Predicting the IronPigs roster is difficult enough, but the Phillies keep inviting guys to Clearwater. It’s an exercise in futility, I know. But, I like it anyway. Let’s narrow our focus a bit and make some bold predictions. Today: Outfield
“The Jeffersons (We’re A-Movin’ On Up)”
“We Hardly (read: Never) Knew Ye”
From the nine candidates above, I’ll put five with the IronPigs. The Phillies probably need five as well, and they’ll start with Revere, D.Young, Mayberry, and Nix. That leaves one spot. It’s sink or swim time for Domonic Brown. I listed him above because he does have an option year left. I think the scenario where he starts the year with the IronPigs is extremely unlikely. It’s probably even more likely that he’d be traded than that. So let’s put him with Philly.
Delmon Young may need to start the year on the DL. If he does, it opens another spot in the Phillies outfield or on the bench. I’d think Ruf has the inside track on that unless one of the “Eastward Bound” has a great spring. Joe Mather spent last year with the Cubs where he hit a blistering .209. In 2011 he spent time with Gwinnett (note Brundage connection) and Colorado Springs where he predictably did better in the PCL vs. the IL. He bats right-handed. Jermaine Mitchell comes from the A’s, where I believe he had some injury trouble last year. In 2011 is PCL numbers were very good, though. He’s a Lefty and primarily a center fielder.
I don’t think Jiwan James is ready for AAA. The converted pitcher is a good enough outfielder, but I’m not sure he did enough at the plate in Reading to be considered for AAA to start the season. Similarly, with Castro, while he may have earned the promotion, I’ll start him with Reading based on the roster squeeze. Derrick Mitchell and Susdorf could also get squeezed to Reading in certain scenarios.
Out of nine, two to Philly: Brown and Ruf (with D.Young to the D.L.). Two to Reading: James, Castro
Five to LHV: Gillies, Mather, J. Mitchell, Susdorf, D.Mitchell
Kram’s Keys: (What to watch for during Spring Training to see if I’m on track with my predictions):
1. Health. It’s always first, but here we need to know if Delmon is recovered from offseason surgery and if he’s managed to avoid the food truck. We also need to know if Tyson Gillies can make it through S/T unscathed.
2. Fielding. We pretty much know their spots in the outfield, but it will be interesting to see if guys get time in unexpected positions. Also, if Delmon’s on the field, watch to see how he does fielding the ball (he was a DH for much of last season). This goes for Darrin Ruf as well, to see if the Phillies think he can contribute as an adequate Left Fielder defensively.