 career average and .290 on-base percentage. He’s not known as a top defender, either.

Tony Gwynn Jr. has a high-water mark of .270 with the Padres in 2009. He is 31 years old and is a 6.8 WAR player over parts of seven season in the majors.

John Mayberry Jr. may have the best resume of the bunch posting a 162-game average of 17 homers and 55 RBI. However, Mayberry is a 1.1 WAR player over parts of five seasons in the majors.

There is no go-to bat, no one to lean on heavily should a starter go down with injury, which seems to be a given at some point this year. And that’s a problem.

Freddy Galvis will return at some point after he is cleared to play following a MRSA infection, but he’s no sure thing either. Darin Ruf brings a power source from the reserves, but isn’t a good defender, especially in the outfield. Nix gets a role on the team for now because of his ability to play shortstop. Do you trust Nieves as a full-time starter if Ruiz gets the injury bug?

The Phillies needed to reinforce the bench because of their injury-prone starters and they’re left with an underperforming crew that brings more questions than answers.


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