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The jury is still out on Adam Haseley


If you polled 10 Phillies fans on their thoughts on Adam Haseley, chances are you’d get ten different answers. His biggest fans think he’s just a tier below Aaron Nola and Alec Bohm as far as key players to emerge from the rebuild. His detractors think he’s nothing more than a 26th man.

Adam Haseley will be entering his third season as a Phillie. (Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

What matters most is what the Phillies think of him and judging by how the 2020 season unfolded, Haseley has a ways to go.

The plan from the get-go was to have Haseley platoon with Roman Quinn in center field following a spring training in which neither of them seized the job. Haseley ended up making 18 starts in center field to Quinn’s 28. It was clear Joe Girardi preferred to have Quinn in the lineup as a speed threat.

Unfortunately for Haseley, he regressed in just about every way possible. He came off a good stretch in his last 31 games of 2019: batting .304 with 2 home runs, 12 RBIs and a .807 OPS. In 2020, Haseley slashed .278/.348/.342, good for a meager .690 OPS. He walked more and struck out less relative to his 2019 numbers but he had five extra base hits all season. His pitch selection in key situations was suspect and the power was never there.

While solid in 2019, Haseley’s defense took a step back in 2020. To be fair, just about every position player — besides Jean Segura and J.T. Realmuto — struggled in the field in a small sample size. Here’s what the advanced metrics say about Haseley’s performance in the outfield in 2019 compared with 2020.

Haseley was above average in terms of speed in his first season but in 2020, he was a second slower per Statcast’s sprint speed metric (26.8 ft./per second in 2020 vs. 27.8 in 2019).

Perhaps the most damning aspect of Haseley’s 2020 season is that the Phillies were hesitant to go to him even when their outfield depth was depleted. A prime example of this is when the Phillies decided to start Bryce Harper, sore back and all, in center field in the series finale against the Mets at Citi Field with a left-handed pitcher on the mound. Throughout the year, Haseley only had 10 at-bats against lefties. He went 4-for-10 with a double and two RBIs.

There’s an argument to be made that Haseley has not been given the opportunity to shine. A lack of at-bats against left-handed pitching proves that the team thinks he’s a better fit as a platoon long-term. He went 11-for-52 in 2019 against lefties with two doubles, eight RBIs and a .531 OPS, so the Phillies have a right to be skeptical.

Then again, Haseley has yet to play a full season. To his credit, he was called up to the majors a bit earlier than the Phillies would have liked. They had no choice but to do so with the way their roster was depleted with injuries in June of 2019. 2019 was far from a terrible first year in the majors for Haseley.

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Considering the Phillies have many holes to fill and a self-imposed budget, they could opt to run back the Haseley/Quinn platoon. That would probably be the best-case scenario for Haseley, who could also share time with Andrew McCutchen in left field.

If they don’t acquire another center fielder in the offseason, 2021 will the year for Haseley to prove he is an everyday player. He’ll be entering his age 25 season in 2021 but despite being so young, his margin of error is thin.

He’s much more valuable to the Phillies as a center fielder. A team that’s all-in on contending would probably prefer to have someone with a much better bat in a corner outfield position. In Haseley’s initial scouting report in 2017, MLB.com said his arm is “more fitting for left field as opposed to center.”

The Phillies also have a glut of fourth outfielders on their hands — with Quinn and Haseley among them. While Mickey Moniak will benefit from a year in Triple-A, he plays a better center field than Haseley. It wouldn’t be smart to carry all three of these players in the long-run unless they prove they are more than what they are now.

There is still time for Haseley to prove to the Phillies he’s more than what they think he is. A revamped swing and noticeable improvement in center field would go a long way. Come April 2021, however, the clock starts ticking.

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