Philadelphia Phillies 2023 Season Position Breakdown: Left Field
Early on without Bryce Harper, the Phillies will rely on Kyle Schwarber for much of their offensive power.
The 2023 Philadelphia Phillies outfield will be dynamic, as the club awaits the return of two-time MVP Bryce Harper. It remains to be seen whether Harper will make many (or any) defensive appearances when he returns later this season. If he can, the Phillies will likely opt for an approach that will alternate their corner outfielders between playing the field and serving as the designated hitter.
The outfield setup is pretty set to begin the season — barring any injuries. The first outfield position that we'll analyze is left field. Last offseason, the Phillies signed a well-known power hitter — Kyle Schwarber — who was well worth his contract, leading the National League with 46 home runs in 2022. Despite hitting leadoff most for the season, Schwarber also racked up 94 RBI. The team can expect similar production with perhaps more RBI this season, as he is expected to hit behind the speedy Trea Turner.
Schwarber is known for his offense. That is what the Phillies pay him for. He is not the most renowned defensive outfielder in baseball, but if he continues to produce at the plate, he will still provide plenty of value for the club moving forward.
In terms of depth behind Schwarber, some questions are yet to be answered. The Phillies are still deciding which bench players make the roster. There are likely just two spots open, as three are taken by Edmundo Sosa, Garrett Stubbs, and Josh Harrison. Harrison has played some left field before, so he could fill in the position if Schwarber needs a day off.
Some interesting options are still battling for Opening Day roster spots. Jake Cave, who the Phillies claimed off waivers in December, has looked sharp this spring with two home runs and six RBI in 17 at-bats. While Cave's 1.386 OPS is unsustainable, he has shown some promise.
Other bench options include Daulton Guthrie, who can play all the outfield positions, and Kody Clemens, who is mainly an infielder but has played a handful of games in left field. Guthrie is probably the better defensive option, but Clemens has had a good spring. The left field depth will become clearer as Opening Day approaches.
Barring any injury, Schwarber will be in the lineup most days in 2023. Last season, the slugger appeared in 155 games. The Phillies will hope for the same type of durability from Schwarber in 2023. They will want his bat in the lineup as often as possible, considering that one swing of his bat can quickly change an outcome of a game.