Do the Phillies Have Any Suitable In-House Centerfield Options?

Mickey Moniak
PHILADELPHIA, PA – SEPTEMBER 17: Phillies OF Mickey Moniak (16) swings in the fifth inning during the game between the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies on September 17, 2020, at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

Over the last four seasons, the Phillies haven’t had much luck filling centerfield.

Once upon a time, Odubel Herrera had a real future in Philadelphia. From 2015 to 2017, Herrera had a combined oWAR of 11.4. That even included an All-Star nod. The future looked bright.

Then the wheels fell off, and Philadelphia’s right back where they started, waiting for Shane Victorino 2.0 to walk through the door.

So while we await a resolution to the current MLB lockout, let’s look at immediate options we can (hopefully) expect the Phillies to stream in 2022.

Adam Haseley

Haseley has the most Major-League experience of the options available within the Philadelphia organization, so we have him as the tentative favorite but talk about running out of chances.

There’s not a lot of confidence surrounding Haseley following his mysterious 2021 campaign, and we’re likely looking at his last shot in Philadelphia, but there is still hope for the 26-year-old.

Haseley is just two seasons removed from a 1.3 dWAR and perfect fielding percentage over 40 appearances in centerfield. It’s a position in which he’s perfect for his career.

If he can provide that level of competency in the field and manage to float around a .750 OPS, something he’s yet to do, that should be enough for an extended look.

2022 Prediction – if the Phillies abstain from the free-agent outfield market, there should be chances early in the season for Hasely in either center or leftfield. He has about 40 games to make a statement, or the Phillies are likely moving on.

Mickey Moniak

Moniak – the prodigal son and another high draft pick from a front office of yesteryear.

Moniak’s name’s a bit sexier than Haseley’s, as the former number one overall pick, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s the man for the job as the Phillies shuffle a few names around.

The 2021 version of Moniak was underwhelming in limited time, striking out in 43.2% of his 33 ABs – a problem that followed him throughout his Minor league career.

In four out of five seasons, he’s struck out at least 100 times, for an average of 22.4% of his ABs ending with a punchout.

His .702 OPS across five seasons isn’t much better than Haseley’s .695 over three seasons in Philadelphia. I know that’s not Apples to Apples, but this might as well be a coin flip.

2022 Prediction – Moniak begins 2022 with relatively consistent work rotating around the outfield. At some point, the organization will quote the ‘the kid needs more consistent at-bats’ as he bounces between Lehigh Valley and Philadelphia for another incomplete look at the former number one overall pick.

Matt Vierling

I may be underestimating Vierling, but he could be the ringer in this race.

If he qualified, his 2021 .843 OPS would be third-best on the team, behind only Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins.

While his power comes to form, his 2021 53.8% Hard Hit percentage would put him in the company of the likes of Juan Soto, Joey Votto, and Shohei Ohtani. That’s not half bad. Give the kid a shot.

Final Verdict

Verdict: With a strong enough Spring, I think it’s Vierling’s job to lose. Girardi seems to believe in the young gun, and there are just so many question marks swirling around Haseley and Moniak.

Who knows, maybe we even see Scotty Kingery make his triumphant return.

Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire