Posted by Ryan Gerstel, Wed, January 21, 2015 02:28 PM Comments: 21
The Phillies will go into the 2015 season without Jimmy Rollins for the first time in 14 years, so how will this affect the starting lineup on opening day against the Red Sox? Here’s what I think the Phillies’ opening day lineup will look like.
1. Let’s start at the top, where there’s no question that Ben Revere will again be the everyday leadoff hitter in 2015. Since joining the Phillies in 2013, Revere has played 165 games in the leadoff position, and has a career .288 batting average with a .321 on-base percentage batting leadoff. Last season, Revere finished with a .306 batting average, and was in contention for the NL batting title in September, but eventually fell to fifth. What makes Revere such a valuable leadoff hitter is his ability to hit both left-handed and right-handed pitching. Revere finished with a .291 batting average against righties, and an even better .341 against lefties. His speed is also a valuable asset to have at the top of the lineup, but if Revere can work on anything it’s his plate discipline. Revere finished the 2014 season with only 13 walks, putting him towards the bottom amongst leadoff hitters. To put that number into perspective, Jimmy Rollins worked 11 walks in 74 at-bats, while Revere only worked 13 in 547.
2. This is one of the biggest question marks going into the 2015 season; who will bat second? Ryne Sandberg will likely experiment with several different players in this spot in the lineup, but for opening day, I believe Freddy Galvis will get the nod. With Jimmy Rollins now a Dodger, Galvis will likely be the major beneficiary, and get most of the starts at shortstop this season. In his career batting second, Galvis has a .216 batting average in 51 at bats. What makes him an attractive option in the two-hole, however, is the fact that he is a pull hitter from the left side of the plate. In his career, Galvis has a .342 batting average when pulling the ball as a LHB. If Revere is able to make it to first in front of him, there will be a huge gap open on the right side for Galvis, and if that’s the case, the Phillies could see plenty of first and third, no out situations.
3. As still the best overall hitter on the Phillies, I expect Chase Utley to return to his usual spot in the lineup on opening day. Utley has played 980 total games batting third, and has a career .283 batting average, a .372 on-base percentage, and has 602 total RBIs. Last season, Utley played 146 games from the three-hole, and finished with a .274 batting average while driving in 77 RBIs. This is a no brainer for Sandberg since the three spot in the lineup is reserved for a team’s best hitter. Utley is still the team’s best overall hitter, so he belongs there, no questions asked. Continue reading What Will the Phillies’ Opening Day Lineup Look Like?