We are just one day away from seeing the Phillies in action for the time in 2023. The reigning National League champions are set to take on the New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers in Grapefruit league exhibition games on Saturday, but before they throw the first pitch, we should take a look at potential MVP candidates.
While being the MVP of Spring Training means absolutely nothing and is quite frankly not a real award, there has always been one player who stands out in Spring Training games.
Last year Mickey Moniak was the talk of the town, and the former first-overall pick finally seemed like he would make a breakthrough. In 2018, Scott Kingery lit up Clearwater and signed a big-league contract before playing in his first game (and we’re still paying for that move today).
3 Phillies Spring MVP candidates
Yes, there has already been a lot of content spotlighting Andrew Painter since the Phillies reported to Clearwater. I expect the coverage to intensify in the coming weeks because this kid is legit.
Andrew will be competing for the 5th starter spot in the Phillies rotation. With a good Spring, the chances of Painter making the roster for Opening Day. However, he will be challenged in camp. The right-hander will be facing true big-league hitters and already got introduced to the big leagues when he faced Kyle Schwarber in live batting practice.
If Painter dominates the Grapefruit league like he has A and AA ball, he will not only be the team’s “MVP” but also the 5th starter. Andrew is getting all the buzz, and I think he will deliver. Watching each start will be must-see TV, and I look forward to watching the best pitching prospect in all of baseball get to work.
A guy who hasn’t been talked about enough heading into camp is Dalton Guthrie. The rookie made his debut last season and played in 14 games. He was a part of the post-season roster, seeing action in the NLDS against Atlanta.
Guthrie’s chances of making the team out of Spring Training multiplied when the Phillies dealt Nick Maton and Matt Vierling to the Tigers. Dalton’s ability to play in the infield and outfield will give him an advantage over other potential bench players.
I expect the kid to play in many games in Spring Training. I also expect the kid to make the most of his opportunity. If Guthrie can shine in the same way Moniak did last year, there will be a lot of buzz surrounding him when the team heads to Texas to open the season.
If Dalton gets into a groove in these exhibition games, there’s a good shot he is the team’s “MVP” heading into the regular season.
Hear me out on this one.
Brogdon seemingly took a step back from last season. Connor struggled during stretches, and many people seemed to have lost faith in the young right-hander. Once the playoffs began, however, Connor played his best baseball. His post-season performance turned the tone of his year, and Brogdon looked more like the reliever we all expected him to be.
The Phillies brought in bullpen help this off-season to try and take another trip to the World Series. Veterans Craig Kimbrel, Matt Strahm, and Gregory Soto were added to the roster to go with Seranthony Dominguez and Jose Alvarado. That leaves only a couple of bullpen spots left, and while Brogdon is favored to win one of those spots, I think he outright earns it in Spring Training.
If Connor Brogdon can have a standout camp out of the bullpen for the Phillies and take the next step in his development, there are going to be 29 other teams afraid of facing this Phillies bullpen. If Connor shines this Spring Training, he could very well be the team’s “MVP” of the Grapefruit league.
Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire