The Hendu Flu isn’t the only thing going around the Phillies’ clubhouse this Spring Training. The Phillies’ outfield has also fell victim to the injury bug. Cody Asche,who has been sidelined with an oblique injury since early March, has no time-table to return while Aaron Altherr will miss 4-6 months after undergoing wrist surgery Wednesday. This recent string of injuries leaves the Phillies’ outfield in a state a flux. Let’s examine the possibilities going forward.
Bourjos, 28, was claimed off of waivers from St. Louis in December and is in line to be the Phillies every day right fielder in 2016. Bourjos is a plus defender with excellent speed and the ability to play all three outfield spots. Although a typically below average hitter, the six-year vet is off to a hot start this Spring, hitting .421 in 19 ABs. Look for Bourjos to improve on his 2015 campaign where he showcased a miserable .200 average in limited playing time with St. Louis.
Herrera will look to solidify his hold on center field in 2016. The 24-year-old will try to improve on a tremendous rookie season in which he hit .297 in 495 ABs, adding 8 home runs in the process. “El Torito” will have little competition for his spot this season and it will be interesting to see how that affects him. Will the comfortability make him more confident or complacent?
|162 Game Avg.||162||592||546||71||162||33||3||9||45||18||9||31||142||.297||.344||.418||.762|
Goeddel, selected first in this year’s Rule 5 Draft, will no doubt be with the Phillies to start 2016. However, Rule 5 picks do not always make it through the season. Goeddel will. Only 23 years old with tremendous upside, Goeddel is in the perfect situation. The Phillies are rebuilding and will have patience with their young players. This affords Goeddel the opportunity to see plenty of playing time while also being able to have some growing pains during the transition from Triple-A to the Majors. Given the Cody Asche/Aaron Altherr injuries, Goeddel is currently in line to be the Opening Day starter in left field.
Asche should probably be on the Definites list because he will be on the Phillies in 2016. However, it is uncertain whether he will be able to go north with the squad come April. Asche is recovering from a Grade 1 oblique strain, a notoriously sensitive muscle to heal. Oblique strain recovery time varies from person to person and the rate of re-injury tends to be higher than most muscular strains. Given that the mechanics of a swing put a great deal of stress on hitter’s core, the Phillies will proceed cautiously with the 25-year-old, converted third baseman. Expect Cody Asche to begin the season on the disabled list.
Darnell Sweeney, acquired in the Chase Utley trade last season, will benefit with Asche and Altherr out of the line up. Sweeney hit poorly with the Phillies in 2015, having a less than desirable .176 average in 86 at bats after joining the squad. However, he has shown the ability to swing the stick. Sweeney is a career .280 hitter in the minors slugging 177 extra base hits and stealing 122 bases. Sweeney, often compared to Dee Gordon, is a super-utility man. He saw time at all three outfield spots as well as second and third base with the Phillies last season. Sweeney will likely be with Philadelphia on Opening Day as the fourth outfielder and backup second baseman.
A 30-year-old non roster invitee, Lough has four hits in fourteen at bats this spring. The only reasons for Lough being a maybe instead of long shot is the fact that he could be a veteran presence in a young Phillies’ locker room and that he is wearing a low number at camp(#3).
The Long Shots
The 23-year-old speedster has played well this Spring albeit with limited playing time. Quinn will likely be up at some point in 2016 but, barring injury, he likely begin the season at Lehigh Valley.
Lumped into a similar group as Roman Quinn, Williams will also see time in the Majors at some point this season but not quite yet. Williams needs to refine his plate approach and cut down on strike outs before he can make the jump.
Another non-roster invitee, Hunter has been a career minor leaguer with a cup of coffee in San Diego. The 28-year-old did bring some excitement to Spring Training by hitting a walk off against Atlanta but he has not performed well enough to earn an Opening Day spot. Expect Hunter to play out 2016 in the minors, however, he may be called up during the year if the Phillies want to give Quinn or Williams more seasoning before their eventual call ups.
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