Now that Spring Training has begun, I’ll get going with my annual, futile, attempt to guess the IronPigs roster for when they take the field on April 9 at Coca Cola Park. Below, I’ll not mention the possibility of trades, injuries, and outright releases, because they are always possible and I have no inside information which would allow me to predict such. I’m just calling it as I see it. It’s a bit different this season, because I believe the Phillies’ own motivations on how to construct their roster may be a bit different than in recent years. We’ll see, I guess. Oh, one more thing: I’ll likely forget somebody or make an inappropriate assumption somewhere along the line. Please feel free to add information or corrections in the comment section. Thanks. Here we go:
We’ve done the infield and catchers–including an overview. We’ll do the Starting Pitchers next, and follow up with the relievers. But right now, it’s the Outfielders:
The young bucks:
The old dudes:
The Free Agents:
There are a lot of candidates here, so let’s break them down by groups. First, the guys with asterisks above are on the 40-man roster.
The Young Bucks:
Of these three guys who started in Reading last season, only Cameron Perkins didn’t miss significant time to injury. Maybe not coincidentally, he’s also the only one to make it to Lehigh Valley. He started well with us, went into a deep slump, then started to figure it out as the season came to a close. He doesn’t have a 40-man spot, but does have stuff to work on at AAA. He’s a virtual lock to be on our opening-day roster.
Aaron Altherr is a center fielder, who may earn his way to the ‘Pigs, or may get pushed up to make room for top-10 prospect Roman Quinn–who could start in either Reading or Clearwater. Aaron could also start in Reading playing a corner spot. He’s on the 40-man and in MLB camp, so he’ll have plenty of opportunity to work with the Phillies’ coaches. The prediction for now is that he’ll start in Reading, one way or another, and find his way to Allentown by June 1.
Kelly Dugan might be the best prospect of the three, but is having trouble staying healthy. While he’s on the 40-man, he’s in a walking boot as well. A “stress reaction” or “stress fracture” (depending on your source) has him on the shelf. For that reason, I’ve got him in Reading or possibly EST (Extended Spring Training) to start. His time frame will depend on his health and performance, of course. If he’s not going to be ready for a while, they might be able to use the 60-day DL to make his 40-man spot available, and bring him back in June.
The Old Dudes:
Grady Sizemore and Jeff Francoeur aren’t really that old, but certainly have the most extensive MLB experience. It’s not totally a farce to list them here, as both played AAA last season. For now, I see at least Sizemore, if not both, on the Phillies to start the season. Sizemore is on the 40-man, and both certainly have opt-out capability. Of the two, probably Francoeur is more likely to appear in an IronPigs uniform, and it would almost have to be initially, not later. He likes working with Charlie Manuel on hitting, and played a significant amount of time in AAA last season with the Padres. Sizemore was only with us for a bit–and couldn’t wait to leave. He’s outta here if they try to DFA him, or waive him from the 40.
Darin Ruf was mentioned with the 1B, and does have an option. He was sent home from winter ball after performing poorly, and may have been nicked up. I think if he’s hitting even a little, he’ll make the Phillies as Howard’s backup and right-handed platoon. However, if he’s still trying to find his stroke, the new Left Field at Coca Cola Park could make him feel like he’s setting records in Reading again. He’ll have Sizemore, Herrera, and Francoeur to battle for Left Field time in Philly.
The Free Agents:
They liked Jordan Danks enough to give him a spot on the 40-man. He doesn’t have options. He could be the 40-man guy they plan to stash at AAA for the case of injury. Assuming health, the Phillies should have Herrera, Sizemore, Revere, Brown and Ruf in Philly, and Danks ready to call up. But Danks would have to accept his assignment, and probably has an opt-out at some point. You could also see them waiving him (from the 40-man) in order to add Francoeur. There’s the scenario where Danks leaves the organization via one of methods.
In addition to Danks, we’re familiar with Paul, Bogusevic and Mastroianni from their time visiting The Coke as opposing players. It could very well be that all three will make it. For now, I have them ranked as written in the first sentence. Danks and Paul are the most likely to make it based on CF-capability.
So watch how these guys perform during the Spring games, and in what order they’re sent to MiLB camp. Watch the 40-man for any moves which might help us predict. Also remember the guys who can play outfield from the infield groups: Ruf, Henson, Canzler.
“Try to stop my hands from shakin’
Somethin’ in my mind’s not makin’ sense”
See you at the park,