The good spots on the bench are all returning. Ben Francisco looks to have the inside track on being the 4th outfielder again, unless he is starting in right field. Francisco has a decent bat and is an adequate outfielder who is able to play all 3 outfield positions. He hits left-handed pitching well and has a good power/speed combination. He will never make an All Star team but he is someone who can hold down a position and not kill your line up. Behind him in line for the outfield depth are Delwyn Young, John Mayberry Jr., Brandon Moss, Jeff Larish, Rob Quinlan, Rich Thompson, Mike Miller, Tag Bozied, and Michael Martinez.
Mayberry can play all three outfield positions and can also play firstbase. If he could learn how to hit a major league curveball he would be a force to be reckoned with because he has really good power when he connects. He also is an above average runner on the bases and in the field. Like Francisco he is more a free swinger than a wait and walk hitter. He is out of options so he will get a long look this spring and hopefully he can put it all together or he will probably be elsewhere. One factor in his favor is, he has shown improvement every year but many doubt it has been enough to boost his career.
Ross Gload is the left-handed bat off the bench. He put in a pretty good season as the go to pinch hitter after Dobbs failed in the role. He has a good glove at first base but didn’t see much time there while Howard was healthy. His ability to play left and right fields also gave the Phillies some extra flexibility on their bench. Gload will once again be the first lefthander off the bench this year.
Mike Sweeney is gone, but in his place the Phillies have brought in the more versatile Delwyn Young. Young, a former Dodger prospect, spent the last few years across the state with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was their starting secondbaseman in 2009 and spent last year on their bench. Young can play both outfield corner positions, secondbase, and thirdbase. He is a switch hitter and has some experience pinch hitting, having 3 pinch homers and hitting .271 in that role.
Brian Schneider is the backup catcher. He is a left-handed hitting compliment to Carlos Ruiz. Like Chooch, Schneider does show some good patience at the plate and can draw a walk and does not strike out a lot. He does not make contact as well as Ruiz though and his defense is not as good. He can play firstbase if needed so he does add extra versatility off of the bench. Behind him is AAA All Star Eric Kratz, who came over from the Pirates and is a local boy who gets a chance to possibly play for his favorite team and holdover Dane Sardinha. After them it gets a bit thinner as Sebastian Valle and Cameron Rupp are nowhere close to the majors. Tuffy Gosewhich and Joel Naughton would probably be next on the depth chart.
Pitching depth is more hit or miss, while the Phillies do have strong starter prospects most of those are down at Lakewood or Clearwater. The closest starters are Vance Worley and probably Drew Naylor. I already talked about Worley in the rotation and bullpen write ups and he is probably right behind Kyle Kendrick on the depth chart. Naylor isn’t much of a prospect anymore as he has seemed to hit the wall at AA. Other than him the Phillies have journeyman Nate Bump, which isn’t much when compared to the five pitchers they will be running out there for their rotation.
Barry Jeffrey Jr. writes “The Crow’s Nest” column for PSC.
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