Philadelphia Phillies Outfield a Major Question Mark
The Philadelphia Phillies won't have Shane Victorino or Hunter Pence to solidify the outfield this year.
Philadelphia Phillies fans are getting hopeful this spring that the team might be able to turn it around after an off-year.
They're hopeful that Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Roy Halliday will rebound from injuries and that Cliff Lee will return to form.
They're hopeful that Cole Hamels, Jimmy Rollins and Carlos Ruiz will have eben bigger seasons than 2012. And that some key additions in the bullpen like Mike Adams and Chad Durbin will provide some balance.
But who is going to play the outfield?
That is possibly the biggest question mark facing the Phillies this spring training.
No longer does the team have Shane Victorino or Hunter Pence in the fold.
In fact, the Phils have questions at all three positions.
Centerfield does have a player. That's Ben Revere, who was acquired by the Minnesota Twins. Revere comes with a big-time glove that might fill the hole where Victorino performed his Gold Glove antics.
But where Victorino could hit better than average and provide some power, Revere hasn't really hit a lick in the Major Leagues yet. So he'll have to prove himself.
The player, though, who may be the major X Factor is Dominic Brown.
This long-time prospect who has bounced up and down from Triple AAA and has suffered some lingering injuries appears this spring to show some signs of life that he is the five-tool promising player everyone believed he was.
Of any player in camp, Brown has had the best spring.
He's hit the ball well and has hit some monster homers that may even make Ryan Howard blush.
So, at this point, you can probably pencil Brown in for a spot, either in right field or left field.
The reason he may not stick in right field is because the team signed Delmon Young during the off-season.
The former Tampa Bay Ray was once touted as an up-and-comer with tons of talent. But then some injuries and off-field issues derailed his progress. Young right now is trying to rebound from a foot injury that will have him on the Disabled List to start the season.
Darrin Ruf, who put up tremendous power numbers in Double A and Triple A last year is being given every chance to win the left field spot.
But Ruf has been inconsistent so far, hasn't it for power and his defense is lacking at times. So he could be going to Lehigh Valley to start the year with the Iron Pigs.
So that means that Lance Nix and John Mayberry Jr. might platoon in left field, maybe until Young gets healthy and takes right, moving Brown to left.
There are so many questions that it will be interesting to see how this all develops heading to opening day against the Kansas City Royals on April 5.