3 Phillies to watch in spring training as they fix weaknesses and elevate their game

Spring training may not always be the best indicator of how a player's season will pan out, but there are some Phillies to watch to see if they can improve on skills that will directly impact their season.
Philadelphia Phillies rookie reliever is one of the players to watch this spring training to see if he can improve for 2024
Philadelphia Phillies rookie reliever is one of the players to watch this spring training to see if he can improve for 2024 / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages
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Spring training is the time of the season when players can get much-needed work in against live pitching and hitting that they wouldn't see other than during the regular season. The emphasis isn't always on the outcome, but more on improvement on weaknesses from the previous season.

During the 2023 season, players like J.T. Realmuto, Aaron Nola, and Orion Kerkering all showed, at times, the elite-level play they are capable of. That being said, their game still had some obvious, sometimes self-admitted, flaws.

For some of the more veteran guys, they understand the goings of spring training and can use the time to work on these things. For others who are trying to make the Opening Day roster, there is a lot more worry about the outcome. Either way, it's crucial to remember that the result is not always the be-all-end-all, and the process is just as important.

Here are a few specific, non-statistical improvements to look out for that would point toward success in 2024 for these players.

Watch for J.T. Realmuto to fix the inside hole in his swing

If you asked, Realmuto would say that his 2023 campaign was not up to his standards.

Over 135 games, Realmuto slashed .252/.310/.452 with a .762 OPS, the worst slash line he has produced during his five years in red pinstripes. While his numbers were still above average, and his defensive and baserunning game from the catcher position was outstanding, even Realmuto admitted to a big flaw he found in his swing.

After the NLCS loss, the 32-year-old worked hard on the inside pitch, a problem stemming from his high leg kick and very open stance. Realmuto went on to do something that he hadn't done much before. Throughout the offseason, per The Athletic's Matt Gelb, the Phillies catcher worked with hitting coach Kevin Long (subscription required) in the team's biometric lab, breaking down the exact reason for his faults.

A veteran who isn't entering spring training for his first time, Realmuto will look to build off the offseason work against live pitching for the first time since the end of last season.

After seeing his first action in spring training on Wednesday, the former Marlin is already showing a new look in the batter's box. His stance looks more composed and tighter, with his feet closer together and hips more closed.

While this spring training home run was on the outside of the plate, it will be important to watch how he has adapted to the inside pitch to cut down on the chase rate and increase his overall command of the strike zone from a hitter's perspective.

With some slight adaptations and adjustments, Realmuto could continue to be one of the best catchers in baseball and give the Phillies yet another weapon in their very deep lineup to scare opposing pitching.