The Philadelphia area is getting excited again for the 2020 baseball season. With new manager Joe Girardi, shortstop Didi Gregorius, and of course Bryce Harper, everyone is ready for baseball season. With the pitchers and catchers reporting to Clearwater in 10 days, here are the players to watch during this years’ spring training.
#1 Alec Bohm
It isn’t a surprise that Bohm is the first player on this list as he is definitely the top prospect in the Phillies organization. He was ranked 30th in all prospects according to MLB Pipeline last week and was ranked first among third basemen. Everything about the young star is great, from his bat to his defense. And as a player that can play both third base and first base, it’ll be easy to get him in a lot of playing time this spring. The only downside to Bohm is that he was drafted out of college and not high school. He is already 23 years old and never played in AAA or the big leagues. Hopefully he has a good spring and we’ll see him in the bigs at some point during the 2020 season.
#2 Zack Wheeler
Wheeler was granted a five-year, 118 million dollar contract this offseason with the Phils. He had a pretty good season in New York last year, but before that he was nothing special. It appears he is a rising star, but the test this spring will be to see if Wheeler is worth his contract.
#3 Jean Segura
Segura has played shortstop the majority of his time in the majors, although he has mixed in a few third base and second base outings. This year, after signing Didi Gregorius to a one-year deal, Segura is obviously going to move somewhere else on the diamond. It appears that he will move to second base, but it is still unsure. He could also see some time at third base. It will be interesting to see where Segura plays in Clearwater in the coming months.
#4 Scott Kingery
Kingery is on this list for mostly the same reasons Segura is. Through the last two seasons, the Phils have moved Kingery all around the field. He has played a little in center field and left field, as well as shortstop and third base. Soon the Phillies are going to have to decide where they want Kingery for the long run. This season it appears it’ll be third base, but it’s also possible that Segura plays third and Kingery plays second (which would make more sense considering Kingery’s natural position is second base). It will be interesting to watch Kingery’s defense this spring as well as where he is being played.
#5 Aaron Nola
Nola was third in the Cy Young voting for the 2018 season. After that, he started 2019 very slow. Though he did finish the season a lot better, he was still not nearly as dominant as he was in 2018. I think most of his struggles last season were due to his realization that he was all the Phils rotation had, and he tried to execute his pitches too perfectly. This season having Wheeler in the rotation should ease his pain a little, and hopefully he will get back to his near Cy Young self. But it will definitely be interesting to watch all of his starts during the next couple months.
#6 the Bullpen
Last year, it was obvious the bullpen was not very good. Blowing leads was a regular occurrence, and only Hector Neris could seem to get the job done. But even he wasn’t perfect; when he would hang his splitter, that thing would get blasted into eternity. The Phils didn’t really make any big moves with the pen this offseason which does worry me a little bit. All they did was bring in some guys past their primes on minor league deals. But maybe the pen will surprise us during the spring with lights-out stuff. Maybe Liriano or Norris have one more good year in them. It will definitely be interesting to see how the bullpen performs during spring training.