Phillies 2024 spring training preview: Thoughts on every hitter headed to camp

When every Phillies position player arrives at spring training later this month, there will be an uncommon level of familiarity. It might be unprecedented in modern Phillies history. The Phillies amassed 6,207 plate appearances in 162 games last season and 6,036 of them were taken by players who are still on the roster.

That means the hitters who accounted for 97 percent of the team’s time at the plate are back.

It’s a brash strategy, one the Phillies are convinced is the right path — at least for the first few months of the season. The Phillies ranked fourth in the National League in runs scored.

Maybe time is on their side. The Phillies allocated only 114 plate appearances to hitters 33 or older in 2023. That was the second-fewest in the majors. (Tampa Bay had zero such plate appearances.) Josh Harrison had all 114 for the Phillies.

Now? The oldest hitter in camp will be J.T. Realmuto, who turns 33 in March.

The lineup is all but set. At least half of the bench is set. The Phillies did not add much depth in the offseason. They have not summoned any top position-player prospects to big-league camp. It’s rendered this spring rather anticlimactic.

(An asterisk denotes a non-roster invitee to big-league camp. Listed ages are as of Opening Day.)

Catchers (6)

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J.T. Realmuto is entering the fourth year of the five-year deal he signed with the Phillies. (Bill Streicher / USA Today)

Aramis Garcia* (31) — The well-traveled veteran is back in the Phillies organization after re-signing a minor-league contract; that will at least offer some continuity at Triple A.

Rafael Marchán (25) — The Phillies were granted a fourth minor-league option on Marchán, which will keep him in the organization as depth in 2024. Frequent injuries over the past few seasons have dulled his outlook.

J.T. Realmuto (33) — He’s started 130 games at catcher in each of the past two seasons. Only one other catcher since 2010 has started 130-plus games at age 33: Yadier Molina.

Cody Roberts* (27) — Regarded as a good defender, Roberts split catching duties at Double-A Reading in 2023 and he is likely headed back there in 2024.

William Simoneit* (27) — The Phillies don’t have much upper-minors catching inventory, so they picked Simoneit in the minor-league Rule 5 draft. He splits time between catcher and first base.

Garrett Stubbs (30) — His offensive production took a big dip in his second year as Realmuto’s backup. If his playing time increases — even a little — he’ll have to offer more at the plate.

Infielders (13)

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Despite his poor start, Trea Turner finished four homers shy of making the 30-30 club. (Brad Mills / USA Today)

Alec Bohm, 3B (27) — He slugged three homers in the first 10 games of the season, then three in the next two months. He finished with a .437 slugging percentage, which ranked 14th among 21 qualified third basemen. If he takes the next step, it’s a more consistent power stroke.

Diego Castillo, UTIL (26) — He’s evolved from a light-hitting, defense-first shortstop to more of a power swinger who might be better suited for second base or the corners. He was claimed on waivers three times this winter.

Rodolfo Castro, UTIL (24) — Last September, the Phillies went to great lengths to preserve a minor-league option on Castro. He’s expected to begin 2024 at Triple A.

Kody Clemens, 1B/3B (27) — He made 37 starts last season for the Phillies, and those feel like forever ago. It’ll be interesting to see if they try him in the outfield more this spring to create depth there.

Darick Hall, 1B (28) — He bats left-handed and plays one position — the same position now filled by the franchise’s left-handed-hitting cornerstone. Hall looks blocked; his time in the organization could be winding down.

Bryce Harper, 1B (31) — His groundball rate has steadily risen for four straight years and reached a career-high in 2023. His average exit velocities have not dipped. Injuries were a factor. After the 38-game homerless drought, Harper slugged .587 in his final 68 games. How does his power project in 2024?

Scott Kingery*, UTIL (29) — When the Phillies declined the club option on Kingery’s $24 million deal, they retained his rights because he was not yet eligible for minor-league free agency. He hasn’t taken an at-bat in the majors since May 16, 2021.

Matt Kroon*, UTIL (27) — He’s on the radar with a solid 2023 season following a torn ACL in April 2022. Kroon could follow in the footsteps of Luke Williams, Nick Maton and Dalton Guthrie as useful homegrown utilitymen.

Nick Podkul*, 1B/3B (26) — He signed as a minor-league free agent with the Phillies and had a strong season at Double A until he took a pitch to the face in July. He’s back as organizational depth.

Edmundo Sosa, SS (28) — At this point, Sosa is what he is: a solid reserve who brings energy but is exposed with increased playing time. Only four hitters with 300 plate appearances swung at a higher percentage of pitches than Sosa.

Bryson Stott, 2B (26) — His 82 hits with two strikes were tied for the major-league lead with Bobby Witt Jr. and the most by a Phillie since Jayson Werth in 2010. Stott was proud of that, but he also believed he didn’t need to be in a two-strike count as much as he was. He will be less passive in 2024.

Trea Turner, SS (30) — He wasn’t getting on base, so the speed element of his game wasn’t always a factor. But Turner attempted 30 steals last season and wasn’t caught once. Turner won’t push it to the extreme, but those 30 steals were only his sixth-highest total in a season. There is upside on the bases.

Weston Wilson, UTIL (29) — He could win a bench job this spring; Wilson should see more time in the outfield during Grapefruit League games. He had a breakout season in the minors and the Phillies were a little intrigued. He’ll have to prove it’s sustainable, even if in a reserve role.

Outfielders (7)

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Will Brandon Marsh get more opportunities versus left-handers this season? (Eric Hartline / USA Today)

Nick Castellanos, RF (32) — He looked like the best hitter on the planet during the National League Division Series and totally hopeless during the National League Championship Series. Castellanos has always occupied extremes. The good still outweighs the bad. One more prime Castellanos season would be huge.

Jake Cave, OF (31) — He made 52 starts in 2023 — almost a third of the games — and was inconsistent at the plate. While in the minors, he dominated Triple-A pitching. The Phillies have engaged various left-handed-hitting outfielders this offseason as they seek potential upgrades, but Cave is the fourth outfielder for now.

Carlos De La Cruz*, OF (24) — He’s still a project; that is reflected by every team declining to select him in the Rule 5 draft two winters in a row. De La Cruz projects as a bench player if he can eliminate some holes in his swing. Playing all three outfield spots plus first base will help his chances.

Brandon Marsh, LF/CF (26) — Only J.D. Martinez had a larger year-to-year increase in hard-hit rate than Marsh. He benefited from one of the highest batting averages on balls in play, but there were real gains in 2023. The Phillies continued to hide Marsh against lefties. Are the training wheels off now?

Cristian Pache, CF (25) — He can defend and he hits lefties. That’s probably good enough to be the fifth outfielder on a contending team, although that doesn’t make him a lock to make the Phillies.

Johan Rojas, CF (23) — The wunderkind defender might command more focus than any other Phillies player in camp. The Phillies probably won’t make a decision based on spring performance, but it wouldn’t hurt to see some of his offseason work translate into exhibition games. His only two hits against fastballs in the postseason were to the opposite field.

Cal Stevenson*, OF (27) — He was a waiver claim last May and spent all of six days on the 40-man roster but remained in the organization. He hit .310/.468/.558 at Lehigh Valley after July 1. He’ll be in the outfield at Triple A again.

Designated Hitter (1)

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Kyle Schwarber cools off after a game-winning homer. (Bill Streicher / USA Today)

Kyle Schwarber (31) — The smart money is on Schwarber reprising his role as the leadoff hitter — at least to start the season. Schwarber will be a full-time DH, but the Phillies expect him to be moving around better. His offseason conditioning program leaned heavier on agility work.



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(Top photo of Bryson Stott, Trea Turner, Bryce Harper and Alec Bohm: Mitchell Leff / Getty Images)

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