Phillies set initial player pool with 53 players

June 29th, 2020

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies announced their 60-man player pool on Sunday night. Well, they announced most of it.

The Phils announced 53 players: three catchers, 10 infielders, nine outfielders and 31 pitchers. Teams can add more players as needed, with the limit set at 60, which presumably will be the case with the Phillies. The organization finds itself in a more difficult situation than some teams because it recently announced that seven players tested positive for COVID-19.

Players will begin reporting to summer camp this week. The first official workout is Friday at Citizens Bank Park. Opening Day is scheduled for either July 23 or 24.

According to MLB's Operating Manual, all players on a 40-man roster “that the Club anticipates participating” during the season will be part of the player pool, while the rest will be made up of non-40-man roster players under contract. Any 40-man-roster players who are not included in a player pool (for example, maybe a prospect who isn’t deemed ready for the Majors) will still be paid during the season.

No team will be allowed to exceed the limit of 60 players in its player pool at any time during camp or the regular season.

Players on the Phillies' 40-man roster who are not currently in their player pool include left-hander Austin Davis; right-handers Adonis Medina and Cristopher Sanchez; and infielder Arquimedes Gamboa. Right-hander Seranthony Dominguez has been placed on the 60-day injured list and is expected to have Tommy John surgery, which will cause him to miss the season. Right-hander David Robertson is not yet recovered from his Tommy John surgery last summer.

Philadelphia released outfielder Matt Szczur and right-hander Drew Storen on Sunday.

Here is a breakdown of the players currently in the Phillies' player pool:

Starting pitchers (11): Jake Arrieta, Enyel De Los Santos, Zach Eflin, Spencer Howard, Cole Irvin, Aaron Nola, Nick Pivetta, Ranger Suárez, Vince Velasquez, Zack Wheeler

Nola, Wheeler, Arrieta and Eflin will make up the first four spots in the rotation. Wheeler’s wife is due with their first child in late July, and it is unclear how he and the Phillies will proceed. Pivetta, Suárez and Velasquez were competing for the No. 5 job when Spring Training got suspended in March. The job is expected to go to Pivetta or Velasquez.

Howard (MLB Pipeline’s No. 34 overall prospect) will likely make his big league debut in 2020, but he will not open the season with the team because of service time considerations.

Relief pitchers (20): José Álvarez, Victor Arano, Connor Brogdon, Garrett Cleavinger, Édgar Garcia, Deolis Guerra, Tommy Hunter, Damon Jones, Trevor Kelley, Francisco Liriano, Mauricio Llovera, Reggie McClain, Adam Morgan, Héctor Neris, Bud Norris, Blake Parker, JoJo Romero, Ramon Rosso, Addison Russ, Connor Seabold, Robert Stock

Neris, Álvarez, Morgan, Hunter, Arano and maybe non-roster invitee Francisco Liriano are anywhere from locks to smart bets to make the team. If the Phillies have a five-man rotation, two of the three No. 5 starter candidates (Pivetta, Velasquez and Suárez) will end up in the bullpen. Pitchers who can pitch multiple innings (i.e. Irvin, who is listed as a starter) and pitchers out of options, like Guerra, could have inside tracks for jobs. Anthony Swarzak was in camp as a non-roster invitee, but he is not in the player pool.

Catchers (3): Deivy Grullón, Andrew Knapp, J.T. Realmuto

It seems a little light, at least compared to the other National League East teams. The Braves (seven), Marlins (six), Nationals (six) and Mets (five) are all carrying more catchers than the Phillies, but the Phillies can add more, if needed. If everything goes according to plan, however, Realmuto will play almost every day in this 60-game schedule. Knapp will be the backup. Grullón could be on the three-man taxi squad that will travel with the team on the road.

Infielders (10): Alec Bohm, Logan Forsythe, Phil Gosselin, Didi Gregorius, Josh Harrison, Rhys Hoskins, Scott Kingery, Jean Segura, Ronald Torreyes, Neil Walker

Hoskins, Kingery, Segura and Gregorius will be the everyday infield, if everybody is healthy. The Phillies need a couple of utility infielders. They should find them among Forsythe, Gosselin, Harrison, Torreyes and Walker.

Bohm (MLB Pipeline’s No. 30 overall prospect) is the most interesting name here. The smart bet is that he makes his big league debut this season. It is unlikely, however, that he makes the 30-man Opening Day roster because of service time considerations. But Bohm can hit, so he makes sense as a designated hitter and occasional corner infielder.

Outfielders (9): Jay Bruce, Kyle Garlick, Bryce Harper, Adam Haseley, Mikie Mahtook, Nick Martini, Andrew McCutchen, Roman Quinn, Nick Williams

No real surprises here. Harper and McCutchen are expected to play the corners. Some combination of Quinn and Haseley will roam center field. Bruce might see more time with the NL adding the designated hitter, but he can also play the corners on occasion.

Could the Phillies carry an extra bench bat, especially the first couple weeks of the season? Sure, it is possible. It would help the chances of somebody like Williams, Martini or Garlick. But the more likely scenario is the Phillies load up on extra pitchers for the bullpen. They just won’t need extra bench bats with the DH and fewer pinch-hitting opportunities.