Phillies Center Field Job Remains Up for Grabs

by Marc Narducci | Mar 10, 2021
Phillies Center Field Job Remains Up for Grabs
One of the most interesting battles during the exhibition baseball season for the Phillies is in center field. 
The Phillies seem set at every other position and they should have potent lineup.
Center field has brought nothing but question marks. 
One of the main contenders, former first round pick Adam Haseley, is out of the early competition after straining his groin last week. At the time of the injury, Haseley was declared out for at least four weeks. 
The Phillies begin their regular season schedule April 1 at Citizens Bank Park against the Atlanta Braves.
During last year’s condensed season, when the Phillies went 28-32, Haseley hit .278 but didn’t show much power with no home runs and five doubles in 79 at-bats.
He came to camp this year in Clearwater bulked up and appeared ready to make a run at the job. Haseley, who turns 25 on April 12, was the No. 8 overall selection in the 2017 draft out of the University of Virginia.
He has gotten to the big leagues quickly, and this was expected to be a key season in his development. It still very well could, but he is out of at least the opening day competition for the starting job.
Roman Quinn, who started 28 games in center last season, is a candidate who has not gotten off to a quick start this spring.
Quinn is among the fastest players in baseball, but he has had trouble staying consistently healthy. A former second round pick in 2011 (the last year the Phillies qualified for the playoffs), Quinn turns 28 in May. 
In addition, last year he struck out 39 times in 116 plate appearances, way too much for a non-power hitter. 
He has appeared in the Major Leagues in each of the past four years, with a total of 150 games and 450 plate appearances. 
With Haseley injured, this is a time he can seize the job, but he will have to earn it.
The most controversial candidate is Odúbel Herrera, 29, who last played in the Major Leagues on May 26, 2019. 
Herrera was arrested in May 2019 on a charge of simple assault in Atlantic City. The charge was dismissed but he was suspended 85 games for violating MLB’s domestic abuse policy. He was not a part of the Phillies 60-player pool last season. 
He is scheduled to earn $10.3 million this season whether he makes the team or not due to a five-year $30.5 million deal he signed in December of 2016. 
This came after Herrera earned his lone all-star berth in 2016. 
He got off to a quick start this spring, going 4 for 9 with a home run in his first three games.
The other candidates for center are Scott Kingery and Mickey Moniak.
Kingery, 26, hit just .159 last season. He never fully recovered to form after having a positive COVID-19 test. 
Kingery is also able to play any position in the infield, so Kingery, assuming that he can rebound offensively from last year, will be a valuable player for the Phillies. Whether he can seize the center field job remains one of the big questions in camp.
Moniak, opened some eyes by hitting two home runs in an early 15-0 spring training win over the New York Yankees.
He was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 draft and saw his first Major League action last season, going 3 for 14 with six strikeouts in 18 plate appearances. 
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Author: Marc Narducci


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