Phillies Postseason Roster?

One of the most interesting aspects of playoff baseball is thinking about which 26 players do we want to deploy against a given opponent. The Marlins are a scrappy team that can be dangerous, but are decided underdogs, particularly on the road. Most importantly for the roster decisions, however, is the fact that the Fish have a TON of lefties – both in the rotation and the bullpen. Will that guide any roster decisions for Topper or will it simply be decisions based upon the talent of this roster and what is needed? Also, what do we do with the extra pitchers knowing that it’s just a three-game series (at most), but it is three games in three days. We shall see…but, here is my best guess.

Let’s start with the obvious. I think there are 21 givens on this roster, organized by position group:

Catcher (2) – Realmuto, Stubbs

This is easy. They haven’t carried a third catcher at any point this season, and it’s particularly unnecessary when your starting catcher never needs a pinch-runner and your backup isn’t exactly a great pinch-hitting option. I would imagine that the “emergency catcher” would be either Schwarber or Harper since they both have experience catching, but let’s just hope that it doesn’t come to that…

Infielders (5) – Bohm, Harper, Sosa, Stott, Turner

It looks like Harper will be the everyday firstbaseman – which makes perfect sense. That leaves Bohm at third every day, as well. Stott and Turner up the middle is pretty obvious, and Sosa is a fantastic extra piece to pinch-hit, pinch-run, or play either SS or 3B very effectively. His right-handed bat might come in handy with all those lefties in the Miami bullpen.

Outfielders (4) – Castellanos, Marsh, Rojas, Schwarber

Obviously with Schwarber as the DH, these will not be the only outfielders on this roster, but no one else is a given – at least as I see it. I do believe that Rojas has played his way on to this roster in virtually any scenario. Will all 4 of these guys start against RHs and LHs? Maybe…but, either way, they will all, obviously, be very important to the Phils’ October success.

Starting Pitchers (4) – Nola, Sanchez, Suarez, Wheeler

Obviously, like last year, Wheeler and Nola will lead the way on the hill all month and might be the two most important players on this team right now (for better or worse). Ranger is clearly going to pitch some HUGE innings over the next month, whether they be as a starter, a middle reliever, a closer, or all three. And, I think that Christopher Sanchez has absolutely pitched his way into the trust of some big moments – and maybe even the #3 starter.

Bullpen (6) – Alvarado, Dominguez, Hoffman, Kimbrel, Soto, Strahm

The bullpen appears to be taking on water a little bit right now, but that’s the nature of a long season. Fortunately, as cooked as Kimbrel has looked, Alvarado seems to have regained his early-season unhittable form. Hoffman has also looked really good lately, and Strahm is as reliable as we’ve had all year. The fate of this team could rely on whether or not SerAnthony from the right side and Soto from the left side can get big outs. I trust their stuff and their histories, but it might be a roller-coaster. And, maybe some time off for Kimbrel will bring him back fresh. He sure has the experience and the reps in big moments. That is 10 arms considered “locks.” Gonna need a few more…

So, if you don’t feel like doing math – that is 21 spots spoken for. 5 more to be had. Here are the players that are under consideration, by my estimation:

Bats (4) – Castro, Cave, Pache, Wilson

Well, one of these questions was probably answered, as Rodolfo Castro was just optioned to rookie ball – theoretically, to keep him active in case they need him in future series. There is definitely room for at least two other bats, so Jake Cave is probably a good bet to be on the roster, though, I don’t think it’s a given considering the left-handedness of the Marlins’ pen. But, he is the most reliable hitter of the four here and plays a decent OF. So, if Pache is not on the roster, Cave definitely will be, but it could be both. For most of the year, Pache looked like that perfect postseason piece. A RH bat to spell Marsh and an elite defensive CF. However, his bat has not really shown back up after the injury and there’s this Rojas guy who – somehow – is an ever BETTER defensive outfielder that Pache…who was often compared to Andruw Jones as a young phemon in the Braves system. So, what is Pache’s worth? Personally – and this is a little strange because he’s so unproven – Weston Wilson might be a better option. He is another RH bat but provides more pop (at least as shown in the minors and his short stint in the bigs) and more positional versatility, as he can play almost any position on the field. He is also an excellent baserunner (30/30 season in AAA). He is not the defensive OF that Pache is, but if we already have Rojas and Marsh. There may be room for both of the, but if given the choice, I think I would opt for Wilson because of the more portent stick and ability to play IF in a pinch if I had to choose.

Arms (3) – Kerkering, Lorenzen, Walker

It’s not lost on me that the postseason roster decisions on the mound come down to (1) a guy they signed to a pretty big FA contract in the offseason, (2) an All-Star acquired at the deadline who threw a no-hitter, and (3) a guy who started the year in A-ball. As laid out above, there are – by my count – probably 5 spots in flux here. If they decided to only go with two bats, then all three of these guys would be on the roster. If they go with three bats, then one will be left off. Personally, I think that Orion Kerkering needs to be on this roster. Do I totally trust a 23-year old who pitched in A-ball this year to get a big out in a playoff game? No, not totally. But, I love his stuff (what’s not to love), and I’d like to see what he’s got. So, for me, Orion is on this roster. And, if I had to choose between Lorenzen and Walker, I would go Lorenzen because of his experience pitching out of the ‘pen. He was a very reliable reliever for like 5 years before the Angels signed him to be a starter last year before trading him to Detroit to do the same. Walker has never been a reliever in his career and has an ERA close to 8 in the first inning of games this year. Now, I know that doesn’t necessarily translate into not being able to get outs, but I think Walker’s value this year was in going deep into games without killing them. That is regular season value. We’re not looking to rest bullpens or give guys extra days between starts. We need outs. I like Walker and wouldn’t be surprised if he made a start or two this October. But, for this Marlins series, rostering him doesn’t seem to make a ton of sense.


So, if it were me making the decisions for these last 5 spots, I would definitely choose Kerkering, Lorenzen, and Cave as three of them. I would also pick Wilson for versatility and a RH stick off the bench. And, that last spot would simply be a decision of whether I want another bat (Pache) or arm (Walker). To me, a three-game series with my rotation set up against a team that doesn’t exactly have a prolific offense would lend me to picking the bat of Pache over the arm of Walker, especially since I’m not starting Walker in this series, and I’m unsure if he’s even worth trotting out from the ‘pen. Gimme the guy who brings speed and defense and the occasional big bat from the right side. Maybe we can just use him against A.J. Puk…that seems to always go well!

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One Response to Phillies Postseason Roster?

  1. Doogan says:

    When I wrote my playoff preview a month ago I think I said that Rojas was destined for a pinch runner/defense role this October but now….he seems a lock to be in centerfield every game. The kid had a great rookie year and sure didn’t hit any wall at the end.

    I think it could come down to them picking one of Pache, Cave, or Wilson to be left off, and I could see the argument for any of them. The fact that they just called up Wilson makes me think they will keep him, with all the lefties they’re gonna be facing. Not ideal with how late they brought him up but at least got a good look at him in Queens over the weekend. Pache and Cave both haven’t didn’t hit a lick in September. My guess is they go with Pache because he brings more defensive value and Cave is the odd man out.

    Kerkering will be on the roster for sure but it’ll be interesting to see how they use him. He obviously has some stuff and some potential but he didn’t blow it away in his short stint up here so far. In a vacuum, there are three righties in the pen I prefer to him, which would probably mean you’re not using him. But I think the fact they’re getting the Marlins, a division team who’s seen all their guys a lot, gives Kerkering a shot at getting in there. Always nice to throw in a guy a team hasn’t seen before.

    As for starters, I’m thinking Ranger or Sanchez for Game 3 if it gets there. And then one of them for Game 1 vs. Atlanta also, right? You’re got going to throw Wheeler on three days’ rest, I don’t think. But what if you use Sanchez AND Ranger in Game 3, which seems very possible. Then maybe we’re looking at a Walker start in Game 1 vs. Atlanta, which isn’t a great thought, but I guess we worry about that when we get there.

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