2015 IronPigs Roster Predictions: Infield Overview

If you haven’t already, go back and read the position-by-position analysis for the infielders.  We’ll get to Outfield next, followed by starting pitchers and relievers.

Here are the links:

Catcher:  HERE

First Base:  HERE

Second Base:  HERE

Third Base:  HERE

Shortstop:  HERE

Here are the players whom I predicted to be in IronPigs uniforms on April 9:

Cameron Rupp

Koyie Hill

Russ Cranzler

Chris McGuiness

Tyler Henson

Cord Phelps

Maikel Franco

Chris Nelson

Andres Blanco

Chase d’Arnaud

That’s ten players.  If you assume at least two catchers, then it’s 8 infielders–which is probably too many.  However, given that Tyler Henson and Russ Canzler can both play corner outfield, it could be done.  More likely, I’m over the limit.  Here are the story-lines to watch during Phillies Spring Training, to try to figure out who stays and who goes:

  1. Can Cameron Rupp do enough to hold off the veterans and keep his roster spot?  Cam, Tommy Joseph and Chooch are the only catchers on the 40-man.  Rupp has options, so he wouldn’t necessarily have to give up his spot, but room would need to be made to keep a veteran catcher.  Do they want Rupp to get more reps at AAA?  Do they want to challenge Tommy Joseph with AAA again right off the bat?  Do they want to keep both veteran FA catchers around, Koyie and Hester?  Can Tommy stay healthy?
  2. How’s Utley’s ankle doing?  If they’re nervous about Utley missing time, that almost automatically keeps another infielder in Philadelphia.
  3. How much infield will they have Odubel playing?  The rule-5 pick is a virtual lock to make the Phillies, in my opinion.  However, will they have him primarily in the outfield, where he played over the winter in Venezuela?  Or, will he work out at middle-infield as well?
  4. How much outfield will Asche play?  And how will Franco look in the Spring games?  The third base job is Asche’s to lose–at least through the end of May.  It just makes sense for the young Franco to get his year started in Allentown rather than start his service clock straight away; however, they’ll be watching…and if Franco forces their hand, I don’t think it’s impossible for him to make the Phillies–especially if Asche sees a ton of Spring Training time in LF.
  5. How will Freddy hit?  And, can he stay healthy?  Good questions, because if there is any doubt, then they may want to keep another full-time backup in Philly for shortstop.  As it is, Blanco and d’Arnaud are those guys, and don’t have roster spots; they should both be with the ‘Pigs.
  6. Is Cesar Hernandez good enough at 3B and SS to be the utility backup?  He has to be strong enough to play at least one or two games there until a guy can get called up.
  7. Can Darin Ruf stay healthy and hit?  Or, does Chris McGuiness have a shot at the backup 1B job?  Ruf has the roster spot and the ability to play LF.  Will that be enough?  At least initially, it should, as long as he’s healthy.  Bears watching, though.
  8. How will trades and injuries impact this group?  Under the original premise, I’m not going to predict trades or injuries, but they may occur.  As mentioned above, Utley’s ankle hurts–and his knees aren’t getting any younger.  Will Howard get a look from an AL  team, with his new batting stance and all?  Probably not until closer to the trade deadline, if at all.  Will a team in need of a 3B inquire about Asche?  Again, probably not right away, but you never know.  If there should be a rash of injuries at Shortstop, that could bring a veteran to town either via trade or free agency.

..

So that’s what to watch during the Spring games.  We’ll keep you updated as we go forward.  On to the Outfield…

@Kram209



Categories: Lehigh Valley IronPigs

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1 reply

  1. I knew I’d miss someone; I always do. I missed on Tyler Greene–the former 1st round pick of the Cardinals who spent last season split between the G-Braves and the Chihuahuas. He has 288 games of MLB experience, last appearing in 2013 for the White Sox. He should be in the mix at 2B, 3B and SS–he’s listed as SS with MiLB. He can play a little corner outfield as well. Keep an eye on him–hits for some power on occasion.

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