Phillies 2021 Spring Training Preview: Position Players

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Bryce Harper #3 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /

Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper proved in 2020 why he was worth the 13-year, $330 million contract. Harper in 2020 had one of the best seasons of his career, with 3rd highest wRC+ of his career at 151, and the second-highest OPS+ of his career at 157.

To put it modestly, Harper was an insane baseball player in 2020, and he’s going to continue to put up big-time numbers.

If we want to point out something that could be concerning, Harper did regress as a defender, going from a 10.0 UZR in 2019 to a -1.6 in 2020. I wouldn’t put much stock into this when you look at his entire career but it is something of note. If he starts to regress on defense earlier, it could be cause for concern down the line.

It is something of note but it shouldn’t be a huge deal. We should expect another Harper-type year where he is the best player on the team, it’s really him or catcher J.T. Realmuto.

Matt Joyce

35-year-old long time veteran Matt Joyce is next. Joyce is now playing for his 3rd different NL East team in 3 seasons playing for the Marlins and Braves most recently.

Joyce has made a great career with a career 113 wRC+ and a career 112 OPS+ but that is not the type of player we should be expecting in Philadelphia at his age.

Joyce is here to hopefully provide some quality veteran depth to the outfield for the Phillies in 2021.

A good reason why Joyce will be able to bring that depth is because of what he has done over the last 3 years combined. He has an OPS+ of 101, 16 home runs, and 93 walks in 632 plate appearances. For a backup outfielder that is exactly what you would be asking for.

Joyce brings quality depth to a bench that needed some help especially if an outfielder goes down.