The Phillies reported to Clearwater, Fla. — then their spring home of just one year — in 1948 after a season that fell short of great expectations.
They were expected to contend for the pennant in 1947, but their pitching — which had been a concern during camp — held them back. They responded in 1948 by bringing 70 players to spring training, perhaps hoping that more bodies would give them a better chance to find the talent they needed.
“The largest contingent of athletes to ever inhale soft breezes at one camp,” The Inquirer wrote that spring.
More than 70 years later, the Phillies are trying it again. They finished last season with a .500 record thanks to a starting rotation that appeared flawed before the season had begun. And now they come to camp with a roster that seems to grow by the day with players ready to inhale the soft breezes of Florida. The Phillies won 66 games in 1948. They’ll hope 2020 goes differently.
Arquimedes Gamboa (22 years old on opening day)
Gamboa was added to the 40-man roster before last season and responded by hitting just .188 with a .574 OPS in 113 games at double A. The smooth fielder made just eight errors all season, but his bat will have to catch up with his glove to make an impact in the majors. He’ll begin the season at Reading or Lehigh Valley.
Didi Gregorius (30)
Joe Girardi pushed for the Phillies to sign Gregorius, who was a clubhouse leader with a gregarious personality when the two were together with the Yankees. Gregorius hit 20 or more homers for three straight seasons before being slowed last year by recovery from Tommy John surgery. He’ll be the team’s everyday shortstop and bat near the top of the lineup.
Rhys Hoskins (27)
Hoskins entered last season’s All-Star break with 20 homers and a .931 OPS but hit just nine homers in the second half with a .679 OPS. So what happened? That’s what Hoskins has spent the offseason trying to figure out. New hitting coach Joe Dillon has presented some fresh ideas and Hoskins has already altered his swing. The lineup could drastically improve if Hoskins performs the way he did in the first half.
Scott Kingery (25)
Kingery will enter the season with a set position after moving around the diamond for his first two seasons. But it won’t be at second base, the position the Phillies drafted him for and the place he played through the minors. Instead, Kingery will play third base. Kingery improved last season at the plate, finishing with a 100 OPS+, putting him right on the league average. But there’s still room for growth and perhaps a set position can help.
Jean Segura (30)
Segura’s contact rate, his defining offensive trait, remained high in his first year with the Phillies but his other offensive numbers dipped. His .280 batting average and .323 on-base percentage were his lowest since 2015. The arrival of Didi Gregorius pushed Segura from shortstop to second base, a position Segura played regularly for just one season of his eight-year career. He’s due $30 million over the next two seasons.
Jay Bruce (32)
Bruce was excellent in his first month after being acquired in a midseason trade. He hit 10 homers in 33 games, drove in 29 runs, and had a .837 OPS. But then injuries nagged him the rest of the season and he had just 28 at-bats after July 16. The addition of an extra bench spot this season should allow the Phillies to monitor Bruce’s workload and use him mainly as a late-innings, left-handed power bat. It’s a role that should perfectly suit Bruce at this point in his career.
Bryce Harper (27)
Harper was as good as advertised last season, yet there still seems to be a notion that he could do even more. He finished with 35 homers, drove in 114 runs, played nearly everyday, had an .882 OPS, and accumulated the team’s second-most wins above replacement. So how can Harper do more? By stretching his second-half performance over an entire season. Harper’s second-half numbers would give him 46 homers, 126 RBIs, and an .941 OPS over 162 games. He could benefit from a routine offseason followed by a full spring training after last winter’s free-agent chase.
Adam Haseley (23)
Haseley was pushed to the majors last summer after Odubel Herrera’s arrest and subsequent suspension. He’ll enter the season as the everyday centerfielder while Herrera is shuffled to minor-league camp. Haseley held his own against major-league pitching and seemed to get more comfortable as the season progressed. He hit .282 with a .786 OPS in September. It’s fair to expect those types of numbers over a full season in Year No. 2.
Nick Martini (29)
Martini came to the Phillies in January through a waiver claim from Cincinnati, which claimed Martini earlier in November from San Diego, which claimed Martini off waivers during the season from Oakland. Got it? He played just 32 games in the majors last season, but he’ll be one of the many competitors vying for one of the final two bench spots. The left-handed hitter had a .913 OPS last season in triple A, which is where he could start the season at as he still has minor-league options remaining.
Andrew McCutchen (33)
McCutchen said he expects to be ready for opening day after tearing his ACL last June. There were plenty of reasons the Phillies failed to have a winning record in 2019, but McCutchen’s absence at the leadoff spot was one of the biggest ones. The Phillies will likely work him back slowly, which could mean some early-season starts in left field for Roman Quinn or Jay Bruce.
Roman Quinn (26)
Quinn’s speed and skills seem to entice the Phillies every winter about what he can offer them in a bench role. But he has yet to stay healthy and was on the injured list three times last season. Quinn will enter spring training with a lock on one of the team’s five bench roles and perhaps a new coaching and training staff has the keys to keeping him healthy.
Nick Williams (26)
Williams, expecting to be traded at this time last year, waited until the end of spring training to furnish his new apartment. But a year later, his place with the Phillies feels just as uncertain. Williams split time last season between triple A and the majors and never seemed to have the favor of former manager Gabe Kapler. It’s hard to see a future for Williams in Philadelphia, but perhaps a new coaching staff and manager will see something that Kapler didn’t.
Deivy Grullon (24)
Grullon received a taste of the majors last September, but he will likely begin the season in triple A, where he hit .283 in 2019 with a .851 OPS. Grullon’s defense needs to improve, but he could make a push to be the backup catcher if he continues to hit in Allentown.
Andrew Knapp (28)
Knapp enters spring training as the favorite to be the backup catcher, which could be the least important role on the team as J.T. Realmuto plays nearly every day. Knapp struggled at the plate last season, but the team values his work with the pitching staff and leadership in the clubhouse.
J.T. Realmuto (28)
Realmuto will leave during spring training for his arbitration case, which will determine his salary for 2020. But the real concern is Realmuto’s long-term future in Philadelphia as he’s set to be a free agent after the season. The Phillies will want to lock him in to a contract before he hits the market, and negotiations could take place during camp.
Alec Bohm (23)
Bohm won’t begin the season in the majors, but it’s a safe bet that he will arrive in the first half of 2020. The team’s first-round pick in 2018 had an .896 OPS last season across three minor-league levels. He’s still on track to be the Phillies’ future third baseman, but it was interesting to see the team play him at first base in the minor leagues and in the Arizona Fall League.
Logan Forsythe (33)
He’s five years removed from a breakout season in Tampa and batted just .227 last season with Texas. But Forsythe can play nearly every position, which will give him a chance to earn one of the final bench spots.
Phil Gosselin (31)
The Malvern Prep graduate signed a minor-league deal for the second straight year with his hometown team, which he led last season in pinch-hits despite spending three months in triple A. He’ll have a shot to win a bench job.
Darick Hall (24)
Drafted in 2016, Hall hit 20 or more homers in each of the last three seasons. He hit 20 last year at hitter-friendly Reading and will likely be the everyday first baseman at triple-A Lehigh Valley.
Josh Harrison (32)
Harrison is a two-time All Star but has a .606 OPS over the last two seasons. He played just 36 games last season with Detroit and was released in August. He could be playing to keep his career alive and he’ll have a chance to do that as a bench player for the Phillies.
Austin Listi (26)
He had 30 extra-base hits last season at triple A after a midseason promotion. The organization’s minor-league player of the year in 2018 could have a future as a utility player who can play the corners of the infield and outfield.
Nick Maton (23)
He hit .276 last season at high-A Clearwater with a .738 OPS before finishing the season at double-A Reading, where he will likely begin 2020. A seventh-round pick in 2017, Maton can play all over the infield.
Ronald Torreyes (27)
He played for Joe Girardi in New York and will try to impress his former manager this spring to earn one of the final bench spots. He has played just 48 major-league games since 2017 and hit .256 last season in 79 games with Minnesota’s triple-A team.
Neil Walker (34)
Walker enters spring as one of the favorites for the final two bench spots. He can play nearly every position and had success last season coming off the bench with Miami. He also loves to hit in South Philly, holding a .311 batting average and .889 OPS in 151 career plate appearances at Citizens Bank Park.
Luke Williams (23)
Williams played every position besides pitcher and catcher last season at Reading as the Phillies are shaping their 2015 third-round pick into a super-utility player. He batted .238 with a .714 OPS in Reading, which is where he could begin 2020.
Mikie Mahtook (30)
He spent most of last season in triple A after starting on opening day for Detroit. Mahtook had 21 homers and a .849 OPS in 98 games for Detroit’s triple-A team. He’ll compete for a bench role but seems ticketed for triple A.
Mickey Moniak (21)
Moniak’s slugging percentage increased last season by more than 50 points, but was that a sign of the 2017 No. 1 pick’s finally finding power or just a benefit of playing in Reading? The 2017 first-overall pick should reach triple A this season, which will provide a clearer picture of the type of player he is.
Matt Szczur (30)
Szczur didn’t play in the majors last season for the first time in five years, but he did have a .967 OPS with Arizona’s triple-A team. The Cape May native and Villanova graduate will have a chance to earn a bench spot. If not, he’ll be nearby in Allentown.
Christian Bethancourt (28)
He hasn’t played in the majors since 2017, when he played in just eight games for San Diego. Bethancourt spent last season in Korea, where he had a .712 OPS in 53 games. He could push Andrew Knapp for the backup job, but that seems unlikely.
Henri Lartigue (25)
He struggled offensively last season at Reading, which is where the 2016 draft pick will likely begin the season.
LHP Jose Alvarez (30)
His 134 ERA+ was the second-highest on the Phillies last season as he grew into one of the team’s most dependable relievers after allowing seven runs in his first five appearances. Alvarez enters spring training with a secured place in the bullpen.
RHP Victor Arano (25)
Arano pitched in just three games and then missed the rest of the season after undergoing elbow surgery in May. He made 60 appearances in 2018 and showed promise, but his role this season will depend on how his arm rebounds.
RHP Jake Arrieta (34)
The Phillies will pay Arrieta $25 million this season, elite-level money for what they hope can be a middle-of-the-rotation arm. He had a 4.26 ERA in his first two seasons with the Phillies, but they’ll hope that he improves in 2020 after undergoing surgery last summer to remove a bone spur from his elbow. He’s an important piece of the rotation behind Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler.
LHP Garrett Cleavinger (25)
He struck out 14.5 batters per nine innings last season at double A, which was good enough for the Phillies to add him to the 40-man roster. The Phillies have a slew of high-strikeout relievers in the minors and hope that a couple can stick in the majors.
LHP Austin Davis (27)
Davis pitched in 14 games last season as he bounced between the majors and triple A. The same could happen in 2020 if the Phillies continue to use the final spots in their bullpen like a revolving door.
RHP Enyel De Los Santos (24)
He was a starter last season in triple A but a reliever in the majors. This season should bring some clarity to De Los Santos’ role, and his future seems to be in the bullpen. He’ll compete for one of the final spots, but is likely headed to Lehigh Valley .
RHP Seranthony Dominquez (25)
Dominquez avoided Tommy John Surgery last June, but he missed the rest of the season with an ulnar collateral ligament injury. The Phillies say Dominquez is pain free and on track for spring training, but they’ll take it slow with him in Clearwater. He’s a key piece of the bullpen and the Phillies will need him to be healthy.
RHP Zach Eflin (25)
Eflin will compete for one of the final spots in the starting rotation, but it’s hard to see the Phillies leaving Clearwater without Eflin as one of their five starters. He had a 2.83 ERA last season in his final seven starts after ditching the game plan that fired pitching coach Chris Young wanted him to follow. Eflin should benefit from new pitching coach Bryan Price.
RHP Edgar Garcia (23)
Garcia began to show toward the end of last season the promise the Phillies saw from him in spring training. He struck out 29 of the final 89 batters he faced and recorded at least one strikeout in his final 18 appearances, the third-longest streak ever by a Phillies reliever. He’ll compete for a spot in the bullpen.
RHP Deolis Guerra (30)
Once a top prospect with the Mets, Guerra pitched in just one major-league game over the last two seasons. He had a 1.89 ERA last season with Milwaukee’s triple-A affiliate and struck out 11.9 batters per nine innings, impressing the Phillies enough for them to claim him off waivers this month.
LHP Cole Irvin (26)
Irvin will compete in camp for a rotation spot, but he seems ticketed to become a reliever or spot starter. He spent last September in the bullpen and allowed just one run over 12⅓ innings and averaged just 12.3 pitches per inning as he worked quickly.
RHP Mauricio Llovera (23)
He’s struck out 10 batters per nine innings over the last two seasons, which was enough for the Phillies to add him this winter to the 40-man roster. He spent his first five minor-league seasons as a starter, but the Philies could be tempted to try him in the bullpen after he posted a 4.55 ERA last year at double A.
RHP Reggie McClain (27)
McClain allowed 11 earned runs last season in three innings pitched against the Astros in Houston, but he allowed just three earned runs in the 18 innings he pitched away from Minute Maid Park. He was claimed off waivers last month by the Phillies and shouldn’t have to worry this season about any trash cans.
RHP Adonis Medina (23)
The Phillies added Medina to the 40-man roster before last season, but he responded with a disappointing year at double A. His strikeout numbers dipped by three batters per nine innings and his ERA increased by nearly a run. This is shaping up to be a pivotal season.
LHP Adam Morgan (30)
Morgan missed the final two months of the season with a flexor strain but was able to avoid surgery. Morgan was dependable last season when healthy and he should play a key role this season in the bullpen. He has not allowed a homer to a left-handed hitter since June 7, 2018.
RHP Hector Neris (30)
Neris will return as the closer after recording 28 saves last season and finishing with the ninth best save percentage in the National League. Neris led the Phillies pitchers last season in appearances and ERA+. He seemed frustrated at the end of the season with pitching coach Chris Young and manager Gabe Kapler, so he could be refreshed this spring with new faces.
RHP Aaron Nola (26)
Nola will start for the third straight year on opening day after finishing last season with the seventh most strikeouts in the National League. He had a 3.19 ERA in his final 19 starts last season after posting a 4.89 ERA in his first 15.
RHP Nick Pivetta (27)
He split time last season between being a starter and reliever, but he’ll enter spring training in competition to be the team’s fifth starter. The Phillies will hope that this is the season that Pivetta can tap into the talent he clearly has and perhaps new pitching coach Bryan Price can help him get there.
RHP David Robertson (34)
Robertson underwent Tommy John surgery in August and is expected to miss the entire season.
LHP JoJo Romero (23)
Romero pitched in 75 minor-league games over his first four seasons and all of them were starts. But then he made eight relief appearances this offseason in the Arizona Fall League and the results could be enticing enough for the Phillies to change his role. Romero allowed just one run in eight appearances. A relief role could be a quicker route to the majors.
LHP Cristopher Sanchez (23)
Sanchez, acquired in December from Tampa Bay, has a 100-mph fastball and will work this spring as a starting pitcher. But his powerful arm — and his lack of experience in the upper levels of the minors — could force a move to the bullpen, which would get him quickly to the majors.
RHP Robert Stock (30)
Stock, who was claimed off waivers in November, was the first player the Phillies acquired this offseason. He throws 98 mph but missed the final three months of last season with a strained right biceps. He can be optioned to triple A, so Stock does not have to crack the opening day roster.
LHP Ranger Suarez (24)
Joe Girardi has talked this winter about Suarez’s competing for a rotation job, but that’s hard to see. He was good for stretches of last season but not remarkable. He does not have a bullpen job secure and perhaps he could open the season in the triple-A rotation, providing backup if a need arises.
RHP Vince Velasquez (27)
Velasquez will compete with Pivetta for the final spot in the rotation, with the loser moving to the bullpen. Velasquez showed promise at times last season in a relief role, but his heart is set on being a starter. Six weeks in Clearwater should sort that out.
RHP Zack Wheeler (29)
Wheeler threw 1,111 pitches over the last two seasons that were 97 mph or faster, while Phillies starters combined for just 40. The Phillies signed a hard-throwing starter who they think is just coming into his own. If so, they’ll have a strong tandem at the top of the rotation.
RHP Connor Brogdon (25)
Brogdon found success last season at three levels and ended the season at triple A. He struck out 12.2 batters per nine innings over 26 appearances with Lehigh Valley, which puts him in line to compete this spring for a bullpen job. At the very least, Brogdon stands to be one of the first promotions this season from the minors.
LHP Kyle Dohy (23)
Dohy racked up strikeouts (83 in 56⅔ innings) at triple A, but finished with a 6.19 ERA. He showed a lot of promise over the last two seasons and should start the season at triple A.
LHP Tyler Gilbert (26)
He spent all of last season at triple A, where he posted a 2.83 ERA over 36 appearances out of the bullpen with just 14 walks in 47⅔ innings. The triple-A bullpen should have plenty of options for the Phillies to pick from.
RHP Spencer Howard (23)
When will Howard reach the majors? What will his role be? Will there be an innings limit? Howard will be one of the more interesting arms in Clearwater as the Phillies desperately need their top pitching prospect to live up to the hype. He was excellent last season,but has yet to pitch in tripe A and was limited to roughly 100 innings last season.
LHP Damon Jones (25)
Jones was an 18th-round pick in 2017, but he could be one of the first starters plucked this season from the minors. He pitched last season at three levels, including the final two months of the season at triple A. He posted a 2.91 ERA last year in 23 starts and struck out 12 batters and walked 4.6 per nine innings. His numbers dipped at triple A, but that could have been the effects of a whirlwind year.
RHP Trevor Kelley (26)
The Phillies claimed Kelley off waivers in December from Boston, designated him for assignment in January, and signed him to a minor-league deal in February. The side-armer was excellent last season in triple A, but struggled in 10 appearances with the Red Sox. He had a 1.72 ERA in 52 triple-A appearances and limited left-handed hitters to a .117 batting average. He throws a high-80s, sinking fastball as well as a slider and cutter.
LHP Francisco Liriano (36)
He was a full-time reliever last season for the first time in his 14-year career and the change may have kept his career churning. Liriano posted a 3.47 ERA, a welcome number after posting a 4.89 ERA over the last three seasons as a starter. He’ll compete this spring for a bullpen job.
RHP Bud Norris (35)
The Blue Jays released Norris last April and he failed to latch on with another team. His velocity was down during last year’s spring training, but that was thought to be because he joined the Blue Jays in the middle of camp. He pitched in 64 games in 2018 with St. Louis and could crack the bullpen if he has anything left.
RHP Blake Parker (34)
Parker returned to the Phillies on a minor-league deal after spending the last half of 2019 in the bullpen. He was good at times last season and struck out 11.16 batters per nine innings. He’ll compete for a job.
RHP Ramon Rosso (23)
The Phillies signed Rosso in 2017 after he was released by the Dodgers and he’s been a pleasant surprise. He had a 3.15 ERA last season in 10 starts at Reading before struggling a bit at triple A. This spring should help determine if his future is in the rotation or bullpen.
RHP Addison Russ (25)
He spent all of last season at Reading and finished with a 2.54 ERA in 55 appearances while striking out 12.9 batters per nine innings. He’ll get the chance this season to test himself at triple A and put himself on the radar for a promotion to the major-league bullpen.
RHP Drew Storen (32)
He hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2017, but he was once a solid reliever with the Nationals, and the Phillies will see this spring if he can still be that pitcher. He’s now three years removed from Tommy John Surgery.
RHP Anthony Swarzak (34)
He split last season between Seattle and Atlanta, finishing with a 4.56 ERA in 59 appearances. He posted a 2.33 ERA in 2017, but he hasn’t been the same since. He’s another veteran arm in the race for one of the final spots in the bullpen.
LHP Zach Warren (23)