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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

1/8/23 : Spring Competition

Updated: Jan 18, 2023

Continuing with the theme of anticipation for the 2023 season ( see )  I’m embarking on a five part series of articles looking forward to some spring competitions we might expect to see in the next couple of months for roster placements on opening day.

I’ll begin with the major league club and follow up with articles on Lehigh Valley, Reading, Jersey Shore and Clearwater.  This series won’t be detailed profiles of players - we’ve done that for the minor leaguers already ( see )  but rather a limited discussion on what each roster may look like.  There are probably still player signings to be announced so at this point we may not yet know all the names competing for the jobs or for that matter who officially will be the non-roster invites for big league camp but we will do our best with what we have at present.

So here goes - the big club first - the Philadelphia Phillies.

When a team ascends to the World Series there’s usually not a lot of expected change coming into the following season - well - sort of.

The Phillies made significant free agent acquisitions this off-season by signing Trea Turner, Taijuan Walker, Craig Kimbrel and Matt Strahm. In essence they replace Jean Segura, Noah Syndergaard, Corey Knebel and David Robertson - in actuality much more then being just replacements is expected from them.

The club also just made a multi player trade acquiring Gregory Soto & Kody Clemens from the Tigers in exchange for Matt Vierling, Nick Maton & Donny Sands.

On 1/9/23 the club traded minor league LHP Erik Miller to the Giants for RHP Yunior Marte

Pitchers :

There will likely be 13 pitching slots on the 2023 opening day roster - barring injury starters  Zack Wheeler, Aaron Nola, Ranger Suarez & Taijuan Walker and relievers Gregory Soto, Connor Brogdon, Andrew Bellatti, Craig Kimbrel, Seranthony Dominguez, Matt Strahm & Jose Alvarado are all locks - that leaves two open roster spots to be determined in spring camp - a fifth starter and a bulk reliever.

The 5th starter spot will be filled by one out of the group of Bailey Falter, Andrew Painter, Mick Abel, Griff McGarry, Michael Plassmeyer and Christopher Sanchez - James McArthur is an under the radar candidate - he spent most of last season on the IL but has a big league skill set.  All have minor league options left - Sanchez would have been out of options but the Phillies petitioned for and were granted an extra year for him.  A non roster invitee also in the mix is minor league free agent signee Jon Duplantier.

Nick Nelson did a decent job as the bulk reliever last season and would seem to have the inside track for the role again but others will also compete for it, perhaps it may end up as someone who was not selected as the fifth starter.  Yunior Marte, Sam Coonrad, Luis Ortiz, Erich Uelmen & Andrew Vasquez are all on the 40 man roster and will be in the mix.  Potential non-roster invitees include recently signed minor league free agent Jake Jewell and Phillies minor leaguers such as McKinley Moore, Andrew Schultz and Andrew Baker as well as Francisco Morales.

Position Players :

Ten of the anticipated thirteen roster positions are locks - the DH/Reserve role, a super utility position and the 4th outfielder spot will be competed for in spring training camp.

Catchers :

There are three catchers on the 40 man roster - JT Realmuto and Garrett Stubbs are roster locks - Rafael Marchan serves as minor league depth but will likely get a long look in spring camp as both Realmuto and Stubbs are slated to compete in the World Baseball Classic - JT for Team USA and Garrett for Team Israel.  John Hicks, Max McDowell & Cody Roberts could be non-roster invitees to big league camp along with Vito Friscia, Herbert Iser & Jack Conley as catching support albeit Vito may play for Team Italy in the WBC and would miss some ST time as well.  Other NRI possibilities include Nick Matera & Anthony Quirion.

Infielders :

Rhys Hoskins, Bryson Stott, Trea Turner, Alec Bohm & Edmundo Sosa are roster locks.  Darick Hall will compete for the DH role and time as a reserve first baseman while Bryce Harper recovers from Tommy John surgery.  Kody Clemens & Dalton Guthrie will compete for the super reserve ( to play multiple positions - infield and outfield ) roster spot.  Scott Kingery should also get a look for that role in spring camp as a non-roster invitee. Other potential non roster invitees include recently signed minor league free agent Weston Wilson as well as returning minor leaguers Will Toffey and Madison Stokes.  Perhaps a youngster like Hao Yu Lee gets an invitation just to get a taste of big league camp 🧐. The club signed Vimael Machin to a minor league contract from the Oakland A's - he will compete for the reserve infield role in camp - played parts of the last three seasons in the big leagues with the A's.

Outfielders :

Kyle Schwarber, Brandon Marsh & Nick Castellano are locks.  Jake Cave will compete with Darick Hall for the DH/reserve role as well as for the 4th outfield slot, in fact both may make the opening day roster - Dalton Guthrie can certainly fill the fourth outfielder role and seems to have the leg up on it  - he can play all three outfield positions very well plus the infield - to be honest I don’t see how Dalton is not on the roster at this point, he’s a semi-lock 🤓.  Johan Rojas, Simon Muzziotti & Jhailyn Ortiz are currently on the 40 man roster and will be in spring camp but all are expected to begin the year in the minor leagues, they all should get extended looks in spring camp as Schwarber is also playing in the WBC for Team USA.  A potential non roster invitee is Garrett Whitley ( signed as a minor league free agent ).

Next up in the series - the AAA level Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs

Note : I've partnered  with Fanatics on Phillies Merchandise - if you would like to help support my website and articles here's a link to order merchandise - I get a small commission on any sales - thanks for the support.

Photo by Cheryl Pursell

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