Who Will Play Right Field?
Outside of Odubel Herrera, the Phillies outfield was a complete mess in 2016. Cody Asche, Peter Bourjos, Tyler Goeddel, and Aaron Altherr struggled to contribute. Roman Quinn provided a glimpse of success in September, but it was only a glimpse.
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The team filled one hole in the outfield by trading for Howie Kendrick from the Dodgers. He will start in left field but can also play several infield positions need be.
Meanwhile, right field is wide open. Altherr manned the position after he returned from injury, but he did anything but lock it down. He finished 2016 with a .202/.304/.293 line, four home runs, 23 RBI, and seven stolen bases in 57 games.
Altherr was worth -0.3 fWAR. Quinn showed some brief success, hitting for a .706 OPS and stealing five bases in 15 games, but an injury cut his season short, as happens so often with him.
This leaves the team in a pinch as they try to figure out who will start the year in right field. Quinn is the more dynamic of the two players with his speed and hitting ability, but he is also extremely injury-prone. I’ve previously made the case of why Quinn should be in the starting lineup, but I can also see why the team would like to have him back in Triple-A for some extra development time.
It is possible Altherr’s wrist injury hurt his ability to perform at the plate, but he should be fully healed after a getting full offseason to rest and recover. If he reverts to his 2015 form at the plate during spring training, it could afford Quinn the ability to start the year at Triple-A and delay his service time clock.