Projecting the Roster: Attempt # 2

Phillies pitcher Michael Stutes survived the first round of roster cuts. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

 A couple of weeks ago I gave my first projection of the Opening Day roster and said I would try to do the same each Monday for the rest of spring training. So, of course, I forgot to do it the next Monday. But it's Monday again, and anything of importance you can read elsewhere on the site, so let's take a look at where the personnel situation stands:

 Regulars (8) vs. Left-handed Pitching

1. Shane Victorino CF
2. Placido Polanco
3. Jimmy Rollins
4. Ryan Howard
5. Ben Francisco
6. Raul Ibanez
7. Carlos Ruiz
8. Wilson Valdez

Regulars (8) vs. Right-hand pitching

1. Jimmy Rollins SS
2. Placido Polanco 3B
3. Ben Francisco RF
4. Ryan Howard 1B
5. Raul Ibanez LF
6. Shane Victorino CF
7. Carlos Ruiz C
8. Wilson Valdez 2B

CHANGES FROM LAST WEEK: 2B Chase Utley out. Valdez in.

NOTES: Even before Chase Utley's injury, you could make a strong argument that Shane Victorino should hit atop the order. I thought Manuel would at least start the season with Jimmy Rollins there, simply because Rollins apparently really takes pride in being the leadoff hitter and something as negligible as batting order position isn't a good reason to tick off a guy who you absolutley need to contribute. But now that Utley is injured -- as you'll see below I'm projecting him to start the season on the disabled list -- Rollins seems to me to be the best option to hit at No. 3 in front of Ryan Howard, at least against left-handed pitching. I'd drop Victorino down against righties until he proves he has shaken his struggles against them. And I'd put Ibanez in the five-hole against righties, especially if I have any thought of potentially using John Mayberry Jr. to counteract left-handed relief and to serve as a defensive replacement.


9.  RHP Roy Halladay
10. LHP Cliff Lee
11. RHP Roy Oswalt
12. LHP Cole Hamels
13. RHP Joe Blanton


NOTES: What more can be said.


14. LHB Ross Gload 1B/OF
15. RHB Josh Barfield
16. LHB Brian Schneider C
17. RHB John Mayberry Jr.
18. SHB Delwyn Young 2B/RF

CHANGES FROM LAST WEEK: Player TBD gone, Wilson Valdez gone to starting line-up, Mayberry added, Barfield added.

NOTES: John Mayberry Jr. has clearly earned his chance to contribute on the bench. Early in the spring I was convinced the Phils would look to add another right-hand hitting outfielder. But with the uncertainty surrounding Utley and the performance of Mayberry, it's worth giving the young player a chance for at least a couple months. With Utley on the DL, Wilson Valdez moves into the starting line-up, opening up a spot for another infielder. Right now, we'll go with Josh Barfield, who has been playing well this spring and can play third base. If the Phillies like the way Barfield and Young have played when Utley returns, they can option Bastardo back to the minors and carry six relievers, provided the rotation is healthy.


19. RHP Brad Lidge
20. RHP Ryan Madson
21. RHP Jose Contreras
22. LHP J.C. Romero
23. RHP Kyle Kendrick
24. LHP Antonio Bastardo
25. RHP Danys Baez


NOTES: Nothing has changed here, except everything seems a lot more certain. Bastardo finally appears ready to get on the mound with regularity, and he has pitched very well in his first three appearances. Baez, meanwhile, has rebounded from a rocky first outing and appears to have turned a corner with his mechanics. Obviously, if Brad Lidge's biceps tendinitis turns out to be more serious than the Phillies have initially said, this could change.


2B Chase Utley

NOTES: Ruben Amaro Jr. has said that he only needs to see Utley play in about 10 Grapefruit League games before the season, and it is hard to see that happening at this rate. There are 17 days until Opening Day, 16 of which features games. Utley isn't even running at full speed or taking live fielding practice yet. And even when he does start playing in games, it's hard to imagine the Phillies letting him play in 10 straight.

Last Five Off

1. Mike Stutes
2. David Herndon
3. Vance Worley
4. Michael Martinez
5. Scott Mathieson

NOTES: Stutes has made a serious case for a spot on this roster as Chad Durbin's replacement, and if the Phillies weren't so strong in their rotation, they just might give the non-roster prospect a shot. But as long as the starters and back-end bullpen pieces stay healthy, it's hard to imagine Stutes getting a chance to pitch regularly. So he is probably better suited to Lehigh Valley at this point. Because of the uncertainty about Utley, and because the Phils seem to really like Martinez's defensive ability, they could try to keep him around instead of sending him back to Washington. But it would be really hard to keep him on the big league club all season, which they would need to do because of his Rule 5 status. Mathieson is quietly having a decent spring. He's allowed two runs on three hits with eight strikeouts and three walks in seven innings. But he is also a guy who needs to continue to pitch regularly.





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