Phillies: Journeyman Phil Gosselin living the dream with his hometown team
Journeyman Phil Gosselin has paved his way to the critical position of utility infielder for the Philadelphia Phillies this year.
Coming into this season, the talk surrounding the Phillies in the time leading up to Opening Day consisted mainly of the many big-name free agent acquisitions they made this off-season, Bryce Harper.
Hiding in the shadows has been Phil Gosselin, a Philadelphia local that has quietly found his way into the ever-so-important role of utility infielder on his hometown team.
The 30-year-old from the Philadelphia suburb of West Chester, Pennsylvania played his high school baseball at Malvern Prep in Chester County, a short distance away from Citizens Bank Park. The local boy did not have the MLB on his mind early on, however.
"“Coming out of Malvern Prep, I really didn’t think that I would become a MLB player. My goal was to earn playing time at UVA and get a great education. Professional baseball wasn’t on my mind at the time, but playing for the Phillies was certainly a dream.”"
Gosselin starred for the University of Virginia, finding himself in the mix as a top draft pick after hitting nearly .400 in his junior season. The Atlanta Braves drafted him in the fifth round of the 2010 draft.
After making his MLB debut in 2013 for the Braves, Gosselin never quite cemented himself as an everyday player. He has since bounced around with five different teams, becoming a “Quad-A”’ player, as he is continuously toiling between the Triple-A level and the big leagues, something Gosselin seems to take in stride.
"“Every day in pro ball you’re trying to prove yourself. All offseason I run, lift, work on my defense and offense to be prepared as possible when spring training starts. I know that if I don’t do everything I can to improve then other players will move ahead of me. I’ve never had the luxury of having a guaranteed spot or contract, but I love the grind of trying to show that I can help a team win games in the major leagues. “"
Acquired in the shadows of Harper, Jean Segura, and Andrew McCutchen, Gosselin signed a minor league deal this offseason with the Phillies that included an invite to spring training.
Spending only a brief stint in the minors this season with the Triple-A IronPigs (and hitting .419 in the process), Gosselin had his contract purchased on April 17. Since joining the Phillies, he has hit .262 while playing MLB-caliber defense when called upon.
Gosselin’s call-up was in part due to the injury bug that has hit the Phils hard early in the year. Segura and Scott Kingery have both found themselves on the injured list, with Kingery just returning from his hamstring issue. Even with the productive return of Segura at shortstop, Gosselin has remained in the vital role of a utility infielder, doing everything right when called upon.
“The Phillies were a huge reason I fell in love with baseball as a kid, and now I’m putting on that jersey every day. It’s the most fun I’ve had playing baseball in my career.”
Gosselin serves as a provider for needed days off for the starters, playing all over the infield. He often handles the bat in pinch-hitting situations. And while he doesn’t hit the long ball consistently or feature a rocket launcher for a right arm, Gosselin has been there for the Phillies in crucial moments. His intensity and grinding style of play seems to be rubbing off.
If history is any indication, expect Gosselin to continue moving from the Triple-A level and back again throughout the season. The team seems to have faith in Gosselin, though, as evidenced by the dismissal of Aaron Altherr and the demotion of Nick Williams. While Gosselin may never gain a starting job in the Phillies infield, the hometown kid will be in the mix for a playoff roster sport where his level-headed play will be valued immensely.
"“I want to do whatever I can to help the Phillies be in the playoffs. Whether it’s starting or coming off the bench, all I care about is helping the Phillies win the 2019 World Series.”"
It’s essential to recognize the theme in professional baseball that sometimes the smallest names on the roster have the most significant performances when it matters most. Matt Stairs anybody?