Thursday, April 24, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Phillies' outfield taking some sort of shape

Phillies center fielder Ben Revere. (Alex Gallardo/AP)
Phillies center fielder Ben Revere. (Alex Gallardo/AP)

The Phillies outfield, due for some overhauling, looks not that different from the outfield that was failed to produce more than a few Dom Bombs and shocking Ben Revere catches. The Phillies could, and probably should, sign an additional free agent outfielder who could make an impact just in case Marlon Byrd can't keep that 2013 magic going. As of now, their 40 man roster features these 10 names.

Domonic Brown (L-L)

Brown is the closest thing to a mainstay in the Phillies outfield, and even he isn't immune to trade rumors. His name was recently mentioned in some Jose Bautista mutterings that were quickly and unapologetically debunked. The Phillies don't want you to know that they have Brown on the block, if they do, and after a thunderous 2013 year, maybe the empty slot now filled by 36-year-old Marlon Byrd was where the Phillies could have upgraded, instead of trying their luck in an exchange for Brown's power.

Ben Revere (L-R)

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  • The Phillies' starting center fielder, whose speed is wonderful, arm is terrible, fly ball judging questionable, on base percentage increasingly acceptable, and foot not completely broken anymore. He has also been mentioned as a background trade option, but with such very, very thin depth in center field, the Phillies - who want to "win now," remember; can't do that without a center fielder - would have to chart a course that got them at least one in any Revere deal, or have a plan for filling his spot in another deal.

    Marlon Byrd (R-R)

    Wanting to add "some athleticism" to the outfield, Ruben Amaro added Marlon Byrd, who had a miraculous comeback of a season in his mid-thirties, but still cannot play center at this point and probably still won't be able to play it in the second year of his two-year deal. And Amaro says he's "comfortable" with a Brown-Revere-Byrd outfield, citing Byrd's power. Which doesn't exactly line up with his previous statement, but hey, look over there!

    John Mayberry (R-R)

    In case there was any confusion, Ruben Amaro has already clarified that John Mayberry will most likely be a Phillie in 2014. By today, the Phillies need to have tendered contracts to Kyle Kendrick, Antonio Bastardo, Revere, Kevin Frandsen, and Mayberry, if they want them. And on Mayberry, Amaro has said that he views him as a tender. Of course, he can play center, which no one else really does on this team, except the center fielder, so roster wise, sadly, the Phillies kind of need John Mayberry.

    Darin Ruf (R-R) 

    Ruf is still listed as on outfielder on the Phillies' web site, though by Ruben Amaro's own admission, he's "got to try harder," but also, he might not even be a right fielder at all. 

    Cesar Hernandez (S-R)

    Hernandez's transition to the outfield has also gone well enough for him to be listed with the others on the 40 man roster, despite his upbringing as a middle infielder. He's not toolsy like Freddy Galvis and may spend more time in Lehigh Valley at the times when the Phillies aren't riddled with injuries. As an outfielder, though... if Hernandez pulls center field duty, then something is wrong with Ben Revere and John Mayberry and there's no 35+-year-old center fielder for Ruben Amaro to sign.

    Zach Collier (L-L)

    Despite their good or bad performances at a variety of levels and leagues, none of the last four outfielders on the 40 man roster have a short road to the Majors. Collier, 23, fell off after being an exciting prospect and Arizona Fall Leaguer in 2012, playing in more games (78 in '12, 123 in '13) but seeing dropoffs in BA (.269 to .222) and OPS (.733 to .658).

    Kelly Dugan (L-R)

    2013 was Dugan's turn to break out, which he did, to the tune of a .291/.352/.506 slash line. At 23 years old, that will catch anyone's eye in a not elite farm system. Those aren't Maikel Franco numbers, but Maikel Franco is no outfielder, and Dugan is starting to develop after some debilitating early injuries in his career, and according to an update this past summer, Dugan could hit his way out of the minors, a la Darin Ruf. Darin Ruf, but supposed to play in the outfield? Intriguing.

    Tyson Gillies (L-R)

    Marred by numerous issues, Gillies development has been delayed and questioned many times over the past few years. He's not listed as a top-20 Phillies prospect anymore, despite overcoming some odds and blasting out the gate in 2012 with a .299 BA in 75 games. 2013, however, saw a return to unimpressive numbers even after a promotion from Reading to Lehigh.

    Aaron Altherr (R-R)

    Among the Arizona Fall Leaguers in Phillies colors, Altherr is one of the top outfield prospects in a system without many of them (Ranked #18 by MLB, #9 by Baseball America). He has the makeup of a center fielder, a powerful arm, high speed, versatile skills, and appears to be scraping his ceiling after his fourth year in the minors. Altherr could be fun to watch, unless he's traded or busts or is forgotten.

    Justin Klugh Philly.com Sports
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