Matt Vierling is becoming the Phillies’ “Mr. Versatility”

Matt Vierling #44 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Matt Vierling #44 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

Matt Vierling’s versatility has been crucial to the Philadelphia Phillies’ success

Since the calendar flipped from May to June, the Philadelphia Phillies have been on a quest to make themselves relevant again.

Hopefully, they can go on a run and make the playoffs for the first time since 2011. They’ll need Bryce Harper and the other big bats to carry the team offensively, while Zach Wheeler and Aaron Nola anchor the pitching staff, but the contribution of lesser-known players, such as Matt Vierling, will also be crucial.

Vierling, who made his big-league debut with the team almost exactly one year ago (June 19), is filling a lot of holes. After playing the majority of his 63 career games in the outfield, new interim manager Rob Thomson inserted Vierling in the lineup at second and third base. Thomson’s decision may have raised eyebrows to all but the most die-hard Vierling fans, who know that the rookie played 25 games at third base for Notre Dame in 2018.

Vierling didn’t dazzle in these new infield spots but successfully fielded all 11 chances. The versatility of Vierling, who has now played every position in the field with the exception of catcher and shortstop, frees up an extra roster spot down the road for another bullpen arm, a huge need for this team that has struggled in the pen and needs all the arms it can carry, particularly down the stretch.

Naysayers will point at Vierling’s less than stellar .213 batting average and .574 OPS this season. However, last season Vierling hit .324 in 71 big-league at-bats and a respectable .268 in 281 career minor-league games. He’s also never made an error in the majors.

With Mickey Moniak optioned back to Triple-A this week, the Phillies could also give Vierling a shot to be their everyday centerfielder. However, with Odubel Herrera still in the mix, Vierling will likely share time in center, see some starts all over the diamond, pinch-hit, pinch-run and be the new “Mr. Versatility,” a position that cannot be overlooked and shouldn’t go unappreciated.