Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. tried to sell at this year’s trade deadline to bring in top prospects and to get younger, but he was unsuccessful. Looking at the Phillies current roster and their farm system, the future does not look too bright. With an aging core that has stopped producing, along with a depleted farm system, the inability to sell at the deadline may have cost the Phillies down the road.
This is my prediction for what the Phillies starting lineup and pitching rotation will be when the 2016 season rolls around:
C: Tommy Joseph
Acquired from the San Francisco Giants in the trade for Hunter Pence last year, Joseph is the top catcher in the Phillies organization right now and could have the job next year since Carlos Ruiz is a free agent. There is no question that Joseph will be able to handle Major League pitching, catching wise, but there are questions about his ability at the plate. Battling injuries this year, Joseph has not been able to play as much as he would like to. Looking towards the future, it is Joseph’s job to win.
1B: Ryan Howard/Maikel Franco
The Phillies have Ryan Howard under contract thru 2016, with a team option for 2017. With the money that the Phillies are paying Howard, he will be the first baseman in 2016, unless they decide to move him. If they do decide to move Howard, current Phillies prospect, Maikel Franco, would be a guy that could do a position change from third to first. Franco has raw power and if he can become an average all-around hitter, there is no doubt Franco will be with the big league club down the road.
2B: Chase Utley/Freddy Galvis
This all depends on how long Utley stays around for the Phillies. The Phillies signed him to a two year deal, with vesting options, so he still may be around in 2016 at the age of 37. However, if Utley only ends up being around for the two years on his contract, Freddy Galvis will be the second baseman for the Phillies. Galvis is a true shortstop but has played second base for the Phillies because of Utley’s injuries. When Galvis gets at-bats, he has proven that he can be an average hitter at the big league level, as there has been no question about his ability in the field.
SS: Roman Quinn/J.P. Crawford
Roman Quinn is a speed demon, as he is rated an 8 on the 2-8 scouting scale. He can steal bases and has excellent range in the field because of his speed. Consistent hitting is the only question with Quinn, as he has a .238 batting average this year with the Lakewood BlueClaws (Phillies Single-A affiliate). J.P. Crawford was the Phillies first-round pick this year (16th overall) and is a more consistent hitter than Quinn is. At the ages of 20 (Quinn) and 18 (Crawford), both Quinn and Crawford still have to develop into everyday shortstops, but the Phillies have two potential shortstops.
3B: Maikel Franco/Cody Asche
If Ryan Howard sticks around until 2016, Franco will be the future third baseman for the Philadelphia Phillies. Franco has a better arm and a better glove then Cody Asche, but if Howard goes, Franco moves to first and third base is Asche’s. Asche has already received the call-up and is playing third base for the Phillies right now. He is a solid all-around player that may start at third next year, as Michael Young is a free agent.
LF: Domonic Brown
There is not much to say about this guy. He was rushed to the big leagues and struggled in 2010 thru 2012 when he was given an opportunity. This year he has played everyday for the Phillies, proving that the past three years was a fluke. Dom Brown is definitely the future left fielder for the Phillies, and will be an impact player down the road.
CF: Ben Revere
At 25 years of age, Ben Revere has a future as the Phillies everyday center fielder. Has excellent range in the field, and hits for contact. Revere will definitely be a key piece in the Phillies success in the future.
RF: Free Agent
I think Darin Ruf ends up as a bench player, which is why I don’t have him as the future right fielder for the Phillies. The current prospect outfielders for the Phillies will not be good everyday contributors to the ballclub. This means that the 2016 starting right fielder will be a free agent, whether he is signed this offseason of not.
1. Cole Hamels
2. Jesse Biddle
3. Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez
4. Kyle Kendrick
5. Jonathan Pettibone/Ethan Martin
When 2016 rolls around, Cliff Lee will be traded and will no longer be a Phillie. Cole Hamels will be the ace of the staff, followed by Phillies top prospect Jesse Biddle, and the newly signed Cuban, Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez. I see Kyle Kendrick sticking around, as he has been a solid number four starter this year. The fifth starter remains a question. Jonathan Pettibone has done well this year filling in for the injured Roy Halladay, and could be the Phillies fifth starter in 2016. Ethan Martin, who was acquired from the Dodgers in the Shane Victorino trade last year, is getting a spot start on Friday for Cliff Lee who is still having neck issues. He has trouble with his command, and if Martin does not fix his control issues, he could end up in the bullpen.
Closer: Jonathan Papelbon
Jonathan Papelbon has a vesting option for 2016, which could become guaranteed if he finishes 15 games in 2015, or finishes 100 games in 2014-15. Although I don’t see this happening, it may be the Phillies only option when the time comes.
There are so many questions about this Phillies team and their farm system, which leaves so many possibilities come 2016. I see the Phillies stuck in mediocrity for a while, unless they make some moves in the off season to get younger and to add to the farm system, which could change all of the predictions I have made. Bottom line is, the Phillies have to do something because this roster that I have predicted for 2016, will not get it done.
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