Among the Phillies that started in center field during the 2023 season, Brandon Marsh had the majority of the starts there compared to some of his other counterparts. However, he was probably the weakest among the group with regards to outfield defense as he totaled 0 DRS with only one outfield assist, along with five errors committed for a .982 fielding percentage. If one just took his play in center field into consideration, it gets slightly worse as his DRS falls to -3.
On the other hand, Marsh provided the greatest offensive potential compared to the other center fielders, as he racked up 58 runs scored, 25 doubles, six triples, 12 home runs, 60 RBI, 10 stolen bases, along with posting a strong .277 average and .829 OPS over 133 games played during the regular season.
If the Phillies choose to remain status quo, then Marsh could find himself once again taking hold of center field for 2024. Otherwise, they may want to find a candidate who would be a significant upgrade for the position compared to all the aforementioned players.
Probability of Brandon Marsh starting in center field for the 2024 Phillies: 6/10
External option – a player from free agency
There is obviously one center field option that stands out above the rest that will be available in the upcoming free agency. That player is former NL MVP Cody Bellinger. After enduring some struggles in the past three seasons prior to 2023, Bellinger bounced back in a huge way with the Chicago Cubs this year.
In 130 games, he posted a career-high .307 batting average, along with an .881 OPS, 133 OPS+, 95 runs scored, 29 doubles, 26 home runs, 97 RBI, and 20 stolen bases. Those numbers were more reminiscent of the dominant Bellinger we saw in his first three years in the majors with the Los Angeles Dodgers. At just 28, he could be hitting his prime soon as he looks to build upon his momentum from 2023.
If the Bellinger option doesn’t end up panning out, there are some solid backup options available, including Michael Taylor, Kevin Kiermaier, and Adam Duvall. All three players are former Gold Glove winners and would provide excellent value in the field for the Phillies. But if the Phillies want some added boost to their offense, Duvall would be the obvious choice with his power bat.
But given Dave Dombrowski’s belief that stars are needed to bring home championships, look for the Phillies to go all out to try and sign Bellinger to solve their center field position for potentially the coming decade.
Probability of an external option starting in center field for the 2024 Phillies: 9/10