5 observations from Phillies spring training opener
By Matt Rappa
For the first time in more than 150 days, the Philadelphia Phillies played a baseball game as they kicked off their 2021 Grapefruit League season Sunday afternoon.
The game resulted in a 10-2 defeat for manager Joe Girardi‘s squad — mostly featuring non-roster invitees — as they took on the Detroit Tigers on the road in Lakeland, Florida. Here are five observations from the exhibition contest:
Adam Haseley is the early frontrunner for the Phillies starting center field job.
With the starting center field spot still well up for grabs, Adam Haseley wasted no time to show why he deserves the role. After a swinging strike while facing southpaw Tyler Alexander, Haseley drove the second pitch of the game over the left-center field fence for a home run. The former first-round pick later lined out an inning later, before walking in the fourth on six pitches.
Haseley’s home run marked just one of four hits overall for the team, as well as one of two extra-base hits.
The 24-year-old was selected eighth overall in the 2017 draft out of the University of Virginia. Debuting in 2019, Haseley slugged 14 doubles and 26 RBI as a rookie across 67 games. This past season, Haseley played in 40 games and slashed a respectable .278/.348/.342 with five doubles and 13 RBI. Haseley did not homer once across the 60-game season, but quickly connected for one and showed his extra-base-hitting potential in Sunday’s spring opener.
There are still 27 games for Roman Quinn, Scott Kingery, and others to show Girardi why they deserve to be equally considered for the starting center field job. But, through the first day, Haseley is the clear frontrunner.