While many would predict that the players holding down the fort in the absence of Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins would be the teams top three stars of Trea Turner, Kyle Schwarber, and JT Realmuto, it's been the opposite. The players stepping up with two big bats down so far in 2023 have been the members of the daycare.
Bryson Stott, Alec Bohm, and Brandon Marsh have stepped up big time in the first two weeks of the season. As three of the youngest position players on the roster, it was expected that the three would continue the same role as last season. However, with Rhys Hoskins out for the entire year, Bryce Harper out for at least the first month and the top three hitters somewhat struggling, the daycare kids have become key pieces in the lineup. Let's take a look at how the three have performed so far this season.
Bryson Stott has looked like a different player in 2023. Last season, his above average fielding kept him in the lineup against right handed pitching. This season Stott made the move over to 2nd base with the acquisition of Trea Turner. His defense through 11 games has been flawless as proven through his 1.000 fielding percentage. Despite this great success in the field, it's his bat that has everyone talking.
Stott is batting .422 with an OPS+ of 149 through his first 11 games. While these numbers likely won't last at the high level they are all year, it's a great start for the 24 year old. A highlight of his season thus far was a walk off RBI single against the Cincinnati Reds to complete the comeback and clinch the series win.
Because of this success, Stott will now see some time in the lead off spot. After being as far as the eight and nine spot at times last season and facing just right handed pitching, Stott has moved his way all the way up to the top. We don't know for sure how long he will stay in this spot, but the fact that Rob Thomson has the confidence to place him in the position is big for the team, especially when the lineup will get deeper with the addition of Bryce Harper later in the year.
Alec Bohm has continued to build on his success from 2022 and become the player the Phillies thought they drafted with the third pick of the 2018 draft.
Defensively, Bohm is being used in multiple ways. What was once his biggest weakness has now become one of his strengths. Bohm has been solid at third base, making just one hour so far. However, where Bohm has really stepped up is at first base. With the injuries of Rhys Hoskins and Darrick Hall, Bohm will see most of the time at first base.
Against left handed pitching, it is all but a guarantee that Rob Thomson will line Edmundo Sosa up at third and Bohm at 1st. Bohm has showed the ability to play first base and will be their most of the season.
Offensively, Bohm has continued his great ability to hit for average while adding a load of power. Through 11 games, Bohm is hitting .341 with three home runs and a team leading 11 RBIs. The 26 year old is almost a quarter of the way to his home run total from the previous season. Bohm has hit all over the lineup so far. While he has the ability and build to hit in the three hole, he will likely reach the five hole at the highest with consistency.
No matter where Bohm is placed, he has been an impact bat so far and will need to continue to be if the Phillies hope to exceed last seasons results.
Brandon Marsh has exceeded expectations so far in 2023 and appears to have been working with Kevin Long a bunch.
Marsh's fielding was always above average. That is a large reason why the Phillies gave up their number one position prospect in Logan O'Hoppe to acquire the young outfielder. However, it's Marsh's bat, specifically against left handed pitching that has been so impressive.
Through nine games, Marsh is hitting .407 with an absurd 264 OPS+. Left handed pitching has always been Marsh's kryptonite, however, this season he has dominated.
Marsh is batting .444 with an OPS north of 1.500 against left handers this year so far. He also has added a power element to his game. Marsh already has eight extra base hits in total in 2023. In 2022 he had just 33 in 134 games.
Marsh hit in the bottom four of the lineup and will likely stay in that position throughout the season. If he is able to continue his success through the season, the Phillies lineup will be terrifying for opposing pitchers.
One thing about Marsh is that Rob Thomson has continued to be hesitant to start him against left handed pitching. It was an automatic platoon for centerfield last year with Matt Vierling and Marsh sharing time. However after the trade of Vierling to the Tigers, the Phillies simply don't have the same depth.
Christian Pache has been used as a platoon somewhat for Marsh, but he does not have the same offense Vierling was able to provide. Through a short sample size Marsh has proven his ability to hit lefties and deserves to benin the lineup everyday.
The three young studs have started hot in 2023 and eleveated the lineup even with the stars struggling a bit out of the stretch. If Stott, Bohm, and Marsh are able to sustain their success with the stars performing and Bryce Harper returning, the Phillies could be in the discussion for the best lineup in baseball.