One of the bright spots of the Philadelphia Phillies' 2023 campaign was the emergence of some solid outfielders with, at points, too much talent out there.
The injury to Bryce Harper in 2022 opened up a third outfield spot, showcasing the talent of a recently acquired Brandon Marsh. The return of Harper in May of 2023 again opened up another outfield spot by allowing Kyle Schwarber to slide into a predominantly designated hitter role.
At first, it was shaky. Against the Indians in Harper's first games at first base, Jake Cave took over the role in left field. It wasn't what the team that had just returned to the World Series in 2022 after a 14-year drought was hoping to see in the dog days of summer.
But, just when everyone least expected it, the young guys came to save the season.
Cristian Pache was acquired in March of 2023 from the Oakland Athletics. He had hit .156 over his three years between Atlanta and Oakland, and seemed like a non-factor. Brandon Marsh was a platoon player during most of 2022 and even going into 2023, a decent guy to have in center field. Johan Rojas was a name that no one had heard. A 22-year-old kid who couldn't hit, even in the minors.
All these men made a major impact down the stretch and into the postseason this year.
There were ups and downs, as any unit has. Going into the 2023 offseason, Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said that they have not yet committed to Rojas or another player as the third outfielder for the 2024 season.
The performances this past year, the offseason work that each individual player puts in, and their showing in Spring Training will be the only case for why they should earn their role on the 26-man roster come the end of March 2024.