The race for the Phillies center field job is even more wide open.
The first week of Philadelphia Phillies spring training is coming to a close and less than 30 days remain until Opening Day, but the starting center field job remains up for grabs. It’s already a close race with competitors off to hot starts. If things continue, it will be difficult for the club to decide on the 26-man roster — but it’s a good problem to have.
Unfortunately, Adam Haseley will not be among them, at least at the onset of the regular season. Announced on Friday, the former first-round pick will be sidelined at least four weeks and is unlikely to be ready for Opening Day. In his first two seasons, Haseley impressed with a smart and patient approach at the plate. It’s safe to say he has one of the smoothest swings on the team, and showed promising signs so far this spring, going 2-for-7 with two runs scored and a home run.
Haseley was the favorite for the job and could still take it back when he returns. But for now, the competition is wide open — attention now mainly turning to Roman Quinn and Scott Kingery, both of whom spent time in center in 2020.
Which Phillies outfielder will step up with Adam Haseley sidelined?
Quinn has struggled to find consistency at the plate in recent years, but can be streaky and catch fire for short periods. Since his minors days, Quinn always seemed like more of a pinch-runner and defensive replacement. While Quinn might not be the best hitter, his speed is fun to watch — but he isn’t getting any younger. It feels like yesterday when Quinn was a minor-league prospect, but now he’s 27. He could benefit from winning the job. In seven at-bats this spring, he has two hits, one double, and one run scored. We’ll see if he can build upon that.
Kingery is heading into a make-or-break season. This is his chance to catch fire at the plate and prove he can be the second-round prospect he was drafted to be. Kingery is not only fighting for his job, but also to stay with this team. If he doesn’t perform well this year, his days in the red pinstripes could be numbered. Although he is just 2-9 so far this spring, one of his hits came on a big fly, Also, he came around to score both times he reached base. Even if Kingery doesn’t win the job, he’ll likely be kept on the big-league for his versatility.
What other center field options do the Phillies have?
Mickey Moniak has come up this past week. In the 15-0 rout of the New York Yankees, the former No. 1 overall pick went yard twice. As Bob Brookover from The Philadelphia Inquirer noted, Moniak went yard in the sixth inning with a two-strike count, and went yard again in the seventh opposite a left-handed pitcher. At just 22, Moniak certainly isn’t the favorite for the job, but did make his big-league debut in 2020. He is 3-7 on the spring slate thus far and his third hit was a double. If Moniak keeps this up, he might force the Phillies to keep him around.
Another Phillies outfielder off to a hot start is Odubel Herrera. After the domestic violence incident in 2019, the former All-Star is trying to earn back the trust of his teammates and turn things around. It appears the Phillies organization, at least, is giving him a second chance. In terms of production on the field, Herrera is currently 3-6 with three runs scored, one home run, and a stolen base. He has also looked sharp in the outfield.
Right now, Herrera must compete not only for trust, but also for a roster spot with the aforementioned candidates — as well as fellow non-roster invitees Matt Moore and Travis Jankowski.