Philadelphia Phillies: Projecting The 2018 Starting Lineup
Baseball fans rejoice, the 2018 MLB season is not too far away. While free agents such as J.D. Martinez, Eric Hosmer, Yu Darvish and others remain unsigned, we are just over a month away from Major League Baseball Spring Training games. So with baseball drawing closer, let’s take a closer look at the Philadelphia Phillies and their projected 2018 starting lineup.
Now things could certainly change from now until Spring Training, given how many free agents are out there still, but as things stand now, this is how we see the Philadelphia Phillies’ starting lineup shaking out.
- Cesar Hernandez, 2B – When deciding on a leadoff hitter, it is always good to find a guy who is one of the team’s leaders in on-base percentage, who can steal a base here and there. So when skimming through the projected Phillies starters for 2018, there is really only one option. And his name is Cesar Hernandez, the team’s second baseman. The switch-hitter sported a .373 OBP to go along with 15 stolen bases a season ago. He will find himself atop the Phils’ lineup in the coming season.
- Carlos Santana, 1B – Many will assume the Phillies will simply plug their new addition right into the three slot, but not so fast. The team is not going to be an offensive juggernaut, so they need to be strategic when setting their lineup. Santana knows how to get on base, even if his batting average does not reflect it (.365 career on-base percentage). Add in the fact that he is good for over 30 doubles and 20 homers, he seems like a prime candidate for the two hole.
- Odubel Herrera, CF – Sure Odubel is not nearly as big a name as he was a few years back. But guess what, he is still one of the Phillies’ best options for the three slot. He is still a consistent .280 hitter who is good for over 40 doubles a year. While he is not going to be a big-time power bat, that’s no issue, as the guy behind him will be doing plenty of that. Putting him behind Santana will result in a higher run total for the team.
- Rhys Hoskins, LF – Let’s keep this simple. There is only one real option for the cleanup spot in this lineup. The young Phillie, who will be shifting positions due to the arrival of Santana, hit 18 homers in just 170 at-bats a season ago. While he likely won’t be able to keep that type of pace in a full season, there is no denying his power.
- Maikel Franco, 3B – Many are down on the 25-year-old, as he has yet to live up to his full potential. While his .230 batting average is lackluster, he is expected to become a 30 home run hitter at some point. His spot in the five slot is far from a lock, but I think he just edges out the winner of the RF battle. But he should not get comfortable, as his time there might be short-lived.
- Aaron Altherr, RF – There will be a battle between Aaron Altherr and Nick Williams for playing time in right field. Both players are on the young side with plenty of talent. Altherr has shown flashes in the past, but has battled his fair share of injuries. There is no denying the talent is there, but beating out Williams will be no easy task. Whoever claims the job likely starts the season in either the five or six spot in the order.
- Jorge Alfaro, C – Alfaro is a 24-year-old catcher who got a small taste of the bigs a season ago. In 107 at-bats, the signal caller hit .318 with five homers. Not too bad for a small sample size. While he is not expected to be a big part of the offense, this writer feels he will be a better option than J.P. Crawford to hold down the seven spot.
- J.P. Crawford, SS – Crawford is a defensive first shortstop. It’s as simple as that. Having seen him play in person for the Lakewood BlueClaws in the past, this writer can vouch for his glove. His bat on the other hand, likely finds him manning the bottom part of the order. The 70 at-bats he had in Philly a year ago saw him collect just 15 hits.
How do you see the Philadelphia Phillies’ starting lineup shaking out for the upcoming 2018 MLB season? Tell us in the comments!