Today we continue to ask the question: who should stay in the Phillies’ infield for the 2021 season? After leading off in the outfield, we’re heading around the bases today as we look at the infield.
Rhys Hoskins: Stays
Prior to his season-ending elbow injury, Rhys Hoskins was having a solid year offensively. With 10 home runs and an .887 OPS, Hoskins proved his worth batting ahead of Bryce Harper this season.
Hoskins has a 4-to-6 month recovery time from surgery on his left elbow’s UCL (Not Tommy John Surgery). While that means he should be ready for Spring Training, there is a chance he will not be ready for the start of the season. If that’s the case, first base might see some coverage from the next man on our list.
Alec Bohm: Stays
The rightful owner of the 2020 NL Rookie of the Year award had himself a year. In 44 games, Bohm hit fir a .338 average with a 136 OPS+. After seeing most of his plate appearances in the seventh or eighth position, Bohm turned up the heat when his opportunity came to bat higher in the order. In nine games, Bohm hit for a .313 average and scored six runs. He also hit over .400 in seven total games batting second and fourth.
Bohm leaves a lot to be desired defensively but is serviceable at either of the corner slots. He only hit four home runs in 2020, leaving room for improvement in 2021, but Bohm could be a cornerstone of this Phillies’ offense for years to come.
Phil Gosselin: Stays
The Goose played just about every infield position in 2020. A local talent out of Malvern Prep, Goose returned home in 2019, earning his keep in 44 games in 2020. A .50 average, Gosselin hit three home runs and bounced around as the team’s utility man. Regardless of whether the DH is back in 2021, Gosselin should remain as a utility man moving forward.
Neil Walker: Gone
The 34-year old has been a bit of a journeyman since the 2015 season. He played his part as a utility player in 18 games played for the Phillies in 2020, but don’t expect him to return in 2021.
Jean Segura: Stays
Segura traded in a decrease in batting average for an increase in power in 2021. The 30-year old nearly double his HR%, SO%, and BB% from 2020 to 2019. Over the course of a full 162-game season, Segura would have career-highs in all three categories. In the field, he split time between second and third base with the occasional fill-in at shortstop.
The veteran brings a consistent bat to the Phillies’ lineup. He is owed $14.25 million in each of the next two years. Given the pending free agency of the next player on our list, Segura just might find himself as the starting shortstop in 2021.
Didi Gregorius: Gone
Didi Gregorius played in all 60 games this season for the Phillies. The shortstop hit ten home runs with a 119 OPS+ and was well worth the $14 million one-year deal the Phillies gave him.
While the Phillies would almost certainly love to have him back, it is unlikely that he returns. Gregorius could have been with the Yankees for the rest of his career until he required Tommy John Surgery in 2019. In his absence, Gleyber Torres stepped up, taking Gregorius’ roster spot from him. His one-year deal with the Phillies allowed Gregorius to prove his worth while joining a team that was supposed to be a playoff contender. Now, Gregorius will enter free agency, looking to earn himself a long-term contract. Given the current needs of the Phillies, they should focus that money elsewhere.
Scott Kingery: Stays
Kingery did not have a good year. He struggled to get going after contracting COVID-19, and his performance never recovered. With an abysmal .511 OPS, Kingery did begin to improve as September began, but it was not enough to hide a poor season.
Given his team-friendly contract, Kingery will return next year, likely as the starting second basemen. Given his success in the past, Kingery deserves a clean slate moving into 2021. If his struggles continue, then it may be time to cut him loose.
Ronald Torreyes: Stays (Minors)
When the Phillies signed Torreyes heading into 2019, it was a depth move. Torreyes has Major League experience and has played under Joe Girardi in the past in New York. Torreyes only appeared in four games for the Phillies in 2020, and hopefully will not be needed at the Major League-level in 2021. But he is the type of player the Phillies want to bolster the lack of depth in the farm system.
J.T. Realmuto: Should Stay
Okay, time to address the elephant in the room. This is an article discussing who the Phillies SHOULD hold onto. It appears unlikely the Phillies will retain Realmuto moving forward, but they absolutely should. In 2020, Realmuto’s 11 home runs were second only to Harper on the Phillies. He is the best defensive catcher in the league and can lead a proper pitching staff deep into the playoffs. Not to mention the fact that the Phillies gave up Sixto Sanchez to get him from the Marlins.
Realmuto should return to Philly in 2021, but given recent comments from owner John Middleton, it doesn’t appear as if the Phillies will retain him. Maybe the Phillies can sign Trevor Bauer instead.
Andrew Knapp: Stays
In 2018 and 2019, Knapp did not play well, even by backup catcher standards. In 2020, he took a big leap in the right direction. He nearly doubled his OPS+ rating to 129 and made some really nice plays behind the backstop. Regardless of Realmuto’s situation, Knapp will return in 2021.
Rafael Marchan: Stays (Minors)
21-year old Rafael Marchan made his MLB debut a few years ahead of schedule due to COVID-19. The rookie still has some work to do in the minors before being Major League-ready, but he proved he is worth watching moving forward. Most notably, he hit his first professional home run, at any level, during his three-game stint in Philly.
If the Phillies do lose Realmuto, that may push Marchan back into the Majors sooner rather than later, but Phillies fans should be excited to see him in Citizens Bank Park over the next few years.
Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire