Phillies: Questions that need to be answered in spring training
Will the home-grown stars take the next step?
Scott Kingery took large steps forward between 2018 and 2019, and became a sharp utility tool that played almost literally everywhere for the Phillies. While his strikeout rate increased, his walk rate and power production also increased, raising his WAR to 2.7 (fourth-highest on the team).
Now, without having to compete for a starting position, Kingery needs to take another step forward in his development. His defense needs to improve; he still commits too many errors (which I get considering he played so many positions). His strikeout numbers also need to decrease; he cannot strike out in 30% of his at bats. However, Kingery is locked in for the next four years, so the team has confidence that he will continue to improve.
Adam Haseley was a pleasant surprise after the Phillies struggled to find a replacement for Odubel Herrera and Andrew McCutchen. His offensive production wasn’t anything overwhelming, but he shined defensively in his 67 games. The Phillies have reportedly been searching for an option to platoon with Haseley in the outfield, due to his struggles against left-handed pitching. The biggest thing I want to see from Haseley is his response to this pressure. Will he show the new manager Joe Girardi that he belongs in the lineup every day? He needs to display some success at the plate to force Girardi’s hand, or else he could be stuck in a platoon situation.
Rhys Hoskins probably had the second most disappointing season on the Phillies last year (outside of Nick Pivetta). Hoskins struck out 173 times, while only hitting 29 home runs compared to 150 strikeouts and 34 home runs the year prior. The expectation was that Hoskins would thrive batting behind Bryce Harper, but he regressed in all of his offensive numbers except walks (which he led the league in). J.T. Realmuto is coming off a phenomenal season, Harper now enters his second year in Philadelphia, and Didi Gregorius will bring his high level of production to the lineup. All of which set up Hoskins for another year where his offensive production should increase.
Will we see any changes in Hoskins’ approach at the plate? Hopefully, he will return to form as the power supply of the future.