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Phillies Nuggets: Opening Day lineup projection 2.0


Kyle Schwarber, Matt Vierling and Bryce Harper will all be in the Opening Day lineup for the Phillies. (Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire)

The Philadelphia Phillies will welcome the Oakland Athletics to Citizens Bank Park Friday at 3:05 p.m. ET to begin the 2022 regular season. Here is our final projection of what Joe Girardi’s lineup will look like against A’s righty Frankie Montas:

No. 1: Kyle Schwarber, Left Field

Schwarber was excellent hitting out of the leadoff spot for the Washington Nationals in 2021, and the Phillies will ask him to hit at the top of the order to begin the season. Schwarber isn’t going to be a top-of-the-order hitter that singles, steals a base and waits for the middle of the lineup to drive him in. The middle of the lineup may ultimately drive him in because he’s going to be a guy that consistently gets on base. He may also lead the league in leadoff home runs in the first year of a four-year/$79 million deal.

No. 2: J.T. Realmuto, Catcher

You could certainly make a case for Realmuto hitting fifth or sixth, but this is our guess on where the three-time All-Star catcher will hit on Opening Day. While Realmuto remains arguably the best player at his position in the sport, the Phillies are happy that major additions to the lineup and the DH becoming permanent will alleviate some pressure on Realmuto.

No. 3: Bryce Harper, Right Field

For the fourth consecutive year, No. 3 will hit out of the three-hole on Opening Day, and for the overwhelming majority of the season. Harper had five Opening Day home runs during his time with the Nationals, but has yet to hit one as a Phillie. The eight home runs that Harper hit this spring suggest that could change on Friday.

No. 4: Nick Castellanos, DH

Castellanos homered 34 times and drove in 100 runs in 2021 as a Cincinnati Red, playing his home games at Great American Ballpark, one of the most hitter-friendly parks in the sport. However, he’s hardly coming to a pitcher’s park in Citizens Bank Park. Castellanos is a doubles machine, but some of the balls that he hit into the gaps when he was playing his home games at Comerica Park as a Detroit Tiger will end up in the stands in Philly. It would hardly be shocking if he hits 40 home runs in 2022.

No. 5: Rhys Hoskins, First Base

Three out of the five Phillies Nation staff members that were polled predicted that Hoskins will lead the Phillies in home runs in 2022. Hitting in such a loaded lineup should set the 29-year-old up to cash in when he can become a free agent after the 2023 season, whether it’s from the Phillies or someone else.

No. 6: Didi Gregorius, Shortstop

Gregorius homered two times and drove in four runs during Spring Training, looking significantly more healthy than he did at any point in 2021. Bryson Sott — more on him in a minute — is going to push Gregorius for playing time at shortstop, but the Phillies would unquestionably be a better team if the 32-year-old has a bounce-back season at the plate.

No. 7: Jean Segura, Second Base

There will be those who argue that Segura should hit second or sixth, and he almost certainly will at various points in the season. But our guess is that the final Spring Training lineup against the Tampa Bay Rays was pretty close to what we’ll see on Opening Day. And if you have a two-time All-Star hitting seventh in your lineup, you project to be a really good team.

No. 8: Bryson Stott, Third Base

While Alec Bohm is still on the major league roster, Stott hit .406 in Spring Training and earned the chance to begin the season as a starter at some position. While Stott is a natural shortstop, it stands to reason that he could be a major defensive upgrade at third base over Bohm, who had -13 defensive runs saved in 2021.

No. 9: Matt Vierling, Center Field

This almost certainly would have been Mickey Moniak before he suffered a fracture to his right hand. Instead, Vierling will start on Opening Day, and probably for a bulk of the first few weeks of the season with Moniak and Odúbel Herrera slated to begin the year on the injured list.

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