The Philadelphia Phillies are scheduled to host the Oakland Athletics at 3:05 p.m. ET on April 8 at Citizens Bank Park to begin the 2022 season. Here’s our first projection of what Joe Girardi’s lineup will look like on Opening Day.
No. 1: Kyle Schwarber, Left Field
While he wouldn’t have been someone that you would have had lead off in the 1990s, Schwarber gets on base at a high clip and hit 17 home runs and drove in 30 runs out of the top spot in the lineup a season ago.
No. 2: Rhys Hoskins, First Base
Hoskins’ walk percentage was down to 10.6% in 2021, where his career average is 14.3%. Still, he homered 27 times and posted 71 RBIs in just 107 games last season. If Hoskins can stay healthy for the full season, he should be in store for a huge age-29 campaign.
No. 3: Bryce Harper, Right Field
The reigning National League MVP hit out of the No. 3 spot in the lineup in 126 of the 141 games he played a season ago. Harper may very well hit third every Opening Day through the 2031 season. Harper had five Opening Day home runs during his time with the Washington Nationals, but hasn’t yet hit one as a Phillie.
No. 4: Nick Castellanos, DH
It’s entirely possible that Castellanos plays left field and Schwarber DHs on Opening Day, but regardless, he’ll be hitting cleanup. Castellanos was ejected in the first inning of the last game that he played at Citizens Bank Park on Aug. 15 when he was playing for the Cincinnati Reds.
No. 5: J.T. Realmuto, Catcher
It’s also possible that Realmuto hits second or he hits sixth, but as Corey Seidman of NBC Sports Philadelphia noted, he figures to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the additions of Schwarber and Castellanos to the lineup. While he’s still arguably the best catcher in baseball, Realmuto will now be asked to be the fifth or sixth highest run producer for the Phillies.
No. 6: Jean Segura, Second Base
Segura could hit second, bumping Hoskins and Realmuto down in the lineup. But if the Phillies are able to have the man who is 16th among all players in baseball in hits over the last five seasons hit sixth, it would create one of the five deepest lineups in the sport.
No. 7: Didi Gregorius, Shortstop
In the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, Gregorius was one of the best hitters that the Phillies had, homering 10 times, driving in 40 runs and posting an .827 OPS in 60 games. However, he struggled mightily during the 2021 campaign, hitting just .209 with an underwhelming .639 OPS in 103 games. Gregorius wasn’t healthy for much of 2021, and recently told Matt Gelb of The Athletic that he had offseason surgery to remove bone spurs from his throwing elbow, which obviously had a negative affect on all aspects of his game. If Gregorius can bounce back to some degree in 2022, it would be a very welcome development for the Phillies. If not, top position prospect Bryson Stott may usurp him at some point soon.
No. 8: Alec Bohm, Third Base
A year ago, Bohm felt like a sure thing, at least offensively. While it is concerning that he continues to struggle defensively at third base — he had -13 defensive runs saved and -2 outs above average in 2021 — it was relatively predictable. What wasn’t predictable is that the former No. 3 overall pick would hit just .247 with a meager .647 OPS in his first full Major League season. There’s a star hitter in there somewhere, especially if new hitting coach Kevin Long can unlock Bohm’s power on a consistent basis. But if Bohm struggles again, a Phillies team in win-now mode probably won’t hesitate to give at-bats at third base to Gregorius, Johan Camargo and others.
No. 9: Odúbel Herrera, Center Field
Whichever of Herrera or Matt Vierling is in center field on Opening Day will almost certainly hit last in Girardi’s lineup. By this point, Herrera’s flaws as a player are well documented — he makes mental mistakes and will have stretches where he’s ice cold at the plate. The flip side of that is that the former All-Star will probably have a few weeks in the season where he gets hot enough to help carry the lineup. Not too many teams can say that about their No. 9 hitter.
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