During the 2023 MLB season, the Philadelphia Phillies had a fair number of players who manned the center field position with varying results. But in the end, it was rookie Johan Rojas who got the call heading into the playoffs, as they believed his strong defense was crucial during the postseason. However, they later learned that his bat wasn’t quite MLB-ready just yet.
So, heading into the 2024 season, what will be the Phillies’ plan in terms of who will be given the majority of the playing time at center? Here, we take a look at the possible options available and the probability of them happening.
Jake Cave has the ability to play in any of the outfield positions, along with first base. Despite not getting many reps in center field during the 2023 season with the Phillies, he has shown that he's more than capable of handling the position during his time with the Minnesota Twins.
For most of the 2023 season, his impact was minimal as he served mainly as a player off the bench for the Phillies. But when he did play, he provided adequate defense in the outfield with 3 DRS along with two outfield assists and a .984 fielding percentage. However, his offensive output left a lot to be desired as he managed to hit only .212 with a .620 OPS, 18 runs scored, eight doubles, five home runs, 21 RBI, three stolen bases, 15 walks, and 55 strikeouts in 65 games played.
Whether or not Cave will still be on the Phillies’ Opening Day roster for 2024 is still in doubt, but if he does make it, it will most likely be in a bench role once again until he proves that he can produce at the level of an everyday player in the majors.
Probability of Jake Cave starting in center field for the 2024 Phillies: 1/10
One of the Phillies’ extra outfielders entering the 2023 season, Cristian Pache did have a strong defensive season in which he had 5 DRS along with two outfield assists while committing only one error all year for a .985 fielding percentage. However, he only managed to get into 48 games because of injury issues.
For that same reason, despite starting off strongly at the beginning of the season, Pache eventually tailed off down the stretch. Overall, he posted a .238 batting average with a .736 OPS, along with 12 runs scored, seven doubles, two home runs, 11 RBI and two stolen bases in 95 total plate appearances.
If Pache manages to make the Phillies’ 2024 Opening Day roster, he'll most likely be the ballclub’s extra outfielder once again, given his lack of offensive potential in his MLB career to date.
Probability of Cristian Pache starting in center field for the 2024 Phillies: 1/10