Adam Haseley was one of the few bright spots in an otherwise dismal Phillies season. Did he do enough to earn a spot on next year’s roster?
The 2019 Phillies season has ended amid major disappointment. Injuries galore played one of multiple parts in the team’s demise. When Andrew McCutchen went down in June and Odubel Herrera was suspended in July, Adam Haseley was called up.
A first-round pick in 2017 from the University of Virginia, the outfielder quickly made his way through the minor league system and was probably thrown into the ring a little sooner than anticipated. I, like many fans, had modest expectations for Haseley upon his call-up. I did write previously that he should get full opportunity to play until he gave the Phillies a reason to bench him. That reason to bench him never came.
Haseley has some work to do with his plate approach going into his age-24 season. He had a wRC+ of 88 (league average is 100), and that was probably aggravated by his walk percentage of 5.8% and strikeout percentage of 24.8%.
Hasley’s batting line was .266/.324/.396 for an OPS of .720, with five home runs and 26 runs batted in. For the bottom of the lineup, that production is fine. However, his batting average on balls in play was .344, a significant jump from his regular average. Improvements should come with time, but going forward, Haseley should strongly consider being more aggressive early in the count given his success when putting the ball in play.
Where Haseley stood out most was in the field. He had just one error in 541 innings playing the outfield, with a defensive runs saved total (DRS) of 13, which led all Phillies this year. How good is that? J.T. Realmuto was second on the team with 11 and played more than twice as many innings. Haseley was quick, got great jumps after contact, made some great plays, and showed good range. For a center fielder, those qualities are invaluable.
Haseley had an fWAR of 0.9, which averages out to 2.0 over the course of 150 games played. Only five players on the team finished with a better total this year: Realmuto, Bryce Harper, Scott Kingery, Jean Segura, and Rhys Hoskins.
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Sure, Philadelphia fell apart as the season went on, but playing Haseley was not one of the reasons. He provided more value to the team in 67 games than Herrera did in all of 2018 and the beginning of 2019 (Herrera’s DRS in 2018 was -11, and was -4 this year before his suspension).
Will Haseley be back in 2019? I certainly hope so. His production at the bottom of the lineup was about as expected but should improve going forward. The center field position is not historically a “power bat” position in the lineup, anyway. Most of us thought he probably wasn’t going to be ready for the major-leagues after McCutchen and Herrera were out for the year, but he proved us wrong.
I hope the Phillies move on from Herrera, despite his contract.
If Haseley can make a few adjustments at the plate heading into next year, I firmly believe that he will provide great value to the Phillies on both sides of the ball for years to come. If I were general manager Matt Klentak, finding a new center fielder is not something I need to worry about. Plus, any significant improvement in that position would cost the club money or trade assets that they either a) don’t have, or b) would be much better off spending on other positions (i.e. pitching). That said, I am making moves to ensure that Haseley starts 150 games next season.
All statistics used in this article were provided courtesy fangraphs.com.