Phillies 2023 Midseason Grades: Does Philly need to shuffle their outfield and DH?

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Philadelphia Phillies’ Kyle Schwarber (12) celebrates after his grand slam off of Chicago Cubs’ Jameson Taillon (not shown) with Nick Castellanos, left, Bryson Stott (5) and Bryce Harper (3) during the first inning of a baseball game, Saturday, May 20, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Coming out of the All-Star Break, the Phillies are sitting at seven games over .500. Things were definitely a mixed bag in the first half of the 2023 season. For a while, it felt like the Phils wouldn’t get above the .500 mark.

Now, they’re actually looking like a cohesive unit. Some of Philly’s outfielders have been a huge part of that. Let’s grade out their performances from the 1st half.

Phillies Kyle Schwarber
Philadelphia Phillies’ Kyle Schwarber reacts after grounding out to end the sixth inning in Game 5 of baseball’s World Series between the Houston Astros and the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

The Phillies Outfield

Kyle Schwarber: D+

Here will be the most controversial take on this list. The only reason Kyle Schwarber is getting a D+ as opposed to an F is his 22 homers in the first half. That’s down from 28 homers through 89 games last season. What’s also down is his batting average. He was a .214 last season and is at .184.

He’s leading the league in strikeouts but that is nothing new.

If he was at the team’s DH spot, Schwarber might’ve gotten a C grade. But Schwarber has been a hot mess in LF. He’s been worth -2.2 dWAR. For the entirety of 2022, he was worth -2 dWAR. He’s at -18 Defensive Runs Saved. He’s committed 4 errors, just 2 shy of his career high.

Phillies Brandon marsh
Philadelphia Phillies’ Brandon Marsh, top, beats the throw to Miami Marlins’ Luis Arraez, bottom, for a double during the third inning of a baseball game, Monday, April 10, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Brandon Marsh: A-

For a guy that hit .239 with a .653 OPS before he came to Philadelphia, Brandon Marsh has evolved into a borderline All-Star. He’s currently slashing .275/.349/.450 with seven homers and 34 RBI in 81 games. He’s been walking at a significantly higher rate. His .799 OPS translates to a 118 OPS+.

Marsh has also been a good defensive CF. He has 2 DRS and 0.4 dWAR.

The – comes from his 93 K in 81 games. He’s striking out just a little too much for a player with his set of skills. He’s still only 25 years old so that still could be corrected.

Phillies all-star Nick Castellanos
National League’s Elias Díaz, of the Colorado Rockies (35), celebrates his two run home run with Nick Castellanos (8), of the Philadelphia Phillies, in the eighth inning during the MLB All-Star baseball game in Seattle, Tuesday, July 11, 2023. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)

Nick Castellanos: A+

It’s no secret that Nick Castellanos has been the Phillies’ best hitter. There’s a reason he was in the All-Star Game (going 1-2 with a walk).

Castellanos went into the All-Star break a little cold but he’s still slashing .301/.344/.496. He already matched his home run total from 2022 in just 87 games. While he hasn’t been anything spectacular in RF, he has looked improved from 2022.

I have no notes for Casty except keep doing what you’re doing.

Phillies Pache
Philadelphia Phillies’ Cristian Pache (19) hits a two-run home run in the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Friday, July 7, 2023, in Miami. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)

Cristian Pache: A++++++++++++++

That’s a lot of +’s. I know. But remember how I mentioned Brandon Marsh’s career before Philly? Well, Cristian Pache couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn before coming to Philadelphia. He was a career .156 hitter with a .439 OPS.

In 32 games this season, Pache is hitting .327 with a .957 OPS. That includes a dramatic 2-out 9th inning go-ahead 2-run homer against the Marlins before the break.

He’s also been sterling defensively. He has 2 outfield assists, 0.5 dWAR, and 5 DRS between all outfield spots. He’s been the perfect 4th outfielder. He’s almost guaranteed himself more playing time once Schwarber moves to the DH spot. Speaking of…

Phillies Bryce Harper
Philadelphia Phillies’ Bryce Harper hits a two-run home run during the eighth inning in Game 5 of the baseball NL Championship Series between the San Diego Padres and the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday, Oct. 23, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

The Phillies Designated Hitter (Currently)

Bryce Harper: B-

I went back and forth on what to grade Harper. He returned 2 months earlier than expected from a major injury and he’s been hitting well. So far, he’s slashing .290/.386/.400.

Again, good. But not Bryce Harper good. His power has been missing for most of the season. He has just 3 homers in 246 plate appearances and hasn’t homered since May 25th.

I have (almost) no doubts that Harper will light it up in the 2nd half. Perhaps a few days off is just what he needed.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Matt Rourke