While the players in the outfield are mostly set, how the playing time will be allocated is still up in the air. More specifically, how Nick Williams and Aaron Altherr split time in right field will be worth following.
Both had strong seasons in 2017. Altherr posted All-Star like numbers but just couldn’t stay healthy. Williams had a strong rookie debut of his own, hitting 12 home runs with an .811 OPS in 83 games. They could’ve both been starters this year in right and left field, but the move of Rhys Hoskins to left field prevented that from happening.
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Altherr and Williams could form a strong righty-lefty platoon in right field that would produce 25-30 home runs. On the other hand, if one looks much stronger than the other in spring training, the club could opt to use the other as the fourth outfielder. Alas, that is what Baseball Prospectus’s PECOTA projection expects as Altherr is projected to get 20 percent of the plate appearances in right field, 10 percent in left, and five percent in center.
Altherr makes sense as the fourth outfielder as he can man all three outfield positions (to varying degrees of success), while Williams is limited to the corners.
Depending on how other situations on the team pan out, the Phillies could carry a fifth outfielder as well. Beat writers are expecting Roman Quinn to fill that role if he can stay healthy, which is never a guarantee. Dylan Cozens is another option, but he struggled heavily in Triple-A last year. If Quinn can’t make it, the team may opt to roll with four outfielders with Carlos Santana or Pedro Florimon serving as emergency options.