One of the Philadelphia Phillies‘ biggest concerns moving forward is their defensive efficiency. This is a concern that, regardless of the moves that Dave Dombrowski and Sam Fuld make, will surely be evident all season long.
Now sure, that statement might immediately bring to mind Jose Alvarado’s fielding error that cost the Phillies Game 2 of this road series in Atlanta, and yes, Alvarado will not be on the field for 95 percent of the innings this season, but even on that play, one can debate that Didi Gregorius was not in the correct position as Alvarado’s initial instinct was to turn two and get out of the inning. With Freddie Freeman being the batter who would have had to leg out the double play, one can arguably put blame on Didi for not expecting the ball at second base for the inning-ending double play.
Outside of this recent mistake, there are a lot of aspects of this team that are concerning on defense. Having JT Realmuto behind the plate will keep a lot of runners honest on the base paths, but every other position is more of a question mark.
The Philadelphia Phillies are not a defensively dominant team.
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Alec Bohm does look better this season so far at third, but we all know he is a below-average fielder compared to the rest of the league. Gregorius is an average fielder at short, but there have been a few plays this year where he’s looked like he couldn’t reach back and fire the ball across the infield like he did last year. I’m not saying he’s injured, but something does seem off.
Jean Segura is not a bad option at second by any means, but his biggest concern has always been his awareness and knowing where to be at all times in the field. His baseball IQ is not saving us many runs this year. Then there’s Rhys Hoskins. We all know Hoskins is looking forward to the NL DH more than anyone on the Phillies roster, considering how hard it is on the eyes to watch him play in the field at times.
The outfield is not nearly as concerning as the infield, but even then, the Phillies do not have any above-average fielders out there. Bryce Harper, without a doubt, had his best fielding year in the shortened season last year. But then fans come to find out he had to change his throwing motion because of his back issues. Even with his best defensive season last year, he still is not the greatest of fielders in his own right, so we’ll all be waiting to see how consistent he is in the field this year.
In left, the Phillies have an aging Andrew McCutchen, who is definitely the team’s smartest player in the outfield, but with Father Time creeping upon him, he will not be able to cover as much ground or even play as many games as in seasons past. Centerfield seems like it will be a carousel for most of the season, with not one top-tier fielder in the bunch.
The core of this lineup is just not that great defensively, and there’s not much Dombrowski, and the front office can do about it. Let’s all hope the front office can go get a quality defensive replacement off the bench for third base because that alone will open a couple of different avenues for Joe Girardi to play with late in games.
The reason I am highlighting the Phillies defense this early is because their pitching will have to deal with average at best fielding throughout the whole season in a very hitter’s friendly ballpark. With the back end of the rotation as weak as it is and Archie Bradley already being placed on the IL, the Phillies front office needs to feel the urgency earlier than late June this year to go acquire help.
The Philadelphia Phillies organization should be proactively looking for at least one more relief pitcher, a quality infield glove off the bench, and a quality lefty starter sooner rather than later in this extremely competitive division. After a season where the Phillies missed the playoffs by just one game, I cannot stress enough the need for the Phillies to address their weaknesses as soon as possible.