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Do the Phillies have any first-division regulars on their roster? | Matt Gelb

August 11th, 2017 at 12:46 PM
Aggregated By Sports Media 101

Pete Mackanin peeked at the papers scattered across his temporary desk last week at Coors Field. One, in particular, caught his interest. It was Colorado’s lineup, delivered by a clubhouse employee. The Phillies manager saw the names â?? Blackmon, LeMahieu, Arenado, Reynolds â?? and wondered how his pitchers would attack.

“Every time, you’re praying they don’t make a mistake,” Mackanin said. “With our hitters, on a 2-0 count, one day they swing and the next day they’ll take three strikes without swinging the bat. Things like that.”

Managing a young roster requires patience and tolerance. Mackanin knows this; it does not exclude the occasional disgruntled moment. It all stems from one of Charlie Manuel’s favorite adages: The hardest thing in this game, Manuel often said, was to find an everyday regular. Manuel would repeat one part, with emphasis. Every. Day.

Mackanin has used four players â?? Tommy Joseph, Freddy Galvis, Maikel Franco and Odubel Herrera â?? on an everyday basis this season. Two others, Cesar Hernandez and Aaron Altherr, have played every day when not hurt. It is reasonable to expect that within the next 13 months, the Phillies will have decisions on all six of those players. Do they belong? Are they regulars? Are they extras?

A player can be a decent one and still not a first-division regular. It is a test Phillies officials will apply to their roster in the coming months: Can we win a championship with this player in the lineup? That can be complicated; sometimes it is possible to envision a certain player on a great team, so long as there are better players around him.

Mackanin has a simple method for separating the second-division players from the first-division ones.

“You want to know what to expect on a daily basis,” Mackanin said. “It’s hard to be an everyday regular, and that’s the reason. You have to be good on a consistent basis.”

One metric shows the Phillies’ perpetual search for a group of first-division regulars. Adjusted OPS+ adds on-base …

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Tags: Aaron Altherr, Cesar Hernandez, Charlie Manuel, Chase Utley, Coors, Daniel Nava, J.P. Crawford, Luis Garcia, Maikel Franco, Matt Gelb, Matt Klentak, Phillies, Tommy Joseph

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