Around eight years ago, a young international free agent by the name of Símon Muzziotti signed a contract with the Boston Red Sox. Just about one calendar year later, he was returned to the free agent pool after the Red Sox were discovered to have violated international signing rules.
The Phillies swooped Muzziotti up a total of four days later and he has remained a part of their farm system ever since. Right from the get go it was fairly easy to see what the club was going to get out of him: high contact and tons of speed. While the contact has been a nice tool, it's important to note that the speedy outfielder does not come with a lick of power in his bat. After all, he did not hit a single home run until his third year in professional ball.
Durability has been something of a question mark for Muzziotti in recent years. As a matter of fact, he only made it into 20 games in 2021 and 46 in 2022 thanks to everything from visa issues to a long list of injuries.
Here we are in 2023 as the 24-year-old has finally settled into a consistent routine in Triple-A with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. Things are beginning to really look up for him. Through 66 games, Muzziotti continues to have little to no power (although he does have four home runs) but he currently has 19 stolen bases, a .354 batting average and an OPS of .886. Notably, his strikeout rate is at just 13.4% which is the lowest it's been in a full season since all the way back in 2019.
So, we know that Muzziotti is ready for a crack at some big league playing time. The question is, where in the world does he play? With the outfield set in stone thanks to Kyle Schwarber, Brandon Marsh and Nick Castellanos lining up from left to right on a daily basis and Bryce Harper cemented into the designated hitter role, there just doesn't seem to be an opening. Heck, even Cristian Pache has been a more than serviceable fourth outfielder for the club and he doesn't have any minor league options, so Muzziotti couldn't even come up to be a backup to anybody.
For a Phillies lineup that so regularly relies on home runs and out-slugging their opponents, there's a legitimate possibility that Muzziotti's future is not even on this club. With the trade deadline looming, it's worth wondering if he could be dangled as trade bait to try and land an upgrade to the pitching staff or even bring aboard a more established big league hitter.
As things stand, Muzziotti is simply out-playing Triple-A ball. He has ridiculous speed and gets on base a ton, so there is an argument to be made that he deserves to be promoted. With no real place to go on the 26-man roster, is he best served as trade bait?