After attending several Grapefruit League games in person this spring, this Philadelphia Phillies team really had me inspired. I felt excited for the season to start and didn’t have so many nagging doubts about how the 2020 season might play out. Full of confidence, I was really thinking that this could be a great year.
Assuming we can finally get baseball underway at some point, here is the everyday lineup that I would suggest to manager Joe Girardi:
1 – Andrew McCutchen LF
2 – J.T. Realmuto C
3 – Bryce Harper RF
4 – Rhys Hoskins 1B
5 – Didi Gregorius SS
6 – Jean Segura 3B
7 – Scott Kingery 2B
8 – Adam Haseley CF (vs RHP) and Roman Quinn CF (vs LHP)
9 – Pitcher or DH Jay Bruce (vs RHP) and Josh Harrison (vs LHP)
I’m the type of person who always tries to find the “bright side” of things, and if there is one “bright side” to the delay of the 2020 season caused by Covid-19 it would be that by the time the season begins, McCutchen will be healthy and able to return to the starting lineup. With his .378 on-base percentage, ‘Cutch’ is exactly the kind of player you want to leadoff your batting order. Games always start better when your leadoff hitter is reaching base consistently.
In the second spot, I have the pending free agent Realmuto. The catcher was tearing up the Grapefruit League hitting for a .300 average when the spring training season was cut short. Now he will be playing for a contract as well.
I have the player wearing uniform number ‘3’, Harper, in my third spot. This is his traditional spot in the lineup and it is there that Bryce seems most comfortable. Harper was hitting to a .500 average and on fire in March. With McCutchen and Realmuto in front of him, teams will be forced to pitch to at least two of the first three talented batters in the Phillies order.
Batting in the cleanup spot is Hoskins. Though he was only hitting .250 in the spring, he was actively working on a new hitting stance to eliminate problems displayed at the end of last season. Early on last year, the 3-4 spots with Harper-Hoskins filling them was unbeatable. I have a feeling that Hoskins is well on this way to becoming the type of player who can be productive in this spot.
Gregorius is in the fifth spot. He hits with enough of the kind of power you like here and as an experienced left-handed batter should be perfect to reinforce Hoskins ahead of him.
In the sixth spot I put Segura, who was batting .300 and looked physically impressive in spring training. He was looking to return to All-Star form and become one more piece in a dynamic first 2/3 of Girardi’s lineup.
Kingery has the legs to keep the line up moving in the seventh slot. “Scotty JetPax” gets the chance to play his natural second base position everyday as well. That should help him relax and bring out the best in his offensive game.
Haseley fits the bill quite nicely in this next spot against right-handed pitching. And the Phillies are fortunate to have Quinn to put in against a lefty pitcher. Platooning these two in center is a good way to provide balance to the lineup. It also protects the still developing Haseley a bit against tougher southpaws and limits the frequently-injured Quinn’s exposure.
Finally when it comes to inter-league play (or if baseball goes to a universal Designated Hitter), I’d use Bruce against righties and Harrison against lefties. Harrison was a pleasant surprise for me in spring training. Not only is he genuinely nice to fans, but he’s one of those guys who gives 100% every time he’s on the field. Harrison is just the kind of veteran player that can show the younger guys how to play the game. He could prove to be a great pickup for the Phillies’ bench and depth options.
While those Grapefruit League standings don’t actually count for anything, the Phillies did have the best record in all of baseball during spring training. Maybe let’s just call-off this season entirely and award the2020 championship to the Phillies?