Phillies catcher Rafael Marchan has been working out like a Marvel Avenger
On Friday, he posted a clip of his preseason workout, with an interesting piece of equipment:
The weight looks just like Captain America’s shield from the blockbuster Marvel films. It certainly represents the kind of “Avengers, ASSEMBLE” energy the Phillies need as they seek to reverse their misfortunes in 2022.
Will Rafael Marchan have a full-time role with the Phillies in 2022?
Marchan, who signed with the organization as a 16-year-old international free agent in 2015, made his debut with three games in September 2020. However, he has yet to land a full-time role in the majors; over the last two seasons, he’s played in 23 games, hitting a combined .267/.323/.417 with a .740 OPS. Interestingly enough, the only home runs he’s ever hit are at a pair at the major-league level.
Despite this brief sojourn in the majors, he’s no longer considered a prospect or a rookie, because he’s spent more than 45 days of service on the pre-September major-league roster.
So, what are the Phillies going to do with him?
The Phillies have All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto signed through 2025, but the backup catcher role is currently up for grabs. Former backup Andrew Knapp elected free agency in early November, but later that month, the Phillies acquired two catchers via trade: Donny Sands (Yankees), and Garrett Stubbs (Astros).
While Sands has yet to make his big-league debut, Stubbs and Marchan have major-league experience. Stubbs debuted in 2019, and has 51 games of big-league playing time. However, his offensive numbers aren’t strong: a lifetime .182/.238/.247 line and .485 OPS, and he’s never hit a home run in the majors.
The Phillies also have catching prospects Logan O’Hoppe and Rickardo Perez ranked ahead of Sands in the farm system. O’Hoppe, in particular, is a player to know. He was an Arizona Fall League standout in 2021, and was named the franchise’s breakout prospect of the year.
So, the Phillies do have options for backup catcher, and in a pleasant turn of events, they have both quantity and quality. But as with everything else impacted by the MLB lockout, we’re just going to have to wait and see who earns the role in 2022.